In a truck accident, the damages are usually extensive and the injuries are severe. That’s why the settlements are huge. The average settlement for truck accident cases can range from $750,000 to $5,000,000, depending on the truck’s insurance policy. However, this is merely an average as truck accident settlement sums vary from case to case. We’ll be discussing why.
Truck accident settlements are usually considerably higher than regular automobile crash cases. However, this amount depends on a variety of factors. For example, the largest ever sum was $80m in 2016 when a truck crash killed five people. This is much higher than the average range we mentioned earlier due to the case’s individual factors.
- Carelessness of the Truck Driver
- Inexperienced Truck Driver
- The Extent of the Physical Injury
- Medical Expenses
- Loss of Income
- Property Damage
- Pain and Suffering
- Loss of Consortium
- Punitive Damages
- Wrongful Death
- The Skill of the Lawyer
Carelessness of the Truck Driver
If the truck accident was caused by carelessness on the commercial driver’s part, it can considerably add to the settlement sum as the accident could have easily been avoided. Carelessness might include lack of attention, failure to brake, violating traffic laws or general recklessness when driving.
Inexperienced Truck Driver
Commercial truck drivers receive extensive training to ensure that they drive their vehicles as safely as possible. This is particularly important when you consider how much larger and heavier trucks are in comparison to regular automobiles.
However, if a truck driver isn’t experienced enough, it can increase the likelihood of an accident. For example, the truck driver might not have attached trailers or loaded the cargo properly because they don’t know how. Or they might not be aware of the speed limits and braking distance.
The Extent of the Physical Injury
The severity of the physical injuries is one of the most important factors in determining the settlement sum. The injuries sustained in the truck accident can cause a domino effect of the other factors. For instance, severe physical injuries can lead to extreme pain and suffering, high medical expenses and loss of income due to excessive time off work.
Medical expenses include all of the costs related to the treatment of the injuries caused by the accident. For example:
- Emergency room care
- Hospital care
- Doctor’s bills
- X-rays and scans
- Physical therapy
- Stays in a nursing home
The more severe the injuries, the more medical care is needed and thus, the higher the overall medical costs.
Loss of Income
This is all of the wages and bonuses you would have received had the accident not happened due to having to take days off work. It also includes:
- The wages you should have earned throughout your employment if the accident has left you unable to work at all.
- The difference in earning potential if the accident has left you partially disabled.
The amount of lost income depends on the individual’s specific job role, salary and injuries, which is why it can affect the settlement sum’s precise figure.
As trucks are considerably larger than regular automobiles, they can cause significantly more damage even if the accident happened at slow speeds. In most cases, passenger vehicles are completely totalled.
This figure can affect the settlement sum figure because the passenger vehicle’s value and the exact extent of the damage can vary from accident to accident.
Pain and Suffering
Truck accidents are often so severe, they can leave victims traumatized as well as injured. This can lead to pain and suffering – something that also affects the settlement sum.
This can include:
- Physical pain
- Emotional distress
- Post traumatic stress syndrome
- Inability to concentrate
Many truck accident victims experience loss of happiness in life as they knew it before the accident. Because this tends to be a subjective factor and varies from person to person, it can affect the precise settlement figure.
Loss of Consortium
The injuries caused by the truck accident can lead to victims being unable to perform their usual daily activities. This, combined with pain and suffering, can affect the relationship between the victim and their loved ones because of the victim’s changed personality.
Loss of consortium is often filed by family members and is included in the lawsuit or settlement amount. Like pain and suffering, this factor is subjective so the exact amount can vary greatly.
This damage is enhanced by the size and weight of the truck. It’s used as a punishment for the defendant – the truck driver, in this case – and to deter other truck drivers from behaving in a similar way. Punitive damage amounts depend on the circumstances of the specific truck accident case.
If a truck accident caused any wrongful deaths, this can also contribute to the settlement amount. Wrongful death lawsuits are filed by direct family members.
The Skill of the Lawyer
Finally, one of the key deciding factors for settlement sums is the skill of the lawyer. The general consensus is that the more experienced the lawyer is, the more likely you are to win your case and receive the full compensation that you deserve. It’s important to realize that “truck accidents” aren’t actually a law specialty. You should search for personal injury lawyers instead and if they have handled truck accident cases in the past, it’s even better for your claim.
As well as their experience, there are other things you need to consider when choosing the lawyer to represent your truck accident case. For example:
- Their track record – both professionally and personally.
- Their trial experience – not all lawyers go to court so you need to check that your attorney has trial experience. Otherwise, if your case goes to court and your attorney has little or no trial experience, your case can be affected – especially if they go up against a seasoned court lawyer.
- Their resources – truck accident lawsuits can be very expensive because the crashes usually have a devastating impact on the victim’s life. Make sure your lawyer and their law firm has the financial resources to properly handle your case.
Want to Learn More About Truck Accidents and How to Claim for Them?
Every year, there are an estimated 500,000 accidents involving trucks and 5,000 deaths resulting from the crashes in US. Truck accidents aren’t to be taken lightly and if you or a loved one have ever been in one, there are various things you need to know.
Our guide to 18 wheeler truck accidents will teach you how to claim for the incident and navigate you through the process. Download it below.
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.