According to the California Highway Patrol’s most recent publicly released report, California residents and guests experienced 7,009 injury-related truck crashes and 334 fatal truck crashes in 2019. Depending on the vehicle’s type, commercial trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. When they strike other vehicles or roll over, they can cause immense damage.
Truck injury victims can recover compensation by filing a legal claim against the driver, manufacturer, or trucking company responsible for the accident. But the average settlement for a truck accident in California can vary widely. Victims can maximize their chance of recovering fair compensation by retaining a truck accident lawyer to file a claim.
For over 25 years, Henderson Law has fought for truck accident victims throughout the Golden State. We understand the unique challenges that commercial truck accident victims face and stand ready to advocate for their best interests.
What Compensation Can Victims Receive in an Average Settlement for a Truck Accident in California?
The compensation you receive for your injuries is the sum of three possible categories of damage awards.
Economic Damages: Reimbursement for the Financial Cost of the Accident
Because of the monstrous size of these vehicles, repairing and addressing the damage from a truck accident can come with a high price tag. Economic damages reimburse you for the direct financial burden placed on you and your family because of the accident and injury.
This category of damages encompasses costs such as:
- Prescription medication,
- Medical equipment,
- Car repairs,
- Medical care,
- Lost wages, and
- Other accident-related expenses.
When you are in an accident, saving all receipts and after-visit summaries is beneficial to ensure you have an accurate record of your expenses. These expenditures all impact the average settlement for a California truck collision.
Noneconomic Damages: Compensation for the Human Cost of the Accident
As you know, the financial burden of an accident often pales in comparison to the human cost. It is hard to put a price tag on things like the trauma of surgery, the hardship of having to wear a cast for months, or never being able to walk again.
Noneconomic damages seek to compensate you for the psychological, mental, and social losses associated with an accident. They encompass things such as:
- Pain and suffering,
- Loss of quality of life,
- Loss of enjoyment of life, and
- Permanent disfigurement.
A California truck accident average settlement is a theoretical amount only, because there really is no average. Each settlement is based on your unique, individual losses.
Exemplary Damages: Punish the Wrongdoer and Deter Others
In rare situations, the court determines that ordinary awards of economic and noneconomic damages are insufficient to address the harm that occurred. In extraordinary circumstances, the court imposes a penalty on the at-fault party. It punishes them for their actions and deters future parties from committing the same harm.
Exemplary damages are also called punitive damages because they are meant to punish the offender. Therefore, they are typically only appropriate where the at-fault party acted with malice or engaged in oppression or fraud. In most cases, the average settlement on a California truck accident case does not include an award of exemplary damages.
What Factors Impact the Average Settlement for a California Truck Accident?
Now that you understand the types of damage awards you may be entitled to, you are ready to learn about the factors affecting the average settlement for a truck accident in California.
Strength of the Case
The stronger your case, the higher the likelihood you will recover compensation. Further, if you have a strong case, this may increase the amount of money you receive. The strength of a personal injury case refers to aspects like the at-fault driver’s liability and the amount and quality of evidence.
The Severity of the Injury or Property Damage
Victims who suffer severe injuries or injuries with an expansive impact on their lives have a higher chance of receiving compensation than those with minor injuries. Likewise, if the truck accident results in extensive property damage, this can increase your financial reward.
Damage Awards in Similar Cases
Another factor that may impact how much you receive in compensation is the damage awards similarly situated plaintiffs received in other cases. This gives you and your attorney something to point to during negotiations to help guide settlement discussions.
At-Fault Party’s Conduct
As we discussed, if the at-fault party maliciously caused or failed to prevent the accident, they could have to pay exemplary damages. If so, this increases your overall financial award.
Your Percentage of Fault for the Accident or Injury
California follows the pure comparative negligence standard in truck accident cases. This means that accident victims can recover damages even if they are at fault for the collision or injuries.
That said, the court will reduce their financial compensation based on their percentage of fault. In other words, if they are found 25% at fault for the accident, they may only receive 75% of their damages.
Does California Have Damages Caps in Truck Accident Cases?
Damage caps impose a maximum limit on how much plaintiffs can receive in personal injury cases. Unlike other states, California does not impose damage caps in most personal injury cases. But California law does impose a cap on how much a victim can receive in noneconomic damages in medical malpractice cases.
Henderson Law—We Can Help You Maximize the Settlement You Receive for a Truck Accident in California
Truck accident cases can be complex, involving many nuanced factors absent from other collision claims. Multiple insurance companies may be involved, all with the goal of protecting their bottom line.
Our team is familiar with the tactics unscrupulous at-fault parties and insurance companies use to persuade injury victims to sign away their rights. Michael Henderson will help protect you against these practices, fighting for your best interests at all times.
Michael graduated in the top 2% of his class and has amassed a track record of excellence in the decades since graduation. He puts his heart and soul into the cases he handles, treating every client with care and compassion.