When you must file a claim for compensation for your injuries in a truck accident caused by a negligent truck driver, you need the assistance of an experienced truck wreck attorney. While you want to leave the job of negotiating your settlement to your lawyer, you are a team member in your case. Understanding the process of settling a truck crash claim will help you appreciate his strategies and why your case may be taking longer to complete than you would like.
What Are the Steps in Settling a Truck Accident Claim?
Each truck wreck claim is unique, and its settlement will depend on the disputes with the insurance companies involved and other facts in the case. For example, if a victim waits to contact an attorney until the statute of limitations is about to expire, the attorney may skip some steps he would normally take and file an immediate lawsuit. However, there is a certain progression of steps that occurs in most of these claims. You can expect at least some of these steps to be taken before your claim is settled:
- Investigation. Your attorney will conduct a thorough investigation of your crash soon after you retain him. This can include visiting the scene where it occurred, hiring an expert to inspect the truck, sending the trucking company a spoliation letter to preserve vital evidence, and reviewing truck company records and policies. He will also obtain and review your medical records, medical bills, and lost wages documentation, interview witnesses, and hire any experts you may need.
- Settlement negotiations. While your attorney may quickly investigate your claim, he may wait to send the insurance company a demand package demanding that they settle your claim. Why is he doing this? He is waiting for you to reach your maximum medical recovery, which may not be a complete recovery, or for you to receive a final prognosis from your doctor. He needs this information to determine what your future medical, lost wages, and pain and suffering compensation should be. Settlement negotiations could be lengthy when there are any disputes in your claim and multiple offers of settlement in the negotiation process between the adjuster and your attorney.
- Filing lawsuit. If settlement negotiations are not productive, your attorney will file a complaint against the trucker and trucking company. Once the complaint is returned to him by the court, he must arrange for service of it on the trucker and trucking company. They have approximately three weeks to file an answer and send your attorney a copy.
- Discovery. The discovery phase can be lengthy and is an opportunity for your attorney to send the trucker, trucking company, and other parties written questions to answer and requests to produce documents. In addition, depositions of the trucker, trucking company officials, and expert witnesses will most likely be taken.
- Mediation and negotiation. Your attorney will continue negotiation discussions throughout this whole litigation process when he believes it would be productive. The court could also schedule your case for a mediation hearing or settlement conference to try to resolve your case before setting a trial date.
- Trial. If your case does not settle, your case would be decided at a trial that will most likely be in front of a jury. At your trial, your attorney would have you, expert witnesses, and other witnesses testify and present other evidence that helps you prove your case.
Do you need to file a claim for compensation following a truck crash? If so you need to speak with an experienced truck crash attorney as soon as possible. Contact us online or call us directly at 817.380.488 to schedule your free case evaluation. Get your questions answered and learn more about what will happen when you file your claim.
We help injured victims throughout Texas including Arlington, North Richland, Grapevine, Bedford, Hurst, Euless, Irving and all points in between.