Truck Accident Settlements and How They're Determined | Jim Adler & Associates
Jim Adler | The Tough, Smart Lawyer
Losing a loved one or being injured in a crash with a big rig is a terrifying and a potentially devastating event. If you or a family member were in an accident with a commercial truck, you’re probably worried about how you’re going to pay your bills and how the accident is going to affect the rest of your life and your family? The good news is that big trucks often carry even bigger insurance policies and an experienced truck accident lawyer like Jim Adler can get you the compensation you need to move on with your life.

If you or a loved one was injured or killed in an accident with a big truck, 18 wheeler or commercial vehicle, call Jim Adler today. We can help determine the responsibility of each party and whether or not you are owed compensation for medical bills, car repairs, lost wages, funeral expenses, and other damages.

Who pays in a truck accident: the truck driver or the company that hired them?

Before your attorney can calculate the damages (payment or compensation) you might be owed, they’ll try to identify who’s legally responsible for the crash. In a commercial truck accident, multiple parties can be responsible for paying. This part of the process can take a while because every party with potential liability represents a possible source of payment for your damages. Even if you’re partially responsible for the crash, you still might be able to seek compensation.

Don’t try to sue the trucking company or settle with the at fault driver’s insurance company yourself – insurance companies will do everything to deny or minimize fault for their role in the crash and minimize your injuries and losses. This process can become very discouraging and lengthy if you don’t have aggressive legal representation moving things along in your favor.

Remember that behind the truck driver is a company with an insurance policy. Aside from the truck driver’s insurance, some of the parties that might be liable, or required to pay, in a truck injury case include:

  • The trucking company
  • The owner of the truck
  • The company leasing the truck
  • The company leasing the trailer
  • The shipper who’s supplies, merchandise, cargo, are being transported
  • The truck, trailer or parts manufacturer

How Truck Accident Settlement Amounts Are Determined

Truck accident victims often end up in difficult positions, especially if they can’t go back to work fulltime because of their injuries. In other cases, victims are left caring for a loved one who was seriously injured in an accident. You have the right to take legal action and seek compensation from the at-fault party in the crash.

One of the most common questions we get after an accident with a commercial truck is how much a case is worth. It’s impossible to know what a case might be worth without the facts, but several factors come into play when determining settlement amounts. First and foremost is the negotiating skills and knowledge of your attorney – Jim Adler and Associates has decades of experience negotiating tens of thousands of truck accident settlements and can get you the money you need.

Some of the types of compensation you can obtain when hiring Jim Adler & Associates include:

A. Economic damages are the first type of compensation you can receive. Economic damages represent money you may have lost due to a tractor-trailer accident and include:

  1. Medical expenses: Medical expenses includes your past, present and future medical needs. For instance, your past needs might include an emergency room visit and hospitalization. Your present needs may include surgery, devices, medications, rehabilitation, and appointments with doctors and therapists. Your future medical needs include all the long-term medical attention you might need in the future as a result of the accident.

  2. Lost wages: If you are injured in a crash with a large truck, you may be unable to work for a long period of time. Payment of lost wages can cover all the income you lost as a result of your injuries from the accident and during the duration of the lawsuit.

  3. Loss of earning capacity: Loss of earning capacity is the difference between what you would have been able to earn over the course of your life before the accident happened, and the lower amount that you’re able earn as a result of your injuries from the accident.

    For example, as a receptionist you may have made about $40,000 a year, with an expected salary increase of $10,000 over the next ten years. But if you have a spinal cord injury that leaves you unable to sit for extended periods of time, you might only be able to find a job that demands less but also pays less. For example, you might only be able to work part-time and make $25,000 a year with a maximum potential salary increase of only $5,000 over the next ten years. Your experienced personal injury attorney will argue for payment of the difference of what you would have been able to earn had you not been in the accident.

  4. Other: Other economic damages may include money to repair your car after an accident. Loss of use includes the money you lose because you cannot use your vehicle. It may also include funeral expenses in the case of the death of a loved one.
B. Non-economic damages are the second type of compensation you can get in a truck accident settlement. They include the toll your injuries take on your quality of life. They’re more difficult to calculate and require an experienced personal injury attorney to make a strong case. Non-economic damages include:

  1. Pain and suffering: The legal term pain and suffering includes the physical discomfort and emotional distress you’re going through as a result of the accident. Truck accidents often result in serious injuries for victims because trucks can weight up to 80,000 pounds – that’s ten to twenty times what a normal car might weigh. Because of this, injuries from these types of crashes can be devastating, or even result in death.

    Some of the most common injuries considered for pain and suffering damages include:

    • Injuries that are very difficult to treat. For example, burn injuries involves removing dead skin and that process can be excruciatingly painful.
    • Other severe injuries in truck accidents might include: disfigurement, torn ligaments or paralysis. Similarly, back and neck injuries and fractures which require hardware (screws, rods and plates) are all common in truck accidents.

    Mental anguish is another non-economic damage which is significant mental pain and distress that causes a substantial disruption in a person’s routine and quality of life. In Texas, courts look to the “nature, duration, and severity of their mental anguish” to determine whether or not to consider awarding compensation for this element of damages. Under Texas law, mental anguish must have physical manifestations.

    Pain and suffering in the form of mental and/or emotional distress can include a long list of other mental and emotional injuries, such as:

    • Grief
    • Fear
    • Terror
    • Worry
    • Nervousness
    • Insomnia
    • Humiliation
    • Anxiety
    • Irritability
    • Emotional trauma
    • Emotional pain and losing enjoyment of life

  2. Loss of consortium: A death or severe injury of a loved one is a devastating event. Damages for loss of consortium include the benefits that one spouse is entitled to receive from the other. This includes companionship, cooperation, aid, affection, sexual relations, and tasks around the house that one did before but is now unable to do. A similar loss of benefits applies for the loss of a parent or a child.
C. Punitive Damages are the third type of damages you can get in a commercial truck accident and are meant to punish the responsible party or parties at fault for the crash. They’re less common and harder to prove because they require an act of “gross negligence” or malice. Acts such as driving while intoxicated or fleeing the scene of the crash can allow for a punitive damage award.

An experienced attorney will closely review your case and determine how much your damages are worth.

Is there a minimum amount for truck accident settlements?

In Texas, economic and non-economic damages have no legal caps. Each case is different and only an experienced attorney like Jim Adler will be able to get you the full amount you’re entitled to under the law. The degree and extent of your injuries, medical bills and other losses will be taken into account for the final settlement amount.

Insurers are going to try to deny or minimize your claim in order to pay the least amount of money possible. These are often multi-million-dollar companies with major law firms behind them ready to bury you in paperwork and drag out your case until you give up and accept their offer. Only a personal injury attorney with experience in truck accident cases will be able to get you the settlement you need after you’ve been injured in an accident with a big rig.

How do 18-wheeler accident settlements work?

Once you’ve hired a personal injury attorney the first step is to determine who was at fault. This might be as simple as seeing what type of crash it was (rear end, t-bone, rollover, etc.). It can also be more involved and require investigators and experts. Remember, even if you were partially at fault you still might be entitled to compensation.

Your attorney might file a civil lawsuit claiming damages for your injuries and losses. Often times insurance companies chose to resolve your case out of court, which is why it’s called a settlement. In fact, most cases settle without filing a lawsuit or going to court. However, if your case ends up going to court your attorney will fight in court to get you the maximum compensation for your injuries.

Your lawyer will be paid from the settlement you get. So, if you don’t get anything, neither does your attorney. Nothing ever comes out of your pocket. If we are able to resolve your case without filing a lawsuit, we charge 33 1/3 percent of the recovery. However, if a lawsuit is filed, we charge 40 percent of the recovery. For example, if we didn’t file a lawsuit and your total gross recovery is $100,000.00 then our fees would be $33,333.

How long will my case take?

Each personal injury case is different and has its own set of facts to consider. Nevertheless, one thing all cases have in common is they’re usually complicated. Getting a settlement that you deserve can take months of negotiations and investigation because there might be multiple parties with potential liability. Also, insurance companies might try to wear down the victim by stalling the process and asking for the victim to prove their injuries by providing significant documentation.

Finding an attorney to represent you after an accident with an 18-wheeler or a commercial vehicle can be overwhelming. You don’t have to settle for the money the truck driver’s insurance company is offering you and often times you shouldn’t.

Regardless of whether your accident happened in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio or somewhere else in the Lone Star state – the team at Jim Adler & Associates has experienced personal injury lawyers with decades of experience handling tens of thousands of cases. We’re ready to handle your case with the respect and attention you deserve. And we don’t get paid unless you get paid – so you know we’ll fight for you!

To speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer about your case fill out our free online form or call us today at 1-800-505-1414.
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