Truck accidents can lead to devastating consequences for the victims involved. Since trucks are so much larger and heavier than other types of vehicles, they can cause a lot of damage, even at low speeds. If you or a loved one were hurt in a truck accident, you might wonder what the average settlement looks like.
The best way to know what your case is worth is to discuss the details with the truck accident lawyers at John Foy & Associates. We’ve been helping injury victims win the settlements they deserve for over 20 years.
Truck Accident Settlements Always Vary
There are so many factors to consider when it comes to truck accidents. Depending on the circumstances, every accident can look so different. For this reason, there is no set average settlement for these types of accidents.
Although we can’t provide one average number, we can look at the facts surrounding the average truck accident and the victim’s damages. From there, it can give you an idea of what to expect when seeking a fair settlement.
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Factors in a Truck Accident Settlement
There are several factors to examine when trying to figure out how much your truck accident claim is worth:
- Who was at fault
- The severity of your injuries
- The total cost of your medical care
- Your lost wages
- Property damages
- Pain and suffering damages
When you schedule a consultation with an experienced truck accident lawyer, they can examine each of these factors to determine the value of your settlement.
Determining Who Was at Fault
One of the first things you and your truck accident will discuss is fault. In Georgia, the negligent party in an injury accident is responsible for all damages under the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) § 51-1-6. In other words, someone must have been careless in their actions, or inactions, that directly led to the accident and your injuries.
In most truck accident cases, the truck driver was primarily at fault. However, you will need to prove that they were at fault and thus liable for your damages. Depending on the details of your accident, this might be easier said than done.
Also, truck accidents can sometimes have more than one at-fault party. Besides the truck driver, the trucking company, a parts manufacturer, or even a maintenance company could be at fault.
In addition, if another driver was partially at fault, that would impact how the case gets handled and how damages get awarded. Your lawyer may need to do a lot of investigation to determine precisely who was at fault for the accident.
The Severity of Your Injuries
Truck accidents often lead to serious, even life-threatening, injuries. You and your lawyer will need to consider the cost of your injuries and how they affect your day-to-day life. For example, if you can no longer do certain things you used to because of your injuries, you are more likely to receive a higher settlement.
The Full Cost of Your Medical Care
You’ll also need to keep track of all medical costs resulting from the truck accident. Medical costs can be hundreds, hundreds of thousands, or millions of dollars depending on the severity of your injuries and the type of treatment you require.
Medical costs can include:
- Doctor bills
- Hospital bills
- Prescription medications
- Physical therapy
- Travel to and from doctor appointments
- Future medical costs
If your injuries are very serious, you will probably have a lot of bills. Medical care typically makes up the largest portion of a truck accident claim. So, the higher your medical costs, the higher your settlement value will likely be.
You must account for both current and future medical costs, as well. Serious injuries may require weeks, months, or years of treatment. In addition, some injuries, such as catastrophic injuries, never fully heal. These are all factors that you should discuss with a trusted truck accident lawyer when calculating damages for your claim.
Your Lost Wages
If you had to miss work time because of the truck accident and your medical treatment, you can claim that missed time as “lost wages.” To prove lost wages, you may need to include former pay stubs and documentation from your employer in your claim.
In some cases, you might be unable to return to the same type of work at all. If your injuries affect your job and employment, you may be able to claim “loss of earning capacity,” as well. Your lawyer will include any of these losses in the full value of your settlement.
A large truck’s sheer size and weight in a collision often mean severe damage to other vehicles. Many times, the victim’s car gets totaled in a truck accident. Whether your vehicle is totaled or requires certain repairs, your settlement should include these losses.
The amount of settlement you receive for vehicle damage will depend on the type of vehicle you have, the severity of the damage, and how willing the insurance company is to accept liability for the accident.
Pain and Suffering Damages
Unlike the above damages, “pain and suffering” accounts for non-economic damages. Pain and suffering may include:
- Physical or emotional pain and suffering from your injuries
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Fear, humiliation, or anger
- Anxiety or depression
Pain and suffering damages are not as straightforward as medical bills or lost wages. You will need the help of an experienced truck accident lawyer to determine how much your pain and suffering is worth from a money standpoint.
What About Punitive Damages?
Punitive damages are a special award given by the court if your case goes to trial and you qualify. It is a punishment levied by the court for egregious cases of negligence. The court has discretion on whether to award these and how much they’re worth, though we can ask for them.
The fear of punitive damages is one reason why an insurance company may be quick to settle. Going forward with a trial where punitive damages are a possibility is quite risky for the insurer. Your lawyer can tell you if your case is severe enough to qualify for these damages.
Insurance Companies Offer Low Initial Settlements
When you get into a truck accident, the trucking company or truck driver’s insurance policy will try to offer you a fast settlement early on. Unfortunately, these settlements are often meager compared to the actual value of your damages. Therefore, the worst thing you can do is accept their offer and take this initial settlement.
If you accept their low settlement offer, you absolve them of any further liability for your damages. Thus, before you can even realize it’s too late, you end up with way less than what you deserve, and there’s nothing you can do about it.
While the average truck accident settlement fluctuates, the settlement you negotiate for will always be larger than the one you get offered.
When Is a Truck Accident Settlement Offer Fair?
Your lawyer can tell you when your settlement reaches a fair amount and when pursuing for more, may be more trouble than it’s worth. Your settlement money should cover all the costs of your injuries. Ask yourself:
- Is there enough to cover all the medical treatment, past and future?
- Does it cover all the lost wages I would have earned if I hadn’t been injured?
- Does the settlement compensate for the pain and suffering I went through in this accident?
We will do our best to fight to make you as whole as possible through your settlement or award. Knowing all the ways you’ve been damaged is crucial to know how much to ask for when we fight for your claim.
You Can’t File a Claim Past the Statute of Limitations
Remember, truck accident claims don’t have an indefinite expiration date. So, if you pass the two-year statute of limitations under OCGA § 9-3-33, don’t expect to win any settlement. This is why it’s crucial that you quickly get help from a lawyer. That way, you can get started building a solid case and winning a fair settlement for your truck accident.
Talk to a Truck Accident Lawyer in Georgia for Free Today
Each of the above factors will be considered when calculating the settlement value of the truck accident case. You should also be aware that the insurance company will likely offer you a settlement that is way below the amount you and your lawyer calculate. Whatever you do, never accept the first offer.
You will need a lawyer who knows how to negotiate a fair settlement for you. The goal is to get you full compensation for your damages. At John Foy & Associates, we have been doing just that for countless truck accident victims of the past 20-plus years. To discuss your case with us during a free consultation today, call or contact us now.