Average Truck Accident Settlements in Tampa
Truck accidents are some of the most catastrophic motor vehicle accidents. The large size and weight of commercial trucks mean that they inflict violent forces on other vehicles when a collision occurs, even at modest speeds. Sadly, the occupants of the other vehicles tend to suffer the worst injuries.
Because the injuries and losses sustained in a truck accident can be so severe, these claims tend to have higher average settlement amounts than car accident claims. Trucking companies and their insurers know that the stakes are high. It’s guaranteed that they will work aggressively to avoid as much liability as possible when settling a truck accident claim.
If you’ve been seriously injured in a truck accident in Florida, you may be able to seek financial compensation from those responsible for the crash. The semi-trailer truck accident lawyers in Tampa at Brooks Law Group can help.
Why Brooks Law Group?
Seeking a settlement after a truck accident can often prove confusing and frustrating. Our knowledgeable attorneys can handle the hard work of investigating your claim and dealing with the insurance companies so that you can focus on your rest and recovery.
The award-winning truck accident attorneys at Brooks Law Group have extensive experience representing injured Floridians, both at the settlement table and in the courtroom. For more than two decades, our firm has worked tirelessly to secure maximum compensation for our clients in Tampa and throughout Central Florida.
When you choose Brooks Law Group to handle your truck accident case, you can count on us to push for a full and fair settlement amount and fight aggressively in court if your case goes to trial.
Call or contact us today for a free case review.
What Factors Are Taken Into Account for a Truck Accident Settlement in Tampa?
Many factors must be considered before putting an appropriate dollar amount on your truck accident settlement. These include:
The liability of each party involved in a truck accident can impact the amount of any settlement you receive. Florida uses the pure comparative negligence rule in truck accident cases, which means that any share of fault that you bear for the truck accident must be deducted from your ultimate settlement amount. If you were partially at fault for the crash, it can reduce any settlement offer you receive.
In addition, when multiple parties bear fault for a truck accident, it can affect the overall compensation you receive, especially if you must pursue claims against each at-fault party separately and everyone disputes their assigned portion of fault for the accident.
The severity of your injuries
The more seriously you are injured, the more extensive and expensive your medical treatment and rehabilitation is likely to become. All of your medical expenses — including all past, current, and expected future losses — should be compensated through your settlement. A fair settlement should also include money for pain and suffering or lost quality of life if you’ve suffered serious or permanent injuries.
The extent of property damage
Truck accidents frequently cause extreme damage to the other vehicles involved in the crash. This can make repairs mechanically impossible or financially impractical. When this happens, any insurance settlement will only pay the fair market value of your vehicle at the time of the accident, even if that amount would not allow you to pay off your car loan or purchase a new vehicle.
If you’ve missed time from work due to injuries suffered in a Tampa truck accident, you may seek compensation for that lost income. In addition, if your injuries will prevent you from returning to your old job or securing any gainful employment, your settlement may also include compensation for lost future earnings.
Potential for punitive damages
When a truck accident is caused by reckless or wanton conduct, you might be able to seek an award of punitive damages. Drunk driving is an example of reckless conduct that might lead to a punitive damages award in a truck accident case.
Insurance coverage limits
Most truck drivers and trucking companies are only required to carry a minimum of $750,000 in liability insurance coverage. While many motor carriers have higher policy limits, some choose to only purchase the minimum required coverage. When at-fault trucking parties only have the minimum coverage limits, it creates the risk that you may not be fully compensated for all your losses, especially if you suffer disabling injuries or if multiple innocent parties are seriously injured in the truck accident.
In addition, some trucking companies have multi-layer insurance policies, with extra layers of coverage being triggered upon exhaustion of a prior layer and other circumstances. This can make it difficult to accurately determine how much insurance coverage is available to compensate you. An experienced truck accident lawyer will be able to determine every possible source of compensation for you.
You are not required to hire an attorney to represent you during settlement negotiations. However, there are benefits to seeking legal help. A truck accident lawyer will be able to anticipate any unfair tactics from the insurance company and take steps to counter them before they damage your case.
What Is the Average Truck Accident Settlement?
It’s a question every client asks: “How much will my truck accident settlement be?” The truth is that there is no average truck settlement amount. Your settlement will be a dollar amount that is agreed upon after all of the individual factors in your case are summed up.
A good truck accident settlement should allow you to recover compensation for losses that you have incurred or are expected to incur as a result of your injuries. These include:
- Medical expenses, such as hospital bills, surgeries, prescription medication, doctor’s visits, physical therapy, and medical equipment.
- Long-term care costs, when your injuries leave you with disabilities that impact your ability to care for yourself.
- Lost income and earning capacity, when your injuries prevent you from working.
- Lost quality of life, due to physical disfigurement or scarring, or disabilities that prevent you from performing daily tasks or participating in activities you previously enjoyed.
- Pain and suffering, or the physical anguish and emotional distress triggered by your injuries.
- Loss of consortium, which compensates your spouse or other household family members for the loss of your companionship and society due to your injuries.
Truck Accident Statistics and Facts
Tampa and its surrounding communities are no strangers to truck accidents.
According to the most current statistics from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there were a total of 3,069 commercial motor vehicle crashes in Hillsborough County in a recent year. Those collisions resulted in 22 fatalities and 940 injuries.
Over a three-year period, Hillsborough County also saw annual averages of 2,947 crashes, 18 fatalities, and 958 injuries from commercial motor vehicle accidents.
Statewide, Florida experienced 38,327 total truck accidents that same year.
How to Maximize Your Truck Accident Case Value in Tampa
Ensuring that you receive the maximum possible settlement following a truck accident means taking every possible step to protect your rights. You should:
- Call 911. After a truck accident, injuries are likely. Get law enforcement and an ambulance on the scene right away.
- Gather accident information. If you’re able, take photos at the accident scene. Make sure to include shots of the vehicle damage, your injuries, and any other pictures that you think will be important to your case, such as skid marks or broken guardrails. In addition, collect the names and insurance information from all drivers in the accident. If there are witnesses, get their contact information as well.
- See a doctor as soon as possible. If you weren’t transported to the hospital immediately, be sure to get examined for any injuries as soon as you leave the accident scene. Some injuries can take days or weeks to manifest, but a doctor might be able to diagnose them in a physical exam. Promptly documenting your injuries will help you to prove that they were caused by the truck accident and not by something else, such as a pre-existing condition.
- Follow all treatment instructions. If you ignore or delay treatment and your condition gets worse, the parties at fault for the accident may refuse to compensate you for the cost to treat your condition on the basis that you failed to mitigate your injuries and losses by seeking reasonably prompt treatment.
- Obtain a copy of the police accident report. The report will contain details such as the investigating officer’s findings from the accident scene, whether any motorists were cited or arrested for the collision, and potentially the officer’s opinion about who may have caused the wreck.
- Notify your insurance company of the accident. Florida is a no-fault auto insurance state, which means you will first seek compensation for your injuries and lost wages from your own insurance company, no matter who was at fault. If your injuries exceed a certain threshold or you exhaust your policy limits, you may then have an opportunity to file a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent parties to recover money not covered by your own policy, such as pain and suffering. A lawyer can determine your legal options for you, so consider consulting one before contacting your insurer.
- Contact a Tampa truck accident lawyer. At Brooks Law Group, we strongly advise you to consult a truck accident lawyer right away, before notifying your insurer if possible. However, you may be up against a deadline to alert your insurance company. Check your policy. If you haven’t had a chance to speak to an attorney before you call, limit what you say to the bare minimum.
- Keep a journal or diary of your recovery from your injuries. You should describe the pain and distress that your injuries and your medical treatment and rehab cause you, as well as the effects that your injuries have on your daily life, personal relationships, and ability to enjoy activities. A diary or journal can help you to bolster your claim for pain and suffering or lost quality of life in a truck accident settlement.
- Avoid discussing the accident on social media. Insurance adjusters and defense lawyers may try to use your social media postings to contradict your official statements in your claim or to argue you weren’t as seriously injured or disabled as you claim to be.
Even if you believe you can handle negotiations alone, keep in mind that truck accident cases involve a mixture of both state and federal laws. Understanding these rules will be critical in determining where violations occurred and who should be held liable. It can also be challenging for a private citizen to gather certain pieces of evidence for a claim, such as cell phone records. A lawyer can help you there.
How Proving Fault Can Make or Break Your Settlement
Determinations of fault can have a huge impact on settlement amounts. If the opposing parties can demonstrate that you bear some of the fault for the truck accident, they can argue for lowering your settlement to reflect your share of fault. But if you can prove that the opposing parties are entirely to blame for the truck crash and your injuries, your settlement could provide compensation for all your losses.
In Florida, truck accident claims are subject to the pure comparative negligence rule. This rule states that an injured party is not barred from seeking compensation simply because they share some of the fault for their injuries. However, if an injured party is found partially to blame, their total compensation will be reduced to reflect their share of fault.
For example, if you suffered $100,000 in losses from a truck accident and were assigned 20 percent of the fault, your compensation will be reduced by $20,000 under the comparative negligence rule.
Having a truck accident lawyer on your side during settlement negotiations can prevent insurance adjusters and corporate lawyers from taking advantage of you. That way, you stand a better chance of not being under-compensated.
Injured in a Tampa Truck Accident? Contact Brooks Law Group Today
If you’ve been injured in a semi-trailer truck accident in the Tampa area, Brooks Law Group will fight for you to recover the compensation you need and deserve.
Call or contact us today for a free consultation. There’s no obligation.