How Are Truck Accident Settlement Amounts Determined in Texas?
A road accident involving an 18-wheeler can have devastating consequences for all involved. Serious injuries are common to both big truck drivers and other parties involved in the truck crash. In 2018, truck crashes accounted for 11% of all motor crash vehicle deaths. The survivors are left trying to understand what has happened and how they can move on from it.
People can be left unable to work because of the injuries they sustain. Parents who have lost their partners to a truck crash are left wondering how they will support their families.
In the case of a truck wreck, it’s important to determine which party was responsible and for that party to take responsibility. This usually takes the form of a settlement paid to those who have suffered a loss due to the truck accident, but it’s not always straightforward.
As stated by an experienced Houston automobile injury attorney, here’s what you need to know if you’ve been in a truck wreck in Texas and you’re looking for a settlement.
What is a Settlement for a Truck Accident?
In theory, a settlement is an amount of money calculated to be paid by the at-fault party to the party suffering damages. The settlement is supposed to cover the ‘cost’ of the damages done. This can include:
- Loss of earning capacity
- Medical expenses
- Loss of income
The settlement amount can be difficult to calculate. In the case of a truck wreck, the settlement is often paid by the big rig company’s insurance. This only makes things more complicated. Insurance companies have a host of methods to minimize their costs and avoid paying out the sum that parties injured in an 18-wheeler crash deserve.
In Texas, there are no limits on the settlement in injury cases involving an 18-wheeler. This is one reason that insurance firms will frequently make a settlement offer that seems substantial but is far lower than what you should reasonably expect.
If you were injured in a collision with an 18-wheeler, you will need help to determine fault and get you the compensation you’re entitled to. It’s important to have the best commercial truck accident experts on your side when seeking a settlement for a big truck wreck.
How is a Settlement Determined in a Truck Wreck?
After a big truck wreck, there are three major considerations in a settlement:
- Who was at fault?
- What is the extent of the damage?
- How much is owed to whom, by whom?
Who Was at Fault?
This sounds simple but is often more complex than it first appears. If an 18-wheeler crashes into a passenger vehicle, there may be multiple parties at fault. Here are some examples of how this can work:
- The big rig driver may have been driving unsafely.
- The trucking company may have pressured the driver to travel in unsafe working conditions.
- The 18-wheeler’s owner may not have maintained the vehicle properly.
- The company responsible for loading may have incorrectly calculated the big rig’s load, making it dangerous to drive.
If you have been injured in a commercial truck accident, it’s important to know this and seek legal aid. It’s not just the big rig driver’s insurance who you may need to seek compensation from in a big truck wreck; it’s also the insurance companies of the owners and operators of the 18-wheeler.
Of course, drivers of passenger vehicles may also have been at fault. The huge insurance firms representing commercial trucking companies know this and will go out of their way to muddy the waters.
If you’re not represented by a competent accident lawyer, the pressure that these firms can place on you after a big truck wreck is immense. Techniques range from masses of paperwork and legal speak to pay-offs that are lower than they should be. Going up against a commercial trucking company’s insurance firm without professional legal aid is a physically and emotionally draining task.
What is the Extent of the Damage?
Damage after a commercial truck wreck comes in many forms, but in legal terms, it is divided into three categories:
- Economic Damages. This includes loss of earning potential through long-term injury, medical expenses, temporary loss of earnings, and damage to your vehicle.
- Non-economic Damages. A big truck crash can be a traumatic event. Non-economic damages reflect the harm done to your quality of life and mental well-being.
- Punitive Damages. If a party is at fault through malice or gross negligence (such as drunk driving), you might seek punitive damages. These are a less common form of compensation but can apply in some cases.
The first two kinds of damage apply to the majority of commercial truck accidents. The calculations are complicated, and a big trucking company’s insurance firm will do everything it can to overlook certain areas and make low estimates for others.
How Much is Owed by Whom, to Whom?
This is the final reckoning of which parties were at fault and what is owed in terms of damages. Often, if you’re the victim of a commercial truck wreck, the trucking company’s insurance firm will approach you early on with a settlement offer.
You should not accept this offer without consulting with the Stephens Law Firm. In the unlikely event that it’s a reasonable sum, we will be able to confirm this for you. More likely, you are being offered a negligible sum. In that case, we are here to take on your case and get you a settlement that reflects your losses.
Call One of the Best Truck Accident Lawyers in Houston
The Stephens Law Firm understands how to face this pressure and get you a proportional settlement to your losses. Joe Stephens, a Houston big rig injury law firm, has three decades of experience fighting to get injured parties the settlement they deserve.
If your life, or that of a loved one, has been affected by a commercial truck accident, contact the Stephens Law Firm. We will take time to understand how a commercial truck accident has affected your life and calculate how much you should be compensated.
Remember — in Texas, there are no legal limits to compensation claims after a big rig crash. The Stephens Law Firm is here to get you the settlement that you deserve. Get in touch straight away to find out how we can help you!
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