If you are injured in a semi-truck accident, you might not know what to do. Truck accident cases are frequently more complex than other types of motor vehicle accident claims for several reasons. Truck accidents might involve multiple liable parties, and insurance companies often aggressively defend against claims because of the large amounts of money that might be involved. In addition, because semi-trucks are large in size and weight, accidents caused by them often result in serious injuries or deaths. In 2019, for example, 5,005 large trucks were involved in fatal accidents, and 118,000 were involved in injury accidents. Because of these and other factors, you might have to file a lawsuit before you will receive compensation for your losses. Scroll down to learn what you might expect to happen in semi-truck accident lawsuits.
How Do Semi-Truck Accident Lawsuits Work?
When you first meet with an attorney, they will ask you questions to gain information about your potential case. The lawyer might want to review reports about your accident. If you can, it is a good idea to get copies from the investigating law enforcement agency and bring them with you to your consultation. If your attorney agrees to accept your case, several things will occur.
Investigation of Semi-Truck Accident Claims
Once a lawyer accepts your case, he or she will have to conduct a careful investigation. Your lawyer will need to identify all of the causes that contributed to your accident and the potentially liable parties. The lawyer will also need to assess the extent of your losses, the seriousness of your injuries, and the likelihood that you will recover from them. This might require your attorney to retain a medical expert to evaluate your injuries and your future potential treatment needs.
The Insurance Company Might Be Aggressive
Many trucking companies and insurance companies aggressively defend against truck accident claims. Trucking carriers are required to carry liability insurance with high policy limits because of the risk for serious injuries or deaths in truck accidents. Because of this, insurance companies are often aggressive in their defenses to claims to try to avoid paying or minimize the amounts that they will have to pay.
Your attorney will have to negotiate with the insurance company to try to secure fair compensation for you. In some cases, you may have to file a lawsuit in order to receive the compensation you deserve.
What Happens After a Lawsuit Is Filed?
If you are forced to file a lawsuit against the trucking carrier and other liable parties, each defendant will have time to answer your complaint. Once the answer is filed, your case will enter the discovery phase. This part of a truck accident lawsuit involves the parties exchanging evidence with each other, including such things as truck black box data, electronic logging device logs, maintenance and repair reports, any video evidence, and more. The discovery phase also might include interrogatories and depositions.
Interrogatories are a set of questions that either side can send to the other. If you receive interrogatories, you must answer them within a specific time. Your attorney can help you with your interrogatories. You can also send interrogatories to the defendant, and they will have time to respond.
Depositions are held outside of court and are held under oath. A court reporter will be there to transcribe the hearing. Both attorneys can call and question parties and witnesses. Depositions can help the attorneys understand the testimony that will be presented at trial and assess the credibility of each witness.
During the entire lawsuit, your attorney will continue negotiating with the insurance company. The process will depend on the liability determination, your medical treatment, the seriousness of your injuries, and the total amount of available insurance.
Most cases are resolved before they actually go to trial. However, some might not be settled until right before a scheduled trial, and others will proceed to trial before they will be resolved. If your case does go to trial, your attorney will work with you so that you are thoroughly prepared and understand what to expect.
Talk to the Law Offices of Craig L. Cook
If you were seriously injured in a semi-truck accident or have lost your loved one, you should reach out to the Law Offices of Craig L. Cook for more information about semi-truck accident lawsuits. Our attorneys represent truck accident victims in Arkansas and Oklahoma and can help you understand your claim. Contact us today to request a free consultation by calling 479-783-8000 (Fort Smith), 479-455-2210 (Fayetteville), or 918-912-2132 (Tulsa) or sending us a message online.