If you’ve been injured in a collision involving a truck, you are likely in need of financial compensation. You have the right to seek damages for your medical expenses, car repair bills, and suffering. How much you settle for after a truck accident depends on many factors. No two cases are alike and many things may impact your settlement award.
If you file a claim against the truck driver’s employer, its insurance company may offer you a lower settlement. Working with a truck accident lawyer can help ensure you get the compensation you deserve. An experienced truck accident attorney can help you negotiate with the insurance company and receive the proper compensation. Here is everything you need to know about accepting a settlement after a truck accident.
Truck Accident Damages
Accidents involving large trucks are often more devastating than a collision between two cars. Many truck accidents cause severe bodily injuries and extensive property damage. Depending on the nature of your injuries, you may be entitled to receive compensation for medical expenses, emotional suffering, property damage, and diminished earning capacity.
Your injuries after a car accident may require extensive medical care. You may need to pay for expenses including:
- Prescription medications
- Doctor visits
- Hospital stays
- Physical therapy
- Follow-up care
You should keep extensive records of all medical expenses and visits. Ask your doctors to document your injuries thoroughly so you have evidence of your medical care to show the insurance company.
Pain and Suffering
The terms pain and suffering are legal terms describing the physical pain and emotional injuries a victim suffers after a car accident. Any substantial bodily harm or mental anguish may entitle you to receive financial compensation beyond your medical expenses.
Insurance companies generally multiply the number of your medical bills by a number between one and five to gauge the amount of pain and suffering compensation you can get. However, some U.S. states limit the amount of money victims can receive for pain and suffering. While Indiana doesn’t have a specific cap, if the claim is not against a governmental entity or a wrongful death claim, as per its modified comparative negligence rule, you cannot recover damages if you are more than 50 percent responsible for the accident.
Filing a property damage claim is a way to get financial compensation to pay for a new vehicle or repair your wrecked car. Typically, another motorist must cause the accident for you to receive compensation. You generally file a claim with the liable person’s insurance company.
If you missed work or had to quit your job due to your truck accident, you may get compensation for lost wages. You may also get a financial reward if you cannot work in the same occupation or keep the same schedule you had before the accident. Typically, only the most severe injuries result in lost wages compensation. You will likely need help from a lawyer to prove your case.
This is not a comprehensive list of financial compensation you may receive after a truck accident. Depending on the nature of the accident, you may get other monetary compensation.
How Truck Accident Insurance Works
Commercial trucking insurance works like private auto insurance. Trucking companies pay a premium to their insurance provider in exchange for a certain amount of protection. Premiums increase when truckers are liable for crashes.
The insurer is responsible for paying out claims to injured parties, regardless of the company’s amount in premiums. Because trucking accidents often result in catastrophic accidents, financial settlements can amount to large sums of money. These are some things to keep in mind when dealing with a trucking insurance company:
- Insurance is a business: An insurance company is a business with the main objective of paying as little money in claims as possible. You are the customer when you file a claim. It is your responsibility to represent your claim as accurately as possible while seeking what you deserve.
- Insurance adjusters know how much you should get: Adjusters understand what is appropriate compensation for your injuries because they have access to databases with payout amounts for similar accidents. They know how much is reasonable but will ask questions to try to pay out less.
- Insurance adjusters often try to settle for less: The insurance company calculates early on how much it is willing to pay on your claim. The adjuster is authorized to offer you up to a certain amount but will try to settle for less. The less money is paid on your claim, the more cash is left to spend on other claims.
- Insurance companies often delay claims: The trucking company’s insurer may try to delay your claim so your case runs out of its statute of limitations. While this is unethical, it is a common tactic used to pay as little as possible.
It is generally best to pass on the insurance company’s first offer. The first offer is likely a lowball settlement. It is recommended to negotiate for a few weeks to get the compensation you deserve. Keep in mind that some settlement cases may extend for a long period of time if you are seeking a large monetary settlement.
How To Support Your Claim
Hiring a lawyer experienced in car accident cases helps ensure you get the highest settlement possible. A lawyer can help you understand your rights and gather evidence on your behalf. Hiring someone with knowledge of Indiana’s personal injury laws is a proactive step to get the money you need.
To build a strong case, your lawyers must demonstrate four essential elements, known as the “duty of care” doctrine. Your lawyer must prove the following:
- Duty: Your lawyer must prove that the defendant had a duty of care to act in a reasonable manner to keep the public safe.
- Breach of duty: Your legal team must show that the defendant breached these duties.
- Causation: You need to prove the other party’s behavior directly caused your injuries.
- Damages: Your lawyer needs to show the extent of your compensable injuries.
Insurance companies and courts want specific and credible evidence to support these claims. Obtaining this evidence without the help of an attorney can be difficult. A qualified attorney knows what to look for and how to find relevant evidence.
Lawyers have several methods of obtaining evidence to support your truck accident claim. They may investigate the cause of the accident by returning to the scene. They may also review trucker driving logs to see if they were in breach of safety standards. Most lawyers also analyze accident scene photos, police reports, and medical records.
After presenting evidence in court or to the insurance company, your legal team can offer a settlement. How much you decide to settle for depends on your injuries and your individual situation. Work with your attorney to ensure the settlement amount is fair and large enough to pay for your ongoing medical costs.
Contact Hensley Legal Group
Have you been involved in a truck accident and want to know how much you should settle for? Contact Hensley Legal Group today. Many of our lawyers have experience in truck accident collision cases. We know how to work with the insurance companies to get you the money you deserve. Call us to set up a free consultation today.