Truck accidents have the potential to be much more devastating than other auto accidents. As a result, many victims in California have long-lasting injuries with severe complications.
From this, it’s easy to understand why victims and their families want to know the average settlement for truck accidents in Los Angeles.
Here’s everything you need to know about the factors that affect settlement values and how our California truck accident attorneys can help.
What Is the Average Settlement for an 18-Wheeler Accident?
Generally, any average payout for a semi-truck accident listed on the internet isn’t a true representation of many claims. This is because most settlements and verdicts for truck accidents are confidential. As a result, many websites try to calculate an average based on published amounts only. Unfortunately, this not only adds to the confusion but also implies that every case is the same.
This simply isn’t true. In fact, since case values vary from a few thousand dollars to several millions, averages are incredibly misleading. If you see an average settlement posted on the internet, chances are it doesn’t represent your unique circumstances.
Why Online Settlement Calculators Aren’t Accurate
To get a better understanding of their claim, many victims use online calculators to estimate their settlement.
However, even these resources are flawed, because most settlement calculators take only economic losses into account. This means that if you have any damages in the form of pain and suffering, a calculator won’t include them. For this reason, it’s essential to consult with a Los Angeles truck accident attorney at Saeedian Law Group. They will not only take your non-economic damages into account but also identify any future losses associated with your injury that may be included.
Potential Damages in Los Angeles Truck Accident Settlements
For truck accidents, there are two categories of damages that may apply to your case: compensatory and punitive. Under the compensatory category are economic and non-economic damages. These are losses directly related to your injuries. On the other hand, the punitive category includes punitive damages, which apply only in rare cases.
Here’s a breakdown of each damage type and what they include.
Special or economic damages consist of the actual, tangible losses related to your injury. In other words, these losses are easy to calculate using bills, receipts, or paychecks.
Typical losses covered under economic damages include:
- Medical treatment costs,
- Property or vehicle damage,
- Lost wages during recovery,
- Loss of future earning capacity, and
- Accessibility expenses.
So how might these losses apply to a truck accident case? Consider the following example. John gets hit by a negligent truck driver and sustains two broken arms, both of which require surgery. His new car is totaled and he has to miss work for three months to recover from his injuries. Over the course of recovery, John has $25,000 in medical costs, $40,000 in vehicle damage, and $10,000 in lost wages. This means John has a total of $75,000 in economic damages.
General or non-economic damages are much more difficult to calculate and vary widely between claims. The main reason for this is that they comprise the intangible losses resulting from an injury. Unlike other losses, they don’t have a “cost” or economic value associated with them.
Some examples of non-economic damages in truck accident cases include:
- Pain and suffering,
- Permanent disability,
- Reduced quality of life,
- Loss of companionship, and
- Loss of consortium (for a spouse).
Let’s use the previous example to show what types of non-economic damages might be applicable. Due to his injury, John can no longer participate in his local hockey league, which was his favorite hobby. In addition, the doctor says he most likely won’t regain the full use of one of his arms. Because his injuries have significantly impacted John’s life, John’s lawyer multiplies his economic damages by three, estimating his non-economic damages at $225,000.
Keep in mind that every attorney has their own way of calculating non-economic losses. This example uses the multiplier method, which is a popular basis for many practices. However, some attorneys may use a version of the per diem method. This calculation involves a per day cost that the victim incurs during their recovery. Ultimately, the calculation used for non-economic damages depends on the situation, so we encourage you to discuss this with your lawyer.
While the average big rig accident settlement doesn’t include punitive damages, the court may award them in a few cases. Generally, the court awards punitive damages only in cases of wanton or intentionally negligent actions, such as habitual drunk driving or recklessness. Instead of reimbursing the victim for losses, punitive damages are meant to punish the defendant and discourage them from their reckless behavior. In addition, if the court decides to award punitive damages, the jury often decides the amount.
How Comparative Negligence Can Affect the Average Settlement for Truck Accidents in Los Angeles
While total damage amounts give a basic overview of your losses, they don’t necessarily represent your potential settlement or judgment. If you were partially at fault for the accident that caused your injuries, this could affect the amount you will be able to recover in a settlement.
The state of California follows what’s known as a pure comparative negligence rule. This means that even if the victim is 99% at fault, they may pursue damages. However, the court reduces the total damages by the victim’s share of fault. For example, if you have $100,000 in total damages but the jury determines you are 20% at fault, you may receive only $80,000.
Injured in a Truck Accident? Saeedian Law Group Is Here to Help
If you or a loved one sustains an injury in a truck accident, don’t put all your trust in an average settlement published online. You need an attorney with the experience and knowledge necessary to fight for the full extent of your damages. At Saeedian Law Group, we’ve recovered millions of dollars for our personal injury clients. We are committed to providing clients with the personalized, compassionate care they deserve after an accident.
To schedule a free consultation with one of our Los Angeles attorneys, contact us online or give us a call at (310) 288-3000.