Any auto accident has the propensity to be traumatic, but collisions with large commercial vehicles like semi-trucks can be especially devastating.
The experience alone is enough to rattle even the strongest nerves, whether or not you suffer severe physical injuries.
While you heal from your injuries, you also need to look into your options for initiating a semi-truck accident lawsuit. The professional team at Gerling Law Injury Attorneys has decades of experience fighting for victims like yourself.
Our clients have been awarded over $20 million in tractor-trailer accident lawsuits alone. We are here to help you get the compensation you deserve for your semi-truck accident lawsuit in Indiana. Contact us for your free case review.
Is There an Average Semi-Truck Accident Settlement Amount?
The unique circumstances of your accident will determine your settlement amount. Because collisions can range from moderate property damage to devastating injuries and even death, there is no way to determine an average semi-truck accident settlement.
That being said, it is important to have an attorney who is committed to understanding the complete value of your case to ensure that you do not settle for less than what your case is worth.
Who Pays for Damages in a Truck Accident Lawsuit?
Indiana is an “at-fault” state. This means that if you are involved in a semi-truck accident or any other type of auto accident, the driver who caused the collision is legally responsible for the damages.
There are situations where both parties may be found to be at fault, in which case your degree of fault is important.
Indiana uses a “contributory fault” system which means that you can still bring a semi-truck accident lawsuit against the other party, but the damages you recover will be reduced by your share of liability. If your liability exceeds 50%, you will be barred from recovery.
In many cases, the cause of the accident is the driver’s negligence. But it is not always quite that simple.
Sometimes, there are other parties behind the scenes that also share blame for an accident, and if so, it is fair to go after everyone who shares responsibility. Here are some examples of other parties who could be liable for your damages.
The company that employs the driver is ultimately responsible for ensuring the driver follows all driving rules and regulations.
There are specific laws in place for things like training, the number of hours a driver can be on the road, and cargo limitations. They may also be responsible for making sure that the trucks used are in good working order. If they fail to properly maintain their fleet, they may also be held liable.
Some trucking companies use third-party cargo loading businesses to load their trucks. An improperly loaded truck is prone to mishaps on the road. This mistake can have serious consequences and leave whoever improperly loaded the cargo liable for your injuries.
As with any vehicle, parts can be defective. That is why recalls happen. If a defective part is found to be at fault for the accident, the manufacturer may be held liable for damages.
Factors That Affect Your Settlement Amount
Determining who was responsible for the accident is an extremely important factor in determining the average settlement for an 18 wheeler accident. Many commercial vehicles are backed by large corporations with deep pockets.
They have the resources to fight your claim and attempt to prove that you were at fault. Do not negotiate against trucking companies and their insurance agents on your own.
The Gerling Law Firm is ready to fight back and do the investigative work to prove that you deserve to be compensated for your injuries.
Other factors that impact the amount of your settlement include:
- The severity of your physical injuries;
- Current and future medical expenses;
- Lost wages due to inability to work;
- Pain and suffering;
- The circumstances of the accident; and
- Insurance coverage availability.
There are a lot of things to take into consideration when determining the value of your claim. That is another reason it is important to have an experienced semi-truck accident attorney walk through the process with you.
Filing a Semi-Truck Accident Lawsuit
If a commercial truck accident settlement cannot be reached, you may opt to file a semi-truck accident lawsuit. According to Indiana Code § 34-11-2-4, you have two years to file a lawsuit from the date of the accident.
Consult with your attorney to determine if filing a tractor-trailer accident lawsuit is the best course of action for your situation. If it is, your attorney will be responsible for evidence gathering, filing paperwork, negotiating with the opposing party, and preparing for litigation.
How Do I Maximize Compensation for My Injuries?
The more information you can provide about your accident, the better your chances are of receiving proper compensation. Anytime you are in an accident, make sure to file and maintain a copy of the police report.
Keep track of any and all expenses related to your injuries. This includes hospital bills, follow-up doctor’s appointments, medications, physical therapy, cost of help if necessary, lost wages, and more. It is likely that your doctor will need to provide a statement about your injury and prognosis for healing.
Non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, post-traumatic stress, anxiety, and depression arising from the accident are also applicable. Though harder to monetize, you will need to provide evidence of your mental anguish and changes to your lifestyle. These injuries are just as worthy of compensation.
File your insurance claim and subsequent lawsuit as soon as reasonably possible. Evidence fades over time, and the longer you wait to take action, the longer you will be without relief.
Do I Need a Semi-Truck Accident Attorney?
Trying to settle your accident claim on your own is certainly possible, but it’s unlikely to result in a meaningful outcome. Insurance companies are quick to make lowball offers. They know you need funds to cover expenses related to your injuries, and they know how to take advantage of you when you are desperate for money.
When they succeed in getting you to take a lowball offer, you can never go back for more. This may leave you in serious financial hardship down the road because you did not receive a settlement large enough to cover future expenses.
Gerling Law Injury Attorneys have been serving the needs of victims in Indiana for decades with over 125 years of combined experience. Accidents don’t just happen during business hours, so we are available 24/7 to answer your questions. While we work through your semi-truck accident lawsuit, we want you to focus on healing.
We work on a contingency basis and will not charge you for our services unless and until we win. They say that the proof is in the pudding, so we believe that our results speak for themselves. Call us at (888) 437-5464 or send an online message today to schedule your free consultation!