You’re on your way to work, ready to conquer another busy day. You come to a sudden stop at a red light, and once it turns green, you’re quickly on your way again. But then it happens.
An 18-wheeler that seemingly came out of nowhere strikes your car from the side, leaving you writhing in pain.
Apparently, the truck driver ran a red light before he hit you. And now, because of his negligence, you know that your life will never be the same.
Research shows that in 2016, nearly 4,000 people lost their lives in crashes involving large trucks. In addition, the number of truck-related fatalities was 27% higher that year than it was back in 2009 when the total was a record low.
If you’ve been injured in a semi-truck accident, you’re lucky to be alive. Unfortunately, the accident may have left you with physical, emotional, and mental scars.
Fortunately, though, you can seek compensation for your injuries. Still, to get the best settlement, you should know the average semi-truck accident settlement amount.
Here’s a look at what you can expect in the way of compensation following a serious truck accident.
Let’s get started.
The Truth about the Average Semi-Truck Accident Settlement
Let’s say you’re able to gather settlement figures from truck crashes in the United States during the past few years. Then, you calculate the average. Unfortunately, your answer would have no connection to your case’s potential settlement.
The reality is that coming up with an average semi-truck accident settlement amount isn’t a black-and-white process. That’s because each truck accident case’s settlement value depends on the case’s unique circumstances and facts.
However, let’s take a look at what truck drivers’ liability insurance policies are typically valued at. This will give you an idea of what type of settlement offer you may receive.
Insurance Coverage Limits
Truck drivers’ liability insurance is paramount for the safety of the public.
Minimum liability insurance requirements exist to make sure that trucking companies can pay sufficient monetary damages in truck accident cases where their drivers were negligent.
Specifically, federal officials require truck operators to possess the following minimum coverage amounts:
- $300,000 if they are transporting 10,000 pounds or less of non-hazardous items
- $750,000 if they are transporting 10,002 pounds or more of non-hazardous items
- $1 million if they are transporting oil via private carriers
- $5 million if they are transporting hazardous materials via private carriers
However, many trucking businesses require at least a million dollars in insurance coverage no matter what type of material is being hauled.
The Grim Reality of Insurance Coverage Limits
The policy minimums listed above might sound like a lot of coverage. However, your reality following an injury-causing truck crash may be quite different.
For instance, if an 18-wheeler rear-ends you, may suffer detrimental injuries that cost several million dollars to address. Therefore, the minimum insurance coverage often isn’t enough to cover serious health care problems, like a spinal cord injury or traumatic brain injury.
Also, some truckers drive around with coverage limits that they have not updated for years. Medical costs and inflation rise over time. That means their policy limits might not be adequate for covering your hefty medical bills following a truck crash.
In many cases, truck accident victims end up winning damages that exceed the truck drivers’ minimum liability insurance limits.
How an Insurance Company Calculates a Settlement Offer
Why does an insurance company generally offer a settlement to a victim? So that it can avoid a costly trial and the bad publicity that may come with it.
What does this mean for you following a truck wreck? It means that your case’s settlement value is tied to the insurance company’s chances of succeeding at civil trial.
If the company thinks you could win a large sum of money at trial, it’ll likely offer you a larger settlement.
Meanwhile, if the company thinks you’ll lose at trial or you won’t get much compensation, it probably won’t make you a large settlement offer.
Let’s take a look at four factors that will contribute to what your settlement offer ends up being.
Your Injury Situation Following the Truck Accident
Crashes involving 18-wheelers are often very destructive. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that they can inflict serious injuries on their victims.
For this reason, an insurance company will take into consideration your injuries’ total costs when coming up with a possible settlement offer for you.
Your medical bills’ total will likely constitute most of your settlement value. If you have to undergo several surgeries and extensive rehabilitation, this can quickly add up.
Also, let’s say that your physicians tell you that you’ll need extra medical care in the future. For example, you might need chiropractic care. This can add to your potential settlement amount.
On the flip side, if your physical injuries are relatively minor, you may not get much of a settlement offer.
This is true even if the crash has caused you to suffer mental health and emotional trauma issues. That’s because these problems are usually hard to prove.
Your Economic Losses Following the Truck Crash
Following your truck crash, you may find yourself unable to return to your workplace for a while as well.
In fact, some truck crash victims end up having to change careers depending on the injuries they have suffered.
For instance, a traumatic brain injury or paralysis may prevent them from completing the jobs they once did.
The worst-case scenario? You may never be able to work again.
All of these situations can result in significant financial costs when it comes to opportunities and wages.
The insurance company will factor these costs into your case’s settlement value since the civil court may award monetary damages for these costs at trial.
Along with lost wages, your settlement offer may factor in compensation for other economic losses. These losses may include the amount of money spent traveling to get medical treatment.
Other losses might include any modifications you must make to your house in light of your new disabilities.
Your Level of Fault in the Truck Crash
Let’s say you go to trial and the court decides on a total amount of damages in the case. The court will change this amount based on your level of fault in the crash.
For instance, let’s say that the jury decides that the truck driver was 75% responsible for your crash. In this situation, you’ll recover only 75% of the monetary damage total.
In the same way, let’s say that an insurance company thinks it can successfully demonstrate that you contributed to your truck crash. It will likely decrease the settlement total it will offer you, too.
Who Is Representing You Legally in Your Truck Accident Case
Hiring an attorney is one of the smartest moves you can make once you’ve been injured in a serious truck crash. More importantly, you need to hire a good attorney.
The first reason for this? Many cases involving truck accidents require personal injury lawsuits. Attorneys can help with filing them.
This is often the only way that victims can obtain enough compensation for covering their injuries.
Another reason? An insurance company generally won’t take your case seriously if you have no legal representation.
If you lack a lawyer or adequate legal representation, the company may immediately think it can beat your case. And this is true even if your case would be a strong one otherwise.
The truth is, insurance companies can access records on attorneys. Therefore, they can find out if your chosen lawyer is the type who doesn’t usually pursue trial or win at trial. If this is the case, you can expect a less favorable settlement offer.
For these reasons, it’s critical that you hire a lawyer who is experienced. The attorney should also have a track record of success in both trial situations and settlement negotiation situations.
This will increase your chances of securing an insurance company settlement offer that is fair in the end.
Fortunately, companies like USAttorneys.com focus on matching victims with lawyers who can meet their needs.
This company can easily connect you to local truck crash lawyers. The attorneys can then analyze your case and help you to pursue the compensation to which you are entitled.
How We Can Help
In addition to discussing what the average semi-truck accident settlement is, we offer a wide range of advice and tips related to health and wellness.
For instance, we offer guidance on how to understand your medical bills. We also provide a look at common motorcycle-related accident injuries.
Our ultimate goal? To protect your best interests both physically and financially in 2019.
Take a peek here to find out more about how you can preserve your health going forward. With our help, you can increase your quality of life and overall wellbeing in the months and years ahead.