When you must file a claim for compensation following a truck accident, you probably have two burning questions: how much financial recovery are you entitled to, and how long before you get it? An experienced truck accident attorney will be able to estimate the value of your case and general settlement timeline with the insurance company based on his knowledge of negotiating and trying these cases. However, he can't give you a precise deadline for when your case will be over.
Factors That Slow the Settlement Process
Every truck accident claim is different, and the speed of settlement is based on the strengths and weaknesses of your case. If you feel yours is taking longer than you'd like, you don't want to make the mistake of accepting less than you're owed just for resolution.
You can prepare yourself by understanding some of the factors that can slow down the process. They include:
- Investigation. Truck wrecks require extensive investigation. Drivers and trucking companies are required to comply with many federal regulations regarding hiring, hours of service, vehicle maintenance, companion driving, logging devices, and other considerations. It may take your legal team longer to obtain the necessary documents and evidence to prove liability.
- Severity of your injuries. If you sustained serious injuries, the value of your claim will be greater. Before agreeing to settle, the insurance company will conduct a more extensive investigation and may debate longer to reduce or deny your claim if it finds legitimate issues.
- Your recovery. The length of time you need to heal can make the settlement process take longer. You don't want to settle your case until you've either fully recovered, progress in healing as far as your condition allows, or receive a final prognosis from your physician. Waiting until one of these stages of medical treatment is important so the settlement includes all of your future losses.
- Disputes. Even if a truck driver’s liability is clear cut to you, an insurance adjuster could raise arguments about the cause of the accident, or your injuries and their severity. When disputes arise, your attorney may need to obtain more evidence or hire an expert to support your claim before he can convince the insurance adjuster of the company’s responsibility to pay you.
- Litigation. If your attorney is unable to settle your claim for what you deserve, he'll need to file a lawsuit and litigate it. This is a lengthy process that can take months or longer to complete. However, it's likely that your attorney will be able to reach a settlement at some point during litigation before your trial date.
Can You Do Anything to Make Your Case Go Faster?
While there are many aspects of settling your truck accident claim you can't control, your actions still matter. Follow through and aid the process in these ways:
- See a doctor soon after your accident to protect your health as well as avoid disputes about whether your injuries were caused by the incident.
- Retain an experienced truck accident attorney immediately after your wreck so he can conduct a thorough investigation, obtain evidence that you need before it's lost, and begin the negotiation process.
- Follow your physician's advice regarding your medical care, and don't miss doctor, physical therapy, or other medical appointments. This will help you recover from your injuries more quickly and prevent disagreements with the insurance company about the severity of your injuries.
- Promptly provide your attorney with all requested information.
- Follow your attorney’s advice, because he's protecting your interests and trying to help you receive a proper settlement.
Our knowledgeable truck accident attorneys are here to help if you must file a claim for compensation following a truck wreck. Contact us online or call us directly at 816.471.5111 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.