It is impossible to predict exactly how long it will take to settle a truck accident claim, but these types of claims do often take longer than other accidents do. Because semitrailers, tractor-trailers, and other trucks are so large and are often commercial vehicles, settling a claim for an accident involving these vehicles can be more complicated than usual.
Sometimes an insurance company may offer a settlement very shortly after a truck accident, but it is often not in your best interest to accept this first offer because you might deserve much more compensation than they initially offer. It can be worth it to wait for a full investigation and medical exam before you negotiate a fair settlement for your truck accident claim.
Reasons a Truck Accident Claim May Take Longer to Settle
Settling a claim after a truck accident can take a long time for a variety of reasons, including that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires a thorough investigation process for major truck accidents. Some of the reasons for a delay in a truck accident settlement include:
The investigation into who is at fault after a truck accident often takes much longer than a typical car accident because of the nature of the accident. Before settling a claim on a truck accident, investigators need to determine:
- If the truck driver followed all rules and regulations.
- If any other drivers were at fault or also at fault for the accident.
- If the trucking company maintained the vehicle properly.
- If the trucking company followed all rules and regulations.
- If any other parties are liable, such as a deficient mechanic or a bartender who overserved the driver.
There are many federal regulations governing how truck drivers and trucking companies can operate that may make the liability investigation into a truck accident lengthier than a typical car accident. For instance, the FMCSA has regulations on how many hours in a row a truck driver can be active and how many hours of rest they need to have before driving.
There are also truck size and weight standards, and determining whether all these rules and regulations were met by the truck driver and by the trucking company takes time and investigation.
The Severity of the Accident
Because of their massive size, an accident involving a truck often has more severe consequences than an accident involving only passenger cars. The Department of Transportation (DOT) regulates size and weight for various types of trucks to ensure safety on the roads.
Truck accidents are typically more destructive, resulting in more vehicle damage, more severe injuries, and even death. The increase in severity of an accident naturally leads to more facets that require investigation or documentation.
Interstate semi-trucks and tractor-trailers must carry insurance coverage, and the FMCSA has strict requirements for truck insurance. There may be differing coverages for the truck’s cab, the trailer, and the load the truck carries.
If you or your loved ones suffered an injury because of a truck accident, the need for medical treatment can add to how long it takes to settle a truck accident claim. You should wait to accept any settlement until your medical treatment is over so you know the full extent of your medical expenses.
For example, whiplash may not manifest until weeks after the accident, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). Settling a claim before your medical treatment is finished can lead to high medical bills that are not covered in the settlement.
Lastly, the negotiation process itself can delay the settlement of a truck accident claim. All the above factors of liability, the severity of the accident, insurance coverage, medical treatment, and even other factors can enter into the negotiations for a settlement.
It may take several rounds of negotiation before they offer a settlement that includes fair compensation for all your expenses and losses, including pain and suffering.
We Can Handle Your Case
Hiring a truck accident lawyer can help you through this complicated process of accident investigation and settlement negotiation. A lawyer can gather evidence, identify recoverable damages, and communicate with all involved parties so you can focus on healing after the accident.
While we cannot tell you exactly how long it will take to settle a truck accident claim, you do not have to go through this complicated process alone. The team at Ben Crump Law, PLLC can help you determine what recoverable damages you may be eligible for and negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf to help you seek the compensation you deserve after a truck accident.
Call us at (800) 235-0444 today for a free consultation. Since we work on a contingency fee basis, you will not pay us anything unless we can negotiate a settlement for you.