Collisions involving semi-trucks can be devastating for victims. If you or a loved one suffered serious injuries in a truck accident that someone else caused, you may be entitled to significant compensation. Every semi-truck accident claim is unique in the amount of compensation awarded, but the following common factors impact their worth.
This is one of the most critical factors. The more serious the injury, the more a jury will typically award in damages. An insurance company’s settlement offer will usually be based on what they believe a jury will ultimately do. They will take into consideration:
However, an insurer will typically not offer the correct value on the claim unless they believe you are willing to pursue a lawsuit.
If you are severely injured and have sufficient evidence to support your claim that a truck driver or trucking company is liable, the value of your claim can increase exponentially. For example, video footage of the semi-truck swerving into your lane and causing the accident, a copy of the driver’s log book, the black box off the truck, or results from the truck driver’s drug and alcohol tests that show they were under the influence. If an insurance company knows they will lose in court, they will likely prefer to settle before trial because they will have more control over the final outcome than if a jury decided the award.
On the other hand, if there is evidence that you were mainly or partially to blame, your claim’s value can drastically reduce. California follows the rule of “pure comparative negligence.” This law allows your compensation to be reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, if you are awarded $100,000 and found 40 percent at fault for your accident, you will only receive 60 percent or $60,000.
Fortunately, owners and operators of semi-trucks have higher insurance requirements enforced by state and federal regulations. This means you have a better chance of obtaining fair compensation for your losses. However, your settlement will still be limited by the maximum amount allowed by the insurance policy. If your damages are extensive and exceed the policy limits, you may have to pursue the additional compensation from another liable party or through your own coverage.