The types of damages you might collect for a truck accident depend on the losses that you suffer because of the collision. Because any crash with a commercial truck can cause serious injuries, it stands to reason that you will face a significant number of hefty medical bills. You might also miss a significant number of days at work while you receive treatment and recover from your injury. Finally, these injuries will likely cause you pain and suffering.
Your lawyer can demand that the at-fault party compensate you for all these types of losses—along with other types of damages. We shall explore some of the most common types of damages here.
Economic vs. Non-Economic Damages
When you look at the full range of damages that might be recovered in a truck accident, consider that they are primarily classified as economic (also called “special”) damages or non-economic (also called “general”) damages.
Special damages refer to the compensation you receive for losses that can be readily calculated—perhaps by adding up bills and calculating time missed from work by your hourly wages. As such, they include losses like medical expenses and lost income.
On the other hand, general damages refer to compensation for the non-economic ways in which your injury hurt you. The amount of pain and suffering you endure (and will endure), for example, does not carry a price tag, but juries acknowledge that it is a negative outcome for which you should receive compensation.
In Lebron v. Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, it was ruled that placing a cap on the amount of non-economic damages that someone could recover in a personal injury case is unconstitutional.
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Calculating Special Damages
The point of awarding damages is to compensate you for the losses you experience as a result of your accident injuries. When it comes to special damages, these amounts can be calculated in a straightforward manner by simply referring to documentation, receipts, wage statements, and so on. Your lawyer will then add up all of your losses to arrive at a grand total.
Examples of economic damages include:
- Doctors’ fees
- Surgeons’ fees
- Emergency transportation
- Physical rehabilitation
- Physical therapy
- Prescription medications
- Home modifications
- Mobility devices
- Replacement services
Calculating General Damages
General damages acknowledge the fact that you have suffered and will suffer in other ways that impact your day-to-day life. Although they are non-economic by nature, the legal system has devised ways in which to assign monetary values to these damages.
Personal injury laws do not impose a set formula for calculating pain and suffering. However, a general guideline for determining the value of this loss is to multiply your special damages by a number between one and three. If your special damages total $100,000, your pain and suffering (using this rule of thumb) will fall between $100,000 and $300,000. The greater the severity of your injury—or should you have suffered scarring or disfigurement—the higher this number will likely be.
Examples of types of general damages include:
- Pain and suffering,
- Mental anguish,
- Emotional stress, and
- Diminished quality of life.
How Comparative Fault Affects Damages
Illinois courts honor the doctrine of comparative fault, which accounts for situations when more than one party is at fault for accident injuries. Under a comparative fault system, your recoverable damages are reduced by the percentage to which you are found to be responsible for the accident.
However, if a jury finds you to be at least 50 percent responsible, you recover no damages for your injury. Although this rule applies only at trial, the insurance company knows that the jury will be bound by comparative fault, and this could affect the insurer’s settlement offer.
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If you lost a loved one who succumbed to injuries they suffered in a truck accident, you might consider pursuing a wrongful death action against the at-fault party. This remedy can help you pay for funeral and burial expenses, as well as other damages.
Juries and Insurance Companies
Most personal injury cases never make it to trial. Rather, the at-fault party’s insurance company will generally negotiate with the injured individual’s attorney to arrive at a reasonable settlement. However, the insurers will look at your case and assess the likelihood that a jury would find in your favor. If they think this may happen, they consider how much the jury would likely award you.
If the insurance company sees you have a strong case backed by compelling evidence, they might be more apt to settle (and to do so for a higher amount). Doing so will spare them the costs of taking the matter to trial, where they risk paying out even more than they would have in a settlement.
A Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help You Pursue Damages
A lawyer from The Kryder Law Group, LLC can calculate your damages, negotiate with insurers, and fight in court, if necessary, to recover the compensation you deserve. Such a financial award might include many of the types of damages you could collect for a truck accident.
Call The Kryder Law Group, LLC at (312) 223-1700 for a free consultation.