Truck accidents can devastate lives. Due to their massive weight and size, trucks are among the most dangerous vehicles on the road. Victims of truck accidents can experience severe and sometimes life-threatening injuries.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a semi-truck accident, we understand your frustration and anger. Bills are mounting, and your finances are dwindling due to the time off work after the truck accident. You want to hold the negligent party accountable and recover compensation with a settlement. But how long does an 18-wheeler lawsuit take?
The average time for a semi-truck accident settlement depends on the facts. There is not an overall period. A lawsuit can take a few months or a few years. Read on to learn about the factors that influence the length of a semi-truck accident settlement.
What Factors Influence How Long Commercial Truck Accident Settlements Are?
Though the length of every lawsuit differs, common factors can influence the time it takes to settle a truck accident lawsuit. These factors include the following.
Amount of Evidence
Like all personal injury cases, truck accident lawsuits require evidence. The more evidence in your favor, the stronger your case will be. A case supported with solid evidence will generally settle quicker than a case not supported by evidence.
Types of Injuries
The length of time for your case can also depend on the types of injuries. Some injuries are easy to prove, such as a broken arm from a truck accident. Other injuries can be tricky. For example, whether post-traumatic stress disorder developed as a result of the truck accident can be harder to prove, thus requiring more time and research.
Another factor influencing the time to settle a truck accident claim is liability. To prove a truck accident claim, you must show the other party was negligent. You must provide evidence for the following elements:
- Breach of duty,
- Causation, and
If liability is easily established, the case will usually settle quickly. Parties normally won’t argue about an obvious fact because it would be frivolous. If the fault of the truck accident is debatable, parties will tend to blame the other, leading to more prolonged negotiations.
Calculation of Damages
Truck accidents can cause more devastating damage than car accidents because of their size. Therefore, with more severe injuries, the calculation of damages will be more involved. Damages you may receive compensation for include:
- Medical expenses,
- Lost wages,
- Loss of earning capacity,
- Pain and suffering, and
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
Your Washington truck accident attorney will be able to calculate the total cost of your damages. The more damage you suffer, the more complicated the calculation, and therefore more time-consuming.
Stages of Lawsuit
How your lawsuit progresses also affects how long it takes to get a settlement in your truck accident case. The main stages of your lawsuit include the following:
For the first stage, evidence of the truck accident must be collected. This evidence includes photos of the accident, witness statements, black box recordings, logs, video surveillance, and police reports. The more evidence there is, the longer this stage may take. For example, suppose a truck driver was negligent in a crash because their company failed to train them properly. The company might be held liable for the truck accident. This would involve more investigation into the truck driver’s negligence and the truck company’s negligent supervision of the driver.
Following completion of the investigation, your lawyer will prepare a demand letter. This letter lists your injuries and grievances caused by the negligent party’s actions. You will also request a certain amount of damages.
Writing of the demand letter occurs once all the evidence is collected. The longer the investigation stage takes, the longer it will take for your lawyer to write the demand letter.
The negotiation stage is the most essential stage of your lawsuit. Most truck accident cases are settled and do not go to trial. During negotiations, the parties engage in deep discussions about concluding the lawsuit.
- Should the victim be compensated?
- If so, how much?
- Will the sued party contradict the negligence claim?
Much of the negotiations will go back and forth. Be aware insurance companies may offer you a settlement quickly. This settlement is usually lower than what you deserve. Insurance companies aim to make a profit, not to make truck accident victims whole again.
That is why you need a seasoned truck accident attorney on your side. We will not let insurance companies take advantage of you. We will fight so you get a fair settlement to compensate you for your injuries.
Negotiating a settlement is time-consuming. It may take a couple of months to a couple of years.
If negotiations fail, your case will go to trial. A trial is a lengthy affair. First, you will enter the pretrial proceeding and discovery stages. During these stages, motions to the court will be made, and evidence sharing between parties will commence.
Note that negotiations never stop during this time. Your can settle anytime if you and the other party agree.
If a case does not settle, it goes to trial. This can take a long time, depending on the amount of evidence, the number of witnesses, and the court’s docket. Trials can take years.
Once a trial is complete, a jury verdict or court decision is issued.
Number of Parties in the Lawsuit
The number of parties in the lawsuit may also affect the length of time a truck accident lawsuit can take. The claim may be simple if you are dealing with just the truck driver. But you may also be dealing with the following parties:
- Truck companies,
- Truck loading companies,
- Truck maintenance companies,
- Truck manufacturing companies, and
- Governmental entities.
Our experienced attorneys will be able to investigate the accident and determine the appropriate party or parties that can be held accountable for the accident.
Contact Us and Speak to Our Semi-Truck Accident Attorneys
At Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner, we have been a pillar of our community for over 50 years. We built our practice on helping our clients overcome their injuries and regain control of their lives.
We will defend you from the ruthless practices of insurance companies. Our attorneys work tirelessly to build a successful strategy to ensure you receive the maximum compensation.