In short, the value of the settlement is meant to compensate you for whatever financial, physical, and emotional losses you have sustained. These losses might include:
- Current and future medical bills, medical treatment, and equipment
- The cost of medications, rehabilitation expenses, and physical therapy
- Your ability to work
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of relationship with a loved one
- Funeral expenses
While some of these damages are relatively straightforward to calculate—such as medical bills you’ve already received, or income you’ve already lost—others are much more difficult to value or project. This includes estimates of future medical bills and wage losses, as well as non-economic damages such as pain and suffering.
You also must consider how many legal claims you are making. In addition to the truck driver, you may have claims against the trucking company (if they engage in unsafe practices or pressure their drivers to violate federal guidelines for mandatory rest), the business that loaded the trailer (if it did so improperly), maintenance professionals that knowingly or negligently failed to make critical repairs, and more.
It’s also critical to understand the importance of preserving crucial evidence following a crash. By law, trucking companies only need to retain certain records (logbooks, GPS data, maintenance records, etc.) for a limited period of time before they can destroy them. When you work with an experienced personal injury attorney to preserve the evidence in your case, they will submit a spoliation letter as soon as possible to ensure that this evidence is protected.
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What Is the Average Semi-Truck Accident Settlement?
Due to the wide variety of factors involved in calculating the settlement amount, it’s very difficult to estimate an average without understanding the particulars of your case.
Although there are several online calculators designed to provide a rough estimate of what your settlement amount might be, we do not recommend you rely on them. There are many factors they are unable to consider. Our law firm has successfully helped clients resolve truck crash cases throughout the state of Texas. Our team of truck accident attorneys know how to correctly calculate the value of your case and fight to make sure you get the compensation you need to recover.
Should I Take the Settlement? Or Should I Go to Trial?
There can be many advantages to settling out of court. You will get a guaranteed payout relatively quickly, without the risk of an unfavorable ruling at trial, or simply waiting months or years to receive any compensation in the settlement process.
However, it is important to understand that accepting a preliminary settlement offer often isn’t the right choice, especially if you haven’t yet consulted with an attorney. While taking the settlement may be tempting (especially with bills piling up) the last thing you want is to accept an amount that is woefully insufficient to provide for your long-term needs, and far lower than what you deserve.
In the early days and weeks following a crash, many victims underestimate their future medical expenses, the long-term psychological impacts of their injuries, and how long they will be out of work. And without a thorough and independent investigation, it’s very possible that the trucking company will withhold important evidence that could strengthen your case.
Furthermore, settlements are final, and by settling you permanently give up your right to take further legal action or increase the amount of your compensation, even if the settlement amount proves to be completely insufficient or new evidence comes to light.
For these reasons, you should always consult with a Texas truck accident lawyer as soon as possible after your accident to determine your legal options. Offer legal advice, and recommend a wise course of action.