In 2021, more than 150,000 people were injured in United States commercial vehicle accidents. This number was a 5% increase over the previous year. In general, truck accidents and reported injuries have been on the rise. Unfortunately, this also means that innocent victims are more likely to be hurt in a collision with a semi-truck or tractor-trailer.
For many injured victims, surviving the accident is just the first step in the process. Due to their sheer size and the force of the collision, it is likely that injuries will occur. When you or a loved one have been hurt in a commercial truck accident, it may be necessary to file a lawsuit in order to protect your legal rights.
While the thought of filing a lawsuit may seem daunting to many, an experienced nationwide truck accident attorney can help guide you through the process. Here’s a look at what you can expect to happen when a lawsuit is filed following a truck crash.
In every United States jurisdiction, the first step in the lawsuit process is to file a complaint. A complaint is simply a legal term for the lawsuit itself. After identifying all of the potential defendants in a case, your attorney will write a lawsuit. The suit will explain the events that caused your injuries and will state why each defendant was negligent and the legal theory or theories under which they should be held accountable for their actions.
Once the lawsuit is filed, it will then be served on each defendant. After a defendant is served, they have a specific period of time (usually 30 days) to submit their written response.
Once the lawsuit has been filed and served, the case will move into the discovery phase. Discovery is broadly known as the point in the lawsuit where each side exchanges information and documents to give the other side a better picture of the facts and issues in the case.
Discovery can involve both written questions and requests for documents. It can also involve a deposition. At a truck accident deposition, your attorney has the opportunity to ask questions of potential witnesses in the case. Some individuals who might be deposed in a truck accident case are:
After the discovery phase is completed, your attorney will have a better idea of where the case stands. At this point, the question of whether to settle the case or proceed to a trial comes into focus.
Following discovery, the parties to a truck accident case will usually engage in a form of alternative dispute resolution, also known as ADR. ADR usually consists of mediation or arbitration and is a process designed to help litigants settle their cases and avoid the time, expense, and uncertainty that comes along with a trial.
Most jurisdictions require some form of pre-trial mediation to occur before the case can go to trial. Mediation is a helpful procedure that allows many cases to settle before they reach a courtroom.
Assuming that the case does not settle at the mediated settlement conference, it will usually proceed to the pre-trial motions stage. At this point, both sides have a good understanding of the other side’s position. Pre-trial motions are designed to further narrow down any potential issues that could be remaining for trial.
At this point, it is common for the defense to seek a dismissal of the plaintiff’s case through what is known as summary judgment. A summary judgment can be granted if the plaintiff is unable to produce enough facts in their favor to take a case to trial. Summary judgment is a strong weapon in the defense lawyer’s arsenal. Having the help of a seasoned truck accident lawyer is essential in order to ensure that your case survives an attempt at summary judgment.
The jury trial is normally the final stage for an injured truck accident victim. At this point, efforts at settlement have failed, and the parties have been unable to agree on how to resolve their differences. The case will proceed to a jury. The jury will hear all of the evidence in your case and will render a verdict based on the facts and the law.
Jury verdicts are notoriously unpredictable in nature. The art of conducting a jury trial is something that is lost on many attorneys. When selecting an attorney to handle your truck accident case, you should ensure that the attorney has experience in all aspects of litigation, including taking numerous cases all the way to a jury verdict. Selecting a jury who will be potentially sympathetic to your truck accident claim is the most vital part of the trial. A skilled truck accident lawyer will present your case to the jury in a simple but persuasive manner in order to convince them to return a verdict in your favor.
Here at Burg Simpson, we have a dedicated and experienced team of national truck accident attorneys standing by to help you. While no one ever expects to be involved in a truck crash, the reality is that many innocent victims will be hurt each year on streets and highways across the country. If you find yourself in this unfortunate position, you may also have to file a lawsuit to obtain the compensation that you deserve. Choosing an attorney who is experienced and comfortable with high-stakes litigation is the most important decision that you will make during this process.
Our firm is not afraid to take on a tough case. You can rest assured that we will have your back every step of the way, from filing the lawsuit through the trial. We utilized all of our experience to assist each client based on the facts of their case. To schedule your free consultation with one of our attorneys, please reach out to us using our online contact form or call us at (888) 895-0280.