It doesn’t always matter how safe of a driver you might be; if the the drivers around you aren’t safe, then your chances of being in a crash increase. The most tragic accidents often involve trucks. These vehicles are long, wide, heavy and often haul hazardous materials. Their drivers have schedules to keep, and as a result, they sometimes engage in unsafe practices.
If you are injured in a truck accident, you may be offered a settlement to cover your expenses, and to compensate you for your pain and suffering. Working with an injury lawyer can help ensure that the settlement is fair – and sometimes, it can help speed the process along a bit, too. How long it takes for that settlement award to come through, however, is contingent on a few different factors.
Pinning down who was at fault
The first step in a truck accident lawsuit is to pin down who was at fault for the crash. It’s not always as easy to determine liability in a collision with a commercial truck, as it is in an accident involving one or two other cars. There are many entities who could be responsible for the crash, including any of the following:
- The trucking company
- A negligent truck driver (distracted, reckless, drowsy, etc.)
- A malfunctioning truck part
- A problem with the roadway, which means the local or state government could be involved
The investigation into the truck accident can take quite a bit of time, and that’s normal. You want the investigation to be thorough so that any and all parties involved can be held responsible for the injuries you have suffered. It’s important to speak with expert witnesses who have studied truck accidents about your crash, so they can analyze all the data and help your case move forward.
How severe were your injuries?
Truck injury cases that involve severe injuries, or even tragic ones, will typically take longer to settle. The reason for this is that cases involving severe injuries often require in-depth and lengthy medical treatment. The longer you are treated for your injuries, the longer it will take to settle the case, because you are entitled to have your medical bills paid in full. Those medical bills can be high if the injuries you suffered are severe, which in turn will lead to longer negotiations with the at-fault party’s insurance company and attorney.
The process of negotiating a settlement
It’s understandable if you do not want to go to court after being injured in a truck accident. You’ve already been through enough. You simply want to be compensated for your injuries, your lost wages, and the damage done to your vehicle. That’s why it’s important to work with an experienced truck accident attorney in such a situation. The attorney will be able to handle the negotiating process with you. The length of time it takes to work towards a settlement will hinge on the following three factors:
- The summary of your medical treatment: if the injuries you suffered were severe, there could be hundreds of medical documents that the other party’s legal team will need to pour over.
- The determination of liability: if, during the investigation, it was determined that you were partly to blame for the crash it will have a negative impact on the case. This will require your attorney to take a little more time to negotiate the proper settlement for you.
- The amount of insurance that is available: if you were left with injuries that have changed your life, or your loved one wrongfully died as a result of the crash, you need to make sure that insurance will cover it. Trucking companies carry much, much more insurance than the typical driver. That’s good for, because your injuries should be covered – but their insurers will fight hard to pay out as little as they can/
When all else fails: trial
When all else fails in a truck accident negotiation, court is the final stop. A judge will be responsible for hearing both sides of the case and then issuing a verdict and award. Jury trials take longer, but plaintiffs – the people who have been injured – often fare better in front of a jury. In short, it could take longer to get an award, but that award could be much greater than what you would be offered during settlement negotiations.
If you or a loved one suffer an injury in an Oklahoma truck accident, it’s important that you speak with an experienced injury attorney from the team of Cunningham & Mears as soon as possible. We represent clients throughout Oklahoma in settlement negotiations, and in trials. Call the office in Oklahoma City at 405-212-9234 today to schedule an initial consultation or complete the contact form on the website.