By: Mitch Grissim
The damage people suffer when involved in an accident with a big commercial truck is nothing short of catastrophic. Because these vehicles are so large and so massive, they can cause much greater harm than accidents involving smaller vehicles. Sometimes they are hauling several tons of cargo, which makes the problem even worse.
Those who get hurt in these accidents deserve compensation for the injuries they suffer. It’s not uncommon for the question to arise: “What is my settlement worth?” Let’s look at the average semi truck accident settlement value, and learn how a truck accident attorney can help you get compensated for your injuries.
The Catastrophic Nature of Truck Accidents
Truck accidents are severe by their very nature. Truckers can’t stop or react as quickly as drivers of smaller vehicles, because of their size and momentum. They can’t steer as sharply without the risk of a jackknife or rollover. They don’t have as wide a range of visibility and can’t always see other vehicles around them as well.
Further, truck accidents are increasing instead of decreasing. This is despite the fact that we have more stringent laws to regulate the trucking industry, and despite the fact that there’s greater awareness of the dangers of these big rigs. In fact, over the past two decades, incidents of truck accidents are up by 20 percent across the nation.
What Causes Truck Accidents?
There is a wide variety of causes for truck accidents, which can make them tricky to pursue. Truck drivers are very often overworked. They drive exhausted, and this leads them to make bad decisions or even fall asleep at the wheel. Even when they are alert, they might encounter bad weather conditions. They could get frustrated and drive too fast or not watch where they’re going.
They could have issues where their cargo wasn’t loaded properly and it shifts, causing them to lose control. Their air brakes or another part of their vehicle could fail. The problem is, there are many different parties that could hold responsibility. Unlike with a smaller vehicle accident, with a commercial vehicle, the responsible parties can include the driver, the trucking company, the shipping and loading companies, the maintenance crew and even vehicle parts manufacturers.
The Value of a Truck Accident
Because truck accidents are so common, and because they are so catastrophic in nature, the law requires trucking companies to carry a lot more insurance than those who drive smaller, private vehicles. Because of this, and because of the multiple parties involved, truck accidents can be worth a lot more than a regular motorcycle or car accident.
That said, every accident is unique. When you’re hurt in an accident, you are entitled to damages for:
- Medical bills, including doctor visits, surgery, procedures, rehabilitation, medication and more;
- Lost wages and potential loss of future compensation;
- Pain and suffering;
- Loss of consortium, comfort, and relationships;
- Emotional trauma;
- Damage to your quality of life;
- Property and vehicle damage;
- Possible punitive damages (in the worst cases only).
Factors in Settlement
There are a number of factors that go into determining your settlement value. These include state liability laws and contributory negligence; the severity of your injuries; whether there were any fatalities; whether the driver was intoxicated; and the limits of insurance policies.
No matter how much your settlement is worth, it’s difficult to collect more than an insurance policy will cover. Let’s say you get an award for $2 million. If the total insurance policies from all the guilty parties only amount to $1.5 million, you may have a tough time getting that last half million, even though technically they owe it to you.
What Is the Average Settlement?
This is, unfortunately, not an easy question to answer. There have been cases where drivers have been awarded $183,000, cases where the settlement was around $600,000, and even cases that amounted to several million dollars in value. Every case is completely unique and will depend on what happened to you, who is responsible and the degree of damage done.
Talk to a Truck Accident Attorney
If you’re in Lafayette, Louisiana, or the surrounding areas and have been hurt in an accident with a large commercial vehicle, working with a truck accident attorney like Blaine Barrilleaux is your best bet to achieve significant compensation. Our team will help you to value your case, determine who should be held accountable and will work to resolve your case to the best possible end.
The best way to get started is with a free consultation. Give us a call to get together and discuss your case today.
About The Author
Mitch Grissim is the managing partner of Mitch Grissim & Associates, and is a notable 18-wheeler accident attorney in Nashville, Tennessee. Mitch is a graduate of the Nashville School of Law and has been practicing personal injury law in Nashville since 1981. He is also a member of the Tennessee Bar Association as well as the American Bar Association.