Car accidents involving average-sized vehicles can cause serious damage. An accident with a semi-truck is almost always devastating because of the truck’s massive size and weight. Such severe and undeniable damage usually brings a higher settlement.
What Is the Average Settlement for a Truck Accident?
Several factors contribute to the damages awarded, making it difficult to attribute a particular amount to an “average” settlement. However, Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi PLC has fought for and won clients significant financial awards from truck accidents.
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What Factors Affect the Amount of a Settlement?
Factors affecting the amount of a settlement include
- Liability: Who is at fault (or most at fault?)
- Injuries: How severe are they and what medical expenses have they caused?
- Pain and Suffering: To what extent has the accident brought physical, emotional, and psychological suffering? How has your quality of life been affected?
- Property Damage: How severe is the damage to your vehicle?
- Economic Losses: How have your finances been affected by the accidents, most likely because of lost wages or lost future earnings?
How Is Liability Determined?
In any negligence case, the claimant has to prove the at-fault party:
- Owed them a duty of care: in this case, drivers owe other drivers a duty and must follow traffic laws and avoid reckless and negligent behaviors while driving.
- Breached that duty of care through action or inaction: this breach can include violating or failing to follow traffic laws, driving while under the influence, or texting and driving, among others.
- Caused harm to the claimant because of those actions or inactions: for example, the crash occurred because the driver failed to stop at a red light or was otherwise distracted.
- Brought measurable injuries and damages to the claimant: the accident resulted in physical injuries and pain and suffering, and economic losses.
For truck accidents, there are more variables influencing liability than in an accident between privately owned, average-sized vehicles. Truck drivers are required to follow the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations and submit electronic logs to ensure and prove safe driving and resting practices. The FMCSA also has specific requirements for truck maintenance and inspection.
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How Can At-Fault Laws Affect My Settlement?
Fault laws vary by state. Arkansas and Tennessee operate under a modified comparative system, meaning a claimant must be less than 50% responsible for an accident to receive compensation. If the claimant bears fault, but less than that 50%, their compensation is reduced by their percentage of fault.
Mississippi has a pure comparative negligence system. Under this system, no matter what percentage of fault the claimant bears, the defendant may still be required to pay compensation. In other words, if the claimant is found 90% responsible for the accident, the defendant may still have to pay that 10% award.
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Will I Get a Better Settlement if I Take My Case to Court?
It depends. If the court’s ruling is in your favor, then yes. You will likely win more than the out-of-court settlement offer.
However, if the court rules against you, you may end up with less than the out-of-court offer or even walk away with nothing.
How Do I Know Whether to Take My Case to Court?
Your truck accident lawyer from Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi PLC can offer you the best answer to this question. Your attorney knows how strong your case is, how clear liability is, how thorough and convincing the evidence is, and how much of a settlement you are entitled to.
If your case is weak, your lawyer may advise you to take the settlement offered. If your case is strong, as insurance companies are not offering a reasonable amount, your lawyer may advise you to go to trial.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Taking My Case to Court?
The pros of going to court include the chance of a higher settlement should the court rule for you. Some victims also feel a sense of justice at seeing those whose negligent or reckless behavior caused their suffering held accountable for their actions.
One con is trials can take a long time–not so much the trial itself, but the time it takes to get a court date. You can expect to wait upwards of a year to see a courtroom and a financial settlement, should you win. Again, there is the risk that the court will rule against you, so trust the advice of your truck accident lawyer from Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi PLC when making your decision.
Can I Represent Myself at Trial?
Representing yourself is never recommended. Without expert knowledge of laws, legal terminology, and court proceedings, you are not likely to achieve a positive outcome at trial. Trust your care to the expert hands of a Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi PLC lawyer.
What Potential Damages Can I Win?
Though every case and settlement is different, commonly awarded truck-accident damages include:
- Medical Costs: These will likely be significant. Truck accident injuries are often severe, requiring surgery, extensive rehabilitation, and sometimes even lifelong interventions.
- Economic Losses: You will probably miss work and may not return to the same work, or work at all, after your injuries. You can seek lost wages and lost potential earnings.
- Loss to Quality of Life: Your physical injuries will cause pain and perhaps change the way you live, either temporarily or long term. You may experience reduced independence and an inability to engage in recreational or social activities as you used to, which can bring emotional distress.
- Death Expenses: If your loved one was killed in a truck accident, you may be entitled to wrongful death compensation to cover end-of-life costs, possibly recover lost income, or compensate for emotional losses.
What Is the Easiest Way to Consult with a Truck Accident Lawyer?
At Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi PLC our truck accident lawyers are ready to work with you and fight for you. To schedule a free consultation, please visit our contact page. You can call or leave an electronic message and we will respond quickly.