How Long Does It Take to Settle An 18-Wheeler Accident Case?

It takes a split second for a commercial truck accident to occur. However, the settlement process for a truck accident claim could take months. A semi-truck accident lawsuit could take even longer to resolve.

Sadly, truck accidents generally cause debilitating injuries and wrongful death. The financial stress caused by an 18-wheeler accident can be overwhelming. While we understand that you want to settle a truck accident as quickly as possible, you need to ensure that you receive the best possible truck accident settlement. 

Timelines for Settling an 18-Wheeler Accident Case in Tampa, FL

Car accidents may be similar, but each accident case is unique. A Tampa truck accident attorney will carefully analyze each aspect of the case to determine causation, negligence, and liability. They will also analyze factors to determine how they could impact the timeline for settlement

Some factors that can impact the settlement timeline for a semi-truck accident claim include:

  • Accident injuries and medical treatment
  • Truck accident investigations
  • Disputes about liability 
  • Insurance companies 
  • Filing a personal injury lawsuit

A typical timeline for a truck accident case includes gathering evidence, completing medical treatment, sending a settlement demand letter, and negotiating a settlement agreement. Each phase could take several weeks or months to complete. Let’s look closely at how the above factors could lengthen the settlement timeline.

Accident Injuries and Medical Treatment

The duration of medical treatment is one of the most significant factors that impact the settlement timeline. Semi-truck accidents often cause catastrophic injuries, such as spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, amputations, and severe burns. A person may require multiple surgeries and months of intensive therapy to recover from truck accident injuries.

You do not want to settle a truck accident claim until you reach maximum medical improvement. That is the point at which further medical treatment is not expected to improve your medical condition.

You are entitled to compensation for permanent impairments, ongoing medical care, future lost wages, and long-term nursing care. Therefore, you must have a conclusive opinion regarding the severity of your disabilities and impairments. Medical experts and financial experts may assist your lawyer in determining the severity of your damages and the value of those damages. 

Settling an 18-wheeler truck accident claim before you reach maximum medical improvement could result in a much lower settlement amount. 

Truck Accident Investigations

Accident investigations involving commercial vehicles are much more complex and take longer than other car accident investigations. It could take months for federal agencies and insurance companies to complete their investigations. The insurance company searches for evidence it believes it can use to avoid liability for the accident. 

Your legal team will conduct an independent truck accident investigation to identify at-fault parties and gather evidence proving causation, fault, and liability. Your lawyer will increase your chances of receiving full compensation for all damages by identifying every party who could share liability for the accident. 

Parties who could be liable for a truck accident claim include:

  • The truck driver
  • A trucking company
  • Parts and truck manufacturers 
  • Shippers and loaders
  • Repair and maintenance facilities
  • Other motorists 
  • Government entities

In addition to identifying the at-fault parties, we review insurance policies to confirm insurance coverage. Multiple insurance policies may cover damages caused by the truck crash.

Disputes About Liability 

Accepting liability for an 18-wheeler accident means that you are liable for the damages caused by the accident. Therefore, the truck driver, trucking company, and other parties may dispute whether they are responsible for causing the truck accident. If they did not cause the truck crash, they could not be held liable for damages.

An insurance company may blame you for causing the truck crash. Florida’s pure comparative fault laws divide damages between the at-fault parties based on each party’s percentage of fault. Therefore, if a jury finds that you were 30 percent responsible for your accident, your compensation for damages would be reduced by 30 percent. 

Even though your case is settled out of court, allegations of comparative fault could impact settlement negotiations. It could take longer to gather evidence refuting comparative fault allegations. 

Insurance Companies 

Some insurance companies purposefully drag out a personal injury case for a couple of reasons.

First, dragging out the case could result in a lower settlement amount. The victim may grow tired of waiting for a settlement and accept a lower payment to resolve the claim. If the insurance company uses this tactic, the timeline for the truck accident expands as you wait for the insurance company to take action.

Another reason the insurance company may drag out a truck accident case is to allow the statute of limitations to expire. The statute of limitations is a deadline for filing a lawsuit. If you do not file a lawsuit before the deadline expires, you lose your right to pursue legal actions to recover compensation for damages.

If an insurance company refuses to negotiate a reasonable settlement or acts in bad faith, you may have no choice but to proceed with a personal injury lawsuit.

Filing A Personal Injury Lawsuit

It could take more than a year for your case to go to trial once you file a truck accident lawsuit. There are numerous phases of a personal injury lawsuit. It could take months to complete each phase of the lawsuit.

Steps in a truck accident lawsuit include:

  • Filing the complaint and waiting on responsible pleadings
  • Engaging in discovery to obtain additional evidence for trial
  • Pre-trial settlement negotiations
  • Participation in forms of alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation and arbitration
  • Filing and hearing pre-trial motions
  • Arguing the case at trial

The other party could appeal the decision even if you obtain a favorable jury verdict for your truck accident claim. An appeal can take several months to be heard after filing an appeal. 

Filing a lawsuit lengthens the timeline for a truck accident settlement. However, a lawsuit may be necessary to obtain compensation for your damages. 

Call Now for a Free Consultation with an Experienced Tampa Personal Injury Lawyer

We understand that you may have many more questions about truck accident claims. Our Tampa truck accident attorneys are available to answer your questions and discuss legal options for recovering compensation for semi-truck accidents. 

Please reach out to our law firm online or call us now to schedule a free consultation with one of our truck accident lawyers in Tampa, FL.