If you were injured in a truck accident caused by a negligent driver, your injuries might be serious, and the value of your claim could be higher than in a car crash. Because of this, settling your claim with the trucker’s and trucking company’s insurance company could be more complicated. Understanding how the settlement process works can help you know what to expect and avoid frustration if it takes longer to settle your case than you would like.
How Settling a Truck Collision Claim Works
Your first step should be to retain an experienced truck accident attorney to file your claim and negotiate your settlement. Here are the steps an attorney will take on your behalf to ensure that you receive all the compensation you deserve from the insurance company.
Investigation of Your Accident
Your lawyer will conduct an extensive investigation into the cause of your truck collision. This can involve visiting the accident scene, obtaining witness statements, reviewing the police report and pictures taken at the crash scene, and hiring an accident reconstruction expert.
In addition, your attorney will send the trucking company a spoliation letter advising them of your claim and demanding that they do not destroy evidence they may have that can help prove the trucker and trucking company’s negligence in causing the crash. Evidence unique to trucking accidents that can help prove the cause of the wreck and federal rules and regulations that may have been violated include:
- Trucker’s logbook
- Trucker’s employment records
- Trucker’s medical certifications
- Trucker’s drug and alcohol testing results
- Truck’s black box
- Truck’s maintenance records
- Trucking company policies
- Shipper’s bill of loading, instructions, and weight tickets
Your lawyer will send the insurance company a demand letter once they complete their investigation and you reach your maximum medical improvement. This is the stage in your medical treatment where you have recovered fully—or as much as you can—and receive a final diagnosis from your doctor. It is important to wait until you reach this stage so that all your future damages are included in your settlement.
In the demand letter, your attorney will outline how the trucker or trucking company’s actions caused your accident, the seriousness of your injuries, medical treatments you need, and how long you will be off work. They will also itemize the medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering compensation you are entitled to and state how much you are willing to accept in your settlement.
Once the insurance company receives your attorney’s letter, a claims adjuster will review it and prepare a response that will raise any disputes and, most likely, deny your claim or make a lowball counteroffer.
Then your lawyer will go through a number of offers and counteroffers until a fair settlement is reached. Your attorney may need to collect and provide them with more evidence to resolve issues that the insurance company raises about their liability to pay you.
While the majority of truck accident cases are settled without going to a jury trial, not all are resolved without litigation. If the insurance company refuses to settle for what you deserve, or the statute of limitations, which is the deadline you have to sue, will expire soon, your attorney will file a lawsuit on your behalf.
They will continue to attempt to negotiate a settlement while going through the litigation process. If this is not possible, your case would be decided at a jury trial.
Were you or a loved one injured in a truck accident in Norfolk or Virginia Beach? Call our office to schedule a free consultation with a member of our truck accident legal team to learn about who could be responsible for compensating you and how we will fight for the damages you deserve.