Get the most out of your settlement. Contact an Ohio trucking accident lawyer to learn more about the average semi truck accident settlement.
Accidents can be devasting for the victims and their immediate families. It can leave the breadwinner of a family helpless and hopeless. In 2018 there were 4,415 fatal crashes in the United States involving large trucks or semi trucks. Most of these semi truck accidents occurred in rural areas and on interstate highways.
If you are a trucking accident victim, it is vital to contact a trucking accident lawyer to help you through this murky time. You might be interested in knowing the average semi truck accident settlement in Ohio. This article will explain everything you need to know about semi truck accidents.
Effects of Truck Accidents on Individuals
The effects of truck accidents on the individuals involved can be short-term and long-term. It is easy to heal short-term damage and injuries. But they can have a lasting impact on the individual. These effects include things like difficulty for the accident victim to hold down a job. Depending on the type of injury, it can also affect their mobility. But first, let's discuss what causes these semi truck road accidents and the common injuries the accident victims may suffer.
Causes of Truck Accidents
- Driver Fatigue: Driving a truck is a high-pressure, stressful job. Trucking companies require truck drivers to deliver the goods to their destination in the shortest possible time. Sometimes, truck drivers travel hundreds of miles across multiple days to reach their assigned destination. To accomplish their goals, some truck drivers will drive for hours on end, without taking a break to get proper sleep. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has laws that regulate how long a truck driver can operate within a shift. But many trucking companies don't enforce these laws, leaving their drivers to drive while tired. Drowsy driving is extremely dangerous, causing delayed reaction times similar to driving under the influence of alcohol.
- Distracted Driving: Another cause of trucking accidents is distracted driving. Many things can distract a driver. Distractions include using smartphones, adjusting navigation, the radio, eating or drinking, other occupants, or an outside person or object. When a driver, especially a semi truck driver, gets distracted even for a millisecond, it could lead to a fatal crash.
- Alcohol and Drug Use: Driving under the influence can lead to a fatal accident. Many truck drivers take drugs like amphetamines and alcohol to help them stay active and awake. Although these drugs might help the drivers stay awake, they can affect their sense of judgment. They can lead the driver to make unreasonable decisions and risk putting people's lives in danger.
- Speeding and Overtaking: We have already discussed truck driving as a high-pressure, high-stress job. When drivers are expected to reach a destination within a time frame, they can resort to unnecessary speeding and overtaking. Reckless overtaking can lead to accidents.
- Poor Truck Maintenance: A mechanical breakdown can happen on the road when the trucking company doesn't properly maintain its trucks. A mechanical breakdown can easily lead to an auto accident. Aside from poor truck maintenance, another probable cause of truck accidents is truck drivers' inadequate training to handle situations on the road. They should train truck drivers to handle bad weather such as storms, snow, etc.
- Improper Cargo Loading: Trucks mostly carry heavy cargo and hazardous chemicals. For every one of these goods or chemicals, there are rules and regulations governing how they should be handled. A minor mistake can lead to a catastrophic accident on the road.
Common Truck Accident Injuries
When a truck is involved in a collision with a passenger car, the effects and injuries can be catastrophic. An accident victim might sustain severe and life-altering injuries. In a semi truck accident, accident victims may suffer many of the following injuries.
- Spinal cord injuries
Trucks are heavy vehicles, meaning any accident involving them can be devastating. Spinal cord injuries can leave the accident victim paralyzed. It is also essential to seek immediate medical attention because some of these injuries might not be apparent.
- Head injury and traumatic brain injuries
Head injuries are also hazardous because it affects your brain. Sustaining an injury to the head can leave you unconscious. Brain injuries can cause loss of cognitive and motor functions. These injuries can affect your relationship with people and prevent you from holding down a job for some time.
- Soft tissue injuries like cuts, bruises, broken bones, and laceration
- Amputation and disfigurement
This kind of accident may leave the injured parties helpless with lifelong deformity. If you sustain a life-altering injury, it is essential to seek financial compensation from the insurance company of the trucking company and your insurance company as well. A trucking accident lawyer can be a big help with this.
- Back and neck pain
- Internal injuries
Unlike external injuries like cuts and burns, it is tough to identify if an accident victim suffered internal injuries without a medical examination. It is essential to seek medical attention after an accident, even if you feel healthy.
- Wrongful death
It's not uncommon for crash victims to lose their lives in truck accidents. When you lose a loved one in such a crash, you need to consult an experienced attorney to complete the insurance claim process.
What Are the Steps To Take After a Semi Truck Accident?
After an accident involving a semi truck, it can be a tough and confusing time. You might be under a lot of stress and probably sustained some injuries. But keeping these steps in mind and implementing them after the accident can go a long way in helping you recover fair compensation for your semi truck accident settlement.
- Remain at the accident scene: This is a crucial step. Immediately after the accident, find a safe spot nearby to be. Getting out of danger is the first step to take. However, you don't have to leave the accident scene altogether, especially if someone is hurt. If you leave the accident scene. The police will indicate a hit and run. Depending on the accident victim's injuries, a hit-and-run driver can be sentenced to jail. There might be only property damage sometimes, but leaving the accident scene means breaking the laws.
- Call 911 for help: The next step is to call 911 for the police and first responders after you are out of danger. The presence of the first responders at the accident scene can be the difference between life and death in some cases. When the police arrive, give them enough information about yourself for the accident report. The police reports include witness statements, a statement from both drivers, contact information of each driver, and the police officer's opinion on the at-fault party.
- Assist those who are injured: If possible, you can assist those who have sustained injuries. Try to help them get out of danger before the first responders arrive, but be careful not to jostle them around too much. If you suspect someone has sustained a neck or back injury, moving them around might cause further damage to their spine.
- Ask for witnesses' information: An important step is collecting witness statements at the accident scene. It is usually hard to track down witnesses days or weeks after the accident for information. Here are some details you can collect: name, address, telephone number, and the telephone number of a close relative if you can't reach them.
- Document the damage: You should also take pictures of the damage to your car, other damaged properties around, and the other vehicle. Taking photographic evidence will help your injury attorney to secure a fair settlement from your insurance carrier or the truck driver's insurance company.
- Seek medical help: You might not have sustained any visible injuries; however, you could sustain an internal injury you are not aware of. Seeking medical attention will help you prevent suffering any lasting bodily injury.
- Notify your insurance company: You immediately sought medical attention and notified your insurance company of the accident. The insurance company will ask an insurance adjuster to investigate the accident so that they can settle your injury claim or that of any damaged property. It is always essential to speak the truth when making your accident claims. You should present all the photographic evidence, medical record, and the bills for your medical expenses to your insurer. If you don't know what to tell your insurance company, the next step is crucial.
- Consult an experienced truck accident attorney: hiring an experienced trucking accident lawyer is of the most worthwhile decisions you will make after a truck accident. The attorney will explain the rights you have as an accident victim. Here is another reason you should consult an experienced truck accident attorney: if you suffered severe injuries or serious property damage, it is common for insurance companies to settle quickly, which may lead to a low-ball offer. Once you have an attorney on your side, they will negotiate fair compensation for you.
How Does a Semi Truck Accident Settlement Work?
After a motor vehicle accident, the drivers involved will talk to their insurance company. The truck driver will have to inform the trucking company. After that, the insurance companies and the trucking company will launch investigations into the accident and determine the best settlement amount for the accident claims.
What Is the Average Semi Truck Accident Settlement?
There really is no average semi truck accident settlement, because each accident is unique and will have different contributing factors and injuries.
In this way, a semi truck accident is like any other auto accident; the victim is eligible for compensation for any financial loss, including medical bills and property damage. However, a semi truck accident involves a large and heavy vehicle, so the insurance company might offer a considerable amount of compensation for injuries such as:
- Emotional trauma
- Vehicle damages
- Loss of consortium (in the case of a fatality)
- Pain and suffering
Aside from these factors, the trucking company will typically offer a higher average settlement value because the vehicle involved is a larger heavy-duty vehicle.
It is important to remember every accident is different. Therefore, other factors will be considered in determining how much should be paid to injured parties or people who have lost a loved one.
How Long Will It Take To Settle Semi Truck Accident Claim?
The time it takes to settle on the compensation for your injuries or damages to your property, or the death of a loved one is not set in stone. When discussing the ideal time to settle a semi truck accident claim, many factors come into play.
First, your insurance company will investigate the accident to determine the at-fault party. After the insurance adjuster finishes with the investigation, the insurance company will determine the right amount they should pay. The compensation they will decide on depends on the severity of the injuries and whether someone lost their life.
The trucking company will also launch its investigation into the accident to determine the fair compensation to pay. This can also drag out the semi truck accident settlement for quite a long time.
Suppose you and your trucking accident lawyer determine that what the insurance company is offering is not fair compensation. In that case, your attorney will negotiate a fair accident settlement for you. There might be a lawsuit, which can extend the settlement time.
In Ohio, the accident victim has two years from the day of the accident to file a claim. The sooner you find an experienced trucking accident lawyer, the earlier you can settle on your semi truck accident claim. Determining the at-fault party is one vital point that can prolong the timeline for settling a motor vehicle accident claim.
Factors That Affect the Semi Truck Accident Settlement Timeline
Determining the at-fault party in a motor vehicle accident is crucial. Ohio is an at-fault state, which means the at-fault driver's insurance company will pay compensation depending on who caused the accident.
In a rear-end collision, it is easier to determine who caused the accident. It is challenging to assign blame for head-on collisions and T-Bone accidents. The police officer who wrote the accident report will determine the at-fault party. They are in a better position to determine who is at fault. The insurance adjuster will examine the evidence available, including the photographs you took and the police accident report to determine who was at fault.
Once the insurance adjuster has determined the at-fault party, you can file for a personal injury claim through your trucking accident lawyer.
There are two ways to determine the at-fault party in an accident: comparative negligence and modified comparative negligence. Let's look at the difference.
Other states use comparative negligence. Comparative negligence is when both parties are at fault for the cause of the accident. Suppose the police report stated that you both had a part to play in the accident. Your insurance company will pay for your injury claims, and the other driver's insurance carrier will pay for theirs.
Modified Comparative Negligence
The state of Ohio uses modified comparative negligence. Suppose you are over 50 percent are at fault for the accident. In that case, you would not be able to recover compensation from the other driver. You would have to rely on your insurance coverage to pay for the injuries you sustained.
Calculating the Value of a Semi Truck Accident Settlement
Many people resort to an online accident settlement calculator to determine the average settlement they will receive from the accident claims. The online personal injury calculator will do you a lot of disservices. Here is why.
Every truck accident is unique, and many factors are involved. The calculator does not consider all the variables involved in the accident. It won't consider the long-term effect of your injuries or the mental anguish you are going through because of the loss of a loved one, and neither will it consider the non-economic damages from your insurance claims.
Another reason online accident settlement calculators are flawed is because they don't factor the percentage of fault into the equation. Personal injury calculators only consider economic damages—the damages you can calculate.
Using a personal injury calculator means you are considering half of the equation, ignoring the other important half of the equation. If online personal injury calculators are flawed, what should I use then?
Consult a trucking accident lawyer with years of experience handling personal injury claims. The lawyer will consider all the variables through research.
An experienced trucking accident lawyer will consider the percentage of fault, non-economic damages, and economic damages when negotiating a financial compensation for you.
Ways To Speed Up Your Semi Truck Accident Settlement
A semi truck accident settlement can take years to complete. You can do some things to speed up the settlement process a bit. One way is to hire a trucking accident lawyer. During your initial consultation with your lawyer, it is essential to bring these things along.
Police Accident Report: Bringing the police accident report to your initial consultation with your injury attorney will help him learn more about the case. Based on the police report, the attorney can give you accurate advice.
Pictures and videos: If you didn't take pictures immediately after the accident, you might lose vital evidence when you return to the accident scene. Photos and videos of the accident scene will help expedite the claim settlement process.
Medical bills: Medical bills are essential documents you should give to your attorney. Your trucking accident lawyer will use the medical bill to build an estimate for your insurance claim.
How Are Damages Determined After a Semi Truck Accident?
Victims of a commercial trucking accident can incur huge sums of expenses. Medical bills and property damage can quickly add to the worries of a truck accident victim.
The law makes provisions for such individuals to take legal action to recover any financial loss they might experience after the accident.
They can award three main types of damages to motor vehicle accident victims. They are economic damages, non-economic damages, and punitive damages.
Damages is the legal term used to refer to the monetary compensation awarded to a victim who suffered financial losses due to someone else's negligence.
Economic damages are losses that can be calculated. In auto accidents, economic damages include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income and wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Property damage
In contrast, non-economic damages don't have a clear monetary value and can't be calculated. Non-economic damages include:
- Loss of consortium
- Disability or disfigurement
- Loss of companionship
- Emotional distress
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord injury
Another type of damage awarded to the accident victim is called punitive damages. The court award this type of damages to the victim when it is established that the at-fault driver was highly reckless or was acting intentionally malicious. They award punitive damages to the victim to punish the defendant for outrageous conduct.
How do I Collect My Semi Truck Accident Settlement Money?
Now you have settled on an amount. How do you get your injury claims? In most cases, the insurance company will write a check for the settlement amount after you have signed the release of liability form. They will make the payment into your trucking accident lawyer's account. If your lawyer took the case on a contingency fee, they will take their percentage out of your settlement, and give you the bulk of the money.
But if the case ends up in the court, the at-fault driver will have to pay you from their insurance coverage. Your trucking accident lawyer will handle the personal injury lawsuit in such cases.
Can I Sue for Emotional Distress in Ohio?
Emotional distress can make mundane things challenging to do. Insomnia, feelings of hopelessness, lack of energy, and helplessness are symptoms of emotional distress. It can also affect your social interactions. Emotional pain can affect your mental and physical health.
Symptoms of emotional distress include:
- Frequent mood swings
- Chronic fatigue
- Loss of appetite
- Increased irritability
- Difficulty thinking and remembering
- Relying heavily on mood-altering substances, like alcohol
Accident victims can ask the at-fault party to pay damages for emotional distress in court. Ohio courts make it possible for the claimant to prove that they've been suffering from emotional pain after the accident. The plaintiff can prove that they are going through emotional distress by presenting this evidence.
Physical symptoms of emotional distress: Symptoms such as weight loss, ulcers, tics, and shakes are signs of emotional distress.
Medical records: This is by far the most reliable way to prove the existence of emotional distress for the accident victim. Diagnoses from doctors and testimony from mental health workers can help you establish your case. This can help you get compensated for the emotional distress the accident has caused.
Common Emotional Distress Lawsuits
After a truck accident, victims of the accident can sue the trucking company for emotional distress. Emotional distress lawsuits are common among accident victims.
Below are examples of lawsuits that involve emotional distress claims:
Witnessing a wrongful death: When the surviving member of the family witnesses the death of a loved one through the accident, it can lead to severe mental anguish. This traumatic experience can cause emotional distress.
Personal injury: This is a typical lawsuit among road accident victims. Personal injury is an injury to the body, mind, or emotions instead of property. The anxiety truck accident victims go through can cause post-traumatic stress disorder or depression, primarily if a negligent driver caused the accident.
What Percentage of Injury Claims Go to Court?
Four to five percent of all personal injury claims in the United States go to court. 90 percent of those cases that go to trial end up losing. Many people decide to settle out of court because of the time it will take to pay the settlement amount.
How Much Should You Ask For in a Personal Injury Settlement?
Determining the amount you should ask for in a personal injury settlement depends on many factors. These factors include your medical expenses, mental healthcare, property damages, physical therapy expenses, and lost wages. It is essential to document all these expenses incurred during the recovery process.
The amount you can ask for will also depend on the severity of the injuries sustained and their impact on your life. The court will also take into account the at-fault party. Every personal injury case is different. You should consult an experienced personal injury lawyer to help calculate the proper settlement amount.
How much is Pain and Suffering Worth in Ohio?
In Ohio, the at-fault truck driver must compensate the accident victim for causing pain and suffering. Pain and suffering are any physical, emotional, or mental distress caused by accident. Pain and suffering may include:
- Reduced life expectancy and quality of life
- Physical limitations
- Depression and anxiety
- Physical pain and aches
Pain and suffering are considered non-economic damages. Ohio's cap for pain and suffering is $250,000 or three times your economic damages - medical expenses and property damage.
What is the Average Neck and Back Injury Settlement in Ohio?
The average settlement amount for a severe neck and back injury in Ohio is $363,800, and the median amount is $250,000. In an average car accident where the accident victims sustained minor neck and back injuries, the injured party may receive a settlement amount between $2,500 and $10,000 from the at-fault driver's insurance company.
When Would You Want to Hire a Trucking Accident Lawyer?
An experienced trucking accident lawyer can handle many of the things we have discussed in this article. But if you are still hesitant about hiring a personal injury attorney, here are some points to help you decide.
Good Knowledge of the Law: Accident lawyers understand accidents and insurance claim laws. They will interpret the laws for you. The lawyers will also help you understand any legal issues in your insurance claims and help you fix them. Their more profound understanding of the law will increase your odds of getting better financial compensation.
A Trucking Accident Lawyer is Experienced in Handling Insurance Companies: Experienced accident attorneys know how to conduct settlement negotiations with insurance companies.
Determining the Best Compensation: Without a personal injury lawyer, it will be easy for the insurance company will finesse you into accepting a low compensation offer. Your lawyer will ensure that doesn't happen. They will negotiate a better financial settlement for you.
Filing a Court Case: If your injury claim ends up in court, it is the trucking accident lawyer who will file the case and defend you in court.
There are many more reasons you should consider hiring an experienced trucking accident lawyer. For more information, contact Babin Law, LLC and set up a free case review.