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What Is the Truck Accident Claim Process?

You understand the challenges that arise following a truck accident. Your injuries can get in the way of living as you did pre-accident. Maybe you can’t work and earn a living for some time, and you may experience the dread of mounting medical bills. So, what are your options?

Following a truck accident, you may file claims against one or more liable parties. You can file an insurance claim or lawsuit to seek the monetary recovery you deserve under the law to shoulder your injury-related financial burdens.

This process is far from simple, however, as you can expect parties and insurers to fight against liability every step of the way. A truck accident attorney can provide quality representation through the process and fight to protect your rights. Seek a free consultation with a law firm near you as soon as possible.


Understanding Truck Accidents

Truck accident cases can be particularly difficult to deal with. While many believe these cases closely mimic regular car accident lawsuits, they do not. In reality, they vary greatly, with trucking collision cases often involving more details and obstacles.

A car crashed into the front of a truck on a highway.

What Causes Trucking Collisions?

Large truck accidents are commonly caused by some of the typical causes of car crashes. Driver negligence is a significant contributing factor, especially because driving a truck requires much more skill and experience.

Common dangerous driving behaviors by truck drivers that frequently result in accidents include:

  • Fatigued driving
  • Driver inattention
  • Speeding
  • Aggressive driving, including tailgating and weaving in and out of lanes
  • Reckless driving
  • Driving while under the influence
  • Violation of road signs and rules
  • Failure to yield

Other details, in addition to driver actions, may contribute to a commercial truck crash, including hazardous road conditions, improperly loaded cargo, and inclement weather.

Determining the cause of your truck accident is one of the most essential parts of your claim. It can be difficult, though, because so much is bound to go wrong with trucks at any given moment, and your collision may result from multiple causes.

You’ll better understand liability once you definitively know what caused your crash.

Fault for Semi-Truck Accidents

Many parties can be at fault for a trucking collision.

The parties and entities responsible for truck accidents may include:

  • Truck drivers
  • Truck driver employers
  • Trucking companies
  • Truck and cargo owners
  • Maintenance and repair companies
  • Parties responsible for cargo loading
  • Product manufacturers and distributors
  • Governmental entities

When you file your truck accident claim, you want to ensure you’re pursuing compensation from the appropriate party. You’ll need to provide proof of the party’s fault and, if negligence caused your crash, satisfy the elements of negligence, including duty, breach, causation, and damages.

Damages Available for Truck Collision Cases

It’s not uncommon to experience many monetary and non-monetary losses after a truck accident. Therefore, damages serve as compensation.

The damages you’re entitled to receive depend on the specifics of your accident, injuries, and losses but can include coverage for:

  • Property damage
  • Past and future medical expenses, including hospital visits, surgeries, and in-home care
  • Rehabilitation and therapy
  • Lost income
  • Diminished earning potential
  • Pain and suffering
  • Disability
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

A truck accident attorney can calculate the value of your claim based on several critical factors, including the severity of your injuries, the total cost of your medical treatment, and whether you’ll require medical care in the future.

Understanding how much your claim is worth can allow you to achieve a better case result. Knowing the actual value of your case can significantly help ensure you get the compensation you deserve.

Challenges of Truck Accident Claims

If you’re about to engage in the truck accident claim process, you need a lawyer who understands some of the details that make these cases more complicated and challenging to handle.

Firstly, commercial trucks, with their large size and excessive weight, have a greater capacity to inflict severe injuries and cause destruction. The more injuries and damage involved in a truck crash, the more compensation is usually required. Therefore, the path toward compensation can be a bit longer and more taxing.

Because trucks can cause so much harm, trucking insurance policies are much more substantial than policies for regular vehicles. Instead of policy limits in the five figures, trucks are often protected by six and seven-figure policies.

This means insurance companies have much more to lose and will do much more to protect themselves and limit their liability to avoid paying fully.

Additionally, the trucking industry is highly regulated by federal laws set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Rules and regulations may play a big role in your case, heightening the importance of having a skilled truck accident attorney handle your claim. These lawyers have a special comprehension of these laws, allowing them to represent you better.

Pursuing Compensation Through a Truck Accident Claim

When you suffer an injury in a truck accident and need to file a claim, there are certain stages you can expect to encounter throughout the process. The following are the typical steps in a truck accident claim.

Depending on your case, your lawyer can give you a better idea of the exact situations you can anticipate on your path to compensation.

Consulting With a Truck Accident Attorney

First and foremost, after a trucking collision, consult a truck accident lawyer. Find an attorney in your area, as local lawyers know the laws and procedures of your state and have connections and resources in your community.

During your consultation, you’ll have the opportunity to discuss your case with your lawyer. Based on the information and evidence you present to them, they can provide their professional opinion and inform you of the next steps in the claim process.

You can also ask questions and address your concerns to help ensure you walk away from your meeting feeling more confident and optimistic.

Once you hire your truck accident attorney, they can begin representation.

Filing an Insurance Claim

As soon as possible after your truck accident, you should contact your insurance company to notify them of what’s occurred. Even if you were not at fault for your collision, it’s still critical to inform your insurer.

You may start the claim process by filing an insurance claim based on your case. To determine the best course of action, you’ll need to figure out whether your state operates under fault or no-fault rules.

A worker in a safety vest writes on a clipboard near a truck.

In a fault state, you can pursue compensation through the at-fault party’s insurer. On the other hand, in a no-fault state, you can seek financial recovery through your own insurance company, as proving fault is not required.

Once you’ve hired your truck accident lawyer, they can take over your claim. Instead of having to handle your claim on your own, your attorney will act as your representative, and all communications go through your lawyer.

In the days after filing your insurance claim, the insurance company must investigate your accident and gather essential information. Depending on their findings, they’ll approve or deny your claim. Your lawyer will ensure you get the correct settlement amount if your claim is approved.

Should your claim be denied, it’s not necessarily the end of the road for you. Your attorney can continue to fight for fair financial recovery on your behalf.

Sending a Demand Letter

The demand letter is just one of the powerful legal tools attorneys have in their arsenal. If the insurance company is not cooperating, your truck accident lawyer can send them a demand letter.

In the demand letter, your attorney includes plenty of useful particulars concerning your collision, including the details of your accident, resulting injuries and damages, and their insured’s fault.

Your lawyer then includes a monetary figure representing the value of your claim and “demands” the insurance company settle. Should the insurance company fail to settle, your attorney will not shy away from taking further legal action.

Once the letter is received and reviewed, the insurance company may decide to settle your case for the requested figure or negotiate with your lawyer. The demand letter may yield favorable results, but if it doesn’t, your attorney can move on to the next step: the lawsuit.

Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit

Filing a lawsuit may seem daunting, but a truck accident lawyer can handle all case-related tasks promptly and efficiently. This starts with drafting your petition and filing it with the court, along with necessary documents and appropriate fees.

Once you, as the petitioner, file your lawsuit, the opposing party, the respondent, receives a copy of your summons and complaint through the service of process. 

Receiving copies of court documents serves as notification of the lawsuit you’ve just filed, allowing them a set number of days, usually 20 to 30, to file their response to your claims.

Going Through Discovery

Discovery is the most essential part of a truck accident lawsuit. This stage of the case process comes after the respondent has filed their response, and your case has officially begun and ends on a certain date after parties have completed their requests and obtained everything they need.

Throughout the discovery process, parties have the time and opportunity to utilize certain legal tools to gather details and information to help strengthen their cases. During this time, attorneys send each other requests for productions and interrogatories and schedule depositions of case participants and other helpful parties.

There is no average time for discovery, as it highly depends on your case’s complexity and the parties’ willingness to work together and participate. Generally, discovery may take just a few weeks in some cases, while in others, it can last many months or even a year or more.

Seeking Resolution to Your Case

Following the discovery stage of the truck accident claim process, you’ll proceed to pursue a resolution to your case. As with every other aspect of your case, you can also rely on your attorney to handle negotiations and court appearances.

A damaged car and truck after a collision on a sunny day road.


Typically, parties are better equipped to revisit settlement negotiations once they have met their discovery goals.

During negotiations, your lawyer communicates back and forth with the opposing party’s attorneys to try to work out a settlement together. It can take some time, but your lawyer won’t back down from the challenge.

Many personal injury cases, including truck accident claims, settle without having to go to court. Your truck accident lawyer will fight for your right to compensation. Should they succeed, your case is resolved, and you don’t need to go to trial.


More cases settle than go to trial, but some circumstances still require taking the case to court. Should your attorney feel you should go to trial, you can rely on their qualified legal opinion.

Trial can be more nerve-wracking than negotiations, as you’re leaving the future of your case in the hands of a judge and/or jury. Still, you can feel confident knowing your attorney will present your case in court with supporting evidence and testimony to help achieve an advantageous case result.

Time Restrictions for Semi-Truck Collision Cases

One of the key details to recognize concerning truck accident claims is the strict time limits imposed by law. Statutes of limitations limit the amount of time plaintiffs have to initiate their lawsuits in court.

Depending on your state’s laws, you may have as little as one year or six years to file your claim. Although this may seem like a sufficient amount of time, the pre-lawsuit process can be lengthy. Therefore, hiring an attorney right away can get the process started quicker and avoid any potential setbacks.

While the truck accident claim process can seem intimidating and stressful, you don’t have to go through it alone. A personal injury attorney can protect your rights, represent your best interests, and take on every task to get you the most favorable case outcome.