How to use the circumstances of your case to estimate the value of the potential damages in your truck accident case
Truck accidents can leave victims financially unstable, physically strained and emotionally drained. Medical bills and lost income can add up—the law holds the party at fault responsible for your loss, both monetary and emotional.
As with other personal injury cases, truck accident settlements are intended to help you—the victim—return to the same condition you were in prior to the accident.
When you call a lawyer for a free case review, they will likely analyze the specific circumstances surrounding your case to determine a rough estimate of your potential settlement. And that’s what we’ll do for you in this blog—explain the factors affecting your final settlement or damages amount.
6 factors affecting your truck accident settlement
This is by no means a guarantee or an exhaustive list of the factors that could impact your settlement amount, but it will give you a rough idea of the landscape surrounding truck accident cases.
Essentially, your settlement amount is dictated by your financial loss (medical expenses, lost income or wages and property damage) and emotional factors (loss of consortium, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment). Once your financial loss is calculated, it is multiplied by a factor from 1.5 to 3—this factor is determined by the severity of emotional loss and aggravating circumstances, such as drunk driving or cell phone usage.
Here are 6 of the main factors affecting your final settlement amount:
Medical expenses are relatively easy to calculate—it’s the total amount you’ve spent on hospital visits, surgeries, medication, rehabilitation and other medical services related to the injuries from your accident. Your past medical expenses—as well as your estimated future medical expenses—are taken into account when determining your total financial loss from the truck accident.
Lost income or wages
Like medical expenses, calculating your lost income or wages is pretty straightforward: determine the number of days you had to miss work (including sick and vacation days) as a direct result of the accident and your injuries. You’ll also need to take into account the potential for future loss of income, especially if the severity of your injuries prevents you from fully returning to work.
A truck accident will, of course, leave your car damaged. Evidence such as photographs and expert car valuations can help you and your attorney calculate the extent of the property damage, which will be factored into your settlement amount.
As mentioned above, the financial loss from the accident will be multiplied by a factor from 1.5 to 5, depending on the severity of your emotional loss. The way a jury—or arbiter—determine which factor is appropriate in your case is measuring your “pain and suffering.” In doing so, they will look at three main details: your age, the severity of your injury and how your life has been impacted by the injury. Generally speaking, the more severe the injury, and the more impact it has on your personal life, the higher the multiplier.
These cases far too often involve certain aggravating factors. For example, was the at-fault driver texting or checking his email as opposed to keeping his eyes on the road. Was the truck driver drinking? Had he been on the road too long? Was his equipment properly maintained? You need an experienced attorney that knows how to investigate to determine if any of these aggravating factors are applicable as they could have an impact on the value of your claim. If the truck drivers willfully disregards the safety of those around him, by being under the influence of improper substances or watching videos, then you may be entitled to punitive damages. Punitive damages are not awarded in every case, but, if applicable, can drastically increase the value of your case.
Comparable fault damages
Illinois has a “comparable fault” law. Here’s what that means: if you are perceived as being even partially at fault, your settlement amount will be lessened. Let’s say a jury awards you $500,000 in damages. But you were speeding at the time of an accident, so the jury perceives you as being 10 percent at fault, and the truck driver as being 90 percent at fault. Your damages amount would be lessened by your perceived involvement—10 percent—to $450,000.
How to maximize your truck accident settlement amount
As you can see, there is no “magic formula” to determine the precise value of your truck accident case. But, with so much wiggle room in your settlement amount, there is absolutely no room for an inexperienced attorney. The attorneys at H&M Law have consistently maximized their client’s winnings against truck drivers by using their knowledge of the trucking industry.
See, while your financial losses are often cut and dry, emotional rarely are—and that’s where an experienced truck attorney can shine. They can build an argument that leverages the emotion of the jury and arbiter to maximize your pain and suffering damages and, ultimately, your final settlement amount. You deserve just compensation for your financial loss, injuries and emotional suffering—and you need to work with an attorney who can maximize your settlement and help you get your life back on track.
John Hipskind and Brady McAninch, partners at H&M Law, are the team you want on your side during settlement litigation. With extensive trial and arbitration experience, they know how to counter every argument the insurance company will make to lessen your settlement—and can turn it around in your favor.
More importantly, though, they will be committed to what’s most important—you and your case. Through a genuine commitment to every client and case that enters their office, they’ve earned nearly 100 5-star client reviews.
For legal advice, and a more detailed look into the estimated value of your case, schedule a no-cost, no-obligation case review with H&M Law today!