If a semi truck collides with a passenger vehicle it could lead to huge losses and personal injuries to the victims. If the truck driver is at fault, it is possible to move for a considerable amount of settlement. It is recommended to approach a truck accident lawyer in the event of an accident of this kind. Below is a discussion on the average settlement in semi truck accidents and the various factors involved in the same.
Average Settlement for 18-Wheeler Accident
Usually, truck accident settlements provide big amounts due to the truck accident settlements in commercial carriers and due to the presence of other commercial entities within the liability claim.
Further, the US tractor-trailer drivers are professionals who require a significant amount of training to get a commercial driver’s license. The requirements mandate that they strictly follow the law and safeguard the public. They also have strict standards that other drivers. For instance, they are not allowed to drive more than a certain number of hours every day. If they exceed the limit and hurt someone, there could be huge criminal penalties and personal injury liability involved.
Truck Accidents and Minimum Liability Insurance Policy Limits
Liability insurance is a very important factor for semi truck drivers in relation to public safety. It offers a degree of protection to the public in the event of a truck accident. The main reason behind minimum liability insurance is that the trucking company is allowed to pat sufficient damages in several cases to provide for the losses of the injured party.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) needs truck drivers to have a certain degree of coverage. The minimum amount of this depends on the type of freight being transported:
- Non-hazardous goods hauled by vehicles that weigh less than 10,001 lbs should have $300,000
- Non-hazardous goods transported by vehicles greater 10,001 lbs is supposed to have $750,000
- Oil transported by private carriers must have $1,000,000
- Hazardous materials transported in private carriers should have $5,000,000
- These are the minimum requirements mandated by the FMCSA. Several commercial trucking companies need to have liability insurance minimum of $1,000,000, regardless of the material carried.
The above might be the rules laid down, while the reality is slightly different:
- If a car is collided in the rear by a semi truck, the passengers could suffer damaging injuries. This could take millions of dollars in treating appropriately. However, minimum coverage may not include traumatic injuries like spinal cord injuries or brain injuries
- Some of the owner-operators and trucking companies may not have made an effort to update the coverage for many years, this means the inflation and the increased medical costs would not be included in the coverage. If the accident results in high costs and damages, the policy may not cover it all.
- In truck accident settlements, victims usually get approval for damage compensation that exceeds the minimum liability limits by a long way. A study revealed that about 42% of truck crash settlements paid more than FMCSA’s minimum requirements on the insurance.
Common Semi Truck Accident Settlement Factors
There are four major factors that affect the accident settlement in truck crashes in California:
- Liability: California comes under the category of pure comparative negligence state. This means that the defendant would be held responsible for their share of fault. This is expressed in percentage. In case the jury finds out that the car that collided with the truck is 20% responsible for the accident, the total settlement amount would be reduced by 20%. Contributory negligence laws may also ensure that the accident victim does not receive any compensation if the plaintiff is held responsible for more than 51% of the fault. It is recommended to consult a California truck accident lawyer to find out how the contributory negligence laws of a state affect their potential settlement amount
- Injury severity: Truck accident injuries are among the most expensive due to the scale of losses created. The high amounts involved would be reviewed by the defense attorney or the insurance company. Typically, the more the severity of the injuries, the higher the chances of receiving a huge accident settlement. Note that the defense counsel usually checks the medical history of the plaintiff.
- Deaths: trucks are usually loaded above 80,000 pounds. This becomes the reason for fatal accidents. If there is a death caused by the truck accident, there has to be a wrongful death lawsuit involved. Such lawsuits lead to larger settlements, leading to punitive damages too.
- Insurance policies effect: if there is a high number of commercial entities involved in the crash, there would be a higher amount possible.
Overall, the average settlement of truck accidents is determined by several factors mentioned above. Therefore, it is advisable to consult a truck accident lawyer near you to proceed legally.