The Mn Criminal Defense, Personal Injury & Family Law Blog
How Do Brainerd, MN Injury Lawyers Resolve Truck Crash Claims?
November 15, 2019
Back in the day, most truck wreck claims went to trial. But that proportion decreased by over 50 percent during the 1990s. Now, out-of-court settlements far outnumber trials. These settlements are usually best for everyone. They give the parties more control over the outcome and reduce litigation time.
More importantly for Brainerd, MN injury lawyers and their clients, truck crash claims often settle on very favorable terms. Every case is unique, but most follow the same process.
In negligence matters, the victim/plaintiff has the burden of proof. So, these claims must include enough solid evidence to establish the basic elements. Additionally, there is often a direct relationship between the amount of evidence a Brainerd, MN injury lawyer presents and the amount of damages a Crow Wing County jury awards.
Sometimes, evidence is easy to acquire. In many cases, the victim’s testimony, the police accident report, and medical bills might be the only necessary items. But that’s not always true.
Obviously, in wrongful death claims, the victim’s testimony is completely unavailable. In other situations, such as brain injury cases, the victim’s testimony might be shaky. For these same reasons, the police accident report might be incomplete or inaccurate. And, medical bills often convey hard data, like diagnosis, treatment, and cost. But the human element is missing.
Therefore, Brainerd, MN injury lawyers must often dig deeper to find compelling evidence. That’s especially true in truck wreck claims. These collisions often involve wrongful death or other catastrophic injuries. Some additional sources include some often-overlooked electronic gadgets, such as:
ELDs: Electronic Logging Devices are very important in HOS (Hours of Service)-related claims. Drowsy driving is a serious problem among truck drivers. Because profit margins are so thin, these drivers often stay on the road longer than the maximum periods set in Minnesota or federal law. ELDs, which are connected to the truck’s drivetrain, often contain important data regarding HOS compliance.
EDRs: Event Data Recorders are much like the black box flight data recorders in commercial airplanes. Capacity varies by make and model, but most EDRs contain information about vehicle speed, steering angle, brake application, and other data critical to crash analysis.
Electronic evidence is quite valuable. Such evidence often resonates very well with tech-savvy Crow Wing County jurors. Additionally, assuming the devices were working properly, it’s hard for insurance company lawyers to block their use in court.
But there are issues. These devices are quite sophisticated. A Brainerd, MN injury lawyer must have the proper resources and know-how to access the information. That’s assuming the information is available at all. Since many insurance companies “accidentally” destroy the EDR and ELD, Brainerd, MN injury lawyers must quickly send spoliation letters to preserve this evidence.
How Brainerd, MN Injury Lawyers Establish the Settlement Value
The medical evidence in the case, like medical bills and examination results, play a big part in determining the case’s economic value. Liability evidence, from things like the ELD and EDR, is important as well. If the truck driver was clearly at fault, a Brainerd, MN injury lawyer typically demands more money.
A brief side note here. No amount of money in the world can fully compensate victims and their families in serious personal injury cases. But no one can turn back the clock and stop the accident from happening. So, money is the next best thing.
Other factors may affect the settlement demand. For example, some victims want to move on with their lives as quickly as possible. So, a Brainerd, MN injury lawyer may demand less money.
When it comes to actually setting the settlement value, there is no single method. Truthfully, this part of the process is often more art than science. Often, Brainerd, MN injury lawyers multiply the economic damages (medical bills, lost wages, and property damage) by two, three, or four, depending on the aforementioned other factors.
If liability is reasonably clear, Minnesota insurance companies have a duty to quickly settle the claims. But, there is usually at least some question as to liability. So, a lightning-fast settlement usually does not happen.
Generally, a Brainerd, MN injury lawyers must file court paperwork to protect the victim/plaintiff’s rights. Insurance companies routinely file pretrial motions seeking to have the case thrown out of court. If a lawyer has diligently collected evidence, these motions almost always fail.
Quite often, truck crash claims settle after mediation. Briefly, a mediator hears from both sides and then conveys settlement offers back and forth between the two sides. If both parties negotiate in good faith, mediation is usually successful.
Reach Out to Aggressive Attorneys
Truck crash victims may be entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced Brainerd, MN injury lawyer, contact Carlson & Jones, P.A. We do not charge upfront legal fees in injury cases.