With the many truck accident cases that I have handled, I have noticed there is often one thing that everyone wants to do. Understanding how truck accident settlements work and how long they take.That is when this ultimate guide to truck accident settlement was brought to life, bringing the answers to those who need them the most.
While every case is different in its own way, there is a certain process that gives us insight into what the process entails so that we could better understand the timeline for ourselves. You will find that when an 18-wheeler accident happens, it could take longer for a settlement than it would for a car accident.
The reason for this is that with 18-wheeler accidents, both parties have a lot at stake and the results could be a lot more devastating than it is with a smaller vehicle being involved in an accident. The trucking company might be concerned about their reputation and having to pay hefty fines, but at the same time, the injured parties have the right to receive adequate compensation once they prove that they weren’t at fault in any way.
With that said, let’s get to our guide on truck settlements and what you can expect.
How much is an 18-wheeler accident worth?
One thing that you want to keep in mind from the very beginning is that the treatment for your injuries could prolong the truck accident settlement process. The reason is that you don’t want to pursue the settlement until you recover from the accident. Your recovery time shouldn’t have the added stress of a legal battle hindering it in any way whatsoever.
Now that we have gotten that out of the way, let’s move into uncovering how much a truck settlement can be worth and what dictates its value, shall we?
A settlement is based on the other factors listed, but the extent of the injuries plays one of the biggest parts when it comes to a settlement’s value. If your injuries are serious, and it could alter your life for a long time, chances are a jury would award a lump sum if taken to trial. When a settlement is reached, the other party is simply minimizing the risk of taking it to trial.
Minor injuries might result in a minimal settlement, while more extensive injuries usually yield the biggest settlements in truck accidents.
· Lost Wages
If you are unemployed, you may be found to be ineligible for this part of the truck accident compensation as it is specifically for those being unable to work for weeks, or even months. If you find yourself being unable to work because of a truck accident, your lost income will be calculated so that it can be included in the claim itself.
In order to prove the value of your lost wages, you will want to have previous pay stubs or bank account statements that show how much money you make. Keep in mind that this amount is also a factor when it comes to calculating how much will be asked for when it comes to pain and suffering.
· Medical Care
How much it costs to receive treatment from the injuries that were a part of the 18-wheeler accident is also another major basis when it comes to how much a settlement is worth. The insurance company will usually look at this amount to determine how much the case is worth.
However, if the costs are expensive or not related to the accident, you can expect the other party in the case to be doing some negotiating with your legal counsel. Also, this isn’t the only thing that determines its value even if insurance companies say it is.
Just because an insurance company might be willing to pay for your medical expenses doesn’t mean that it is in your best interest. This is why it’s important to keep detailed records of all of your losses and embrace the help of a personal injury attorney who can ensure the ball stays on your side of the court instead of forcing you to take unnecessary losses.
· Pain & Suffering
While this is one of the hardest elements of a truck accident lawsuit to prove, it is an element that has yielded many with lump sums for the pain that they had to endure. If you can prove the amount of pain and suffering that you have had to deal with, don’t overlook it.
An experienced truck accident lawyer can help you calculate how much your pain and suffering is worth as they know what needs to be considered. You could either be offered a small amount or it could lead you to be awarded a large amount depending on your situation.
· Property Damage
One of the biggest things for truck insurance companies to do is to deny claims when there was a minimal amount of damage done to the vehicles involved. Just because your vehicle wasn’t totaled doesn’t mean that you didn’t sustain any injuries.
At first, it might seem like you have no hope if an insurance company denies your claim. However, medical records and other evidence can be produced to prove that the insurance company and trucking company is fully liable for the accident that occurred.
How is pain and suffering calculated in truck accident claims?
Pain and suffering is a tough thing to calculate, especially when the injuries from your truck accident could last for many years to come. To determine how much an insurance company owes a victim for pain and suffering, they use one of two methods which have been featured below.
The Per Diem Method for Calculating Truck Accident Settlements
This is where a set amount is paid per day, and it’s based upon the time that it took to fully recover and the medical expenses that one incurred. Your lost wages are also inputted into this calculation to ensure that you receive compensation for all the losses that were caused as a result of the 18-wheeler accident.
The amount determined in the calculation is then paid out for each day that the victim had experienced pain and suffering. Pay stubs from previous weeks, bills for the medical care that you received, and any other receipts for expenses will be used to help your personal injury attorney come up with a fair per diem rate that the insurance company will be expected to pay.
The Multiplier Method for Calculating Truck Accident Settlements
This is the most popular way that is used to calculate pain and suffering that were experienced due to being in a commercial vehicle accident with a big rig. All of the losses that the victim had due to the truck accident will be calculated. From there, it will be multiplied anywhere from one and a half times that amount all the way up to five times that amount.
How big the multiplier is that is used depends on the extent of the injuries as well as how long the consequences will last. More traumatic injuries usually get a higher award than those that are considered to be minor (such as a broken leg).
How do insurance companies negotiate a truck accident settlement?
Just to keep things simple, a letter of demand must be sent to the insurance company of the trucking company that was liable for the accident. This will contain the amount of money that is being sought for in your particular case.
During this time, it’s good to prove that you have a strong case and that if it is taken to court, they may be found liable anyways. The best way to go about this is to have an experienced attorney representing you during these negotiations.
Usually, the insurance company will come back with a counteroffer, and it’s not always the best that they have to offer. With this, they’re simply testing the waters just to see if they could get out of paying the claim out without having to break the bank. In most cases, it’s always a good idea to deny this offer to show them that you have faith in the case if it’s presented in court.
Once the counteroffer is denied, the insurance company will either come to the table with a new offer or your attorney will have to file your claim with the court. If the claim is filed in court, you do have the right to have it presented in a jury trial to ensure that the outcome is as fair as possible.
Remember that insurance companies deal with these things every day, and they will try to pull out all of the stops. While it is possible to represent yourself when you find yourself in a wreck with a semi-truck, it’s advised against since insurance companies can try to make you settle for a lot less than what you would have ended up getting in the long run.
What if an 18-wheeler accident settlement can’t be reached?
Then it’s time to show the trucking company and their insurance company that you mean business and won’t be stopping until you receive adequate compensation for the 18-wheeler accident. Contact an experienced truck accident law firm such as Bayou City Law to ensure that things get done as quickly as they can while preserving your case to increase your chances of winning.
The end result is that you could end up taking the case to trial, where the jury will determine whether you should be awarded a judgment that covers your expenses resulting from the accident as well as compensation for anything else that could have been prevented if you would not have been involved in a semi-truck accident.
Frequently Asked Questions About Truck Accident Settlements
Can I get a truck accident settlement without a lawyer?
You could, but this usually isn’t the best solution as insurance companies might be more willing to take advantage of you if you come without legal counsel. When you hire a truck accident lawyer, they see that they will have to go by the book and that there is a true chance of it being taken to court. Not to mention, a truck accident attorney knows what kind of compensation can be received from each case regardless of how the truck accident settlement was reached.
Do semi-truck accidents go to trial?
While most semi-truck accidents are settled before they get taken to court, there are times when it’s not possible to reach a conclusion without it being taken to trial. Of course, this is usually the last option as it will take some time and work to see it through to trial.
How can a truck accident attorney help me?
Aside from holding all of the parties involved that were responsible, a truck accident attorney can help you cover all of the factors that are critical to the construction of a personal injury case. They can also be more persuasive during negotiations with trucking companies and their insurance companies due to the fact that they understand the law and where they stand with each case.
How much does it cost to hire a truck accident attorney?
In most cases, a percentage of your settlement will be dedicated to covering the legal expenses involved with your case. This ensures that you have access to the best legal representation without having to break the bank in order to ensure justice is served.
Why is the insurance company for the semi driver so aggressive?
There is a lot at stake, and insurance companies are known to try and get out of having to pay out a claim by either testing the legal savviness of victims or being aggressive to the point where victims no longer want to contact them in regards to the claim. While it’s not the professional thing to do, this is proof that you’ll want to obtain legal counsel so that you don’t have to deal with them or risk losing out on the compensation that you’re rightfully entitled to.