Compensation in a truck-related accident can require complex analysis and follow up after the accident. Fortunate for plaintiffs of truck-related accidents, the compensation or monetary damages awarded do not have to be limited to immediate injuries and repairs. They can include non-econommic damages like pain and suffering and loss of consortium as well where warranted. For these reasons, an experienced trucking accident lawyer can make a critical difference in the compensation for property damage and injuries.
Immediate Expenses & Costs
If you have been injured, you may receive compensation for the following care that you receive immediately after the accident:
- Immediate medical costs.
- Long-term medical costs.
- Support and care during recovery.
- However, trucking accidents often have significant long-term consequences. Documenting and receiving appropriate compensation for these is an important issue in recovering after an accident.
Compensation for Long-Term Damages
Pain and suffering are long term non-economic damages that can be calculated in a potential settlement and negotiated by your attorney with the third-party's insurance company. There are real costs associated with the severity, duration and nature of injury caused by the accident.
These may affect every aspect of your life and your family’s life, including your ability to work and engage in activities that were normal for you before the accident.
Lost wages often become an issue after an accident because of the extent of injuries and recovery time required. A person is sometimes able to reduce the financial impact of a truck crash by taking sick leave or vacation time.
Even so, the person should receive compensation for the work time lost, since he or she would not have used those benefits had it not been for the accident.
Reduced Earning Capacity because of Long-Term Injury or Disability
Accidents involving trucks can cause permanent or long-term injuries or disabilities. These will factor into the compensation if they permanently or temporarily affect a person’s ability to earn a living or to earn a living at the same level he or she maintained before the accident.
These costs might also include retraining or education necessary as a result of the injuries caused by the accident.
A major accident sometimes causes disabilities or creates handicaps that limit someone’s ability to pursue the lifestyle he or she had before the accident. These changed circumstances may also be taken into account when making a claim for damages after a big-rig accident.
Sometimes the injuries after a truck collision are so severe that a person requires medical and physical assistance for life.
When it is clear that the accident has caused this level of injury, a person can receive an award that will assure that he or she has the care needed for life.
Punitive damages are awarded for wrongdoing. This is not too common in auto accidents and less common for trucks, unless the truck driver was breaking the law at the time of the accident.
Truck owners or employers may also be liable for punitive damages if they failed to follow federal and state laws, were negligent in maintaining vehicles or continued to employ a driver who had a record of substance abuse, speeding or another behavior that causes accidents.
An experienced law firm like Jacoby & Meyers will know what costs should be included and will have economic analysts who can put a financial value on those long-term injuries or disabilities.
Who Can be Held Liable in a Collision with a Truck, Big Rig or 18-Wheeler?
- Insurance is one source of compensation in any vehicle accident. However, many factors are in play in a big rig accident, Responsibility may rest with the company that owns or operates the truck, with the manufacturer of the truck or with the way inspections or laws have been applied.
- The drivers involved can be held liable personally. Truck crashes often involve several vehicles. Not only could the truck driver be responsible, but the drivers of other vehicles might also have caused the accident.
- The owner of the vehicle or employer of the truck driver. The business owner of the truck or the organization hiring and running the truck can also have responsibility in a truck collision. For example, an owner might continue to employ a driver with a history of speeding or substance abuse. In this case, the owner can be considered liable for the accident, if the driver’s drinking or speeding were factors in the accident. The owner’s responsibility can extend to punitive damages in some situations. For example, if the truck owner or employer was requiring the driver to drive more than the legal number of hours, a trucking collision caused by the driver’s fatigue could result in punitive damages. Owners can also be responsible if they have failed to maintain or repair the truck properly. They could be at fault if the accident was caused by an unbalanced load, by the load shifting or by other similar issues.
- Defective parts and products from manufacturers or retailers of the truck. The manufacture of trucks and parts becomes more complex all the time.Trucks use parts made of plastics and composite materials, and these parts sometimes are defective or do not stand up to the wear-and-tear of truck use. Manufacturers have responsibility if the parts they use or the construction of the vehicle contributed to or caused the accident.
- Retailers can be liable if they fail to let owners know about potential dangers, if they sold a truck that they knew to have defects or failed to notify the owners when there were defects.
- Service facilities providing truck maintenance. A repair service that made faulty repairs or failed to maintain the truck in good operating condition may also have responsibility if the truck is involved in an accident where those problems were a factor.
Accidents involving large trucks and vehicles can raise complex issues. Understanding these potential causes and doing the extensive research that might be necessary to prove them requires an accident lawyer like Jacoby & Meyers with the resources to hire experts who can document these and other potential issues that caused the accident.