How Long Do Semi-Truck Accident Cases Last in California?

-Posted On October 18, 2021 In Truck Accident-

After a California truck accident, you may wonder how long you need to wait before you receive a settlement. These types of collisions often result in extensive property damage and very severe injuries, leading to significant financial hardship. In many cases, however, it can take several months to one or two years to reach a settlement in a truck accident claim. However, the length of your case will depend on the circumstances surrounding your accident.

Legal Options for California Truck Accident Victims

California is a fault car accident state, meaning that parties who are responsible for collisions must pay for their victims’ damages. In a truck accident case, multiple parties may be liable for an accident, including the truck driver, his or her employer, a truck manufacturer, or a government agency.

Truck accident victims usually have two options to recover compensation.

  • Filing a claim against the insurance carrier of the truck driver or his or her employer
  • Filing a lawsuit against the truck driver, trucking company, or another party in California civil court

Most truck accident claims resolve during the insurance process, but some cases do escalate to a lawsuit if the insurance claim is unsuccessful. However, there are certain situations where you may want to file a lawsuit from the beginning, such as when your damages exceed the at-fault party’s policy limits. An attorney can evaluate your case and identify your optimal path to compensation.

The Truck Accident Claim Timeline

If you initiate your case by filing an insurance claim, a company representative will be assigned to your case and investigate the accident. He or she may interview witnesses, analyze evidence, and negotiate with you and your lawyer. At the conclusion of your case, the representative will inform you whether you qualify for a settlement and provide an offer. Under California law, insurance carriers must approve or deny your claim within 40 days.

At this stage, you can choose to accept, reject, or negotiate the offer. Negotiations could extend your claim timeline by a few days to a few months. Overall, the insurance process can take as little as a few months to conclude.

If the insurance process is unsuccessful or you choose not to file a claim, you can file a personal injury lawsuit in California civil court. Your attorney will wait for your injuries to reach maximum medical improvement (MMI) before initiating your lawsuit. The severity of your injuries will impact the length of your claim.

Once you reach MMI, you will enter the following process.

  • First, your attorney will decide whether to negotiate with the at-fault party before filing the lawsuit. If these negotiations are successful, your case will settle at this stage.
  • Next, your lawyer will file your lawsuit and you will enter the discovery phase where you exchange evidence with the defendant and depose relevant parties. Discovery can take six months to one year to complete.
  • After discovery, you can choose to engage in pre-trial negotiations or mediation. If successful, your case will settle at this stage.
  • Finally, your case will proceed to trial and the court will decide whether you qualify for a settlement. Depending on the complexity of the case, a trial can take as little as a few days to as long as a few months or more.

After your collision, speak to a San Francisco truck accident lawyer as soon as possible. Your lawyer can evaluate your case, identify your optimal path to compensation, and provide you with an estimated case timeline.

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