As members of a decades-old law firm, our lawyers are frequently asked all kinds of legal questions—some unique and others fairly run-of-the-mill. One of the most common questions we’re asked is this:
What’s the average settlement for a truck crash?
It’s an understandable question. After being injured by an 18-wheeler, delivery truck, or other oversized vehicle—and forced to carry physical and emotional burdens you didn’t ask for—it’s only right you’d want to know what kind of compensation you should expect to offset those burdens. Still, while it’s a simple enough question, the answer is unfortunately not so easy.
Some lawyers may throw out a number to satisfy your curiosity, but early on it is usually impossible to give any accurate numbers. To avoid that disappointment, and recognize the vast range of settlements we’ve seen both here in Louisiana and nationwide, we instead discuss the factors that can impact commercial accident settlements. Learning these factors can help you understand what to expect as you predict your case outcome.
5 Key Factors Impacting Commercial Car Accident Settlement Cases
1. Economic Damage Amount
The most straightforward and unbiased factor that affects commercial car accident settlement cases is the amount of economic damage involved. Economic damages are line items that can be easily calculated by reviewing documentation such as hospital bills and pay stubs. So if you had $250,000 in medical expenses and lost wages because of the accident, that would be the economic damage claimed in your case.
2. Injury Severity
Another fairly straightforward factor impacting your settlement is how badly you have been injured. For example, breaking your wrist, while painful and inconvenient, is usually a much less significant injury than being paralyzed from the waist down.
You may still be able to work with a broken wrist, and recovery time is likely to be a few months or less. Meanwhile, a serious lower-body injury could prevent you from ever working in your field again and forever impact your quality of life. In most cases, you can expect the settlement for the latter injury to be much higher by comparison.
3. Injury Duration
Similar to injury severity, the duration of an injury also has a significant impact on your potential settlement. Recalling the example of the lower-body injury, its lifelong nature vs. the wrist injury’s temporary impact would typically result in a larger settlement.
4. Injury Doubt
Any doubt about whether the accident caused your injury could impact your settlement amount. Even if you know you’ve never had, say, back pain before, the defense will do their best to create doubt. Unless you can present a clear-cut case that the injury is a result of the accident, the defense may try to cause some doubt over the root cause in an attempt to lower your settlement amount.
5. Defendant Culpability
We have a saying in the legal field: Liability drives damages.
Essentially, this means that damages tend to correlate with how the jury “judges” the defendant from a moral standpoint, which shouldn’t be confused with legally assigned blame. With this added perspective, a jury often subconsciously and subjectively assesses the defendant’s level of culpability and factors it into their recommendation for the plaintiff’s compensation, although the two should theoretically have nothing to do with each other.
For example, take two cases:
- Case 1: The defendant is a truck driver who slams into the back of your vehicle at a red light, which causes you to break your leg.
- Case 2: The same details are true, except the defendant was drunk at the time of the accident.
Though the defendant is 100% at fault in both of these cases, the fact that the driver was drunk would bring in an element of morality and make the defendant more culpable in the jury’s eyes. All else being equal, your compensation for the same injuries in the second case would most likely be larger.
Maximize Your Commercial Vehicle Accident Settlement With Broussard Injury Lawyers
For 30 years, Broussard Injury Lawyers has been fighting the good fight in Louisiana. We’ve handled commercial accident cases large and small. We’ve also argued on both the defense and plaintiff sides of the table, so we know exactly how the defense operates and what tactics they use to try and give your case the runaround.
If you’re ready to file your lawsuit or just want to learn more about how we can help you and your family, reach out here.