Chapter Eleven Act Quickly On Your Truck Crash Claim and Do Not Settle Too Early
Do not ignore time limits and be proactive in pursuing your truck crash claim. Justice delayed is justice denied. Contact the insurance company and advise them of the incident and your claim, get medical attention and take proper steps to strengthen your case. We have many stories of people coming to us too late where we cannot find key witnesses in cases, cannot identify photographs, cannot investigate the scene of the accident, or look at skid marks. There is a wealth of information that can be obtained by rapid investigation in a case.
You might assume the truck driver will testify accurately about the incident, that witness information will be in the police report, and that the defendant’s insurance company will treat you fairly–but sometimes this does not occur. Hiring a lawyer to investigate a serious truck collision is important. We have investigators and experts that can go to the scene. We will call up witnesses and take recorded statements of what occurred in the incident. We will secure photos or physical evidence that might be important to the case. We will communicate right away with the defendant’s insurance company to ensure a prompt and fair resolution of the claim.
There are also time limitations for filing lawsuits for truck crash claims. Missouri has a five-year Statute of Limitations for personal injury claims (vehicle accidents) and Illinois has a two-year Statute of Limitations. This means that if no case is filed within that time the entire claim is time-barred. Note that the limitation time for a wrongful death claim in Missouri is shorter – three years. There are other limitations periods that might affect your claim as well.
The next important thing to remember is to not settle your claim before you know the full extent of your injuries. If you ever settle your claim and sign a release, you are fully and finally settling and releasing your claim. You will be unable to recover any more money in the future. Releases contain language that you are fully and finally settling and completely resolving your claim for all injuries from the auto accident, whether known or unknown. You do not want to settle your claim and then find out that you need additional medical care or have long-lasting pain, problems, or disabilities. Maybe the worst mistake that a truck accident victim or their lawyer can make is to settle a case and then discover that the injured party needs surgery a month later.
On many occasions, back or neck problems and injuries linger for longer periods of time and it is only after an MRI or other detailed study that herniated discs or underlying trauma is identified. We have represented car accident victims who tried to recover without surgery through physical therapy, strengthening and exercise, injections, and other therapy, but finally resorted to surgery. Typically, medical providers want to try the least invasive and conservative treatments first and only after those have failed to opt for surgery. You do not want to settle a claim for $10,000 and then later find out you need a $50,000 surgery.
It is important, too, to identify the truck company and its insurer so a timely claim can be made. Trucking companies fail or go out of business. Insurance companies do too. If they do, you may have no avenue for recovery. We also need to navigate where the case should be filed. Of course, we try to settle cases first, but find we often need to file suit and aggressively pursue the case to get a full recovery for our clients.
Even more important is the statute of limitations in which a person has to file a lawsuit for their personal injury or be forever barred. Some states have time limits as short as 0ne year (Kentucky and Louisiana). Here is a comprehensive list of the others: