After a truck accident, it’s common for victims to wonder how long it will take to reach a settlement in their truck accident claim. This is often one of the first questions we hear in a truck accident case. While it’s completely understandable to want your settlement as soon as possible, sooner does not always mean better.
The truth is, how long it takes a truck accident claim to settle depends on several factors. What matters is how the details are involved in the timeline of your settlement process. Here are the most significant elements affecting how long a settlement takes.
Factors That Impact the Length of Truck Accident Claims
While many factors can affect the length of your truck accident claim, here are a few of the most common. While we can’t tell you exactly how long your truck accident claim will take to settle without reviewing your case, understanding these factors may give you a general idea of how long it might take.
Investigation of Liability in the Truck Accident
In any truck accident claim, fault and liability are key factors. According to the Official Code of Georgia (OCGA) § 51-1-6, an injury victim has the right to seek compensation from the negligent party in the accident.
When a person or party is negligent, they are liable for the damages. So, to know where to seek compensation for your accident, you’ll need to know who was responsible.
There may be more than one possible at-fault party in truck accidents in the collision. Often, the truck driver and the trucking company will each hold a portion of the fault. Your lawyer will want to investigate the details of the crash, and so will the insurance company after you file your claim.
It’s common for insurance companies to try and blame truck accident victims for part of the accident in an attempt to reduce their own liability. So, they will spend time investigating the accident and the percentage of fault for each party. An investigation into the evidence can increase how long your case takes to settle, but it’s usually worth it.
Researching Insurance Policies
Since you’re usually dealing with a trucking company during a truck accident case, their insurance coverage is typically high, upwards of one million dollars or more, to protect both the driver and the company. There are two main ways this can slow things down.
The first way is that the insurance company will have investigators on the case, making sure your claim is accurate. The second way is that your lawyer will want to carefully examine every source of damages you experience so that they can be included in your claim.
There is enough money in these policies that it’s worth taking extra time to investigate all the possible avenues of compensation covered by the insurance policy. This takes time, but it can net you more money in the end.
Waiting for Your Medical Treatment to Complete
The timeline for your medical treatment is actually one of the most significant factors in how long a truck accident case takes to settle. Before you and your lawyer can accurately calculate your total medical-related damages, you’ll want to complete treatment as fully as possible.
Of course, you’ll also need to be mindful of the two-year statute of limitations for most truck accident claims OCGA § 9-3-33. The medical damages you may experience from a truck accident include:
- Doctor bills or co-pays
- Hospital bills
- Prescription medications
- Tests and surgeries
- Physical therapy
- Future medical care
- Cost of travel to and from treatments
Since truck accidents often lead to severe and catastrophic injuries, you may need a lot of treatment. Your recovery period may be very long, which can really draw out the timeframe for your case settlement.
You will only have an accurate idea of your total damages after your doctor has released you from care. For this reason, it’s best to heal as fully as possible before seeking compensation for all your damages. If you have further questions about this, consult with your truck accident lawyer.
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Don’t Accept the Initial Settlement Offer
Even though truck accident claims can take a decent amount of time to settle, remember that taking the initial settlement offer from the insurance company just to shorten the time it takes to get compensation is never worth it. Those initial offers are nothing more than low ball amounts of money that don’t even come close to the actual amount of compensation you deserve.
Although you may need compensation soon, don’t let the insurance company manipulate that drive into getting you to do something completely against your best interests. Instead, get legal help quickly and file your claim as soon as possible so that you don’t have to wait too long and you can negotiate appropriately for your settlement.
How Long the Settlement Negotiation Process Is on Average
Once you file your truck accident claim, the insurance company will likely respond with a lowball settlement offer. But, again, never accept the first offer because it will not cover all your damages. Your lawyer will then enter into a negotiation with the insurance company.
How long the negotiation phase takes depends on:
- Whether or not you hold any liability in the accident
- How much medical documentation there is for your injuries, which takes time to review
- How traumatic your injuries are
Negotiation may not take as long if your injuries are clearly very serious, even deadly. The same goes for wrongful death cases where family members seek compensation after a loved one was killed in a truck accident. However, each case is different.
If it’s possible that you hold some fault in the accident, you can still seek compensation as long as you’re not 50% or more at fault. The insurance company will examine this percentage, though, and they might try to assign a higher rate to your liability.
Your lawyer will work to negotiate for a settlement that is actually fair to you. While this can take time, it’s typically worth it. Thankfully, most truck accident claims settle at this phase, and you can receive your settlement soon.
Hire a Truck Accident Lawyer to Speed Up the Process
Hiring a lawyer can sometimes lengthen the time it takes your case to settle, but this is typically a good thing. When an insurance company sees that you are working with an experienced attorney, they may drag out the process for longer.
Insurers know that when injury victims have a lawyer, it means they’re more likely to receive more money. So, the insurance adjuster may begin looking for ways to convince you to take a lower settlement, such as making you wait a long time for a response.
Your lawyer will be able to give you an idea of your settlement timeline based on the details of your case. They will also help you stay patient and understand why a longer settlement process can benefit you greatly.
How Our Truck Accident Lawyers Can Help
Our truck accident lawyers can help you get a fair settlement within a reasonable amount of time by:
- Helping guide you through the filing process with minimal time wasted
- Represent you and your best interests at all times
- Gather and organize information and evidence that supports your claim
- Ensure that the insurance company negotiates fairly for your settlement
More often than not, the very act of hiring a lawyer is enough to get the insurance company to listen and take action, as they don’t want to risk a long and expensive legal battle. So, having a strong truck accident lawyer in your corner is essential.
Is It Worth Going to Court for My Truck Accident Case?
In some cases, negotiations may break down completely and we have to turn to the court to seek a judgment about your case. This will also delay your case, possibly by quite a lot of time. We are at the mercy of the court docket.
There are a few advantages to going to trial. The court could award you a lot more money. In egregious cases, you could be eligible for punitive damages. Yet there is also the possibility of losing your case.
Your truck accident lawyer will have advice for you about whether or not it is worth going to court. The choice is yours, but you need to be clear about the pros and cons of your situation before pursuing a trial.
What If I Run Out of Finances?
As a case goes on, it can financially pressure you. If you believe that you’ll run out of money before your case finishes, speak with your lawyer about it. They will have advice for you and may be able to help.
For instance, it is possible to get medical care while you have a pending lawsuit and put off the costs until after your case finishes. Once it does, those bills would become payable immediately. Your lawyer can help you with this process.
Talk to a Truck Accident Lawyer in Georgia for Free Today
To get help with your truck accident claim, call John Foy & Associates. We have helped countless injury victims win the recovery they need for the past 20-plus years. To schedule your free consultation, call us or contact us online to get started today.