Accidents with large vehicles like semi-trucks often mean major injuries — and major damages. Determining damages in a semi-truck accident can be complicated, especially when multiple parties are involved. While often cases involving semi trucks can be resolved during the settlement process, there are instances when these types of accidents must go to trial.
When you’ve been injured in a semi-truck accident, it’s not always easy to know whether your case will be resolved quickly through a settlement or require a drawn-out trial. A semi-truck accident lawyer experienced in personal injury settlements can help you consider your options and determine which may be best in your specific case. While you may not initially know whether your accident will end up in a trial, consulting with an attorney can give you an idea of what both scenarios look like.
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Factors to Consider in Your Semi-Truck Accident Case
Every accident case is unique, and deciding whether or not to go to trial requires a thorough understanding of the specific circumstances surrounding your case. Here are just a few of the factors that may be taken into account.
- Who is at fault for the accident. Liability in a semi-truck accident isn’t always clear. While often the truck driver is clearly at fault because they were going well over the speed limit or not following other rules of the road, there are situations in which your actions may have contributed to the collision. If you were texting while driving, for example, you may be found partially at fault for the accident and your compensation may be reduced accordingly. An accident with a semi truck may also mean that you can hold the trucking company itself liable for the actions of the driver, which can make your case even more complicated.
- Whether the semi-truck driver is an employee. When a truck driver is employed by a trucking company, the company is vicariously liable for the actions of the driver. That can mean that you have to go up against a large corporation and their insurance policies. When a truck driver works independently, however, you may only be able to seek damages directly from them and their individual insurance policy. In either instance, the insurance company may try to get you to settle for an amount that is well under what you deserve. When you are entitled to a much larger compensation but the insurance companies won’t agree to one, a semi-truck accident lawyer may recommend bringing your case to trial.
- The severity of your injuries. Minor injuries often mean few medical visits and a quick recovery time. But an accident with a semi truck can lead to spinal injuries, head injuries, and other severe injuries that can require surgery, ongoing medical attention, and long-term disability. While it’s unlikely that your case will go to trial over a broken bone that heals quickly and doesn’t impact your ability to work, there’s a possibility you’ll end up in court if your injuries include something as serious as a permanent spinal injury and the inability to continue in your line of work.
What to Expect from a Semi-Truck Accident Settlement
Semi-truck accidents often require very large settlements to cover the losses sustained by the injured party. Depending on the extent of your injury, you may be able to recover damages related to medical costs, lost income and future earnings, loss of quality of life, and other expenses.
Your semi-truck accident lawyer can help determine which types of damages you may be able to recover, along with potential sources of compensation. After reviewing any relevant documentation and consulting with medical experts, they will have a good idea of the value of the settlement you are seeking.
During your settlement negotiations, your attorney will represent your interests when going up against the other driver, the trucking company (and its legal team), and any relevant insurance carriers. Negotiating with these other parties can be intimidating, which is why working with a lawyer skilled in handling personal injury claims can be extremely helpful.
Despite what you see on TV, the settlement process is rarely quick. It can take months or even years to obtain a fair settlement. And while there’s a good chance that your case will resolve via settlement negotiations, there’s always a possibility that you’ll need to go to trial.
What Happens when Your Semi-Truck Accident Goes to Trial
The idea of a trial can be daunting, especially if you have already been in negotiations for a settlement for a long time. But if the other party is refusing to come to a reasonable settlement, a trial may be the best option for getting the compensation you deserve.
A skilled semi-truck accident lawyer can walk you through the trial process to make it less intimidating. They will file all of the necessary paperwork, work with you to gather evidence and witnesses, and help you develop a strategy that makes your case. They will also argue your case in court and advocate to get you the full compensation to which you’re entitled.
Because semi-truck accident court cases are expensive, time-consuming, and risky, an out-of-court settlement is generally preferred. But in those instances where you’re not getting an adequate settlement offer, a court trial can be necessary to help you move on from your accident.
Schedule a Free Consultation with FVF
When you’ve been in an accident with a semi truck, trying to figure out what to do next can be overwhelming. At FVF, our team of personal injury lawyers provides free, no-commitment case consultations to help you understand your case and consider if a trial is the best course of action.
Whether your case can be handled through settlement negotiations or ultimately requires a trial, our team will work hard to make sure you get the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Contact us today for a free consultation with an experienced semi-truck accident lawyer who can help.