If you’ve been in an accident involving a large commercial truck, like an 18-wheeler, you’re probably facing some pretty serious expenses. From medical bills to lost wages to emotional distress, you can recover these “damages” through a personal injury lawsuit.
But these lawsuits can sometimes take months, or even years. With bills piling up today, you may be wondering, “Just how long does a truck accident lawsuit take?”
From experienced truck accident attorneys Stewart + Harmonson, here’s everything you need to know about the timeline of a New Mexico truck accident lawsuit.
The short answer: New Mexico truck accident suits vary
While it’s impossible to predict exactly how long your truck accident case will take, most lawsuits result in a settlement somewhere between a few months to two years. Accidents involving commercial trucks can often take longer than other car accident lawsuits.
In many cases, the insurance company may offer a settlement very early on in the negotiations, and you may be tempted to take it just to get it over with. But more often than not, this settlement is far below what you actually deserve, and what you can get if you keep negotiating or even take the case to court.
So, in order to get an adequate settlement, you and your attorney might be working for well over a year.
Factors that can drag out a New Mexico truck accident case
Because truck accidents tend to involve more serious damage, and as a result, more serious injuries, they tend to take longer to resolve than other car accident lawsuits.
There are a number of factors that can contribute to this increased length:
- FMCSA investigation: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is the federal agency that commercial trucks. The FMCSA will need to conduct their own investigation into the accident to determine who is at fault, which can take quite a bit of time.
- Insurance investigation: The trucking company’s insurance will also want to conduct a thorough investigation. Negotiating with this insurance agency can add some extra delays to the completion of the insurance claim process.
- Medical treatment: Because of the more serious injuries typical to accidents involving commercial trucks, medical treatment can be a much longer process. Often, personal injury cases aren’t even settled until after the victim is mostly recovered. This can add quite a bit of time to the process of settlement negotiation.
- Settlement negotiation: When the stakes are so high, it’s important that you and your attorney take all the time you need to secure an adequate settlement. All of the above factors can play into how long it takes before the at-fault party agrees to an adequate settlement.
How to increase efficiency in your truck accident case
Unfortunately, these lawsuits are going to take some time, and hurrying things along can result in settling for less money than you’re worth.
However, there are some things you can do to make the investigation, insurance, and legal processes as efficient as possible, and avoid unnecessary delays:
- Document the scene of the accident: Taking photos, videos, and witness contact information at the scene of the accident can go a long way toward making the investigation process easier.
- Contact police and insurance right away: It’s also important to file a police report and call your insurance company immediately after the accident.
- Visit a doctor regularly: As the victim of a truck accident, it’s important for you to visit a doctor for regular check-ups and participate in your recovery plan. This will show the court you have done your due diligence in mitigating your damages, and that your injuries are as severe as you claim.
- Find an accessible and dedicated New Mexico accident lawyer: Hiring a lawyer who is dedicated to your case is absolutely crucial. If an attorney is hard to get a hold of, or they take several days to get back to your email, that can slow down the process and indicate that they will be a less-than-vigilant representative.
Contact Stewart + Harmonson today
At Stewart + Harmonson, we have a combined 40 years of experience helping clients, many of whom were injured in commercial truck accidents throughout New Mexico. We have the experience, track record, and integrity to make sure you receive all the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to schedule your case consultation.