If you are among the estimated 2,000 people injured in a commercial truck accident in South Carolina this year, you may have a right to seek reimbursement for your losses. The money you receive from the at-fault party or their insurer is referred to as truck accident damages. You may claim compensation for your medical bills, lost income, and other losses you have suffered because of the accident.
At Joye Law Firm, our attorneys are nationally-known for our experience in handling big truck accidents. We’re committed to helping people, just like you, put their lives back together after a truck accident. We collected millions for truck accident victims, and can help you understand the types of compensation you may claim under South Carolina law.
Call us now or reach out online for a free consultation.
What Damages Can I Recover After a Truck Accident?
It’s important to understand the types of compensation you are legally entitled to demand after a truck accident. An insurance company may try to pressure you to accept a lowball offer that does not cover all your losses.
The two broad categories of damages that may be sought in most personal injury cases are known as special damages and general damages.
Special Damages for Truck Accident Case
Special damages are also known as economic damages because they compensate you for dollars-and-cents losses, such as medical bills, lost income, out-of-pocket expenses, and reduced earning potential.
Our attorneys can gather your medical bills and get an understanding of your ongoing medical treatment needs. We can calculate an appropriate amount to demand in special damages to cover your present and future medical expenses.
General Damages for Truck Accident Case
Non-economic damages are referred to as general damages. General damages compensate you for losses that are harder to place a monetary value on such as pain and suffering, physical pain, and emotional anguish.
Below, we’ll review some of the most common losses for which you may seek general or special damages.
1. Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering compensation includes payment for the physical and emotional impact a person experiences as the result of a tractor-trailer accident. Truck accident victims are often entitled to compensation for pain and suffering if physical pain or mental anguish disrupts their lives after a serious accident.
The effects of physical pain and suffering can be temporary, or the effects may last a lifetime. Injuries can lead to chronic pain, physical impairments, and disability. Some people can’t return to their jobs because they are physically unable to complete the required tasks.
Many accident victims experience emotional, mental, and psychological distress that can be as debilitating as physical injuries. The effects of emotional injuries can last long after the physical wounds heal.
Common types of emotional anguish in truck accident cases include:
- Anxiety and stress
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
2. Loss of Enjoyment of Life
Truck accidents can cause serious injuries that make it impossible to do the things you once enjoyed. For example, a leg injury could prevent you from playing pickup basketball games or going dancing with your spouse.
A hand injury could prevent you from playing a favorite musical instrument. A traumatic brain injury could make it difficult to concentrate on your favorite books. The result of these injuries is the loss of enjoyment of life, for which you should be compensated.
3. Medical Bills
Medical costs are among the most straightforward types of economic damages to calculate. Each time you undergo an X-ray or attend an appointment with your doctor, you receive a bill for the services.
Medical expenses that result from truck accidents often include:
- Diagnostic tests such as X-rays and CT scans
- Emergency room visits
- Ambulance transportation
- Laboratory tests
- Assistive medical devices
- Physical therapy
- Chiropractic care
- Primary and specialized care
4. Lost Income
A serious injury in a commercial truck accident may leave you unable to work for months and reduce your income.
Lost income is the money you can’t earn because your injuries prevent you from working or limit the types of work you can perform.
A truck accident can significantly affect your ability to perform your current job or to find alternate employment. If the accident leaves you with a permanent disability, you may experience future losses of income. Even if you are able to perform a different type of job in the future, it may pay less than your current job. You may seek compensation for present and future losses of income caused by a truck accident.
Truck accident damages can include compensation for various types of lost income including:
- Overtime pay
- Hourly or salary raises
- Contributions to a retirement plan, such as a 401(k)
- Base pay, either waged or salaried
- Vacation and sick days
- Employee benefits
5. Property Damage
Property damage refers to the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle following a crash. Even minimal damage will require some type of autobody shop work to repair. The insurance company representing the trucking company or at-fault truck driver should be financially responsible for the expense of repairing or replacing your damaged vehicle.
Compensation for property damage also could cover personal property that was inside the vehicle at the time of the collision. For example, if your laptop computer or cell phone was damaged in the crash, you may seek compensation for the cost of repairing or buying a new electronic device if it’s no longer functional.
6. Punitive Damages
Punitive damages may be sought in special circumstances in which the harm caused was due to the at-fault party’s reckless or willful conduct. Punitive damages are meant to punish the wrongdoer and deter similar behavior in the future. Punitive damages may be sought in a personal injury lawsuit in certain circumstances. They’re not available in an insurance claim.
During trial, you must present clear and convincing evidence that shows your injury resulted from the at-fault party’s reckless, wanton, or willful conduct. The jury will determine if the defendant is liable for punitive damages by reviewing relevant evidence, such as:
- The severity of your injury
- The extent to which your actions contributed to the accident
- The defendant’s degree of responsibility
- The defendant’s ability to pay the required amount of compensation
What Should I Do to Recover Truck Accident Damages?
The appropriate way to seek damages following a truck accident is to file a claim against the at-fault driver’s liability insurance. If the truck driver or their employer caused your injury, you would file a claim with their insurer.
Commercial truck drivers and trucking companies are required to purchase higher amounts of liability insurance coverage than automobile drivers because of the greater harm tractor-trailer accidents can cause. Commercial truck insurance requirements are based on the weight of the commercial truck and the type of contents the truck transports. For example, a truck over 10,000 pounds transporting non-hazardous freight is required to have $750,000 in liability insurance.
To support a claim for compensation, you will need evidence to prove that the at-fault party’s actions resulted in your injury. Our attorneys can request copies of your medical records and medical bills. If the collision affected your ability to work and earn and earn wages, we’ll help you prove your lost wages by showing the hours and income you couldn’t earn. The insurance company will review the evidence presented when evaluating whether to pay your injury claim.
If the insurance company refuses to offer a fair settlement, we can file a lawsuit on your behalf and seek damages in court. An experienced truck accident attorney at Joye Law Firm can help you seek full compensation for the losses you have sustained.
Factors that Could Affect the Value of Your Case
A range of factors could affect your damages in a truck accident case, including the:
- Total medical costs
- Out of pocket expenses incurred from the crash
- The severity of your physical injuries
- Amount of insurance coverage available
- Duration of your recovery period and whether you suffered disability, impairment, or disfigurement
- Effects of the injury on quality of life
- Wages or salary you lost due to the accident
- The estimated cost of medical care and assistance in the future
- The emotional or psychological impact of the injury
- Availability of evidence proving the other party’s fault
- Whether the defendant engaged in willful, wanton, or reckless behavior in causing the wreck
Contact a Truck Accident Lawyer
For more than 50 years, Joye Law Firm has helped South Carolinians who have been injured in truck accidents. You can count on us to be your advocate during this difficult experience and fight for justice for you. We have the skills and resources to help you seek full compensation for a truck accident anywhere in South Carolina.
If you sustained an injury in a truck accident due to someone else’s negligent actions, do not hesitate to contact Joye Law Firm. We can meet you for a free consultation to review the facts of your case and help you understand your legal options. Call us today at (888) 324-3100.