Being involved in a truck accident can turn a person's entire world upside down.
Victims fortunate enough to live through a collision with an up to 80,000 pound semi-truck, fuel tanker, commercial bus, or another large truck may still face debilitating, disabling or disfiguring injuries—as well as a mountain of unexpected medical debt.
Fortunately, truck accident victims aren't without legal options. Personal injury laws give people who've sustained injuries or property damage the right to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party to seek compensation for a wide range of economic, non-economic and even punitive damages.
Types of Damages Sought in Truck Accident Cases
After a commercial truck crash, victims who are injured and out of work while they recover—or out of work permanently due to disabling injuries—may wonder how they'll be able to support themselves. Securing a monetary award or settlement from the party responsible for the accident can go a long way toward making ends meet.
There are three main types of compensatory damages: economic damages, non-economic damages, and punitive damages.
Economic damages, also known as special damages, are those that seek to compensate the victim for calculable monetary losses. These damages include:
- Medical bills, including doctor and hospital visits, treatment and surgical costs, rehabilitation fees and medical-related travel expenses.
- Property damage, including repair or replacement costs for the vehicle injured in the truck accident.
- Wages lost while recovering from accident-related injuries.
- Loss of earning capacity if the injuries sustained in the truck accident are sufficiently debilitating or disabling to prevent returning to work.
Non-economic, or general damages, compensate the victim for non-monetary losses, such as:
- Physical pain and suffering caused by the accident-related injuries
- Mental anguish experienced as a result of the truck accident
- Scarring or other disfiguring injuries
- Impairment or disability stemming from the crash injuries
- Reduced enjoyment or quality of life as a result of being unable to take part in previously enjoyed activities
- Depression, anxiety, or Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD)
In some cases, truck accident victims may also be entitled to punitive damages. Unlike economic and non-economic damages, which seek to compensate victims for specific losses, punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant for conduct that the judge or jury deems particularly egregious or outrageous. Punitive damages are awarded in addition to the damages received for economic and non-economic losses.
Additionally, when someone dies in a wreck caused by negligence on the part of a commercial truck driver or trucking company, certain surviving family members can file a wrongful death lawsuit and pursue compensation for the following damages:
- The cost of the victim's accident-related medical treatment prior to death
- The victim's physical pain and suffering
- Funeral fees
- Burial or cremation expenses
- The family's grief and anguish
- Loss of economic support
- Lost income
- Loss of love and companionship
- Loss of inheritance
- Loss of benefits (such as pensions or medical insurance coverage)
- Loss of consortium (for spouses)
Potentially Liable Parties
Liability can be unexpectedly murky in these types of cases. An experienced truck accident attorney can help victims identify the appropriate party to name as the defendant in their lawsuits. Parties that may be potentially liable include:
- The commercial truck driver
- The truck company who employees the driver
- A repair facility responsible for proper maintenance
- A fellow motorist (in multi-vehicle collisions)
- A parts manufacturer, if the accident was caused by a mechanical defect
Do You Need a Truck Accident Attorney?
If you were injured in a truck accident, you may wonder if your life will ever get back to normal. While McGartland Law can't guarantee normalcy, we can help you pursue the compensation you need to get your life back on solid financial footing.
Contact McGartland Law today to schedule a free, no-obligation initial analysis of your truck accident case. Our award-winning truck accident attorneys are ready to help you fight for the justice you deserve.