Even the most minor car accidents can leave you feeling shaken. But when a commercial vehicle is involved, the experience can be devastating. After all, many commercial vehicles — such as semi trucks and 18-wheelers — weigh 80,000 pounds or more, compared to the average passenger vehicle, which weighs between 3,000 and 4,000 pounds. Because of that physical difference, an accident with a commercial vehicle is much more likely to cause significant damage that can lead to life-altering injuries.
If you’ve been involved in an accident with a commercial vehicle, you’ll need compensation to help get your life back on track as you deal with the physical, emotional, and financial burden ahead. In order to build a strong case and achieve the fair settlement that you deserve from your commercial vehicle accident case, here’s what you need to know.
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What Are the Steps in a Commercial Vehicle Accident Settlement?
After you file a commercial vehicle insurance claim, the next step in the process is to negotiate an insurance settlement. A claims adjuster from the at-fault party’s insurance company will conduct an investigation, which will include reviewing the police report, witness statements, and photographs of the accident site, as well as taking your statement.
Once the insurance company has completed its investigation, you will either be approved or denied coverage for your claim — this is known as the negotiation stage. Typically, the insurance company will respond to your demand for payment with a counter-offer, which is often an indication that a settlement can be reached.
However, if you don’t reach a fair settlement agreement with the insurance company, the next step in the process may be for you to file a lawsuit. A car accident injury lawyer will help determine if this is the best step for your case and, if so, will guide you through the process of filing suit and collecting evidence to support your claim in court.
How Much Should You Expect from Your Accident?
A commercial accident settlement will typically be higher than that for almost any other motor vehicle injury, especially if it involves a larger vehicle such as an 18-wheeler. Some commercial vehicle accident settlements settle for anywhere from tens of thousands up to hundreds of thousands. However, many of these settlements may run into the tens of millions of dollars, and sometimes more.
The truth is that there isn’t a precise average commercial vehicle settlement that you can expect, simply because there are so many variables that affect that number. In order to come up with a realistic amount, you’ll have to factor in the following:
- Incidental culpability: Was the other person driving recklessly or while under the influence of drugs or alcohol? If so, this will result in a larger portion of culpability than, say, an accident caused by wet or icy roads.
- Cost of medical bills: The severity of your injuries and their associated expenses will play a large role in the outcome of your settlement, especially if surgeries, hospitalization, or rehabilitation are required.
- Property damage: The severity of damage to your vehicle is another key factor in determining your settlement. If your vehicle requires extensive repair or replacement, your settlement will reflect this reimbursement, as well as that of a rental car for your temporary use, if necessary.
- Loss of wages: Certain injuries may require you to take time off from work to rehabilitate. This time away from your job can affect your ability to earn not only current wages but also future wages as you rebuild your life after the accident.
How Can a Lawyer Help?
The aftermath of an accident with a commercial vehicle is much more complicated than it would be with a non-commercial vehicle, especially if it involves a large corporation. Commercial carriers typically have large legal teams working for them, who will put up a fight to avoid paying out a large settlement.
Because the involvement of a commercial vehicle can make the process so much more complicated, you’ll need a legal advocate in your corner to fight for the compensation you deserve. A lawyer will shoulder the burden of the work, negotiating with insurance providers and third parties, so you can focus on your mental and physical recovery.
Legal Representation with Life-Changing Results
If you’ve been involved in a commercial vehicle accident, you need specialized legal representation. Not all lawyers will have the specific experience or resources to handle your case successfully, but at FVF, our experienced attorneys have handled countless commercial vehicle cases over the years. Our team is here to support you with expert legal counsel and can even help you obtain medical care, find ways to pay for hospital bills, and offer other critical guidance as you work toward your recovery. Contact us today to schedule your free case evaluation.