If you’ve been involved in an 18-wheeler truck accident in Texas, you may be wondering what kind of settlement you can expect. While every case is unique, there are certain factors that can influence the average settlement amount. In this guide, we’ll explore the various factors that can impact your settlement and provide you with an idea of what you can expect in terms of compensation.
Understanding the Factors that Affect Settlement Amounts.
When it comes to determining the settlement amount for an 18-wheeler truck accident in Texas, there are several factors that can come into play. One of the most important factors is the extent of the injuries sustained in the accident. Severe injuries that require extensive medical treatment and long-term care will typically result in a higher settlement amount. Additionally, the amount of property damage caused by the accident can also impact the settlement. Other factors that can affect the settlement amount include the at-fault party’s insurance coverage, any negligence on the part of the victim, and the skill and experience of the legal representation. It’s important to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who can assess your case and provide you with a realistic expectation of the settlement amount you can expect.
Accident fault is determined in Texas by calculating the extent of your responsibility for the accident versus the fault of the truck driver. If it’s determined that you’re more than 50% responsible for the accident, the truck driver may not be required to pay you compensation. However, the truck driver will be found at fault for the incident if your responsibility is found to be anything less than 50%.
The closer the truck driver is to 100% at fault, the greater their liability. Truck accident settlements are typically higher in these 18-wheeler truck accident cases. In the most egregious of truck accident cases where the driver was found 100% at fault and the victim died due to the accident, juries in Texas have awarded as much as $730mm in wrongful death settlements. Several 18-wheeler accidents resulting in deaths have been awarded $260mm, $150mm, $120mm, $101mm, $55.5mm, and $140mm respectively in Texas Courts.
Evaluating the Severity of Injuries and Damages.
When determining the settlement amount for an 18-wheeler truck accident in Texas, one of the key factors to consider is the severity of the injuries sustained by the victim. Severe injuries that require extensive medical treatment, surgeries, and long-term care will typically result in a higher settlement amount. This is because the victim may have ongoing medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, and may experience a diminished quality of life. Additionally, the amount of property damage caused by the accident can also impact the settlement. If the victim’s vehicle was completely totaled or suffered significant damage, this can increase the settlement amount. It’s important to gather all medical records, bills, and repair estimates to accurately assess the severity of the injuries and damages. An experienced personal injury attorney can help evaluate these factors and provide guidance on the potential settlement amount you can expect.
Assessing Liability and Negligence.
When determining the settlement amount for an 18-wheeler truck accident in Texas, it is crucial to assess liability and negligence. This involves determining who is at fault for the accident and whether their actions were negligent. In Texas, the concept of proportionate responsibility is used, which means that each party involved in the accident can be assigned a percentage of fault. This percentage will then affect the settlement amount. For example, if the victim is found to be partially at fault for the accident, their settlement amount may be reduced. On the other hand, if the truck driver or trucking company is found to be negligent, the settlement amount may be higher. It is important to gather evidence such as witness statements, police reports, and any available surveillance footage to support your claim of negligence. An experienced personal injury attorney can help navigate these complexities and ensure that liability and negligence are properly assessed in your case.
Considering Insurance Coverage and Policy Limits.
Another important factor to consider when determining the settlement amount for an 18-wheeler truck accident in Texas is the insurance coverage and policy limits of the parties involved. In Texas, commercial trucking companies are required to carry a minimum amount of liability insurance. This insurance coverage can vary depending on the size and weight of the truck. If the truck driver or trucking company has sufficient insurance coverage, it may increase the potential settlement amount. However, if the insurance coverage is limited, it may impact the overall settlement. It is important to work with an experienced personal injury attorney who can assess the insurance coverage and policy limits of all parties involved and negotiate for a fair settlement based on these factors.
Seeking Legal Representation for Maximum Compensation.
Several factors can impact an 18-wheeler (tractor-trailer) accident case, influencing liability, compensation, and legal proceedings. Some of these factors include:
- Negligence: Determining which party (driver, trucking company, other drivers, etc.) was negligent or at fault for the accident is a central factor. Evidence such as eyewitness accounts, traffic camera footage, and expert analysis may be crucial.
- Driver Fatigue: Fatigue is a common issue in truck accidents. Hours-of-service regulations dictate how long a commercial driver can operate a vehicle without taking mandatory rest breaks. Violations of these regulations could be a factor in the case.
- Driver Training and Qualifications: The driver’s training, qualifications, and adherence to traffic laws can impact the case. Inadequate training or improper licensing could point to negligence.
- Vehicle Maintenance: Poorly maintained trucks can contribute to accidents. Regular maintenance records and inspection reports can provide insight into whether maintenance-related issues played a role.
- Load Securing: Improperly secured cargo can lead to accidents. If the cargo was not properly loaded and secured, it could be a factor in the case.
- Weather and Road Conditions: Adverse weather and road conditions, such as rain, snow, ice, or poor visibility, can contribute to accidents. These factors may influence liability and responsibility.
- Speeding and Reckless Driving: Speeding, aggressive driving, tailgating, and other reckless behaviors can increase the likelihood of accidents and impact liability.
- Distracted Driving: Distractions, such as texting, talking on the phone, or using in-cab technology, can divert a driver’s attention from the road and contribute to accidents.
- Intoxication or Substance Abuse: Alcohol or drug impairment by either the truck driver or other involved parties can significantly impact liability.
- Company Policies and Culture: The trucking company’s policies, safety culture, and enforcement of regulations can play a role in the accident. For example, if a company encourages drivers to exceed legal driving hours, it could be liable.
- Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs): ELDs track a driver’s hours of service and can provide evidence of compliance or violations with hours-of-service regulations.
- Black Box Data: Commercial vehicles often have event data recorders (similar to “black boxes” in airplanes) that capture data such as speed, braking, and other factors leading up to an accident.
- Witness Statements: Eyewitness accounts of the accident can provide valuable insights into what happened and who was at fault.
- Injuries and Damages: The extent of injuries to all parties involved and the resulting damages will influence the compensation sought in the case.
- Insurance Coverage: The insurance policies of the involved parties can affect the compensation available for medical expenses, property damage, and other losses.
Navigating an 18-wheeler accident case can be complex, involving legal, regulatory, and investigative aspects. If you or someone you know is involved in such an accident, it’s essential to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who specializes in truck accidents to ensure your rights are protected and you receive the appropriate compensation.
If you have been involved in an 18-wheeler truck accident in Texas, it is crucial to seek legal representation to ensure you receive maximum compensation for your injuries and damages. Dealing with insurance companies and navigating the legal process can be complex and overwhelming, especially when it comes to determining the settlement amount. An experienced personal injury attorney will have the knowledge and expertise to assess the insurance coverage and policy limits of all parties involved and negotiate on your behalf. They will fight for your rights and work tirelessly to secure a fair settlement that takes into account the extent of your injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. Don’t settle for less than you deserve – consult with a skilled attorney who will advocate for your best interests.