Whether or not a trucking accident case goes to trial is dependent on a number of factors. Among the most important of those factors are:
- How clear is liability in the case?
- Is the insurance company willing to pay a reasonable settlement?
While a case will be settled out of court more often than not, it is important that your attorney treats every claim as though it will be tried to verdict.
Can an Attorney Help Settle My Claim?
Generally, hiring an attorney will help guarantee that any settlements offered by a company in a trucking accident claim are fair and encompass all of your injuries and losses. When you approach a trucking company without an attorney, the company’s insurer has little incentive to play fair. They know more about trucking regulations than you do, and they have the money and resources to chip away at your claim.
Hiring an attorney with a reputation for securing large trucking accident verdicts sends a message to the trucking company and their insurers. A message that says you have the support and expertise necessary to see your claim through to the end and that you will go to trial if necessary.
An attorney can help preserve valuable evidence and will hire experts familiar with trucking regulations and accident reconstruction, thereby strengthening you claim to compensation. Having an attorney will also allow you the opportunity to focus on healing instead of stressing over paperwork and bills.
When Can I Expect Settlement Discussions to Begin?
When settlement discussions begin often depends on the size and complexity of a case. Larger cases may progress further before negotiations begin as neither side wants to appear overeager or desperate to resolve a matter.
Once a personal injury lawsuit has been filed, both your attorney and the defense’s attorney will begin pretrial investigations. This is known as the discovery process. During discovery, attorneys will begin gathering evidence and may solicit written answers from the opposition, known as interrogatories, or request sworn testimony under oath, known as depositions. It is rare for insurance companies to engage in serious settlement negotiations before completing the discovery process.
In larger, more complex cases, such as lawsuits dealing with on the job injuries or commercial trucking accidents, defense attorneys may wait for the plaintiff’s attorney to identify their expert witnesses before discussing settlement amounts. This is because expert witnesses can make or break a case. If a personal injury attorney is able to obtain expert witnesses who are knowledgeable and capable of providing compelling testimony, chances are the attorney has done the work necessary to make a valid case during trial.
In other cases, the defense attorney will not want to settle a case until they have filed a motion for summary judgment, also known as a motion to dismiss the case. If the court grants the motion to dismiss, it means the case is over; however, if the court denies the motion, a good personal injury attorney will see this as a potential point of leverage in future negotiations.
What Can I Expect if My Case Goes to Trial?
If your case goes to trial, expect your attorney to fight for you. If you have hired a competent attorney, then they would have already gathered the evidence and witness testimony to prove your claim before a jury or judge.
Your attorney will also coach you on court room procedures and how to handle questioning and cross-examination.
Going to trial can feel intimidating; however, with the right attorney on your side, you can at least feel well prepared and confident that your best interests will be represented. Thomas J. Henry has been successfully trying cases against large trucking companies for the past 30 years and has built a reputation by securing record-breaking jury verdicts.
With a team of more than 100 attorneys ready to represent injured clients at a moment’s notice, we have the money and the resources to fight and win against even the largest trucking companies.