Truck accident lawsuits can be different from other personal injury claims in Texas. They are usually investigated by both local law enforcement and the state transportation department, and many times the shipping company will actually attempt to influence authorities who are reconstructing the accident. Truckers are not always totally at fault, and any percentage of impact the shipping company can have on the final outcome of what can often be very expensive claims can have a positive effect on their bottom line. What this ultimately means is that being properly compensated can be a long and frustrating process.
The initial claim
Texas uses the modified comparative fault system when adjudicating all accidents. Those 51% or greater at fault can be denied any compensation, including fatal injury accidents. This means that injured parties will typically be dealing with an insurance representative that they do not know. While the respondent insurance company will often make first contact, it is still important to be patient and speak with an attorney before accepting any kind of settlement. This is especially true in serious injury or wrongful death situations.
Going to court
It also typically takes a significant period before a case goes to court for the discovery process. Each party will present their documentation regarding injuries and financial compensation. This is also often a pretrial hearing, but not always when the insurer is being difficult. This is generally common in most Texas motor vehicle accidents.
The negotiation process
Cases that are not settled early will usually take significant time, and especially if either party wants to take a case to trial. It is not unusual for truck accident cases to take up to one year before actually going to court, with the time-lapse often used to negotiate a settlement.
Cases that do not result in a settlement before a trial date will be heard and decided by a jury. Trucking companies or independent truck drivers will want to go to trial if there is significant fault on the part of an injured claimant driver. Conversely, claimant legal counsel typically takes a case to trial in hopes of punitive damages or a whole damage award.