Commercial trucks are some of the biggest and heaviest vehicles on the road. They cruise America’s highways and byways, and you have to notice and respect them because of their size. It’s common to feel nervous when you’re near one of these enormous vehicles since you know what they can do if they run into you.
You have to hope when you’re near one that the driver knows what they’re doing. No commercial truck driver can work without the proper license, and they can only get that after plenty of training. Still, sometimes the unexpected occurs, and you might collide with one of these huge eighteen-wheelers.
If this happens, you’ll more than likely need to contact a competent lawyer to represent you. They can talk to you about the various damages you might be able to collect, assuming that what happened was the truck driver’s fault.
We’ll cover some of the damage types that you can receive in these incidents right now.
1. Wrongful Death
Catrialattorneys.com mentions that if a commercial truck injures you, you can get the law “on your side with a California truck accident lawyer.” If you live somewhere other than California, you’ll need to get someone local, but they should certainly have prior experience with commercial truck accident cases.
You might be able to collect wrongful death damages if the truck killed one of your passengers. You may also be able to collect if the truck accident hurt someone in your vehicle, and then those injuries subsequently killed them.
It’s also possible that if the truck accident killed you, then your family members can bring a wrongful death suit on your behalf. It’s frightening to think that such a thing could happen, but if it does, then at the very least, your family can collect some money that can help support them when you are gone.
With wrongful death, you might get cash to cover the funeral and burial expenses. You can also get money to cover the deceased individual’s wages if they were one of the family’s breadwinners.
2. Punitive Damages
You can sometimes get punitive damages after a commercial truck accident, but this is a rarer occurrence. That’s because a jury will only reward punitive damages if they feel like the truck driver or their company were grossly negligent in some way, and that’s what caused the wreck.
For instance, if the driver got blackout drunk and then climbed behind the wheel, causing the wreck, seeking punitive damages would not be out of line. If the trucking company knew there was something wrong with the vehicle, and they decided to put off getting repairs, you can probably get punitive damages for that as well.
With punitive damages, the real trick is proving your assertion. It’s easy enough to prove if the truck driver ingested alcohol before driving. It’s probably tougher to establish something like a company knowing about a mechanical issue that they failed to fix because you’ll have to come up with some sort of physical evidence or documentation.
3. Medical Costs
If the truck accident hurt you, you’re probably going to have all sorts of medical costs, and someone has to pay for that. Maybe you have insurance, but you’ll likely still have a deductible and copays.
You might have costs for such things as doctor bills, hospital stays, prescription medication, or physical therapy sessions. You may also have to pay for medical devices like wheelchairs, chair lifts for your home, etc. If you have to retrofit your home because the truck accident damaged you permanently, you would certainly try to collect on that.
When you and your lawyer go after the trucking company, you’ll want to get the money to cover future medical costs. You’ll have to estimate how much that will be and get the jury to find in your favor so that the trucking company pays it. Your lawyer will probably cite precedent by looking at similar injuries and what they cost other victims.
4. Lost Wages
If you can’t work for quite some time while you recover from the truck accident, then you can’t bring in your usual salary. Maybe you’re one of the family’s main breadwinners, or you could even be the only one.
You’ll need to get your lawyer to secure a judgment in your favor so you can recoup those wages. If you can’t get those back, then you’re paying for everything out of pocket at a time when you can’t make any money to replace it.
This is one of the primary reasons why it is so vital that you win your truck accident lawsuit. If you lose, then you’ll probably quickly deplete your savings, and you might even have to declare bankruptcy.
5. Pain and Suffering Compensation
If the truck accident hurt you, you’re probably going through some physical pain because of what happened. You may also deal with some mental and psychological anguish.
For instance, you might have to seek professional help if the accident gave you PTSD. You’ll need to pay a therapist to help you through this difficult time, and that can get expensive quickly. You may not even be able to bring yourself to drive again for a while because you’re not mentally prepared to do so.
It’s a little harder to put a price tag on pain and suffering. This is another situation where you’ll need your lawyer to look at precedent from similar cases. They can certainly ask for any amount of money, but the jury will only award you as much as they think your anguish is worth.
If you want even a prayer to collect any of this money, though, you need a lawyer who can argue convincingly on your behalf. You’ll want one who can study and research your suit’s every facet so that they don’t miss anything, and you should also get one who you can pay on a contingency basis just in case they lose.