When you hear the phrase “average settlement” it is important to remember there is no average personal injury case. This is particularly true with truck/18-wheeler accident cases. While some cases could be worth a few thousand dollars, others could be worth tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. Some could even be worth millions.
As each case is unique, it is important to discuss it with a knowledgeable Lafayette truck accident lawyer. Insurance companies are always looking to lowball crash victims, but those who are represented by attorneys often recover more from insurance companies. At Galloway Jefcoat, we are prepared to review the facts of your claim and help determine how much it may be worth, with the goal of securing maximum compensation.
The consultation is free and there are no upfront fees.
Why Are 18-Wheeler Crashes So Dangerous?
An 18-wheeler is a trucking rig that consists of a tractor and a trailer that typically has a total of 18 wheels, hence the name. The size and weight of these vehicles is more than enough to cause serious damage to anything it collides with, including other vehicles and occupants of those vehicles.
The size and weight of these vehicles prevents drivers from making sudden stops or maneuvers to prevent crashes. For example, a truck driver who is distracted and fails to see vehicles in front of the truck coming to a stop may not have time to hit the brakes to avoid a crash. Even at slower speeds, trucks take much longer to stop than smaller passenger vehicles.
Rear-end crashes with 18-wheelers are also extremely dangerous because a passenger vehicle can slide under the rear of the truck.
These are just a few of the reasons accidents involving 18-wheelers frequently have devastating outcomes, including permanent injuries or death.
Truck Crash Injuries
Examples of injuries that often occur in truck crashes include:
- Spinal cord fractures
- Brain damage
- Neck injuries
- Back injuries
- Crush injuries
- Nerve damage
- Broken bones
- Shoulder injuries
What Factors into the Value of an 18-Wheeler Settlement?
There are several aspects of an 18-wheeler accident that must be explored when determining how much a reasonable settlement may be. For example, victims and their attorneys need to consider past, present and future damages. Some injuries will affect victims for a short time and others will affect them for years or the rest of their lives. That is one of the main reasons the value of 18-wheeler accident claims can vary wildly.
Compensation for past and present expenses may include your current treatment costs as well as the cost of repair or replacement or your damaged property.
Truck crash victims may be eligible for compensation for:
- Ambulatory services
- Hospital stays
- Prescription drugs
- Physical therapy
- Towing services
- Rental vehicle costs
- Vehicle replacement costs
- And more
The value of your future damages is just as important as the value of the damages you experienced immediately after the crash. These expenses are often associated with long-lasting or permanent injuries and may include the following:
- In-home care
- Household services
- Lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- And more
Insurance companies often do not include the costs of future damages in their settlement offers, as they often downplay the severity of injuries. Victims may be surprised about the types of injuries that are downplayed by insurers.
Our attorneys know how significant these damages may be for you and are prepared to help fight for the compensation on your behalf.
Other Factors in the Value of a Settlement
Some of the other factors that could impact the value of an 18-wheeler include:
- If the victim may be partially to blame for the crash
- The victim’s age
- If the victim cannot work or must change careers
- Your job at the time of the crash
- Education and job skills
- The severity of the truck driver’s negligent driving
- Whether the trucking company broke the law
- Your amount of pain and suffering
- The psychological effect of your injuries
What Are the Common Causes of 18-Wheeler Accidents?
Driver error is one of the most common causes of 18-wheeler accidents. This could include things like:
- Fatigued driving
- Distracted driving
- Reckless driving
- Impaired driving
- Violating the right of way
- Running a red light
- Running a stop sign
- Failing to stay in a lane
There are also outside factors, that can be further amplified by driver error and may contribute to an 18-wheeler accident, such as:
- Poor weather conditions
- Poor road conditions
- Improperly secured cargo
- Mechanical failure
- Poor maintenance
- Poor training of the driver
- The driver’s lack of experience
- Failure to drug test a driver
There are legal requirements for inspecting and maintaining a commercial truck, and if the driver or his or her employer fails to meet these obligations, there could be liability.
Who May Be Liable for an 18-Wheeler Accident?
There are one or more parties who may bear liability for your damages after in an 18-wheeler accident, including the driver of the 18-wheeler or the company that employs him or her.
Generally, if the driver of the 18-wheeler acted negligently and caused a crash that left you injured, the liability insurance policy that covers the driver would be responsible for your damages.
There are some cases of 18-wheeler accidents involving company-owned vehicles in which the driver of the truck caused the crash, yet the company is financially liable for your damages. Commercial trucking companies are also required to carry liability insurance and often have policies worth hundreds of thousands of dollars or more.
If the crash was caused by mechanical failure, you may be able to hold the manufacturer or a repair shop liable for the faulty equipment. The insurance requirements for these parties may vary, but you may have recourse to pursue compensation.
Other accidents with 18-wheelers may be due to improper cargo loading, in which case the party that loaded the truck could be held liable for your damages.
Need Help Filing a Claim? Call Us Today
If the insurance company has made you an offer to settle your 18-wheeler accident claim, it is important that you speak to an experienced attorney about it. Our licensed lawyers know how to evaluate the costs of your damages to see what your claim is truly worth and work to negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf.
We offer a free consultation to discuss your legal options after an 18-wheeler accident and do not charge you anything while we work on your claim.
Call (337) 984-8020 to learn more.