Truck accidents are among the most severe road accidents. Due to their huge sizes, trucks cause serious personal injuries and property damage. Additionally, truck drivers could have been the direct cause of the accidents, meaning they could be found liable. However, California operates under comparative negligence law. You are entitled to file for rightful compensation through this justice system despite being the accident’s primary cause.
Subsequently, an affected truck driver should have an avenue to request rightful compensation after the collision. By receiving the court-ordered damages, he/she can cater to the pending bills, damages and other inconveniences caused.
While you are encouraged to pursue legal action and recover your losses, the process can be challenging. This is the case especially if you do not have a lawyer helping you with the case. You want to contact an experienced personal injury attorney to help you navigate the litigation process.
An accident attorney’s services are crucial, primarily because you may be the at-fault driver seeking an equal chance of receiving compensation. Hence, you will need to prepare adequately for the types of arguments you use in court. Moreover, your attorney will advise you on whether settling out of court is a valid option in your case.
How to Determine Compensation After a Truck Accident
After being involved in a truck accident, you could chase compensation for different losses, provided you have sufficient proof. Under compensatory civil suits, you can seek damages for both economic and non-economic losses. The allowance for both claims is to ensure that you receive an equitable reparation for the harm caused to you and have an opportunity to rebuild your life.
Therefore, you want to understand how to categorize your claims and how the court determines the compensation amounts. By learning the different approaches, you will prepare yourself with adequate proof to back your claims.
Determining Compensation Claims for Economic Losses
Economic losses include any quantifiable damages suffered from the truck accident. Thus, the court expects a claimant to present specific claims and reasonable monetary estimates for the judge to determine the appropriate amount to provide as compensation. Since economic losses involve directly quantifiable claims, they include damages for:
A truck accident causes severe damage and injuries due to the extreme force experienced during the impact. After an accident, truck drivers suffer damages, including severe personal injuries like broken bones, skull fractures, and excessive bleeding. Further, these injuries may cause subsequent complications that lead to expensive medical bills.
Hence, you need to calculate the total amounts to include in your claim when seeking compensation. The judge will require you to provide accurate figures and back the claims with original receipts from the medical procedure costs. As long as you receive treatment for injuries related to the truck accident, the medical bills can constitute your claims. The medical expenses include money spent on medication, hospital imaging, in-patient treatment, and blood tests, among others.
Since the amount you demand under medical expenses may be high, you also want to provide sufficient evidence for the demands. Thus, your attorney will advise you to provide all your medical bills and receipt, preferably in their original form. Doubtless, presenting original documents is more beneficial than providing copies because they boost credibility. Your lawyer will also help sum up the exact monetary figures you will raise, including deductions covered by your medical insurance.
Upon consolidating the required documents, you will present the final sum that you seek as compensation for medical expenses. When the judge verifies all sources of proof’s validity, you are more likely to receive monetary compensation.
Loss of Wages
A truck driver also risks losing his/her job after a severe truck accident. The main cause of a job loss arises from the injuries that limit your ability to provide services like before. For example, if your career was established in the sports industry, a serious truck accident may cause irreversible injuries.
Consequently, you may not have a chance to return to your career life at all. In the best-case scenario, you could resort to minimal engagement in your career or wait until you have fully recovered to go back to work.
Based on the significant life changes, you are entitled to receive compensation for the loss of wages, primarily because it was unforeseen. Therefore, your attorney can help you prepare a detailed financial report that includes your income before the accident.
When your lawyer presents the documentary evidence to show the estimated losses you incurred by losing out on wages, the judge can quantify an appropriate compensation. You may also include any other lost work benefits that you were entitled to before the accident.
For example, your previous employer may have provided medical covers and pension schemes for employees. Consequently, having to leave the workplace after the accident is a valid reason for including your claim’s benefits.
In adverse cases, truck drivers may succumb to their injuries after the truck accident, leading to additional funeral costs. If you are a survivor of the accident victim, the law allows you to claim compensation for the losses, provided you can prove all the expenses involved in the deceased’s send-off.
Typically, you will need to indicate all the costs involved before the deceased died. For example, if the victim was hospitalized for some time before dying, he/she will remain in the hospital morgue until the family is ready for the funeral. Subsequently, your family may incur some costs on the morgue services that should be included in your demand submissions.
Moreover, you can indicate the costs spent buying the coffin, renting services for the funeral, and transportation costs to the graveyard. While some claims may appear nominal, we recommend including them if you have any proof to support your claims. When in court, the judge will assess the presented receipts or invoices from the funeral services to guide him/her in the final decision.
Costs for Additional Services and Repairs
Apart from personal injuries and loss of wages, you may also have to spend more money on repairing damages from the truck accident. Commonly, your vehicle may require substantial repair and replacement of different car parts.
Moreover, some personal injuries may compel you to seek additional home care support through a professional caregiver. As a result, your household bills may increase substantially, leading to the need for compensation. The judge will require receipts and invoices for all these additional services that you obtain.
Sometimes, he/she may also assess whether they were necessary to acquire, to ensure that the compensation you receive is fairly awarded.
Determining Compensation Claims for Non-Economic Losses
On the other hand, non-economic losses are not directly quantifiable. Despite this, they are still valid claims to present in court when seeking compensation for the truck accident. Most non-economic losses are based on the deterioration in the victim’s quality of life, leading to reparations.
Since it is more challenging to prove your basis for non-economic losses, your attorney must articulate your claims clearly, and provide sufficient proof where necessary. Some of the demands for the court to determine are:
Loss of Consortium
After losing a loved one in a fatal truck accident, your life may change from the lack of various benefits you received before. Therefore, a claim for the loss of consortium revolves around the advantages you had when the deceased was alive, making life easier.
Common grounds for the claim would include the loss of affection, conjugal rights, and companionship if the deceased was your spouse. On top of this, your children may lose parental love and care from death, making life more difficult.
The judge will use valid common law principles coupled with judicial precedent and evidential analysis to estimate a reasonable compensatory amount. Due to this, your lawyer should prepare persuasive arguments that present your position and justify the amount you seek.
Pain and Suffering
Compensation for pain and suffering is also commonly awarded because the truck accident victim will have suffered numerous ordeals. The judge may analyze your claim by dividing it into emotional and physical pain.
Under emotional suffering, the judge expects to receive evidence on the mental distress you have suffered since the incident. For example, if you are dealing witH PTSD, anxiety, worry, or distress, you can elaborate on the events and seek compensation.
Physical attributes include the discomfort or pain you consistently experience from your injuries, reducing life quality. If your injuries are recurrent or take long to heal, the judge may increase your compensatory value to cater to the difficult state of life. Similarly, suffering from irreversible conditions like paralysis, amputation, or extreme burn scars can influence the judge’s decision to meet your requests.
Commonly, the judge calculates the compensatory amount by assigning a specific monetary value to the challenges you face. The guidelines for the selected value come from applicable policies and past decided cases. Afterward, the judge will increase or decrease the value depending on the severity and duration you have experienced the pain and suffering.
Factors to Consider when Seeking Compensation
From practice, the judge does not arbitrarily side with the claimant and issue the requested compensatory amount. He/she will go through the different factors that make you an eligible candidate to receive compensation. He/she will also divide the claims into economic and non-economic compensation. These considered factors include:
The Severity, Duration, and Nature of Injuries Sustained
Doubtless, more severe injuries will require you to seek additional medical care. This may be the case when your pain and discomfort symptoms are recurrent, leading to the need for physiotherapy. Since the extended course of treatment is costly, the judge will consider increasing your compensatory amount to cater to your needs adequately.
The nature of your injuries may also require you to use additional devices or machines for support. Common cases result in the need to purchase a wheelchair for the victim to help in mobility. Alternatively, you may require an oxygen machine to support injured lungs during recovery.
Based on these subsequent needs, the judge may consider your requested amount more seriously and become inclined to rule in your favor. Nevertheless, your lawyer must also show initiative and provide the sources of proof required for a valid claim.
Liability of Involved Parties
Based on the negligence claim presented by aggrieved parties, you may have several defendants in your suit. The defendant may be partially or fully liable for causing the accident, depending on the case circumstances. The possible defendants in your case include:
- The truck manufacturing company
- The truck insurance company
- Other motorists on the road
- The company in charge of truck maintenance
- Road maintenance authorities
When seeking compensation, you should consider the role that each party played in the accident. Was the truck manufacturing process substandard? You may also need to determine whether the other driver involved in the accident had violated traffic regulations, making the incident inevitable.
Your attorney will also advise you to consider the liable party’s financial capacity before seeking compensation. Sometimes, the defendant may be unable to source the total amount you seek, meaning that you may find it difficult to recover. Nevertheless, the court works out a repayment plan to help you achieve the rightful compensation.
The Occupation of the Injured Party
Thirdly, your lawyer can include the loss of wages and future earning capacity as a claim from the truck accident. For example, you may have lost your job as a truck driver because your employer believed that you were solely liable for the accident. Since you will have faced an unfair dismissal, you can seek compensation for the loss of wages and earning capacity.
The loss of earning capacity may also occur because of permanent injuries that limit your mobility. For example, if you suffer from life-altering injuries that limit your ability to work, you are entitled to monetary compensation. During court deliberations, the judge will consider your future earning capacity and estimate the time you could have spent in your career before retiring. He/she may also consider your likelihood of receiving a promotion if you continued working.
By factoring in these different projections, you can use your past salary and apply it to the projections to compute a specific figure in your claim. Afterward, the defendant will provide adequate compensation to cater to your financial needs until you find an alternative way of surviving.
The Quality of Evidence Presented in Court
Most court decisions will directly depend on the nature of the evidence provided and whether the judge was persuaded to decide in your favor. Due to this, you should work closely with your attorney and provide the necessary documentary evidence, including the medical report, receipts, prescription notes, among others. As mentioned, presenting evidence in its original form, if possible, is the best option. Doing this will promote your credibility and persuasiveness in the matter.
If you plan on calling witnesses to testify, your attorney should give them sufficient advice and directives before their court appearances. However, grooming the witnesses is malpractice, especially when they are trained to provide specific details. You want them to provide evidence authentically for your benefit. By upholding high standards when gathering evidence, you will have better chances of succeeding during the trial.
The Age and Medical History of the Injured Party
Lastly, the judge will consider the victim’s medical history and age before awarding damages for the truck accident. Factoring in these elements is crucial, as they reduce the possibility of imposing unfair directives on the defendant.
For example, if you had pre-existing medical conditions that resurfaced or worsened from the truck accident, the defendant may not be liable for the additional medical costs involving the past condition. This is the case, especially when you failed to disclose the condition’s existence in your compensation claim. Nevertheless, since the defendant will have played a role in the accident, he/she will still be liable to pay part of the compensation based on the judge’s discretion.
Similarly, the injured party’s age plays an important role in reaching the final determination. For example, if the victim was a young person with a promising future, the defendant may have to pay a higher compensatory amount than older claimants. The rationale behind this is because a younger person has numerous possibilities in their academic and career lives.
Consequently, if the young victim suffered a severe injury that now limits their ability to pursue his/her career goals, the judge may rely on projected prospects. The court may also appoint a financial expert to estimate the young person’s average income if the accident did not occur. Finally, he/she will receive the most suitable amount in compensation to cater for all the future needs.
Contact a Truck Accident Injury Attorney Near Me
After sustaining an injury in a truck accident, you could deal with numerous setbacks in your life and health. Additionally, depending on the severity of the accident, you may lose your income source, hence; becoming dependent on alternative means of support. Subsequently, seeking monetary compensation for involvement in a truck accident is important as it helps you rebuild your life.
You should also note that you can claim an award of damages even if you were the at-fault truck driver. Your attorney can help you present evidence and sufficient details that make you eligible for compensation. It is recommended to work with a highly-qualified personal injury lawyer in your case.
At the Truck Accident Injury Attorney Law Firm, we dedicate our services to truck drivers involved in collisions. Our team has helped multiple drivers who directly or indirectly caused accidents by presenting their legal positions in court. With our help, you can expect to have increased chances of success in receiving rightful compensation. If you or a loved one requires the services of a personal injury attorney in California, call us today at 619-754-7667.