A lot is on the line when a trucking accident occurs. Consider the stakes for the different parties:
- The trucking company has a corporate reputation to protect, and it may be concerned about government penalties.
- The insurance company wants to avoid damaging financial consequences and, in turn, wants to pay nothing or as little as possible in order to resolve any claims.
- The injured individuals and their families want to know how to get their own vehicle fixed or replaced, how to pay for medical treatment, and how to work through the complex legal ramifications of a collision.
One of the more common questions that injured people ask after a truck accident is how much most cases settle for? In other words, they want to know roughly what the average truck accident case will end up paying after everything is said and done.
There is really no “average” settlement for an 18-wheeler accident. The amount of any settlement will depend on the specific facts and circumstances, including the extent of a victim’s physical, emotional and financial harm and available insurance coverage. An experienced Douglasville truck accident lawyer will know how to gather and analyze evidence and calculate potential damages in your case.
Factors in Determining the Value of a Trucking Accident Settlement
A trucking accident case is a form of personal injury. To collect compensation, you must prove negligence. This is the legal theory by which almost all personal injury claims are evaluated. Negligence occurs when someone acts unreasonably or outside of the ordinary obligations that society places on them, and it causes someone else to suffer a loss. That loss may be economic, or it may not be. Nevertheless, without negligence, there is no case.
In determining the value of a truck accident settlement, the insurance company and the trucking company will be looking at a few key things, because these are the things a jury would ultimately get to hear. This means they are the things that could sway a jury to award money to an injured person. They are:
- Severity of the injuries – The more serious and potentially life-altering an injury is, the more likely a jury will sympathize with the victim and award compensation. So, the worse the injury, the higher the settlement amount usually is.
- Cost of medical care – The more money that a person spends on reasonable and necessary medical treatment, the more a jury will want to award. In most cases, insurance companies use the cost of medical care as a key indicator of the case value. However, it is certainly not the only factor. If medical care is unrelated or unreasonably high-priced, you can expect this issue to be discussed in negotiations.
- Lost income – Another huge factor in awarding compensation is the loss of wages and earnings. A higher-earning person who loses the opportunity to work for weeks or months after a crash will likely have a solid claim for lost wages. A person who is not employed and loses no income will not receive this type of compensation.
- Loss of a normal life – If you have heard terms like “loss of enjoyment” or “loss of normal life,” these are legal terms that describe the emotional and personal loss of the normal activities of life that bring joy. If you can no longer play the piano or ride a bicycle, for example, these are things that can compel a jury to award more money.
- Pain and suffering – You can also seek compensation for the physical pain that you suffer. This can be a difficult element to prove to a jury and one that can either be a large amount or very small amount, depending on the facts of the case.
- Severity of property damages – Crashes that cause almost no damage to vehicles are often immediately denied by insurance carriers, because they realize that juries may be reluctant to make large awards without some objective evidence of the severity of the crash. Sadly, this is not scientific, as many people are badly hurt, even without major impacts.
Determining Liability in Semi-Truck Crashes
Establishing liability is essential. Because trucking companies and their insurance carriers move quickly to investigate, it’s important to work with an attorney who understands that it is crucial to move quickly to preserve evidence right from the start. Inexperienced attorneys who attempt to handle these types of cases often fail to take the swift actions needed to protect a case and prevent a trucking company from concealing evidence or destroying it.
At Sherrod & Bernard, P.C., our team will work quickly to investigate your injuries and the crash while also working to find witnesses and evidence to help support your case. The immediate goal of any investigation is to find the evidence needed to show that the truck driver was at fault and that you are an innocent victim. Without fast action, the trucking company will re-write history and try to avoid liability.
Common Injuries Experienced in Truck Accidents
Trucking accidents are typically among the most severe motor vehicle accidents, in part due to the sheer size of large commercial vehicles. Even minor impacts can result in catastrophic or fatal injuries. Some of the most common injuries people suffer in trucking accidents include:
- Muscle strain or sprain
- Head traumas
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Disfigurement and scars
- Disc injuries
- Back and neck pain
- Spinal cord injuries
- Crushing injuries
- Fractures and dislocations
- Cuts and lacerations.
What To Do If You Are Involved in an 18 Wheeler Crash in Georgia
After a collision involving a large semi-truck or commercial vehicle, your first concern must be safety. Call 911 for immediate assistance and make sure to get medical attention right away. Once you are in stable condition and you are able, you should contact a truck accident attorney to discuss your situation. While you are recovering physically, our amazing private investigators, crash scene investigation teams and forensic engineers can be at the scene of the crash performing a thorough site inspection to preserve evidence and document the facts. Call Sherrod & Bernard, P.C., today for a free one-on-one consultation with an attorney and learn more about how we can help you.
Kenneth R. Bernard Jr. serves as the Managing Partner of Sherrod & Bernard, P.C. A native of Douglas County, Kenneth earned both his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Georgia. He then served his country as a Judge Advocate General in the U.S. Marine Corps, attaining the rank of Captain during Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm. After his service, Ken returned home and joined forces with John Sherrod to launch Sherrod & Bernard, P.C., a law firm with a mission of providing superior legal services with a neighborly touch. In addition to his practice, Ken has served on several boards and committees, including three terms as Chairman of the University System of Georgia Foundation, Inc.