It’s one thing for a motor vehicle to strike another car from behind, but an impact from a truck could cause severe harm. Injured drivers and passengers want to get back to their regular lives as soon as possible and they may need compensation to make that happen. Knowing their rear-end truck accident claim‘s worth could help them experience peace of mind. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to give a concrete answer, as specific details affect a case’s outcome.
Various factors determine a rear-end truck accident’s worth. For instance, the driver’s company may not have enough insurance to cover all accident damages, especially if the accident involved multiple people and cars. Injuries sustained also affect the case’s worth. A single injury could cause substantial medical bills, an extensive recovery, time off work or a permanent disability. Even the accident site may affect how much a person receives after a rear-end collision. Juries and judges in some zip codes offer higher payouts than others.
In rear-end accidents, insurance companies and federal and state laws usually favor the driver struck from behind. The rules of the road dictate that all motorists have a responsibility to maintain a safe driving distance. Truck drivers must keep plenty of following distance around them because they need more stopping space.
Some situations can limit the rear driver’s liability. For instance, potholes, poorly maintained roads, and icy driving conditions may make it hard to come to a full stop. Fog could limit visibility, making it difficult to see how close cars are. If a car’s brake lights are out, the rear driver may not know when the vehicle slows. Damaged stop signs and malfunctioning stop lights may trigger a rear-end collision.
Sometimes, the front driver breaks the rules of the road, which could cause an accident. For instance, if a car makes a left turn at a red light, a truck with the right of way could plow into the smaller vehicle.
Rear-End Collision Settlement Amount Factors
Not only do the accident’s circumstances determine a rear-end collision amount, but the same also applies to post-accident damages.
Economic damages in car accidents are costs that affect the injured party’s financial health. For example, the injured party may have to pay health insurance deductibles and other costs. The plaintiff could pay substantial auto repair bills and they could suffer a loss of property if valuables in the vehicle sustained damage during the accident.
Car accidents may cause expensive and extensive medical treatment. Those injured may have to pay for an ambulance ride, prescription medication, physical rehabilitation, hospital stays, and pain management treatments. Some car accident victims must change their homes to move around and handle daily tasks, such as showering and cooking. They can add home modification costs to their claim.
Injuries could force a person to take time off work to recover, which means a loss of income. While taking time off work, bills could go unpaid, resulting in late fees and penalties. If a person dies in a rear-end truck accident, survivors may have funeral expenses to cover. Critical injuries may take months or years to heal, meaning injured parties could have future medical expenses to add to their claim.
Commonly known as pain and suffering, non-economic damages are the mental anguish injured parties suffer because of an accident. Unlike economic damages, no formula exists that makes it easy to calculate non-economic damages. One common strategy is to total all financial damages and multiply the sum by a number between one and three. The multiplier depends on injury severity.
If a trucking company hires a driver who disregards safety, the injured party could qualify for higher non-economic damages. Losing a loved one qualifies for non-economic damages, and the same applies if injured victims sustain lifelong deformities or disabilities.
Some injuries cause a person to experience post-traumatic stress, anxiety or depression, which all qualify for pain and suffering damages. Mental anguish could lead to a loss of enjoyment of life or change the relationship between married couples negatively.
Front Driver Liability
The driver in front may need to account for their liability when determining a collision settlement. For example, the car in front of the truck could have a flat tire or problems under the hood, either of which may cause an accident. A motorist may suddenly reverse and plow into a truck or brake check the truck driver and trigger an accident. Rear-end truck accident plaintiffs must also consider whether they live in a comparative negligence or contributory negligence state.
In pure comparative negligence states, plaintiffs could receive a reduced settlement amount by their degree of fault, without limit. These states include Louisiana, Alaska, New York, Rhode Island, California, and Arizona.
Modified comparative negligence states work much like pure comparative negligence states. The biggest difference is in modified comparative negligence states, if a plaintiff’s fault exceeds 50 percent, they do not receive damages. States with modified comparative negligence laws include Indiana, Colorado, West Virginia, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Wyoming, and South Carolina.
In contributory negligence states, injured parties cannot win any damages if they bear even one percent fault for the truck accident. Contributory negligence states include Virginia, Alabama, the District of Columbia, Maryland, and North Carolina.
Multiple Defendants in Truck Accident Claims
In truck accidents, multiple defendants could bear responsibility for a plaintiff’s injuries. Sometimes contractors, trucking companies, vendors, manufacturers, and employers owe injured victims compensation.
The trucking or shipping company employing the at-fault driver could bear responsibility for the accident and resulting injuries. Companies have a responsibility to check their employees’ backgrounds and they must make sure truck drivers receive the proper training before sending them on the road. If a legal representative proves the accident happened on the clock and that the company had a measure of control over the driver, it could open the door to a multi-defendant suit.
Hazardous material shippers and manufacturers could bear responsibility for a rear-end accident. These companies must warn drivers and trucking companies of dangerous chemicals and their hazards during transportation.
Some truck drivers work as independent contractors for multiple businesses, which could create obstacles during a truck accident case. Here, a claim’s success may depend on how much a trucking company supervises independent contractors. Truck accident plaintiffs and their attorneys must also consider how many separate insurance policies multiple defendants have.
Much like working in construction, driving commercial trucks for a living presents unique hazards that legal representatives must consider. For example, if a truck jackknifes and hits the car in front of it, the driver may not bear liability for damages if the truck jackknifed because of unpredictably slippy pavement or because the driver tried to avoid hitting a stalled vehicle.
Massive trucks need a lot of space to turn. If an accident happened while the truck took up two turning lanes or turned from an inside lane, either maneuver could establish fault on the driver’s part.
Contact Us Today
If a truck rear-ended you, do not waste time wondering how much you stand to receive. Get answers from the experienced legal professionals of Hensley Legal Group. Call 317-472-3333 or submit a contact us form.