A Guide to the Truck Accident Settlement Process in Texas
Truck accident cases are complex because of the number of potentially liable parties and the severity of the injuries that victims often suffer. At The Law Offices of Troy A Brookover, an experienced personal injury lawyer can help you navigate the Texas legal process and seek a fair settlement of your truck accident claim. If the trucking company or their insurance adjusters refuse to agree to a reasonable settlement, injury attorney Troy Brookover will be ready to pursue your truck accident case in court to demand maximum compensation for you. Here are a few fundamentals steps to follow:
1. Prioritize Your Well-being
If you sustain serious injuries, emergency medical personnel will likely treat you at the scene of the truck crash and transport you to the nearest hospital for emergency treatment. If your injuries are not as severe, you should call 911 to report the 18-wheeler accident. If you do not require emergency care, you should go to the doctor for a medical evaluation within 24 hours of the accident and tell the doctor that you were in a collision. Some injuries, such as concussions and internal injuries, may not be immediately apparent but can be serious.
2. Evidence Collection
If it’s safe to do so and you are physically able, consider gathering whatever evidence you can while waiting for the police to arrive. Taking photographs at the scene and gathering other evidence could be crucial to establish liability in semi-truck accidents.
While you wait for law enforcement to arrive, use your phone camera to take photos of the accident scene, the vehicles involved, and your injuries. Be sure to document the location of any traffic signs or signals. If roadway conditions such as loose gravel or uneven pavement may have contributed to the accident, take photos for your records.
You should also speak to any eyewitnesses and obtain their contact information. Exchange insurance information with the truck driver and the drivers of any other vehicles involved in the accident. Avoid discussing the trucking accident with the truck driver or casting blame. When you speak to the police, answer their questions and stick to the facts of the 18-wheeler accident. Ask the law enforcement officer when the truck accident crash report will be available and how to obtain a copy.
In the days and weeks following the accident, keep a file of documents related to the accident, including medical records, doctor bills, witness statements and contact information, and the photographs you took at the scene. If you hire a personal injury lawyer, you can give the attorney your file to supplement their investigation.
3. Understand Your Legal Rights and Options
You should contact an experienced San Antonio truck accident law firm as soon as possible to review the trucking accident and discuss your legal options.
If you have a truck accident case, the attorney can investigate the circumstances of the accident, speak to witnesses, and gather evidence to develop your case. You can refer any phone calls from insurance companies to your attorney, which gives you the space to recover from your injuries without the stress of dealing with calls from insurance adjusters. You will also benefit from having the peace of mind that comes from knowing your attorney is well-versed in the relevant trucking laws and regulations and will build a strong case on your behalf.
In addition to gathering evidence to establish the other party’s liability, an experienced truck accident attorney will gather documentation of your compensable losses. The attorney will gather your medical records and bills related to the accident, including the cost of any ambulance services, emergency room treatment, and follow-up care or physical therapy. The attorney will determine the amount of your lost wages and evaluate the extent of your pain and suffering to develop a starting point for settlement negotiations.
With an experienced truck accident attorney from The Law Offices of Troy A. Brookover, you can be confident that you have a strong legal advocate to fight for the best possible settlement.
4. Engage in Effective Settlement Negotiations
Once you’ve authorized them to do so, your attorney will gather records from your medical providers to establish the extent of your injuries and the cost of your medical care. They will also request payroll records from your employer and obtain your tax returns to determine the full extent of your lost wages and future lost earning capacity if you are unable to work. By calculating the full extent of your dollars-and-cents losses, your attorney can demand a settlement that fully compensates you for your accident-related expenses.
Once your lawyer has fully assessed your injuries and losses, they will prepare a demand letter to send to the party responsible for your injuries and their insurance company. This letter specifies the money you need to make you whole as before the accident. The demand letter signals the beginning of settlement negotiations, which may resolve the situation without proceeding to court. A pre-suit settlement is the most cost-effective and time-effective way to a resolution. However, it is not always possible. Filing a personal injury lawsuit may be necessary if the insurance company will not agree to a fair settlement.
The Law Offices of Troy A. Brookover will advocate strongly for your position at the negotiating table and in the courtroom. If the insurance company offers a truck accident settlement that we believe is reasonable, we may counsel you on the benefits of accepting the settlement rather than proceeding with further legal action.
Reaching a settlement that both you and the at-fault parties agree to may require some compromise. The responsible party and their insurance company may dispute their liability, try to shift the blame, and question the amount of your losses in an effort to pay you less. We’ll be honest if we think an offer is fair, or if we believe you could get more by going to trial.
5. Factors Influencing Settlement Amounts:
Several factors influence how much money you may demand in a settlement, including:
- The severity of your injuries – Truck accidents can cause catastrophic injuries. From the loss of limbs to traumatic brain injuries to facial disfigurement, the nature of truck accident injuries can vary widely. The severity of your injuries will affect how much you can reasonably expect to receive in a settlement.
- The extent of your medical expenses – The severity of your injuries typically dictates the amount of your current medical bills and anticipated future medical expenses.
- Your lost wages – The amount of income you have lost due to the accident and the projected future income you will be unable to earn because of your injuries will affect how much you can demand for lost wages and loss of future income losses. If you are disabled and unable to work after a truck accident, a financial planner may offer testimony about your lost future income and diminished earning potential.
- The effect of injuries on your life – A traumatic accident may mean you are eligible for significant non-economic damages, such as compensation for pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of quality of life.
6. Reaching a Final Settlement Agreement
The insurer representing the trucking company may respond to your lawyer’s settlement demand with an offer to settle your case out of court in exchange for a certain amount of money. You and your attorney will examine the offer and consider to what extent it would compensate you for your injuries and financial losses. You can discuss with your attorney whether to accept the offer or continue to negotiate. Chances are the insurance companies involved will respond with a lower initial offer than they are ultimately willing to pay. Attorney Troy Brookover has handled settlement negotiations in many personal injury cases and can apply that knowledge to your truck accident claim.
Once you agree to an offer, your attorney and the attorneys for the parties at fault will prepare a settlement agreement. Although you will make the final call on the settlement amount, the attorneys will negotiate specific terms of the settlement agreements, such as the date of payment, manner of payment, and the release of liability language. By signing the settlement agreement and release, the claim is resolved, and the insurance companies are obligated to pay you according to the terms of the arrangement.
7. Seeking Additional Support and Resources
Although your attorney will guide you through the legal process, you may seek additional support and resources from:
- Texas Department of Insurance – The Department of Insurance can provide information about consumer protections, insurance regulations, and complaint procedures.
- Truck Accident Support Groups – Groups established for (and often by) truck accident victims offer their members the emotional support and guidance they need in the aftermath of a devastating truck accident.
Get Legal Help from an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer in San Antonio
Troy A. Brookover has helped thousands of clients navigate the Texas legal system over his 30 years in practice. His results, including many six- and seven-figure settlements and verdicts, speak for themselves. If you’ve been injured in a truck accident that wasn’t your fault, a San Antonio truck accident lawyer can apply decades of experience, knowledge, and resources to pursue justice for you. Call us at (210) 226-2000 today for a free consultation, and find out what we can do for you.