Being involved in an accident is one of the most traumatic things anyone can go through. It forces you to remember that the world is random, and danger lurks behind every corner if you're not careful. But at least most people get to walk away from car accidents mostly unharmed.
It can be a different story with an 18 wheeler accident. These massive trucks are driven by people, like any other vehicle on the road, and can also be involved in an accident. And when these long-hauler trucks are involved in an accident, the consequences can be severe.
Theoretically, the courts should help rectify any harm they may cause. If the truck driver is found to be at fault, then it would only make sense for them to pay for any injuries and damage. Yet, settlements can take years to process and you can get stuck in legal limbo as you wait for your fair share.
Keep reading below to learn what to expect if you're involved in an 18 wheeler accident, and how long it may take to get a settlement from it.
It doesn't matter if the accident involved an 18 wheeler or a unicycle, the first step in any trial, after treating any injuries, is determining who was at fault. Doing this can be a simple matter of seeing where on the vehicle the impact took place. It can also involve complex measurements and investigators.
Generally, if you were rear-ended by an 18 wheeler, you're presumed to be not-at-fault. Most states have laws that make someone immediately at fault if they rear-end someone else. Yet, it's not always that simple to determine fault in all accidents.
Sometimes, courts may want to try and retrieve surveillance footage to determine who was at fault. This is most common when a vehicle t-bones another vehicle. The camera footage would reveal if someone ran a light or failed to stop at a stop sign.
There are other situations that require more investigation, though. And since 18 wheelers are built like tanks, it can be hard to determine which vehicle damaged which. Knowing who was at fault can take time and effort, which can extend the time you'll need to wait for a settlement to go through.
After a regular car accident, insurance companies may not push for an investigation. If it's clear who was at fault, such as in the case of rear-end accidents, then the insurance will simply work with lawyers to complete the settlement. Yet, that's not always the case with accidents involving 18 wheelers.
Most trucking companies carry insurance on their fleet, and the insurance company will almost always want the accident to be investigated. That investigation will take time, and it will make you wait longer for a settlement. And if the insurance company finds a reason to believe you were at fault, they may refuse to pay at all — adding more time.
Keep reading below to learn why trucking insurance companies investigate accidents so adamantly, and what that means for you.
Cars have a certain value that most insurance companies know how to deal with. They know that they probably won't need to pay more than a double-digit figure on a car. It's a different story for trucks.
Not only can they end up costing around a quarter-million dollars, but the insurance company may also cover the truck's cargo too. The insurance company will want to take every step to make sure they actually have to cover that kind of cost. They want to avoid every mistake possible and will search for any reason not to pay a settlement.
They're well within their rights to request an investigation into an accident. If they may need to end up paying more than a quarter-million dollars in repairs, why wouldn't they request it?
Luckily, investigations into the accident can protect your case in the courts. If a case is investigated by someone both sides can agree on, then they'll both agree on the investigation's results too. Texas's roads are dangerous after all, accidents happen on them.
With an investigation, you can be assured that the money you get at the end of the settlement process will be entirely yours. Nobody can come back to you and claim that there was a mistake, demanding you pay it back. You'll need to wait a little longer for it
Another thing that will cause a settlement process to drag on will be the extent of your injuries. Before the trial can actually begin, you need to be healthy enough to appear in court, and healing to that point takes time. Your injuries also need to be accounted for, down to every little scrape.
That way, your injuries and medical treatments are documented, which will be included in your potential settlement— covering your medical costs as well as damages. Examining your injuries may take as much time as healing from them, though. All you can do in that time is be patient.
Finally, the truck's insurance company will almost inevitably want to negotiate. If the evidence starts to pile against them, they may want to begin offering buyouts to avoid the expensive legal costs of a court battle. Since negotiations usually take place outside the courts though, they can pick and choose what they want to cover.
Negotiating with them will take time and they are experienced professionals who do this for a living. Having an equally skilled legal professional representing you will put them on notice and offers will be thouroughly vetted. Negotiating will be faster than going through the courts, where it can take years to end up with a fair settlement. The choice is yours: do you take less money and wait less time, or see things through to the end?
At the end of the day, your settlement may take years to complete. There is an investigation process to go through, as well as injuries to account for and heal from. You'll also have to contend with insurance companies wanting to negotiate instead of going to court.
Seeing things through after an 18 wheeler accident will take time. It can take years to process through the courts, and that's if your settlement even makes it to them. Yet, at the end of it all, you can see a settlement of millions of dollars. It takes work.
It also takes having the right people by your side to see you through it. That's why you should contact us. We won't stop working with you until you get your fair share after an 18 wheeler accident.