There is no straight answer for what the average semi-truck accident settlement is. Several key factors play a significant role in determining the value of your claim, such as who is responsible for the accident, the kind of damage incurred, and the seriousness of the injuries. Someone’s settlement will generally be comprised of economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages will help compensate for any expenses related to the accident and resulting injuries. In a semi-truck accident settlement, economic damages might include costs for:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Lost earning potential
- Property damages
Economic damages are somewhat simple to calculate. Non-economic damages, however, are not. Non-economic damages in a semi-truck accident settlement might include compensation for:
- Pain and suffering,
- Mental or emotional pain and anguish
- Loss of quality of life
- Loss of consortium
Who Can Be Held Responsible in a Semi-Truck Accident?
To determine who is at fault in a semi-truck accident, it’s important to consult with an experienced semi-truck accident lawyer about the details of the crash and injuries. An attorney will then examine the facts of the case and identify all possible sources of recovery, including some that might not be so obvious. The following are examples of those who can be held liable in a semi-truck accident:
- Truck Drivers– Truck drivers are often individually responsible for causing collisions, especially when they were abusing alcohol or drugs, distracted, or fatigued.
- Truck Manufacturer– When a defect in the truck, trailer, or any equipment caused the accident, this would be cause to sue the company that manufactured, assembled, or made the defective part.
- Tire Manufacturer – The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that there were 664 tire-related traffic fatalities in 2020. If a defective tire was the cause of a semi-truck accident, the company that made the tire could be held responsible.
- Trucking Companies – Trucking companies are required to comply with many state and federal laws designed to keep all drivers safe, including regulations from the Texas Department of Public Safety. Accident victims can sue a trucking company that directly employs the truck driver involved in the collision or a trucking company that violates a safety regulation.
- A Parent Company – Depending on the truck driver’s employer, truck manufacturer, trucking company, or commercial truck owner, it may be possible to hold the parent company accountable.
- The Driver and Owner of Other Vehicles Involved in the Crash – Truck accidents often involve more than just the semi-truck and one other vehicle. If the accident the client was involved in with a semi-truck was caused by another driver, it may be possible to sue the owners or drivers of the other vehicles involved under their car insurance policies.
- Third-Party Maintenance Companies – Many trucking companies depend on third-party maintenance companies to service and inspect their trucks. If an inspection or maintenance issue contributed to the collision, a client may be able to sue the company responsible for that service.
How is Fault Determined in a Semi-Truck Accident?
In Texas, you can most often receive compensation for your damages if the other party was at fault in causing the collision. Texas also follows what is called a modified comparative fault rule, which means that a driver won’t be able to recover any damages if they were more than 50 percent responsible for causing the crash. Even if a driver was not more than 50 percent at fault, the amount of damages will be reduced in proportion to the percentage of responsibility in the accident. Examples of instances where it is most likely that the semi-truck driver was solely at fault include:
- The truck driver was intoxicated or distracted while driving
- The 18-wheeler rear-ended the client
- The client was at a stop sign or stop light when the 18-wheeler struck them
An experienced semi-truck accident lawyer can help gather the necessary evidence to prove their client was not at fault—or at least that they were less at fault than the other party, which will help maximize the potential recovery.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Settlement?
The details of a case and the behavior of the trucker’s insurance company will impact how long a settlement takes. Semi-truck accident cases generally take longer when there are serious injuries, complicated investigations, or shared liability. Due to the size and weight of semi-trucks, accidents often cause more damage than other car accidents. As a result, clients will probably seek reimbursement for:
- Medical expenses
- Lost earnings
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering or loss of quality of life
- Lost earning potential
Insurance companies will often delay expensive cases and will try to find ways to argue that the other driver was partly at fault for the accident. Trucking businesses and their insurance companies will do their best to avoid paying large settlements and verdicts. To minimize their financial output, they will drag out investigations.
Even though semi-truck accident attorneys can’t give an exact dollar figure of payout, they can draw on their experience to estimate the compensation to expect. Most personal injury lawyers operate on a contingency fee basis, which means an attorney will only be paid once a settlement or verdict is made.
Have you been injured by a semi truck driver on Texas roadways? Don’t hesitate to give our office a call at 817-440-3888 or fill out our contact form to speak with our intake specialist today about your options.