What Can I Recover After a Truck Accident?
About Truck Accident Victims' Right to Compensation
Accidents involving 18-wheelers can cause some of the most catastrophic injuries. Even if you only sustained a simple laceration, you should not let the guilty party off the hook. When a truck company's or driver's negligence causes an accident to take place and causes you harm, you can fight for justice and financial compensation. However, it's important to note that truck accident claims are unique. They involve different causes, parties, legal issues, and related challenges when it comes to recovering compensation. That is why it is impossible to make any broad statements about how much an 18-wheeler crash victim can recover. To determine the compensation you may be eligible to receive, it is important to seek the help of a skilled Houston truck accident attorney.
Recovering Financial Compensation After a Truck Accident
Truck accidents can often be challenging to resolve because of the many factors. You may or may not have been partially at fault, the truck driver may have been negligent, the weather conditions may have been dangerous, or countless other factors may have contributed to the accident. 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, which we explain below.
Economic damages include all verifiable costs associated with an injury now and in the future, such as:
- Past, current, and future medical care
- Lost income and impaired ability to earn an income
- Property damage to your vehicle and its contents
If you have been injured in a truck accident, one of the most common damages is medical expenses. You can seek financial 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 lost wages. 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 and suffering
- Change in lifestyle
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
Pain & Suffering
Pain and suffering refers to the 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. 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.
Compensation in Wrongful Death Cases
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:
- Medicals bills
- Funeral costs
- Loss of future earnings and benefits
- Loss of companionship
- Punitive damages
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, whether they are a trucker or company with a history of violations.
Insurance Coverage Carried by Trucking Companies
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 companies carry more. Tractor-trailers carrying hazardous materials must carry $1 million 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:
- The trucking company
- The truck driver
- Drivers of other vehicles
- Repair facilities
- Parts manufacturers
- Government entities
When Truck Accidents Change Lives, We Demand Answers. No Matter What.
Our skilled team of attorneys at Arnold & Itkin has recovered billions—many of them for truck accident victims. We have the resources and experience necessary to pursue a case on your behalf and know how to effectively stand up for your rights against large trucking companies and insurance corporations. We operate on a contingency fee basis so that our clients don’t have to worry about legal fees unless we obtain compensation on their behalf. Our goal is to secure our clients’ futures while helping them get back on their feet in the wake of a truck accident.
When it comes to picking a truck accident firm, you need help from a team that won't settle for less than you need. Call our truck accident lawyers now at (888) 493-1629 for help from a team that's known for seeking the full extent of compensation a client needs.