Accident settlements from claims involving big-rig trucks tend to be much higher than compared to accidents with passenger vehicles for a number of reasons. Because of the various factors involved, there is not a hard and fast average settlement amount for these types of cases.
Accident factors greatly affect the value of a truck accident settlement. A truck accident attorney Memphis TN relies on can evaluate your case and provide an estimate based on the unique details of your situation. These are some of the most common factors that are considered:
- If multiple parties are involved who share liability or responsibility for damages
- If multiple victims are involved who will share the settlement
- Insurance coverage maximums and restrictions
- How comparative negligence laws may apply
Compensatory Damage Settlements
Victims of truck accidents that were caused by the trucker or their faulty commercial vehicle, may be eligible to collect compensatory damages. The victim’s truck accident attorney will typically negotiate a settlement with the trucking company’s insurance company. Absent of a fair settlement agreement, the case may proceed to court.
Typical damages include:
- Medical bills and related costs.
- The amount of the victim’s lost wages due to the accident injury.
- Repair or replacement of personal property.
- Non-economic pain-and-suffering damages allowed based on the severity of the injury and long-term difficulties associated with the ongoing injury prognosis.
Injuries that result in permanent disability can be much more valuable settlements than injuries that are temporary.
The truly high-value accident settlements will be situations where punitive damages apply due to gross negligence on the part of the trucker or another party. Punitive damages are assessed when a party is found guilty of intentionally malicious and outrageous behavior that harmed the victim.
- A truck driver may be subject to paying punitive damages if they intentionally tried to hurt the victim. As an example, if they ran the victim’s car off the road simply to hurt or kill them and the victim received serious or fatal injuries as a result.
- A trucking company might be held liable for punitive damages if they forced a driver to work without taking legally mandated breaks, despite knowing the driver would not be able to drive safely as a result.
If the victim was in some way responsible for the accident, comparative negligence laws may apply. If this is the case, then the victim’s settlement amount will be lessened by whatever percentage they are found liable. For instance, if a judge determines the truck accident victim was 50% responsible for the accident, they are only eligible to recover 50% of their damages.
Under most circumstances, it may not be in your best interest to handle a truck accident case without an attorney. An experienced truck accident attorney can negotiate on your behalf and take your case to court if necessary. Contact an attorney immediately as they can be the difference between a fair settlement or no settlement at all.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Wiseman Bray PLLC for their insight into semi truck accident cases.