Is one of the more frequent questions we get in our Texas 18-wheeler accident law firm.
At the outset, it is almost impossible for an attorney to give an exact value on a case before a complete investigation has been done and all of the medical records and bills have been reviewed with a fine-tooth comb. Generally, however, a trucking accident injury is valued higher than the same case involving a car-to-car crash.
It is true that commercial vehicle accidents involve much higher numbers than a typical car-to-car crash. There are many reasons for this phenomenon, the main ones being that trucking companies carry commercial insurance policies, drivers are held to professional drivers’ standards and 80,000-pound vehicles tend to create more severe injuries.
Here are a few of the main factors for determining how much a truck accident injury case is worth?
How the crash occurred, can have an impact on the value of the case even when the other driver receives a ticket. Texas is a mutual responsibility state meaning that if someone is found partially at fault, their monetary damages are reduced by the judge by their percentage of fault. If the party is more than 51% at fault, in Texas they are precluded from recovering damages. Texas uses comparative responsibility in assessing fault and that impacts damage evaluations and payouts. For example, if a person is held to be only 10% at fault, the personal injury damages that person gets would be reduced by 10%.
Therefore, the accident factors need to be analyzed by the best truck accident lawyer even when only the trucker gets a ticket.
Trucking companies all carry commercial insurance policies and are very quick to defend claims made against them even those that are crystal clear liability-wise. Early investigation of a trucking accident is always a good plan. Contacting the best big truck attorney you can get is the way to go!
Aside from liability, one of the biggest factors in a trucking accident case is the medical help received by the injured person. What a qualified doctor has to say in the medical records goes a long way toward establishing the human damages from a trucking accident.
Lapses in treatment and the specific medical providers involved also can have an impact on the value of the case. If there is a gap in treatment the defense attorney will make a big issue out of that. The argument goes “if it was so bad, why not go back to the doctor”? Also, juries tend to undervalue the testimony and opinions of chiropractors yet take specialists such as orthopedic doctors more seriously.
Along those lines, what your medical doctor has to say about your injuries, diagnosis, and prognosis for the future are critical in valuing a case.
The severity of the impact is another factor that can affect the value of the case. If the crash looked to be a minor fender bender, it is more difficult to prosecute than one where the jury can look at a photograph and say while they’re lucky to be alive.
For this reason, if you are involved in an 18 wheeler accident, getting photographs before your vehicle is totaled or repaired usually is a good idea. Here is an article on what to do after an 18-wheeler accident?
If you have injured the same area previously or have had problems with the same part of your body in the past, this can affect the value of the case. Some defense doctors will always opine that the injured person had a pre-existing spine condition. Some injuries are more susceptible to this type of defense than others.
It is important to note that even if you have had a pre-existing condition if the crash aggravated the condition such that further medical treatment was necessary you still may have a case for damages.
Your legal history can also have an impact on the value of the case. If you’ve had previous personal injury claims, they may or may not come into evidence in a case. If you have had trouble with the law that also may or may not be admissible in court. It is critical that you always tell your personal injury attorney everything and let them decide how to deal with adverse issues. If you withhold information, from your lawyer, it will bite you in the behind!
Tip: It is important when speaking to your attorney that you make them aware of your complete legal history.
It is a simple fact that insurance companies do not treat unrepresented claimants the same as those who have an experienced and qualified attorney. Insurance companies are in the business of making profits and the less they pay you for your case, the better off they are.
Insurance companies do not want you to retain an attorney because they know they will end up having to pay real value for the claim and if the case does not settle, a jury can resolve the matter.
Who your attorney is also matters. Insurance companies retain records on each attorney when evaluating the value of the case. Attorneys who have recovered many multi-million dollar results in truck accident cases will be known to the defense.
Highly rated attorneys with substantial trucking accident experience taken much more seriously than attorneys that “need the money.”
We advise personal injury victims to research the attorneys they consider before signing any paperwork. Be wary of the following when selecting a Texas truck accident lawyer for your case: