If you were rear-ended by a semi truck, a settlement might be the last thing on your mind – but you could be entitled to financial compensation. Here’s what you need to know.
Rear-Ended By a Semi Truck: Settlements and Awards
California law provides protections for people who are injured due to someone else’s negligence. Your injuries may be minor, or they could be severe – or you may have lost a loved one in a tragic accident. The law allows you to sue a business or a person (or both), depending on who’s at-fault for your injuries.
Sometimes when a person is rear-ended by a semi truck, a settlement is possible; in other cases, it takes a lawsuit to get the other party’s insurance company to pay.
Related: Could you file a catastrophic injury lawsuit?
Settlements After Being Rear-Ended by a Semi Truck
A lawsuit isn’t always necessary. In many cases, personal injury lawyers are able to negotiate fair settlements with insurance companies. Negotiations typically start with the insurance company offering a fixed amount of money, which is typically lower than what you’d receive if a judge ruled in your favor. Then, the attorney involved in the case would come back with a higher figure, and both sides would continue negotiation until the victim – in this case, you – agrees that the settlement is fair.
Pro tip: Never talk to anyone from an insurance company after you’ve been rear-ended by a semi. An insurance adjuster has one job: to save his or her company money. Even if you’ve incurred hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills, the insurance company will try to get you to accept less than you deserve, or worse, get you to admit fault so the company can avoid a payout altogether.
After being rear-ended by a semi truck, a settlement could be enough to cover your medical bills, lost wages and other expenses. However, if the insurance company isn’t willing to pay what you deserve, your attorney may suggest that you file a formal lawsuit in court.
Related: Should I get an attorney after a car accident?
Formal Lawsuits After Semi Truck Accidents
If negotiations break down, you still have another option: You can file a formal lawsuit in court. When you file a lawsuit, both sides will have the opportunity to present evidence to the judge and jury. Ultimately, the judge and jury will decide how much compensation you’re entitled to receive.
In order to file a lawsuit, you must have legal standing. Your attorney will file the appropriate paperwork with the court. Then, he or she will start the discovery process. During discovery, your attorney and the insurance company’s attorneys will ask each other for evidence and witness information. Then, both sides will move forward by taking part in settlement conferences (to see if the case can stay out of court), make motions that set the groundwork for the eventual trial, and finally go before a judge and jury. This process can take a long time – in fact, some court cases drag on for years. However, you and the insurance company can decide to settle at any time during the lawsuit – even if you’re already in the trial phase.
What About the Statute of Limitations for Being Rear-Ended by a Semi?
In California, you must file a lawsuit within two years of the date of your injury. If you fail to file a lawsuit within the statute of limitations, the court will most likely refuse to hear your case. That means you don’t have any leverage with the insurance company, either; they know you can’t take them to court, so they’re extremely unlikely to even bother talking to you about a settlement.
If you’ve been rear-ended by a semi truck, you have to act quickly in order to get the compensation you deserve. You have to file a formal lawsuit before two years have passed.
If You Were Rear-Ended By a Semi Truck, a Settlement May Be Possible
When you’re injured because of someone else’s negligence, you have a lot on your plate – and settlements and lawsuits are probably the last thing on your mind. However, we can help you get the compensation you deserve. Call us right away at 818-230-8380 or fill out the form below to tell us what happened. We’ll be happy to visit you at home, in the hospital or in our office so you can start moving forward.