What Is an Average Semi-Truck Crash Settlement?

The settlement amount in an 18-wheeler accident is difficult to estimate at the outset of a case. Many factors go into determining the amount of money you might be awarded. Each and every case is different, so to that extent, there can be no “average.” Settlement arrangements can be complicated matters, especially when there is a big rig involved.  Multiple entities might be responsible for the accident. Each party’s level of culpability, or guilt, determines their exposure in a personal injury settlement.

While each crash involving a tractor-trailer is unique, there are characteristics each crash has in common. Semi-trucks are heavily regulated by state and federal governments. The Department of Transportation for each state, as well as local law enforcement, have an interest in enforcing states’ safety laws and regulations. Additionally, the federal government has multiple agencies that work together to increase safety on the roads. The federal agencies also investigate crashes to learn their causes. Therefore, an accident involving a semi-truck will activate a response from various agencies.  How does the agency activation help the poor, injured victim of a semi-truck crash?

Below are a few ways investigations help:

  • The state and federal agencies will thoroughly investigate the driver of the truck to determine whether the driver followed state and federal driving regulations. One of the many regulations drivers must follow relate to safe driving and fatigue. They must be completely sober as well. Drivers must complete a log book and record how much time they have had off, how much time they have spent working, and how much time they have been driving. Both federal and state authorities are concerned about fatigued drivers because tired drivers can lose control of the load, causing a crash;
  • The agencies will determine whether the semi-truck’s load was properly secured. Overloading and load shift are common causes of crashes. Investigators will need to determine whether the load caused the crash and if so, why;
  • The agencies will investigate whether the driver operated the truck properly. Many times these reports indicate that the truck driver operated negligently. Drivers can speed, fall asleep behind the wheel, turn too fast, or fail to yield, causing an accident;
  • The investigators will examine the safety record of the driver as well as the safety record of the truck. The agencies will want to know if the driver has a history of rules violations, fines, traffic violations, and whether the driver conducted the required safety inspections before departing;
  • The agencies must scrutinize the repair history of the truck. The agencies will want to know the repair history of the brakes, steering, transmission, crash avoidance systems, the electrical systems, and the tire maintenance history;
  • Investigators will try to examine the data recorder on board if the truck has one, to obtain data about the crash.

How Is The Amount Of My Claim Determined?

Once all of the agencies have completed their investigations, you can have access to a wealth of expert information. That information may be very beneficial to you and your successful prosecution of the claim. The reports will help all parties assess their level of financial exposure. Here are some other factors that you should consider:

  • Was the semi-truck driver 100% negligent? If not, the insurance companies will try to reduce your award by the amount of your negligence. In the end, only a judge and jury can determine who was at fault for the crash, but the reports are an excellent guide.
  • What was the extent of your injuries? Unfortunately, semi-truck crashes can be extremely violent and destructive. Semi-truck accidents killed over 4,000 people in 2015 and another 87,000 suffered injuries. Injuries can range from the relatively minor to fatalities and permanent injuries.
  • Your settlement will also depend on the amount of pain and suffering you experienced, the lost wages, loss of economic opportunity, and other incidental damages like out of pocket expenses.

We Can Help If You Suffered Injuries In A Semi-Truck Accident

Our 18-wheeler accident attorneys have vast experience representing semi-truck crash victims nationwide. Our trucking attorneys will provide you expert legal advice while working work diligently to reach a fair and just resolution of your claim. Contact us at 800-863-5312 today to schedule a free consultation and learn how we can help you with your claim if you or a loved one was injured or killed in an 18-wheeler accident.

Source: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/sites/fmcsa.dot.gov/files/docs/LTCF2015%20Early%20Release.pdf