The answer to this question will vary depending on the specific factors of each case, but you may be able to recover compensation for medical care, lost income, and more.
Accidents involving 18-wheelers can cause some of the most catastrophic injuries—from back and neck injuries to head injuries. Even if you only sustained a simple laceration, you should not let the guilty party off the hook. When a truck driver's negligence causes an accident to take place and causes you harm, you can fight for justice and compensation.
If the negligent actions of a truck driver, trucking company, or another party caused an accident in which you suffered damages, the law protects your right to be compensated; in particular, economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages include all costs associated with an injury now and in the future, such as:
If you have been injured in a truck accident, one of the most common damages is medical expenses. You can seek compensation for any medical expenses you incurred from doctor visits, surgeries, hospital stays, physical therapy, or medicines related to an injury. Additionally, since many injuries may require extended or even lifelong care, you may be able to seek compensation for the estimated cost of future medical treatment.
Lost Wages & Loss of Earning Capacity
If you have been forced to miss work due to your injuries, you may be able to seek compensation for the wages you were unable to earn. Depending on the nature and severity of your injuries, you may not be able to return to work at all or only in a limited capacity. If your injuries affect your future earning ability, you can seek compensation for those losses too.
The non-economic damages available to an 18-wheeler accident victim may include:
Pain & Suffering, or Mental Anguish
Pain and suffering and mental anguish refer to the physical pain and emotional distress that many truck accident victims suffer from due to their injuries. This can also be rooted in physical disfigurement, which is often a factor in catastrophic injuries. Scars, burns, and amputation fall under the pain and suffering that comes from disfigurement.
Loss of Consortium
Some states allow for the victim’s immediate family to recover for loss of consortium. Loss of consortium refers to benefits family members are no longer able to receive due to the injury. For example, if a husband suffers an injury that limits his ability to provide companionship, sexual relations, or other benefits of marriage, his wife can seek compensation.
In the event of a fatal big rig accident, surviving family members may be awarded damages in a wrongful death case that are intended to compensate them for their loss.
These types of damages may include the following:
Punitive damages are not directly tied to a particular loss suffered by the victim and are not available in all circumstances. Punitive damages are awarded in addition to compensatory damages as a way to punish a liable party and deter others from similar behavior in the future, whether they are a trucker or a whole company with a history of violations.
Any vehicle that weighs over 10,000 pounds and operates between state borders must have at least $750,000 worth of liability coverage, although many trucking companies choose to carry more. Tractor-trailers carrying hazardous materials must carry $1 million worth of coverage, while a commercial truck carrying liquid hazardous materials is required to carry $5 million. If a truck only operates within state borders, it must then abide by the state's insurance requirements.
Even though a minimum of $750,000 may seem like a lot, trucking companies and their insurers strive to minimize the value of an injured party's claim. Furthermore, there is the issue of insurance limits, which means an insurance company only has to pay up to a certain amount of damages. For example, if a settlement or verdict is for an amount greater than the insurance limit, the insurance company may only have to pay up to the amount of the limit.
A skilled truck accident attorney will therefore explore all of the potential parties that may be liable for damages to ensure that the amount of compensation you receive is sufficient to address your losses.
Some potential defendants in a trucking accident may include the following:
When you come to our firm, you can count on us to conduct a thorough investigation of all of the circumstances surrounding your case. Whether the driver was driving drowsily or under the influence or a trucking company overloaded the truck, we can help you identify and hold the guilty party responsible. In some cases, multiple parties may be at fault—we can help you determine the truth while fighting for what you and your loved ones deserve.
We look into the policies and practices of the trucking company involved. Often, we discover that a driver was not properly trained or that a driver was inexperienced to begin with. Sometimes a third party is even to blame, such as a repair company that installed defective brakes or tires. In these cases, the lawsuit can be brought against the auto manufacturer as well.
To the victim of a truck accident, nothing should take precedence over regaining health and restoring life to the way it was before the crash. Unfortunately, commercial truck lawsuits may involve many hassles that can distract you from your recovery and spending time with your family. That is why if you or a loved one is injured in a tractor-trailer accident, you should seek help from Arnold & Itkin LLP. We simplify your life by handling all negotiations with the insurance company, and our lawyers can greatly increase your chances of obtaining fair compensation. With our truck accident attorneys to protect your rights and properly handle your claim, you can feel confident that your future is in good hands.
If you would like to learn more about our firm's services, call for a free consultation!