Being involved in an accident with a tractor-trailer or other heavy commercial truck is a shocking experience. Large trucks take everything about a car accident and multiply the intensity because of their increased size and weight compared to other vehicles.
Injuries are usually more severe in truck accidents, and the property damage is often more extensive as well.
If you’ve been involved in a truck accident, you may be experiencing major losses on several fronts: the physical toll taken on your body, financial losses in the form of medical bills and lost time at work, and the emotional scars that traumatic events often leave behind.
One way you can make up for some of your losses is through a personal injury claim. With the help of a knowledgeable truck accident attorney, you can pursue damages to cover your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
Economic Damages in a Truck Accident
There are several different kinds of compensation or damages, you could recover in a truck accident claim. The first category of damages is economic damages.
Economic damages are designed to make up for your losses that have a specific dollar amount attached. This makes them the easiest to calculate when it comes to filing a personal injury claim, though you want to have an attorney’s help to make sure you’re fully compensated for all of your losses.
Some economic damages you can potentially recover in a truck accident claim include:
- Medical bills – This includes the cost of any hospital stays, doctor visits, prescription medication, medical devices, physical therapy, and so on. Be sure to save all your bills so you can accurately calculate the full cost of your bills.
- Future medical care – Depending on the nature and extent of your injuries, you may need ongoing medical care for quite some time after your accident. You can receive damages to cover the cost of this ongoing care, including in-home nursing care, if necessary.
- Changes to your home – If you sustain a serious neck, back, or spine injury in a truck accident, it could impact your mobility, perhaps even permanently. Should that be the case, you’ll need to make some changes to your home to make it easier for you to get around, prepare food, manage self-care, etc. A major remodel of your home can be very costly, but you could receive damages to cover the modification costs.
- Property damage – You can be compensated for the value of your car, along with any other property that may have been damaged.
- Lost wages – There’s a good chance that you’ll miss quite a bit of work as you recover from your injuries. You may have a short-term or long-term disability policy through your employer, but those benefits are limited. You can receive damages to more fully make up for the money you lost due to missing work for an extended period.
- Lost future wages – If you have permanent injuries from your accident, you may not be able to work at all again, or you may be limited in the tasks you can perform. You can receive compensation to make up for your reduced ability to earn wages in the future.
- Funeral and burial expenses – If you lost a family member in an accident, you can recoup the expenses for their funeral or burial as damages in a wrongful death claim.
The amount of economic damages that you could receive in any settlement will depend on the extent of your injuries, how well you can document your losses, the amount of time you were injured and missed work, any ongoing care you might need, and other factors. To make sure you get all the economic damages to which you may be entitled, hire a truck accident attorney to handle your claim.
Non-Economic Damages in a Trucking Accident
The next category of damages in a truck accident claim is non-economic damages. These are losses that, while undeniably real, are harder to put a definite dollar figure on. While monetary compensation may seem like a poor substitute for non-economic losses, it’s a way to hold the liable party accountable for what they’ve done.
Possible non-economic damages in a trucking accident claim include:
- Pain and suffering – Pain and suffering damages are an effort to make up for the physical suffering you’ve endured as a result of your accident. This is separate from any damages you may receive to cover your past, current, or future medical bills.
- Mental anguish – A traumatic accident can leave lingering scars on our psyche after an accident. This can include flashbacks, nightmares, depression, even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Proving mental anguish can sometimes be difficult, but an experienced truck accident lawyer can help you get compensation for your mental anguish.
- Loss of a family member – The loss of emotional and financial support that comes with the death of a parent, spouse, child, sibling, or other family member is significant. If you lost a family member in a truck accident, you can seek compensation for your losses. A truck accident attorney can help you demonstrate the extent of your losses so that this element is included in any settlement.
As with economic damages, there are many factors that influence the amount of non-economic damages you may receive in a truck accident claim. To ensure that all your losses are accounted for as best the law allows, you’ll want to get help from a trucking accident lawyer.
Punitive Damages in an 18-Wheeler Accident
Punitive damages are the final category of damages you could be awarded in an 18-wheeler accident claim. As the name suggests, punitive damages are additional compensation handed down to punish negligent drivers or trucking companies. However, punitive damages are rare, as they’re meant as a deterrent against the most egregious examples of reckless behavior.
A judge may award punitive damages if a driver or a trucking company knowingly broke safety regulations and someone died or sustained life-altering injuries as a result of the accident.
Common Truck Driver Errors
In many cases, trucking accidents are the result of driver errors. Some of the most common truck driver errors include:
- Driver fatigue
- Drivers operating under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Running a stop sign or red light
- Aggressive driving
- Lack of proper training or qualifications
- Driver distractions
- Drivers running off the road or out of the proper lane
- Failure to signal when switching lanes or dangerous lane changes
- Rollovers caused by failure to judge turns
- Unbalanced or unsecured tractor-trailer cargo
Liability for Truck Driver Errors
Liability in truck accident claims can be difficult to determine, and there may, in fact, be multiple parties that are liable in a truck accident.
Some of the parties who might be held liable include:
- Truck driver – The truck driver may be held liable for negligent acts that cause an accident, such as speeding, driving while intoxicated, driving while drowsy, or other reckless acts.
- Trucking company – If the truck driver was employed by the trucking company, it may be held vicariously liable for the trucker’s negligence. The trucking company also may be responsible for placing unrealistic expectations on the truck driver, pushing them to drive while drowsy, or the trucking company may fail to properly train their drivers or properly inspect and maintain the vehicle.
- Truck manufacturer – The manufacturer may be responsible if an accident occurred as a result of a mechanical defect or flawed equipment.
- Cargo company – The company loading the cargo onto the truck may be responsible if they overload the cargo, or if they improperly load the cargo, increasing the chances of the cargo falling off the truck, or creating an unbalanced load.
Your attorneys can conduct a thorough investigation of the accident to identify all of the parties that could be held accountable in your truck accident case. The attorneys at Derek L. Hall, PC have a thorough understanding of the federal and state truck driving laws in Mississippi. We’ll leverage our knowledge, experience, and the strength of the case we develop on your behalf to maximize the total economic and non-economic damages you receive.
Contact a Trucking Accident Lawyer at Derek L. Hall, PC
The best way to stand up for your rights in a truck accident case is to work with a truck accident lawyer. The team at Derek L. Hall, PC, can investigate your claim, handle any necessary communication with the insurance company and the opposing legal team, document your injuries, and negotiate to seek the best possible settlement for you.
All the while, we’ll be preparing your case for trial should that become necessary. We make sure to keep our clients fully updated on their case as it progresses, and we will promptly return all phone calls, emails, etc.
You have a limited window for filing a claim after a trucking accident. The sooner you get started, the more likely your claim is to succeed. To schedule your free consultation with a truck accident attorney, call us today or go to our contact page.