Anyone who has sustained injuries in a truck crash will almost certainly want to see a quick resolution to an insurance claim or lawsuit. When you are already in pain and can’t go back to work immediately, you don’t want to also deal with a stressful financial situation. Those bills are going to keep showing up in the mail even though you are recovering from a truck accident injury. Thankfully, an attorney can help by ensuring any settlement you receive is actually fair while moving swiftly to resolve the case.
Factors That Affect the Length of a Virginia Truck Accident Personal Injury Case
Big-rig and 18-wheeler accident claims can potentially take longer than a case involving two passenger cars, as there will likely be more evidence to sort through when dealing with a trucking company.
The exact amount of time can vary widely depending on the circumstances of the crash, who is determined liable for your damages, and how you go about pursuing compensation. Your settlement could come through an insurer, or, instead, be offered by the liable party before trial if you need to file a personal injury lawsuit.
In some cases, just having an experienced attorney handle communication will prompt the trucking company’s insurer to play ball and offer what you truly deserve faster. In other situations, they may balk at paying out a fair settlement, especially if you suffered catastrophic and life-changing injuries.
These specific steps in the process can all impact the length of your case, whether you end up receiving a settlement from insurance or have to go to court to seek compensation:
Your lawyer will need to thoroughly investigate the truck collision. That’s an easier task if you already took pictures of the scene of the accident and gathered contact details for eyewitnesses to the crash. Your attorney may need to also gather security camera footage, black box data from the truck, employment and training logs, and potentially even testimony from accident reconstruction experts.
This important document sent by your attorney, also called a spoilation letter, prevents the trucking company from destroying or throwing out crucial evidence for your case.
The negligent party who is legally responsible for your injury may not always be the first person you assume. An investigation could reveal the driver engaged in negligent behavior like logbook violations and drowsy driving. In other cases, it could be the trucking company itself that was negligent, a loading crew who improperly filled the truck’s cargo area, a negligent mechanic, or even someone else.
While the first settlement offer may come fast, it likely won’t reflect your actual costs. Unfortunately, insurers have a clear financial interest in paying out as little as possible to keep profits high, which is why you need a skilled attorney to handle negotiations.
The exact value of your potential compensation depends heavily on your medical condition. The more serious and long-term your injuries, the more evidence will be required to establish the full cost of those damages.
How a Qualified Attorney Helps During the Truck Accident Settlement Process
The process of valuing damages is particularly important and can’t be glossed over or handled too quickly. Any settlement will involve signing a document saying you release your right to make future claims over the truck wreck. After receiving a settlement, you simply cannot pursue further compensation for that accident.
In other words, you shouldn't just focus on how fast a settlement arrives, but also on whether your settlement is actually fair and legitimately covers your damages.
For instance, if you haven’t reached maximum medical improvement yet and require additional medical care in the future, there is no way to get more money from insurance or the at-fault party down the line. You’ve already signed away your legal right to ask for more money over the truck crash once the settlement is accepted.
That’s why your attorney needs to make sure the settlement properly values all your damages on the first go around, such as:
- Any non-economic damages covering physical pain, emotional anguish, reduced quality of life, and so on.
- Bills for your medical costs directly related to the accident, like emergency room costs, expenses for staying in the hospital, and so on.
- Estimated future medical expenses if your doctor expects you will require additional surgeries or treatments at some point down the line.
- Medication for treating the injury and its symptoms
- Out-of-pocket costs while you are pursuing medical treatment
- Property damage for your vehicle
- Rehabilitation costs for physical therapy, occupational therapy, etc.
- Surgery expenses
Besides working to make sure all of these elements of your injury are properly reflected in any payout, your attorney also helps by guiding you away from common legal problems in the process. With an experienced Virginia truck accident attorney in your corner, you can present the strongest possible case and avoid issues that allow the insurer to reduce or deny your settlement.
Acquiring a settlement early lets you avoid the additional stress of a trial when you are recovering from a truck accident. However, that may not be the best option in all cases, especially if you have extreme medical expenses that insurance won’t cover. In those situations, an attorney is needed to file a personal injury lawsuit to seek the fair compensation you truly deserve for your injuries.