Truck accident lawsuits in North Carolina can take months or even years to settle because the plaintiffs in these cases often suffer catastrophic injuries and seek significant damages. Truck accident lawsuits are also more complex than most other personal injury cases. In most personal injury lawsuits, the plaintiff immediately knows who to sue. The defendants in truck accident cases can be truck drivers, trucking companies, commercial vehicle repair facilities or cargo loaders. The litigation process cannot begin until the negligent party has been identified, and official investigations can take months when the accident caused serious injury or death.
The discovery phase of a personal injury lawsuit is the time when the parties gather evidence and prepare their arguments. This can be a lengthy process when the plaintiff was injured in a truck accident because there could be many sources of evidence. Evidence that truck accident lawsuit plaintiffs could gather during the discovery phase includes:
- Official accident reports
- Toxicology test results
- Electronic hours of service data
- Commercial vehicle maintenance records
- Truck driver accident and violation histories
- Cellphone data
- Information stored on commercial vehicle “black boxes”
The vast majority of personal injury cases are settled before they go to court. When the plaintiff’s injuries were suffered in a motor vehicle accident, the party negotiating on behalf of the defendant is usually an insurance company. This makes things challenging for plaintiffs because insurance companies employ skilled and experienced negotiators, and they are tasked with settling personal injury claims for as little as possible. When a plaintiff is seeking a five or six-figure settlement, negotiations can become contentious and drag on for weeks.
Reaching a settlement
The road to a settlement can be long and frustrating for the plaintiffs in truck accident lawsuits. Truck accident victims may not know who to sue until an official investigation has been completed, and this can be a lengthy process when the accident was serious. Gathering evidence, holding depositions and negotiating with an insurance company can also take weeks or months. Some truck accident lawsuits are decided in a courtroom, but most of them are settled at the negotiating table.