Collisions involving large commercial vehicles such as semi-trucks, tractor-trailers, and moving trucks can often cause catastrophic injuries. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, buses and trucks comprise nearly 13% of all fatal traffic accidents nationwide.
Due to safety concerns, the government regulates the trucking industry heavily. Sadly, many trucking companies and drivers fail to follow the necessary safety standards despite these strict regulations. A failure to follow these vital safety procedures at any point can lead to devastating injuries, lifelong disability, or death. Negligent truck manufacturers, trucking companies, and drivers should be held liable for their conduct. However, the disparity between trucks and passenger vehicles extends beyond the physical size of the vehicles. If you are injured by a commercial truck, getting just compensation may be harder because many trucking companies employ teams of lawyers to defend their actions and reduce liability.
The experienced lawyers at Batson Nolan PLC have an excellent reputation throughout Tennessee and Kentucky as a leader in representing accident victims. Our lawyers have helped thousands of families through all stages of a trucking accident claim, including investigation, settlement negotiations, litigation, and appeals.
What Are Truck Accident Settlements?
When a dispute arises, injury victims, insurance companies, and defendants face the complex question of how to resolve a claim most efficiently. Depending on the case’s unique circumstances, the parties may take the case to trial and leave the decision-making power to a judge, jury, or arbitrator. The other, usually preferable option, is to reach an out-of-court settlement agreement.
Negotiated settlements are legal agreements that resolve disputes. These agreements are negotiated and worked out between the parties. In the context of truck accidents, a settlement agreement includes how much the at-fault party must pay the victim in exchange for the victim’s agreement not to pursue the case any further. Generally, settlement agreements save the victim and at-fault party time and money by avoiding a protracted legal battle in court.
Do I Need a Lawyer if I Want to Settle?
Even though settlements avoid the need for lengthy, daunting, and unpredictable trials, favorable outcomes hinge on building a solid and compelling case. It’s difficult—if not impossible—for non-professionals to do this alone and do it well enough to get the compensation they deserve. Sure, you can take the first settlement offer the insurance company throws your way. But if you do, the chances are very high that you have just accepted a lowball offer that greatly underestimates what your injuries are going to cost you years into the future. And once you accept the settlement offer, you can never go back for more—no matter how much more money your injuries cost you.
Attorneys are essential during each step of the process. First, they will stop you from accepting a lowball offer that leaves you out in the cold once that money is gone. They know how to speak to insurance adjusters, how to gather and prepare evidence, and how to package that evidence to make the most compelling case possible to the insurance company.
In most cases, the settlement negotiations begin with the victim’s attorney sending a demand letter to the insurance provider. Unlike other states, Tennessee does not require insurance companies to respond to the demand letter within a certain timeframe. However, the insurance company or other party’s attorney may deny or approve a settlement amount requested in the letter. Usually, the demand letter is just the beginning of negotiations. Your attorney will handle all of this for you. They know how much your case is worth, and they know how to get you the money you need and deserve.
What Affects the Amount of a Truck Accident Settlement
Calculating truck accident settlement figures involves quantifying a victim’s medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and disability. As a general rule, the greater your medical expenses, the longer you are unable to work, and the more limitations you face as a result of the accident—the greater a settlement award should be.
In certain egregious cases of gross misconduct, a settlement amount may include punitive damages. Punitive damages are not intended to compensate the victim for losses. Instead, they are used to punish the defendant for especially bad behavior in the hopes of discouraging this type of misconduct in the future.
Lastly, settlement amounts can be impacted by the victim’s fault. Tennessee follows the doctrine of modified comparative negligence. This means that your award is reduced by the percentage of fault you carry for the accident. However, if you are more than 50% at fault, you cannot seek any damages from the other party.
What Is the Biggest Truck Accident Settlement in the USA
Accidents involving trucks often cause more significant injuries and damages; as such, they tend to lead to high settlement amounts. Some of the most notable truck settlement figures in the country include:
- $281 million following an incident where a truck’s shaft detached and slammed through the driver’s windshield, killing him.
- $101 million after a tractor-trailer operated by an impaired truck driver slammed into the victim’s vehicle.
- $90 million in a case involving a Wal-Mart truck driver who killed comedian Tracy Morgan and caused injuries to other passengers in a 2014 accident.
- $80 million in a truck accident involving a truck driver who failed to hit his brakes and slammed into stopped traffic, killing five nursing students and causing injuries to two others.
- $58 million to the family of a man who died in a truck accident when the truck driver transporting water turned into the victim’s path.
- $54 million in a case involving a truck driver who was in a deadly head-on collision with two other vehicles. The driver was previously terminated for dangerous driving.
- $42 million in a case involving a truck driver who ran a stop sign and slammed into another vehicle, killing the driver.
Of course, every truck accident settlement is different. However, an experienced injury lawyer can help accident victims understand what a fair settlement looks like for their circumstances.
Contact a Respected Trucking Accident Lawyer at Batson Nolan, PLC for Assistance with Your Claim Today
If you or a loved one was recently injured in a truck accident, reach out to the dedicated attorneys at Batson Nolan PLC. Since 1860, we have helped countless clients obtain meaningful compensation for their accident-related injuries. We can help you understand your rights and effectively pursue the largest truck accident settlement possible. We will not bill you for our legal representation unless we recover compensation on your behalf, so you have nothing to lose by speaking with us! Contact Batson Nolan PLC today to learn more and to schedule a free consultation.