The truck accident claims process requires filing a claim, establishing fault, documenting losses, and negotiating a settlement. This is a big-picture view of the process, and it can be much more complicated in reality. The claims process may become even more complicated if liable insurers are unwilling to settle for a fair amount.
You don’t have to lead the claims process yourself. A Tulsa truck accident attorney will lead your case from start to finish, negotiating with insurers on your behalf. If you retain a lawyer, you can better focus on your health and recover physically as quickly as possible.
The Truck Accident Claims Process in Greater Detail
When you understand the true scope of the claims process, you can comprehend why so many truck accident victims work with attorneys. Truck accident claims can be stressful, drawn-out affairs that involve:
Filing the Claim
Insurance companies might contact you immediately to discuss the accident, and you might also need to notify your insurance provider of what happened. However, even briefly speaking with insurers can be risky.
Insurers may actively seek to pay you as little compensation as possible, and they can use your words against you. Even seemingly harmless statements can put you at a disadvantage in the claims process.
Instead of risking your claim, hire a truck accident attorney as soon as possible to handle all communications with insurers. They can provide the necessary information to notify insurers and initiate the process without potentially jeopardizing your claim.
Documenting the Truck Accident
Your attorney will investigate and document your truck accident, which may require them to:
- Speak with the law enforcement official who responded to the accident (getting a copy of their police report in the process)
- Secure any video recordings of the accident
- Contact witnesses to the accident and obtain their accounts of the collision
- Have one or more experts reconstruct the collision (especially if there is no video footage of the accident)
- Photograph the accident scene and damage to all vehicles involved in the collision
An insurance adjuster will also document the collision, though they may arrive at different conclusions than your attorney does. Your lawyer’s investigation may produce evidence that helps prove who is responsible for the accident.
Establishing Fault for the Collision
Your attorney will make no assumptions about your accident. Instead, they will investigate the collision in great detail and establish who caused it.
There are many potential causes of truck accidents, including:
- Careless driving by the truck operator
- Equipment defects (such as a tire blowout)
- Drunk driving, which claims someone’s life every 45 minutes in the United States
- Drug-impaired driving
- Distracted driving
- Dangerous road conditions (the American infrastructure has been described as “lagging behind that of its economic competitors, and these poor conditions can result in truck accidents)
There is a story behind every truck accident. That story may be complicated, or it may be relatively straightforward. A truck accident lawyer will retell the story of your collision, paying close attention to the cause of the accident.
Calculating and Documenting Your Accident-Related Losses
Your lawyer’s goal is to obtain compensation for all of your accident-related damages, so they must first determine what those damages are (and how much they cost). Documentation of your accident-related damages may include:
- All medical bills stemming from accident-related injuries
- Photographs and medical images of your injuries
- Evidence that you have lost income because of the truck accident
- Mental health experts’ description of your pain and suffering
- Invoices for repairing or replacing your vehicle (and other damaged property)
Using all available information, your lawyer will calculate the exact financial cost of your accident-related damages.
Negotiating with Insurance Companies
Your lawyer will be the one to negotiate a financial settlement with insurers. Your legal team will be well-prepared by:
- Arranging evidence to show who caused the accident
- Citing details of the insurance policy that prove you are entitled to compensation
- Organizing all documentation of your damages
- Explaining the details of their calculation of your damages
- Preparing oral arguments and retorts against any case the insurance company may present
A truck accident lawyer’s prior experience negotiating with insurers may be their greatest value to you. Understanding how insurers operate and the tactics they use during negotiations will qualify your lawyer to negotiate your settlement.
Determining if a Lawsuit Is Necessary
At the end of (perhaps multiple rounds of) settlement negotiations, you and your attorney will review the best offer you’ve received. If necessary, your attorney will:
- File a lawsuit on your behalf
- Take your case to court
While going to trial is a significant decision, it can be worthwhile. You will have a total say in whether to accept the best settlement offer or allow your lawyer to fight for more compensation at trial.
Negotiating a Fair Settlement for a Truck Accident Is Rarely Easy
No seasoned truck accident lawyer enters the claims process thinking a settlement will be easy. Insurance companies must defend their financial interests, and your lawyer must fight for yours.
Your lawyer will be ready for any challenges the insurance company presents you, including:
- Allegations that you caused the accident: An insurance company may try to blame you for the accident, even if evidence proves otherwise. Your lawyer will lean on the evidence to prove that someone else caused your collision, and therefore, insurers owe you fair compensation for your damages.
- Delays: Insurance companies may intentionally or unintentionally delay the claims process. Your attorney won’t stand for avoidable delays and will insist that your case moves to settlement negotiations as rapidly as possible.
- Undervaluation of your damages: Your lawyer will bring their calculation of your damages to settlement negotiations. This will ensure that the insurance company cannot claim your damages cost less than they actually do.
- Tough negotiating tactics: Insurance companies may take a stern negotiating stance. Your lawyer will exercise urgency, understand that negotiations take time, and stand pat behind their settlement demands.
Your lawyer will familiarize themselves with all applicable policies. This way, there will be no confusion about the compensation you deserve and the insurance company’s responsibility to provide the settlement you are entitled to.
Challenges Specific to (Which Your Lawyer Will Handle for You)
You should know that there are challenges unique to truck accident cases. These challenges provide more reason to hire a lawyer, and they include:
- The need to obtain evidence from parties you are seeking compensation from (namely, a trucking company)
- The need to diagnose the exact cause of the accident (truck collisions can be complicated, as large trucks have many moving parts)
- The need to recover a large sum of money (trucks are more likely to cause serious injuries and property damage due to their heaviness)
If you’ve been affected by a fatal truck accident, the stakes of your case will be greater than most. Your attorney will seek fair financial recovery, but they will also be fighting for justice for a wrongful death.
Don’t place unnecessary physical and psychological strain on yourself. Allow a truck accident attorney to provide the support you deserve.
Recoverable Damages Your Attorney Will Include in Your Settlement Demands
Your case is all about your damages. These are the types of harm you have suffered because of the collision, and may include:
Healthcare expenses may be among your most costly damages after the truck accident. From emergency transport and treatment to rehabilitation, you may face a prolonged, expensive road to full recovery.
Our team will work alongside your doctors to understand your treatment needs and evaluate your medical costs accurately.
Pain and Suffering
Truck accidents often leave the victim feeling unlike their usual self. Many types of harm you experience after your collision may qualify as pain and suffering, such as:
- Acute pain from injuries
- Chronic conditions that cause pain or discomfort
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Lost quality of life
- Scarring and disfigurement
Each victim responds differently to a truck accident. Your legal team will consult mental health professionals to identify and value the types of pain and suffering you need compensation for.
Your case will include any professional harm resulting from your truck accident, which may include:
- Lost income
- Diminished earning power
- Lost bonuses
- Missed promotions
- Discontinued benefits
Professional damages often vary based on the nature of one’s injuries, severity of their symptoms, pre-accident earnings, and various other factors. Your truck accident lawyer will consider all relevant information as they calculate the cost of your professional damages.
Liable parties in an accident should pay to repair your vehicle. If the crushing force of a large truck caused total damage to your vehicle, liable parties should pay the replacement cost.
Your attorney will also seek compensation for any other property damaged during the truck accident and any temporary transportation you need.
Is There a Risk If I Do Not Hire a Truck Accident Lawyer?
Yes, there can certainly be risks in handling your own truck accident case. Choosing not to hire a truck accident attorney may:
- Cause you immense psychological distress, as the responsibilities of your case may soon overwhelm you
- Place you under further financial strain, as you won’t have a law firm to cover the costs of completing your case
- Jeopardize your recovery from accident-related injuries, as your case may take precedence over your health
- Struggle to build a successful case
Unfortunately, investing substantial time in your case does not mean you will win. If you lack experience with insurance claims or lawsuits, or your injuries limit you, obtaining the compensation you deserve can be difficult.
Truck Accident Cases Often Have Filing Deadlines
There are limits on how long you have to file a truck accident case. Your lawyer will want to maintain the option of filing a lawsuit, so you should not waste a second more before hiring an attorney. If you miss the deadline for your state, you lose the leverage of seeking compensation in civil court, which often reduces your overall financial recovery.
Further, your lawyer must act quickly to build a strong case. They must formally demand that trucking companies and other parties preserve potential evidence you might need to obtain. If they do not take this step, you might lose critical evidence to prove your claim.
Consult a Truck Accident Lawyer Immediately
Several law firms in your area are likely willing to represent truck accident victims. Research those firms to identify the right lawyer for your case. Consider a law firm’s reputation and case results to determine which one to hire.
Consultations are free, so never delay in contacting a nearby firm and discussing a possible care with a truck accident attorney.