If you were injured in an accident with a commercial truck, like a tractor-trailer or a big rig, you may be faced with options to “settle.” Big truck companies and insurance companies often try to avoid high payouts after truck accidents by trying to shut down lawsuits and convince truck accident victims to settle for low amounts. It may be impossible to determine how much your case is worth without speaking to a lawyer.
The Dallas truck accident attorneys at The Queenan Law Firm, P.C. understand truck accident cases. Our principal attorney, Kevin Queenan, used to work in the trucking industry and has handled hundreds of truck accident cases in his more than twenty of years of law practice. Don’t face trucking and insurance companies alone. Contact our attorneys today for a free consultation.
Calculating Truck Accident Damages
If you or a loved one was injured in a truck accident, you may be entitled to substantial compensation. You may be entitled to even higher compensation if you lost a loved one to an auto accident. In Texas, you can usually take an auto accident case to court instead of relying on car insurance, especially if you suffered severe injuries. This is often the best way to recover damages, and opens up the most possibilities for compensation. The goal of personal injury lawsuits is to restore the victim to their financial situation from before the accident.
First, taking your truck accident case to court might entitle you to medical expenses. Car or truck insurance will often pay for medical expenses, but it may not cover all of them. In a lawsuit, the goal is to fully compensate any expenses that stem from your injuries. This means covering any medical bills from emergency treatment, surgeries, hospital stays, imaging, rehabilitation, physical therapy, and perhaps even the cost of medical devices (such as wheelchairs or crutches). Keeping a good record of your medical bills and treatments can help prove these damages in court. For example, if you undergo treatment for Adderall, opiates, Dilaudid, Xanax, or alcohol due to medical negligence, then having treatment records from visits to a rehabilitation center can be crucial evidence in court.
Second, you may also be entitled to compensation for lost wages. If you missed work while recovering from your injuries, or are unable to return to work, you may be entitled to recover your missed paychecks.
Third, you could be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering. This is often one of the highest areas of damages in a personal injury suit, and is not typically available through insurance companies. To get this, you may need to take your case to court. Texas has no limitations on pain and suffering damages, so this could be substantial for traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and other catastrophic injuries.
Lastly, you may be entitled to “punitive” or “exemplary” damages. The trucking industry has dozens of rules and regulations designed to keep other drivers safe. When trucking companies put profits over safety, they may violate these rules or require their drivers to do so. If this rule-breaking leads to accidents and injuries, the courts may punish them. Additional damages like these go straight to the victim, as a penalty against the trucking company.
Should I Settle After a Truck Accident?
The decision to settle your case or take it to trial is ultimately your decision. However, your lawyer can guide you through the process and help you make the best decision for your case. Though punitive damages are rare, trucking companies may try to force a settlement to avoid paying punitive damages. They may propose low offers that will not fully compensate your injuries in order to save money. Lastly, pain and suffering damages may be unavailable from a settlement from insurance or trucking companies.
Punitive or exemplary damages are only awarded when a case sees a verdict at trial. There is little reason for a trucking company to pay punitive damages and penalize itself unless under a court order. Settling will almost certainly lose any possibility of exemplary damages.
Trucking companies do not represent you, the victim, in a trucking accident. Their goal is ultimately to protect their driver, their reputation, and their business. This may mean trying to block cases or force low settlements. While these offers may initially seem attractive, talk to an attorney before accepting anything from insurance or a trucking company, especially if you were severely injured.
In any injury case, it is very difficult to gauge the value of your pain and suffering. Each person’s experience is unique, but heavily tied to your specific injuries. A jury ultimately decides pain and suffering damages, and may be willing to award substantial damages to a severely injured victim. Settling with the insurance or trucking company will often mean losing your chance at pain and suffering damages.
Always talk to an attorney to understand what your specific case might be worth, and whether settlement is an option.
Dallas Truck Accident Attorneys
The Dallas personal injury lawyers at The Queenan Law Firm, P.C. have years of experience representing injured truck accident victims. For a free consultation and to understand what your case might be worth, call (817) 476-1797 today.