How Much is My Truck Accident Worth?

Saturday, July 29, 2023

How Much is My Truck Accident Worth?

Written by Malman Law, reviewed by Steve J. Malman.

The worth of your truck accident case will depend on the extent of your injuries and property damage.

While you may feel ready to accept a first settlement offer, ongoing medical care will quickly increase the value of your claim.

If you have been in a truck accident, you need the truck accident attorneys at Malman Law to deal with the insurance companies and advise you on how to be compensated for what your case is truly worth.

Truck Accident Liability

Most accidents are caused by negligence. In vehicle accidents, a driver is negligent when not taking necessary care behind the wheel.

In order to establish a driver was negligent, the following must be shown:

  • The truck driver had a duty of care to other motorists and pedestrians using the road;
  • The truck driver breached that duty of care;
  • The truck driver’s actions had the foreseeable consequence of causing you harm; and
  • As a result of the truck driver’s actions, you have experienced measurable losses

Prior federal law would place liability on the truck driver if he or she was working as an independent contractor. However, the Code of Federal Regulations now removes the distinction between “independent contractors” and “employees” for commercial vehicle operators.

This means that all truck drivers involved in an accident are now considered as working under the scope of their employment. Liability will ultimately lie with the trucking company.

Commercial Truck Insurance

If the truck driver caused your accident, then claims will be submitted to the trucking company’s commercial insurance. In Illinois, you always file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance, in what is known as a third-party claim.

The insurance company will conduct its own investigation to determine which driver was at-fault for the accident. Any pictures of the accident scene, video surveillance, eyewitness testimony, and the polseice report will all be taken under consideration.

Unfortunately, the insurance carrier will be partial to the truck driver. The insurer wants to pay out as little as possible on a claim. An experienced Chicago truck accident lawyer will be able to handle speaking with an insurance adjuster on your behalf.

Insurance Policy Requirements

All drivers in Illinois are required to have $25,000 for bodily injury or death per person, $50,000 for total bodily injury or death per accident, and $20,000 for property damage. The truck driver’s insurance will pay out for any injuries or property damage up to this amount.

However, commercial trucks will have higher policy limits required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) based on the weight of the truck and what type of cargo it is carrying:

  • $300,000 for non-hazardous freight in vehicles less than 10,001 pounds
  • $750,000 for non-hazardous freight in vehicles more than 10,001 pounds
  • $1 million for oil transported by for-hire and private carriers
  • $5 million for other hazardous materials transported by for-hire or private carriers

If you have more extensive injuries or vehicle damage that goes above policy limits, then you will be able to make an uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) motorist claim through your own insurance.

Calculating Damages

In a truck accident, investigations might be performed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

These organizations will uncover what actions caused the accident and who is ultimately responsible. The investigations will contribute evidence to support your claim.

Several factors will determine your settlement amount:

  • The severity of your injuries
  • If you suffered any long-term disabilities
  • Your mobility
  • Your ability to return to work
  • How long and difficult recovery will be
  • Your emotional and mental state

In an accident claim, you will need to provide documentation of your losses as part of your demand package. Your truck accident attorney will prepare your demand to the insurance company, which will include both economic and non-economic damages.

Economic damages are losses that are easily quantifiable. These are damages that have created financial hardship for the victim.

Economic damages may include:

  • Lost wages
  • Lost earning potential
  • Hospital visits
  • Medical equipment
  • Vehicle repairs

Non-economic damages are losses that affect the quality of your life. These damages hinder your mental and emotional well-being and are sometimes known as “pain and suffering” damages.

Non-economic damages may include:

  • Mental anguish
  • Negligent infliction of emotional distress (NIED)
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of consortium
  • Disfigurement

An experienced truck accident lawyer will discuss with you whether taking a settlement or going to trial will give you the best outcome and compensation you need.

A Chicago Truck Accident Lawyer Fighting for You

Many factors can cause you to receive less for your claim than you deserve. At Malman Law, we believe that nobody should accept less money just because the insurance company is unwilling to pay up. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.

Steve Malman

Malman Law’s founder Attorney Steven Malman has over 30 years of experience handling personal injury, nursing home, medical malpractice, truck accidents, car accidents, premises liability, construction, and workers’ compensation cases in Chicago, IL.

Years of experience: +30 years
Justia Profile: Steve Malman
Illinois Registration Status: Active and authorized to practice law—Last Registered Year: 2024

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