Clients often ask, "How can I calculate the value of my truck accident settlement?" In this article, we'll look at the factors that most impact the value of an 18-wheeler accident settlement.
Large commercial truck accidents can be devastating. Just the trauma of going through such a life-changing event can be trying to everyone involved.
Not to mention all the stresses of medical bills piling up, the lack of income from missing weeks of work, and the lifetime of expensive treatment ahead to cope with your injuries.
After your initial phone consultation with our attorneys, we'll go through your case and the documents that the various entities involved have sent to us.
Police reports, medical diagnoses, the report from your insurance company, among others.
We will then carefully sift through all the information that we've received and appraise the value of your case so that you have an idea of what kind of compensation you'll be looking for before any other action is taken.
How Do We Determine the Value of a Truck Accident Claim?
The attorneys at Grossman Law Offices have a strong record of success with helping truck accident victims recover the maximum amount of compensation for their personal injury and wrongful death claims.
The potential value of a truck accident case is dependent upon a host of factors, including:
- Amount of medical expenses
- Estimated cost of future medical expenses
- Amount of lost wages
- Estimated future loss of income
- Loss of earning capacity or possibility of permanent disability
- Physical and mental limitations
- Past and future pain and suffering
How Do We Calculate the Value of Your 18-Wheeler Accident Claim?
The damages awarded in each area listed above will depend on the severity and nature of your injuries. The more extensive and permanent your injuries are, the higher your damages award will be.
The value of your claim for medical expenses and pain and suffering will depend on the amount of your medical bills at the time of the settlement or jury verdict and what a medical expert estimates your expenses will be for future medical treatment and rehabilitation.
Similarly, your recovery for lost wages will depend largely on what your salary or hourly rate was at the time of the accident.
However, if your injuries will likely leave you permanently disabled, your future lost wages and loss of earning capacity is harder to calculate, and you will need the assistance of one of our expert economists.
This economist will take all the elements of your career when calculating loss of earning capacity.
He or she will look at what your current hourly rate or salary is, your age, how far into your career you are, and the amount of time you will likely be unable to work.
We have a stable of experts that have vast experience in the medical, financial, and legal fields, so you can be confident in our ability to present you with the most accurate pre-trial estimate possible for this variety of damages.
Examples of Typical Truck Accident Settlement Values
Have you ever noticed that when lawyers show examples of cases they've won, they list both the amount the case was resolved for and the exact type of injuries sustained?
The reason for this is because the ethics rules that Texas lawyers are bound by allow lawyers to discuss the victories they've obtained, but the State Bar of Texas doesn't want perspective clients falsely assuming that a million-dollar car accident settlement, for example, was obtained in relation to a minor accident.
In other words, if someone burned to death and it resulted in a million-dollar settlement, the State Bar of Texas dictates that a lawyer must make it clear what precipitated the settlement.
This is done so that the public doesn't get a false sense of injury cases in general being akin to a winning lottery ticket. One has to suffer significant injuries in order to obtain a significant settlement.
In light of this, the following examples must not be misconstrued to mean anything definitive regarding the value of your particular case and you should not interpret this to mean that your case will be worth the exact amounts proposed until you have received a figure from a licensed attorney.
Common Types of Injuries in Truck Accident Settlements
Broken Bones Not Requiring Surgery
These cases typically range in value from $50,000 to $150,000. The variance in value depends on which bones were broken, how many bones were broken, etc.
A broken rib heals on its own and doesn't require significant medical intervention, so juries would award relatively limited compensation for a single broken rib.
Alternatively, a broken leg bone could result in much higher compensation because it can severely disrupt your life.
Broken Bones Requiring Surgery
These cases typically are valued in the multi-six figure range. Naturally, if the surgery is minimally invasive or is an inexpensive surgery with low recuperation time, then the value of the case may be significantly less.
On the other hand, if the injured party has sustained numerous broken bones including compound fractures necessitating multiple surgeries, the value of the case could approach seven figures.
Back or Neck Injury Requiring Surgery
These injuries are typically valued in the multiple six figure range, but can also be multi-million-dollar cases if there is paralysis or permanent disability.
Juries have been known to award millions of dollars in wrongful death cases involving 18-wheelers.
However, there are a lot of variables to be considered before assuming this to be a likely outcome in your situation.
If a truck accident victim who died was only making $8 an hour and their only surviving relative was a single elderly parent, then the case would likely be worth significantly less.
On the other hand, if the breadwinner of a family is killed and they make $80,000 a year and they leave behind a spouse and three young children, the case could be worth many millions of dollars.
Brain injuries can include symptoms such as minor memory problems all the way up to the victim being left in a vegetative state. However, even minor brain injuries can result in jury verdicts well into the seven figure range.
Catastrophic brain injuries can result in jury verdicts into the multi tens of millions of dollars. Obviously, this is because loss of cognitive ability is one of the worst things that can happen to a person.
Keith Purdue, one of the attorneys at Grossman Law Offices, grew up hearing his father, a burn doctor, share with Keith many horrific stories about his patients who were burn victims.
One quote that Keith's father often said was, "Some things are worse than dying," referring to the severe agony that burn injury victims endure.
As you can imagine, burn injury cases can result in jury verdicts worth millions of dollars. Of course, the amount of the verdict will depend on how severe the burns are.
Just to give you an idea, we recently tried a case involving second-degree-burns on a client's foot, which, in the grand scheme of things, is a fairly minor burn injury, yet the jury in that case still instructed the defendant to pay our client $65,000.
Where the burns involved were more serious, we've also had burn injury cases that have settled for twenty times that amount.
Injuries and Your Settlement Value
While these figures will hopefully give you a general idea of your case's value, there's no way to know exactly how much until we've conducted a full examination of the many factors involved.
In addition to the actual events of the crash and extent of the injuries that resulted, two other issues affecting a case's value are venue and liability.
Venue refers to the particular court you file your case in. You can have a case with a favorable fact-pattern, but just be unfortunate enough to try it in a court where juries are less likely to award full compensation, and have the case's value be cut in half as a result.
With respect to liability, Texas law incorporates a doctrine in civil suits called modified comparative fault, which says that the trucking company only has to pay for their share of responsibility.
So, if a trucking company is found to be seventy-percent at fault for $100,000 worth of injuries, then they only have to pay $70,000.
Further, juries are only human and they can sometimes be biased. This can affect accident victims who have checkered pasts, or who belong to groups that are not held in high esteem.
So, if you were a convicted felon and the leader of a biker gang, it's highly likely that you would get less compensation than a college professor who suffered the same injuries.
Grossman Law Offices Can Help You Obtain Fair Compensation for Your Damages
No two semi-truck accident cases are the same, and no matter how extensive your damages are, our attorneys can help ensure that you recover as much compensation as you deserve, for both your current losses and the expenditures you are likely to accrue in the future.
Our attorneys work with a variety of expert witnesses in all of our truck accident cases to calculate your damages and more importantly, to effectively convey their extent to a jury.
If you've been injured in a large truck accident, and you want to ensure that you and your family are taken care of, call us today for a free consultation at (855) 326-0000.
Related Articles for Further Reading:
- Special Considerations for Those Who Have Suffered a Brain Injury in a Truck Accident
- Getting Full Value for Your Burn Injury Is Complex
- What Kind of Evidence Do I Need to Win My 18-Wheeler Injury Case?