A lot of people picture a courtroom complete with judge, jury, and intense litigations when they think of any legal case. The truth is, most truck accident cases are much less exciting and do not end up in court at all. That being said, whether or not you have to go to court for a truck accident will depend on several factors.
At John Foy & Associates, our goal is to get you the full compensation for your damages well before you need to step foot in a courtroom. We’ll advise you through each step of your truck accident claim, and if there is a need to take your case to trial, we’ll be there to fight for your rights. To discuss the details of your case and get your questions answered for FREE, call us for a free consultation at (404) 400-4000 or contact us online.
Two Factors That Influence Whether or Not You’ll Have to Go to Court for Your Truck Accident
While most truck accidents do settle out of court, every case is different. In the ideal scenario, you’ll reach a settlement with the insurance company that covers all of your damages, you’ll receive your money, and there will be no need to file a lawsuit. While this is not always possible, working with a lawyer will increase your chances of a fair settlement without any court time.
Most truck accident lawyers will do what they can to avoid going to court because trials are lengthy and expensive, as you’ll be looking at lawyer fees, filing fees, and other costs as you wait to pursue the money you deserve. Going to court also means it’s typically “all or nothing.” You’ll either be awarded a settlement or the courts will decide you aren’t entitled to anything at all.
So, when it comes to whether or not you’ll have to go to court, these are the two most important factors.
“Fault” is key in a truck accident case. According to Georgia Code section 51-1-6, anyone who breaches a legal duty to another is responsible for the damages. All drivers have a duty of care to act in a way that does not harm others on the road. If a truck driver’s negligence leads to the accident, they are at fault and therefore liable for your damages.
In truck accident cases, there may be more than one party who is at fault for the accident. The responsible parties may include:
- The truck driver
- The trucking company
- A maintenance company
- A parts manufacturer
- The cargo company
- Or another driver involved in the accident
The truck driver’s or trucking company’s insurance company might also try to pin some of the liability on you to reduce their own financial responsibility. Thankfully, in Georgia, you can still seek compensation if you are less than 50% at fault for an injury accident (Georgia Code 51-12-33). That being said, the insurance company may try to blame you for more of the accident than is fair, and your lawyer will work to fight against this.
If there is any disagreement about liability in a truck accident, it increases the chance the case may go to trial.
2. The Severity of Your Injuries
Since semi-trucks and 18-wheelers are so enormous compared to other vehicles on the road, they can cause a lot of damage in a collision. That means you may have serious injuries, which means a lot of medical bills.
If your injuries are very serious and it’s clear the costs directly result from the truck accident, there is actually less chance of you going to trial. On the other hand, if you have a lot of medical damages but the insurance company doesn’t think there is enough evidence of serious injuries from the accident, there might be a larger chance of going to trial.
It’s best to work with a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible after your accident so they can help you compile evidence of the at-fault party’s liability, your injuries, and your medical damages. The stronger your case, the greater the chance of a resolution before you going to court.
What to Know About Truck Accident Cases Versus Other Auto Accident Cases
It’s important to understand that truck accident cases are often more complex compared to other types of accidents. There are a number of reasons for this.
Settlements Are Higher
Unfortunately, truck drivers may be out on the road while tired, fatigued, or distracted. Although they are legally required to take scheduled breaks, strict deadlines may encourage some drivers to forgo necessary rest or drive as responsibly as they should.
Plus, the size and design of semis and 18-wheeler trucks make it hard for drivers to react quickly in a dangerous situation or have the same degree of visibility as other drivers. This can lead to much more serious injuries and vehicle damage during a truck accident—which means higher settlements.
Trucking companies also often have large insurance policy limits covering both their drivers and their companies as a whole. While this means the insurance companies will fight even harder to avoid paying you what you deserve, it also means there’s more potential for a high settlement if you have an experienced lawyer.
It Can Take Longer to Reach a Settlement
Because damages are often much higher and there may be several parties at fault in truck accident cases, the settlement process may take longer than average. There may be a lot of back-and-forths involved between the insurance company and your lawyer.
If a resolution cannot be met during negotiation, your lawyer may advise going to court in an attempt to get the compensation you deserve. However, if your lawyer can reach a fair agreement with the insurance company during negotiation, you’ll ultimately end up getting the financial recovery you need and deserve.
Talk to a Truck Accident Lawyer in Georgia for Free Today
After a truck accident, you deserve to know your legal options. Although you probably won’t have to go to court, it’s best to speak with an experienced truck accident lawyer who can help you through each step of the process.
At John Foy & Associates, we are not afraid to stand up to the insurance companies and fight for your legal rights. If your case does end up needing to go to court, we can be there every step of the way. To schedule a FREE consultation and get matched with the best attorney for your case, contact us today at (404) 400-4000 or reach out online.