The average truck accident lawsuit timeline depends on numerous factors. Some cases settle relatively quickly, and accident victims never need to sue the driver or trucking company. Others require a lengthy legal process and may eventually go to trial, asking a judge and jury to assign blame and award damages.
While there is no way to rush this process without jeopardizing your fair financial recovery, working with a personal injury law firm can help you know what to expect and ensure that you meet all applicable deadlines.
Building a Truck Accident Case and Navigating the Claims Process
Before you can file a claim based on your truck accident and injuries, you must have the necessary evidence to support your accusations and show how much your case is worth. This requires an investigation that proves:
- What happened
- Who caused the crash
- Who is liable
- What harm you suffered as a result
- The value of your claim
This process requires steps that include:
- Obtaining the police report, relevant medical records, and other documents
- Preserving and analyzing evidence from the trucking company
- Identifying and interviewing eyewitnesses
- Canvassing for any video of the crash
- Surveying the collision scene
- Working with accident reconstruction experts
- Speaking with doctors to understand any lasting injuries and future care needs
- Identifying and working with other experts as necessary
- Gathering evidence of your damages and valuing them
Many of these steps are difficult or even impossible to manage on your own, especially if you are recovering from serious injuries or trying to get back to your place of employment. Working with a truck accident lawyer allows you to focus on healing – both physically and financially – and ensures that each of the above steps is done correctly and on time.
Understanding the Claims Process
The claims process generally begins when you or your attorney sends a demand letter to the insurance company representing the liable parties. This letter outlines what happened in your truck accident and the damages you sustained. Then it demands a fair payout, based on the value of your case.
You should not expect the insurer to pay this without question. Instead, they typically counteroffer with a much lower price, which leads to settlement negotiations.
Settling for less than you deserve could leave you paying for some or even all of your losses on your own. If you have a truck accident lawyer, they can continue the claims process until they get an appropriate settlement offer from the insurer or decide that it is time to sue.
For a free legal consultation, call (800) 537-8185
How Long do I Have to Sue the Trucking Company?
Most truck accident claims settle without suing and even fewer go to trial. In general, there are three reasons why your lawyer may suggest suing the trucking company and/or the at-fault driver:
- The insurer denies that their policyholders are legally responsible
- The insurance carrier refuses a fair settlement
- The insurance company accuses you of contributing to the crash
- Your time to sue is running out under state law
A truck accident attorney can determine if it is time to sue or if there are better options for obtaining a fair settlement in your case. In general, you have only a short time to sue in truck accident cases:
- One year in Louisiana under La. Civ. Code Art. 3492
- Two years in Alabama under Ala. Code § 6-2-38
- Three years in Arkansas under Ark. Code Ann. § 16-56-105
- Three years in Mississippi under Miss. Code Ann. § 15-1-49
What Happens After I Sue in a Truck Accident Case?
In many instances, filing a lawsuit pushes the insurance company to offer a larger settlement. They do not want to spend the time and money to go to trial if they know you have strong evidence against them.
When a case does go to trial, this process can take months to a year or more. First, you must navigate a process known as “discovery” when both sides share evidence and the basic facts of the case. This is also the time for making initial motions in the case.
The discovery process must be completed before there is time for mediation, arbitration, or any other means of assisting a settlement. However, your attorney can continue negotiations with the insurer throughout his process. If there is no agreement before the trial date, the case will go before a judge and jury to decide who is liable for the truck accident and what compensation should be awarded.
Morris Bart, LLC Is a Truck Accident Law Firm Serving the Gulf South
At the Morris Bart law firm, our truck collision team provides free case assessments for victims of tractor-trailer crashes in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. The areas we serve stretch across the Gulf South, and we have 15 locations ready to help you.
To learn more, call (800) 537-8185 today for your free consultation.
Questions?Call (800) 537-8185
to find a Morris Bart office near you.