If you have been in a truck accident caused by the other driver, you will naturally wonder what your settlement could be. Truck accidents often have very serious injuries, so getting as much money as possible is critical for your recovery. It should be pointed out that it is difficult to say with any certainty on a general basis what a good settlement is for a truck accident case; a minor case could be worth $25,000, while a serious case could have millions in damages.
To value your truck accident case accurately, you and your attorney must consider two angles: liability and damages. Liability refers to the person who was at fault for causing the truck accident. In many of these cases, the truck driver may have been distracted or disobeyed a traffic law and caused the accident. But if there was no liability, as the truck driver was not at fault or you cannot prove it, the case will have little value. You must prove that the plaintiff was negligent. And trucking companies are represented by tough defense attorneys who will try to poke holes in your case, no matter how certain you are the trucker was at fault.
Damages are the losses and injuries you suffered in the truck accident. Truck accidents often involve large vehicles hitting each other at high speed, so your damages could be large.
As you and your attorney attempt to value your truck accident injury case, remember there are two considerations – settlement and trial value. The settlement value for your case is what you are hoping to settle the case for. This amount is lower than what the trial value would be. After all, you are settling your case for a lower amount because of the risk of losing outright at trial. The trial value will be much higher, but there is some risk you could get nothing.
Consider the below example. Let’s say based upon liability and damages, you think if you went to trial and won your truck accident case, you would be awarded $200,000. But you think there is only a 20% chance of winning the truck accident case. So, you could argue it would be smart to settle for less than $40,000. That is about 20% of the expected trial value. Usually the case settlement value is a bit lower than the trial value, multiplied by the odds of winning at the end of the trial.
There are two types of damages in a truck accident case:
- Special damages, such as medical costs and lost wages
- Pain and suffering that are harder to calculate
Special damages refer to your past, present and future lost earnings and ability to earn, and other related monetary losses. Pain and suffering cannot be precisely calculated, but can be massive in a truck accident case. The judge during the trial will tell the jury to use ‘good sense’ to figure out what the pain and suffering amount should be.
Your truck accident attorney can go over the case with you and offer a rough idea of what your truck accident settlement might be, including pain and suffering.