There are many areas of compensation that you might be able to claim through a truck accident lawsuit. Most of these “damages” you might be entitled to are controlled by the specific rules of the state where the accident occurred. Whether you were driving a car, an SUV, or even another large truck during the accident, our Philadelphia truck accident attorneys fight to hold irresponsible trucking companies liable for the harms that they cause. In this article, the lawyers at Reiff Law Firm discuss how much your lawsuit might be worth and what you can do to seek compensation after a truck accident in Pennsylvania.
Economic Damages for Truck Accident Victims
In general, “damages” is both the name of the types of harms you suffered, as well as the term used to describe the compensation you win in court for these harms. There are two broad categories of damages in personal injury lawsuits: economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic damages include most things you can put a price tag on. Usually, financial records such as bills, bank statements, and receipts are used to prove these damages. Many of these damages may seem like physical damages at first, but the courts look specifically at the monetary factors when addressing these harms.
Economic damages commonly include the financial harms you suffer from many of the following areas:
- Repair bills for your vehicle
- Medical expenses to treat your injuries
- Ambulance rides and other medical transportation
- Rehabilitation, physical therapy, and occupational therapy to help you recover from injuries
- Home nursing care
- The expense of lifestyle changes resulting from your injuries
- Past lost wages from work you had to miss because of your injuries
- Future lost wages if you are unable to return to work
If you lost a loved one to a trucking accident, you might be entitled to other economic damages. First, any medical expenses your loved one faced just before death are compensable. Second, you can seek compensation for the expenses you faced because of their death, such as funeral and burial costs. You also suffer other economic harms when you lose a loved one, including:
- The cost of grief counseling
- The lost counsel, companionship, society, etc. of the deceased loved one
- The lost value of household duties the loved one performed
- The loved one’s lost wages
- The loved one’s lost benefits (e.g., health insurance)
- The loved one’s inheritances, which would have grown larger if the loved one lived.
Non-Economic Damages for Truck Accident Victims
There are other expenses that you cannot demonstrate with a financial value, receipt, or bill. These are the intangible harms that you suffer when you face physical injury or the loss of a loved one. These are known as “non-economic” damages.
The most common non-economic damage is direct reimbursement for your “pain and suffering.” On top of the medical expenses, you might be qualified for money to help make up for the injuries, generally. While this money cannot reverse injuries, the money may help you cope with the injuries. Some portion of this is usually to cover the physical pain, while the rest covers the mental suffering that goes along with it.
Often, proving the amounts for pain and suffering damage is the key focus of your case. Your own experiences of how the injury affects your life is the best way to demonstrate the value of these damages. Journaling your pain, life changes, and experience is an excellent way to prove these damages.
You might also qualify for “punitive” or “exemplary” damages from, especially bad trucking companies. These non-economic damages work to ”punish” or “make an example of” the trucking company that harmed you. There are state and federal regulations that control the trucking company. Many trucking companies boldly violate these rules, injuring people along the way. If the trucking company that harmed you violated rules like these, courts may award you extra damages to punish the trucking company.
Finally, if you lost a loved one, you might qualify for non-economic damages. Their pain and suffering before death can entitle their heirs to compensation.
In some states, there are legal “caps” on the amount of non-economic damages you can receive from a lawsuit.
How Much Truck Accident Injuries Are Worth in Pennsylvania
When determining the potential value of your injury claim after a truck accident on a Pennsylvania highway, numerous factors are taken into consideration. If you just suffered minor cuts and bruises, then the compensation for those particular injuries could be quite low. Unfortunately, injuries experienced in a truck accident are often more severe.
According to a publication released by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, collisions involving trucks are the most dangerous type of accident. The size and weight of a typical truck increases the chances of a severe injury for the people hit by the truck. Victims of truck accidents often sustain catastrophic injuries that require extended hospitalization, multiple surgeries, and years of physical or occupational therapy. The severity of your injury and its necessary treatment will have an impact on the compensation awarded in a truck accident lawsuit. Some of the common injuries caused by truck crashes are listed below:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injury, often resulting in permanent paralysis
- Bone fractures, including broken limbs, cracked ribs, and skull fractures
- Permanent scarring or disfigurement
- Amputation or crushed limbs
- Nerve damage
- Damage to the face, including optical injuries, broken nose, or lacerations and scarring of the face
- Injuries to internal organs
- Wrongful death
Calculating Lost Compensation Damages in a Pennsylvania Truck Accident
The seriousness of your injury will not only affect your medical expenses and rehabilitation costs, but it could also have more long-lasting financial consequences depending on its permanence. Victims of truck accidents might require lifelong care, in-home nursing, specialized transportation, rehabilitation, and additional medical care that lasts for years. The cost of this type of care could easily surpass hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The severity of the injury will also impact a victim’s ability to work. If you suffered an injury that requires missing months of work, you should be appropriately compensated for the lost income. A permanent disability could also limit your ability to work or make it impossible for you to find employment. Under these circumstances, the amount of future income you lose will be significant. Our Pennsylvania truck accident attorneys will employ financial experts and use evidence of your income before the truck accident to determine the amount of income you will have lost throughout your lifetime and claim this value as lost earning capacity damages.
Compensation for Pain and Suffering After a Pennsylvania Truck Accident
As stated, non-economic damages such as pain and suffering are often a substantial portion of the damages recovered in a truck accident lawsuit. Similar to your medical costs, monetary recovery for pain and suffering is typically proportional to the severity of your injury. If you fractured your leg and were up and running in six months, you will be awarded less for pain and suffering damages than if your neck suffered a permeant injury that causes pain and physical limitations for the rest of your life.
Increasing Your Compensation from a Pennsylvania Truck Accident Lawsuit
To increase your chances of prevailing in a truck accident lawsuit and maximizing your potential compensation, you should retain the services of our experienced I-90 truck accident attorneys. A successful personal injury lawsuit often hinges on the medical documentation surrounding the injury and the evidence available to establish negligence and fault. At the Reiff Law Firm, we have the lawyers, staff, and resources to gather and assemble the available evidence in your case. We also have the medical and financial experts necessary to evaluate and argue for your just compensation.
Do Not Settle a Pennsylvania Truck Accident Claim Too Quickly
Insurance companies profit by not paying settlements. They employ teams of accountants, lawyers, and adjusters who work to limit their liability and payouts. Because of the severity of the injuries associated with truck accidents, insurance companies are often worried about huge awards at trial. To avoid a potentially large payout, an insurance company might offer a quick settlement that is lower than the actual value of your claim. Unfortunately, mounting medical costs and lost income might make their offer attractive to a trucking injury victim.
Our office never advises settling early for a variety of reasons, the most prevalent of which is that an injured person’s condition is likely to drastically change over time, and not usually for the better. The actual impact of an injury from a truck accident is not always apparent right after the injury occurs. An injured person could face severe medical consequences, worsening conditions, or additional surgeries after settling a case. Also, it takes time to determine how the injury will affect your life, both physically and mentally. It is not uncommon for psychological trauma to develop months or years after a catastrophic accident. If this is the case, but you already settled, you are typically prohibited from seeking additional compensation after the settlement. One vital thing that our Media, PA truck accident attorneys have learned over three decades of fighting for injured people is that it is difficult to gauge the full economic, physical, and mental cost of a truck accident immediately after the event. Work with a lawyer for help calculating the damages in your truck accident injury case.
Call Our Truck Accident Lawyers for a Free Case Consultation
The attorneys at Reiff Law Firm may be able to take your truck injury case. Our Philadelphia personal injury attorneys fight to get you the maximum compensation you might be entitled to for your truck accident injuries. Never accept a settlement from an insurance company or trucking company before talking to an attorney to find out what your case might be worth. Call (215) 709-6940 to set up a free consultation with our legal team.