How Long Does It Take to Settle a Claim after a Truck Accident?

Truck accidents are some of the most devastating and destructive accidents, owing to the massive size and weight of a commercial truck compared with the average passenger vehicle. Oftentimes, it is the occupants of the passenger vehicles involved in the accident who suffer the most debilitating personal injuries that can include broken bones, organ damage, and traumatic brain injuries (TBI). In extreme cases, truck accidents can cause multiple fatalities. Filing an injury claim ensures that the negligent party is held liable for causing the accident, and that the injured victim is compensated for damages associated with the accident, including property damage, medical expenses, and pain and suffering. However, settling a truck accident claim can take much longer than an accident involving another passenger vehicle because of a range of factors. A skilled truck accident lawyer will work tirelessly to address these factors and reach the best possible settlement outcome as quickly as possible.

What Factors Impact the Timing of a Truck Accident Claim?

It is difficult to predict exactly how long it will take to settle a truck accident claim. When you start to accumulate costly medical bills and your injuries prevent you from returning to work, it is crucial that you are compensated for your injuries as soon as possible. However, the process takes time, and you are more likely to reach a favorable settlement if you fully recover from your injuries so that you have an accurate idea of the total costs associated with your injuries. The following factors can make the process more time-consuming than the average car accident:

  • The severity of your injuries: Unfortunately, truck accident victims often suffer severe, catastrophic injuries, including soft tissue injuries, spinal cord injuries, paralysis, crushing injuries, and amputations. The more serious the injuries, the more complex the case becomes and the longer it can take to reach a settlement. When negotiating a settlement, it is extremely important that you understand the long-term impact of your injuries and whether you will suffer any permanent physical, emotional, or cognitive impairments. For the financial damages to be calculated accurately, you will need to reach maximum medical improvement, which can take some time. You will need to provide evidence of the medical treatment you required, including medical bills, follow-up doctor visits, physical therapy, and lost wages if you were unable to work for a significant amount of time as a result of your injury.
  • The accident caused fatalities: When a truck accident causes a devastating fatality, there are a number of administrative procedures that can cause delays in the settlement process. For example, settling a wrongful death claim involves the following damages:
    – Claims made to the deceased person’s estate, including financial compensation for pain and suffering
    – Claims for the surviving family members for the deceased’s lost income, benefits, and emotional support
    – Funeral costs, counseling, property damage, and other claims payable to the deceased’s family members
  • Time it takes for you to complete medical treatment: This is probably one of the main factors that impact how long it will take to settle your claim. It is important to complete your treatment as fully as possible so that you are fully reimbursed for your medical expenses, including all hospital bills, surgeries and other procedures, prescription medications, physical therapy, medical devices, and future medical care that you may need. Never accept a settlement offer from a truck company while you are still recovering from your injuries, even if it seems like a significant amount of money.
  • Determining liability for the truck accident: When a large commercial truck is involved in an accident, this can make the claims process more time-consuming because there are multiple parties that may be held liable for the accident. In order to claim damages, you must be able to prove that the truck driver or one of the other following parties was negligent in some way:
    – The truck driver
    – The truck company
    – The maintenance company
    – The shipping company
    – The company responsible for loading the cargo
    – The maker of a defective part of component of the truck

    If there is ample evidence to prove negligence, including police reports, video footage, witness testimonies, and photographs, the commercial insurer will likely accept liability. However, if the truck driver denies liability and the evidence is lacking, it will take even more time to determine who is at fault. If the insurance adjusters and lawyers involved in the case cannot reach an agreement, the case may go before a jury, which can take a considerable amount of time to resolve.

  • Determining whose insurance is responsible for covering your injuries: Owing to the severity of the injuries that truck accidents can cause, it is crucial that all available insurance options are identified, since the damages from a serious accident can exceed one party’s policy. A truck accident lawyer understands that truck companies are well aware of how costly a truck accident can be. Oftentimes, they purchase liability insurance that exceeds the minimum amount that they are required to carry. For example, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA) requires semi-truck owners to carry a minimum of $750,000 in liability insurance. Certain hazardous cargo has a five million dollar policy minimum. However, even though they are well-insured, truck companies often make low settlement offers, contest liability, or resort to a number of other tactics to avoid paying a fair settlement amount.
  • Negotiating a settlement: Although the settlement process can be time-consuming even if you have a truck accident lawyer representing you, it cannot be overstated how important it is to have a truck accident lawyer on your side who understands the tactics that truck companies will use to avoid paying a costly settlement, and will take proactive steps to ensure that you receive the financial settlement for which you are entitled. Too often, truck companies make an initial settlement offer that may seem like a large sum of money to the average person. However, these are usually modest offers that will not even come close to the financial compensation that you deserve.

What Are the Most Common Causes of Truck Accidents?

In most cases, truck accidents are the result of some type of negligence or reckless driving. You will be required to prove that the truck driver violated their duty to safely operate the truck, and that their negligence caused your injuries. The following are the most common causes of truck accidents:

  • Distracted driving
  • Speeding or driving too fast for the conditions
  • Drowsy driving
  • Drunk or drugged driving
  • Brake failures
  • Tire blowouts
  • Unbalanced cargo
  • Unsafe merging
  • Tailgating
  • Mechanical failures

What Is the Statute of Limitations for Filing a Truck Accident Claim?

When filing a truck accident claim, it is also important to understand that the claim must be filed within a certain period. In Maryland, the statute of limitations for filing a truck accident claim is two years from the date of the accident. If the truck accident resulted in a fatality, the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death lawsuit is two years from the date of your loved one’s death. If you miss this deadline, your claim will most likely be denied.

How Can a Truck Accident Lawyer Help Me with the Claims Process?

Because of the factors discussed above, obtaining a fair settlement in a truck accident claim does not happen overnight. However, from the truck company’s perspective, once they know you have hired a highly skilled lawyer, they are more likely to take action. Like you, they do not want to get involved in a long, drawn out, expensive legal battle. Having a dedicated truck accident lawyer on your side will ensure that you receive the best possible settlement within a reasonable amount of time. In addition, most truck accident lawyers operate on a contingency fee basis, which means that you are not expected to make any payments until a settlement has been reached, at which time they accept a percentage of the settlement amount as payment. The following are just a few of the ways that a truck accident lawyer can help you with your claim:

  • Guide you through every aspect of the claims process in an efficient, organized, and focused manner
  • Prioritize your best interests at all times
  • Collect important evidence and information that will support your claim
  • Communicate with the insurance company to negotiate a fair settlement
  • Increase the value of the settlement if the truck driver’s conduct directly caused the accident
  • Represent you in court if a fair settlement cannot be negotiated

 

Baltimore Truck Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Help Clients Recover from Accidents

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a truck accident, reach out to the Baltimore truck accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. These claims can take a considerable amount of time to reach a settlement, but we will walk you through every step of the claims process and secure fair and full financial compensation as soon as possible. Call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

We have offices in Baltimore, Glen Burnie, and Prince George’s County, allowing us to represent clients in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel CountyCarroll CountyHarford CountyHoward CountyMontgomery CountyPrince George’s CountyQueen Anne’s CountyMaryland’s Western CountiesSouthern Maryland and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of CatonsvilleEssexHalethorpeMiddle RiverRosedale, Gwynn OakBrooklandvilleDundalkPikesvilleParkvilleNottinghamWindsor MillLuthervilleTimoniumSparrows PointRidgewood, and Elkridge.