How to File a Truck Accident Lawsuit

December 5, 2023 | By Francis Firm Injury Attorneys
How to File a Truck Accident Lawsuit

While every truck accident case is different, the legal principle at work is always the same: the party responsible for your injuries has a legal obligation to compensate you fully. However, reaching that point may require a struggle, and you may find that the trucking company denies responsibility for the accident. Alternatively, their insurance company may want to avoid paying you what you deserve, taking a view of your damages that suits their financial interests, not yours.

The truck accident insurance process can reach a standstill, as the insurer might refuse to make a fair offer. Never accept less than you deserve, as this leaves you responsible for your injury-related losses someone else caused. Instead, you have legal options to escalate the matter and continue seeking the compensation you deserve.

Following a crash and injuries, always hire a truck accident lawyer in your area.

An experienced lawyer can do many things, including:

  • Handle the entire insurance process to increase the chances of a fair settlement
  • Advise when you should file a truck accident lawsuit if an insurance company does not cooperate

You need legal representation from the start of the claim process. This signals to the insurers that you are willing to go to court if necessary, among many other things.

If the insurance still does not respect your claim and losses, a skilled truck accident attorney in Dallas can file your lawsuit. You never have to worry about navigating this challenging process.

You Can Choose Whether to File a Claim or Truck Accident Lawsuit

File a Claim or Truck Accident Lawsuit

You do not have to take an unfair settlement, and your legal rights are determined in court if that is what you choose. As the accident victim, you can decide how you want your case to proceed with the advice of a truck accident lawyer.

You can always file a lawsuit, even though a trial may be a last resort in your case. While a lawsuit has risks and will usually take at least one year, it may be what you must do to get fully compensated.

The First Step to a Lawsuit Is Finding a Lawyer

The first step to filing a truck accident lawsuit is hiring an experienced attorney. Truck accident settlements and verdicts tend to be higher than those in other personal injury cases for many reasons, including the fact that your injuries are more severe.

Given the financial stakes of your case, it makes sense to have as much legal firepower as possible.

You Cannot Wait to Hire a Lawyer

You Cannot Wait to Hire a Lawyer

You must immediately contact a truck accident lawyer for many reasons. The core requirement in your truck accident case is that you prove that someone else was to blame for what happened.

You meet your burden of proof by providing evidence that shows what the truck driver or trucking company did and how it caused the accident.

You have a limited amount of time to collect evidence. Physical evidence will disappear quickly, and locating witnesses may be more difficult as time passes.

If you wait months to contact a lawyer, it may be too late for them to conduct a thorough and adequate investigation of your truck accident.

In addition, the trucking company possesses additional documentary evidence that can help prove your case. They have records, such as the data from the electronic data recorder, that can show what happened. Corporate records include maintenance logs and driver records that you need. Your attorney must move quickly to direct the trucking company to preserve this evidence before a trial.

How You Can Obtain Financial Compensation After a Truck Accident

Your attorney will advise you on the best strategy in your case.

You have two options for seeking financial compensation:

  • You can work with the trucking company's insurance provider to attempt to negotiate a settlement
  • You can file a lawsuit against the trucking company (or other responsible parties) in court

You can begin to discuss a settlement and find that you are not getting anywhere with the insurance company. Then, you may need to file a lawsuit to start the legal process in court.

If you have filed a lawsuit, you can settle your case anytime, and as the case progresses, you may build more evidence that proves responsibility, and the insurance company may get more motivated to settle the case. You can always end your lawsuit by agreeing to a settlement.

Your Attorney Gathers Evidence Before Your Case Goes to Court

Before you file a lawsuit, your attorney will need to gather enough evidence so your case can move forward.

When your lawyer drafts a complaint, they must support it with facts, or the court may dismiss your lawsuit.

You Must Know the Value of Your Damages

Your lawyer must also analyze your situation closely to determine how much to seek in the lawsuit and will review your case to determine the damages that you have suffered. You cannot use a back-of-the-envelope calculation. You will need support for the amount you seek when your case goes to court.

Your attorney might work with these experts to learn the value of your case:

  • Medical experts to understand your condition and your need for future care
  • Life care planning experts to know what help you may need with your daily activities in the future
  • Vocational experts to learn how your injury hurt your career path and future earnings
  • Economic experts to know how inflation may impact your costs in the future

You Must File Before the Statute of Limitations Runs

You Must File Before the Statute of Limitations Runs

Once your attorney has investigated the accident, compiled proof, and estimated your damages, they will begin to explore the lawsuit process. You must file your claim or lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires. Each state has a law that limits the time you have to file a lawsuit, so you need to begin the legal process well before the end of this period to avoid missing the deadline.

Drafting the Complaint that Launches Your Lawsuit

To begin the lawsuit process, your lawyer will draft the complaint, which will set forth:

  • The facts that will show that the trucking company should be held liable
  • The theory of law that will support your right to a recovery
  • The amount of money that you are seeking in the claim

You will file the complaint with the court and then serve it on the other side, and this will begin the lawsuit process. The defendant will have 30 days to answer your claim, although they may seek an extension.

After that, the timetable depends mainly on the court and the timelines that it sets for the case. Presumably, the defendant will file a motion to dismiss your claim, and the court will rule on it.

Discovery Is Where Your Case Is Often Won or Lost

The discovery process will be essential to your truck accident lawsuit. Remember that the trucking company has a lot of evidence you need to obtain to prove your case, and the law allows you to request this evidence. So long as it is relevant and your request is not overly burdensome, the defendant may be obligated to hand this evidence over to you and will have the same right to make requests from you.

In addition to requesting documentary evidence, both sides will have the right to conduct the depositions of the other party's witnesses.

Your attorney can ask the truck driver and other key employees of the trucking company questions. At the same time, they may also ask you questions. Depositions can last hours, and you must prepare fully.

Cases Can Settle After the Close of Discovery

Often, cases will move closer to settlement after you have concluded the discovery process. The insurance company and the trucking carrier may realize the strength of the case you have built, and if they were not motivated to settle your case before, they may have a sense of urgency now.

The defense needs to be afraid of the jury. There is a reason so many lawsuits do not reach the courtroom inside: The insurance company knows which cases it needs to settle. While they may take their time to make you the right offer, they will eventually get there before trial.

Truck Accident Trials Are Rare, but They Do Happen

There are only three reasons why your case may go to trial:

  • The insurance company will not accept liability because they believe that the truck driver was not at fault
  • The insurance company is assigning too much blame to you for the accident, which will reduce your compensation
  • The insurance company will not offer you enough compensation to pay for your injuries fully

There is a definite risk to both sides in going to trial. You risk being unable to prove your case before a jury, ending up with nothing. The defense takes the risk that a jury can hit them with a massive verdict.

Trucking Companies Should Fear a Trial

Juries can make a trucking company pay when they find gross negligence or a culture of not complying with federal trucking regulations. Your attorney can leverage that fear in settlement negotiations as you seek the money you deserve.

Your attorney may take your case to trial if you cannot reach a settlement, so you need an attorney with experience in the courtroom arguing high-stakes cases.

Your lawyer will present the evidence that shows the truck driver was to blame, along with proof of your damages. The defense will also present their case. The jury will then consider the evidence and instructions from the judge before they reach a verdict.

You Should Hire the Right Attorney for Your Case

As you can see, the truck accident lawsuit process can be both drawn out and complex. The right attorney can make a difference in whether you have a financial recovery and how much money you get.

Never deal with the insurance company on your own. Not only are you dealing with your physical injuries, but insurance companies have a built-in advantage through how they handle the legal process. Your attorney is the equalizing force who will level the playing field for you.

How an Attorney Helps You in Your Truck Accident

Here is what an attorney can do in your truck accident lawsuit:

  • Investigate the accident and compile the proof necessary for you to qualify for financial compensation
  • Estimate your damages so you know how much to seek in compensation
  • Draft the complaint, outlining the facts and your entitlement to money
  • Draft all the necessary filing for your case, including motions
  • Build your case through the discovery process, strengthening the evidence that you have to prove liability 
  • Negotiate a settlement with the insurance company before your case goes to trial
  • Participate in mediation if the two parties deem it to be advantageous or if they are ordered to by the court

Contact a Truck Accident Attorney as Soon as Possible

Giving your attorney plenty of time to work and prepare your case is best. Therefore, you or a family member should contact them right after the accident with the understanding that hiring an attorney does not cost you anything out of your pocket.

You only need to pay your lawyer if you get money from your case, meaning there is no financial burden to you. The risks are much higher when you delay hiring an attorney.

Your Dallas personal injury lawyer will promptly get to work to begin to put you in a position to file an insurance claim or lawsuit, and you will get peace of mind from knowing you have a fighter in your corner.