How Long Does It Take to Settle a Semi-truck Accident Case?
December 7, 2022 / Truck Accident FAQ
We get the ‘How long does it take to settle a semi-truck accident case?’ question a lot from clients.
We understand why this is a pressing question. If you’re involved in an accident, it’s possible for your life to stagnate, especially if you have severe injuries. For some clients, it can be difficult to return to work, while others never manage to work again in their life.
In other instances, these accidents leave our clients with expensive medical bills. Some need in-home care services, which can be expensive.
The earlier you can get your accident claim settled, the faster your life can get moving. However, there are several factors that will impact how fast we can reach a settlement.
How Long Does It Take to Settle an 18-Wheeler Accident Claim?
The average settlement for a semi-truck accident generally takes about six months to settle an 18-wheeler accident case, but this timeline isn’t set in stone. The extent of your injuries, the collection of evidence and the determination of who’s at fault will all impact the pace of your claim.
Below are some of the factors that will impact how long it will take.
The Severity of Your Injuries
The more severe your injuries are, the more valid your claim is against the party that’s at fault.
Unfortunately, the severity of your injuries will also impact how quickly you can reach a settlement. For the compensation amount to be fair, it needs to account for both your current medical expenses and any medical treatments you’ll need in the future. Determining your future medical needs requires careful medical analysis, which takes time.
The settlement should also account for how the injuries will impact your life right now and in the future. Some of the questions we have to address before choosing an appropriate compensation amount are:
- Will you manage to work in the job you had after the accident?
- Will you have to work a lower-paying job due to your injuries?
- Will you be able to work at all?
- Can you keep living independently, or do your injuries require you to pay for in-home care?
- Will the injuries lead to a lifetime of ongoing medical treatment and pain?
- Are you going to fully recover and proceed with your life like you did pre-accident?
It’s impossible to determine the extent of your injuries before doctors observe the improvement you make after initial treatment. Their judgment will be based on your diagnosis and ability to recover. You need to reach maximum medical improvement before doctors can determine the value of your case; otherwise, you might lose out on much-needed money down the road.
While it might seem clear that a certain person or entity was at fault, we need to prove that they’re at fault without a doubt. We need to prove that they were negligent and therefore they owe you compensation. For the claim to be successful, we need to provide proof that:
- The party in question had a duty to avoid the activity that caused the accident, but they neglected it. Accidents in which the truck driver was at fault are generally quite easy to prove. However, there are situations where the driver isn’t the only party at fault. For instance, the vehicle might have had a defective part that caused the accident; in this situation, our work would be to prove that the manufacturer was negligent.
- The party in question breached their duty of care. They need to have engaged in a careless or reckless action instead of exercising care. For instance, the truck driver might have been under the influence of drugs or alcohol when driving.
- The negligence by the party in question led to an accident, which caused your injuries.While the negligent party might have ignored their duty, it’s possible that their negligence didn’t cause the accident or your injuries. Our work is to tie their negligence to the accident and your injuries.
There could be multiple parties that are liable for the accident. Perhaps the driver was drunk. The trucking company might not have properly maintained the vehicle. The government might have failed to maintain the road.
The more comprehensive our list of responsible parties is, the higher the chances that you’ll receive fair compensation. Our Indiana truck accident attorney will help you get an optimum compensation after a semi-truck accident.
We’ll need to provide evidence of the defendant’s negligence. We’ll also need to present evidence of the severity of your injuries.
Some of the documents we need to collect include:
- Medical records
- Accident photos
- The police report
- A prognosis from a medical professional
- Witness statements
- The at-fault driver’s previous driving history
- Repair bill or a repair cost estimate for your vehicle.
It takes time to collect all this evidence. Determining the extent of your bodily injuries and the damages to your vehicle could take months. The more information we can present as evidence, the higher the chances that you’ll receive a settlement that’s better than the average amount.
You can make our evidence collection easier by obtaining and preserving as much evidence as possible.
What to Do After a Semi-truck Accident
Generally, everything you do right after the accident could affect the speed of your claim settlement.
Your first step should be to assess your condition and that of other passengers. You should only proceed to collect evidence on the scene if you’re feeling okay and won’t jeopardize your safety and the safety of others.
If all you can manage to do is call an ambulance and the police, that’s okay.
Call the Police
Call 911 as soon as the accident happens. The 911 dispatcher will connect you to law enforcement agencies and first responders who will rush to your rescue. Share as many details as possible about the accident. How many people were involved? Where exactly did the accident happen? Is there anyone who needs special medical assistance?
Even if you feel that the accident is minor, always call the police. They’ll create a police report, which is a great start to documenting the accident. Most importantly, the police will create accurate records of the accident.
Seek Immediate Medical Attention
You might feel like you’re okay after the accident, but you may actually be injured. Some injuries take time to notice. In other cases, you might have injuries like internal bleeding that can only be identified by medical professionals.
Even if you and your passengers feel okay, ensure that you get a full medical evaluation from a doctor. Also, keep the medical reports from the doctor; you’ll need them as evidence.
Document the Evidence at the Scene
If you’re uninjured and see that it’s safe to walk around the vehicle, start recording evidence at the scene. If you’re on a busy highway, it would be better to wait for the police to arrive.
You should record evidence like the contact information of witnesses and anyone involved in the accident. Take photos of the accident scene. Capture the accident from multiple angles, as this helps prove liability.
Forensic experts will use the photos to determine whether weather, road conditions, or the drivers caused the accident.
Make sure that you get the information of the other driver, including:
- The driver’s name, phone number, address, and email address
- The driver’s license number
- The driver’s insurance company and policy number
- The name and contact details of the driver’s trucking company or employer.
Watch What You Say After the Accident
What you say right after the accident could impact your claim. For instance, if you claim that you were at fault, you could lose the settlement case. Even if you’re at fault, avoid mentioning this. You should also avoid lying. The best option is to refrain from mentioning anything that will incriminate you or make you look less credible.
Most importantly, watch what you say to insurance adjusters. While they may call you to ‘check in’ or ‘express concern,’ they’re not your friends. It’s their job to find out details that weaken your case. For instance, if you inform them that you’re feeling better than you actually are, they can use this to lower your compensation.
Contact a Truck Accident Lawyer
Get in touch with our reputable truck accident lawyers as soon as possible. We will help you know what to do after the accident. For starters, trucking accidents have a two-year statute of limitation. This means that if you file an insurance claim after two years have passed, your case won’t be valid.
We’ll also help you gather evidence for your case. For instance, we’ll guide you on the kind of medical records to collect. We’ll also guide you on how to prove who’s at fault.
The bad news is that some evidence becomes tougher to collect as time passes. Witnesses might die or move away. A road that was poorly maintained during the accident might be repaired. The sooner you bring us into your case, the smoother it will proceed.
The question, ‘how long does it take to settle a semi-truck accident case?’ isn’t always easy to answer. Its answer will depend on the evidence that is available, your injuries, and the party that’s at fault.
If you’ve been involved in an accident with a truck, contact us today for a free consultation, or call us at 317-680-2350. We’ll help you get fair compensation for your injuries and any damaged property.
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 ]