If you’ve been in a semi-truck accident that wasn’t your fault, and you’re now dealing with injuries that that could change the trajectory of your life, you may be entitled to significant financial compensation.
But how much compensation can you reasonably expect? And how do you determine what’s fair? Those are much more difficult questions to answer.
Big truck accidents are difficult, and drivers, trucking companies, and their insurance companies are prepared to defend their reputations and bottom lines. The last thing you need while you heal is to navigate a challenging legal case.
Fortunately, our experienced truck accident attorneys have what it takes to tackle this kind of case.
Sure, you can certainly look up statistics about previous truck accident settlements and try to calculate some kind of average. But that really isn’t going to give you the information you need to know for your specific circumstances.
This is because truck accident settlement amounts are based on numerous factors, and those factors vary wildly from case to case. Every situation is unique, so in order to get the best estimate of how much you can expect to get in compensation, you need to speak with an experienced attorney.
It’s worth noting, however, that truck accidents can, and often do, result in relatively high settlements compared to most “typical” car crashes involving only passenger vehicles. The reason is twofold.
No matter the details of your case, going up against trucking companies after an accident is not easy. It’s always in your best interest to work with an experienced truck accident attorney when pursuing financial compensation.
Settlements after semi-truck crashes are based on a range of losses, or damages, experienced by the injured person. The money you receive may serve as compensation for monetary costs and decreased quality of life, and possibly as a punishment for whoever caused your injuries.
Usually, personal injury settlements are entirely compensatory, which means they are meant to make up for things you lost because of someone else’s negligence or carelessness. In other words, compensatory damages attempt to make you “whole.”
The losses may be specific monetary amounts, or more subjective changes in your quality of life.
When you add up the various financial costs you’ve incurred as a direct result of the accident, they may include multiple kinds of losses:
As another form of compensation, non-economic damages are meant to help injured people feel whole again by addressing costs that can’t be easily measured in dollar amounts. Some examples include:
While this kind of settlement money is rare, it is a possibility in some truck crash cases if the at-fault parties engaged in especially reckless or malicious behavior. Usually these will be called “punitive” damages.
Non-compensatory damages are not about something you lost. They’re about punishing the person or organization that caused your injury. They’re also a way to send a message that serious consequences can follow reckless behavior.
For example, say the truck driver who hit you is found to have been intoxicated behind the wheel. That person made the decision to drink alcohol or use drugs and then operate a vehicle. While many traffic crashes result from accidental, momentary carelessness, driving under the influence is deliberately reckless decision.
If you think punitive damages are possible in your case, it’s essential that you work with a lawyer. Punitive damages are rare, it’s difficult to prove they’re appropriate in any particular case, and amounts can vary wildly.
Personal injury cases, including truck accidents, are built around the concepts of negligence and liability. A person or party is negligent if they failed to exercise reasonable caution and care, and you got hurt. A negligent party may be liable to pay for the damages you sustained.
These questions can be quite complex in truck accident cases. In most ordinary car accidents, usually one driver or the other is liable. But when commercial vehicles are involved, negligence and liability is more likely to be shared by multiple parties, such as:
For example, if you were injured when a fatigued truck driver sideswiped you, it’s possible that the driver had skipped breaks. Or, perhaps their employer hadn’t properly trained them on required break times, or were pressuring them to ignore them.
Figuring out all the liable parties in a truck accident case is important because it determines who you can seek damages from, and which insurance policies can offer coverage.
There’s also the possibility that you might have shared some responsibility yourself. If you are found to have contributed to the accident, your damages could be reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, if you suffered $100,000 in damages but were 30% at fault, you could only recover in $70,000 in Kentucky or Indiana. Further, in Indiana, if you are more than 50% at fault, you cannot recover anything.
As mentioned above, the amount of insurance coverage in play matters a great deal when figuring out how much you can realistically recover in compensation.
For example, if you get injured in a regular car accident and the at-fault driver only has the minimum personal liability coverage (and no other assets to pay you), the most you can get from that driver is $25,000. This is why it’s so important to have uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage on your own auto insurance policy, as it can make up for this kind of scenario.
However, trucking companies typically have hundreds of thousands of dollars in liability coverage on their trucks, and sometimes millions. If you’ve been in a truly severe truck accident, the number of liable parties and the amount of applicable coverage can make a huge difference in terms of how much your case could be worth in practice.
Whatever the case may be, it will be up to your truck accident lawyer to thoroughly investigate the crash, calculate your damages, and determine all sources of liability and insurance coverage. Then, they’ll need to show those findings to the insurance companies or court, and persuasively argue that what you’re asking for is fair and reasonable.
The evidence needed to go up against a trucker or the company they drive for isn’t always easy to come by. Driver logbooks, dash cam footage, or company records may be time sensitive or manipulated; your attorney knows this, and is ready to move quickly to secure strong evidence in your favor.
An experienced truck accident lawyer will know how to collect evidence, frame arguments, and stay on top of your case. Furthermore, if your attorney has a successful track record and has shown a willingness to take truck accident cases to court (and win), it increases the pressure on the trucking company to settle cases fairly.
But this isn’t just about holding truck drivers and trucking companies accountable. Our primary goal is always to ensure the best possible outcome for every client. In addition to securing the money you deserve, we aim to minimize your stress and frustration while making you feel understood and cared for.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a semi-truck crash, now’s the time to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney. We begin every case with a free evaluation to determine the best path forward.
To get started as soon as possible, call (502) 222-2222 or use the easy contact form on our website. We’ll get you set up with that free initial consultation and help you see your way to a secure future.
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.