The period after a semi truck accident is often one of the most trying and exhausting times in the lives of those affected. Along with injuries, pain, and emotional trauma, most victims are weighing how they will pay for their expenses and evaluating how their accident may impact their health and their lives in the long term.
For many, this means deciding whether or not to pursue legal action against semi truck drivers, commercial carriers, and other parties involved in the accident. Doing so, however, requires that you understand your rights and options, and the likely outcome of a case like yours. Here’s what you need to know about semi truck accident settlements.
Because of the large size of commercial vehicles, semi truck accidents are often quite severe, with serious damages. These vehicles can weigh up to 80,000 pounds (or more, in some cases) and may be hauling bulky or unwieldy loads. By comparison, the average passenger vehicle weighs somewhere between 3,000 to 4,000 pounds, which means that when one is involved in an accident with a semi truck, the passenger vehicle driver almost always sustains the brunt of the damage.
If you have been involved in an accident with a semi truck, you may have a case for the following damages:
Medical expenses. Victims in semi truck accident settlements often experience severe injuries, ranging from broken limbs and fractures to permanent brain damage or paralysis. Caring for these injuries can be quite expensive, and past — and any anticipated future — medical costs are typically included as damages in semi truck accident claims.
In addition to medical bills, you may have to pay for the following as well:
Lost income. There may be impacts to your salary or wages as well. If you have to miss work because you are injured, the wages you would have earned are typically included as part of your settlement. Your semi truck accident lawyer may also estimate future lost earnings — or loss of earning capacity if you are permanently unable to perform your job duties due to an injury.
Non-economic losses. Not all damages in a semi truck accident settlement can be directly tied to a financial value. Injured victims and those who have lost a loved one to an accident often experience emotional and physical hardship as well. For instance, you might claim compensation for:
Other expenses. There are many ways that a serious semi truck accident can impact your life, so there may be expenses associated with your accident as well, including:
Unfortunately, semi truck accident settlements can be quite complicated. Most serious accidents require the legal prowess of an experienced lawyer to prove damages and argue for necessary compensation, but that expertise is particularly important in a semi truck accident case.
Because semi truck drivers typically operate as independent contractors, they often carry their own insurance policy, separate from their carrier’s. Determining who is liable for damages among these different entities can be quite complicated.
Commercial carriers and drivers are also required to abide by state and/or federal regulations, which can play a role in your case. For instance, drivers are legally required to take breaks at regular intervals. When drivers don’t follow these rules — or when employers train or encourage them not to — it may impact your settlement.
The commercial driving industry is also known for problems with alcohol and drug abuse, dangerous driving, and other negligence that may play a part in your case. Additionally, the severity of your injuries, the cost to treat them, and their impact on your life and the lives of your loved ones will also affect any potential settlement.
As with all cases, the answer to this question varies depending on the specific details of your unique case. A variety of factors can affect how long it takes to achieve a settlement in a semi truck accident case, including:
As mentioned above, commercial vehicle accident cases can be extremely complicated, with large corporations involved that will be willing to put up a fight to avoid a large settlement. Commercial carriers often have large legal teams working for them to reduce payments in cases like these, so it is less likely that you will be able to obtain the financial recovery the law allows without a legal advocate.
Simply estimating the extent of your damages and their financial value may be difficult as well. It may be hard for you to calculate the cost of future medical expenses or the financial compensation you are entitled to for the loss of a loved one. A semi truck accident lawyer can help you evaluate these damages and understand what your financial recovery should be.
Lastly, if you have been seriously injured or harmed as the result of a semi truck accident, you need time to recover, both mentally and physically. Hiring a lawyer allows you to focus on your health, by taking the demanding work of negotiating with insurance providers and other parties off your plate.
If you are considering hiring a semi truck accident lawyer to help with your case, it’s important to choose the right one. Not all legal teams have the experience or resources to handle semi truck accident settlements effectively.
At FVF, we take our clients’ concerns to heart. We know that clients are coming to us after a very traumatic experience, and we do our best to make the process as swift and easy as possible. More specifically, here’s what we strive to bring to each case.
Although the period following an accident can be a frustrating and exhausting time, there are people who can help. Our team at FVF is happy to offer our expert legal advice and can even help you obtain medical care, find ways to pay for hospital bills, and offer other crucial guidance as you recover from this traumatic event. Contact us today to schedule your free case evaluation.
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