What Is The Average Semi Truck Accident Settlement? 

If you are in an accident with a semi-truck or tractor-trailer, your personal injury claim is likely to be bigger and more complicated than a regular car accident claim because your injuries are probably more serious.. Of course, you will want to know how much your settlement may be. 

But to get to that answer, we first must answer this critical question: Who is liable? The truck driver, his employer, or the truck owner? We will review these critical issues in the article below, insurance amounts, length of time to settle, as well as average settlements and other important factors in these accidents. 

Laws For Semi-Truck Accidents

There are many federal laws and regulations that control the commercial trucking industry. These laws set certain standards that trucking firms, owners, and drivers must satisfy. This is often what determines who is liable for a tractor-trailer accident. Most federal regulations regarding the commercial trucking industry are in Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations

Who Is Liable? 

When there is a semi-truck accident, there are several entities and people that may be liable for the accident, which directly affects your settlement: 

  • The truck driver
  • The owner of the trailer or truck
  • The person or entity that leased the truck or trailer
  • The manufacturer of the tires, vehicle, or other parts that may have failed in the accident
  • The loader or shipper of the cargo, if improper loading contributed to the accident

It is common for the trucking, hauling, and leasing companies to bicker among themselves over which insurance policy will pay you for your injuries. For instance, the trucking company may say that the crash was caused by inoperable brakes. But the brake company may argue it’s the leasing company’s fault, claiming it did not maintain the brakes properly. 

Fortunately, by hiring an experienced semi-truck accident attorney, you can usually let your lawyer haggle with the various players in this complex legal matter and fight for as much compensation for you as possible. 

Semi-Truck Insurance Policies Are Often Large

Whoever ends up paying your truck accident settlement, it is common for a tractor-trailer to carry insurance coverage of $1 million or more. However, because of the large amount of money at stake, aggressive tactics by insurance companies are often employed to defend their drivers and the trucking company from liability. 

In addition to the higher minimum requirements related to semi-truck accident coverage, there is a chance that several defendant policies are in effect. For example, it is possible one semi-truck could have a $1 million policy that covers the rig and another $1 million that covers the trailer. 

Because you may have suffered severe injuries in the semi-truck accident, your truck accident attorney will work diligently to uncover every potential source of financial recovery. That is why locating all of the possible policies for a tractor-trailer company can take longer than in regular passenger vehicle accidents. 

A good truck accident attorney will be highly skilled in finding every possible avenue of possible compensation, so choosing a good attorney to represent you is critical. 

Injuries and Medical Treatments Can Affect Time To Settle a Semi-Truck Claim

When you have serious truck accident injuries, you want to get your settlement money as soon as you can. One of the biggest factors related to the time it takes to settle the claim is how severe your injuries are and the medical treatments needed to heal you. 

Most personal injury claims resolve once the victim has had a full recovery. Because a crash with a tractor-trailer is more likely to cause severe injuries, your treatment and recovery period may take longer. So the case may take months to settle. 

You may be tempted to settle your claim when you are still getting treatment or having pain. But your lawyer will strongly advise against this. Only after your doctor releases you from his car will you and your lawyer have a good idea of what your total injuries are. At that point, the two of you can make an accurate determination of what your semi-truck accident claim is worth. 

Insurance Negotiations With Semi-Truck Companies Take Time

Unless your truck accident case goes to trial, settlement negotiations are the last step of a tractor-trailer injury claim, and it can cause delays. The length of time negotiations take depend on three things: 

  • Findings on liability: If you are found to be partially at fault for the accident, this will reduce the overall claim value. It could require more time for your truck accident attorney to settle a fair claim. 
  • Medical treatment summary: Depending on how bad your injuries are, there could be a lot of medical documentation for the truck insurance company to go over. 
  • Amount of insurance available: If you are left with devastating, life-altering injuries, or it is a wrongful death claim, the time it takes to negotiate a settlement could be less. For instance, each state has wrongful death laws that state how much of the deceased’s estate can be awarded. If death occurs, that full amount under state law would be awarded. 

How Much is the Average Semi-Truck Accident Settlement?

There are several factors that will affect the size of your tractor-trailer accident settlement: 

Economic Factors

The economic losses after a truck accident are: 

  • Medical costs: Includes every cost related to your physical injury and treatments, starting with the cost of the ambulance ride, ER care, hospital stay costs, physicians’ bills, drug costs, and surgical procedures. It also includes X-rays, CT and MRI scans, rehab, physical therapy, and transportation for your medical visits. 
  • Lost wages: Wages that you would have gotten if you were still working are included. If you took sick time or vacation time to be treated, those also are covered. If you cannot work in the future, the earnings you would have gotten are included. Even if you are partially disabled, the reduction in your ability to earn an income is included. 
  • Property damages: Typically involves the loss of your motor vehicle, as these accidents usually result in the vehicle being a total loss. 

Non-Economic Factors

Non-economic factors are harder to quantify and will be the subject of intense negotiations between the attorneys; for both sides: 

  • Pain and suffering: Includes disfigurement, physical pain, fear, grief, anxiety, inability to concentrate, and insomnia. It also can include loss of enjoyment of life. 
  • Emotional pain: A major issue in many truck accidents, given the violence of the collision. Some face fear every day, including a terrible fear of being in the same situation again. Some accident victims develop PTSD. 
  • Loss of consortium: Loss of companionship when doing activities common to the victim and the family. Or a lost relationship with a partner because of a changed personality. 
  • Punitive damages: Used as a deterrent for the defendant who engaged in reckless activity. For example, if the trucker drove in a reckless manner that caused harm to others, punitive damages can be added. 

While there is no way to say what an average semi-truck settlement will be, there are many serious truck injury cases where settlements exceeded $1 million. These cases involve severe injuries that take months or years of recovery, or result in permanent injury. Your case could be more or less. Talk to a skilled and experienced truck accident attorney to get a ballpark idea of what your case could be worth. 

Talk To a Truck Accident Attorney For Help With Your Semi-Truck Accident Settlement

Getting as much money as you can for a truck accident settlement takes all the skills and negotiating savvy of a skilled truck accident attorney. Talk to one of our experienced personal injury attorneys today to see if you have a strong case. 

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