Truck accidents can leave behind devastating consequences. After being in a truck accident, you probably have many questions about how to receive compensation. For instance, do you have to go to court to win a truck accident case? The best outcome you can hope for is a quick settlement that will allow you to get back on your feet quickly.
The problem with moving quickly, though, is that trucking companies rarely admit liability. The industry is used to being sued by accident victims, but the numbers are on their side. One University of Michigan study found that other motorists were responsible for 70 percent of all truck accidents. Truckers themselves were only 16 percent at fault.
Finding it difficult to prove your side of the story? It may or may not be prudent to take your case to trial. Contact Judd Shaw Injury Law to determine your best course of action.
Trucking Accidents Do Settle Outside of Court
If you are in the 16 percent of cases where the truck driver was at fault for causing your accident, it is possible to receive a settlement. No company wants to waste time and money on a case where the evidence is stacked against it. The insurance company would rather pay a settlement than face a long, brutal trial.
An attorney who can negotiate on your behalf will also be a valuable tool. He or she will be able to investigate the details of the crash and provide evidence that you were not responsible.
Your attorney may gather and provide the following as evidence:
- The police report
- Photos and videos of the crash
- Witness statements
- Accident expert testimony
- Your medical records
- A driver’s logbook
- A trucking company’s accident record
- Accident reconstruction videos
- Expert medical testimony
Advantages of Settling Out of Court
As a truck accident victim, you will want to be compensated quickly. The sooner you are paid, the quicker you can get back on your feet. There are other benefits to settling your case outside of court as well. The following are some of the pros of settling your case out of court.
Going to court will generally take a long time. Some cases can take years to complete. There is very little you or your lawyer can do to speed up the process. While you wait for your court date, you may be forced to pay some of your outstanding medical bills and property damage out of pocket.
While it is generally understood you could receive more money by going to court, that is not assured. You can also receive less than what you would have settled on. If you come to an agreement with the insurance company, that amount is guaranteed and will be paid out shortly after.
When an agreement is made, it is typically a private event. If the case is taken to court, the situation becomes a part of the public record. If you are a private person, a settlement is your best bet.
Disadvantages of Settling Out of Court
While settling with the insurance company quickly seems like the best option, there are some disadvantages you should know about.
You cannot ask for more money later
Understandably, many truck accident victims want to settle as early as possible. When bills pile up, their only saving grace is a check from the insurance company right away. The problem is that this may not always be the ideal way to move forward. Once you settle, that is it. You cannot go back and ask for more money later.
A court trial, however, might allow time for all of your financial needs to be fully considered before the final settlement is made.
The insurance company does not care about your financial needs. They do not stay in business by throwing away money. The insurance company knows you are desperate and will play on that to get you to settle in a way that benefits them. Their first offer will likely be quite low, much lower than you need to pay for all your losses. The best advice is not to accept their first offer or even a second but to have your lawyer negotiate what is fair.
Your costs may continue to increase
Depending on how bad your injuries are, your costs may continue to increase longer than anticipated. For example, if you have a nagging injury, your rehab might take years.
Therefore, instead of being able to go back to work, you could be looking for a temporary or even lifelong disability. Settling quickly means these additional costs that were not anticipated will not be covered.
Here are some costs that you can expect after a truck accident:
- Vehicle repairs or replacement
- Insurance deductibles
- Medical bills
- Rental car
- Missed paychecks
Three Reasons Why You May Need to File a Civil Suit
Sometimes, a trucking company may not agree with your claim, even if you provide evidence. Insurance companies like playing hardball to get you to settle for much less than you deserve. The insurance company may even decide you should not be paid at all. Your lawyer can take the defendant to court if a fair settlement offer is denied.
Here are three reasons you may need to file a civil suit:
- The insurance company disagrees with the valuation of your injuries
- The trucking company says their driver was not responsible for causing the accident
- The defendant may claim that you were the one at fault for causing the accident
In some situations, the threat of going to court is enough to get the insurance company to agree to the settlement. Court cases can become unpredictable for both parties as the outcome is in the hands of the judge or a jury. The judge or jury can also determine how much should be compensated. The total could be more or less than your lawyer’s attempt to negotiate.
Should You Hire a Personal Injury Attorney?
Hiring a personal injury attorney is a key step in winning the compensation you deserve. You should do this as soon as you are injured, to get the ball rolling on your case.
Your attorney should have the experience, skills, and resources to take on the insurance company. Such a lawyer will not allow you to be taken advantage of.
A skilled attorney will be able to:
- Identify the liable party
- Investigate the details of the case
- Calculate how much your case is worth
- Collect all the evidence needed to win
- Negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf
- Represent your interests in court if a settlement cannot be reached
Damages You Can Receive
A major part of the pre-trial process is putting together all the damages you are owed. Depending on the accident’s severity, you can get much more than your financial losses. Here is a list of damages you can recover after a truck accident:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Future wages
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of consortium
If you are a family member of someone who died in a truck accident, you can file a wrongful death claim. This will allow you to receive additional damages, including funeral costs.
Contact Judd Shaw Injury Law to Find an Experienced Attorney Today
As a truck accident victim, you deserve to be compensated for your injuries. The trucking company and their insurance adjuster will not make that process easy. They hope to muddy the waters so much you are forced to take their lowball offer. They may even decide to deny your claim altogether. You do not need this hassle over all the other complications you face.
You need an experienced team of attorneys who know how to handle powerful trucking companies. Judd Shaw Injury Law is committed to providing trustworthy legal services to accident victims. We do things the Judd Shaw Way, which means following our four core values no matter what happens to ensure you are taken care of.