Being hit by a semi truck can be a particularly jarring experience. Commercial trucking companies encourage their drivers to work extreme hours, which can lead to unsafe driving. Unfortunately, occupants of smaller vehicles are more likely to face serious injury or death in these situations. If you have been in this type of crash, contact our truck accident lawyers to discuss your options for maximizing your settlement.
Each settlement will depend on a number of factors, including the severity of injuries suffered and the extent of damage to your car. When you are negotiating your settlement, there are two types of damages you should consider: special damages and general damages.
Calculating Special Damages in a Truck Accident
Special damages consist of any economic damages you suffer as a result of the car accident. This includes money that you spend, any bills you receive, and lost wages from missing work due to the accident.
As you are piecing your life back together, you should keep all records and receipts from these expenses, such as:
- Medical bills, including bills from the hospital and any specialists you see during your recovery such as chiropractors, physical therapists, acupuncturists, massage therapists, etc. Due to the serious nature of truck accident cases, our clients are often in recovery for a long time. You can also ask your medical care providers and therapists for estimates of future medical expenses, to ensure that they are also included in your settlement amount.
- Calculate the cost to replace your car and any other personal property. In truck accidents involving small cars, smaller passenger vehicles are often dragged under tractor trailers, which causes significant damage to the roof of the car. This sort of accident can cause property damage to other items in the car, including suitcases, cell phones, laptop computers, and personal clothing worn by the driver and any passengers. Make a list of all the items damaged in the accident, and as you replace these items, keep track of these expenses.
- Transportation Expenses: After being in a truck accident, it’s very common to either rent a car or use Uber, Lyft, or taxi services to get around town while your car is in the shop, or before you purchase a replacement vehicle. Keep track of all these expenses in order to have them recouped in your settlement negotiation. If you are spending extra money on gas to go to and from the doctor or therapist, you should also keep track of your mileage to include this in your settlement calculation.
- Lost Wages: People recovering from serious injuries may not be able to work for an extended period of time, meaning that their income may be extremely limited while they are in recovery. This lost income is an additional expense that you would not have incurred if it was not for the truck accident, so you should keep track of shifts missed or weeks spent out of the office to make sure you are compensated for this loss.
You will add up all of these expenses to determine how many special damages you should ask for as part of your settlement negotiation.
While you are in recovery, keep all of your documentation and receipts in a safe place. If you are in doubt about a particular bill, put it in the pile anyways and your lawyers can discuss with you if it was an expense you can consider as part of your settlement negotiations.
Remember: the other driver’s insurance company is not your friend. Their goal is to settle for as little as possible. If you cannot prove an expense you incurred, the company may not be willing to consider it as part of the settlement.
Calculating General Damages in a Truck Accident
Arizona also allows victims of truck accidents to receive compensation for general damages. This money is not tied to the economic losses you suffered – rather, they are for the intangible things you lose:
- Pain and suffering refers to the emotional and physical toll the accident takes on you. This is meant to compensate you for sleepless nights, aches and pains, scarring, depression, anxiety, and temporary or permanent physical limitations.
- Loss of enjoyment of life refers to the activities you are no longer able to enjoy, as a result of damage from the accident. For example, if you were an avid runner before the accident, but now walk with a permanent limp, you can include this as part of your loss of enjoyment of life calculation.
- Loss of consortium refers to damages suffered by the spouse or close family of a person who was seriously injured or killed in an accident.
Because these losses do not have price tags or bills associated with them, they can be difficult to assign a value to. As a result, they are typically based off of your special damages, which is why it is so important to maximize these damages by keeping track of all of your expenses.
When you make an appointment to discuss your case with us, we will go through all the types of damages you suffered and discuss the best way to maximize your settlement.
This article does not provide legal advice. If you are recovering from an accident with a large truck or big rig, contact our knowledgeable truck accident attorneys for a free consultation to discuss your options to receive the maximum compensation possible. We have significant experience with personal injury cases that we will put to work for you.