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How Much is My Semi-Truck Accident Claim Worth?
Several factors go into determining the damages you can recover as a part of your semi truck accident claim. Consulting a truck accident lawyer will help you break down the specific factors.
Without a full investigation of the accident, your injuries, and an understanding of your financial losses, an attorney cannot provide you with an estimate of the funds you deserve.
Typically, an attorney will look at several key things when determining the value of a semi truck accident claim. These include:
Past and Future Medical Expenses
Both past and future medical expenses. In addition to the medical expenses you have already faced as a result of your injuries, your attorney will calculate the potential for future medical expenses related to your injuries.
Amputees, for example, will need to replace prosthetic devices every three to five years for the rest of their lives. Spinal cord injury victims may face an ongoing need for physical therapy to help them maintain muscle strength.
An experienced attorney can help calculate the value of those future medical expenses.
Current & Future Lost Wages
Current lost wages, and any lost wages you anticipate losing in the future.
You may be unable to work for some time after a tractor-trailer accident as you recover from your injuries.
Your attorney will be able to determine your lost wages during your period of recovery and may be able to help you recover those wages.
Lost Earning Capacity
Depending on your profession and your injuries, you may find that your injuries prevent you from returning to work in your former capacity.
Your lawyers will retain experts, including economists and vocational rehabilitation specialists, to determine the amount of money you will lose over the course of your life due to your injuries.
Those funds can help you go back to school or take other steps to gain a new certification that will allow you to return to work in a new industry.
Pain, Suffering, Disfigurement, & Disability
Your claim includes both past and future elements of pain and suffering, including ongoing disfigurement and disability.
This could include your inability to provide normal companionship to your spouse or children.
It can also impact your ability to take care of common activities or responsibilities around your home due to your injuries.
Other Financial Losses
Other financial losses you sustained as a result of the accident.
Your attorney will calculate any other financial losses you sustained as a result of your injuries.
The need to pay for people to take on tasks that you once handled for yourself, for example.
Billions per Year
Statistically, settlements for truck accidents cost billions of dollars every year. The FMCSA, the government agency charged with regulating trucking, mandates minimum liability coverage of either $750,000 or $1,000,000 for truck drivers, depending on the size of the truck and the type of cargo the truck carries. Trucks must carry this insurance in order for the drivers to keep doing their jobs.
Semi-Truck Accident Claim FAQ
The full amount of your medical bills
Some injuries, including spinal cord damage and traumatic brain injury, can lead to medical expenses in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Other injuries can also carry hefty medical bills.
An attorney can help you break down all of your medical costs related to an accident, including:
- Emergency medical care, from the cost of ambulance transport to treatment in the emergency room
- Durable medical equipment designed to help you better function while recovering from your injuries or in spite of permanent, life-altering injuries
- Physical therapy
Occupational therapy, which can help many victims relearn how to perform tasks they handled with ease before the accident
- Skilled nursing care, which many victims, including victims of traumatic brain injury, may require long after their return home
How are Lost Wages a Factor?
In many cases, victims cannot return to work immediately after an accident.
You may not, for example, be able to handle the physical demands of a factory job immediately following a semi truck accident that results in limb amputation.
You may also miss work due to appointments and therapies even after you recover enough to take on many of your normal job responsibilities.
Loss of companionship
Some injuries can cause the injured individual to lose the ability to provide companionship to family members and loved ones. Traumatic brain injury, for example, can result in substantial personality changes that make it difficult to interact with that individual, whereas spinal cord injuries can interfere with physical companionship. The loss of a loved one, whether a spouse, parent or child, in a semi truck accident can also result in the loss of vital companionship.
Pain and suffering
In addition to the other factors included in your settlement, a semi truck accident may include compensation for pain and suffering. An attorney can help you define the pain and suffering that occurs due to the accident, including both physical pain from your injuries and emotional suffering that results from the loss of many of the activities you usually enjoy.
Why Do Semi-Trucks Get Into Accidents? 9 Common Causes Of Truck Accidents
In 2017, the data says that more than 102,000 accidents occurred involving big trucks. More than 4,500 of these resulted in death, while others ended in serious injury for the passengers in other vehicles involved in the accident.
Truck accidents or crashes often lead to severe injuries for victims of those accidents: traumatic brain injury, spinal cord damage, amputations, severe burns, and death often occur. Although truck drivers carry substantial insurance, insurance companies often attempt to minimize the settlement amount. Experienced truck accident attorneys will negotiate with insurance companies and be able to investigate the cause of an accident and if all safety precautions and regulations were followed.
Several factors can contribute heavily to the risk of truck accidents. These include:
Even inside the recommended number of hours on the road, drivers may fatigue quickly, leading to slowed reflexes and an increased likelihood of falling asleep behind the wheel which often causes crashes.
Big trucks spend a lot of time on the road. Without proper maintenance, the risk of equipment failure increases significantly. Because of their larger size, big trucks are hard to control on the road.
Distractions can include factors like checking a cell phone as well as eating and drinking on the road to make up for lost time or any other distractions in the cab of the truck.
Shifting loads, including liquid-filled loads that aren’t placed in the tank properly, can cause the trailer or tank to swing out of control, making it difficult for the driver to keep the truck in its assigned lane.
Like other drivers, truck drivers can commit errors leading to crashes due to distraction, speeding, careless driving behavior, or ignoring the rules of the road.
Inexperienced or Improper Training on the Part of the Driver
A truck driver who does not receive proper training in the trucking industry may struggle to handle a large vehicle properly. Drivers may need specific training in how to handle specific types of loads or specific sizes of vehicles in order to prevent truck crashes.
Driving Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol
Unfortunately, this is one of the most common causes. Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, including some over the counter medications, can substantially increase the risk of some types of accidents.
Vehicular Weight and Stopping Distance
A heavily-loaded vehicle may need a great deal more time to stop than a smaller, lighter truck. Drivers who fail to properly calculate that stopping distance can have significantly increased accident risk.
Common Types of Trucking Accidents
Truck accidents can result due to driver negligence or, in many cases, situations outside the driver’s control. Truck accidents may include:
- Rear-end collisions when a truck runs into the back of a smaller passenger vehicle
- T-bone or side-impact collisions, when the truck strikes a vehicle in the side
- Head-on collisions, which can prove particularly catastrophic for a smaller passenger vehicle
- Tire blowouts
- Rollover trucking accidents, when the truck rolls over, causing a collision with a smaller vehicle
- No-zone trucking accidents, when a vehicle drifts into the truck’s “no-zones,” including trucks’ blind spots or the broader spaces trucks need to turn or stop
- Jackknife trucking accidents, when the trailer swings free of a semi-truck and pulls the cab out of the driver’s control
Why Should You Avoid a Fast Settlement in a Semi Truck Accident Claim?
After a semi truck accident, you may want to reach a fast settlement agreement. You have medical bills to pay and a life to live, and the expenses that go along with that may leave you struggling.
That does not mean, however, that you should aim for a fast settlement. In fact, you should take as much time as necessary to allow your attorney to investigate your claim and negotiate on your behalf so that you receive full compensation for your injuries.
Your Attorney will Need Time to Investigate the Incident
Your attorney may need time to review witness statements, go over any video evidence of the accident itself, and look into any other reports surrounding the incident.
Injuries Can Crop Up Well After the Accident Itself
Sometimes, you may not recognize the full extent of your injuries at the scene of the accident–or even in the days and weeks immediately following. Nagging pain that refuses to resolve could turn out to be a much more serious injury than originally assumed.
Seeking medical attention immediately after a semi truck accident can decrease the odds that you will miss serious injuries, but you may still discover injuries well after the initial recovery period has passed.
Waiting to settle your semi truck accident claim can give you a better understanding of exactly what your injuries look like and what medical bills and other expenses you will face as a result.
Your Doctors May Need Time to Accurately Assess Your Recovery Time
In the case of many severe injuries, including spinal cord injury and traumatic brain injury, you may need time to recover before understanding the full extent of your injuries and how much you have the potential to recover.
In many cases, you may need as much as six months before you can determine how much of a recovery you will make. Many injuries, including burns, also have a high rate of complication.
Until you know how your recovery will progress, you may not know what your medical expenses will look like.
Determining the Value of Semi Truck Accident Claims: No Two are the Same
No two semi truck accident claims have exactly the same value. Every case is different. The value of your settlement may depend on the extent of your medical expenses as well as who caused your accident and even the severity of your injuries.
Accident victims need a skilled, experienced attorney to help figure out what the claim is worth based on specific circumstances.
Common Advice: Should You Ask for Three Times Your Medical Bills?
Following an accident, you may receive plenty of advice from others: people who have suffered injuries of their own, or who know someone who suffered injuries in the past, or who want to offer advice about a specific claim.
One common piece of advice: ask for three times your medical bills in your settlement.
In reality, simply multiplying the value of your medical bills alone may not give you a true picture of how much you deserve for your injuries.
The settlement may actually be more or less than that amount, depending on the factors that contribute to the value of your claim such as whether the driver who hit you was using a cell phone, was under the influence of drugs, or had a tire blowout due to poor maintenance. Instead of starting with an arbitrary amount, work with an experienced personal injury attorney to build a case for you.
An experienced attorney will maximize the value of your claim and improve the odds that you will get the compensation you deserve.
What is a Semi Truck Policy Limits Demand
A semi truck policy limits demand asks for compensation in the amount of the full limits of the semi truck’s insurance policy.
You may need to ask for the full limits of a semi truck policy if you have severe injuries from your accident, especially if those injuries result in hefty medical bills or a long-term loss of your ability to work.
When to Contact a Law Firm after a Truck Accident
You need a truck accident attorney if:
You Suffered Serious Injuries
Any time you suffer serious injuries in an accident, an experienced attorney can help you achieve the maximum settlement possible.
You Deserve More than Insurance Offered
Do not accept a fast settlement offer from an insurance company, no matter how tempting! Instead, talk to an experienced truck accident attorney first.
Fighting for Your Rights After a Trucking Accident: Contact an Attorney Today
You cannot get the compensation you deserve for severe truck accident injuries on your own. An experienced truck accident attorney can provide substantial support through every phase of the process, from investigating your claim to negotiating on your behalf.
Having an attorney on your side can substantially simplify your road to compensation and increase the odds that you will ultimately receive the compensation you deserve.
Contact us today for a free consultation to learn more about how we can help.