A truck accident can impact your life forever. One minute you’re driving or walking to work, and the next, you’re coping with psychological problems, physical injuries, and financial losses due to a crash. If you’ve been injured in a truck collision, it’s critical to know the types of compensation you can receive. You may want to only claim damages for the money you spent on medical treatment or reimbursement for your damaged property. However, California law gives you a chance to claim much more.
Understanding what damages you can recover could help you fight for the compensation you deserve or enable you to realize that your case needs to proceed to trial for a better verdict. If you are involved in a California truck accident, contact the Truck Accident Injury Attorney Law Firm as soon as possible. We can help you to recover the damages you deserve successfully.
Types of Compensation Available in Truck Accidents
As we mentioned earlier, the injuries and damages you suffer in a truck accident, whether minor or severe, may last a lifetime. One may be subject to significant and lifelong expenses for rehabilitation, medical treatment, and ongoing assistance and care. Additionally, most people who sustain injuries in these types of crashes cannot do the duties and jobs they used to do before or work in any other capacity. They may suffer from disfigurement, cognitive problems, or chronic pain.
The compensation you seek in a truck accident injury claim depends on the type and severity of the injuries you have sustained. It may include financial recovery for:
The main form of damages you can recover are compensatory, which are awarded if the driver or any other party is to blame for the crash. Compensatory damages reimburse for financial, emotional, and physical suffering and are further classified into two. That is:
Economic Compensatory Damages
Economic damages compensate for specific financial losses you incur because of the crash. Based on the factors of the case, the compensation you could receive under this category include:
Damages for medical costs are meant to compensate you for the amount you spent on treating your injuries. They are among the most costly components in a truck accident personal injury claim, or lawsuit. You could essentially seek compensation for any form of medical-related expenses that you’ve endured because of the truck accident-related injuries.
Therefore, this may be costly if your health problems are long-term and need continuous treatment. For this reason, you must be thorough when documenting injuries to build your lawsuit so that it’s easier to calculate the compensation amount and not forget any damages. Typical medical costs that you could claim in an injury suit include:
Doctor Visits: Severe injuries may need several years or months of follow-up treatment and care. For particular injuries, care might involve several specialists. An attorney may help you link with these professionals and, at the same time, help you recover compensation for these expenses. Covered care could include:
- Chiropractic adjustments
- Follow-up treatments
- Massage therapy
- Physical therapy
- Counseling for mental health
Prescription Medication: Prescription medications can be costly. But if you’ve sustained a severe injury, it might be a medical requirement. Studies have shown that prescription medicines account for about 10% of all medical bills. If your injuries require over one drug, the costs may add up more quickly. After a truck accident, commonly prescribed drugs are antibiotics, pain relievers, antidepressants, muscle relaxants, antibacterial creams & ointments, and pain relievers.
Medical Supplies: Once you have left the medical facility, medical supplies may help you cope with the situation. Your physician may recommend various supplies and, if necessary, send them home with you. However, they might fail to inform you that the products do not come free of charge. A wheelchair may cost up to thousands of dollars. On the other hand, hospital beds may cost around 10,000 or even more. These are expenses you shouldn’t have to pay on your own. An injury lawsuit may help you offset the costs of braces, crutches, TENS units, wheelchairs, bandages, hospital beds, vehicle lifts, etc.
Medical Transportation: On average, a ride in an ambulance can cost more than $1,000. In case you need transportation by air, your expenses will more likely shoot to tens of thousands of dollars. Medical transportation is costly and may quickly consume all your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. Should you require transport to & from doctor appointments after you’re released from the medical facility, that will be an added expense. You should include any amount you spend on transportation in your injury lawsuit.
Other medical-related expenses include bills for:
- Hospital bills
- Laboratory fees
- Rehabilitative therapy charges
- Family physician expenses
- Other physician charges
- Costs for pain management treatment
- Expenses for X-rays and scans
Also, note that you may claim damages for future medical bills in an injury suit. Any future medical charges you claim must be linked to the original truck accident injuries. For instance, suppose you hurt your spine in the crash. During the trial period, if you haven’t had surgery and plan on having it in the future, you can claim the surgery charges as future medical expenses.
When severe injuries leave you with disabilities, you might need to modify your residence before returning home. These aren’t typical or normal costs you would anticipate to incorporate into your home. Thus, an injury lawyer would fight for you to have the necessary items needed for modification to be included in your claim or lawsuit. Necessary renovations could include railings, stair-lifts, wheelchair ramps, or widened doorways.
Truck accident victims can’t go back to work on the same day of the collision. Instead, they’ve to take time off, usually unpaid sick days, to recover. If you depend on wages from your work to take care of your family, a truck collision could make it challenging for you to cover your bills.
Slight injuries can lead to a little amount of missed time at work, possibly costing you a significant amount of money in lost salary. A long-term injury will lead to even more loss. If this is the case, your personal injury case should include a claim for the lost earnings. California law permits a truck accident victim to seek compensation for lost income if the crash leads to missed days at work.
Also worth noting is that you can claim lost income even if you were an at-home provider. Here, when calculating the amount you should be rewarded, your lawyer would consider the amount a person would be paid to do all the work that your injuries prevent you from doing, including cooking, cleaning, and yard work.
If you’re incapable of going back to your work, you might qualify for future lost income. Apart from reimbursing for lost salary, a claim for lost wages also seeks to compensate for any promotions, raises, or job opportunities you possibly would’ve received were it not for the injuries. When determining the compensation amount for lost wages, the insurance adjuster considers the following:
- Your current income,
- The costs for hiring help services,
- Your transferable skills and experience.
- Your occupation
Loss of Future Earning Capacity
A truck-related collision may cause you to sustain a disability in that you will never be able to go back to working again. In other cases, you might be forced to change your job entirely or your position at work because you can’t handle your usual duties. In either of these cases, you could seek compensation for any future wages that you’ll lose because of your diminished or lost earning capacity.
Apart from the salary you would have received or the job you would’ve been able to do in the future, the claim for lost earning ability also seeks to compensate for the value of lost fringe benefits like:
- Unrealized contributions to investment growth & retirement accounts,
- Reasonably anticipated promotions, and
- Salary increases
For the jury to award you damages for lost earning capacity, it will consider factors such as:
- Your age
- Past earnings
- Level of impairment
- Your life expectancy
Costs for Property Damage or Repair
Property damage is a basic form of compensation in many truck accident cases. The heaviness and size of trucks may mean total damage to the smaller autos involved in truck accidents. If the crash totaled your car, bicycle, motorcycle, or made you incur expensive repair costs, you can claim these expenses when you bring your claim or lawsuit.
The same applies to any property destroyed in the crash while in your person, like your phone, clothes, helmet, or stuff you were transporting. Keep your receipts and bills for vehicle evaluations, repairs, and inspections. If you must replace your car, bicycle, or motorcycle entirely, the judge will always grant an amount that’s appropriate for the value of your lost property.
Attorney Fee and Court Charges
In particular cases, the judge may grant damages that compensate for your attorney’s fees and court costs. However, do not worry so much concerning the lawyer’s charges in truck crash claims. Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. This means you won’t pay your attorney in advance. Instead, they will be paid a portion of the compensation you recover, only if and when you win.
In essence, economic damages compensate for the money lost because of the collision. Correctly calculating these losses is usually a time-consuming and confusing process and needs a skilled personal injury lawyer to ensure you receive the maximum amount.
Non-Economic Compensatory Damages
Whereas economic damages compensate for tangible bills & expenses, non-economic damages are meant to allocate a quantifiable financial figure to the non-tangible suffering and loss you went through in the accident. Non-economic damages include:
Pain & Suffering
Pain & suffering is the primary type of general damages you can acquire through a truck accident personal injury claim/suit. These damages are variable. They compensate for the intangible harm you experience due to the crash, for example:
- Emotional suffering & distress,
- Mental anguish,
- Immediate physical pain,
- Chronic pain, or
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Several factors determine the financial value of pain & suffering damages. No two claims are similar. The same court can have entirely different findings on one victim’s life versus the other. The judge considers aspects such as:
- The extent to which the injuries have impacted your life,
- How severe the injuries are,
- Pain associated with the injuries, and
- The prognosis for recovery when calculating these damages
Another critical factor to consider is the amount of money for economic compensation. Usually, courts make general damage calculations depending on the amount of special compensation you’ve been awarded, often with a multiplier representing how severe the injuries are. It’s usually up to you and your lawyer to show the extent to which the injury has impacted you and how different your life would’ve been if the crash had never occurred.
Loss of Consortium/Companionship
Personal relationships are critical. When you have built your life and other people are part of it, they expect you to be there for them. But what will happen when a collision makes you unable to communicate with your children, spouse, or other loved ones? If emotional trauma or stress makes you disengage from your loved ones and render you incapable of supporting them, you can claim compensation for the lost consortium. These damages compensate for the loss of a relationship and emotional loss due to a severe injury.
Loss of Enjoyment of Life
We all do have activities we enjoy since they help us live our days and make us happy. However, a severe truck accident may render you incapable of doing them because of the scarring, disability, or disfigurement you have suffered. When this happens, you deserve just compensation. For example, if you used to be an enthusiastic runner before the collision, but now you can’t merely walk without feeling pain, it’s a significant loss for which you should seek damages.
Often, the extent to which pain can inhibit your capability of enjoying a task is not considered. An injury to the neck could make reading difficult and uninteresting. Similarly, back injuries may make jogging/running impossible. An injury lawyer may successfully help you substantiate your loss of enjoyment and demonstrate the impact it’s having on your wellbeing.
Compensation for Wrongful Death
Burying your loved one isn’t easy. After an unexpected loss, money is the last item on your mind. However, it quickly turns into a reality when you’re faced with mounting bills, funeral costs, and the unexpected fact that you don’t have a way to cover these expenses. Money shouldn’t be something you’ve to think about when you’re grieving your loved one’s loss.
By filing a wrongful death claim, you may recover the expenses associated with the death of your loved due to a truck accident. A wrongful death claim/lawsuit compensates for:
- Funeral costs
- Burial expenses
- Medical bills form the time of the accident to the victim’s demise.
- Loss of consortium/companionship
- The income the victim would’ve earned had they lived.
- Pain & suffering
In rare cases, you may be awarded punitive damages. These are not meant to compensate for anything. Instead, they are awarded to the plaintiff to punish the liable party for their behavior. That is, if they acted grossly negligently, intentionally, maliciously, or with deliberate disregard for human life, which led to the truck crash. They are also granted to discourage other people from acting similarly as the liable party.
For you to be awarded punitive damages, you mustprove by a preponderance of the evidence that the at-fault party acted willfully, grossly negligently, or with high disregard for human life. Most truck accidents involve negligence and not malicious or intentional behavior. Thus, a judge is unlikely to grant punitive damages in your accident injury lawsuit.
How You Can Recover Compensation
The only means to recover compensation from the liable party is by filing an injury claim or lawsuit. Under California law, truck accident victims have only two years from when the accident occurred to bring a lawsuit against the at-fault party/parties. Once these two years pass, you generally can’t be reimbursed if you haven’t filed a suit. That’s why it’s critical to speak with a personal injury attorney experienced in truck accident matters as soon as possible.
A truck crash lawyer may help you gather proof and negotiate with the at-fault party’s insurance provider. If the trucking company, truck manufacturer, or Maintenance Company contributed to the collision, your lawyer could bring a lawsuit against them too. And if the liable party’s insurance provider is reluctant to award a fair settlement, your lawyer will take your case to court.
What Amount Will You Recover?
Every question an accident victim asks is how much they will be compensated after filing a claim or lawsuit. An injured person wants to know the amount of money they can anticipate to receive, so they shouldn’t have to be concerned about whether they can cover their bills or not.
Unfortunately, there’s no simple method to calculate the amount of money a particular claim/lawsuit is worth. You have possibly been told the insurance adjuster will multiply your actual damages by a given percentage. Whereas this may be the case to some extent, this approach does not consider minor elements.
Your lawyer’s work is to prove the extent to which the crash has altered your well-being and include all those factors that seem insignificant. An insurance adjuster or judge will look at your claim conservatively. They’ll consider factors such as:
- The extent of your damage or injuries: The adjuster will look at the level of pain the injuries have caused you. They will also look at whether your injury is permanent or temporary and how much the treatment cost. For instance, factually speaking, the damages for a spinal cord injury will be much more than that of a whiplash.
- The factors surrounding the collision: For instance, was the truck driver intoxicated with drugs or alcohol? Was he/she on the road beyond the stipulated hours of service or speeding? In case the driver’s conduct was so gross that the judge feels it is necessary to punish them, you could be granted punitive damages.
- Parties involved: Here, the adjuster will consider how many cars, motorcycles, bicycles, or pedestrians were involved. He/she will also look at whether or not the trucking company was negligent and whether a faulty part contributed to the collision. Often, truck accidents involve more than one liable party, all with different degrees of guilt.
- The available proof: For you, an injury claim is a means to cover the expenses your injuries put you through and return to your original life. But when it comes to the insurance provider, it is usually about gaining profits. Insurers always want to settle for as little compensation as possible. Due to this, they’ll consider their odds of prevailing in the case. Does the proof make it possible for the insurer to cast reasonable doubt on your case? If this is so, the insurance provider may end up offering so little compensation than is warranted.
- The available insurance amount/policy limits: Insurance providers won’t pay more than their policy. A skilled lawyer considers all the available insurance policies (including yours) to ensure you receive the compensation necessary to pay for your expenses.
Hire a Truck Accident Injury Attorney Near Me
After a truck accident, you may face physical, psychological, and financial losses that leave you confused and not knowing what to do next. With several years of experience in truck accident injury cases, the Truck Accident Injury Attorney Law Firm can establish the maximum compensation amount you can expect in court.
We will also help you develop a strong case and fight for damages. Please contact us at 888-511-3139 today to schedule a free consultation if you have been injured in California. During your appointment, we’ll discuss the facts surrounding your case, establish if you have a valid claim, and propose possible legal strategies.
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