This is the next post in our series on the handling of Hartford, Connecticut accident cases which involve a commercial vehicle. My last article discussed why commercial vehicle accidents may involve multiple defendants. It is important to remember that employers are responsible for the actions of their employees. This means that an employer can be liable for the negligence of their driver. Also, additional causes of action may exist against the employer. Commercial liability involves complicated issues of law, and it is important that you retain an experienced attorney to assist you. In this article I will discuss another important topic – the length of time it can take to settle such cases. If you are in need of assistance, then contact our office today to speak with a personal injury lawyer.
Settlement negotiations with the defendant’s insurance company begins with the sending of a “demand letter.” This letter will state the amount of money the Plaintiff is requesting, the basis for the calculations, and will include supporting documents such as medical bills, police reports, and witness statements. The Plaintiff’s attorney and the insurance company will then engage in back-and-forth negotiations. If a settlement can be reached then the matter will be resolved. It is not uncommon for the insurance company to reject the initial offer, and to attempt to deny liability altogether. If a settlement cannot be reached then the Plaintiff’s lawyer will file a lawsuit on their behalf. Litigation will then commence and the case will resolve either through settlement or a trial.
Accidents involving commercial vehicles can lead to instances where a significant amount of time will pass before the settlement demand can be sent to the insurance carrier. This is due to the fact that the victim’s damages must be determined before making the demand. If a victim makes their settlement demand without knowing their long-term prognosis, then they run the risk of accepting a payment which does not cover their losses. This is best explained by way of example. Suppose a victim is involved in a trucking accident. He suffers serious back injuries. It is not clear initially whether he will regain full mobility and how many surgeries he will require. Believing that he will make a full recovery, the victim accepts a “quick” settlement. Unfortunately, after several surgeries, the victim comes to realize that he will be partially disabled for the rest of his life. Because he settled the case, he cannot receive additional compensation. He must now shoulder the additional medical costs and lost wages himself. While this example is for illustrative purposes only, it does show the risk of accepting a settlement before your long-term damages are known.
Waiting for a more certain prognosis also means waiting to send a demand letter to the insurance carrier. An attorney who is looking out for your best interests will suggest you wait for this reason. Unfortunately, there are attorneys who may suggest that you settle the case as soon as possible. While this is ethically questionable, it does happen. This is why we strongly suggest you retain a firm with a history of service to our community and which practices regularly in the area of injury law.
If you have been involved in a commercial motor vehicle accident, contact our office today to speak with a Hartford personal injury lawyer. Our firm has been serving the area for decades and we take pride in the level of service which we provide. We understand that this is a serious time in your life and will give your case the attention it deserves. Contact us online or by telephone today. We also serve the areas of Wethersfield, New Britain, Rocky Hill, West and East Hartford, Bristol, Glastonbury, and Manchester, as well as the Middlesex County cities of Middletown and Cromwell.