The trucking industry is a billion-dollar business in the United States with good reason. Commercial trucks are one of the most effective and efficient forms of transporting goods across the country. Unfortunately, it is very dangerous to share the road with these extremely large vehicles. A 5,000-pound passenger vehicle simply cannot withstand an impact with an 80,000-pound large truck.
During 2014, over 111,000 people were injured, and 3,903 people were killed in large truck accidents. Florida had the third highest fatality rate in the nation from large truck accidents that year. Because of the size and weight of large trucks, accident victims usually suffer traumatic and life-threatening injuries, and those victims are usually the occupants of other vehicles. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 83 percent of the fatalities and 77 percent of the injuries in large truck accidents were sustained by occupants of other vehicles or people outside of the large truck.
Calculating Damages in Large Truck Accidents
One of the first questions clients ask our Lake City truck accident attorneys is “What is my case worth?”
When calculating what an insurance claim is worth in a truck accident case, it is important to include all damages allowable under Florida's personal injury laws. Common damages included in a truck accident insurance claim are:
- Property damage
- Funeral, burial, or cremation expenses, in the event of a wrongful death
- Physical pain, mental anguish, and emotional suffering
- Lost wages, including past and future loss of income and a loss of earning capacity
- Medical expenses, including past and future medical bills and long-term personal care costs
- Expenses related to medical equipment, travel, and other out-of-pocket costs
- Permanent disability
- Scarring and disfigurement
Each truck accident claim is unique; therefore, it is impossible to know exactly how much a case is worth until we conduct a thorough investigation. An attorney who provides a dollar figure during your first consultation is not doing you a favor. Because injuries in a truck accident tend to be life-altering, it is crucial that your attorney takes adequate time to evaluate the claim properly to maximize the compensation you can receive for your losses, injuries, and damages.
For example, if you suffer a spinal cord injury that prevents you from returning to work, your lost wages could exceed a million dollars depending on your age and occupation. Furthermore, your future medical costs could also exceed a million dollars over your lifetime. Our Lake City truck accident attorneys understand the importance of using all resources, including expert witnesses, to calculate the true value of a truck accident case.
What Is Maximum Medical Improvement?
Maximum medical improvement (MMI) is another factor in calculating the value of a claim. MMI is the point you reach in your recovery when further medical treatment or time will not improve your condition or prognosis. In other words, you have recovered fully, or you have suffered permanent disability because of the crash.
It is important to wait until you reach MMI to know if you have sustained permanent disabilities because you can receive compensation for a permanent disability. Furthermore, you can also receive compensation for future medical costs and other expenses related to the permanent condition. If you settle your insurance claim before you reach MMI, you may lose thousands of dollars because once you settle your claim, you cannot go back to the insurance company for more money. Therefore, if you require additional surgeries or other care, you will be responsible for the cost and losses if you have already signed a release to settle the claim.
Call a Lake City Truck Accident Attorney for A Free Consultation
Do not try to handle a truck accident claim on your own! It is always in your best interest to seek the advice of an experienced Lake City truck accident attorney before you speak with the insurance adjuster.
For a free appointment with an experienced Florida truck accident attorney, contact the Koberlein Law Offices by calling our Lake City office at 386-269-9802 or our Gainesville office at 352-519-4357. You may also contact our office by using the contact form on our website.