After suffering serious injuries in a truck accident, dealing with your injuries, lost wages, rising medical expenses, and other losses can feel overwhelming. Because of the differences in sizes and weights between passenger cars and commercial trucks, trucking collisions often involve devastating injuries requiring extensive medical treatment. Understandably, many victims wonder what a settlement might involve. Scroll down to explore the steps of the claims process and what you can expect from a truck accident settlement.
Factors Affecting a Truck Accident Settlement
When you’re dealing with quickly accumulating medical bills and unexpected wage losses following a truck accident, you likely want to reach a truck accident settlement as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, this is rarely advisable. Settling your case too early could leave you without enough compensation to cover all of your losses. If you agree to a settlement early, you won’t be able to return later and ask for more money when you figure out it was insufficient. In addition, several factors can affect the settlement process and how long it might take. Let’s explore some of the factors that can affect your truck accident claim.
Time to Reach Maximum Medical Improvement
How long your medical treatment takes is among the biggest factors that affect the length of the settlement process following a truck accident. You don’t want to settle your case before you either reach your maximum medical improvement or have had your case reviewed by a medical expert who can explain the types of treatment you will likely need in the future and their anticipated costs. You need to complete as much treatment as possible to accurately calculate your past and future medical expenses.
Under R.S.Mo. 516.120, the statute of limitations for truck accident claims in Missouri is five years, so your attorney will be mindful of that deadline while also encouraging you to continue your treatment. If you will need ongoing rehabilitation and treatment far into the future, your attorney will work with a medical expert to understand your future treatment needs so that the costs can be calculated accurately.
Investigating Your Crash
Once you retain a truck accident lawyer, they will initiate a thorough investigation of your accident to determine liability. They might gather surveillance video from nearby businesses or traffic cameras, interview witnesses, and work with an accident reconstruction expert to gain a full understanding of everything that occurred. Your lawyer might also send a preservation letter to the trucking carrier to prevent the company from spoliating evidence, including ELD logs, black box information, and other important data.
Investigating a serious truck accident can be a complex process that requires several months of work, but it is critical to ensure that you can prove the trucking company’s and driver’s liability for your accident and losses.
Sending a Demand Letter and Negotiating with the Insurance Company
Once you have completed as much treatment as possible, and your attorney has completed their investigation of your crash, they will calculate the value of your claim by adding up all of your economic losses and then calculating the value of your non-economic damages based on them. Your attorney will explain how they calculated your losses and the range of values within which you might expect a reasonable settlement offer from the insurance company to fall.
Your lawyer will then draft a demand letter that describes your legal claims and includes a monetary demand to settle your case. Once the insurance company receives the demand letter, it will take around a month to respond. The insurance company can deny your claim, accept your demand, or come back with a counteroffer. Your attorney might continue negotiating with the insurance company to negotiate a fair settlement offer. If it becomes clear that the company will not extend a fair offer, your lawyer might file a formal civil complaint to initiate a lawsuit.
What a Settlement Might Include
Even if your case proceeds to formal litigation, the vast majority of truck accident cases are settled before trial. A settlement should include compensation for economic and non-economic losses, including the following:
- Past/future medical expenses
- Past/future wage losses
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Reduction in the quality of life
- Other damages
When the insurance company sends a settlement offer, your attorney will go over it with you and advise you about whether it is reasonable or if you should instead continue negotiating for a better offer.
Contact the Law Offices of Bryan Musgrave
Reaching a truck accident settlement agreement can be a lengthy and confusing process. When you are represented by an experienced truck accident lawyer, however, your attorney can keep you informed throughout your case so that you understand what to expect. For a free evaluation, call 417-322-2222 (Springfield) or 417-624-4258 (Joplin) or send us a message online.