The Legal Process for Filing a Truck Accident Claim in California
It is understandable that people often do not know what to do after they have been in a truck accident. While such an event can obviously throw your life into upheaval, it is important that immediate steps be taken to protect your interests. Failing to take such steps can limit the chances that you or your loved ones receive the full amount of compensation deserved. Understanding the following process can help you with knowing what to expect as your case moves forward.
Treating Your Injuries and Retaining an Attorney are the First Steps to Take After a Truck Accident
The first step to take immediately after a truck accident is to seek medical care for your injuries. Given the damage that a semi-truck can do to a passenger car, these injuries can often include spinal damage, brain damage, or something worse. It is then important to contact an attorney as soon as possible. Your lawyer will immediately contact the insurance company for the defendants. The insurer will deal with your lawyer from that point forward so that you may continue to focus on your treatment.
If you were seriously injured, your case will remain in a “holding pattern” until your long-term chances of recovery can be reasonably ascertained. While you are in this treatment phase, your attorney will be working to identify additional potential defendants. They will also be working to gather all available evidence that establishes the defendant’s fault.
Submitting a Settlement Demand and Negotiating With the Insurance Carrier
Once your long-term prognosis is better known, then your lawyer will submit a settlement demand to the insurance carrier. This demand will state the amount of compensation that you are requesting for lost wages, pain and suffering, medical expenses, etc. It will also include a discussion of how you reached your proposed number as well as documentation that supports your request. Your attorney and the insurance carrier will then engage in back-and-forth negotiations in an attempt to reach a settlement. If it is clear that a settlement cannot be reached, your attorney will file a lawsuit on your behalf. If a lawsuit is necessary, then it must be filed no later than two years after the accident.
Litigation and Continued Settlement Negotiations
Settlement negotiations will continue between your attorney and the defense after a lawsuit has been filed. Your counsel will also be taking action during this time to build your case. These actions will include conducting discovery in order to obtain all records related to the truck driver’s past work history, drug testing results, and past incidents of poor driving. Your attorney will also retain any expert witnesses who are necessary to prove both liability and your damages. If a settlement is not reached then your case will conclude at trial.
Contact a San Luis Obispo Truck Accident Attorney Today
The aforementioned process can be highly complicated. Failing to protect your rights at each step of the process can result in you not receiving the compensation you deserve. Our office protects the rights of those who have been in such accidents. Contact our firm online or at 805-546-8797 to speak with a San Luis Obispo truck accident attorney.