A tractor trailer truck hauling a load can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. In a crash, all that weight inflicts massive damage on a smaller vehicle, often resulting in catastrophic and fatal injuries to the vehicle’s occupants.
Victims of truck crashes have the right to take legal action seeking compensation from individuals, companies, and government entities whose unreasonably dangerous decisions and actions contributed to the cause of the crash. In this blog post, we examine the types and amounts of damages those victims can often sue for, to get the compensation they need to rebuild their lives.
Liability for Truck Accidents
To sue for damages after suffering injuries in a truck accident, victims need to have evidence to prove that someone else’s dangerous decisions and actions caused the crash and their injuries. Every truck accident has unique facts and circumstances that determine who has a legal liability to the crash victims.
In general, however, in many truck accidents one or more of the following parties has at least some legal and financial responsibility to the victims:
- Truck drivers who make mistakes behind the wheel that cause a crash;
- Truck driver employers who have a legal responsibility to answer for the truck driver’s actions, and may have a liability of their own for careless driver hiring or truck maintenance practices;
- Truck owners who fail to maintain trucks in safe working condition, leading to a crash;
- Truck contractors, like mechanics or shipping depot operators, who perform trucking related services improperly and contribute to the cause of a wreck;
- Truck manufacturers, if they produce defective trucks or truck parts that fail, causing an accident;
- Anyone else whose dangerous decisions and actions contributed to the cause of a truck accident that caused damage and injuries.
Most of these parties will typically carry some amount of liability insurance that covers them against the costs of accidents their actions cause. Sometimes, these parties also have assets that courts can force them to use to pay damages to accident victims.
What Truck Crash Victims Can Sue For
When one or more parties like the ones listed have legal liability for a truck crash, injured victims and families of deceased victims can often file a lawsuit seeking damages. The particular facts and circumstances of the truck accident determine the types of damages a lawsuit might obtain for a victim.
However, generally speaking, truck accident plaintiffs can sue to recover compensation for:
- Medical expenses related to their injuries, including the cost of hospitalizations, long-term care, doctor visits, therapy appointments, medication, and medical equipment.
- Non-medical expenses that they incur because of their injuries, such as the cost of repairing or replacing damaged property, and of hiring services to help out with daily needs;
- Past and future lost income, resulting from victims missing work while recuperating, or suffering disabling injuries that prevent them from returning to work;
- Pain, suffering, harm to personal relationships, and diminished quality of life stemming from the injuries they suffered in a truck accident; and
- In some cases, punitive damages that aim to punish and deter extremely wrongful conduct that caused the truck accident.
There is no guarantee that all truck accident victims can recover all—or any—of these categories of damages. You will want to work with a skilled truck accident injury attorney to find out what damages you may have the right to recover after a truck crash disrupts your life.
How Much Truck Accident Victims Can Sue For
The amount of money damages represented by each of the categories above varies from crash-to-crash and victim-to-victim, and depends on factors that include:
- The type of injury the victim suffered;
- The severity of the victim’s injuries;
- The victim’s prognosis for making a full recovery;
- The impact of the injury on the victim’s current and future day-to-day life;
- The victim’s age, income, and general state of health at the time of the accident; and
- The actions that led to the accident and injuries.
The amount of money a truck crash victim has the right to sue for can differ, however, from the amount of money the victim might actually receive by taking legal action.
That is because the outcome of a lawsuit also depends on factors such as:
- The degree of dispute between the parties about what happened and who was at fault;
- The financial resources available to pay damages to the victim, either through insurance coverage or the liable party’s assets;
- The willingness of the parties to reach a settlement of the victim’s claims; and
- The victim’s personal priorities and needs.
How to Sue for Truck Accident Injuries
If you suffered injuries or lost a loved one in a truck accident, then you need skilled, experienced legal representation to obtain the maximum compensation available. Do not trust just any attorney with your claim. Truck accidents frequently involve complicated factual and legal issues that challenge the abilities of even the most seasoned attorneys. Trust only an attorney who has represented truck accident victims and has a track record of success in truck accident cases.
The steps an attorney takes on your behalf to obtain compensation for you will depend on your particular needs and the specific circumstances of your accident and injuries.
In general, however, an experienced truck accident attorney can:
- Conduct a thorough investigation of the truck accident to identify the parties with liability who have the ability to pay damages;
- Evaluate your injuries to determine the amount of compensation you need and deserve to address the full scope of harm you suffered;
- Negotiate with defense lawyers and insurance companies to achieve a fair and reasonable settlement of your claim, if possible; and
- Prepare, file, and litigate your claim in court, taking it to a trial in front of a judge and jury if necessary to get you the money you need and deserve.
For a free consultation about your legal rights after suffering injuries or losing a loved one in a truck accident, contact a skilled, experienced truck accident injury attorney today.