What Can I Sue for in a Truck Accident?

What Can I Sue for in a Truck Accident?

You can sue for different types of damages in a truck accident case, including medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost income. An attorney will seek compensation if you have suffered any damages from a truck accident.

Civil law provides relief in the form of monetary damages for the losses truck accident victims often suffer—including economic and non-economic damages.

With an experienced truck accident attorney leading your case, you may get money to cover every harm resulting from your motor vehicle collision.

How Much Can I Sue For in a Truck Accident Guide

Common Recoverable Damages in Truck Accident Cases

Experienced truck accident lawyer

Truck accidents can produce severe damage, as the weight of semi-trailers and other trucks can be devastating when it strikes another vehicle. Recoverable damages for victims of a truck accident may include:

Medical Costs

When truck accidents cause injuries, victims should not shoulder the costs.

A lawsuit allows someone injured in a truck accident to seek fair compensation for:

  • Ambulance transport
  • Medical imaging services
  • Hospitalization 
  • Surgery
  • Appointments with specialists
  • Medications 
  • Rehabilitation 
  • Any other medical services related to the accident

The National Safety Council (NSC) suggests that disabling injuries are particularly expensive, costing an average of $155,000 in economic costs (including medical expenses).

An experienced personal injury attorney will total your existing medical expenses. They will also work with medical professionals and economists to project any future medical expenses you will face.

Vehicle Damage

If your vehicle was involved in a truck accident, an attorney can work with automotive professionals to calculate the cost of repairs.

Because trucks have a great capacity to cause damage, you may need a new vehicle because yours suffered total damage.

Minimum insurance coverage limits do not always cover the cost of a totaled vehicle. By suing, you may secure enough compensation to cover repairs or an entirely new vehicle.

Non-Vehicular Property Expenses

In addition to the damage to your vehicle, your property-related expenses may stem from damage to:

  • Your cell phone
  • Your clothing
  • Accessories like sunglasses and jewelry
  • Your vehicle’s stereo and entertainment system
  • Items in your trunk or vehicle at the time of the collision
  • Items fixed to the outside of your vehicle at the time of the collision

Your attorney should also see compensation for any temporary transportation you need while your vehicle is undergoing repairs or you are searching for a new vehicle.

Pain and Suffering

One of the benefits of filing a lawsuit is the ability to seek compensation for pain and suffering.

Though this is non-economic damage, truck accident lawyers know how to value your pain and suffering, which may include:

  • Immediate pain from your injuries
  • Chronic pain from your injuries
  • Psychological distress 
  • Emotional anguish
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which the journal Medicine found to occur in nearly one–a quarter of traffic accident survivors
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Lost quality of life 
  • Sleep problems
  • Suicidality
  • Substance abuse

Every victim responds differently to truck accidents. Your lawyer may work with mental health professionals to identify every way in which your accident has negatively affected you.

Treatment for Pain and Suffering

Some truck accident victims need treatment to overcome pain, emotional anguish, psychological distress, and conditions like PTSD.

Your attorney will include in your truck accident lawsuit the cost of treatment, which may include:

  • Medications for physical pain, psychological issues, and any other symptoms that medication can help 
  • Exposure therapy to overcome the fear of riding in motor vehicles
  • Counseling
  • Physical rehabilitation 
  • Any other treatments that can help you return to maximum physical and psychological health

Truck accident victims do not generally get compensation for pain and suffering (or related treatment) through insurance claims.

You may need to sue the semi truck owner to get the help you need for significant pain and suffering.

Professional Damages

Physical injuries and psychological distress from a truck accident may prevent you from working, either temporarily or permanently.

If you cannot work while injured or otherwise affected by your accident, you may lose:

  • Income
  • Earning power (which may occur if you return to work but cannot earn what you previously did)
  • Opportunities to earn bonuses, promotions, and employer-matched retirement benefits
  • Employment-linked benefits, such as healthcare coverage
  • Joy and fulfillment you receive from your work 

The inability to earn a living can bring financial ruin and psychological devastation. An attorney will work to obtain financial relief, which may also provide psychological relief.

Recoverable Damages When a Truck Accident Results in a Wrongful Death

Some truck accidents cause the most tragic outcome an accident can cause: a wrongful death. Victims of these fatal truck accidents are most often passenger vehicle occupants, not the drivers of the trucks that strike the passenger vehicles.

If your loved one lost their life because of injuries they suffered during a truck accident, your recoverable damages may include:

  • Funeral expenses: A funeral costs $15,000 on average, and it can be significantly more, depending on your circumstances.
  • Pain and suffering: Your lawyer will account for the pain and suffering that the decedent suffered. The attorney will also consider grief and other pain and suffering you and other surviving loved ones have experienced.
  • Treatment for your grief: If you elect to receive grief counseling, medication, or any other treatment for your pain and suffering, your lawyer will calculate the cost of care and seek fair compensation.
  • Non-economic harm from the wrongful death: Losing a loved one may mean losing a spouse’s companionship, a parent's guidance, a child, a sibling, or other beloved individuals. The damage category known as "loss of consortium" accounts for these non-economic losses.
  • Financial support: Losing the deceased's income can be a significant financial blow to surviving loved ones. You may also lose the decedent’s household contributions when they pass away, including handiwork, chores, security, and financial services.
  • Surviving loved ones may also face the cost of medical care, vehicular damage, and other harm resulting from the truck accident. An attorney will consider these damages as they seek compensation for your damages.

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    Why Attorneys Sue Liable Parties Following Truck Accidents

    In many motor vehicle accident cases, victims turn to insurance companies to provide the compensation they need. While this may be an option following a truck accident, a lawsuit can be more fitting based on your circumstances.

    Attorneys often sue on behalf of truck accident victims because:

    • Some insurance policies only cover certain damages: Most auto insurance policies cover vehicular damage, medical expenses, and other losses. 
    • Insurance coverage limits may not cover a truck accident victim’s damages: Insurance policies can only provide compensation up to a specific policy's limits. Coverage limits can prevent truck accident victims from getting all the money they deserve through insurance. When coverage limits are too low, victims may sue.
    • Liable parties do not always have insurance: While trucking companies and their employees generally have extensive insurance, there are exceptions. If insurance lapses or has gaps in coverage, suing may be the only way to seek fair compensation for accident-related damages.

    The insurance company's willingness to negotiate in good faith or not may also determine whether your lawyer pursues a lawsuit.

    Insurance Companies May Force Your Attorney to File a Lawsuit

    While insurance companies provide a necessary service, they have financial motivations that often work against the policyholder. Insurance companies generally aim to pay as little as possible to those they owe money to.

    To avoid paying you fairly for accident-related losses, insurance representatives may:

    • Deny your claim
    • Undervalue your losses
    • Offer a lowball settlement, tempting you to accept quick money instead of fair money
    • Misrepresent the details of the insurance policy
    • Remain firm in their refusal to pay you fairly
    • Attempt to intimidate you with lawyers or other means

    A truck accident lawyer may convince a liable insurance company to pay what you deserve and spare you from attending tense, exhausting, and drawn-out negotiations. If not, your attorney may move forward with a lawsuit.

    Who Is Financially Liable for a Truck Accident?

    The cause of the truck accident will largely determine liability for your damages.

    Liable parties may include:

    • The trucking company: Trucking companies are generally liable for their own negligence and their drivers'. Negligence by a trucking company may include hiring unfit drivers, failing to replace unsafe equipment, disobeying Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations, or engaging in other dangerous actions.
    • The truck or trailer manufacturer: If defects in a truck or trailer caused the accident, the manufacturer of the defective product may be liable for resulting damages.
    • The municipality where the accident happened: If unsafe road conditions such as potholes or malfunctioning traffic lights contributed to the truck accident, the municipality responsible for the dangerous conditions might have financial responsibility for damages.

    Your lawyer will review the details of your accident to determine who you can hold financially responsible for your damages.

    Should I Hire a Lawyer to Represent Me After a Truck Accident?

    Yes. Truck accident victims (both those injured and survivors of wrongful death) hire a lawyer for many reasons:

    • The complexity of truck accident cases: Truck accident cases pose several unique challenges. From determining the cause of the accident to securing evidence from a trucking company, completing a truck accident case is not easy. An experienced attorney may be best prepared to build a strong case on your behalf.
    • A potentially large payout for a truck accident victim: Because truck accidents cause significant injuries, victims may deserve a large financial recovery. If you lose your case, you may forfeit that financial recovery. Therefore, many truck accident victims ask a trusted lawyer to lead their cases.
    • The significant physical and psychological demands of truck accident cases: Those who are recovering from accident-related injuries or mourning the loss of a loved one may be unable to handle the stress of a legal case. Rather than jeopardizing their health and mental state, truck accident victims should instead hire an attorney to lead their cases.

    If you want to put your health, well-being, and future first, hire a truck accident lawyer.

    How Truck Accident Attorneys Help Their Clients

    A truck accident lawyer will take every step of your case into their hands, helping you by:

    Determining the Cause of the Accident (and Establishing Liability)

    Truck accidents sometimes have a clear cause, while others are more complicated.

    Your lawyer may determine the cause of the truck accident by:

    • Reviewing witness accounts
    • Reviewing video footage of the collision
    • Accessing safety record of the truck driver
    • Reviewing statements from those involved in the accident
    • Assessing damage to vehicles involved in the accident 

    As your truck accident attorney determines the cause of the accident, they will establish liability for your accident-related damages.

    Securing Evidence

    Your lawyer will build their case with evidence related to the truck accident, which may include:

    • Video footage of the accident
    • Eyewitness accounts
    • Expert testimony of liability 
    • The police report documenting the accident
    • Data from the truck’s black box

    An attorney will secure any available evidence that supports your compensation case.

    Your lawyer will document your damages, illustrating the harm from the truck accident.

    Documentation may include:

    • Medical images of your injuries
    • Medical records
    • Bills for medical care, vehicle repairs, and other accident-related expenses
    • Expert testimony about the psychological and emotional toll of your accident
    • Any other documentation that helps prove your damages

    With comprehensive documentation, your attorney can combat liable parties’ claims that your damages are nonexistent or exaggerated.

    Negotiating a Settlement

    Your lawyer will negotiate with liable parties, demanding they pay for your accident-related damages.

    Completing a Trial, if Necessary

    Your attorney will exhaust negotiations. If liable parties do not extend the offer you deserve, your attorney should be ready to take the case to trial.

    Find an Attorney to Lead Your Truck Accident Case Today

    Truck accident cases often have strict filing deadlines. Do not wait to find the right personal injury lawyer for your case. Your attorney will protect your rights and urgently seek the compensation you deserve.