• Brad Keating

18 Wheeler Accident Settlements: Everything to Know

Updated: Nov 4

Every year around the US, there is an increase in the number of motor vehicle accidents. This is troubling because many of these could be prevented. The most common accident involves an 18 wheeler and a regular motor vehicle.


Something that many don't realize when it comes to truck accidents is that there is so much that is affected. There are the lost wages and then the many ropes of the legal proceedings. For example, when it comes to 18-wheeler accident settlements, there is typically a law firm with a personal injury lawyer and insurance companies from both the driver of the 18-wheeler and the other vehicle involved.


 Sometimes it can be obvious to tell who is at fault. More often than not, there has to be a discussion and a back and forth of what really happened. Though people would think it would be easily detectable as to who was at fault, especially if one only looks to the drivers and possible witnesses. The reality is that many factors could result in semi vehicle (18 wheeler) accidents that are not always clear cut.



What Causes an 18-Wheeler Accident? 


 When it comes to 18 wheelers, there isn't much needed to cause them to swerve or lose control. A small patch of black ice or hard to drive in weather, these large commercial trucks can easily find themselves involved in a collision with another moto vehicle. 

Below are three of the most common causes of an accident between a moto vehicle and a truck driver. 


Driver Negligence 

For the most part, drivers of a semi-truck find themselves driving long distances for long stretches of time. This can sometimes result in the truck driver not being as aware of their surroundings. That moment of negligence can result in an accident that can have severe repercussions. 


With an insurance company, some of the most common reasons they find themselves creating a settlement for the victim of an 18-wheeler is because of driver negligence. 


What is considered driver negligence? 

Driving while texting or using a mobile device or being distracted. This is a significant reason for settlements with a personal injury lawyer. 


Other forms of negligence include the driver being reckless and driving too close or too fast, driving while fatigued, and finally driving while impaired. When it comes to a settlement, the accident's cause is heavily weighed, and the insurance company considers the driver's history and experience. Not only does the person's legal team take into consideration their driving history, but they also look at whether or not they have had any cases or priors. An example would be if the driver has received prior warnings for negligent driving or received speeding or traffic infractions. This does not look well for them when getting a settlement in their favor.


Company Negligence

There are some instances where a truck in the accident is not actually at fault, but it's the truck company's fault. This is what is referred to as company negligence.


How? 

If the company fails to maintain the 18-wheeler by not doing routine maintenance or carrying out proper safety tests, they are at fault. When it comes to settlements with the truck company, it can get too complicated for the insurance companies when it comes to trying to get a settlement. Though the law may favor the individual who suffered, making contact with truck companies to see the error of their ways may not always be so easy. 


Another way that a company could be charged for negligence is if it comes to light that they pressured their truck drivers to work long hours without taking a break. When there are accusations like this, it can make determining a settlement for the victim complicated. It suddenly becomes a case of who to believe, the driver or the company.


With company negligence, if the company has been in operations for years and has a good track record and history, they may fight back. This is especially true if this is their first significant road accident, which could prolong the trial. 


Why? As it would bring into question what could have lead to a perfect record being tarnished, and what factors were there that could have resulted in the incident. What is already an ordinarily long process, a company that is willing to fight for their name and reputation can make the process even longer.


Weather 

Even for the most skilled drivers, bad weather can make the roads very dangerous. Imagine driving an 18-wheeler during a snowstorm. Even for an ordinary motor vehicle, this can be dangerous and stressful. However, the weather is a common cause of truck accidents. 

One way that truck companies are working to reduce the number of accidents by their 18-wheeler is ensuring their drivers are comfortable and confident in the drive. 


 Why does this matter? 

Often people hear of companies charged with negligence because they force their drivers to continue with their routes even in bad weather, and the driver drives because they feel they do not have the right to say no. 


Truck Accident - Who's at Fault? 


Should a driver find themselves a victim or involved in an 8-wheeler accident, the first thing that needs to be done is they should reach out to a law firm. No matter where they go, they are then going to need to have representation. More often than not, many law firms offer an initial free consultation with one of their members. This step is crucial as it helps them determine facts about the accident and the severity of their personal injury. 


During this time, anything disclosed is attorney-client privilege. For a personal injury lawyer, this is also an opportune time to build on the attorney-client relationship, as the legal process is both exhausting and stressful. 


Once the information has been shared with their legal representative, then comes the stage of determining a settlement. This is a stage that not only requires those involved but the legal representation of the opposing side. Their involvement is due to the fact that there is going to be back and forth on what is reasonable, what is not reasonable, what should the settlement be, etc. The discussion is one that takes place if the parties choose to not go to trial. 


Ideally, individuals don't want to go to the courtroom, as this route is one that is both costly and lengthy. Keeping things out of the courtroom and between a lawyer or negotiator is ideal. Not to mention, if claimants keep it out of the courtroom, there is a greater chance of a settlement than if it were to go before a jury or judge.



Determining a Settlement


Putting a price on the personal injury that the claimant experiences after an accident can be hard to do. For a personal injury lawyer, they are going to want to make sure that the settlement they attain for the client does them justice. They are going to want to make sure that the attorney-client relationship they have forged has been respected within the settlement they get. 


It can be challenging; however, one thing that is sometimes discussed with a personal injury lawyer during the initial free consultation is the minimum truck settlement. What does this mean?


When it comes to determining 18-wheeler accident settlements, the law firm has to consider all the facts that they have been presented with.


This means considering the roles that the truck driver had in the accident, as well as other motor vehicles or victims involved. 


For some clients, they may refer to a truck accident settlement calculator, which is available online. One has to be cautious about when using these calculators because they don't consider factors such as lost wages or damages to the truck or vehicles, whereas, with a lawyer or legal representation, they can provide this and more. 


Settlements that clients are given are a rough estimate of what they could potentially win from their truck accident claim. The end amount could vary should other facts and circumstances be brought forth. 


What could change or impact the final line of a settlement? 

The most significant factor is who is at fault in the accident. If the truck accident was actually not a result of the 18-wheeler, but another vehicle, or other factors beyond the drivers' control. Then, this could impact the amount of what victims of the accident walk away with.


Calculating The Losses

When determining a settlement, the claimant's legal representative is going to explain that what they are potentially entitled to be going to take into consideration any economic and non-economic losses. What does this mean?  It means that the monetary value they could obtain is going to be based on the financial losses and hardship being in an accident has caused them. This can include any possible rehabilitation, loss of wage, and it factors in if they are permanently unable to return to work. 


Being in an accident is stressful enough when victims include the physical and emotional damages caused by it. The legal team is going to want to ensure they have been compensated accordingly, as there are plenty of expenses that can quickly pile up during and after the accident.


When to Contact Legal Support 


 It is essential that individuals seek out legal advice when they are involved in an accident. Consulting a legal representative such as a personal injury lawyer can help the clients determine what to do regarding a settlement from their accident. 


The thought of going to seek legal support can seem daunting. However, taking advantage of a free consultation is a great way to see what steps need to be taken. For example, if the victim was rear-ended, they are going to need to know what to expect or what to do in the case they are rear-ended by a commercial truck.


A rear-ended by a commercial truck settlement will require different steps than if the accident resulted from slippery roads or another vehicle. As these cases can be so specific, the actual settlement amounts truck accidents are going to cost the insurance is going to vary, and for this reason, seeking a lawyer for advice is going to be crucial. 


Anytime one experiences any pain or has had their life turned upside down, seeking legal support is essential. If one requires medical or physical rehabilitation, this is a sign to pursue legal aid. 


Getting the Compensation They Deserve

When people get into an accident, their most significant advocate is going to be their legal counsel. This is why the legal team is going to want to ensure that the moment they find a person who is a victim of an accident, they fight for their rights. 


How Long Does an 18-Wheeler Accident Settlement Take? 


When individuals are involved in an accident with an 18-wheeler, it is unlike typical road accident cases. For one thing, it can take years before any compensation is paid out, and even then, there is often a public jury that often puts the blame on who is at fault. Sometimes, this blame is accurate, and other times it is merely a personal preference. 


What does that mean? 

For example, take the commercial truck incident in Canada that collided with a bus of teen athletes.  In the spring of 2018, a semi-trailer collided with a bus carrying a team of hockey players. The collision resulted in 16 deaths, while the survivors experienced severe physical, psychological, and emotional trauma. Some of the survivors would also lose their ability to ever play hockey again. 


The accident though it took place in 2018, was found to be the driver's fault, yet the truck company is still undergoing proceedings to avoid any liability. The driver was found guilty, but again, the truck company, which the driver worked for is has delayed any potential settlements. They are doing this as they do not feel they are at fault, nor should they be held responsible if the driver is already guilty. 


During the trial, the name and reputation of the company were splattered over media and made headlines. Even though a few survivors settled and some who chose to move on, it required so much more than recounting the traumatic event; it meant showing how when road safety is not followed, it has long-lasting effects.


This is just one example of how an accident where the individuals who are clearly at fault are identified take years to be resolved. 


Suppose they are a victim of a semi-trailer accident. Though they may be suffering and may experience financial loss and hardship in the process. In that case, they, unfortunately, are not entitled to any monetary compensation until a decision has been made in the courts, or if the individual's lawyer can attain a settlement out of the courtroom. 


Due to this fact, it can be many years before anything is ever truly resolved between themselves as the victim and the company or driver.


If the driver was previously involved in a collision, under the state of Texas, a person has up to two years to file their claim. For more information, it is best to consult the individual's legal representatives as they can provide individuals with the best course of action to take. 


Final Remarks


The moment there is a truck accident and they are faced with the dilemma of having to make contact and deal with the trucking company, the process and trial are emotionally and mentally exhausting. Injuries sustained during and even after the event suddenly dictate how much the person could be potentially entitled to. The therapy, the extent of the damages, and the crash, whether or not they are going to need surgery for a fractured disc, become significant factors that lawyers take into consideration. 


Not every case involving tractor-trailers and cars are going to result in a million in settlements; however, it does shed light on sometimes the severity and importance of making sure that the transportation safety guidelines are always upheld. 


In the state of Texas, this is something that every motorist can rely on. The state works hard to ensure the utmost rules and regulations for trucking companies and those who haul a tractor-trailer. 


Why? 

As evidence has shown that if road safety is not adhered to, this can result in many individuals living with severe injuries such as the neck, shoulder, and back pain. These are injuries that have left many struggling to make a living and earning. 


The next time a person is in their car and is driving down the road, and watching the traffic pass by, consider the impact of ones driving. How a small decision to check a message or to not pay attention can leave many injured, and how it can result in significant serious repercussions. Do the right thing by taking the time to pay attention to the surroundings. 


In essence, it is important that individuals do everything they to take preventative measures in preventing being struck or being involved in a road accident because if they know someone who has been through the motions of a legal proceeding for a car accident, it is lengthy, it is stressful, and it can be avoided. If a person was recently involved in a truck accident, don't hesitate to make contact with a legal team today.





Ever find yourself wondering how long it takes to stop a fully-loaded semi-truck or if most slip and fall cases settle out of court, The Keating Firm LTD. can help you figure it out.




Disclaimer: The details included in this blog is offered for educational purposes only, and should not be taken as lawful guidance in any way. No recipients of material from this blog, clients or otherwise, should or should not act on the basis of any material consisted in the blog without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional guidance on the particular facts and situations at issue from an attorney accredited in the recipient's state.

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