How Often Do Semi-Truck Accident Cases Go To Trial?
Being involved in a semi-truck accident case is a distressing experience. It may result in injury, inability to work, trauma, and expensive medical bills. Fortunately, though, by working with an experienced legal firm, you can get any compensation you deserve.
Most transportation insurance companies don’t want to go to court. If they believe that the truck driver was at fault, they will offer compensation for injuries and other expenses upfront, without the need for a drawn-out case. However, where both drivers are at fault, or settlement negotiations fail, truck accident cases may require cases to be presented to a jury. Both drivers will pass evidence to the courts and witnesses.
Factors that determine whether truck accidents go to trial
In most cases, it is relatively easy to show who was at fault in a semi-truck accident, but not always. Ultimately the compensation paid depends on the judgment and rules of the insurance firm. If they believe that the carrier was not responsible for your injuries, that may encourage them to pass the case onto the court, or vice versa.
The following factors determine the likelihood of formal legal proceedings:
The level of evidence
For most truck accidents, there is plenty of data showing who was at fault. Here, attorneys quickly prove the truck driver’s responsibility, making it an open-and-shut case.
However, in some cases, determining who was at fault is more challenging. If there is significant doubt, insurers may take the case to trial to protect themselves from heavy losses.
How little insurance companies need to payout
While some victims secure millions in compensation, many do not. Instead, they accept “low-ball” payouts. Interestingly, if insurers believe they can get away with smaller settlements, they are more likely to settle without taking the case to trial. There is nothing in the rules that prevent them from doing this, but it does mean that you might get less compensation than you deserve. For this reason, always work with an attorney to make sure that the deal is fair.
How reputable the legal firm is
Insurers know which legal firms are good, and which aren’t. Therefore, in many cases, they will check who your attorneys are. If they are aware that your attorney is someone who relentlessly pursues insurance companies for compensation, then they are far less likely to want to go to court.
How much legal fault lies with you
While trucking companies are often 100 percent responsible for injuries and damages you incur, sometimes they are not. Claimants have lost cases in the past because the trial jury found that they were to blame, not the carriers.
Therefore, before you take your crash case further, have a consultation with your attorney to check your legal position. Some clients believe that they have a case against a driver when they don’t.
The extent of the damages
Truck accidents that result in severe injuries are more likely to go to trial than those that result in minor injuries. For example, if a client has a permanent disability from the collision, then attorneys will argue for higher compensation paid to cover lost earnings, medical bills, and distress.
In many cases, attorneys make opening statements that reveal the extent of damages to their clients. They point out things like the fact that the average passenger car weighs 4,000lbs, while a semi-truck can be 80,000 lbs or more. These help them inform the judge and jury about the severity of the legal case and how motor carriers broke the rules.
The degree of pressure from trucking companies
Trucking companies across the country do not want to pay legal fees and other costs for liability in freight cases. It takes a heavy toll on their bottom line. Therefore, they will often pressure insurers to fight settlements at all costs at trial, arguing that drivers of passenger vehicles were not following the rules and regulations of the road. Such carriers will also hire their own attorneys for effective legal defense.
In cases like this, the attorney-client relationship is vital. You need to work with someone who is on your side and who understands the subject inside out.
What to expect if your truck accident case goes to trial
In the majority of cases, freight companies will accept legal settlements outside of a trial. However, if they refuse to offer enough money to cover your losses, attorneys will recommend a court case. Ideally, you want experienced freight and transportation lawyers on your side fighting for justice on your behalf.
If you are in Columbus, Ohio and were involved in a semi truck accident, get a consultation about your legal rights and options, speak with us today and find out how we can help.