Truck accidents can cause devastating injuries, especially to motorists in smaller, lighter passenger vehicles.
Helpfully, Washington State law allows victims to seek compensation in a settlement, which should cover the victim’s economic and non-economic losses.
As leading Yakima truck accident lawyers, we routinely field calls from the public. One common question is how much a person could receive in a settlement after getting hit by a semi truck.
The answer, unfortunately, is “it depends.” There is no precise formula that will yield an exact answer, though there are several factors you should consider to come up with a rough estimate.
If you were rear ended by a semi truck, settlement negotiations could be confusing. You should hire an experienced Yakima personal injury attorney to help.
How Much Are Your Medical Bills?
Injured motorists can typically receive 100% of their medical bills in a settlement.
For example, you might have incurred charges for:
- Transportation to the hospital
- Doctor’s visits
- Hospital overnight stays
- Prescription and over-the-counter drugs
- Assistive devices like crutches
- Physical therapy
- Mental health counseling
Please hold on to all bills and receipts, since your attorney can use them to calculate the amount you should seek in a settlement.
If your injuries are particularly bad, you can receive compensation for future medical care. For example, someone with a permanent brain injury might need help at home until they die.
Did You Miss Work?
Victims in a truck accident can also seek compensation for lost wages. If your injuries keep you from returning to work for 12 weeks, you can receive compensation for those 12 weeks. It doesn’t matter if you ended up using personal or sick time at work while you were out. You can still receive compensation from the defendant equal to your lost wages.
If you are self-employed, you can also receive compensation for contracts you had to cancel or other lost work opportunities. You need to establish with sufficient certainty that you actually would have lost work.
As with future medical care, you can qualify or lost future earnings capacity if your injuries are catastrophic or long lasting.
How Damaged is Your Car?
Truck accident victims can also receive money to fix or replace their damaged vehicle, as well as any other property that was destroyed or damaged. You should get repair estimates or proof of how much a replacement vehicle would cost.
As an aside, remember not to have your vehicle fixed immediately after a crash. It could contain important information about how the crash unfolded. You should hold off on repairs at least until you have an attorney who can check over your vehicle and determine whether it contains important clues.
How Badly Were You injured?
In a Washington State personal injury lawsuit, victims can also receive a sum of money to compensate for:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Some people are skeptical that accident victims should receive money for these losses, but they are very real. For example, being unable to go for walks with your spouse or being unable to participate in your favorite hobbies will dramatically reduce your quality of life. True, money can’t make up for these losses, but giving you money is the best substitute available.
Juries rely on their common sense to determine how much to award truck accident victims in non-economic losses. The amounts can differ wildly, depending on the jury. However, as seasoned truck accident lawyers in Yakima, we can rely on our experience to estimate how much you are likely to get in a settlement.
How Strong is Your Evidence?
If a trucking company refuses to settle, they can take the case to a jury. But a defendant’s success will depend on the strength of the evidence. If the evidence is very strong that the truck driver is fully to blame, then you can often receive more compensation. By contrast, if the evidence is weak that the truck driver is to blame, then the defendant might offer less money.
Settling carries a risk—that you will agree for less than you could get from a jury. But a settlement also offers protection—you are guaranteed some amount of money without having to risk going to trial. This analysis depends heavily on the strength of your evidence.
Did You Contribute to Your Injuries?
We also need to consider our client’s own negligence. Washington State law recognizes that sometimes there are no “innocent” victims. Instead, both drivers might have contributed to the crash.
For example, you might have hit the brakes suddenly, causing the truck behind you to collide with your trunk. Or you might have tried to make a left-hand turn right in front of a truck, causing it to clip your rear. If so, so your actions have contributed to the accident.
Under Washington State law, you can sue so long as the defendant is at least 1% responsible for the crash. As a result, however, your settlement amount will be reduced by your percentage of fault.
Consider this example: you are looking at around $50,000 in damages but were 20% responsible for your injuries. In this case, you might only receive $40,000 in a truck accident settlement. If you were 50% responsible for the accident, then you could only receive $25,000. And if you were 80% responsible, then you might only get $10,000.
Discuss Your Truck Accident with a Yakima Truck Accident Lawyer
After a truck accident, you need immediate legal help. The truck company will probably send out an investigator to the crash scene within hours of the accident, so you need someone by your side who is looking out for your interests.
At Kapuza Lighty, PLLC, our truck accident lawyers in Yakima have helped many injured motorists receive compensation after a crash has left them injured and in pain. We know how to negotiate with insurance companies and don’t fall for their tricks.
Unfortunately, too many motorists try to handle their own claims, resulting in less compensation, longer wait times, and frustration. To make the process go as smoothly as possible, reach out to us today for a free consultation.