After a truck accident, it’s common for victims to wonder how long it will take to reach a settlement in their personal injury 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.
Insurance companies often pressure victims into accepting the first settlement offer. They might even make it seem like their first offer is a good deal. However, you should never take the first settlement offer, and a quick settlement can have a negative impact on your case.
The truth is, how long it takes a truck accident claim to settle depends on several factors. What matters is how the details involved in the timeline of your settlement process. Here are the most significant elements affecting how long settlement takes.
Whether or Not You Hire a Truck Accident Lawyer
Hiring a lawyer can actually lengthen the amount of 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. They 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 actually benefit you greatly.
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Investigation of Liability in the Truck Accident
In any truck accident claim, fault and liability are key factors. According to Georgia Code § 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 in your accident, you’ll need to know who was responsible.
In truck accidents, there may be more than one possible at-fault party 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 low things down:
- The insurance company will have investigators on the case making sure your claim is accurate and
- Your lawyer will want to carefully examine every source of damages you experience so that they can be included in your claim
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 full 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 (Georgia Code § 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 serious 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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The Settlement Negotiation Process
Once you file your truck accident claim, the insurance company will likely respond with a lowball settlement offer. Again, never accept the first offer because it will not cover all of 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 are seeking 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 percentage 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 do settle at this phase and you can receive your settlement soon after.
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. Let us help you, too, starting with a FREE consultation.
To schedule your FREE consultation, call us at (404) 400-4000 or contact us online to get started today.