Although any kind of automobile accident can have fatal consequences, those involving trucks are even more likely to be deadly due to their size. If you’ve survived a truck crash, you may be left with devastating damages, from physical to financial. But before you file your lawsuit, you need to know how long truck accident settlements last and how much they’re worth. Here’s what you should expect.
A Brief Intro to Truck Accident Settlements
In law, a settlement is when disputing parties reach an agreement about a legal case. This can be reached either before or after court action begins. There are two main types of settlements - lump sum and structured. A lump sum settlement is paid all at once while a structured settlement is paid in regular payments for a predetermined length of time.
Settlements, particularly truck accident-related ones, are often reached by using Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) methods. These include negotiation or mediation, which are non-binding, or arbitration, which is binding and replaces a civil trial.
ADR methods are popular because it’s usually cheaper and quicker to settle cases this way as opposed to seeking resolution in court. Unlike litigation, parties are more likely to be able to present their arguments calmly and rationally, discussing their issues before reaching an amicable settlement agreement.
How Long Will it Take for a Truck Accident Case to be Settled?
A truck accident case often takes much longer to settle than most personal injury cases - usually several months or even years. This is because truck accident cases often require much more research as trucks tend to cause more devastation than the average car accidents due to their size and the impact created upon collision. Because they’re so huge, most regular vehicles don’t stand a chance and even if the accident happened at low speeds, damages and injuries still tend to be excessive.
Due to this excessive impact, more research needs to be collected - from investigations conducted by federal and state agencies to an analysis of medical reports. This collation of data is usually the biggest factor associated with the time it takes for a truck accident case to settle.
How Much are Truck Accident Settlements Worth?
As we mentioned earlier, because accidents involving trucks tend to cause a lot of damage compared to regular vehicle accidents, settlements are also much higher. For instance, the largest ever truck settlement was $80 million when a tractor-trailer crashed into and killed five nursing students in 2016.
However, it’s important to realise that the settlement amount can vary, depending on the individual case and its circumstances. These factors include:
- Medical Expenses
- Lost Wages
- Vehicle Damage
- Attorney Costs
- Total Pain and Suffering
When filing for a personal injury lawsuit, the total cost of medical expenses is one factor that plays a big role in determining the settlement amount. Usually, injuries sustained during a truck accident are severe and sometimes, life-changing. This can lead to higher medical bills, longer recovery time and in some cases, you might require ongoing treatment that can impact your life in the long run.
This figure depends on how severe your injuries are and what treatment you need as a result - meaning that it will vary from person to person.
If you’ve become injured in your accident, you won’t just need medical treatment. You may also have to take time off work and depending on the type of work you do, you may have to wait until you’re fully healed before you can go back.
This can lead to a loss in wages, particularly if you were forced to stay off work for an extended period of time. This figure will vary from person to person as not everyone works the same job or gets the same salary. And of course, it also depends on how much time you needed off work.
When a truck hits a regular vehicle, it usually totals that vehicle, even if the accident occurred at low speeds. Similar to the other points, not everyone owns the same car nor does their vehicle sustain the same damages, so this figure will vary.
When your case is settled, you’ll owe your attorney a portion of the final amount - a figure that you’ll have agreed upon. This percentage will vary and not every truck wreck lawyer charges the same fee, so ensure this is a question that you ask during your consultation.
Pain and Suffering
Unlike the above factors, pain and suffering is a little harder to determine. Your attorney will have to look at the overall picture of your accident and how it’s affected you. This can include:
- Analysing your injuries and medical expenses.
- Keeping track of much work you’ve had to miss and will miss in the future (and income as a result).
- Noting what daily activities you’ve had to miss out on because of the accident and the injuries you’ve sustained.
If you’re the main earner in your family, your attorney will also look at how your family members’ lives have been affected as a result of your injuries.
Once all of this information has been collected, your attorney will add this amount to your settlement amount. In most cases, this is the factor that attorneys will fight the hardest for because it’s not as cut and dry as the others.
Been in a Truck Accident? Speak to an Expert
When it comes to obtaining settlements for a truck accident, it’s vital that you find an attorney who can best represent your interests. That’s why you need to do your research when you’re looking for the right attorney. Make sure you find a professional who isn’t just an expert in trucking cases, but is also someone you can trust and get on with.
If you or a loved one has been in a truck accident recently, you need to take action. Coxwell & Associates has been representing Mississippians for over 35 years and our team of experts can help you get the compensation you deserve.
Disclaimer: This blog is intended as general information purposes only, and is not a substitute for legal advice. Anyone with a legal problem should consult a lawyer immediately.