How Much Should You Settle for After a Truck Accident?
Considering the substantial size of a commercial truck, it is easy to see how a collision with one could result in severe injuries and significant property damage. The victims of negligence in these accidents can pursue compensation for their losses using the civil court and personal injury law. The settlement process combines factors used to value your losses and nuanced negotiations between your attorney and the insurance company. Before you accept a settlement in your case, consider all these elements and how liability affects your damages.
Factors To Consider When Valuing Your Truck Accident Settlement
The legal term for the losses you endured due to the accident and your injuries is “compensatory damages.” You will find these in every case. However, their monetary value depends on case-specific factors, including the severity of your injuries and the psychological impact the accident had on you. To value your claim sufficiently, a truck accident lawyer will consider all these things, including similar cases and the precedent for calculating damages they set.
The Severity of Your Injuries
The purpose of compensatory damages is to offer victims of personal injury financial recovery of their losses. Not all injuries, particularly the emotional ones, can be made whole with money, but it can certainly help relieve the financial strain of a severe auto accident. Before you accept a settlement offer, consider the extent of your injuries and how profoundly they affect your life. Some of the most devastating injuries from a truck accident include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord damages
- Broken bones
- Deep lacerations
- Internal organ damage
- Torn ligaments and muscles strains
- Loss of limb
- Severe whiplash
Some of these injuries will have life-long consequences, possibly resulting in ongoing treatment and hospital stays. Therefore, your settlement should reflect the future damages you face from your accident and injuries.
The Cost of Your Economic Damages
One of the most cumbersome and essential elements of a truck accident case is calculating the cost of economic damages. Economic damages refer to the specific financial repercussions of the accident. These may include:
- Lost wages. Severe injuries typically result in missing work. You can claim the wages you already lost during recovery as well as wages you will lose in the future for further treatments or loss of earning capacity.
- Medical treatment costs. Medical treatment is expensive, especially if you have insufficient healthcare coverage. Therefore, your damages should include all medical expenses related to your injuries, such as medications, emergency care in the ambulance and hospital, follow-up doctor visits, surgeries, transportation to visits, and future medical needs.
- Damage to your property. Consider the property damaged in the accident, including items in your vehicle with substantial value. This could be electronics or items of personal significance.
- Expenses paid out-of-pocket. Any purchases directly related to the accident, such as help needed at home while you heal, are potentially recoverable. For example, if you were the primary childcare provider in your household, you may need to pay someone to help with your children while you heal.
An attorney can help you understand every possible recoverable damage and find the documentation to support them. Once you calculate these expenses, you will better understand the value of your claim.
The Extent of Psychological Trauma
The court does not limit the damages you can recover to objective, monetary losses. To better value your claim, you should include the psychological impact of the accident and your injuries. These are your non-economic damages, and examples include:
- Emotional distress, which generally arises from the memory of the accident
- Mental anguish, which the law categorizes as the pain and suffering inflicted upon you by the negligent party in your accident
- Anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder
- Losing your ability to enjoy your life
- The pain and suffering directly associated with your injuries
Think about the changes you experienced in your quality of life since the accident. Are you as mobile as you were before? Do you suffer from anxiety that makes it difficult for you to drive? Are you able to care for your children and live independently? Your attorney can help you understand the financial value of non-economic damages and will negotiate with the insurance company to ensure your settlement accurately reflects your losses.
How Liability Affects Your Case
Liability is unique in truck accident cases. Unlike most auto accidents, where one or both drivers are typically responsible, a truck accident may have multiple at-fault parties, and the truck driver may not even be one of them. Therefore, to understand the damages available, you must also understand which parties are liable and what type of claim you can file.
Potentially Liable Parties in a Truck Accident Case
The truck driver is the most obvious party to blame for a truck accident, and this is most likely the case with dealing with an independent, self-employed driver who owns their truck. However, a truck driver employed by a company may only be singularly responsible if they violate road laws or company safety standards. Some other parties that could potentially be liable include:
- The truck company. Companies with commercial trucks are liable for vetting and training their truck drivers. If a driver with a history of traffic violations causes an accident or has little experience operating a commercial truck, the company could be at fault. Additionally, the company is responsible for ensuring the trucks are in peak working condition before they hit the road.
- An outside mechanic. If the truck company hires an outside mechanic to handle inspections and maintenance and the truck malfunctions on the road, the mechanic could be liable for an accident.
- Cargo loader. If a shift or spill of cargo causes an accident, the person or company who loaded the trailer would be liable.
- Truck manufacturer. If a mechanical part or system fails while the driver is operating the truck, causing an accident, the manufacturer could be liable in a product liability lawsuit.
Sometimes there are multiple parties responsible for a single accident. These cases are much more complex.
How a Truck Accident Attorney Can Help You
Truck accident cases nearly always require legal representation. The process can become complex given the potential for multiple liable parties and the fact that injuries and damages are often substantial. Suppose you suffered severe losses, including the death of a loved one, in a truck accident. In that case, a personal injury attorney can help you identify the damages available to you and what legal options you have for pursuing compensation. Unfortunately, these cases sometimes result in going up against a powerful corporation’s insurance provider. You could lose valuable time and money arguing with adjustors whose only interest is protecting the company for substantial payouts.
At Mike Morse Law Firm, we will examine all the pertinent information in your case and consider the future financial repercussions of your injuries before we agree to a settlement. Our legal team will represent you in every element of the case, protecting your right to compensation and ensuring all parties involved treat you fairly. In the meantime, you can focus on physical and emotional healing. Contact Mike Morse Law Firm today at 855-MIKE-WINS to discuss the details of your case with one of our truck accident lawyers. Your consultation is free, and we are available 24/7 to take your call or text.