Settlements for Texas commercial truck accidents are similar to other motor-vehicle personal injuries. The settlement process is usually between the victim and the defendant. Generally, it involves the defendant’s insurance company and the victim’s truck accident attorney. A victim may also choose to represent themselves during negotiation. A significant difference between settlement and court verdict is that both parties can settle out of court and avoid the entire court process. Typically, a settlement does not require verdicts from a jury. In addition, a settlement is a binding agreement that ensures the victim cannot sue for the same case in the future.
For most truck accident settlements, the victim’s attorney would reach out to the defendant’s insurance company. Truck accident victims often hire expert personal injury lawyers to assess and negotiate a favorable compensation because of the complex personal injury laws. Also, parties involved in a truck accident case can opt for settlements at any time - either before trial or during the trial process. Some of the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) methods available for a truck accident settlement include negotiation, meditation, and arbitration.
Negotiation: Negotiation is an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) method that allows the truck accident victim and the defendant to meet and settle. It is a less formal process compared to other forms of ADRs and it enables parties to discuss and agree on compensation for the dispute. Negotiation is a common method in truck accidents because of its flexibility. However, a downside is that victims may later realize they received lesser compensation for damages.
Mediation: In mediation, trained professionals called mediators are responsible for overseeing the settlement process between the truck accident victim and the defendant. The mediator is a trained negotiator that attempts to work out an agreement for both parties. However, mediation is not legally binding. Therefore, interested parties can opt-out of the process at any time.
Arbitration: Arbitration is a popular form of ADR similar to traditional litigation. However, the entire process is handled by an arbitrator and deals with limited discovery. Arbitration is binding, unlike mediation or negotiation. Both parties involved in a truck accident must accept the ruling outcome.
Assessing the take-home value of a truck accident settlement may be tricky for a plaintiff because of the different factors to consider. Therefore, it is crucial to hire a truck accident attorney in Texas. Such a lawyer will use their expertise in similar cases to assess the following factors:
Texas truck accident settlements are determined by two significant factors: who is liable and the extent of the damage. The court must first determine whether the plaintiff or defendant is responsible for the truck accident in most cases. Some factors that may determine the liability include driver error, parts or equipment failure, poor maintenance of trucks, and driving under the influence.
On the other hand, the extent of the damage due to the truck accident determines the victim’s settlement amount. Examples of injuries sustainable during Texas truck accidents include loss of income, pain, and suffering, medical expenses, and wrongful death.
Texas truck accident settlements and verdicts depend heavily on the nature of the accident and other related circumstances. For instance, the number of people involved in a truck accident may affect the settlement and verdict. Typically, accidents with multiple parties involved take longer. In addition, calculating the economic and non-economic damages sustained from the truck accident may affect settlements and verdicts. Economic damages include monetary losses, while non-economic damages compensate for injuries such as pain, suffering, emotional distress, etcetera.
There is no fixed amount for truck accident settlements. Most times, some of the factors that determine truck accident settlement amounts include:
Pain and suffering damages are non-economic damages a victim may sustain after a semi-truck accident. Aside from the physical injuries sustainable in truck accidents, victims often sustain long-term mental injuries. Truck accident victims with an adequate representation from a competent personal injury lawyer can seek compensation for pain and suffering damages alongside the economic damages. Factors that influence how pain and suffering damages are awarded are the accident's severity and physical injuries.
A realistic settlement demand is a settlement demand letter that states the worth of the plaintiff’s injuries. The settlement letter includes but is not limited to payment receipts, medical records, police reports, and wage slips.
Some of the types of settlements that may occur following truck accidents include medical fee payments, property repairs, rehabilitation, etc. In addition, settlements for truck accident damages are often one-time payments based on the agreed amount. There is no one-size-fits-all type of settlement after a truck accident. Victims of truck accidents can seek compensation depending on the different damages peculiar to the accident.
A semi-truck accident settlement in Texas may take up to months. The duration required to settle a semi-truck accident depends on several factors involved. Some of the factors that may influence the settlement process include:
Note: Truck accident victims must file for an accident lawsuit before the statute of limitation expires. Typically, the Texas statute of limitation for personal injuries is two years. Victims of truck accidents who do not file a case within this period may lose their rights to do so.
Truck accident settlements can happen anytime depending on the parties involved. In some cases, victims and defendants prefer to settle before the case heads to trial due to the cost of handling a court case. In addition, settlement can occur while a truck accident lawsuit is pending in court.
Below are some of the ways experienced truck accident attorneys can help a plaintiff accelerate their semi-truck settlements in Texas:
Link the plaintiff’s injuries to severe financial loss. An experienced truck accident lawyer may accelerate the settlement process by showing how much impact the accident’s injuries have on the victim.
Settle out of court. Another way to secure fast semi-truck accident settlements is for both parties to settle out of court. Settling out of court is faster when compared to going to court because it eliminates the back and forth of trial dates. However, the plaintiff may receive a lesser compensation.
Calculating the max value of a truck accident depends on the number of losses declared by the plaintiff. In most cases, the max value obtainable in a truck crash is the combination of economic and non-economic damages. The value usually covers past, present, and future losses. Examples of economic damages include medical expenses, loss of income, and the cost of properties damaged. Meanwhile, non-economic damages consist of physical impairment, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and more.
An average settlement for a semi-truck accident may range from a few thousand dollars to over $15 million. The amount obtainable from a semi-truck accident settlement is often peculiar to the case. Therefore, semi-truck accident victims can seek compensation unique to the damages suffered. Some of the damages victims can seek compensation for include pain and suffering, medical bills, loss of income, punitive damages, etc.
In Texas, the average settlement for an 18-wheeler accident falls between $1,000,000 and above. The high value is due to the severe nature of an 18-wheeler accident. Victims often suffer severe back injuries, traumatic brain injuries, or even death.
Yes. Victims of Texas truck accidents may receive compensation even when they are partly at fault. In compliance with section 33.001 of the Civil Practice and Remedies Code (CPRC), victims are entitled to compensation if their percentage of responsibility is not above 50 percent. However, a victim’s compensation is reduced in proportion to the percentage of fault they hold. For instance, a plaintiff with 25 percent responsibility in a truck accident will see their compensation reduced by the same percentage. Therefore, plaintiffs may hire truck accident lawyers to help negotiate their compensation.
After a truck accident, it is important to have some information on truck accident-related matters and ask important questions that may apply to the peculiar situation. Other questions to ask or research, depending on the circumstances include;
Comparative fault in trucking accidents is a principle that evaluates the fault (responsibility percentage) between the plaintiff and defendant. The principle is also known as comparative negligence or shared fault. In line with Texas law, a plaintiff may not receive compensation in a trucking accident if they hold 51 percent of the fault.
Yes. Texas is a modified comparative negligence state that ensures victims of truck accidents who hold less than 50 percent responsibility are entitled to compensation. However, the percentage of responsibility will be reduced from the settlement obtainable.
The truck driver's insurance company is responsible for paying compensation for damages caused during the truck accident. Although, the driver’s negligence must be established. In most cases, the insurance company pays the victim their car's worth before the accident.
A salvage title is a title an insurance company gives a vehicle that is damaged or considered a total loss. It means the car is not worth repairing because the repair cost exceeds the actual value. Examples of damages that may result in salvage titles include natural disasters, accidents, etc.
Yes, a victim of an accident caused by a truck’s cargo can hold the driver responsible. Typically, Texas truck drivers must inspect the cargo before every trip. The periodic inspection ensures that the cargo is loaded safely on the truck. Failure to inspect the cargo thoroughly is negligence on the driver’s part.
The amount of coverage available in an 18-wheeler lawsuit settlement depends on the different types of damages sustained. A plaintiff may seek compensation for the following damages: economic damages, non-economic damages, and punitive damages.
Need help with a truck accident settlement negotiation? Consult a qualified truck accident lawyer by either making a google search for keywords such as "accident attorney near me" or using referrals from friends and family. You can also use the Texas state bar association directory to find the contact information of qualified accident attorneys in Texas, or any of the lawyer referral services of professional bar associations in your county.