If you were involved in a truck accident, the compensation you receive from a settlement and how long it takes to reach an agreement will depend on a lot of different factors. Some truck accident claims, for instance, can be settled within a few months, while others could take more than a year. This is largely due to the fact that there will most likely be more than one party involved in the proceedings. Instead, negotiations will likely involve the trucking company, any other drivers who contributed to or were involved in the accident, and in some cases, even a vehicle manufacturer.
The Severity of Your Injuries Will Affect Your Case
The strength of a claimant’s evidence, the other party’s willingness to negotiate, and the amount of money at stake will all dictate the outcome of truck accident settlement proceedings. Having a thorough understanding of how these factors apply in your own case could give you a better grasp on not only why truck accident cases take so long to resolve, but also how long you can expect your own case to take.
Perhaps the most important factor, however, is the severity of the injuries. An accident with little to no injuries will likely settle a lot faster, for instance, than a case that resulted in a catastrophic or permanently disabling injury. Unfortunately, the injuries suffered in truck accidents are rarely minor, simply because these trucks are so much larger and more dangerous than other cars. This means that reaching a favorable truck accident settlement typically takes a lot longer than resolving a car accident claim.
The Number of Parties Involved in the Negotiations Can Affect Your Settlement
Demonstrating fault for any type of car accident can be challenging and time-consuming. This is doubly true for truck accident cases, which often involve the liability of more than one party. For instance, your own settlement negotiations will likely involve at least one of the following:
- The truck driver, who may have been primarily at fault for the crash;
- The trucking company that employed the driver if it failed to inspect or maintain its vehicles, didn’t properly train its employees, or failed to ensure that drivers complied with hours of service regulations;
- The truck’s manufacturer if the accident was partly caused by a mechanical failure or a problem with one of the vehicle’s parts; and
- Any other drivers who were involved in, or may have contributed to the crash.
Generally, the more parties who are involved in a case, the longer it will take to resolve, which makes the determination of fault of the utmost importance to the outcome of truck accident settlement negotiations. If, for instance, another driver caused the truck accident, then he or she may be the only person who can be held liable for the accident. If, on the other hand, a truck driver fell asleep at the wheel and it is discovered that he or she was forced to violate hours of service rules by the trucking company, then at least two parties, the driver and the trucking company could be held liable.
The Complexity of the Investigation Can Impact Your Case
To build a strong case against any of the parties we just mentioned, a claimant will need to provide strong evidence of fault. This in turn, will require an in-depth investigation into the cause of the crash, including:
- Whether the driver obeyed all applicable rules and regulations;
- Whether there were other drivers at fault for the crash;
- Whether the trucking company kept its vehicles up to code;
- Whether the truck driver was properly trained; and
- Whether a third party, like a negligent mechanic or vehicle parts manufacturer, contributed to the accident.
Answering these questions will take time as it requires the collection and assessment of a variety of evidence, including everything from video recordings and accident scene photos to trucking company records and data from a truck’s black box. One of the best ways to expedite the gathering and evaluation of this evidence is to work with an experienced attorney who can make sure that the other parties involved in the case comply with discovery requests.
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If you were involved in a truck accident, you may be feeling unsure of where to turn next in your attempt to recover compensation for your medical bills and other losses. For help, call Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein at 305-371-2692 and speak with one of our dedicated Miami truck accident lawyers about your legal options today.