What Is the Average Settlement for a Truck Accident?

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Truck accidents can cause devastating damage, and the level of damage determines the value of your claim and settlement. Because so many factors go into determining how much an at-fault truck driver or trucking company owes you when their negligence causes an accident, it is challenging to give an average settlement amount. However, if you suffered an injury in a truck accident, you may find it advantageous to speak with a truck accident attorney about the settlement you could receive.

The Potential Damages That Make Up the Value of Your Settlement

The word “damages” describes the losses you suffered from a personal injury accident. The purpose of filing a lawsuit is to seek compensatory damages and attempt to make whole what you lost due to your injury. Those losses are often significant when your accident involves a big rig truck. The average commercial truck is 72 feet long, more than eight feet wide, and 14 feet tall. They can weigh 35,000 pounds with an empty trailer and as much as 80,000 pounds with a full load. The damage a vehicle that size can cause to a standard passenger vehicle is monstrous.

Types of Compensatory Damages

Compensatory damages is an umbrella term that includes two types of damages, economic and non-economic losses. Your economic losses may consist of:

  • The cost of hospital stays and clinic visits
  • The cost of emergency medical expenses, including the fee for ambulance services
  • The cost of future medical treatments for injuries requiring rehabilitation or other ongoing care
  • The total of lost wages accumulated from periods when you could not work and projected wages lost because of future missed work
  • Income lost if your injury leads to a disability, making you incapable of performing the same job you did before
  • The cost to replace your vehicle and any other damaged property

Compensation for non-economic damages is meant to offer you some financial relief to compensate for the mental distress you experience as a result of your injuries. Examples include:

  • The physical pain and suffering you experienced
  • The emotional distress and mental anguish caused by post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, or any other mental health issues
  • Loss of consortium, a form of damages associated with family members who lost a loved one
  • Loss of reputation
  • Hindered capacity to enjoy life as you did before your injuries
  • Changes in mental and emotional health caused by disfigurement, amputation, or disabling injury

A significant amount of case preparation involves collecting the documentation and evidence needed to support claims of economic and non-economic damages. Should you hire an attorney, they will investigate your accident and speak with auto accident reconstruction experts to ensure they have every piece of evidence available to adequately value your claim and get you the highest settlement possible.

The Role Liability in a Truck Accident

Liability is crucial in seeking compensation for a truck accident in at-fault states. An at-fault state requires the person responsible for the accident to pay for the damages incurred due to their negligent behavior. Determining fault in an auto accident between two passenger vehicles is generally less complex than deciding responsibility in an accident involving a commercial truck. The reason is that the truck driver is not the only possible responsible party when the truck causes the accident.

Possible Liable Parties

Who pays your settlement when a truck causes a collision? The answer depends on a variety of factors. Some possible responsible parties include:

  • A company-employed truck driver. Truck drivers are responsible for the damages if they violate any road or traffic regulations. The same is true if the accident happened while the truck driver used the truck for reasons outside the scope of their job. 
  • An independent truck driver. Independent drivers carry loads for trucking companies under contract rather than direct employment. They typically own their trucks and are responsible for maintenance, repairs, inspections, and their behavior on the road.
  • The trucking company. The trucking company may be responsible for an accident if they fail to perform regular maintenance on the vehicle or conduct mandated inspections. The company also has a responsibility to train and vet truck drivers adequately.
  • A third-party. If the trucking company outsources maintenance and inspection duties to a third party, that company or person would be responsible for any malfunctions that cause an accident. Similarly, if a third party failed to load the truck’s trailer properly and caused an accident, the party that loaded the truck would be responsible. 

Sometimes multiple parties are liable for various types of damages. You may even have numerous lawsuits or a single lawsuit with multiple defendants. It can become complex as the investigation unfolds.

How Liability Affects Your Compensation

The process becomes even more complex if both parties share fault for the accident. If you suspect you are partially responsible for the accident, you may still benefit from speaking with a truck accident attorney. Shared responsibility does not exempt you from compensation based on the comparative fault law.

Under the comparative fault law, the court splits the responsibility for damages into percentages for each party. It then deducts the plaintiff’s share of fault from the determined value of the damages. In a pure comparative fault state, you can receive up to 1% of compensation as long as the court does not find you 100% responsible. However, most states follow the modified comparative fault rule, which states that you can only receive as much as 49% of the total value of damages because the plaintiff is ineligible for compensation if their share of fault is more than half.

Steps To Take Following a Truck Accident

In the event of a truck accident causing severe injuries, there is little you can do other than call emergency medical services and wait for them to arrive. However, if you are physically able, some steps you can take to prepare for your claim include:

  • Alerting the police. Call the non-emergency number if the accident does not require first responders.
  • Collecting evidence. You can take photos of everything at and around the scene. You want to ensure you have pictures of all property damage and injuries already appearing on your body.
  • Write down everyone’s information. Talk to the truck driver and get their license and insurance information as well as the name of their employer.
  • See a medical professional. Get a complete evaluation as soon as possible to document your injuries and ensure you have no internal damage.

Once you have everything documented, you may want to present that information to a truck accident attorney. Include your written statement detailing what happened during and leading up to the accident.

Schedule a Consultation Today With a Truck Accident Attorney

Given the nature of a truck accident, you may face the fight to receive compensation while nurturing some significant damages. The auto accident attorneys at Mike Morse Law Firm can help you understand the value of your losses so you can claim a fair settlement. In addition, we offer personal support to make you comfortable with allowing us to represent you in the legal process. You should never have to pay for the careless actions of a truck driver or trucking company. Our role as your legal team will be to fight to protect your rights. Contact Mike Morse Law Firm today to schedule your free case evaluation, and we will get started on your case right away.

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