Do Most Truck Accident Cases Go to Trial?
September 29, 2023 / Truck Accidents
People who experience truck accidents face many uncertainties. Many are burdened with substantial debts and endure weeks or months without regular paychecks while recovering from their injuries. Despite the possibility of seeking compensation from the responsible party by engaging a truck accident lawyer, the intricacies of the legal process often deter many, particularly if the truck accident case goes to trial.
Indianapolis truck accident cases are often resolved by a settlement process. This typically involves a series of legal discussions to clarify the sequence of events, conditions, the extent of injuries, and required medical attention. This process often culminates in an agreement and settlement that satisfies both parties, eliminating the need for a trial.
To settle, the insurance company must acknowledge that their insured truck driver was at fault for the accident and that the policyholder—usually the driver’s employer—bears legal responsibility. Additionally, they must recognize that the victim incurred specific losses due to the accident. Even if they don’t fully embrace these assertions as truths, they must have strategically concluded that engaging in a legal battle in court to contest these allegations would likely incur far greater costs than settling.
The case might go to trial if intricate details and legal complexities cannot be amicably negotiated or resolved. This avenue enables the court to provide a resolution and outcome that the involved parties couldn’t attain through alternative means.
When Are Indianapolis Truck Accident Claims More Likely to Go to Trial?
When insurance firms deny rightful compensation to victims, personal injury claims have the potential to go to court. However, truck accident claims stand out as having a higher likelihood of proceeding to trial compared to other types of personal injury cases due to several factors:
The extent and cost of damages are significant – The laws of physics dictate that individuals in 4,500-pound passenger vehicles are highly susceptible to sustaining severe injuries when they collide with 80,000-pound semi-trucks. The severity of injuries directly influences medical expenses and the duration of income loss. Insurance companies become more inclined to contest claims when they face substantial financial liabilities.
Reluctance to settle by insurance companies – A single truck can involve numerous stakeholders, including a multi-billion-dollar trucking company and distributor. The insurance companies representing these entities and the driver are unlikely to offer settlements to victims. Instead, they might feel compelled to oppose the claims at any cost.
Disputed liability and absence of a settlement offer – An insurance company could opt not to propose any settlement offer. This refusal stems from the insurer’s denial of liability on behalf of the insured party. It is common for insurance carriers to argue that the accident was your responsibility, thereby contesting your right to compensation. Seeking guidance from an Indianapolis truck accident attorney with expertise and experience can help you evaluate whether this warrants initiating a lawsuit. Even if you bear partial responsibility for the accident, as long as your liability remains below 51 percent, you might still be eligible to recover certain damages.
Losing a loved one in the accident – The most heart-wrenching scenarios in truck accident claims involve the wrongful death of a loved one. Naturally, these cases also involve seeking substantial compensation.
Nevertheless, even as you grapple with losing a family member and navigating the challenges of managing expenses and rebuilding your life, insurance companies might not extend sympathy or readily offer the compensation you deserve. Consequently, cases concerning wrongful death tend to progress to trial more often than other truck accident claims.
Inadequate settlement proposal – Determining the appropriate compensation amount can be complex. Beyond assessing your existing economic losses, including medical costs, lost earnings, and more, you must also factor in potential future expenses. Additionally, you might qualify for damages related to pain and suffering.
While established methodologies exist for quantifying these damages, the insurance company could assert that your requested amount is excessive and your case does not hold the value you believe it does. Adjusters often hope you’ll accept their assessment at face value, assuming their evaluation is accurate.
Factors That Make Insurance Companies Settle Before Trial
Determining the exact frequency of truck accident injury claims going to trial and assessing the likelihood of your specific truck accident claim going to trial can be difficult. Nevertheless, we can provide informed estimations based on several key factors:
- The extent of available evidence—When a substantial body of evidence indicates negligence by involved entities such as the truck driver or the trucking company, insurance companies often recognize the disadvantage and opt for settlement. This choice arises from their awareness that pursuing a trial before a judge and jury, unlikely to favor their stance, could result in an unfavorable outcome.
- Degree of minimal payment they can secure—Insurance companies may opt for offering inadequate “lowball settlements” if they believe they can avoid more substantial compensation. They exploit victims’ urgent need for immediate funds, especially in cases involving injuries leading to lifelong partial or total disability. These swift offers exploit victims’ potential inability to pursue additional compensation in the future.
- Allocation of fault to the claimant—While many truck accident victims bear no responsibility for the incidents, some might share partial blame. Insurance companies seize this opportunity when “modified comparative negligence law” allows compensation for partially at-fault victims. They might resist settlement and escalate matters to the courtroom, capitalizing on this legal technicality.
- The reputation of the representing law firm—Insurance companies have insights into law firms known for their strong advocacy for clients versus those prioritizing swift or subpar outcomes. Recognizing claimants represented by assertive legal representatives, insurance companies prioritize avoiding trials as they anticipate a formidable challenge.
How Stephenson Rife Can Help You After a Truck Accident in Indianapolis
Stephenson Rife is a renowned law firm with a proven track record in handling personal injury cases, particularly those arising from truck accidents. Our team of experienced lawyers understands the intricacies of truck accident cases and is well-equipped to guide you through the legal process.
Immediately after a truck accident, evidence begins to disappear. Stephenson Rife’s team of skilled investigators works diligently to gather crucial evidence from the accident scene, such as photographs, witness statements, and surveillance footage. We collaborate with accident reconstruction experts to comprehensively understand how the accident occurred and who may be at fault.
Determining liability is a crucial aspect of any personal injury case. Stephenson Rife understands the laws and regulations surrounding truck accidents, enabling us to identify liable parties accurately. Whether it’s a negligent truck driver, a poorly maintained truck, or a negligent trucking company, our truck accident attorneys in Indianapolis will work tirelessly to establish liability and hold the responsible parties accountable.
Negotiating with Insurance Companies
Dealing with insurance companies after a truck accident can be challenging. Insurance adjusters may attempt to settle for far less than you deserve. Stephenson Rife’s legal team is adept at negotiating with insurance companies to ensure you receive fair compensation for medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
Pursuing Full Compensation
Truck accidents often result in substantial damages, both economic and non-economic. Stephenson Rife is committed to pursuing full compensation for all applicable damages, including medical bills, rehabilitation costs, ongoing medical treatment, loss of earning capacity, emotional distress, and diminished quality of life. Our experienced truck accident lawyers in Indianapolis will evaluate your case comprehensively to ensure no aspect of your suffering goes unnoticed.
Litigation, if Necessary
While many personal injury cases are settled outside of court, Stephenson Rife is prepared to take your case to trial if a fair settlement cannot be reached. Our trial-tested attorneys will skillfully present your case in court, advocating for your rights and seeking the compensation you deserve.
If you or your loved one has been in a truck accident in Indianapolis, contact Stephenson Rife at (317) 680-2501 for a free consultation.
Attorney Mike Stephenson
Attorney Mike Stephenson has 40 years of experience and is a trusted advisor to many individuals and companies. His current practice is dominated by civil litigation in state and federal courts. He focuses much of his time on handling catastrophic injuries caused by all types of accidents, including motor vehicle, trucking, workplace injuries, product liability, just to name a few. Mike is a proven advocate and trial attorney. He has served as lead trial counsel in more than 100 civil jury trials, and has handled litigation in 18 states. [ Attorney Bio ]