Early 2021 estimates indicate that fatal accidents involving large trucks are up 13% from 2020, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association. In the United States, approximately 5,601 people died in a flatbed truck accident or a collision involving a large truck in 2021. In Colorado alone, 81 people died in a collision involving a large truck that same year.
In the wake of such devastation, it’s important for victims or their surviving family members to understand how they can be compensated for their losses.
Average Settlement Amounts
To put it plainly, there is no cookie-cutter average settlement for a flatbed truck accident. Different variables come into play, and medical bills alone can vary dramatically from one case to the next.
For example, the victim of a spinal cord injury may incur upwards of $300,000 or more in medical bills during just the first year after an injury. In contrast, medical bills for a broken arm or leg (without complications) may only be in the thousands or tens of thousands.
These and other factors can heavily impact the value of your settlement.
What Factors Impact Settlement Values?
Many facets of a case impact the average settlement amount. The following factors can influence the settlement for a truck accident in Colorado.
- The likelihood of a full recovery;
- The impact of the injury on the victim’s life and that of their family;
- The financial awards in similar past cases;
- The amount that the victim contributed to the accident;
- The defendant’s conduct;
- The circumstances of the accident;
- The extent of the physical and psychological damage from the accident; and
- The applicable law.
These are just some of the variables that may affect the final settlement for a flatbed truck accident.
How Do You Calculate Your Settlement Amount?
Calculating your potential settlement depends on the circumstances and the applicable law. There are three broad types of damages that a Colorado plaintiff might receive: economic, noneconomic, and punitive damages.
As the name suggests, economic damages serve to reimburse the victim for the financial fallout from the accident. Economic damages encompass costs such as:
- Medical expenses;
- Lost wages;
- Lost earning capacity;
- Prescription medication;
- Property damage;
- Accident-related transportation costs;
- Injury-related house modifications; and
- In-home care.
Economic damages are the easiest to quantify because you usually just have to add up bills, invoices, or pay stubs. However, these damages also include future or anticipated medical costs, which may take an expert to properly calculate.
For a flatbed truck accident, economic damages can easily reach tens of thousands of dollars or more. The sheer size, weight, and force of the flatbed truck and its cargo pose unique threats in an accident. The risk that the accident will dislocate the typically massive cargo on a flatbed and cause ancillary damage is daunting. Unfortunately, it’s part of what makes these accidents particularly hazardous and costly.
The physical, tangible cost of a flatbed truck accident isn’t the only harm from which victims suffer. The psychological, emotional, and social injuries that victims endure may be invisible, but they are very real. Noneconomic damages address and compensate victims for these less tangible harms.
Noneconomic damages include:
- Pain and suffering;
- Loss of consortium;
- Permanent disfigurement;
- Loss of relationship;
- Loss of quality of life; and
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
These are more difficult to quantify than economic damages. After all, how can you place a dollar figure on never being able to use your legs again?
Nonetheless, courts use a couple of different methods to assign a monetary value to these intangible losses in an effort to make the injured party whole.
Rarely awarded, punitive damages are not meant to compensate a victim. Instead, they are meant to punish the at-fault party for egregious misconduct and deter them from acting recklessly in the future.
When calculating punitive damages, you can consider:
- The applicable law;
- The defendant’s conduct; and
- The severity of the victim’s injuries.
Furthermore, the final punitive damages amount is typically proportionate to the defendant’s wealth. The idea behind this is that it takes a different amount of money to make a particular defendant feel the pain of the punitive damages award.
What Steps Can I Take to Help Me Maximize My Recovery?
Let’s look at some things you can do to help strengthen your case and get maximum recovery.
- Seek medical attention as soon as possible after an accident;
- Keep all doctor’s appointments;
- Follow your doctor’s recommendations and treatment plan;
- Keep accurate records of the accident;
- Keep accurate records of your accident-related expenses;
- Chronicle your pain following the accident;
- Document the impact of your injury on your life;
- Refrain from making any admissions of fault (however slight) to anyone; and
- Contact an experienced flatbed truck accident attorney.
No one can guarantee what amount of money you will get from your claim, but these steps can help maximize your recovery.
How Can a Lawyer Help Increase the Settlement for Truck Accident Victims?
A lawyer can help victims receive the maximum compensation by:
- Uncovering evidence that others missed;
- Speaking to the insurance adjuster on your behalf, thereby keeping you from inadvertently admitting fault;
- Representing you at the negotiation table;
- Reviewing settlement offers;
- Drafting and defending counter-offers;
- Helping to make sure that you don’t miss any deadlines;
- Communicating with third parties on your behalf; and
- Keeping the threat of litigation on the table as leverage.
Essentially, insurance companies and at-fault parties are more likely to take your claim seriously if you have an attorney.
Gerash Steiner Blanton, P.C.—Helping Colorado Victims Get the Maximum Flatbed Truck Accident Settlement for Over 75 Years
At Gerash Steiner Blanton, P.C., we give you the personalized attention you deserve, while providing you with top-notch legal representation. We have Eric Steiner, MD, on our team. Mr. Steiner is a doctor who practiced as a cardiac anesthesiologist before becoming a lawyer. His background means that our legal team is better equipped to fight for you because they have a deeper understanding of your injuries. We use this to our client’s advantage when describing our clients’ injuries to opposing parties at the negotiation table or to jurors at trial. We intentionally keep our caseload small so that we can provide the compassionate, personal legal representation you need. Call us today, or contact us online.