Vehicle accidents involving big trucks tend to have higher settlement claims than regular car accidents for many reasons. These types of settlements, however, are not easy to determine right away because they are dependent on numerous factors. Certain factors of an accident can have significant impacts on a big truck accident. If you have been involved in an accident, a truck accident attorney can review the details of your case and determine an estimate. Some of the most common factors include:
- Whether more than one party is held responsible or liable for the accident
- If the settlement will be shared by multiple victims
- Comparative negligence laws
- Maximums and restrictions of insurance coverage
If a truck accident victim sustained injuries and damages from the accident that was caused by the truck driver or by a malfunctioning truck, they may be entitled to compensation. Some damages that are able to be recovered may include:
- Medical bills and expenses
- Lost wages due to the accident/injuries
- Property damage, such as repair or replacement of car and other personal belongings
- Pain and suffering
Generally, the greater the damages, the higher the settlement. If injuries result in long-term treatment or permanent disabilities, the victim may be able to recover a large settlement.
The victim’s attorney, like a trucking accident lawyer trusts, can file a claim with the insurance provider of the trucking company which includes all damages sustained in the accident. The attorney will then negotiate a fair settlement. If a fair agreement cannot be reached, the case may be taken to trial.
If an accident is caused by gross negligence or intentional behavior of the truck driver, it is possible to also recover punitive damages. Settlements are often highest when punitive damages apply. If found guilty of intent or negligence, then the at-fault party is held liable for punitive damages. This is the case when:
- A truck driver intentionally caused harm to the victim, such as purposefully running the victim off the road and causing them injuries.
- The trucking company requiring a worker to operate an unsafe or malfunctioning vehicle, or work without legally mandated breaks. In both cases, unsafe conditions are made known to the company.
In some cases, the victim may be partially responsible for the accident. If the victim is deemed liable for some portion of the accident, then comparative negligence laws are likely to apply. Depending on the state where the accident occurred, this will typically mean that a victim can recover a percentage of the damages. For example, if the accident victim was responsible for 30 percent of the accident, they are only able to recover 70 percent of the damages.
Laws may vary by state, so it is important to work with a lawyer in your area. An experienced truck accident lawyer can help relieve some of the stress by handling the legal matters, as well as increase your chance of winning a fair settlement.