What is the Truck Accident Claim Process?

What is the Truck Accident Claim Process?

What is the Truck Accident Claim Process? Dealing with the consequences of a truck accident can be particularly challenging. You may suffer from extensive injuries and a long road to recovery, which may mean you can’t work and might face unneeded financial stress. Fortunately, you may have a claim for fair compensation for your accident-related injuries and losses.

The truck accident claim process can be daunting and confusing, especially if you’re unfamiliar with your state’s laws and procedures. Even so, you don’t have to take on your case alone. A qualified Philadelphia truck accident attorney can handle it on your behalf and help you reach the best possible result.

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Truck Accidents Happen Frequently, Resulting in Unfortunate Consequences

Commercial truck accidents happen more often than they should. In a recent year, an estimated 523,796 police-reported large truck accidents occurred. Of these accidents, over 150,000 resulted in injuries, and over 5,700 ended in fatalities.

 large truck accidents

Trucks are usually 20 to 30 times the weight of a regular passenger vehicle and much taller and wider. Because of this, commercial vehicles can cause substantial injury to victims. Some of the injuries most common in truck crashes include:

  • Broken bones
  • Lacerations
  • Head and brain injuries
  • Back and spinal cord injuries
  • Internal injuries
  • Crush injuries

Truck accident injuries can leave victims dealing with serious, long-term consequences and lifestyle changes. In the most unfortunate cases, the collision itself kills victims, or victims eventually succumb to their injuries.

If you’ve suffered harm in a large truck accident, you may have legal options. Review your case with an experienced truck accident attorney right away.

Taking Action After a Trucking Collision

Following a trucking collision, you may have the opportunity to pursue compensation from the at-fault party. The process of obtaining financial recovery depends on your situation but may involve insurance claims or even a lawsuit.

The thought of engaging in a legal battle may seem overwhelming, but you aren’t alone in your struggles. A truck accident attorney can discuss your rights and options and advise on what to expect to give you the peace of mind you need during a difficult time.

The Process of a Truck Accident Claim

Every state has varying laws regarding personal injury cases, such as truck accident claims. However, generally, the truck accident claim process involves the following steps.

Filing an Insurance Claim

Your path toward compensation may start with an insurance claim. Most parties in the trucking industry have insurance protection, as trucking can be so dangerous, and accidents are commonplace.

Filing an Insurance Claim

State fault law has much to do with the insurance process. If you live in a no-fault state, you can file a truck accident claim with your own insurance’s personal injury protection (PIP) coverage to get compensation. If the other party is later proven to be at fault, your insurer can pursue reimbursement from their insurance company.

If you’re in a fault state, you can seek compensation directly from the responsible party’s insurer.

Depending on the outcome of your insurance claim, this might provide sufficient compensation. However, in many cases, the truck accident claim doesn’t end there.

Sending a Demand Letter

Your truck accident attorney may need to send the insurance company a demand letter. In the demand letter, your attorney is requesting or “demanding” a settlement from the insurer due to their insured’s wrongdoing. The letter includes:

  • Details about the information
  • Information regarding your injuries, property damage, and losses
  • Evidence concerning the insured’s liability

Additionally, the demand letter warns the insurance company that, if they do not agree to settle, your attorney has no other choice but to take further legal action.

Upon receipt of the letter, the insurance company can agree to the demand, deny the request, or engage in settlement negotiations with your lawyer. Should the demand letter not result in a fair settlement, your attorney can proceed with filing a legal claim in court.

Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit

Personal Injury Lawsuit

Truck accident cases fall under personal injury law. This area of law allows injured victims to obtain justice and compensation for the wrongs done to them.

When you file a personal injury lawsuit, you’re continuing your pursuit of compensation with legal backing. After you’ve filed your petition in court to initiate your case, the opposing party receives copies of the summons and complaint and must file their response to your claim in court.

Once the opposing party has responded, your case can proceed.

Engaging in Discovery

Discovery is one of, if not the most important part of your truck accident case. During the discovery phase, parties have the opportunity to request and obtain answers and information to build and strengthen their cases. They can utilize legal tools, including depositions, requests for prediction, and interrogatories.

Along with being crucial, the discovery phase can also be the most time-consuming part of a trucking collision claim. Based on the complexity of your case, discovery can last anywhere from several weeks to months, or even a year and beyond. Still, you can trust your attorney will do everything to handle this portion of your case as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Once the discovery phase of your case has ended, your lawyer will once again resume settlement negotiations in hopes of settling your case and resolving your matter.

Seeking Resolution for Your Case

Truck accident cases either settle outside of court or go to trial.

settlement negotiation

During settlement negotiations, your lawyer and the other party’s lawyers engage in back and forth, attempting to reach an agreeable settlement. Should your attorney reach an agreement, your case is over, and you don’t have to go to court.

However, in a small number of cases, trial is necessary. During trial, the judge (and maybe a jury) will make decisions regarding your case. Should you “win,” the judge or jury will determine how much compensation you should receive, marking the end of your case. It is worth noting, though, that even if your case goes to court, lawyers can still come together and settle at any point before a verdict is rendered.

Whether your case settles outside of court or goes before a judge, you can feel confident knowing your truck accident attorney will continue to represent your best interests until the very end.

Key Parts of a Truck Accident Claim

Certain parts of a personal injury case are critical, as they can impact your ability to obtain compensation and how much recovery you receive. Cause, liability, and damages require special attention during the truck accident claim process.

Determining Cause

First and foremost, you must determine what caused your trucking collision. This can be one of the tougher parts of your case, as several factors can cause a crash. Common causes of large truck accidents include:

  • Driver fatigue
  • Distracted driving
  • Speeding and aggressive driving
  • Driving under the influence
  • Brake and mechanical failures
  • Defective or malfunctioning parts
  • Inclement weather
  • Hazardous road conditions
  • Improperly loaded cargo
  • Violation of road laws
  • Violation of federal trucking regulations

Your truck accident lawyer may need to thoroughly investigate to definitively determine the cause of your crash. Evidence that often helps prove cause in trucking collision cases includes police reports, black box data, and witness statements.

Proving Liability

Based on the cause of your crash, you can determine which parties were responsible for the accident. Parties who are often liable for truck accidents include:

  • Truck drivers
  • Trucking companies
  • Truck and cargo owners
  • Truck maintenance and repair companies
  • Manufacturers, distributors, and retailers of trucks and truck parts
  • Cargo loaders

Because semi-truck collision cases can be so involved, it’s not uncommon for more than one party to be at fault for a crash. It’s essential to determine which parties caused your crash to pursue compensation through the appropriate channels.

Calculating Damages

Calculating Damages

Understanding the value of your claim can help ensure you receive full and fair compensation. Damages compensate you for the monetary and non-monetary losses incurred after your collision, including:

  • Past and future medical expenses, including emergency room visits, hospital stays, and surgeries
  • Therapy and rehabilitation
  • Lost earnings
  • Diminished or lost earning potential 
  • Pain and suffering
  • Permanent scarring and disfigurement
  • Disability 
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

If the defendant’s actions involved gross negligence, malicious conduct, or intentional actions, you may also have a claim for punitive damages. Unlike compensatory damages, punitive damages punish defendants for their particularly wrongful behaviors.

Numerous factors impact the value of a truck accident claim, including the extent of your harm, how your injuries have impacted your life, and the long-term consequences of your injuries. Your truck accident attorney can fully review the details of your accident and losses to accurately assign a monetary value to your case.

Protecting Your Rights After a Trucking Collision

Following your truck crash, you’ll want to take certain steps to protect your rights as an injured accident victim. The following actions can positively affect your truck accident claim and aid in your ability to obtain just financial recovery for your losses.

Seeking Medical Treatment

Medical Treatment

After a truck accident, do not hesitate to seek medical attention. Medical records play a significant role in your case, as they help prove the extent of your injuries. When you forgo medical treatment, this can reflect negatively upon your case, and the insurance company may use this against you.

Seek medical attention right away, and follow through with your treatment plan as recommended by your physician. This can benefit you physically and financially. 

Reporting Your Accident to Your Insurance

Car insurance companies must receive notification when their insured vehicle is involved in an accident. While there is no specific timeframe to report your crash, insurers expect to be made aware as soon as reasonably possible.

Avoiding the Insurance Company

Dealing with insurance companies is no easy feat – any car accident attorney knows this. It’s not uncommon for insurers to utilize several of their many tactics to limit or shift liability or avoid paying out your claim altogether.

The insurance company may contact you fairly soon after your collision requesting a statement. They’ll ask for your side of the story, making their intentions seem innocent. In reality, they’re looking for content to use against you, as they’ll attempt to twist your words.

Additionally, the insurance company may make attempts to settle your claim as quickly as possible. Insurers know victims want money in their pockets as fast as possible to move on from the nightmare. However, remaining patient and not agreeing to the insurer’s first offer can result in a better settlement down the line.

Insurance companies specifically prey on unrepresented accident victims. When you have a skilled attorney on your side, your lawyer can prevent the insurance company from taking advantage of you in any way.

Relying on Your Truck Accident Attorney

Truck Accident Attorney

When you have a truck accident lawyer on your side, you don’t have to know everything. Instead, you can sit back and rely on your attorney’s skill and knowledge.

A lawyer experienced in handling truck crash cases can handle your case promptly and efficiently. They can provide the guidance, direction, and advice you need while taking on all case-related tasks from the very beginning of your case all the way to the resolution of your matter.

Beginning the Truck Accident Claim Process by Consulting a Truck Accident Attorney

Following a semi-truck collision, your health and well-being should come first. As soon as you’re ready and able, schedule a consultation with a truck accident lawyer.

Time is limited to take action against the at-fault party; therefore, the sooner you obtain legal representation, the better your case will be. Starting on the date of your accident, you only have one to six years to file your legal claim, depending on your state's statute of limitations. Missing your deadline can have an unfortunate impact on your case, impeding your ability to receive financial recovery.

Don’t let your concerns about the truck accident process get in the way. Consult with an attorney right away to begin the process. Even if you are unsure who was to blame or whether you have a claim, a truck accident lawyer will evaluate your situation for free.

Gabriel Levin Author Image

Gabriel Levin - Attorney

Gabriel Levin is a highly experienced and credible attorney with over 10 years of practice in Pennsylvania. Known for his tenacity, he has represented clients in a wide range of civil matters, trying hundreds of cases. He prepares each case as if it will go to trial, ensuring meticulous attention to detail.

Unlike many firms that delegate tasks, Levin personally handles every aspect of a case and maintains open communication with clients throughout. He has secured millions in compensation, making him a reliable choice for those seeking legal representation.

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