Many truck crash claims settle out of court. However, you may need to file a lawsuit against the truck driver, trucking company, and other liable parties to force their insurance companies to fully compensate you for your injuries. Here is what you need to know about how filing a civil complaint in your truck accident case works in Virginia.
What to Expect When You File a Truck Crash Lawsuit
Insurance companies tend to fight harder to deny truck accident claims because the injuries suffered in these crashes are more serious, and the value of the victim’s claim is larger. Because of this, you may have to file a lawsuit and litigate your claim before you are able to reach a settlement.
It can be confusing and frustrating to file a civil lawsuit, especially if you have never been involved in legal disputes in court before—which is common in these cases. Here’s what you can expect to happen in your court case:
- Complaint. The first step would be for an experienced truck accident lawyer to file a complaint against all liable parties on your behalf. In the complaint, your attorney would state the details of how your truck crash occurred, the seriousness of your injuries, and the amount of compensation you are seeking.
- Service of the lawsuit. Once your complaint has been filed, your attorney would hire a court bailiff or private process server to serve a copy of the summons and complaint on the defendants. The summons would order the liable parties to file their answer to your lawsuit.
- Answer. Defendants usually have approximately 21 days to file an answer to your complaint with the court and serve your lawyer with a copy of it. In their answer, they would admit or deny the allegations in your lawsuit and file their defenses as to why they are not responsible for paying you. Do not be surprised if they deny everything except the most basic allegations in your complaint.
- Discovery. The longest period in your civil case will be the discovery phase. The attorneys will be able to obtain information from all parties in the lawsuit and third parties who may have helpful information to their case. Discovery can include written questions, referred to as interrogatories, depositions, and requests for the production of documents.
- Negotiations and mediation. Your attorney will conduct settlement negotiations when they believe that discussions will be productive. In addition, the court could order that the case goes to mediation in front of a mediation panel in an attempt to settle your case before trial. Most cases are settled at some point in the litigation process.
- Trial. If the insurance company refuses to be reasonable and offer you a fair settlement, your case will be scheduled for a jury trial. At your trial, you will be able to introduce evidence and testimony of expert witnesses, other witnesses, and yourself in support of your case. The defendants will also have the opportunity to show why they are not liable to pay you. At the end of the trial, the jury would decide how much damages, if any, to award you.
Request a Free Case Evaluation Today
If you or a loved one were injured in a truck crash, our dedicated truck accident legal team is here to answer your questions and fight for the compensation you deserve under Virginia law. To find out more about how we can assist you, call our Norfolk office or fill out our online form to schedule your free, no-obligation case evaluation today.