The injuries from a run-in with an 18-wheeler can be devastating. It may take months or years to get back on your feet. Also, most truck accident cases are settled with the insurance company, and this process can be tedious, taking months or years to settle your claim.
At TK Injury Lawyers, our Austin truck accident lawyers are here to assist you in any way possible. Below, we give an overview of the insurance settlement process and factors that will affect your settlement.
In Texas, if you are not at fault for an accident, you will submit your claim to the truck company’s insurance carrier. This is known as a third-party claim.
For your claim to be accepted, the following deadlines must be followed:
According to the Texas Insurance Code, insurers must abide by the following timeline regarding claims:
Nobody should attempt to handle a truck accident claim without legal assistance, especially if you suffered any injuries. A truck accident lawyer will keep track of applicable deadlines.
The purpose of filing an insurance claim is for you to be compensated for any losses that you endured from your truck accident. Providing evidence of your losses will allow the insurer to compensate you for these losses in order to make you “whole” again. This legal remedy is known as damages.
Relevant evidence will help in pursuing your claim. Hold on to all receipts related to your accident, including payments for doctor’s appointments, medical equipment, and repairs to your vehicle. You also want to have your pay stubs readily available so that you can document any missed time from work due to your accident.
In a truck accident claim, you will likely be awarded compensatory damages, which is money that you will be given for any actual losses that you sustained.
Compensatory damages can be economic or noneconomic. In a truck accident claim, you can and should claim both economic and non-economic damages. Let’s discuss the difference.
Economic damages are any losses that you suffered as a result of your accident that took money directly out of your pocket. Economic damages may include, but are not limited to:
Non-economic damages, on the other hand, are intangible losses that impact your quality of life. Non-economic damages may include, but are not limited to:
At TK Injury Lawyers, we use the multiplier method to calculate noneconomic damages. This method will assign a number to your injuries, based on their level of severity, from 1 to 5. Based on this number, we multiply it by your total economic damages to determine your total noneconomic damages.
Documentation of damages will be submitted to the insurance carrier along with a demand letter. A demand letter will be written by your attorney and will detail the events behind your accident and request compensation from the insurance company.
The demand letter should establish the facts of your case, detail your injuries and medical treatment, describe the truck driver’s liability (or why another party is liable), request a specific compensation amount, set a deadline, and offer a consequence if the insurance company does not oblige.
A demand letter is arguably the most important piece of an insurance claim and should be drafted by an experienced truck accident lawyer.
An insurance adjuster will examine several factors in calculating your settlement:
Once all requested documentation has been remitted, the adjuster will make a settlement offer. The first settlement offer is usually less than 50% of what your entire case is actually worth.
Most lawyers and insurance companies want to settle a truck accident case out-of-court and do not want to face litigation.
Let’s examine the factors that affect the settlement process and may even delay it:
Not every truck accident will result in a settlement. Many accidents are caused by the truck driver’s negligence. For an injured party to recover, the victim must show that the truck driver was negligent, thereby causing the accident.
The details surrounding a truck accident may be convoluted. That’s because the negligence may not be at the hands of the truck driver; it could also be the trucking company, the maintenance company, or even the cargo loader.
Your injuries will play a large role in the calculation of your damages. Common truck accident injuries include spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, abrasions, burns, and soft tissue injuries.
While a soft tissue injury may appear not severe, older individuals will likely require months of physical therapy before reaching maximum medical improvement (MMI). Since physical therapy is usually recommended before surgical options are explored, it may take months or even years to fully realize the extent of your medical expenses.
Individuals should wait until their physician determines they have reached MMI before accepting a settlement offer.
Accidents with less evidence may take more time to investigate since there could be “gaps” in how the accident occurred. Conversely, accidents that have a lot of evidence will require a lot of time to thoroughly investigate.
Common evidence in a truck accident claim will include:
A truck accident can change your life. No matter the cause, you need an attorney who can follow your claim each step of the way. If you have been in a truck accident, we want to hear from you. Contact TK Injury Lawyers today to schedule your free consultation.
Trent Kelly obtained his law degree from the University of Arkansas in 2007. He is licensed to practice law in Texas and regularly assists clients with their legal matters. Trent’s practice is primarily focused on personal injury matters – particularly those involving motor vehicles (such as cars, commercial trucks, 18-wheelers, and motorcycles) and wrongful death – but he also handles various business litigation matters as well. Click here to take a look at some complex cases Trent has resolved.
Years of experience: +15 years
Location: Austin, TX
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