Accidents with big trucks are different from those with smaller vehicles. Because of their size and weight, big trucks can cause an enormous amount of damage, resulting in a high toll in physical suffering and a higher than normal amount of monetary damages. Smaller cars may be unrecognizable after being hit by a larger truck, while the truck suffers a relatively small amount of damage.
The height of a semi-truck is also dangerous for vehicles, although there is an attempt to make the bigger trucks safer by installing rear underride guards. The guards would keep the bigger truck from driving right over the smaller vehicle.
The average semi-truck accident settlement will be based on several factors, depending on what kind of damages were incurred and who was at fault. You will want to keep good records as you go along to make sure you can document any expenses or treatments if you need to prove them later. Your settlement after a crash can include both present and future damages if you can prove them. For a full analysis, talk to a truck accident lawyer, otherwise, here are some factors to consider.
Arizona has a comparative negligence rule, meaning you can recover even if you were almost entirely at fault. Like with any other liability case, you need to prove that the person at fault breached a duty of care and that that breach was the cause of your injuries/damages. The duty other motorists owe to other drivers is simply to be careful and follow the rules of the road.
If you were 99% at fault but the other party was 1% at fault, you can still recover that 1% in damages if you were the one injured in the accident. The total damages are added up, and then you can get 1% of the total. The total damages will include any reasonable expenses that came from the accident, from vehicle repair to rental car reimbursement to time off from work.
It is best not to consider any settlement offer until you know how much your medical bills are going to be, so you should usually wait until you have been released from your doctor’s care before accepting a settlement. Once you accept a settlement, you can’t ask for more money later.
Who Is At Fault?
Sometimes it is obvious who is at fault in an accident, but other cases are harder to determine. It is always better not to admit fault until an investigation is complete, and you can always feel free to contact an attorney if you are worried or have any questions.
In Arizona, you can get an unbiased law enforcement officer to come to the scene. The officer will take notes about where the vehicles are damaged, where the impact occurred, the road conditions, weather, and everything else. You can get a copy of the accident report the officer makes, which will also have all the drivers’ information, including insurance and contact information. Witness information might also be important, so you can ask for numbers yourself or get help from the report.
The stronger your case, the better your chance of a high settlement offer from a big truck company. If the initial investigation puts you at fault, you may be facing a low hit by semi-truck settlement offer or no offer at all.
2. Medical Expenses
Even with the enormous amount of physical damage a big truck can cause, medical expenses will likely be the largest source of damages if there is a serious crash. Your medical expenses will include your original treatment along with any medication, all follow-up treatment, and anything else you reasonably needed to recover. You could ask to recover expenses for your ambulance ride, crutches, and your chiropractic adjustments.
Depending on what kinds of injuries you suffered, you could be looking at years or a lifetime of medical bills. Some injuries are permanent, and all you can do is agree to a price on how much the injury is worth. Because of the size of the semi, it isn’t unusual for someone in an accident with one to suffer life-altering injuries. In those cases, you can also ask to be compensated for other related losses. For instance, if you work with your hands and lost the use of your hand, you may need to change careers.
Your commercial truck accident settlement should include all the medical expenses you have incurred, along with an estimate of how much you will need to pay in the future. In order to present this information, you will probably need to get a specialist to show a plan for future treatment.
3. Physical Damages
These are the first and most obvious damages, and they will probably also be the easiest to assess. If the damage is too great, the insurance company will probably “total out” your car. That means they will come up with a number of how much they will pay you for your vehicle, which is usually the Blue Book Value.
The insurance company will take into consideration what kind of shape your vehicle was in already. While the rules are pretty clear cut, it still never hurts to advocate for yourself, especially if you are the victim, and don’t forget to ask for rental car reimbursement if you had to use a rental because of the crash.
4. Lost Wages
Most people think they can only ask for compensation for the time they missed from work right after the accident. You can also ask to be compensated for the time you need for follow-up treatments, and for any wages you will miss in the future because of your injuries.
If you were injured badly enough, you might have impaired earning capacity. You may not be able to work as much as you used to, and/or you may no longer be able to do the job you did before you were in the crash. Some people can never go back to work. You deserve compensation if your livelihood is interfered with in this way.
Some people didn’t make much before the accident, but they still deserve compensation just as much as people who used to earn a lot. You should be compensated for the amount of wages you have lost, and you and your attorney can work to figure out the most accurate number to ask for.
5. Pain and Suffering
One of the other biggest factors in an average settlement for 18 wheeler accident is the compensation for pain and suffering. This is the area where you will take other factors into account, most of which are more objective than the others. How much actual suffering did you go through? How much time will you need to recover? Are there other people who depended on you before the crash, who will no longer be able to get the care they received before?
An attorney with the right experience will easily be able to help you identify all the areas where you may be suffering now, or where you or your family will suffer in the future. You need to take all these factors into account before considering a reasonable settlement.
Have You Been in a Truck Accident?
Skousen, Gulbrandsen & Patience, PLC has been assisting clients in the Mesa, AZ area for over half a century. We understand how difficult it is to be in a serious accident, and we help our clients navigate the legal process so they can get the compensation they need and deserve. You shouldn’t have to deal with the added stress of navigating a legal maze when you are trying to recover and move on from the accident.
Our competent and compassionate Personal Injury Attorneys and Auto Accident Lawyers treat each case with importance. Our cases include Motorcycle Accidents, Serious Injuries, Dog Bites, Criminal/DUI and Medical Malpractice cases. We are a personal injury law firm that strives for a higher standard of excellence and our results speak for themselves. Personal Injury Lawyer Firm Skousen, Gulbrandsen & Patience, PLC. also known as SGP Law assists those throughout the Phoenix metropolitan area in legal need for serious injuries.