When you embark on an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit after a truck accident, you might have it in mind to only pursue recovery for the money you’ve spent on medical bills, plus perhaps financial reimbursement for your totaled or damaged vehicle.
Florida law, however, gives you the opportunity to recover much more than just these two types of compensation.
Learning all the compensable damages you might be able to recover in a truck accident case can help you set your sights on a more accurate settlement amount – or make you realize your claim needs to go to trial for a better verdict.
Past and Future Medical Bills
Compensation for medical bills occurs in every personal injury claim. A truck accident victim can calculate the amount of this economic damage by totaling the medical bills he or she has paid relating to crash injuries so far, and then adding an estimated value of future medical bills. Medical bill compensation can include virtually any expenses that have to do with the injury or disability, including:
- Ambulance fees
- Doctor’s appointments
- Future medical expenses
- Home/vehicle disability modifications
- Hospital bills and price of overnight stays
- Medications and medical devices
- Physical rehabilitation
- Surgical procedures and other treatments
- X-rays, scans, and tests
Any medical procedures, treatments, or therapies relating to the injury can qualify under this type of compensation, even if the claimant requires non-medical in-home services due to permanent disability. Medical compensation can amount to six- and seven-figures depending on the nature of the injury and the age of the claimant.
Lost Wages and Lost Capacity to Earn
Truck accident survivors typically cannot return to work the day of the crash. Instead, they have to take time away from their jobs – normally unpaid sick days – to heal. A personal injury lawsuit can reimburse you for these missed wages, as well as any promotions, raises, or job opportunities you likely would have received were it not for the injury.
You can also receive payment for the loss of earning capacity. This might be the case if your injuries, time spent in the hospital, or permanent disability interfere with your ability to earn money in the future.
The jury will consider factors such as:
- past earnings,
- level of impairment,
- experience, and
- life expectancy when deciding compensation for lost earning capacity.
Pain and Suffering
“Pain and suffering” is the main type of non-economic compensation a truck accident victim can obtain through a personal injury lawsuit. It refers to the intangible physical pain, emotional suffering, distress, and mental anguish the claimant experiences because of the accident.
A jury decides the amount of pain and suffering damages based on how much the injury has impacted the victim’s life. The severity of the injury, prognosis for recovery, and pain associated with the injury can all factor into calculations.
It is often up to the plaintiff’s attorney to prove how much an injury has affected the victim, and how different life would have been for the claimant if the accident had never happened. Juries make non-economic damage calculations based on the amount of economic damages, often with a multiplier that represents the severity of the injury.
Most courts also allow truck crash victims to claim compensation for lost enjoyment of life or lost quality of life. These losses may exist if the claimant has suffered a permanent injury, disability, scarring, or disfigurement in the accident.
Property damage is a staple type of compensation in most truck accident claims. The immense weight of tractor-trailers means total devastation to the smaller vehicle in most truck accident cases. If the accident totaled your vehicle, or cost you expensive repairs, claim these losses when you file.
Keep your bills and receipts for vehicle inspections, evaluations, and repairs. If you need to completely replace your vehicle, the courts will award an amount that is appropriate for the value of your lost car.
Court Costs and Attorney’s Fees
In some cases, the courts may award compensation to cover your court costs and attorney’s fees. This is often the case if the judge rules that the defendant’s actions were grossly negligent or reckless.
Don’t worry too much about your attorney’s fees in truck accident claims, however; most personal injury attorneys (including Bulluck Law Firm) operate on a contingency-fee basis, meaning you don’t pay out-of-pocket for your lawyer. Instead, your lawyer gets paid a percentage of your compensation – only if you win.
Loss of Consortium
In the tragic event that a loved one passes away in a truck accident in Florida, surviving family members may be eligible for compensation through a wrongful death claim. The types of compensation in these cases differ from other personal injury claims. One main difference is that the family could receive compensation for loss of the loved one’s companionship, guidance, support, household services, love, and care (known collectively as “loss of consortium”).
If the truck accident was not your fault, you deserve compensation to cover your losses. Work with a lawyer to help build your truck accident case and maximize recovery in Florida.
To learn more about truck accidents, read our A Comprehensive Guide for Truck Accident Victims.