What’s the Truck Accident Claims Process?

Jun 28, 2024 | Truck Accidents, Blog

TTTruck accidents often result in devastating injuries, property damage, and even fatalities. Due to the sheer size and weight of commercial trucks, accidents involving these vehicles can have catastrophic consequences for those involved.

If a truck accident injured you or a loved one in Colorado, you may recover compensation from the parties responsible for your injuries. However, the complex truck accident claims process requires the skills and resources of an experienced personal injury attorney.

A Colorado truck accident lawyer can help you navigate the legal system, protect your rights, and fight for the compensation you deserve.

Truck Accident Claims Are Complex

Truck accident claims are more complex than typical car accident claims for several reasons.

  • First, you can hold multiple parties liable for your injuries, including the truck driver, the trucking company, the truck manufacturer, and others. 
  • Second, trucking companies and their insurers have significant resources and will often fight aggressively to avoid paying claims.
  • Third, numerous federal and state regulations govern the trucking industry, and violations of these regulations can constitute evidence of negligence in a truck accident claim. 

 An experienced truck accident attorney can navigate these complexities and build a strong case for compensation.

What Parties May You Hold Liable for Your Injuries in a Truck Accident?

In a truck accident, you may hold multiple parties liable for your injuries, including:

  • The truck driver: If a negligent truck driver drove while fatigued, distracted, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol, your attorney could hold them liable for your injuries.
  • The trucking company or truck owner: Trucking companies must hire qualified drivers, maintain their vehicles, and ensure compliance with federal and state regulations. If a trucking company fails to meet these obligations and an accident occurs, you can hold them liable for your injuries.
  • The truck manufacturer: If a defect in the truck or its components contributed to the accident, you can hold the manufacturer liable for your injuries. Similarly, your attorney could hold the maintenance company accountable if a part failed on the truck due to improper maintenance.
  • The cargo loader: If the party responsible for loading the cargo improperly loaded or secured it, causing the accident, you can hold them liable.
  • Other drivers: If another driver’s negligence contributed to the accident, you can hold them liable for your injuries.

Steps in the Truck Accident Claims Process

Initial Consultation

Initial ConsultationThe first step in the truck accident claims process is to consult an experienced truck accident attorney.

During this consultation, you will discuss the details of your accident, your injuries, and your legal options. The attorney will assess the merits of your case and advise you on the best course of action.

Medical Evaluation

Your attorney will advise you to seek medical attention for your injuries if you haven’t already. Even if you believe your injuries are minor, get a medical evaluation promptly after the accident.

Some internal injuries don’t manifest symptoms right away, and you need to rule out or diagnose any underlying issues that could cause problems later. Additionally, a medical evaluation will document your injuries and provide evidence for your injury claim.

Investigating the Accident and Gathering Evidence

Your attorney will investigate the accident and gather evidence to support your claim and establish liability. They will gather evidence such as the police report, witness statements, photos/videos from the scene, black box data from the truck, driver logs, and trucking company records.

They may also obtain your medical records and other relevant documents. Your lawyer may also consult expert accident reconstructionists to analyze how the crash occurred. The goal is to build a strong case demonstrating the truck driver or trucking company’s negligence.

Filing a Truck Accident Claim

Once your attorney has gathered sufficient evidence, they will file a truck accident claim with the appropriate insurance companies or parties. The claim will detail your injuries, present supporting evidence, and make a demand for compensation. This initiates the process of pursuing a truck accident settlement

Negotiation and Settlement

The insurance company will investigate the claim and may make an initial settlement offer. 

If the offer doesn’t cover your injuries and losses, your attorney will negotiate with the insurer to get the maximum compensation available.

If the insurance company offers a fair settlement after negotiating, you will sign a release and the case will be resolved. Most truck accident cases settle through out-of-court negotiations rather than trial.

Litigation and Trial

If the insurance company disputes liability or makes unreasonable settlement offers, your attorney may advise filing a truck accident lawsuit. If necessary, they will file a complaint in court against the defendants (truck driver, trucking company, etc.). The discovery phase will involve each side obtaining additional evidence and conducting depositions. 

Before trial, the court may require you and the other parties to undergo pre-trial mediation. This process involves a third-party impartial mediator who will try to get both sides to compromise on a settlement.

If mediation fails to reach a fair settlement, the case will proceed to trial where a judge or jury will determine the outcome. Keep in mind, however, that your attorney can continue to negotiate a settlement at any point before a verdict is reached.

Why Do I Need Legal Representation?

Navigating the truck accident claims process can be challenging, especially when dealing with serious injuries and mounting medical bills. An experienced truck accident attorney can provide valuable guidance and representation throughout the claims process.

They can:

  • Explain your legal rights
  • Gather evidence to support your claim
  • Negotiate with insurance companies
  • Fight for the compensation you deserve

Without legal representation, powerful trucking companies and their insurers will put you at a disadvantage.

What Compensation Can I Receive from a Truck Accident Claim?

When your attorney helps you navigate a truck accident claim, you could receive compensation for your:

  • Medical expenses and future medical costs related to your injuries, including hospital bills, surgery costs, medication, and rehabilitation.
  • Lost income and work benefits if your injuries have prevented you from working. You may also qualify for loss of future earning capacity if you sustained a permanent disability.
  • Pain and suffering damages to compensate you for the physical pain and emotional suffering you’ve endured.
  • Compensation to repair or replace property the accident damaged or destroyed.

An attorney could also help you file a wrongful death action if a truck accident killed a close family member, provided you are eligible to bring such a claim.

You could receive compensation for funeral and burial expenses, loss of income, and emotional support, among others.

The court may award punitive damages to punish the defendant and deter similar conduct.

What Should I Do if an Insurance Company Contacts Me or Offers Me a Settlement?

If an insurance company contacts you or offers you a settlement after a truck accident, speak with an experienced truck accident attorney before accepting any offers or providing any statements.

Insurance companies are often more concerned with protecting their own interests than ensuring that you receive fair compensation for your injuries.

An attorney can communicate with the insurance company on your behalf, evaluate any settlement offers, and advise you on the best course of action.

When You Must File a Truck Accident Lawsuit in Colorado

statute of limitationsColorado’s statute of limitations typically allows you three years from the date of the truck accident to file a lawsuit in court, seeking damages. 

However, if the defendant is a government entity, such as a municipality or school district, you must file a notice of claim within 182 days of the accident and file a lawsuit within two years.  

If you fail to file your lawsuit within the applicable statute of limitations, the court may bar you from recovering compensation for your injuries. An experienced truck accident attorney can file your lawsuit on time and represent you throughout the process.

Get Help from a Colorado Truck Accident Attorney Today

Due to the complexities and potential complications of truck accident claims, you need to seek legal help as soon as possible if a truck accident in Colorado hurts you or a family member. 

The attorneys at Franklin D. Azar & Associates, P.C., have extensive experience representing truck accident victims and fighting for maximum compensation for our clients. We offer free consultations and work on a contingency fee basis, which means you pay nothing unless we win your case.

Contact us today for a free consultation and learn more about how we can help you navigate the truck accident claims process.