Truck accidents can be bad. Trucks, especially 18-wheelers, can weigh more than 40 tons if the tractor-trailer is carrying the maximum weight. This can cause a lot of harm in an accident, including injuries to other drivers and property damage to other vehicles.
It’s also important to remember that truck drivers don’t get paid if they aren’t driving. This can cause significant driver fatigue if drivers try to push the limits. Tired drivers combined with extremely large vehicles are a bad combination.
Fortunately, you don’t have to navigate a truck accident settlement by yourself.
Commercial Trucks have a High Minimum Insurance Requirement
Congress recognizes the significant risks that come from trucking. Federal law requires commercial trucking companies to carry a minimum of $750,000 in liability insurance. If a truck is carrying hazardous materials, it needs to be insured for five million dollars. While it may not feel that money matters after a truck accident, it’s important to know the money is there.
Compare the federal requirement to minimum state insurance requirements for cars. Some states, like Alabama, only require drivers to have $25,000 bodily liability insurance per person. Drivers in Virginia aren’t required to carry insurance at all. Getting into a car accident with someone who carries the minimum insurance might mean that you’re left high and dry.
Truck accident cases are different, because of the federal coverage minimums. There’s enough money so that victims can pay for their medical care throughout their lifetime.
What Types of Damages you can Receive in Truck Accident Verdicts and Settlements
There are several different types of damages that victims of commercial vehicle accidents can receive as part of their settlement.
Typically the largest bill includes medical expenses. This category covers care received immediately after a truck accident, as well as ongoing medical treatments. Insurance settlements typically also include medication, physical therapy, and visits to a chiropractor.
Medical expenses also include mental health care, as truck accident victims often suffer from stress, anxiety, and even PTSD.
Truck accident cases can involve a significant amount of property damage. Often, victims need to replace their car and anything that was inside the car during the crash. This includes clothing worn at the time of the accident, cell phones, purses, backpacks, and computers.
Other Economic Damages
Medical bills and property damage aren’t the only expenses associated with vehicle accidents.
Victims may be out of work for weeks or months recovering from their injuries. This is time away from work, which can mean no income. A truck accident settlement should cover your lost wages.
You may also find yourself paying for more child care because you’re spending more time in and out of the doctor’s office. These costs are sometimes added to insurance settlements as well.
One of the difficult parts of personal injury cases is that often, replacing what you lost isn’t enough to make up for the injury. Having medical bills covered by an insurance company is great, but it doesn’t fix an ache in your back every winter. It doesn’t replace the month in a hospital while you were recovering. It doesn’t solve the fear every time you get behind the wheel of a car.
There are a few different types of non-economic damages. They commonly include pain and suffering. Loss of consortium and loss of enjoyment also cover the ways that recovering from serious injuries changes your relationship with your loved ones.
You can’t put a price tag on the way your life changes after a truck accident settlement. However, insurance companies and courts will base these unquantifiable losses on your economic damages to come up with an approximate value of what you lost. This is often the best option to compensate truck accident victims for a difficult recovery.
Finally, if your case goes to trial, the jury can award punitive damages on top of economic and non-economic damages. As the name suggests, punitive damages are meant to punish particularly bad behavior. These may appear in cases where the truck driver or trucking company acted recklessly or illegally.
Maximizing your Settlement or Verdict
If you were in a truck accident, the best thing you can do is keep a log of your recovery. This is the best way to maximize your insurance settlement or trial verdict.
Here’s what you should keep track of:
- Every medical appointment, including the bills
- Missing work because of injuries or appointments
- Everything you need to replace because of the accident
- A daily record of your pain levels
- What changes you need to make in your life because of your injuries
These records are an important part of proving your injuries and expenses to show why you deserve your settlement. It’s a good idea to keep track of everything while you’re going through this process.
Getting the Help you Deserve after a Truck Accident
Negotiating with insurance companies can be a headache. While commercial trucks need to have high coverage, insurance companies want to pay out as little as possible. They have experienced insurance defense attorneys representing them, so you should have a strong personal injury law firm supporting you.
Our attorneys have significant experience representing victims and their families in truck accident settlements and jury trials. Contact us today for a free consultation about your case.