Truck accidents are some of the most devastating motor vehicle accidents. The sheer power and size of a commercial truck crashing into a passenger vehicle can cause massive destruction and serious or fatal injuries to the victims. Victims are likely to require hospitalization for some time following a crash, and it can take time to ascertain the extent of the injuries suffered and the impact those injuries can have on their life.
If you are a truck accident victim, you may wonder how much time you have to file a claim. Contact a car accident lawyer as soon as possible to ensure timely action and avoid potential complications in the claims process. If you require intensive care, surgery, or hospitalization, you may not be able to seek the help of a lawyer for some time following a crash. Fortunately, you have some time to file a claim following a truck accident, but acting sooner rather than later can help you avoid some common complications and hurdles during the truck accident claims process.
What Is the Statute of Limitations in Truck Accident Cases?
A statute of limitations is a deadline set by law giving accident victims a window in which they can file a lawsuit for damage arising from a personal injury incident such as a truck crash. The laws regarding the statute of limitations vary from one jurisdiction to another. Therefore, the state in which the accident occurs will guide what statute of limitations applies in your claim or case. Although some jurisdictions have ample time to file suit, others have very small windows where you may act on your case by filing an action with the court.
To determine the statute of limitations in your case and how it applies based on the facts of the accident resulting in your injuries, seek the advice of a car accident lawyer as soon as possible. A statute of limitations is critical to your rights to seek damages for your losses. When a victim does not file a case with the court within the time specified by the statute of limitations, the court will likely bar the case from continuing, and a victim will have no other recourse to seek compensation for their damages.
Can Waiting Too Long to File a Claim Jeopardize Your Truck Accident Case?
Yes. The statute of limitations is not the only threat to your case's outcome. As more time passes after a truck crash, there are additional risks that you must consider that can ultimately affect the outcome of the claim or case. Time is the biggest danger to a personal injury case because it can hamper various aspects of the case and access to information.
For example, if a victim waits too long to file a claim, even within the statute of limitations, the case can still face hurdles, making it more challenging as you seek the compensation you need to cover your damages. Truck accidents affect thousands of victims each year. Approximately 5,700 commercial truck crashes result in fatalities yearly, and over 117,000 commercial truck crashes result in injuries to the parties involved.
Some Truck Accident Evidence Might Disappear
You will need a lawyer to preserve and obtain the evidence to prove how a truck accident occurs. Evidence in truck accidents easily vanishes. Black boxes and other components of the truck's equipment may wipe data a short time following a crash. This data can prove fault in a case, such as the truck's speed, the truck driver's actions, and other insights.
Additionally, time will make work logs, traffic cam footage, and other physical evidence harder to retrieve. A truck accident lawyer understands the evidence at risk and how to best collect the evidence available to help your case. This can include seeking imminent assistance through a court for a subpoena and filing records requests when possible to preserve available evidence.
Memory Can Fade Relating to the Truck Crash
In addition to the physical evidence that may be at risk in the aftermath of a truck accident, there is also the risk of witness testimony. As time passes, it can become harder for witnesses to recall the events relevant to your case. This also includes the victim's own testimony.
When you contact a truck accident attorney soon after a truck accident, they can interview witnesses or take depositions if necessary to preserve the testimony of witnesses for your claim or case.
Perceptions can change over time, and the more time that goes on after a truck accident, the more unreliable and inconsistent memories can become regarding the events leading up to the accident and the aftermath.
Insurance Companies May Push for a Resolution Before You Have Answers
Another often overlooked risk of waiting too long to seek the help of a lawyer following a truck accident case and taking action is the pressure from the insurance company. The truck insurance company handling the accident claim may want to close it out as quickly as possible, especially when they know they are liable for a victim's damages. As a result, insurance representatives may pressure a victim to accept a settlement offer prematurely.
Quick settlement offers are often problematic because they are more than likely too low in comparison to the actual damages to a victim. Additionally, a settlement offer that comes before a victim can understand the extent and impact of their injuries is nothing more than a shot in the dark by insurers hoping to close out the claim. If a victim accepts a settlement offer that is too low, they can miss out on significant compensation. Future impacts from the injuries, including medical costs and income losses, will become their burden when the money is insufficient to cover the losses.
Preservation of Evidence
While you should gather the evidence in your possession to present to your attorney, all evidence may not be available to you. A lawyer can help you retrieve evidence that is not accessible to you or is more challenging to access.
Certain medical records, the trucking company records, truck accident data, hours of service rules, traffic cam footage, video footage from other sources, and testimony from witnesses can serve as valuable evidence.
A truck accident attorney knows what evidence will best serve you and can work to recover any evidence available that can help you prove your truck accident case.
Experience Handling Complex Truck Accident Cases
A truck accident lawyer has experience dealing with truck and insurance companies in truck accident cases. As a truck accident victim, you have a lot to deal with after a crash, including severe and painful injuries. Having to deal with insurance companies, at-fault parties, and other interests in a truck accident case, such as medical bill collectors and repair companies, can cause additional stress and difficulties.
A truck accident attorney can take the lead on your case and relieve you of the pressure of dealing with all the parties and figuring out how to fight for the compensation you may be eligible for under the law.
Help Calculating Damages
When you have a lawyer in your truck accident case, they can help you calculate your losses. Valuing a truck accident claim entails complex calculations. You must consider the current and future damage you may incur and the damages you suffered in the truck crash and its aftermath.
Overlooking truck accident damages can cause you to miss out on substantial compensation, which can later cause unexpected financial burdens if you continue to incur medical costs, loss of income, and impacts on your life. An attorney can seek the maximum damages possible for your case.
Negotiations for a Settlement
Fighting for the compensation you may be eligible for is not easy when you are up against insurance and truck companies. Truck accidents often create complex scenarios of potential liability and who may be responsible for your losses.
Your truck accident attorney working can fight to negotiate a settlement or recommend a lawsuit in light of the circumstances.
A lawyer understands how insurance companies and truck companies operate and their tactics and motivations when working to resolve a truck accident case. By hiring a lawyer, you can rest assured they can negotiate to seek the best possible compensation outcome for your case.
Handle Communications With All Parties Involved
An insurance claim involves significant back and forth between the parties involved. Each time you must speak with an insurance representative, there is a risk that something you say can influence the outcome of your case. With a truck accident attorney working for you, you do not need to worry about these situations because they can manage all communications, including the insurance company and other parties.
The attorney can then relay important information and developments about your truck accident case to you only when they occur, allowing you to focus on your recovery and not have to think about the legal aspects of your case daily.
Prepare Your Case for Trial When Necessary
As a truck accident attorney works through a truck accident claim, they will keep the timeline in mind and any pressing issues such as the statute of limitations. They can also prepare for the possibility of the claim not resolving through settlement negotiations. Although victims' goal is to resolve sooner rather than later through a settlement, sometimes scenarios can prevent that from happening.
When a settlement is not likely or possible in your case, your lawyer can file a lawsuit and go to trial over a dispute about fault for a truck accident, when multiple parties bear responsibility for your damages, and if significant damages exceed the insurance coverage available.
How Soon After a Truck Crash Should You Take Action in Your Case?
Contact a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible following a commercial truck crash. A personal injury lawyer in Las Vegas can provide valuable insight and advice as you work through a claim and case, seeking compensation for your damages. You want to take action as soon as possible after a crash to stay within the statute of limitations in your case and preserve any evidence that will help your truck accident case.