Large truck accidents, although statistically less frequent per mile than passenger vehicle wrecks, can be the most damaging. Research conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) revealed that the majority of deaths in large truck crashes are passenger vehicle occupants. In 2019, 4,119 people died in large truck wrecks, and 67% of those people were passengers of other cars involved in the crash. So while driving a large commercial truck is an implicitly dangerous occupation, the risk can be even more substantial for drivers who share the road with these tractor-trailers weighing 20-30 times more than a car.
In the unfortunate event that you or your loved ones have been involved in a crash with a large commercial truck, you need to know that you are backed by a trusted law firm with experience in truck accident law. If you are not at fault, our team at Belsky & Horowitz, LLC can help you file a truck accident claim, holding accountable the party responsible for the collision, and making the road a safer place for everyone. In order to better understand how this type of claim works and how it can benefit you and your loved ones, let’s take a closer look at the factors which determine the value of a truck accident claim.
Factors Affecting the Value of a Claim
It is impossible to determine a claim’s value without thorough evaluation of the event in question. During the process of working with your lawyer to file a claim, investigations will be made into various aspects of the truck crash to decide the value of your claim. Details of the accident report, the crash scene, your medical records, any available witness reports, and other pieces of evidence will help answer questions regarding the cause of the wreck, the party at fault, and the repercussions of the incident. The following factors are most heavily weighed when calculating the value amount of your claim:
- Type and Degree of Injury. Generally speaking, the more severe the injury, the larger the claim’s value. It can be unsettling to try to ascribe a dollar amount to a personal injury, but considerations such as medical bills, prescription medications, need for surgery, recovery time, lasting damage, and physical limitations resulting from the physical damage can support a prudent decision on your claim’s value.
- Medical Expenses. Medical expenses stem directly and largely from hospital visits and prescription medicine, but can also extend to things like crutches, wheelchairs, ambulance fees or other costs of transportation to healthcare facilities, in-home care, personal assistance, rehabilitation, physical therapy, or lodging to receive out-of-town medical treatment.
- Permanent Disability. If you incurred a permanent disability affecting your capacity to work or perform daily tasks, the value of your claim will be increased to reflect the cost of extra, ongoing expenses, in addition to the pain and suffering caused. Value will also be calculated to include adaptive equipment like bath chairs, or structural changes to your home or vehicle to accommodate disability, such as wheelchair ramps or lifts.
- Loss of Current or Future Income. A claim can help you recover the wages you lost due to missed work following the accident, and can also take into consideration the benefits, such as paid time off, that accrued during your recuperation period. In some cases, accident victims are unable to return to work due to the severity of injuries sustained. Under these circumstances, your lawyer can estimate the value of future wages, using information such as education and job training, to ensure you are fittingly compensated.
- Property Damage. In a commercial truck accident, it is likely that the most significant property damage will be to your vehicle. The cost of repair, or the value of your totaled vehicle, will be taken into account. Other property that was damaged or destroyed in the crash should additionally be noted. This may include your cell phone, computer, work equipment, GPS, or other personal property you were transporting at the time of the accident.
- Fault. One of the top causes of large truck-related accidents is driver fatigue, but there can be other factors involved, including weather conditions, mechanical failure, overloaded cargo, or even substance abuse. The state of Maryland is unique in its handling of fault in auto collisions. As one of only four “contributory negligence” states, instead of using percentage of fault to determine compensation, state law stipulates that an injured victim found at all, even 1%, responsible for their injuries is not entitled to any compensation. That is why it is especially important to work with your lawyer to provide the evidence necessary to prove that you were not at fault in the accident.
- Evidence. When fault is disputed, the value of your claim can be affected. Evidence to support your claim can come in the form of photographs of the accident scene, medical records, auto mechanic reports, pay stubs and wage records, or eyewitness accounts. You can help your lawyer by keeping detailed records and documentation, following all medical instructions given by your doctor, refraining from discussing the case on social media, and communicating with your attorney before talking with an insurance company.
Belsky & Horowitz, LLC Will Work for You
You should never have to take financial responsibility for an accident that was not your fault. As experienced and knowledgeable Baltimore truck accident lawyers, we at Belsky & Horowitz, LLC can help you receive proper compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, or other costs you incurred from a commercial truck accident you did not cause.
We take the time and care to comprehensively investigate your claim, making sure that every cost to you is accounted for in your claim’s value. We invite you to get in touch today for a free, no-obligation discussion of your case.