When pursuing a settlement after a truck accident, there is no “set” amount you should plan or expect to receive. Every truck accident is different. Each accident has its own cause or causes, at-fault party, and consequences.
Further, each state has different personal injury laws in place, and these laws can affect settlement amounts. What is most important is that you get the settlement amount your case deserves and that you need to reach maximum recovery.
To put yourself in the best position to collect this amount, partner with a truck accident lawyer from Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi, PLC, as soon as possible after your accident.
Compensation Included in a Truck Accident Settlement
While the amount of compensation you receive depends on the specifics of your case, the vast majority of personal injury settlements provide compensation for economic and non-economic damages. An experienced truck accident attorney will consider all aspects of your situation to determine a fair settlement amount.
Economic damages are accident consequences that bring financial costs. Medical costs and future care needs, lost income and lost future earnings if you cannot return to employment, property damage, and any other accident-related expenses incurred count as economic damages.
Non-economic damages are less concrete and do not come with an actual “bill.” However, they still incur terrible costs. Your accident and injuries may leave you emotionally traumatized and in psychological distress.
You may be unable to engage with friends and family, participate in social or recreational activities, or even care for yourself independently as you could before the accident.
It is not a good idea to calculate your losses on your own. Understandably, after an accident, victims and their loved ones are not always thinking clearly and have to focus just on getting through each day. As a result, losses are overlooked and go unaccounted for. A truck accident lawyer will not overlook any details and will assess the value of your case with precision.
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Factors Affecting Your Truck Accident Settlement Amount
The amount of compensation you collect depends on your injuries and their consequences, the amount of damage to your property, the at-fault party’s degree of negligence, your level (if any) of fault, and the effectiveness of your legal representation.
Injuries and Property Damage
The more severe your injuries, the higher your compensation. More severe injuries bring more pain and disability, are more likely to reduce or end your ability to work and earn income, and have a significant and negative impact on your quality of life. Also, more serious injuries require more extensive medical treatment, creating long-term or even permanent medical care needs.
Because trucks are massive, truck accident victims often sustain severe or catastrophic injuries from an accident. Traumatic brain injuries, amputations, burns, internal organ damage or bleeding, broken bones, and spinal cord injuries are not uncommon outcomes of truck accidents.
Passenger cars, SUVs, and motorcycles are no match for a truck’s impact. These vehicles will most likely be totaled in an accident, and their value will be factored into the settlement amount.
The At-Fault Party’s Negligence
You can only collect a settlement by proving the at-fault party’s negligence caused the accident leading to your injuries and losses. A skilled truck accident lawyer will investigate the accident to determine its cause and the at-fault party and collect evidence to prove negligence.
For some accidents, there is more than one at-fault party. For example, truck driver fatigue may have played a role in the accident but the truck company may not have held the driver or themselves to state or federal safety standards, making both the driver and the company liable. These case complexities are best managed by a truck accident lawyer.
In some states, including Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi, victims can collect additional damages, called punitive damages, if they can prove the at-fault party acted with extreme negligence or with intent to cause harm. This additional financial burden on the at-fault party serves as a punishment for their egregious actions or negligence and as a potential deterrent for others.
Your Level of Fault
If you hold any fault for the accident and your subsequent injuries, that fault may have an effect on the settlement amount you collect. Tennessee and Arkansas follow a modified comparative fault system for personal injury claims. This means victims can only sue the other party if the victims hold less than 50% of the blame for the accident.
In Mississippi, a pure comparative fault state, victims can sue even if they hold up to 99% of the blame. In all three states, however, even if a victim is eligible to file an injury claim, their compensation is reduced by their determined level of fault. If you are found 15% responsible for the accident and your injuries, you collect 85%, or 15% less, of the total calculated settlement amount.
The at-fault party’s insurance company will do whatever it can to up your level of fault and reduce its own payout. Regrettably, these companies even rely on unethical tactics to accomplish this goal and have proven to be quite successful. A truck accident lawyer will provide the protection you need against these dishonest insurance companies, handling all communication with them and deflecting false or unfair accusations.
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Wrongful Death Settlements After a Truck Accident
If your loved one is killed in a truck accident, you can still collect compensation by filing a wrongful death claim. Similar to a personal injury settlement, a wrongful death settlement can cover related medical costs, recover lost income and future earnings and benefits, and account for your non-economic losses, such as emotional distress and loss of the relationship. Additionally, a wrongful death settlement can cover funeral, burial, or other end-of-life costs.
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Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi, PLC has fought for truck accident victims for decades. We have helped clients collect substantial settlements that have stabilized their finances, improved their lives, and brought them justice. Visit our contact page to connect with a truck accident attorney from our team who will develop a custom-made strategy to bring your case to a successful end.