Semi-trucks are among the most dangerous vehicles on the road, which is why it’s best to be cautious when driving near them. At around 80,000 pounds, these powerful vehicles are capable of causing serious injuries and damage in accidents. They’re also often deadly; many people lose their lives every year due to accidents involving semi trucks.
Survivors of semi truck accidents often sustain more severe injuries than victims in other types of vehicle accidents, and the recovery process is frequently long and challenging. Following a semi-truck accident, victims and their families may wonder how long it can take to settle an accident claim.
Like other types of accident claims, semi truck accident claims involve many aspects that can affect the length of the settlement process. The nature of the injuries sustained and negotiations with insurers are only a couple of the potential factors that can impact the duration of a case. The following are some of the many elements that can influence semi-truck accident cases, along with some ways to resolve your case more quickly.
The Different Types of Semi Truck Accidents
The type of semi-truck accident that a victim was involved in could impact a settlement. Depending on the type of accident that occurred, different injuries could result, and the settlement process may also vary.
There are two main types of semi truck accidents that could take place:
Rollover Semi Truck Accidents
Because of their weight, semi-trucks are far more likely to experience rollovers than other types of vehicles. Rollovers may result from drivers either swerving or stopping too fast, causing the vehicle to topple over and potentially crush nearby vehicles, causing damage to property and injury to drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.
Jackknife Semi Truck Accidents
Jackknife accidents can take place when the driver of the semi-truck turns too quickly, or they can occur if ice or other conditions make the road slippery. As a result of losing control while turning, the vehicle could collide with nearby vehicles or property.
Circumstances That Can Affect the Length of a Semi-Truck Accident Case
There are several factors that can impact the amount of time it takes to settle semi truck accident claims.
The Semi Truck May Have a Large Insurance Policy
Semi trucks often have large insurance policies precisely because of the risks that come with them. In turn, the insurance policy may influence the approach you and your attorney take to seek compensation.
Semi truck insurance policies often start at $1 million, and they are frequently larger. Subsequently, insurance adjusters often work extra hard to protect semi-truck companies and their drivers compared to adjusters in other auto accident cases.
Insurance Companies May Conduct Liability Investigations Even if the Victim Isn’t at Fault
In many cases, semi-truck insurers will attempt to determine if the victim was at fault, even if the victim was entirely innocent. In the process, insurers will often initiate an investigation that involves both the victim’s lawyer and the semi-truck company’s insurer.
Investigations can take time and involve a lot of discussion between lawyers and adjusters as the insurance company tries to prove that the victim was at least partially at fault.
Multiple Parties May Share Liability
In many accidents, including semi-truck accidents, more than one party is at fault. While the semi truck driver may be at fault, other drivers may have been distracted, reckless, or engaged in other negligent behaviors that could have led to the accident.
In some cases, neither the semi-truck driver nor other drivers may be at fault, with the liability falling on the trucking companies or service professionals who worked on the vehicle. For example, trucking companies may be negligent by forcing drivers to work over their maximum number of work hours, requiring drivers to operate the vehicle in dangerous conditions, or having drivers falsify logs. Following some accidents, mechanics and service companies may also be found liable if they failed to properly service the vehicle or neglected to address certain mechanical issues.
The Victim’s Recovery Process
Semi truck accident claims, like other types of personal injury cases, may only see a settlement after the victim has reached what is known as maximum medical improvement, or the point where the victim has recovered as fully as possible without additional medical attention. In the case of semi-truck accidents resulting in severe injuries, recovery can take a long time and increase the overall length of the case.
It may seem frustrating to wait until you’ve fully recovered before reaching a resolution to your case, but allowing yourself to heal can benefit you in several ways. After making a full recovery, victims are often more prepared to handle their case with their attorney, without the distractions that you may experience during the recovery process. Attorneys will also have a clearer understanding of the nature and value of injuries following sufficient treatment. As a result, following recovery, victims will have a better chance of recovering the total amount of compensation they deserve.
If you want to increase your chances of reaching an agreeable settlement and shorten the length of the claims process, the following tips may help:
- Seek treatment as soon as possible if needed, as this can not only help you make a full recovery but can also help reduce the amount of time it takes to settle.
- Collect as much evidence as you can to support your claim, including all medical reports, bills, on-scene evidence, and photos of injuries and damage to vehicles and other property.
- Receive guidance on how to proceed from a reputable semi-truck accident lawyer, who may be able to represent you throughout the claims process and negotiate with insurance companies.
Taking all of these steps can help you reach a resolution more quickly and make it more possible to recover the total compensation you deserve.
Consult with an Attorney to Discuss Your Case
Before pursuing compensation with a semi-truck accident claim, it’s important to learn about your options from an experienced accident attorney. A knowledgeable lawyer will be able to evaluate your case and determine which steps you should take next. If you have a viable case, the attorney may be able to provide representation throughout the settlement process.