According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 344,000 injury crashes and 4,237 fatality accidents involving large trucks occurred in 2017. Each one of these collisions was different, involving unique participants, actions, weather conditions, and road conditions, and the distinctions are important. Anyone seriously injured in a collision that was caused by the negligence of other drivers or parties may be able to recover compensation for their losses by filing a civil lawsuit, but the potential damages in semi-truck crashes depend on the unique circumstances of the collision.
What Are the Potential Damages in Semi-Truck Crashes?
The potential damages in semi-truck crashes vary from case to case. An attorney can’t give an answer about the value of a potential claim without analyzing the facts and evidence. Instead, the amount of compensation that may be available will depend on the extent and severity of the injuries, the likelihood of the victim fully recovering, the nature of the at-fault party’s conduct, and other facts of the case.
Two types of damages are potentially recoverable in a semi-truck accident lawsuit: compensatory damages and punitive damages.
Compensatory damages are monetary awards that are given to compensate victims for their losses caused by their accidents. These damages include special damages and general damages.
Special damages are damages that are awarded for the economic losses that victims suffer. Since they are for pecuniary losses (i.e., economic losses), they are easier to calculate. Special damages include the following:
- Past medical expenses related to treating the victim’s injuries
- The victim’s anticipated future medical expenses related to his or her injuries
- The victim’s past lost wages
- The victim’s future anticipated lost wages
- Property losses
- Funeral and burial costs in wrongful death claims
- Lost inheritance rights in wrongful death claims
- Loss of the income the decedent would have contributed over his or her life expectancy in wrongful death claims
General damages are monetary damages that are awarded for the noneconomic losses suffered by plaintiffs. Because they’re not economic losses, they can be difficult to value. For this reason, many attorneys and insurance companies use formulas to calculate the value of noneconomic losses. General damages might include the following:
- Physical pain and suffering caused by the accident and injuries
- Emotional or psychological trauma
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of the ability to enjoy life
- Loss of consortium and guidance in wrongful death cases
- The physical pain and suffering suffered by the decedent from the time that he or she was injured until his or her death
In most cases, only compensatory damages are awarded for personal injury claims.
Punitive damages are not meant to compensate the plaintiffs for their losses. Instead, punitive damages are ordered to punish the defendants and are only awarded in cases in which the defendant’s conduct was particularly outrageous. For example, punitive damages might be awarded in a truck collision in which the truck driver was driving the wrong way on an interstate while intoxicated. When punitive damages are awarded, they are paid on top of any awarded compensatory damages.
Contact the Law Offices of Bryan Musgrave
Were you injured in a collision involving a semi-truck? Are you wondering about the potential damages in semi-truck crashes? The attorneys at the Law Offices of Bryan Musgrave can evaluate your case and explain what it might be worth. Contact us today to schedule a consultation by calling 417-322-2222 or sending us a message online.