What is the Truck Accident Claim Process?

Getting hit by a commercial truck can be a terrifying experience. When such a severe accident happens, you can have severe property damage, devastating injuries, and tremendous pain and suffering. The serious consequences of a truck accident mean you should have experienced legal representation during the truck accident claim process.

Truck accident claims are inherently complicated, and they are often high-stakes for victims, as injuries tend to be severe and costly. Learn more about filing a truck accident claim below and never wait to speak to an experienced truck accident attorney today.

Common Truck Crash Injuries

When an 80,000-pound truck slams into a car, it’s understandable that its occupants can be severely injured or killed, leading to truck accident claims and lawsuits. Consider this: When a commercial truck going 70 MPH hits a car, the force is double that when going 50 MPH. The catastrophic impact can cause many severe injuries, including:

  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBI): A severe jolt or blow to the head can cause a TBI that causes short and long-term brain damage that affects your ability to lead a normal life. If the brain injury is severe enough, you can require years of care and therapy.
  • Spinal cord injury: Damage to the spine and spinal cord can cause partial or total paralysis. Depending on the severity of the injury, you can regain some feeling and mobility, but you still will need expensive care for a long time.
  • Broken bones: A severe truck crash can break almost any bone in the body. Common broken and shattered bones are in the legs, feet, arms, ankles, collar bone, pelvis, ribs, skull, and spine. Some broken bones may heal with a cast in a month or two, but others may require months of painful surgery and recovery.
  • Internal injuries: A serious truck crash and blows to the body can damage internal organs, blood vessels, and other structures.
  • Back injuries: Trauma to the spine also can cause damage to the discs and soft tissues in the spine and back. Even if the spinal cord isn’t affected, a serious back injury from a truck crash can be debilitating.
  • Loss of limbs: Truck accidents often cause devastating crush injuries that can mangle an arm, leg, foot, or hand. Even if you have a high-quality prosthetic device, losing a limb for life is a huge loss that causes permanent disability.

Truck accident victims often are pummeled with serious injuries and face millions in medical care. They also cannot work for months, years, or permanently because of their injuries.

After the truck crash, don’t be surprised to receive a call and a quick settlement offer from the truck insurance company. The offer might appear attractive if you’re unfamiliar with truck accident negotiations and settlements. The offer is probably low. The insurance company wants you to settle the claim for a small amount before you hire an attorney. Never take the initial insurance company offer; always call an experienced truck accident attorney to represent you.

What Causes Truck Accidents?

Large truck accidents cause more severe injuries and fatalities than other accidents. Unfortunately, the large size and weight of commercial trucks means accidents involving them are often severe. Also, trucks have longer stopping distances, and it takes longer for them to come to a complete stop at highway speed. Many truck accidents occur for the following reasons:

Blind Spots

Tractor trailers have large blind spots on the sides and rear of the trailer. The driver must check their blind spots before changing lanes. However, if you are in a passenger vehicle, you should try to get around large trucks quickly when possible. Do not linger on the side of the trailer where the truck driver might not see you.

Driver Fatigue

A fatigue truck driver

Truck drivers work long hours, with many pulling long shifts at night with less traffic. This means many truckers drive when they are too tired to drive safely. The Department of Transportation limits how long truckers can drive daily and during the week, but many drivers and their employers flout the rules to make higher profits. If a trucker hits you and it looks like they are tired, tell a truck accident attorney immediately.

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is a bigger problem than ever with how advanced cell phones and digital devices are today. Truck drivers can easily be distracted by cell phones, radio, GPS devices, eating, drinking, and conversations. However, truck drivers are more obligated to drive safely and should always pay attention to the road. If the driver was distracted, a truck accident lawyer can check their cell phone records to see if they were on the phone during the accident.

Drunk Or Drugged Driving

Truck drivers are not supposed to drink and drive or use drugs. But many do so to get them through the long day. If you suspect the trucker who hit you was drunk, tell the police and your attorney immediately.

Improper Or Inadequate Training

All commercial truck drivers have a CDL and must receive extensive driver training. However, not all trucking companies are as vigilant with training as they should be. Improper or inadequate training can lead to driving errors that trigger accidents.


Overloading or improper loading of cargo can cause imbalance and accidents. The company that loads the cargo can differ from the vehicle owner, and the third party can be held financially responsible for a truck crash claim.

Poor Truck Maintenance

Mechanic repairing truckTruck drivers and carriers are required to check and maintain their trucks regularly. They should repair and maintain them to ensure they are roadworthy, but this often isn’t the case. For example, bald tires, poor brakes, and engine and transmission problems can lead to serious accidents. A commercial truck accident attorney can request the maintenance records for the truck that hit you to see if maintenance was a problem.

Reckless Driving

Truckers and their employers are hurrying to get cargo to its destination. Truckers may speed, drive aggressively, and change lanes without warning in their rush for results. Truckers are supposed to always obey traffic rules. When they don’t, tragedy can unfold.

Bad Weather

Rain, snow, fog, and ice make driving more difficult. Bad weather makes things even harder for truck drivers in huge vehicles that take hundreds of feet to stop from 65 MPH.

Regardless of the cause, truck drivers are supposed to drive with the utmost caution and care. When they don’t, they, their employer, or other parties can be held accountable in a truck accident claim.

The Truck Accident Claim Process

Several aspects of the truck accident claim process involve:

  • Collecting evidence to prove that the trucker, employer, or another party was liable for the accident.
  • Investigating the accident to determine the cause.
  • Filing a personal injury demand letter while working towards a settlement with the at-fault party and their insurance company.
  • Negotiating with the insurance company for a fair settlement.
  • If negotiations falter, go to court to prove the case to a judge or jury.

The claim process below assumes that you have retained a truck accident attorney to represent you. Insurance company attorneys represent the trucker and their employer, and it is always best to have an experienced attorney working with you. Your attorney knows how to negotiate with tough insurance companies and also knows what your case is worth. The truck crash lawyer only receives compensation upon successfully resolving your case.

Case Investigation

Once you have retained a lawyer, they will commence a thorough accident investigation and learn all about your injuries and prognosis from your doctors. Some of the investigation steps may involve:

  • Have accident investigators go over the crash scene.
  • Review all police reports.
  • Review your medical records and visits related to the accident.
  • Perform accident reconstruction to prove fault, if needed.
  • Meet with insurance representatives to negotiate a settlement.
  • Speak to eyewitnesses and get their statements.
  • Ask for any records needed from the other side, such as cell phone records, black box data, driver training and hiring records, and maintenance records.

Demand Letter

Once your injuries and damages are known and the investigation is complete, your truck accident attorney will draft a demand letter to the insurance company. The demand letter gives you and your lawyer a chance to describe your losses, injuries, and how they have affected your life. The letter will identify a dollar number you might accept to close the case and not file a lawsuit.

The demand letter is typically written by an attorney on your behalf after you have reached maximum medical recovery (MMI) and your full damages are known. Reaching MMI can take several weeks or months if you have injuries. It’s typically worthwhile to negotiate a settlement until you’ve fully recovered. Otherwise, you can accept too little money to settle the case and need more treatment and care than you realized.

For many truck accident victims, the demand letter leads to several back-and-forth negotiations to settle the claim. Your truck accident attorney is experienced in insurance negotiations and knows what your case is worth. They will persist in negotiation until they obtain a fair figure. If the insurance company offers too little to settle, you may need to consider the next option.


If truck crash settlement claims don’t bear fruit, the judge may require both sides to enter mediation. This is when both sides again attempt to negotiate a settlement with the help of a third-party negotiator, who can be a retired judge or attorney. If mediation doesn’t work, the case can proceed to trial.

Truck Accident Lawsuit

Truck Accident Lawsuit

If the trucking company’s insurance provider does not offer a fair settlement, your attorney can file a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent party. This can be the driver, the carrier, a third party, or all.

After filing the lawsuit paperwork with the appropriate court, the parties to the dispute will enter the legal discovery phase. This is when legal counsel for the plaintiff and defendant review the case details, gather evidence, and trade information about the incident.

For the lawsuit to be successful, your truck accident lawyer must prove the following:

  • The truck driver and employer had a duty of care. For example, professional truck drivers must drive safely and obey the law.
  • The truck driver or employer violated their duty of care. For instance, the truck driver fell asleep and rear-ended your car in traffic.
  • You suffered damages and injuries from the breach of the duty of care.
  • You can receive monetary damages stemming from the accident and injury.

Once both sides present their case to the judge or jury, the judge or jury makes the final decision. You may receive compensation for your losses if another party is at fault. Additionally, a settlement is possible at any time before reaching a verdict.

Keep in mind that most truck accident claims end in a settlement. It is usually advantageous to both sides to settle the case out of court. As the plaintiff, you get a certain sum for your damages and injuries faster than if the case went to court. Lawsuit trials are sometimes necessary when settlement negotiations stall, but court cases are unpredictable. You must weigh the chances of getting more money with the possibility of not getting anything.

Settling a truck crash out of court for the defendant can reduce the damages paid because the settlement value is usually less than the full case value. Many trucking companies also want to avoid a case involving a severely injured plaintiff going to a jury.

A truck accident attorney representing you will advise you on when a settlement offer is fair, when it isn’t, and whether you should take the case to court or pursue further negotiations.

Speak To A Truck Accident Attorney Today

Being injured in a truck accident can be devastating. You cannot pay your bills or live as you once did. Fortunately, a truck accident attorney can ensure you receive fair compensation for your losses. If the driver or trucking company was at fault, you can obtain compensation for your economic and non-economic damages. Contact a Tupelo personal injury lawyer today for a free consultation.