Recoverable Compensation After a Truck Accident
Each of us runs the risk of becoming involved in a crash every time we get behind the wheels of our cars, whether it’s a local ride down the street or a much longer road trip. While most of us would expect to survive an auto accident without suffering catastrophic injuries if we become involved in an accident with another passenger car, motorists collided into by tractor-trailers generally aren’t as fortunate.
Data compiled by the National Safety Council (NSC) for 2020 shows that at least 107,000 tractor-trailers were involved in accidents that resulted in injuries in the United States that year. That same year, at least 4,842 big trucks caused unnecessary deaths in our country.
Each state has personal injury laws that allow truck accident injury victims or surviving relatives of individuals who lost their lives in tractor-trailer crashes to recover compensation for any damages they sustained. Below, we discuss what types of recoverable compensation you may be eligible to request after a truck accident.
As mentioned earlier, collisions between truck accidents and passenger cars can have the worst outcomes, specifically in the severity of injuries. Thus, it may be helpful to know that you may be eligible to recover compensation for the following losses associated with your crash:
There is a wide range of health care expenses you may have incurred following your involvement in a tractor-trailer accident that you may be eligible to file a claim for, including costs associated with:
- You being transported by ambulance from the truck crash scene
- Your visit to the hospital, whether you were only seen by an emergency room (ER) doctor, had imaging performed, underwent surgery, or were admitted for a few days or weeks
- Your doctor’s bills incurred immediately following your crash, post-crash as you receive follow-up medical care, and even health care you’re anticipated to require in the future (post-settlement)
- Outpatient physical therapy or even an inpatient stint in a rehab facility
- Mental health counseling
- Transportation to medical visits
- Virtually any other medical bills you may have incurred as a result of your involvement in the truck collision
Many individuals involved in the most serious tractor-trailer crashes lose their lives. However, paramedics often do their best to keep truck accident victims alive on an ambulance ride long enough for ER doctors to try to save their lives before they succumb to their injuries. As a result, loved ones of a deceased motorist may be able to recover compensation such as the following by filing a wrongful death claim after the semi-truck wreck:
- Life-saving medical care like an ambulance or a life flight helicopter ride, emergency room care, surgery, or an intensive care visit
- Funeral and cremation or burial costs
The more catastrophic your injuries, the more likely you will be to have to miss time from work or be unable to return to your job role. In such a situation, your injuries or the loss of a deceased loved one can mean that your family’s financial source of support is no longer available. If this describes your situation, you may be eligible to recover lost wages and future lost earnings.
Any loss of employment-related benefits a person experiences due to their injury or death may also be recoverable by filing a claim post-crash.
If your car, motorcycle, or other automobile sustained significant damage or was totaled in a collision with a tractor-trailer, you may be able to request reimbursement for repairs of the vehicle altogether. Additionally, you may be able to request compensation if the valuable property you were transporting within your vehicle was damaged when the crash occurred.
A truck accident and the injuries or loss of a loved one that victims suffer can have an impact that’s not always easily documented with financial statements like medical bills and pay stubs establishing the existence of lost wages. Those difficult-to-document damages that victims may nonetheless be able to request compensation for by filing a truck accident claim include:
- Mental anguish
- Humiliation, anxiety, fear, and other emotions
- Loss of consortium or companionship
- Pain and suffering
- Disfigurement, such as scarring
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Assigning a value to the above-referenced losses can prove challenging, which is why many who are hurt or have a loved one pass away in a fatal truck accident often work with an attorney in building their claim for non-economic damages.
It’s common for truck injury or wrongful death cases that proceed to trial to end up with a judge or jury awarding punitive damages in cases when a defendant’s alleged actions were particularly harmful. In other words, if willful misconduct, malice, or fraud appear to have contributed to causing the tractor-trailer wreck, a judge may order a defendant to pay punitive damages.
A judge’s goal in ordering a defendant to pay punitive damages is more focused on sending a message to the perpetrator of wrongful acts about the seriousness of their actions. It also aims to discourage them from repeating something similar (and others from doing the same).
Building a Strong Truck Accident Case Is Key
Except in the rare case that a defendant is self-insured, almost every defendant you may end up going up against in a truck accident case will have their own liability insurance. If you’re wondering why that matters, it has to do with the fact that compensation isn’t guaranteed, but instead, you have to justify why you deserve how much you’re demanding.
However, if there’s one detail you should know about insurance companies, it’s that they don’t make it easy to recover compensation. Even if you have all possible medical records and bills, lost wages, and other documentation showing your losses, they’ll try every possible way to discount your claim. That’s why truck accident victims often use the services of a lawyer like ours at Trucking Injury Law Group to forward their cases.
Insurance companies tend to push back less when an attorney is involved in a case. If you’re curious why this is the case and what benefits you may derive in having legal counsel represent you in an 18-wheeler crash case, contact us for a free consultation. We’ll discuss those concerns and whether you may be entitled to compensation after your truck accident.