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What Is the Truck Accident Claim Process?

Whenever you are involved in a crash with a truck, the aftermath can be traumatizing and confusing. You may be unsure exactly what happened, you may be injured, and you know that you want to file a claim against the truck that hit you. But you might not know where to start.

What is the truck accident claim process, and how do you know if you’re making the right choices to ensure the success of your case?

In this post, we’ll lay out an easy-to-follow guide for what a typical truck collision claim looks like and how an experienced attorney can help.

Guide for Truck Accident Claims

According to the California Highway Patrol (CHP) 2020 California Quick Crash Facts, there were 143,476 injury traffic crashes. Of those, 2,447 were caused by truck drivers, and 88 people were killed in crashes where the truck driver was at fault. These accidents occur every day, and you shouldn’t have to pay for the mistakes truck drivers make when they’re behind the wheel.

The first thing you want to do after being involved in an accident with a big rig is to seek out medical attention. Even if your injuries seem minor, you may have severe internal injuries that you cannot see and won’t be aware of until a thorough examination from a medical provider.

You should also take pictures of the scene, exchange information with the truck driver, and give your statement to any law enforcement officers who arrive. Gathering this information will help the rest of the process.

Next, you should reach out to a seasoned truck accident attorney who can walk you through the claims process and assist you with the legal complexities that often arise in truck accident cases.

Depending on the nature of your case, a lawyer may assist you with one or more of the following:

Filing an Insurance Claim

One of the reasons it is so important to gather contact and insurance information from the truck driver is so that you can file an accident claim through their insurance provider. All California drivers are required to have an insurance policy for their vehicle, and in the case of a truck accident, the truck driver’s insurance should pay out for the damages and injuries caused by your collision. In some cases, the payout from your insurance claim may be enough compensation for your damages and injuries.  However, most of the time, victims of truck crashes continue to pursue further compensation.

It’s important to confer with your lawyer before accepting a settlement or signing any documentation for a payout from the insurance company. These companies often send offers that fall well below the amount you should receive for compensation, and your attorney will be able to help ensure you receive what you deserve.

Sending a Demand Letter

If, after filing your initial claim with the truck driver’s insurance company, they refuse to settle, your attorney may need to send them a demand letter. The letter will include:

  • Details about the accident
  • A list of all the damages, injuries, and losses you’ve suffered
  • Evidence that the truck driver should be held liable for the accident
  • Legal action will be taken if the insurance company refuses to settle

Once the insurance company receives the demand letter from your attorney, they will agree to the demands stated in the letter, deny your request, or begin settlement negotiations with your lawyer. If your lawyer believes that you are not being offered a fair settlement, they can assist you in proceeding with a lawsuit in the California court system.

Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit

A personal injury lawsuit allows injured victims of car or truck accidents, as well as many other types of injury accidents, to get justice and compensation for the harm caused to them. The California personal injury statute of limitations is two years from the date of your crash to pursue a personal injury claim against the at-fault truck driver.

As soon as your lawyer files your legal action through the court system, the truck driver and their attorney will receive a copy of your complaint and a summons and they must file a response with the courts. Once they have responded, your case can move forward.

Completing the Discovery Phase

This is often the most complex and time-consuming part of a truck claim due to the fact that all parties involved in the claim have the opportunity to gather any information they deem necessary to build and strengthen their cases. That means that while you and your lawyer are gathering documentation to prove the truck driver’s negligence, the truck driver and their attorney are gathering documentation to prove that the truck driver is not at fault for your damages.

This phase of a truck accident claim can take several weeks or months, or possibly even longer, depending on the details of your specific case. Although it can be frustrating to wait during this part of the process, it’s essential to trust your lawyer to handle all the details to ensure it goes as efficiently and successfully as possible.

Once the discovery phase is completed, your attorney will attempt settlement negotiations. However, sometimes truck crash cases have to go to trial.

Resolution of Your Case

Cases involving a collision with a big rig, as with most other personal injury cases, either settle out of court or move forward to trial. Most often, what happens is that your attorney is successful in reaching an acceptable agreement with the truck driver’s lawyer, your case is settled, you receive your compensation, and it’s over.

Trial is necessary in only a small amount of these kinds of cases, and if yours ends up going before a judge, your attorney will be with you every step of the way. If the judge, or a jury, determines that you win your case, they will determine how much compensation you receive, and then your case is over. At any point during the trial process, your lawyer and the truck driver’s lawyer can still agree on a settlement, thus also ending your case.

As with any personal injury case involving a vehicle collision, you and your attorney will need to pay close attention to certain details of your case to ensure you receive the compensation you are owed. Your lawyer, insurance adjuster, and the truck driver’s lawyer will need to determine the exact cause of your accident, who can be held liable, and the damages and injuries you incurred.

California is a pure comparative negligence state, meaning that state courts allow injured parties to seek out and collect damages, even if they are 99% at fault for their accident. Unlike other states, we don’t cap the amount of fault at 50%. However, your compensation award amount will be reduced by the percentage of fault you are determined to be responsible for.

If you’re concerned that your truck accident claim is not being handled correctly, or if you have questions about filing a claim against a negligent truck driver, our team at Frost Law Firm, PC is here to help. We have decades of experience dealing with complex truck accident cases, and you can rest assured that we’ll take your case seriously.

Our Experience Is Personal

Scott L. Frost’s Family Experience with Lung Cancer

For most of his life, Scott L. Frost’s father, who was in the construction industry, worked with and sold products containing asbestos without knowing the materials were dangerous. He was diagnosed with lung cancer 40 years after starting his career, leading Scott’s family to fight like they had never fought before.

Pictured here with his wife of over 50 years, Scott’s father eventually succumbed to the cancer. Since then, Scott has made it his mission to do everything in his power to make sure corporations understand how dangerous asbestos is and prevent future generations from suffering as his family did, as well as support research that may lead to finding a cure.

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