What is the Average Settlement for an 18-Wheeler Accident?
Many people often ask, “What is the average settlement for an 18-wheeler accident?” especially when commercial trucks are common on Wisconsin highways. As a truck accident victim, you naturally wonder how much your injury claim should be worth. It is challenging to pinpoint an average settlement for a truck accident because each case is so different. One victim might recover compensation for broken ribs that heal with a few weeks of treatment, while another might have lifelong paralysis from a catastrophic spinal injury that never heals.
Instead of worrying about an “average settlement,” you should speak to a Milwaukee truck accident lawyer from Mingo & Yankala, S.C., for an assessment. Our skilled legal team can review your injuries and losses and give you an estimate of how much we think you might pursue for your losses.
Liability for Your 18-Wheeler Accident
Before you even worry about the amount of compensation, you must prove liability for your truck crash. Driver error is the most common cause of collisions, but other parties might also share liability for a truck accident.
Examples of negligent truck driver behavior include:
- Fatigued driving
- Failing to maintain the truck
- Unsecured trailer
- Loose cargo
- Distractions or lack of complete concentration on the road
- Traffic fines
In addition to driver negligence, trucking companies can also share liability for their drivers’ actions. Companies can also engage in negligent hiring, retention, supervision, or truck maintenance. It is common for multiple parties to be involved in your truck accident claim.
When multiple parties are involved, it can lead to various insurance claims. You should have the assistance of a Milwaukee truck accident attorney to handle the claims process. This is particularly important when you’re trying to find out what is the average settlement for an 18-wheeler accident, as multiple parties can complicate the settlement amount.
Wisconsin Law on Truck Accident Claims
Wisconsin follows a fault-based system for vehicle accidents and auto insurance.
In Wisconsin, drivers are typically required to have insurance with what are often minimum coverage amounts, like $10,000 for property damages and $25,000 and $50,000 for injury and death. It’s usually up to the injury victims to demonstrate that the other party may be responsible for the collision, which could mean that their insurer might be obligated to cover the losses.
There are also federal regulations for commercial truck insurance under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Some minimum policy limits for trucking companies include:
- $300,000 for 10,000 pounds carrying non-hazardous cargo
- $750,000 for over 10,000 pounds with non-hazardous cargo
- $1 million for private oil tankers
- $5 million for private carriers with hazardous cargo
Because of these minimum requirements, trucking companies will have higher coverage than individual drivers. It is essential to identify when the trucking company shares liability so you can access higher insurance policy limits.
When the average person looks at the above trucking policy limits, they assume it will be enough to cover their losses. However, a severe injury may prove that even these higher are insufficient to cover your medical expenses, lost wages, and loss of future earning potential. You need to make sure you file claims against all possible parties to ensure full coverage of your losses. This can include the driver, trucking company, cargo-loading companies, maintenance and repair companies, truck manufacturers, and more.
You likely have no idea where to start when identifying all liable parties, but the good news is that you do not need to worry about it. Your truck accident attorney will have the experience and resources to track down all liable parties and maximize your compensation.
In some cases, the insurer might claim you were partially responsible for the crash, which will reduce your compensation under Wisconsin contributory negligence laws. The insurer can try to use these laws to its advantage, often wrongfully. Never accept their accusations of blame, as our attorneys can challenge them and show you were not to blame. Even if you did somehow partially contribute to the accident, you still have the right to recover some compensation under the law, even if it is a reduced amount.
Our attorneys understand Wisconsin laws as they apply to your truck accident claim. This is only part of the value we provide to the claim process.
Fighting for Full Compensation
Knowing the compensation you deserve is only the first step of the process, as insurance companies might offer much less than you demand. Insurance companies often aim to minimize their payouts, but you have the right to negotiate and pursue the full compensation you deserve.
- Consult with an attorney: Hiring a truck accident attorney with experience dealing with insurance companies can significantly increase your chances of obtaining a full settlement. Experienced attorneys understand the tactics insurers use and can negotiate on your behalf.
- Gather strong evidence: Building a solid case requires collecting extensive evidence. This includes medical records, bills, photographs, accident reports, witness statements, and any other documentation related to your injuries and the accident. This evidence establishes the extent of your injuries and their impact on your life.
- Negotiate effectively: Insurance companies often offer low initial settlement offers to test your willingness to fight for your rights. Your attorney will negotiate aggressively to ensure you receive the maximum possible compensation.
It is important to always stay patient and persistent, as obtaining a full injury settlement can be a lengthy process.
Remember that insurance companies have a vested interest in minimizing payouts, but you have the right to fight for a full injury settlement. Working with an experienced attorney who can navigate the complexities of the claims process and advocate on your behalf is often the most effective way to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries and losses.
How 18-Wheeler Accident Settlements Are Determined
You might be wondering how settlement amounts are determined, and there are many factors to consider. While settlements can vary widely, they are usually higher in many truck accident cases vs. car accident claims due to the severity of injuries victims regularly suffer from semi-truck collisions.
Some factors we consider include:
- Whether your injuries are permanent or disabling
- How your injuries affect your current and future professional and personal lives
- The extent of medical equipment, assistance, and accommodations you need
- Whether the truck driver engaged in highly egregious or intentional recklessness
We examine these factors along with your medical bills, treatment plans, lost income statements, pain journals, and other documents. We consider all possible losses when calculating your settlement demand, including but not limited to:
- Medical expenses: Your settlement should consider all the costs of treating your injuries from a collision. For example, if you suffer an injury that requires surgery, all surgical and post-op costs should be included. Other expenses, like emergency treatment, follow-up appointments, occupational therapy, etc., must also be considered. Estimated future treatments for a permanent injury should also be part of your settlement.
- Lost wages: You may have to take time off for treatment and healing. A lasting injury can lead to missing work for an extended time or even permanently. Sometimes, your injuries may result in the inability to work again or at a lower-paying position. You might need to rely on disability benefits instead of your earnings. All of these factors are crucial to calculating your compensation claim.
- Property damage: Any damage to your vehicle or other property from the accident may be included in your claim. Regardless of how minor the damage is, the at-fault party should pay for these losses. Many times, people may need to purchase a new vehicle entirely.
- Pain and suffering: Survivors of 18-wheeler accidents may experience lingering physical pain and psychological harm like anxiety, depression, suicidal ideations, and PTSD. You can seek compensation for these intangible losses in addition to financial costs.
Discuss every loss you suffer with your Milwaukee truck accident lawyer. We also know how to ask the right questions to discover any losses you might never consider.
Common Injuries From An 18-Wheeler Accident
Seeking and recovering total compensation is very important because it is common for 18-wheeler accidents to cause severe injuries and a lifetime of losses you need to cover. Some of the most common injuries truck accident victims suffer include:
- Neck injuries
- Broken bones
- Back injuries
- Head injuries
- Spinal cord trauma
- Shoulder injuries
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Internal injuries
Often, injuries are more serious due to the size difference of the vehicles, and this can lead to substantial medical treatment for victims. Dealing with injuries can be difficult, and the claim process can seem overwhelming. While our experienced Milwaukee truck accident lawyer focuses on the legal elements of your situation, you can focus on healing.
Call an Experienced Milwaukee Truck Accident Lawyer
The value of your truck accident claim will depend on several factors, including injury severity, medical expenses, and much more. The best way to determine how much you may qualify for is to speak to an experienced Milwaukee truck accident attorney. If you’re wondering what is the average settlement for an 18-wheeler accident, you can schedule an initial consultation with Mingo & Yankala, S.C. by calling our office or using our contact form.