What is the Average Settlement of a Truck Accident Case in Arkansas?
The United States Department of Transportation estimates that over 500,000 truck accidents occur every year. If you’ve been harmed in an 18-wheeler accident, you could be owed substantial compensation from a settlement. These accidents are often catastrophic, resulting in serious injury and lifelong disability. As such, these settlements tend to be larger than average car accident settlements. Injured victims need substantially more compensation to handle the injuries and disabilities they now face.
Unfortunately, due to the increased risk and involvement of corporate trucking insurance, there is no “average” 18-wheeler accident settlement. These accidents are highly complex, and settlements are based on individual suffering and harm. Since so many factors determine the compensation you will receive, it is important to discuss your case with an experienced Arkansas truck accident lawyer at Rainwater, Holt & Sexton.
How Much Can I Settle For After a Truck Accident?
Commercial trucks are required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to carry at least $750,000 in liability insurance. In addition, trucking companies usually have to purchase additional insurance to protect the company’s assets from being taken to pay a judgment debt. Typically, an 18 wheeler accident will result in a larger settlement than a car accident.
However, calculating 18 wheeler accident settlements is not easy. Many factors must be considered before reaching a settlement amount. After all, once you agree to a settlement, you cannot go back and request more money — even if you suddenly experience complications. As such, it is important that any settlement you agree to cover whatever life may throw your way.
When determining how much compensation you need after a serious truck accident in Arkansas, your lawyers will need to consider many different factors, including:
- Who is liable?
- Insurance policy limit
- Cost of medical expenses and lost wages
- Impact of injuries on victim and family
- Pain and suffering endured
- Long-term disabilities and effect on life
- Inability to work
To determine the amount of compensation you deserve after a serious 18 wheeler accident in Arkansas, your attorney will need to investigate the accident closely. Liability must be established, and your attorney must work with medical teams and experts to accurately determine how your injuries will affect your life and future. This can take time and a considerable amount of resources.
As you may imagine, insurance companies are reluctant to pay what injured accident victims need. That is why they often offer low settlement offers quickly. Never sign anything without first speaking to an Arkansas trucking accident lawyer at Rainwater, Holt & Sexton. Our attorneys can protect you and your rights to total compensation after a crash.
How is Fault Determined?
Before your attorney can determine the total amount of compensation or settlement you deserve, it is necessary to determine who is truly to blame for the accident. Your truck accident attorney may need to employ accident reconstruction experts to accurately determine the liable parties, examine black box data and electronic logs, and review maintenance records. After a lengthy investigation, it is not uncommon for multiple parties to share liability, including the:
- Trucking company
- Truck driver
- Owner of the truck
- Shipping company
- Loading company
- Maintenance company
- Trucking manufacturer
- Trucking parts supplier or manufacturer
It is important to find all liable parties because each party will have its insurance policy and limits. The amount of compensation you can receive may increase tremendously if the shipping company is found responsible instead of just the truck driver. Each potentially liable party is a possible source of compensation. That is why it is beneficial to investigate trucking accidents thoroughly. Your 18 wheeler accident settlement will increase if you can uncover all parties that share the blame.
How Are Damages Calculated?
In general, the injuries in a truck collision are typically more severe than average passenger vehicle crashes. This is because the weight of an 18 wheeler truck multiplied by the speed yields a much greater force than is found in other collisions. A passenger vehicle generally weighs 3,000 to 6,000 pounds. A loaded semi-tractor with a trailer can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. This variance is so wide that the passenger vehicle cannot withstand the force imposed by the large truck. As a result, it crumples to the point that the occupants are significantly injured, even at lower collision speeds.
Because injuries are so severe, injured trucking accident victims often require substantially more compensation. They may suffer significant pain and suffering or may be unable to work again in their chosen profession. They may even suffer permanent and lifelong disability and impairment.
A trucking accident attorney must accurately determine how those injuries will affect their future and overall quality of life before reaching a settlement. Calculating future expenses and costs can take time and may require that the accident victim reach maximum medical improvement.
Some of the damages that must be calculated include both non-economic and economic expenses.
These types of damages are easy to quantify and can be proven with receipts and other bill statements. They include any money you lost because of the accident, including:
- Medical expenses. This includes money spent on hospitalizations, rehabilitation, and other medical care. Prescription costs, as well as treatment costs both now and in the future, must be considered. For example, your attorney must work with your medical team to determine if your injuries will require future surgeries or hospitalizations prior to reaching a settlement offer.
- Lost wages. Trucking accident injuries may prevent you from working for a long period of time. This can affect your ability to pay your household expenses, mortgage or rent, and debts. As a result, many injured accident victims quickly fall into debt. This is unfair, and any settlement reached must include money for lost wages resulting from the accident.
- Loss of earning capacity. If your injuries prevent you from working in the future or working in your chosen profession, you may collect loss of earnings damages. This amount of compensation is difficult to calculate because you must show that you will be earning lower than you would earn due to your injuries. This may mean working with medical experts, as well as vocational experts to determine the full scope of your disabilities and limitations.
- Other damages. There are other economic damages you can pursue, including property damage costs. This includes the cost to repair your vehicle and other property that sustained damage in the accident. This might include cell phones, laptops, car seats, and other belongings.
These types of damages are more difficult to quantify because they are subjective in nature. They include the suffering you and your family experienced because of your trucking accident. It takes a skilled and experienced personal injury lawyer to make a strong case for non-economic damages. Some of the most common non-economic damages, include:
- Pain and suffering. This is considered the most common type of non-economic damage, and it encompasses the emotional and physical stress and pain you endured after the crash. Trucking accident injuries are often catastrophic and can weigh heavily on a person — both physically and emotionally. For example, a burn injury may result in extreme pain and emotional stress from disfigurement.
- Mental anguish. This is another common type of non-economic damage that covers the mental pain you endured because of the nature and severity of your injuries. This includes suffering from fear, depression, emotional trauma, or loss of enjoyment in life. Many trucking accident victims suffer from depression, anxiety, and PTSD long after the accident.
- Loss of consortium. When a loved one suffers a serious or life-altering injury, this affects the entire family. Damages for loss of consortium compensate the accident victim and their family from the loss of companionship, sexual relations, and affection that accompanies a serious injury.
In some severe cases, a court may award punitive damages. These types of damages are meant to punish the negligent party for acting irresponsibly. In commercial trucking accidents, these types of damages are less common. To win these awards, your lawyer must prove that an act of gross negligence or malice occurred. For example, if the truck driver fled the trucking accident scene, you might win a punitive damage award.
How Do 18 Wheeler Accident Settlements Work?
While some states limit the amount of non-economic damages an accident victim can receive, Arkansas does not. There are no caps on damages in injury cases. Since each case is different, your attorney will need to investigate your accident closely to help get you the full amount you deserve.
Unfortunately, insurers will try to reduce your claim in any way they can. They may try to pin some of the blame on you, or they may say that your injuries are not as severe as you claim. These large insurance companies may delay your claims in the hopes that you will simply give up. Or they may offer you a low settlement that is just a fraction of what you truly need.
For these reasons, it is imperative that you hire an experienced Arkansas trucking accident attorney at Rainwater, Holt & Sexton. Our lawyers know the tricks insurance companies use to reduce their liability, and we work tirelessly for our injured clients to combat these tactics.
Once you’ve hired our law firm, we will investigate the accident and identify all liable parties. Establishing fault is the first step towards getting you the money you need. We may use accident reconstruction experts, medical teams, and forensic analysts to build your case during this time. Identifying the responsible parties and building your case takes time, but it will enable us to file a civil lawsuit and achieve a successful result.
Truck accident cases are complicated. They can take months of negotiations and investigations, and there are often avenues to pursue compensation. While most trucking accident cases are settled out of court, our lawyers are skilled litigators who are not afraid to go toe-to-toe with trucking companies in court and win. However, with the right lawyer on your side, you can collect the money you need to move into the future after a serious trucking accident.
We approach each case with one goal in mind: to help our clients get the compensation they need for their medical expenses and lost wages.
We know that there are many different causes of truck accidents and that every collision and personal injury is unique, and it’s our goal to sort out the facts of truck accidents and represent the people whose injuries were caused by the fault of another.
As truck accident attorneys we have been through many tragic events as we have traveled along life’s path with our clients. The saying of “we have been there and done that” applies to us—but we have “done that” vicariously by reconstructing collisions and seeking just compensation for our many clients who have been injured by the fault of another.
Getting Help for Your Trucking Accident
We are seasoned lawyers. Our Arkansas big truck accident lawyers have provided representation for many people who, through no fault of their own, have been injured in accidents involving large trucks—including tractor trailers, tanker trucks, log trucks and construction vehicles.
If you were hurt in a truck accident and want the help of an experienced attorney with a proven track record, contact Rainwater, Holt & Sexton Injury Lawyers.