Going to Court After a Trucking Accident

Going to Court After a Trucking Accident

Your case may go to court after a trucking accident if your attorney cannot secure a fair settlement. Going to court after a trucking accident is possible but uncommon.

You will work with your attorney to determine if a court case is best for you. You may not need to have this conversation, but you should prepare for it after a truck accident.

Going to Court After a Trucking Accident Guide

Do Most Trucking Accident Cases Go to Court?

Going to Court After a Trucking Accident

No, most truck accident cases do not go to court. Most civil cases end with a settlement, not a court case. However, just because most truck accident cases settle without a trial does not mean your case will settle without a trial.

Need Legal Help? Let’s talk.

Why Do Some Trucking Accident Cases Result in Trial?

Trucking accident cases result in a trial when the victim does not get the compensation they deserve through settlement negotiations. If liable parties are unwilling to accept your lawyer’s calculation of damages and offer a fair settlement, a trial may become the only way to seek the compensation you deserve.

How Does an Attorney Determine What a Fair Trucking Accident Settlement Is?

Your attorney will calculate a fair settlement value based on the damages you’ve suffered from a trucking accident.

Your lawyer may arrive at that settlement figure by:

  • Totaling your economic damages: You may have several economic damages with a clear financial value. Your attorney will get estimates for vehicle repairs, keep track of your medical bills, and track every other damage with a clear financial value. 
  • Calculating your non-economic damages: Attorneys also consider the non-economic impact of trucking accidents, including the victim’s pain and suffering, inconvenience, and emotional distress. Truck accident lawyers can calculate these damages using the multiplier method or per-diem method, each of which may be acceptable in your truck accident case.
  • Projecting any future damages you may suffer: If you have yet to fully recover from injuries or continue to experience accident-related damages, your attorney may need to project the cost of your ongoing damages. They may work with medical professionals, economists, and other qualified professionals to project the future cost of your damages.
  • Documenting all of your damages: In addition to calculating your damages, your lawyer will secure as much proof as possible to detail those damages. Useful documentation may include medical bills, bills for vehicle repairs and other property-related expenses, and expert testimony about your injuries and psychological symptoms. 

The calculation of your damages is the key point in settlement negotiations. Your lawyer will have a clear target when they negotiate with liable parties.

After exhausting the negotiation process, your attorney will either:

  1. Receive an acceptable offer from liable parties, in which case they may resolve your case (with your approval)
  2. Not receive a fair offer, in which case your lawyer may advise you to proceed to trial (with your lawyer leading the way)

Settling is usually preferable to going to trial. Going to court can be expensive, and the outcome lies in the hands of a judge or jury. When you settle, costs are comparatively less, and the outcome is certain.

Going to court is sometimes necessary, especially when the liable parties’ best settlement offer is not close to the amount a trucking accident victim deserves.

How Will Your Attorney Determine If a Court Case Is Necessary?

Your lawyer will advise you whether they think going to court is the proper move for your case. They will update you throughout settlement negotiations, detailing any offers you receive and explaining whether they believe they are fair.

Your attorney will also:

  • Explain the merits of taking your trucking accident case to trial
  • Explain the potential drawbacks of taking your case to trial
  • Explain the potential timeline for completing a trial
  • Empower you to decide whether going to trial is the right choice

If you trust your attorney, you may trust their advice to accept a settlement or advance to trial.

Why Do Liable Parties in Trucking Accident Cases Refuse to Pay the Compensation They Owe (Resulting in a Trial)?

Liable parties generally refuse to pay the compensation they owe truck accident victims because:

  • They simply do not want to pay money to a cause they deem unworthy (as most people do not voluntarily want to)
  • They believe you share some liability for the truck accident (or are completely at fault for the accident)
  • They believe you are exaggerating your injuries
  • They believe that certain damages you’re seeking compensation for are not necessary (such as a certain medical treatment)

Generally, liable parties are simply defending themselves from financial liability. However, if the liable parties must pay you the compensation they owe you.

When liable parties resist paying a fair settlement to truck accident victims, they may force truck accident lawyers to take cases to court.

Steps in Civil Trucking Accident Lawsuits

There is a general process for civil court cases, with steps including:

  • Filing a complaint: Your attorney will file a complaint naming you as the plaintiff in the legal case. Among other details, the complaint will list the damages you suffered because of the defendant's negligence,
  • Discovery and pre-trial motions: Your attorney will review case materials (like witness names and evidence) from the defense and vice versa during discovery. Attorneys will also file any necessary pre-trial motions, such as those seeking to disallow certain evidence or testimony.
  • Further negotiations: Before a trial, the judge may encourage participants to try and reach a settlement. The trial will proceed if either side refuses to resume negotiations or cannot reach an agreement.
  • The trial: The trial will involve each side presenting evidence, questioning witnesses, and making oral arguments detailing their case. The case may end with each side making closing arguments.
  • The verdict: The jury or judge (depending on the trial type) will determine if the defendants caused the plaintiff to suffer damages and how much those damages are worth.

Civil trials may take a long time to complete, which is one reason why most truck accident cases settle. However, if the plaintiff wins the case, the jury award may be worth the time it takes to resolve the trial.

What Is the Target Outcome of a Civil Trucking Accident Case?

A plaintiff and their attorney may consider the trial a victory if the jury:

  • Determines that the defendant(s) caused the plaintiffs to suffer harm
  • Awards a monetary sum that covers the victim’s damages and the lawyer’s fees and expenses

Attorneys request damages based on these target outcomes. In some cases, plaintiffs in civil truck accident cases receive more compensation from a jury than their lawyer sought during settlement negotiations.

What Are the Odds of Winning a Trucking Accident Trial?

There is no way to gauge the odds of victory in a trucking accident trial without knowing the details of your case. Even once an experienced lawyer knows the details of the case, they cannot always provide accurate odds of success in a truck accident trial.

That said, attorneys do not generally take trucking accident cases to trial unless they feel confident they can win the case. Your attorney may inform you whether they believe in your case, but the fact that they’re willing to shoulder the expense of trial may indicate that trial is worth pursuing.

Your Chosen Law Firm Will Shoulder the Financial Cost of the Trial Upfront

Truck accident law firms cover the upfront cost of their client’s cases. If the case proceeds to trial, this means that the law firm will cover the entire cost of the court case.

This means that truck accident victims will pay no out-of-pocket cost for:

  • The time their lawyer, and the law firm’s paralegals, spend preparing for and completing the court case
  • The energy the legal team spends on the court case
  • Various experts who the law firm may pay to testify on the client’s behalf
  • An accident construction, which an expert may create to show how the truck accident happened
  • Any other case-related resources

The law firm will receive a percentage of any award they get for the client. In some states, each law firm sets its rates. In others, state statute sets the contingency fee.

Why Do Injured Victims Choose to Hire a Truck Accident Lawyer for Their Case?

Each truck accident victim who hires a lawyer may have their own reasons for doing so, but some common reasons include:

  • The victim’s lack of comfort leading a claim or lawsuit: Most truck accident victims have never been in a similar accident and have certainly not led claims or lawsuits for truck accident cases. This lack of familiarity with the claims and legal processes may make the accident victim cautious about leading their own case.
  • The victim’s poor health: Lawyers allow their clients to focus on health and recovery. Truck accident victims are sometimes bedridden, required to rest by their doctors, and psychologically fragile. These struggles make it difficult for many truck accident victims to deal with a claim or lawsuit.
  • The law firm’s resources: Law firms cover the financial cost of truck accident cases. The firms also offer the services of lawyers, paralegals, investigators, and other professionals who can be of great benefit to the client’s case.
  • The lawyer’s track record of success: Truck accident victims often hire lawyers who have won truck accident cases before. This prior experience may be valuable when leading your case, and the track record of success may be a comfort as you seek compensation for your damages.

Trying to juggle your case and your recovery is often detrimental to your health and well-being. If you want to focus on the recovery process while allowing a proven legal professional to fight for the compensation you deserve, hire a truck accident lawyer immediately.

Recoverable Damages in a Truck Accident Case

The force with which heavy trucks strike other vehicles can have a devastating effect on passenger vehicle occupants.

These high-impact collisions can cause substantial damages, including:

  • Medical expenses: Any medical services you require after a trucking accident, from emergency care to rehabilitation, will come at a cost. Your attorney will calculate all of your accident-related medical costs and demand that liable parties pay for those expenses.
  • Pain and suffering: If you have physical pain, emotional distress, or other types of pain and suffering because of your accident, your attorney will factor these damages into your settlement target.
  • Lost income: If injuries from your accident prevent you from working, your lawyer will seek to cover lost income and other professional damages. This includes the income you will lose in the future.
  • Property damage: Your lawyer will consider the cost of repairing your vehicle and replacing any other property damaged during the truck accident.

If you lost a loved one from injuries related to a truck accident, a lawyer can lead a wrongful death case for you. Your recoverable damages may include pain and suffering (including grief), medical expenses, loss of consortium, lost financial support, funeral expenses, and several other damages.

Who Is Liable in a Trucking Accident Case?

Liable parties are those who you may sue following a trucking accident. These parties’ insurers may pay the compensation you deserve, in which case a trial will not be necessary.

Those financially responsible for your truck accident may include:

  • A trucking company
  • A truck driver
  • A vehicle or vehicle component manufacturer
  • A public institution (such as a city government)

Part of an attorney’s primary duties is determining who is liable for your accident and damages. Once your lawyer establishes liability, they will fight for the compensation you deserve.

Hire a Lawyer Today to Handle Your Trucking Accident Claim or Lawsuit

If you want to learn more about how a personal injury lawyer can help you, or you want to hire an attorney, research attorneys serving your area today. You may have a brief time to file your case, so don’t wait to contact law firms in your area.