“What settlement should I expect after a truck accident?” this is the question our Los Angeles truck accident attorney often hears. This question is tricky to answer, but we will do our best to estimate the average truck accident settlement for California.
There is no going around the fact that truck accidents cause devastating injuries and even fatalities, especially when they collide with passenger vehicles, motorcyclists, bicyclists, or pedestrians.
When the truck driver and/or his/her trucking company are clearly at fault for the accident, the victim can expect a sizable personal injury settlement, because there is not one but two parties to sue. Normally, truck accident settlements have a much bigger dollar figure compared to accidents involving passenger vehicles.
Why truck accident settlements are larger than car accident settlements
“Truck accidents have bigger settlements compared to accidents involving any other type of vehicle for several reasons,” says our experienced truck accident attorney in Los Angeles. “First of all, there are strict insurance requirements for commercial trucks. Second of all, a victim suing a truck driver can usually sue the driver’s trucking company as well, as opposed to only suing one party (the at-fault driver of a passenger vehicle) in car crashes.”
Also, truck drivers in California are held to a higher standard than all other motorists. This is because, in order to get a commercial driver’s license in California, drivers are required to go through extensive training and comply with a plethora of safety regulations.
For example, one such safety regulation is that truck drivers are not permitted to drive more than 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty on a given day. If a truck driver violates the hours of service regulations and someone gets injured or killed as a result, the driver will face criminal penalties in addition to personal injury liability.
Factors affecting the average truck accident settlement
And yet, the question “What’s the average truck accident settlement in California for 2018?” is still up in the air. Even the best truck accident lawyer or elsewhere in California will not be able to determine the cost of your damages without looking into many factors surrounding your case.
For example, there are several factors that affect the amount of your truck accident settlement:
- Liability: How many parties can be held liable for your injuries? It is only the truck driver or his/her trucking company as well? Was there a defect in the truck, which would make the manufacturer liable? Or was a third party to blame for the accident in addition to the truck driver’s fault? Were you partially at fault for the accident? Our Los Angeles truck accident attorney reminds readers that California is a pure comparative negligence state (meaning: the number of your recoverable damages will be reduced by the percentage of your own fault if any).
- The severity of injury or disability: The severity of your injury is also a major factor affecting the settlement amount in your truck accident case. Typically, the more severe your injury is, the larger the settlement amount. Whether or not you will be entitled to recover loss of income and loss of earning capacity also affects the settlement, and so does the existence or absence of prior medical conditions.
- Insurance coverage: The insurance policies in effect also impact the settlement amount in a truck accident case. The minimum amount of insurance coverage that the truck driver and/or trucking company carries depends on the type of transported freight. For example, hazardous materials moved by private carriers require the minimum coverage of $5,000,000.
How much is your case worth?
Here at the Law Offices of Howard Craig Kornberg, our lawyers have helped victims of truck accidents obtain settlements and win verdicts that range from $100,000 to several million dollars. When wrongful death is involved (which we certainly hope is not the case in your particular situation), the settlement amount will skyrocket. And the more parties you can sue in your personal injury lawsuit (the truck driver for violating federal trucking regulations, the trucking company for failure to maintain the vehicle, the local government for failure to ensure good road conditions, etc.), the larger the settlement amount.