We Won $48.5 Million in a Truck Accident Case
In this case, we took more than 60 depositions in five different states. Because of Stephenson’s tireless advocacy, shortly before the trial was to commence, the defendants settled the case for $48.5 million.
What Is the Average Settlement for a Semi-Truck Accident?
Our Indianapolis car accident lawyers were once defense attorneys … now we use what we learned to help our clients prove their cases.
Regardless of what is the average settlement, our truck accident lawyers can determine what your case is worth and the best way to fight for compensation that covers all your damages.
The average settlement for a semi-truck accident is hard to determine since there are so many individual circumstances and factors that go into figuring out what compensation should be. Every case is different, as are the injuries and costs that result from the accident, so, depending on the circumstances, settlement amounts can range from the thousands to the millions of dollars.
There are many factors that can impact the amount your semi-truck accident case is worth. They include the skill and negotiating power of your attorney to prove and handle your case, as well as the inclinations of the individual jurisdiction, judge, and jury if there is a trial.
An Attorney Can Help You Get the Maximum Settlement Amount Possible
When massive semi-trucks are involved in accidents, the damages that result are often much greater than those from an accident between two passenger vehicles. The size and weight of these trucks creates force that can cause devastating and life-changing injuries, such as head, back, neck, brain and spinal cord damage, paralysis, amputations, broken bones, and even death. Survivors of commercial vehicle accidents often face long, painful recoveries that require expensive rehabilitation and continuing care, and medical bills mount up at a time they are unable to work.
If you or a loved one has been hurt or someone has died in a truck accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses through insurance or a lawsuit for personal injury or wrongful death. Commercial trucks are required to carry substantial amounts of insurance, but it is not easy to get them to pay, as insurance companies are out for their own benefit and will try to get you to settle for as little as possible. While there may be a large number of parties potentially liable for the accident, and they may all have insurance and assets that can go toward a settlement, major corporations and their insurers have high-powered lawyers ready to defend claims and lawsuits brought against them. This is not something you should try to handle on your own.
Fortunately, there is help available from the truck accident lawyers at Stephenson Rife, LLP. At this difficult time, when you are trying to recover from your traumatic accident, our semi-truck accident attorneys can take the burdens off you by dealing with the complex laws and multiple parties and insurers involved and fighting for the settlement you deserve. We understand the difficulties you and your family face, and we are deeply committed and fully prepared to handle all legal hurdles, so you can concentrate on rebuilding your life.
We provide a free consultation to discuss the details of your accident and determine the best way to move forward. You pay nothing unless and until we win, so call us today at (317) 680-2350 for your free, no-obligation case evaluation.
Truck Accident Lawsuit Settlements Our Lawyers May Win For You
In a successful truck accident lawsuit, our Stephenson Rife attorneys can win an award for both your monetary losses and your non-economic damages that do not have a specific dollar value, such as pain and suffering.
The following are examples of some settlements that our firm has won:
We Won $48.5 Million in a Truck Accident Case. In this case, a commercial truck veered across the center line and struck M.A.’s vehicle head on, where they died at the scene. Stephenson Rife was hired shortly after the crash to represent the family of the deceased. Our firm immediately began an aggressive investigation and preparation for trial. The discovery phase of the litigation included successfully petitioning the court to have important documents turned over by the defense. We took more than 60 depositions in five different states. Experts from across the country were hired and prepared for trial. Because of our team’s tireless advocacy, shortly before the trial was to commence, the defendants settled the case for $48.5 million.
Semi Driver’s Negligence Causes Permanent Injury to Young Woman. In another case, a semi driver was pulling his truck out from a gas station, intending to turn left across two southbound lanes. M.R. was driving about 68 miles per hour and was unable to avoid striking the semi’s trailer. Her car was totaled and her foot was pinned by the crumpled front end; she suffered a very severe fracture of her foot along with several other significant injuries. The driver of the semi testified in detail and placed all the blame for the crash on M.R. However, by meticulously reconstructing a 16-camera video surveillance produced by the gas station, Stephenson and Rife were able to prove that the semi driver’s account of his activities at the gas station was blatantly false. They were also able to prove that he was completely blocking M.R.’s lane of travel and she could not avoid striking the truck. The trucking company paid M.R. $250,000 at mediation.
Passenger Injured in a Truck Accident. D.W. was a front-seat passenger in a vehicle that was struck by a UDF truck making deliveries. D.W. received broken arms and legs, as well as internal injuries. Stephenson was retained by D.W.’s personal counsel to prepare and try the case. In discovery, it was determined that the UDF driver had multiple previous driving violations. Stephenson retained numerous experts to show the jury the devastating effects of the injuries. Before trial, the defendant’s company stated that a jury in a small southern county in Indiana would never return a verdict for $1 million in this case. The defendant was correct; the verdict was twice that amount.
What a Truck Accident Case Is Worth
These are just some examples of our Stephenson Rife truck accident settlements. Additional examples of settlement amounts won in truck accident cases across the country include:
- $26 Million truck accident settlement
- $6.5 Million settlement for a brain injury in a garbage truck accident
- $6.9 Million settlement when a garbage truck crashed into a car
- $3.97 Million settlement for family of man killed in a tractor trailer crash
- $3.5 Million jury verdict for pedestrian hit by a truck
- $1.85 Million settlement for fuel tank operator killed in a crash with a dump truck
While these large amounts are on the high side of the average truck accident settlement, keep in mind that what you will receive is still based on the individual factors of your case. For example, if your injuries forever alter your quality of life, then you may be able to get an award that is higher than the average semi-truck accident settlement. The best way to learn what your truck accident case is worth is to contact our attorneys to discuss the details of your accident.
How Much is My Truck Accident Case Worth?
Our truck accident attorneys know that there are many factors that go into determining how much an accident case is worth.
When you consult with our Stephenson Rife commercial vehicle accident lawyers, we will carefully listen to your version of what happened and determine if you have a valid lawsuit. We will let you know what we think the case should be worth and the best way to proceed with getting you fair compensation.
There are many reasons why big rig truck accidents are generally worth more than the average accident settlement.
Factors that play a role in settlement amounts include:
Who Is Liable for the Truck Accident?
The trucking industry is governed by state and federal safety regulations, and failure to meet them creates liability. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (Title 49, Parts 350-399) govern all vehicles engaged in interstate traffic, and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has rules for driver’s license standards, safety and fitness procedures, financial responsibility for motor carriers, maximum hours truckers can drive, and what inspection, repair and maintenance of vehicles is required. When these regulations are not adhered to, the responsible parties can be found negligent and liable for damages.
In trucking accident cases, multiple parties may be found liable. For example, truckers may work directly for the company they are delivering for, or they may be independent contractors. Drivers may have driven while distracted or fatigued, or they may have been speeding. Cargo may have been loaded incorrectly and shifted; parts of the truck may have failed; or problems with road maintenance may have contributed to the accident.
As a result, depending on the circumstances, liable parties may include:
- The truck driver
- The trucking company that owns the truck or the company that leased the truck
- The owner of the cargo and the party that loaded it
- Third-party contractors
- Other negligent drivers
- The manufacturer of the truck or its equipment or parts
- The mechanic responsible for maintaining the vehicle
- The government entity or other party responsible for maintaining the road.
How Insurance and Assets Can Affect the Value of Your Settlement
Any or all of these parties may be at fault for contributing to the accident, and they all may have insurance and assets that can go toward a settlement award; the greater the number of sources, the greater the possibility of a large award. Also, if a large company with big insurance coverage is liable, the chances are that the settlement amount will be greater than in an accident case involving a driver who owns the vehicle and is self-insured.
The Damages Your Case Involves
Whether your injuries were caused by negligence from a delivery truck accident, dump truck accident, or any other semi-truck or commercial vehicle accident, Indiana allows victims to recover an award for compensatory damages, and the more damages, the higher your settlement amount may be. Higher amounts are often awarded based on your age, health, status, family responsibilities, and earning ability, as well.
Compensatory damages are to cover losses and costs for both your economic damages for specific monetary losses and your non-economic damages for losses that may not have a specific dollar value but negatively impact your life. These may include:
- Medical and rehabilitative and equipment costs
- Lost wages and future earning capacity
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish and emotional distress
- Permanent disability
- Disfigurement and permanent scarring
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
Punitive damages may also be awarded in certain circumstances to punish negligent parties for willful negligence or especially egregious behavior and to act as a deterrent for similar misconduct in the future.
An Accident Resulting in Death May Increase the Value of a Truck Accident Case
When a truck accident results in a death, the settlement amount is usually higher. If a death occurs, our attorneys may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. The Indiana Adult Wrongful Death Act (AWDA), Indiana Code 34-23-1-2, provides that when a death is caused by the wrongful act or omission of another, the deceased person’s personal representative may maintain an action against the negligent party.
The Availability of Evidence and Witnesses to Help Prove Your Case
Our attorneys will thoroughly investigate the accident and gather evidence such as eyewitness testimony, photos and videos from traffic cameras; pictures of damage to vehicles and skid and tire marks; police, ambulance, doctor, phone, and hospital records; company hiring, training, and maintenance records; the truck’s event data recorder (“black box”) data; and past driver citations for violations such as speeding and safety violations.
Truck Accident Lawyers Answer Your Questions
It’s natural to have questions and concerns after an accident with a semi-truck or other big rig, delivery truck or dump truck. The following are some answers to questions our attorneys are frequently asked:
Can What I Say to Insurance Companies Affect the Value of My Case?
Yes. Say as little as possible to insurance companies. They are interested in their bottom line and want to pay as little as possible. They may contact you and try to get you say something that shows you were at fault or make a lowball offer to settle your claim quickly. Admitting to fault makes it very difficult to prove other parties’ negligence; and if you accept their offer, it may keep you from being able to receive the full settlement amount you are entitled to or get anything additional should your injuries worsen.
Tell the insurance companies to speak to your attorney, and let us handle questions and negotiations. Once they know that there is an attorney at your side who is willing to go to trial, insurance company adjusters and lawyers are likely to take your case more seriously and come up with a legitimate offer for compensation.
How do you prove negligence or fault?
To prove fault legally, our attorneys must show the existence of the following elements:
- Duty – The defendant owed you a duty of care not to cause harm.
- Breach – The defendant breached that duty by acting or failing to act.
- Cause – This action or failure to act caused a crash and your injuries.
- Damages – You suffered damages as a result.
We would do this by thoroughly investigating the case and collecting evidence, finding all liable parties, and hiring experts to provide testimony as to fault as well as the extent of your injuries and how they will affect you into the future. It’s important to contact our truck accident attorneys quickly, so vital records such as the driver’s and dispatcher’s logs, inspection and maintenance records, the truck’s “black box,” and other evidence can be preserved and utilized to prove negligence. In addition, there is a statute of limitations – a time limit for filing a lawsuit. According to Indiana Code (IC) 34-11-2-4(3), you must file a claim for personal injury or wrongful death within two years or the courts will not hear your case.
When we successfully prove that the fault lies with the trucking company, the truck driver, or another entity and not with you, the value of your case may increase.
Why do I need to have an attorney?
In most cases, large commercial trucking companies and their insurance companies have a team of powerful injury lawyers, investigators, and insurance adjusters working to minimize your settlement. This is very difficult for an individual to go up against without the help of an attorney familiar with the laws and complications that a semi-truck lawsuit involves. Our Stephenson Rife big rig truck accident attorneys work with investigators and experts in accident reconstruction to determine how your trucking accident occurred and who may have been at fault. We know the courts, the system, and how insurers operate, and we are fully prepared to find all potentially liable parties and hold them responsible for the optimum settlement you deserve. We will aggressively negotiate with insurers and take your case to trial if necessary.
Making mistakes can be costly and keep you from getting fairly compensated, so make sure you have a skilled truck accident attorney fighting for your rights. There can be a big difference between how much your case is worth and the amount of a settlement you receive. Work with experienced attorneys to ensure you receive all the compensation you deserve.
How Do I Know the Value of My Truck Accident?
Our Stephenson Rife truck accident lawyers know from experience how much compensation you should receive based on the individual factors involved in your truck accident case. When you contact us, we can evaluate your case, give you an idea what to expect, answer your questions, and be there for you throughout the entire process, from discovery to trial, to appealing your case if necessary.
At Stephenson Rife, we have the experience to pursue positive results, no matter what legal challenge your case involves. We provide caring, confident and cost-effective service you can count on, which is why we are the law firm that other law firms consult. If you want to know how your case compares to the average settlement for a semi-truck accident, contact us.
Find out what we can do for you by calling us today at (317) 680-2350 for your free consultation. We work on a contingency basis, so there are no fees to you unless and until we win your case.