What is the Average Settlement Amount for a Semi Truck Accident?
There are always injuries and claims to be had in a traffic accident, but those had within the definition of a semi truck are more often tipping the scales at three times the amount of injuries and costs. As far as the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) is concerned, the number of accidents involving semi trucks is staggering within the hundreds of thousands, and most often they are in direct result from driver negligence. The most common factors in the difference between a car and a truck accident are as follows:
- semi trucks can weigh anywhere between 16,000 to 20,000 pounds
- it can take up to three times longer to stop than an average car, depending on the speed
- truck accidents are five times more likely to cause very serious injuries and death than other vehicles
What, if any, regulations are applied to semi trucks?
There are several State and local regulations that monitor the trucking industry. These are meant to ensure that semi trucks and other commercial vehicles are operating at a safe capacity. These regulations include, but are not limited to, the following:
- truck maintenance
- driver eligibility
- cargo capacity
What obligations do semi truck drivers' have to other drivers?
To understand the obligations, or better known as “duty of care”, truck drivers have to other drivers, we must first understand the duty of care that is common between those passenger drivers.
Passenger Driver Duty of Care:
- keeping a proper lookout for each other
- complying with applicable traffic laws
- using all reasonable means necessary to avoid an accident
The courts demand a much stricter and higher Duty of Care for semi truck drivers, and to interpret that duty and determine when that is breached, they rely on:
- State and federal regulations in place for truckers
- traditional evidence used to prove negligence
Due to the fact that the destructive toll of semi truck accidents have, the courts have what is known as a “per se” violation code, or where the violation is automatic. The foundation is firm on this stand Nation wide because each State upholds and strictly enforces the State and federal regulations without exception. Therefore, the violation is immediate and an automatic proof of negligence.
Are there any common regulations in which truck drivers are frequently negligent?
The best way to win your personal injury claim is to prove that the truck driver was negligent, and that negligence is proof in the injuries you have sustained as the cause of the claim. Simply stated, you need to prove that the truck driver violated one or more of the State or federal laws, which proves their negligence. The two most common regulations broken by truck drivers is Commercial Driver’s License regulations and Log Books Regulations. We will unpack these below.
In Commercial Driver’s License regulations, truck drivers must have a commercial driver’s license (CDL), which requires that they pass a series of tests designed specifically to cover commercial driving. These regulations include:
- maneuvering, parking, and backing up
- maintenance of engines, lights, and tires
- pre-trip inspection routine mastery
- hazardous materials containment regulations and procedure
- pass a drug test
- vigorous physical exam
In Log Books regulations, the truck driver must keep a logbook and record the following:
- number of hours driven each day and amount of time they rested
- date they picked up their cargo “load”
- weight of the truck rig before and after cargo is onboard
- date of delivery
How do I find evidence of Regulation Violations and do these help define my truck accident settlement amount?
The key to winning your claim and having the settlement you need for your accident will directly be reflected within proving negligence. There are times where the semi truck driver knowingly and willingly violated the law with recklessness. These flagrant violations often times will be viewed as criminal. By proving negligence, willfulness, recklessness, or criminality as evidence in your case can result in punitive damages being awarded in addition to your actual damages. By retaining the services of an experienced and professional attorney, you will be best served with the information and facts needed to secure your personal injury claim and awarded the needed settlement amount to cover your injuries sustained in the accident. Their experience will allow for insight into the driver’s claims and perspective, along with making sure you are fully protected and provided for. The most crucial evidence in proving negligence in a semi truck accident is as follows:
- was the driver’s CDL license active or suspended
- does the driver have a criminal record
- any prior tickets the driver has received
- how many accidents the driver has been in
- the driver’s financial background, including any outstanding debts and judgments
- driver’s cargo load within the legal limit
- driver’s hours of operation and rest within the legal limits
- was the driver under the influence of narcotics, medication, or alcohol
Other things to consider in truck accident cases
Because each State is as unique as each driver and injury claim, it is in your best interest to hire an attorney who is well versed in your specific State and capable of giving you the direction necessary for your specific case. There may be additional resources you can use for the best result in your settlement case that will enhance the amount for your accident. They will understand what specific allotments are available as well as clarify anything you do not understand. Your attorney will have the power to negotiate your claims, and help you assess the compensable damages:
- abrasions, contusion, lacerations
- sprained or torn ligaments tendons, or muscles
- minor or major burns
- fractured or broken bones
- multiple disk hernias
- organ damage
- internal bleeding
- lost wages
- pain and suffering and emotional distress
Having the experience of your attorney will be your lifeline to your settlement case amount. The final outcome will be calculated through the accumulation of these factors and adequate evidence of due process for your personal injury claim.