Any accident with a commercial or oversized vehicle can prove to be catastrophic. Because semi trucks are the largest vehicles on California roads, even a minor collision with a truck can result in severe injuries and substantial property damage.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a truck accident in California, it’s crucial to understand the timeline and process for settling a personal injury case.
How long does it take to settle a semi truck accident? The answer is complex. However, understanding the factors that affect a personal injury claim can help give an idea of what you’ll face if you pursue damages against a negligent party.
What to Expect After a Truck Accident
The timeline for a personal injury claim can vary depending on many factors, including the severity of the injuries, the number of parties involved, and legal statutes and procedures.
While no two truck accidents are the same, a fundamental understanding of what to expect can make the process easier and give you a better idea of how to proceed.
Seek Medical Attention and Hire an Attorney
The first step after a truck accident is to seek immediate medical attention, regardless of how minor your injuries may seem. This is important for your safety and establishes a record of your injuries and treatment, which are crucial for a successful claim.
If a negligent truck driver injures you, you’ll want to hire a dedicated personal injury attorney who can handle your case from beginning to end.
Investigation and Evidence Collection
Depending on the circumstances of your crash, your attorney will look to collect as much evidence as possible to help strengthen your claim. Some common evidence involved in a truck accident claim includes:
- Photographs and videos of the crash
- Witness statements
- Medical records
- Police reports
- Truck company maintenance records
- Accident reconstruction
Your attorney will use the evidence presented to establish liability against the party at fault and support your claim.
Timeline and Factors in a Truck Accident Claim
Once your attorney has obtained the most critical elements to build a strong case, they’ll file a claim.
Statute of Limitations
In California, the statute of limitations is generally two years from the date of an accident. However, there are exceptions — for example, when a government entity is involved, the time frame can be shortened. That’s why it’s crucial to act sooner rather than later.
Negotiations and Settlement
Once fault has been established and damages assessed, your attorney will negotiate with the at-fault party’s insurance company. The negotiation process can take several weeks to months, depending on the case’s complexity and the parties’ willingness to settle. However, this is often the most straightforward and desirable outcome.
Some benefits of a settlement include:
- Lower legal expenses
- Guaranteed financial award
- Maintenance of privacy
- Shorter resolution time
- Less stress
While many cases settle successfully, insurance companies are notorious for lowballing accident victims. When a settlement cannot be reached, your attorney may suggest a lawsuit as an alternative option.
Filing a Lawsuit
A civil suit can significantly extend the timeline to resolve a car crash claim. There is no definitive timeline; however, California lawsuits can take one to three years for a case to go to trial.
During the pre-trial discovery phase, both parties exchange evidence and information. This can include interrogatories, document production, and depositions. Depending on the case’s complexity, the discovery process can take several months.
Mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
Before proceeding to a jury trial, your attorney may recommend mediation. This process is overseen by a neutral third party who can help parties reach agreements, resolve disputes, and settle the case.
This mechanism can help both parties avoid a contentious trial, although not all sides will always be amenable.
At trial, both sides will present evidence, cross-examine witnesses, and try to convince the jury to reach a verdict in their favor.
Depending on the evidence and the number of witnesses, a trial can last anywhere from a few days to many weeks.
Truck Accident Attorneys in San Diego Are Ready to Help
Have you asked yourself, “How long does it take to settle a semi truck accident?” There is not one specific answer because truck crashes can involve many moving parts. From negotiating with insurance companies to investigating a crash, the process can take time to resolve.
If you’ve been injured by a negligent truck driver, you’ll need the help of a dedicated personal injury attorney to navigate the process and fight for your rights.
Since 1992, our personal injury attorneys at the Pines Salomon Injury Lawyers, APC. have been fighting for the people of San Diego. Now, when those injured in automobile accidents – including car, truck, and motorcycle accidents – need financial help, or for the families that need to know that the loss of a loved one could have been prevented, there is a personal injury law firm in San Diego that is on their side. If you or a family member has been injured, call the lawyers at Pines Salomon Injury Lawyers, APC. There’s never been a better time than right now to speak to a personal injury attorney—FREE of charge. Call us at 858-551-2090 or request a free consultation online today!
SENIOR PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY & FIRM FOUNDER
Michael Pines is a former insurance company attorney who graduated from the University of California Hastings College of the Law in 1987. While he was an insurance attorney, he learned from behind the scenes how insurance companies work and how they decide how much to pay injured people. Now that he works against insurance companies, Michael’s inside knowledge has resulted in significant benefits to his clients injured in car accidents. Learn more about Michael Pines