Understandably, when someone is injured in a collision with a large truck, they want to know the average semi-truck accident settlement amount. However, no official truck accident settlement calculator provides an average for all truck accident claims. Each case is unique and should be evaluated based on its own merits.
When you contact the California semi-truck accident lawyers at Farzam Law Firm, we will let you know your potential case value and what factors impact that value.
Determining the Average Semi-Truck Accident Settlement Amount
As we stated, there is no official truck accident settlement amount or range. Cases that settle before litigation may also differ from similar cases that go to trial. It’s important to understand critical factors such as type of injury, severity, liability, and damages. All these elements factor into the calculation of settlement value.
Your potential settlement is also related to how much coverage the truck driver and company have available. California drivers must carry liability insurance. For the average driver, the limits are:
- $15,000 per person bodily injury;
- $30,000 per incident bodily injury; and
- $5,000 property damage.
Not surprisingly, these limits wouldn’t cover very much in an accident involving a semi-truck, which is why the law requires large commercial trucks to carry higher liability insurance coverage. However, the coverage limits will vary based on the type of commercial truck and how many passengers it holds. A truck that handles interstate moves will have different requirements than one that transports hazardous substances or petroleum.
Truck Accident Settlements and California Comparative Negligence
Liability plays a significant role in determining how much your semi-truck accident settlement will be. California is a pure comparative negligence state. That means even if you are a percentage at fault, you can still collect a portion of your damages. The other driver can also collect a portion of their damages from your liability policy.
For example, if you are 25% at fault, you could collect 75% of your damages. The other driver could collect 25% of their damages. If you are 90% at fault, you could still collect 10%, while the other driver could receive 90%. Comparative negligence is one reason why determining an average settlement amount is challenging.
You could have two cases with nearly identical injuries and value, but they resolve for vastly different amounts because of differences in liability between the parties.
Injury Type and Severity
Your type of injuries and severity also directly impact your settlement value. Soft tissue injuries have a different value than catastrophic ones, such as a spinal cord injury with paralysis or brain damage. Severe injuries or ones that have life-changing aspects will increase your case value.
Suppose you cannot return to work in your former career, are permanently disfigured, or need future treatment. These are all factors that should be taken into account when determining the total value of your case.
One type of damages refers to your financial losses, such as your medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and more. These financial losses are your special or economic damages. Two cases involving similar injuries with different medical treatment regimens will have different values. If you suffered soft tissue neck and back injuries requiring 12 weeks of treatment, your case value would be higher than someone with soft tissue injuries, which only needed three weeks of treatment.
Perhaps your injuries are so severe that you missed weeks of work following the accident. You continue to miss work for doctor and physical therapy appointments, and your doctor has suggested you have a partial disability. Those elements will impact what your damages are as they relate to lost wages and loss of earning capacity.
Damages also refer to your physical and emotional trauma, which are known as general or non-economic damages. These types of damages have no direct financial loss that you can show, so they are more subjective in value. They include your physical pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of consortium, and more.
In many cases, your general damages make up the most significant portion of your accident settlement. An insurance company using a truck accident settlement calculator might multiply the amount of your economic damages to come up with a figure for your non-economic damages.
To understand how damages impact your settlement value, consider a case where your economic losses are $20,000. The insurance adjuster might multiply that amount by three, suggesting your non-economic damages are around $60,000. If your injuries are permanent or catastrophic, they might multiply your economic losses by five, meaning your non-economic damages are $100,000.
Contact a California Truck Accident Attorney
Determining the potential value of your truck accident settlement amount involves many variables and requires a complete understanding of the federal and state laws that apply to commercial trucks. Don’t risk receiving less than you deserve by handling your claim independently.
Instead, let the skilled team of California semi-truck accident lawyers at Farzam Law Firm assist you. We have years of experience with commercial truck claims, including successful litigation results. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can protect your rights.