If you or somebody you care about has been injured in an accident caused by a careless or negligent truck driver or trucking company, you need to seek legal assistance as soon as possible. In general, you should be able to recover compensation for your losses.
However, these cases can become incredibly complex. Here, we want to discuss how long it can take to settle a semi-truck accident in Orange County.
A thorough investigation is necessary
The vast majority of truck accident claims in California will be resolved through settlements with insurance carriers. However, the insurance carrier of the truck driver and trucking company is not on your side, and they will do what they can to limit how much they pay out in a claim. It is not uncommon for an insurance carrier to try and place a portion of fault on the victim.
To ensure that liability is properly assigned after a semi-truck crash, a complete investigation needs to be conducted. This could take a few weeks or even a few months. Additionally, a truck accident claim should not be settled until after the victim reaches maximum medical improvement.
Settling the case before all medical care has been completed is risky. If the injuries end up being more complex or long-term, there will be no way to obtain more compensation after a settlement has already been reached.
Negotiating can take time
Negotiations between the injury victim and the other parties involved can take some time. If the truck accident victim has an attorney (which they should), then the attorney will handle the back and forth between all parties.
It is likely that the insurance carrier of the truck company will offer a low settlement amount, which will necessitate a counter demand for the victim’s attorney. These negotiations can go back and forth for weeks or months.
If a fair settlement cannot be reached, it will be necessary to file a personal injury lawsuit against the alleged negligent party. All personal injury lawsuits in California must be filed within two years from the date the injury occurs.
Filing a lawsuit
When a lawsuit has been filed, it officially enters the civil court process. While a lawsuit may be necessary in order for a victim to recover the compensation they deserve, this will also significantly extend the time frame it takes for a settlement to be reached.
Even at this stage, most truck accident claims are settled before they go to trial. Lawyers for all sides will exchange information in the discovery process while also continuing negotiations. These negotiations may take place in the form of court-ordered mediation.
If a settlement cannot be reached, it will be necessary for the case to go to trial. Cases that go to trial will very likely take a year or more to resolve.
Will you need a truck accident lawyer?
Truck accident cases are going to be immensely more challenging than a traditional crash involving only passenger vehicles. Often, victims find themselves going up against well-funded trucking companies, as well as their insurance carriers and legal teams. This can be intimidating for an injury victim who does not have the resources necessary to stand up to the other party.
However, a Riverside truck accident lawyer can use their resources and legal expertise to take on the other parties. An attorney can conduct a full investigation into the case, gather the evidence necessary to prove liability, negotiate with all parties, and help reach a fair settlement for their client.