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When many people think about going to court after a trucking accident, they envision a courtroom filled with attorneys, a jury, and a judge. If this thought intimidates you, there’s good news, as this image is often mistaken. Most trucking accident cases are much less exciting and never see the inside of a courtroom at all.

Whether or not you have to go to court after a trucking accident will depend on several factors. With a skilled attorney on your side, you can obtain compensation for your injuries through a negotiated settlement and never have to go to court.

The best way to find out is to meet with a Chicago truck accident lawyer to discuss your case. They can provide you with their professional opinion and let you know the likelihood of your case ending up in court.

The Truck Accident Injury Case Process

Going to Court After a Trucking Accident

When pursuing a truck accident injury case, it’s essential to understand the often complex and lengthy process involved. A seasoned truck accident attorney will guide you through four phases, each crucial in building a strong case for compensation.

The duration of each stage can vary, influenced by a range of factors, some of which may unfortunately be outside of you and your attorney’s control. Remember that these stages can vary depending on factors like your state’s laws.

Phase 1: The Investigation Stage

This initial phase is foundational to your case’s success and involves carefully gathering evidence to support your case. Your attorney might interview witnesses and examine critical details of what happened to establish the viability of your claim.

Simultaneously, your truck accident attorney may file motions with the court to protect valuable evidence that the truck driver or the trucking company might otherwise attempt to alter or conceal—such as the truck’s black box or the driver’s hours of service records.

The investigation stage is the bedrock upon which your case rests. It lays the groundwork for the subsequent phases, providing a solid foundation for legal proceedings. Without an experienced truck accident attorney by your side, your injury claim can fail before it even starts.

Phase 2: The Initial Stage

With a well-prepared case, your lawyer can file your lawsuit with the appropriate court. This marks the commencement of formal legal proceedings. Both you, as the plaintiff or injured party, and the opposing party, often known as the defendant – typically the truck driver or the trucking company – present the facts and legal arguments that support your respective claims.

This stage is instrumental in outlining the framework of your case and identifying the laws under which you seek judgment. It sets the stage for the forthcoming phases, where parties will exchange evidence, and witness testimonies will be crucial.

Phase 3: The Discovery Stage

In the discovery stage, a comprehensive exchange of evidence and information occurs between your truck attorney and the opposing party’s attorneys. This crucial process involves the deposition of witnesses, ensuring both sides have access to the testimonies they might present at trial. Discovery aims to facilitate thorough case preparation while encouraging parties to contemplate settlement if the evidence suggests a likely outcome.

Through this phase, the important elements in the case become more defined. It allows both parties to assess the strengths and weaknesses of their respective positions, often steering them towards negotiations or mediation, which can happen at any point in this process.

Phase 4: The Trial and Post-Trial Stage

The trial phase is the culmination of your attorney’s efforts, where your attorney presents your case before a judge or jury, depending on your state. Their responsibility is to weigh the facts and apply the relevant laws to render a just verdict.

If you are victorious, the judge or jury will also determine the extent of compensation the at-fault party owes you for your damages.

Unfortunately, the process doesn’t simply conclude with the trial. In the event of an unfavorable outcome, the losing party may pursue an appeal to an appellate court, contesting any perceived errors that may have influenced the trial’s outcome.

While the journey through a truck accident injury case may not always be swift, enlisting the services of a seasoned truck attorney can streamline the process and increase the chances of full and fair compensation for your injuries.

Factors That Impact the Likelihood of Going to Court for Your Trucking Accident Case

While it’s typical for truck accident cases to resolve outside of court, each situation is unique. Ideally, a settlement with the insurance company will cover all your damages, sparing you the need for a lawsuit. Although this isn’t always feasible, enlisting a lawyer significantly increases your chances of securing a fair settlement without court proceedings.

Truck accident attorneys typically strive to obtain settlements out of court whenever possible. This can benefit both you and the firm, though insurance companies do not always cooperate. Your lawyer should be ready to take your case to court if necessary to obtain what you deserve.

Two pivotal factors influence the likelihood of a court appearance in your trucking accident case:


Establishing fault is paramount in any truck accident case. Generally, in all states, anyone breaching a legal duty to another party is accountable for the resulting damages. All drivers must exercise due care to prevent harm to others on the road. Suppose a truck driver’s negligence directly leads to the accident. In that case, they are deemed at fault and liable for your damages.

In truck accident scenarios, multiple parties may share fault for the incident.

Responsible parties might include:

  • The truck driver
  • The trucking company
  • A maintenance company
  • A parts manufacturer
  • The cargo company
  • The cargo loaders
  • Another driver involved in the accident
  • A government entity

Note that any dispute regarding liability heightens the likelihood of the case proceeding to trial.

Severity of Your Injuries

Due to their immense size relative to other vehicles, semi-trucks and 18-wheelers can cause extensive damage in collisions. Consequently, you may sustain severe injuries, leading to substantial medical and rehabilitation expenses.

If your injuries are severe and directly linked to the truck accident, the probability of going to trial is actually lower. Conversely, if you incur substantial medical costs but the insurance company questions the adequacy of evidence proving the seriousness of your injuries, the likelihood of a trial may be higher.

Engaging a truck accident lawyer promptly after the incident is crucial. They can compile evidence establishing the liable party’s fault, the extent of your injuries, and your medical expenses. The stronger your case, the greater the probability of achieving a resolution without resorting to court proceedings. This proactive approach increases the likelihood of a favorable outcome.

What Is a Settlement?

A personal injury settlement is an alternative to the formal legal process of filing a lawsuit and going through a court trial. Remarkably, statistics from the U.S. Department of Justice reveal that merely about 3 percent of personal injury cases proceed to trial.

Reaching a settlement usually starts with a demand letter written and sent by your attorney to the opposing party or their insurance company or attorney. A demand letter typically states the compensation the injured party seeks for their damages.

Once the opposing party receives that letter, they are typically in touch with the injured party’s attorney to kick off settlement negotiations. However, remember that these negotiations can last months or even a year or two, depending on the case’s complexity and details.

Attorneys can conduct negotiations by phone, email, or even in person. You don’t have to be present for them, but your attorney’s ethical obligation is to present you with all settlement offers they receive on your behalf.

You should discuss these offers with your attorney. However, it’s ultimately your decision whether you want to accept an offer or not. Rejecting an offer doesn’t necessarily mean you are heading to court. There may be additional offers, and your attorney can counter any offers you don’t feel appropriately represent your injuries and damages.

The Benefits of a Negotiated Settlement

Negotiating a personal injury settlement outside the courtroom is generally advantageous for all parties involved. The advantages of a settlement include:

Faster Resolution

In contrast to the often drawn-out process of court proceedings, settlements can lead to a much quicker resolution. Court cases can be lengthy, lasting months or even years, whereas settlements can occur in a matter of weeks or a few months. This expeditious resolution allows all parties to move forward more swiftly.

Cost Savings

Settling a personal injury claim is typically more cost-effective. Legal proceedings involve numerous expenses, including court fees, expert witness fees, and attorney’s fees.

These costs can accumulate significantly, especially in complex cases. In contrast, a settlement minimizes these expenses, providing both parties a more efficient and economical resolution.

Emotional Relief

Courtroom trials can be emotionally draining and stressful for all parties involved, particularly for the injured party. The formal setting, the need to testify in front of a judge and jury, and the potential cross-examination can intimidate anyone. Opting for a settlement spares individuals from the emotional burden of court appearances, allowing them to focus on their recovery.


Settlements protect the privacy of all parties involved. Unlike court proceedings, where details become part of the public record, settlements remain confidential. This ensures that sensitive information and personal details are not exposed to the public domain, providing privacy many individuals find invaluable.

Tailored Agreements

In a settlement, both parties can negotiate and craft an agreement addressing their needs and concerns. This level of customization isn’t possible in a court trial, where a judge or jury makes decisions based on legal precedent and statutory guidelines. Settlements allow for more nuanced solutions that can better meet the case’s unique circumstances.

Predictable and Controllable Outcomes

In a court trial, the outcome is uncertain. Various factors can influence the outcome, including the judge or jury’s interpretation of the law, the presentation of evidence, and the effectiveness of legal arguments.

In contrast, settlements provide more control over the outcome and predictability. Both parties have a say in the terms, and there is a greater degree of control over the final outcome than if the case heads to court.

Additionally, settling a claim preserves the court’s resources for cases that necessitate a judge or jury’s decision. Many courts across the nation mandate that personal injury claimants attempt to reach an agreement with the responsible party before initiating formal legal proceedings.

A trucking accident settlement offers numerous advantages, including expedited resolution, cost savings, emotional relief, privacy protection, tailored agreements, relationship preservation, and predictable outcomes. These benefits make settling an attractive option for many parties involved in these cases.

All of this said, some truck accident cases require a trial for a fair outcome. Attorneys should be ready to present your case in court to best protect your interests. Even if a trial takes more time and resources, it can be worth it if you receive what you deserve.

Trucking Accident Damages

In a trucking accident case, damages represent the financial compensation awarded to victims for the losses, costs, and disruptions they experience due to the negligent actions of the responsible party. Damages typically fall into two main categories: economic and non-economic.

Economic Damages (Special Damages)

Economic damages, also known as special damages, pertain to the financial impact suffered by the victim due to the incident.

This includes:

  • Lost income
  • Medical expenses
  • Property damage

Non-Economic Damages (General Damages)

On the other hand, non-economic damages don’t have a predetermined monetary value as they represent intangible losses.

They may include:

Agreeing on a value for non-economic damages can be complex, as they lack an inherent monetary value.

Ultimately, both economic and non-economic damages play a crucial role in ensuring that victims receive comprehensive compensation that reflects the true extent of their losses.

Do You Have a Trucking Accident Claim? Contact an Experienced Attorney Today

If you recently suffered injuries in a trucking accident, discuss your case with an attorney as soon as possible. A personal injury lawyer can protect your rights and seek the compensation you deserve for your injuries.

Request a Free Consultation

Tell our experienced team about your accident and/or injuries. One of our personal injury attorneys will contact you to schedule a free case evaluation. Remember: you won’t pay for anything unless we secure a compensation on your behalf.

Call (312) 786-5881 or send us a message online to get started.