26th January 2021
Contact a personal injury attorney if you’re injured in a Truck Accident in Bismarck, Minot, Williston, Watford City, or elsewhere in North Dakota.
Commercial truck accidents are expensive, causing victims to rack up thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars in both economic and non-economic damages. After your accident, you may be concerned about the amount of compensation you’ll receive from either a settlement or a trial win. These numbers vary depending on a variety of different factors. But an experienced truck accident attorney can help estimate the value of your injury claim.
What Damages can I be Compensated for in a Truck Accident?
Economic damages refer to losses that are attached to a monetary value. These losses are well documented with receipts and bills and can be easily handed over to your attorney or insurance adjuster. Economic damages include:
- medical costs
- ambulance rides
- hospital stays
- emergency room trips
- visits with your general or special doctors
- physical therapy
- intensive at-home care
- surgery costs
- lost wages
Lost wages are the wages that you would have earned if you hadn’t been involved in an accident. Any wages that you lost while you were out of work either receiving treatment or recovering from your injuries.
Non-economic damages aren’t as cut and dry as economic damages. As such, they don’t have a monetary value associated with them. Examples of non-economic damages include:
- pain and suffering
- loss of consortium
- loss of earning capacity
- compensation for permanent disability or disfigurement
Pain and suffering is calculated by taking a look at how the accident, and the injuries you received because of it, have affected your everyday life. The more your quality of life has changed because of the accident, the more compensation that you’ll receive for pain and suffering damages.
Loss of consortium occurs when you lose a partner or spouse because of the stress surrounding the accident and your injuries. If injuries affect your ability to maintain your relationship, you could receive loss-of-consortium compensation.
If your injury will prevent you from returning to work, you can receive loss of earning capacity compensation. For example, if you work in construction and the accident left you paralyzed, you’re not going to be able to return to that field. You would therefore experience a loss in your earning capacity.
If you were left permanently disabled or disfigured by the accident you may also be entitled to further compensation, as these can present lifelong struggles like longtime care and effects on one’s mental health.
Punitive damages are a rare type of damage that isn’t awarded in most cases. This type of damages is awarded to the victim as a punishment to the at-fault party. They’re used to defer the at-fault party or other similar parties from committing the same act again. They’re often awarded if gross negligence is involved, like drinking and driving or aggressive driving. They may also be awarded if the trucking company is at fault, to make sure the trucking company doesn’t repeat their mistakes.
What Factors Affect my Compensation?
Severity of Injuries
The severity of your injuries is one of the biggest factors in calculating how much compensation you can receive. As a result, the severity of your injuries affects your total damages. More severe injuries lead to higher medical bills and a greater change to one’s quality of life. This results in higher pain and suffering compensation. Of course, if a truck collision leads to fatal injuries, you can file a claim for wrongful death compensation
Additionally, if your injuries are visibly severe (like multiple broken bones, a spinal cord injury, or facial deformity), the insurance adjuster is likely to offer you a higher settlement than if your injuries aren’t visible. In a trial, visible injuries garner sympathy from the jury and can get you more compensation. Insurance adjusters know this and will offer more money for visible injuries. However, a talented attorney will be able to argue that your internal/invisible injuries (such as a traumatic brain injury or organ damage) are just as severe as visible ones.
Your total damages ties in with the severity of your injuries, as more severe injuries, result in higher damages. The more your total damages amount to, the more compensation that you’ll receive. Other factors, like losing the ability to work, losing a partner, or becoming disfigured by your accident will also bump up your total damages, resulting in higher compensation.
Liability plays a huge factor in the amount of compensation that you receive. Based on who you sue (the driver, the trucking company, the manufacturers, or the loading company), different levels of insurance are held by these parties. If someone has poor insurance, you can only reclaim damages up to the amount of insurance they have to offer. However, a trucking company, for example, would have much better insurance coverage than an individual driver.
Was there Gross Negligence Involved?
Gross negligence refers to anything that is more intentional than just regular negligence. The at-fault party performed something that they knew was dangerous, but they did it anyway. This could mean fraudulent logbooks and pushing drivers to work past the legally allowed limits or not properly maintaining their trucks. If gross negligence is involved, you may be awarded punitive damages to punish the at-fault party further.
Should I Accept a Settlement Offer?
Deciding whether or not to accept your settlement offer can be a big decision. Your attorney can offer you some guidance in this field. However, the decision is ultimately one that you need to make for yourself. Whether or not you accept depends on a few different factors. This includes your likelihood of winning your case if it were to go to trial based on past cases.
Your case has two values, its trial value and its settlement value. Firstly, the trial value is the combined amount of your damages, the maximum amount that you would receive if you were to win your case. Finally, the settlement value is affected by the chance you have at winning your case in trial. For example, if your trial value was $300,000 and you had a 50% chance of winning at trial your settlement value would be 50% of your trial value at $150,000.
Therefore, if you have a low chance of winning your case, it may be a better idea to accept a settlement offer. If you have a high chance of winning, you may want to push your case to trial to receive even more compensation.
Contact a North Dakota Truck Accident Attorney
If you or someone you love has been injured in a truck accident, our talented team of attorneys here at Sand Law are ready to help you get the compensation that you deserve. We will dedicate ourselves to your case and help you receive the best settlement offer possible. For more information or a free case evaluation please contact us online using our chat box option or by calling us at 701-609-1510.