If you’re wondering how long 18-wheeler accidents take to resolve, we have some pointers you, along with your 18-wheeler accident lawyer, may wish to consider.
Those enormous 18-wheeler trucks you see on the roads of Texas every day are impressive, given their size, and can be intimidating if you’re driving alongside one. If you’re involved in an accident with one of these massive vehicles, it can be devastating due to the forces created during the impact. Victims can be left with severe and debilitating injuries, and deaths can occur.
Problems arise not because of the speed of these large vehicles, which like every other vehicle on the road, must comply with speed limits — but due to the size and weight of 18-wheelers, which makes them hard to slow down quickly. So in the event of an emergency or urgent situation, like a sudden traffic jam ahead, it can be difficult for an 18-wheeler driver to stop in time before colliding with other vehicles. This can cause mass casualties and extensive property damage, and it’s the main reason trucking firms are required to carry higher-than-usual insurance coverage.
Crashes involving 18-wheelers need specialist truck accident lawyers who are familiar with these rigs and know how to proceed with personal injury claims to get justice and compensation for victims. These cases can be complex and prolonged, and as the months and even years go by without a settlement, victims may ask themselves, “How long does an 18-wheeler lawsuit take?”
What Is an 18-Wheeler?
An 18-wheeler is also known as a semi-truck that’s comprised of a tractor or cab (which contains the engine) and a trailer. Altogether, both parts have 18 wheels that carry the heavy weight. Typical 18-wheelers on Texas roads can weigh an incredible 40 tons when fully loaded, carrying anything from produce to building materials, clothing, new vehicles, and just about any other product that needs to be shipped to a store or distribution center.
Along with the vast weight of 18-wheelers is the length of these mighty vehicles that help to keep the American economy going. Different models come in varying lengths, but on average, an 18-wheeler can measure between 70-80 feet. This can not only make them challenging to maneuver but can also lead to jack-knifing, where the trailer part of the rig juts out at a sharp angle to the cab, rendering the vehicle immobile and potentially causing a pile-up of vehicles around it.
There are almost 2 million 18-wheelers around the United States, driving an estimated 140 billion miles each year as they ferry products to markets — about 68% of the goods that Americans need. Trains also deliver products, but 18-wheelers are more flexible as they can drive directly to specific places instead of a train station that then will require further transportation of goods. So that’s a whole lot of driving, and it’s not surprising that accidents happen that result in injuries and, tragically, deaths.
Steps to Take after an 18-Wheeler Accident
If you’re unfortunate enough to be involved in an 18-wheeler accident, you need to do several things to ensure your safety and that of those around you. First of all, call 911 if officers are not already on the scene. If you’re not sure if anyone else has called the police, call anyway, and they’ll tell you if units have been dispatched to the accident site, as well as any ambulances. A police report saying what happened will be essential to securing a financial payout for what happened to you.
Even if you don’t have any visible injuries, it’s essential you get checked out by a doctor; you could have internal injuries that have not yet presented any symptoms, as a rush of adrenaline may make you feel as though there’s no pain. Looking after yourself is your top priority after an 18-wheeler accident. Your doctor’s report will also form part of your personal injury claim, as it will contain details about any injuries and treatment.
If you’re not injured — or just have minor cuts and are awaiting medical treatment at the scene or later at the hospital — try to take photos of the accident using your phone. These will be invaluable in showing an insurance company, or a court, what happened. Try also to take a video of the scene. And if there are witnesses at the accident site, ask them if they’d be willing to give a statement — or at least ask for their contact details so that you can follow up at a later stage.
It’s also highly recommended that you discuss your case with experienced 18-wheeler accident attorneys. They will have the expertise you need to gather all the evidence that proves you were not at fault, negotiate with an insurance company, and — if necessary — prepare a lawsuit and represent you in court. Trying to do all this yourself would only create more stress and frustration, and you might end up with nothing after all your efforts.
So How Long Does an 18-Wheeler Lawsuit Take?
No two 18-wheeler accidents are the same, as they all have different causes and results. So trying to determine how long an 18-wheeler lawsuit will take depends on the circumstances of each accident. And as we’ve mentioned, 18-wheeler accidents are usually complex, and there’s often a lot of money at stake due to the amount and severity of injuries.
No one wants any case to drag on for too long, taking lots of time and effort, and if you have a skilled 18-wheeler accident lawyer and you’re lucky, you may be able to get your personal claim resolved in a few months. But in most cases, truck accident lawyers will need a substantial amount of time to investigate, negotiate and potentially prepare a lawsuit for your day in court. This could mean your case could take up to a year or more before it’s resolved and you get a financial settlement.
With a potentially large amount of money due in such a payout, it will be worth the wait. Settling quickly and without the assistance of an expert 18-wheeler accident lawyer could mean you end up with far less than you should. That’s because insurance companies’ interests lie in preserving their cash and not paying it out.
But 18-wheeler accident attorneys are wise to the ways of insurance companies and how they try to avoid paying settlements or make offers that are far too low. Your 18-wheeler accident lawyer will fight to get what’s right for your injuries, and because most work on a contingency basis — meaning there’s no upfront fee and they don’t get paid unless they win — you can be sure they will do their utmost to get a big win for you.
Hiring a professional 18-wheeler accident lawyer is the only way to protect your rights and get the justice and compensation you deserve.
Schedule a free consultation today with an experienced 18-wheeler accident lawyer and see if you have a case that might result in a large financial settlement. We don’t take any fees unless we win your case, so you have nothing to lose.