If you were injured in a truck accident in San Diego or Southern California, you will probably want to know how long it will take to settle your claim with the insurance company. While even an experienced truck accident lawyer cannot give you a precise answer, they can explain the factors that can affect how long it will take to resolve your claim.
How Long Can It Take to Settle a Truck Collision Claim?
Every truck accident is unique, so it is impossible to predict how long it will take to settle your claim. However, while some cases can be settled in months, it is more common for it to take a year or more to settle a truck crash claim.
What Factors Can Affect How Long It Takes to Settle a Truck Crash Claim?
Truck accidents are different from car collisions and are more complicated to resolve. A variety of factors can make it take longer to settle your truck crash case. Some reasons the process of settling a claim can drag on for a year or longer include the following.
Investigation Into the Cause of the Truck Accident
Trucking companies must follow regulations implemented by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). After a semi-truck wreck, the FMCSA requires a thorough investigation into the cause of the crash. This often can take longer to complete than in an auto collision due to the unique causes of a commercial truck accident. Complex issues that must be resolved to determine why the wreck occurred include:
- Whether the trucker’s negligence caused the crash
- Whether the truck driver followed all the FMCSA regulations, including the hours of service regulations requiring them to take breaks after driving a certain number of hours
- Whether the trucking company followed the rules regarding the maintenance of the truck
- Whether the trucking company followed the hours of service regulations, rules regarding the hiring of the truck driver, and other FMCSA regulations
- Whether other parties were liable
The Seriousness of Your Injuries
It could take longer to settle your claim if you suffered a severe injury. You do not want to settle your claim until you reach your maximum medical improvement. This is the stage where you have recovered fully or as much as possible, and your doctor can give you a final prognosis. This could take months to a year or longer if you suffered serious injuries—which are common in big-rig crashes.
You do not want to settle your claim until you reach this stage in your medical care. You cannot know the future medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering you deserve in your settlement until you determine the long-term impact your injuries will have on your life.
Other Liable Parties
Other parties, such as the shipper, parts manufacturer, and truck maintenance facility, could be liable to compensate you for your injuries if their negligence contributed to the crash. You would have to file additional claims and deal with other insurance companies. This could make settling your case take significantly longer.
Your Partial Fault
If you were partially at fault for causing the truck accident, the insurance company will most likely try to deny your claim or reduce the amount of compensation you are entitled to under California’s pure comparative negligence laws. You may have to fight longer and harder to reach a fair settlement of your claim.
Settlement negotiations could drag on, especially if your injuries are long-term and the value of your claim is higher. Your lawyer may need to collect additional evidence or refute the insurance company’s arguments about why they are not liable to pay you the damages you are entitled to under California law.
It is much more likely that the settlement of your claim will take a year or more if you must litigate your claim. You will need to file a lawsuit if the insurance company refuses to offer you the compensation you deserve or the statute of limitations, which is the deadline you have to sue, will expire soon.
What Is the Best Way to Speed Up the Process of Settling Your Claim?
Your best strategy for speeding up the process of settling your case is to retain a skilled truck accident lawyer immediately after your collision. They will conduct a thorough investigation into the cause of your commercial truck crash, value your claim, and guide you through the process of settling your case. They will also have strategies to defeat the insurance company’s bogus arguments to try to pay you less money than you deserve in your settlement.