If you or a loved one have been injured in a semi-truck accident, the accident probably threw your life and financial situation into chaos. In order to help get your life back on track, Georgia law allows you to bring a personal injury claim against the negligent parties.
But what is the average settlement for a semi-truck accident? Unfortunately, it’s difficult to calculate the average semi-truck accident settlement. There is no set mathematical formula to calculate settlements, as the facts of each case and the uniqueness of each situation determine a case’s value.
At Evans Litigation and Trial Law, LLC, our attorneys can review the particulars of your case and help give you an idea about its value. Read on to learn more about factors affecting your settlement’s calculation.
What Is a Semi-Truck Accident Settlement?
Victims of a semi-truck accident are permitted under Georgia law to file a personal injury claim against the negligent party who caused the accident. The purpose of a semi-truck accident lawsuit is to allow injured victims to recover compensation from the at-fault party.
Most personal injury cases are settled by negotiation and compromise, resulting in a settlement. Again, the settlement’s value depends on each case’s facts.
What Are the Factors That Affect a Semi-Truck Accident Settlement in Georgia?
The following factors can impact your semi-truck accident settlement.
Availability of Evidence
A semi-truck accident case turns on evidence. You must prove that the other party was the cause of the accident and your injuries. Typical evidence includes the following:
- Photos of the accident scene,
- Video surveillance,
- Medical records,
- Healthcare invoices,
- Witness statements,
- Expert testimony, and
- Police reports.
The availability of this evidence affects the value of your settlement. The more evidence you collect, the stronger your claim for damages will be. If the evidence in your case is lacking or lost, it will be harder to prove your case.
At Evans Litigation and Trial Law, LLC, we work diligently and utilize all avenues to uncover evidence to get justice for our clients.
Determination of Liability
Semi-truck accident claims typically fall under the law of negligence. To be successful in your negligence claim, you must prove four elements:
- Duty. You must prove the negligent party owed you a duty of care.
- Breach of duty. You must prove that the negligent party breached the duty of care.
- Causation. You must prove that the negligent party’s breach caused your injuries.
- Damages. You must have suffered injuries as a result of the breach.
Much of the negotiations will likely revolve around liability issues. You need to build a solid case to prove these negligence elements. Your semi-truck attorney can design your claim to demonstrate the presence of each element.
The party you are suing will try to negate their liability and push it towards you. Under Georgia law, your ability to recover compensation is affected if you are partly responsible for the accident. Georgia is a modified comparative negligence state.
You can still recover damages if you are partly responsible for the accident. However, the court will reduce your compensation based on your percentage of fault, which cannot be 50% or higher.
For example, suppose a semi-truck driver was under the influence of alcohol when it collided with you, causing you to have $100,000 worth of damages. However, you also ran a red light. If you were found to be 49 percent at fault for the accident, you could still recover $51,000 (the semi-truck driver’s percentage of fault). However, if you were found to be 50 percent at fault for the accident, you would not recover any damages.
The more liability the opposing party shifts onto you, the less compensation you can recover. It may even eliminate your ability to recover. Therefore, you must have an experienced semi-truck attorney at your side. At Evans Litigation and Trial Law, LLC, we will use our extensive resources to establish the other party’s negligence and get you the compensation you deserve.
Calculation of Damages
Another factor to consider for valuing a settlement is damages. The more you can prove your damages, the more accurate your settlement will be. Compensation for a semi-truck accident includes the following:
- Medical expenses,
- Lost wages,
- Pain and suffering, and
- Property damage.
Medical expenses for a semi-truck accident include the costs of hospital stays, doctor visits, surgeries, diagnostic tests, therapy, and rehabilitation. Lost wages refer to the income loss you suffered from taking time off work after the accident. If your injuries make it hard or prevent you from doing the duties of your job, you may be able to recover loss of future income as well.
Pain and suffering damages refer to your injuries’ emotional and psychological effects. This includes loss of enjoyment of life and mental anguish. Property damage refers to the value of damage to your automobile or other personal effects in the accident.
Availability of Punitive Damages
If applicable, punitive damages may increase the value of your settlement. Georgia law allows for punitive damages when there are “aggravating circumstances.” The purpose is to punish the negligent party for their actions or to deter them from acting negligently in the future.
Punitive damages are only given if you can prove by clear and convincing evidence that the negligent party’s actions showed:
- Willful misconduct,
- Oppression, or
- Lack of care.
In Georgia, punitive damages are available in some instances, but they are very rare.
If you can prove your claim meets the guidelines for punitive damages, the settlement value may increase accordingly.
Note that you, as the plaintiff, must specifically ask for punitive damages in the complaint. Otherwise, you will not be able to receive them.
Contact Our Semi Truck Accident Lawyers Now
At Evans Litigation and Trial Law, LLC, we focus on getting justice for individuals injured in personal injury cases. It’s all we do.
Founder Alfred L. Evans III is a Georgia native who graduated from the University of Georgia Law School in 2000. Alfred has previous experience working as a defense attorney for insurance companies. Now, he uses this inside experience to represent victims of personal injuries.
Let us help you hold the negligent parties accountable for your accident. Contact Evans Litigation and Trial Law, LLC now for a free consultation.