By: Scotty Edward Chabert Jr.
If you’ve been injured in an accident caused by an 18-wheeler or “big rig”, one of your first questions is probably how long will it take to recover the damages and compensation that you’re entitled to? After all, if you have medical bills, missed paychecks, and new expenses, the timeline for getting your compensation really matters.
Unfortunately, the answer to this question, like so many things in the legal world, is that it depends. It can take anywhere from a couple of months to a few years to settle or win your case.
And, we’ll tell you what we tell all of our clients: our team knows how to efficiently move cases forward. We will do everything we can to get your compensation quickly! That said, it can take time and patience to get the full damages that you’re owed. As we’ll discuss below, the larger the case, the longer things take. Our team works with clients to get results as quickly as possible while also making sure that all responsible parties are held liable and that clients get compensated for all of their current and future needs.
Factors Impacting the Length of Your 18-Wheeler Lawsuit
Type & Severity of Your Injuries
This is one of the most important factors. While you might think that the waiting period for recovery starts on the day of your accident, unfortunately, that’s not the way we think about it. Before we are able to resolve your case, we need to know you are at “maximum medical improvement.” This means that you need to be finished receiving medical care and reach the highest level of improvement that doctors anticipate you’ll make.
This might feel frustrating, but it’s actually in your best interest. To be able to calculate your medical expenses, lost income, and future needs, we need to wait until you’ve recovered from your accident related injuries.
In situations where injuries are more severe, it can take longer before the case can be resolved. For less serious injuries, you might only need a few weeks or months of medical care before making a full recovery. For more severe injuries, you could end up in the hospital or rehab for several months. This means the severity of your injuries has a big impact on how long it takes to get fully compensated.
Number of Parties Involved in the Case
Another factor that impacts the length of the case is the number of parties involved. For example, if you have a minor injury but another person has a major injury, it can affect how long the case takes. Most of the time when an accident occurs with an 18-wheeler, many people are involved.
Additionally, the number of responsible parties or “defendants” impacts the complexity and timeline of a case. For example, the driver, trucking company, loading company, truck manufacturer, or road crews all could have some amount of liability for your injuries.
As you might guess, when more parties are involved, it takes longer to fully investigate the accident, identify who’s at fault, and identify respective amounts of responsibility.
This is often one of the most complicated aspects of the case, and the most important. Our team understands the importance of the discovery phase and properly identifying all responsible parties. We work with experts like accident reconstruction experts, private investigators, and trucking safety personnel to make sure our discovery is thorough and that all responsible parties are involved in the case. These steps can make a case take longer but is vital for ensuring that clients are fully compensated.
Insurance Companies Involved
This is often frustrating for clients to hear, but the insurance companies involved have a big impact on how long a case takes. Some companies are quick to negotiate in good faith and to make a reasonable settlement offer. Others are not and prefer to draw the case out as much as possible.
Our team is experienced in dealing with both types of insurance companies and knows how to skillfully negotiate and advocate for clients. Even so, this is a big variable in cases that is often out of our control.
Amount of Your Claim
Fair compensation affects how long the case takes. Saunders and Chabert realize that bigger injuries often mean needing compensation of economic and wage losses, but bigger claims take more time.”
Responsible parties and their insurance company may have a tendency to prolong the case as much as possible as they look for any ways to reduce their liability. Because of this, the larger the likely recovery, the longer the timeline will be until recovery.
What to Do If You’ve Been Involved in an Accident With an 18-Wheeler
If you’re injured in a traffic accident with an 18-wheeler you should:
- Seek medical attention and document injuries.
- Get the names and contact information of all witnesses.
- Take pictures or videos of the accident.
- Contact experienced personal injury lawyers as soon as possible.
At Saunders & Chabert, our team will immediately begin working on your case. We’ll give you our best estimate of the timeframe for recovery and work with you to make sure that you get the full compensation you’re entitled to. We’re a small firm, but experienced at bringing and winning big lawsuits.