Do You Have to Go to Court for a Truck Accident?

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Trucking accidents rank among the most deadly in America. Trucks weigh as much as 30 times the size of passenger vehicles and have exceptional ground clearance. Not surprisingly, in 2019, 4,119 people died in U.S. truck accidents. A significant number of these people were passenger vehicle occupants, pedestrians, motorcyclists and cyclists. Injuries also tend to be catastrophic and lean toward the possibility of lifelong disabilities.

If you or your loved one suffered injuries in a truck accident, you might have yet to recover from the trauma of the accident. Is it any wonder you prefer not to go to court? Whether you worry about the case going to trial or just physically attending the trial, consider the details of how things might play out.

What Determines Whether You Need To Go To Court

Most trucking accident cases rarely make it to trial. Instead, companies settle privately with victims for undisclosed sums of money. The more severe the accident, the more serious your injuries and the greater the proof of negligence against the trucker, the higher your likelihood of settling privately.

Settling outside of court reduces the need to relive the incident. If you or your loved one suffered catastrophic injuries, it also reduces the hassle and physical pain associated with transportation and overall mobility. So, what determines whether you need to go to court?

Low-Ball Offers

Insurance companies preserve their profitability by paying out as few and as low payments as possible. Consequently, they rarely offer to pay the true worth of a case. The original offer usually lowballs the injured person. After involving a personal injury attorney, the insurance company might start to sing a different tune, but this is not always the case. If the company remains determined not to pay a reasonable sum, the matter could end up in court.

Insurance Claim Denials

In some cases, the insurance company could deny the claim altogether. This is especially likely in cases where you might need to make a claim on your insurance. You may need to pursue this avenue if you have a hit-and-run incident and have not successfully identified the responsible driver. Your coverage determines whether the insurance company should pay, but they often find a myriad of excuses not to.

Medical Disputes

Insurance companies often send people to “spy” on injured persons while they recover from accidents. These individuals sometimes look for anything they can find to support claims that your injuries might not be as severe as you say. They might take a photo of the one day you make it out into the garden or the first time you experience happiness again at a local park. They can then claim your physical and emotional injuries are not as serious as you claim.

Negligence Disputes

Insurance companies might claim you had a hand in the accident and so refuse to pay the full amount. How they present their information can also make this appear true. Even in instances where the insurance company proves partial negligence on your behalf, an experienced personal injury attorney might make a stronger case for their hand in the matter.

Property Value Disputes

Some people have immense love for their vehicles. Maybe they inherited it from a grandfather who restored it to pristine condition. It could be the first luxury vehicle they ever owned. In other instances, they might have invested tens of thousands of dollars in after-market mods, such as off-roading suspensions and overlanding gear. However, the insurance company might value the vehicle at much less than its worth.

Criminal Activities

Sometimes, crashes occur because truckers or trucking companies engage in illegal activities that might lead to prosecution. Examples could range from drunk driving to serious road rage to fleeing a hit-and-run accident. In these cases, the prosecution may call you in to testify and to put a face on the effects of the heinous acts committed. Note that criminal court proceedings are separate from civil court litigation.

Court Summons

If the case goes to court, there is no guarantee you need to attend the hearing, especially if you suffered serious injuries. However, if you receive a summons to appear in court, you may have no choice but to do so. The good news is your attorney can prepare you for what to expect to improve the chances of a successful outcome.

How To Prepare for Court After a Truck Accident

Even when cases seem cut and dry, it’s a good idea to prepare for a potential court appearance. This might be the furthest thing from your mind while recovering from injuries or after losing a loved one, but it could make or break your case.

Hire an Attorney

When insurance companies notice you have no representation, most of them take advantage of the situation to protect themselves. Always retain an attorney in trucking accidents. Most personal injury attorneys do not charge for case reviews and do not charge any fees until they win your case, so you have very little to risk or lose. Hiring an attorney also outsources the legal work, so you can focus on rehabilitation.

Follow Medical Orders

If you lived an active life before the trucking accident, you might feel tempted to push yourself to return to that life. You might even question the value of life when faced with the realities of serious and permanent disabilities. This could cause you to disobey the doctor’s orders, but keep in mind that doing so could cost you. The insurance company could argue that the severity of your injuries resulted from these actions.

Gather Evidence

No one expects you to go out searching for clues after a trucking accident. However, any evidence you have from the accident, pass it on to your attorney. In some cases, you might only have information your attorney can act on. This might include your take on what happened, the presence of a black box or insurance tracker in your vehicle, dashcam footage or cellphone footage.

Guard Your Words

It only takes one sentence out of context to start throwing doubt on your story. Consequently, only speak with your medical team about your injuries. It could save you a great deal of trouble if you only discussed the truck accident with the Michigan personal injury attorney working on the case and if you did so in private.

How an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Can Help With a Truck Accident

When you work with a competent Michigan personal injury attorney, the chances of keeping a case out of court improves. Your attorney can explore all options for negotiation outside of court while aggressively advocating for your best interest. 

If negotiations do not go as planned and you feel determined not to go to court, your attorney could explain the pros and cons of accepting the settlement offered. If the case does end up in court, your attorney can do everything in his or her power to keep you outside of the courtroom. 

At Mike Morse Law Firm, we have won millions on behalf of our clients involved in trucking accidents. In fact, we have won more than $1 billion in compensation across all our personal injury practice areas. Our large and diverse team of attorneys work hard to secure positive outcomes for our clients and charge nothing until we win. Contact us for a free case review to get started. 

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