Truck accidents are a major concern in Texas. In 2022, the Lone Star state was home to more truck accidents than any other state, with an estimated 5,620 semi-truck accidents. If you were recently injured in a truck accident, you may wonder how much you will be compensated for your losses.
The attorneys at TK Injury Lawyers would like to discuss what factors an insurance company takes under consideration in a truck accident case and why these cases are unique.
Most people assume that they can expect a certain amount of money if they pursue a truck accident case. This is a misnomer. Each truck accident is unique, so you cannot expect a certain amount in a truck accident settlement.
The insurance company will look at common factors before offering you a settlement figure:
The amount of compensation you will receive will depend on which party was responsible for the accident. Most accidents are caused by one person failing to take proper care in the course of doing something, known as negligence. In a truck accident, this would mean that one driver did not follow the rules of the road, causing the accident.
Since each state has its own negligence laws, the amount that you will be able to recover will depend on the laws in your jurisdiction. In Texas, you can recover damages if you are less than 50% liable for the accident.
However, liability in a truck accident may go beyond the scope of those driving. As discussed, there may be multiple parties in a truck accident settlement.
The settlement that you will receive in a truck accident will depend largely on your injuries. It is important that you take into account your future medical needs when negotiating an insurance settlement.
Your medical care may be ongoing if you suffer more serious or permanent injuries. For instance, spinal cord damage may cause you to have ongoing balance issues and trouble walking, necessitating frequent follow-up visits with a specialist.
Medical care does not just include doctor visits. If you have long-term physical limitations, you may need to purchase medical equipment for your home. If you are unable to care for yourself, you may need to consider living in a long-term care facility.
The best time to settle your case is usually when you have reached medical maximum improvement (MMI). MMI will be determined by a physician, and it is the point at which you have improved as much as you will follow your accident. Whether you have entirely recovered from your injuries or only experienced a minor improvement, or anywhere in between, you will have a better idea of your future medical needs once you reach MMI.
While your medical bills will be a large factor in calculating your settlement, your injuries may also keep you from working. Your attorney will determine when you missed work due to your injuries. If you had to use sick time or vacation days, your attorney will factor this in when submitting your lost wages claim.
If you have long-term disabilities, your attorney will also determine future lost wages. This figure may include your inability to work, reduced capacity to work, or any income you may have lost due to taking a lower-paying job.
A collision with a large truck can cause irreparable damage to your vehicle. You may be left with extensive damage to your vehicle, and insurance may not want to pay out what you need to repair the vehicle.
If your vehicle is considered a total loss, the insurance company will most likely pay you the fair market value of your vehicle before the accident. If you financed your car, you could potentially owe more on your car loan than the vehicle’s actual cash value. In this case, you will still owe money on a vehicle that you can no longer use.
Most lawyers want to settle a truck accident case out-of-court with an insurance company. To do so, a truck accident lawyer will want to present evidence that supports your claim.
Common evidence in a truck accident claim will include photographs, eyewitness testimony, and a police report:
This evidence and a request for damages will be submitted to the insurance company as part of your demand package.
An accident with a large truck can prove fatal. In 2021, 3,217 passenger vehicle occupants were killed in crashes that involved a large truck.
Truck accidents have unique elements:
While the average passenger car weighs about 4,100 pounds, a fully loaded tractor-trailer can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. Since semi-trucks can have such a massive weight, an accident can result in catastrophic injuries.
Considering that an 18-wheeler can weigh twenty times more than a passenger vehicle, it takes more time to stop. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) estimates that at normal highway speeds, a passenger car will take 316 feet to stop, while a tractor-trailer will take 525 feet to complete a stop (almost 1 ½ football fields).
In a car accident case, you usually deal with another driver and their insurance company. In a truck accident case, the driver may not be the only party responsible for the accident.
That’s because a lot of people are involved in a truck transporting goods. With a truck accident claim, the following parties may also share liability:
The insurance company of whichever party or entity is determined to be at fault for the accident will pay the settlement you receive.
Unlike passenger vehicles that are required to carry minimum liability limits of 30/60/25, commercial trucks have significantly higher policy requirements.
Insurance requirements for a truck will depend on the type of truck, the cargo it is transporting, and if it is traveling solely within Texas (intrastate) or into other states (interstate):
Higher insurance policy limits could mean a sizable payout depending on your injuries and vehicle damage. It is important to keep documentation of all expenses that you paid out of pocket to receive maximum compensation.
When an injured party is awarded damages, it is to make the person “whole” again. Compensatory damages are any losses you suffered due to your accident.
Compensatory damages may be either economic or noneconomic. Economic damages reflect the financial losses that a person has sustained, only covering the dollar amount of each specific loss.
Examples of economic damages:
Conversely, noneconomic damages are losses that do not have a financial element but affect a person’s quality of life. These may include:
Noneconomic damages often stem from economic losses. If a person is not working, he or she may feel like they have no value. This loss of self can negatively impact the individual’s relationships and mental and emotional health.
In every personal injury case, we get to know our clients personally and take a genuine interest in your well-being. Our truck accident lawyers have a 99% success rate. When you hire TK Injury Lawyers, you are hiring a firm that gets results. Here are some examples of past case settlements:
Although we cannot guarantee these results, our dedication is unmatched. We will work tirelessly to give you the outcome and compensation that you deserve.
A truck accident can happen in a split second, leaving you angry, confused, and panicked. At TK Injury Lawyers, we believe that passion and experience go hand in hand. We give each case special attention and know what it takes to get you a just settlement. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.
Trent Kelly obtained his law degree from the University of Arkansas in 2007. He is licensed to practice law in Texas and regularly assists clients with their legal matters. Trent’s practice is primarily focused on personal injury matters – particularly those involving motor vehicles (such as cars, commercial trucks, 18-wheelers, and motorcycles) and wrongful death – but he also handles various business litigation matters as well. Click here to take a look at some complex cases Trent has resolved.
Years of experience: +15 years
Location: Austin, TX
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