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How Much Is My Semi-Truck Accident Injury Claim Worth?

Before we discuss the value related to a semi-truck accident claim, it is even more important to realize that your accident with a semi-truck is entirely different than if you had been struck by another passenger-style vehicle, e.g., a car, pickup truck, motorcycle, etc.

Whether it be a semi-truck, a garbage truck, or other business-related vehicle, it's likely that you will be dealing with one or more "commercial policies." These policies are mandated by the Federal Motor Carrier Administration (FMCSA) and do not follow the same rules as policies that are required for passenger vehicles.

The policy limits of a commercial vehicle, such as a semi-truck, are typically a minimum of $1 Million dollars, as required by the FMCSA. Keep in mind, however, that these limits simply allow you a much larger cushion in terms of having ample coverage to pay for your required medical treatment, pain and suffering, lost wages, etc. Hopefully, your injuries will not require you to utilize the full limits of a commercial policy.   
 
In regard to your specific accident, fortunately, in most instances, no one will be able to tell you what your semi-truck accident claim is worth until the facts have been investigated, liability is firmly established, your medical treatment has concluded, and one of our injury attorneys have reviewed the entire case from start to finish. Why is this a good thing?

Every semi-truck accident claim has a unique value

If the amount of recovery for your semi-truck accident claim was predetermined by the insurance company, then there would be no opportunity for you to plead your case according to your individual circumstances. And not allowing a qualified personal injury attorney to present your individual case to the insurance company based on its own unique merits could prove disastrous.  

It's not unreasonable for you to want to know the value of your case shortly following your accident, as thoughts of immediate justice and a pile of hospital bills are likely on your mind.      

However, as time passes, clients soon become thankful that no one placed a price tag on their accident. Why is this?

  • the client wasn't fully aware of their total injuries
  • the client didn't foresee the type and/or duration of treatment their injuries required
  • the client didn't anticipate the strain it would place on their personal life
  • the client didn't account for the psychological toll it exacted from them while riding in, or driving, a car again. 

Though these are only a few of the more common after effects that an injured person cannot account for immediately following their accident, they represent some of the most critical pieces of your injury claim. And each of these examples are much more valuable if they are presented to an insurance company through medical documentation and expert legal representation, rather than a knee-jerk reaction that calls for immediate compensation. Remember, once you sign a release, you are forever barred from any future recovery.

Lets look at a more specific scenario:

  • The driver of car A is a young pregnant female with no pre-existing medical conditions. She has been involved in a rear-end style collision with a semi. She was taken by ambulance to the hospital for examination of severe shoulder pain. The doctors diagnose her with a torn rotator cuff and prescribe her a course of treatment that is consistent with the needs of her pregnancy. She completes treatment and is released soon after.
  • The driver of car B is a middle-aged male with prior back surgery. He has also been involved in a rear-end style collision with a semi and is experiencing severe shoulder pain. He was not able to visit a doctor until two weeks after the crash due to fear of missing work and losing his job.  When he is able to visit the doctor, he is diagnosed with a torn rotator cuff and is prescribed a course of physical therapy and is released soon after.

As for the details regarding the accident, let's suppose that Driver A and Driver B's rear-end accidents occurred on the same stretch of I-70 on the same day. As well, the adverse semi-truck drivers who struck A & B were traveling at the same speed at the time of impact. Weather conditions were the same for both accidents, and both semi-truck drivers have the same insurance companies, etc. 

Despite everything we know about drivers A & B, their claims are very likely to have different values!

Even with all these similarities, it is highly unlikely that driver A & B will undergo the same type of medical treatment for their injuries, respond to treatment in the same positive manner, or experience the same types of aggravation and frustration in the days and months after their accident. Each person is unique, each accident is unique, and there are no exceptions to this rule.

Someone told me I'll get three times my medicals. Is that true?

This formula is an estimate often thrown about in personal injury lore. Though it is true that you may receive three times your medical bills, it's also just as likely that you'll receive more or less. And while this answer does not provide dollars and cents, it is an honest answer, and one that will prove much more valuable to you while you recover from your injuries.

What compensation can you receive for a semi-truck personal injury case?

There are three components to any personal injury case:

  1. Past and future medical expenses
  2. Past and future lost wages or loss of earning capacity
  3. Past and future pain, suffering, disfigurement, and disability 

Are there any instances in which Keller & Keller can tell me how much my claim is worth?

Accidents that leave a client with broken bones, the need for surgery, permanent hardware, or an extended hospital stay, may constitute a policy limits demand.  In these types of cases, we will immediately notify the adverse insurance company of our representation and require that they send our firm a certified declarations (DEC) sheet that outlines the specific coverage for their insured. 

Once we receive a copy of the DEC sheet we will be able to tell you how much money is available, but it will still be very difficult to determine the total amount of your recovery, as other factors will undoubtedly be present.  For instance, we may be able to reduce certain medical bills so that you are not required to pay back the full amounts, thus increasing your settlement.  We may also be able to secure Underinsured Motorists Coverage (UIM) from your policy in the event that the adverse policy limits are inadequate.

Asking a qualified personal injury attorney to review an insurance policy ensures you aren't left in the dark. Policies are confusing, full of pages and pages of contractual language, some of which is applicable to your case, and some that isn't. And if you aren't in the practice of reviewing theses policies everyday, then reading one can be overwhelming and interpreting it will be equally daunting.

Calling us for a free consultation about your semi-truck accident case is an excellent first step toward determining what your injury claim is worth. We offer every semi-truck accident victim a Zero Fee Guarantee and you'll be receiving expert advice from an AV-rated law firm that has made personal injury law its primary focus since 1936.

Jim Keller
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Senior Partner at Keller & Keller Law Firm

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