Any road accident is a harrowing experience. That said, the horror of being hit by an 18-wheeler truck is particularly devastating and traumatic. The sheer size of an 18-wheeler is no match for a car, with statistics showingthat fatal truck accidents increased by 18% between 2020 and 2021.
Unfortunately, Texas had the most deaths from truck accidents in 2021. With that in mind, knowing the average payout for an 18-wheeler accident in Texas is helpful should you ever get into one. This article explores all the details needed to secure the best auto accident lawyer to reach a settlement in the event of an accident.
What Is the Average Settlement for an 18-Wheeler Accident In Texas?
How much will you get paid if an 18-wheeler hits you in Texas? The average payout varies because every accident is unique, and the process involves many variables. You may receive anything from tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars, but this is not a given.
One common idea surrounding 18-wheeler accidents in Texas is that the truck company tries to settle things outside of court. Regardless of the company’s insistence to settle, the specifics of the accident determine whether a trial is warranted and how much settlement can be distributed.
The best way to secure a fair and accurate settlement is by hiring a Dallas truck accident lawyer with experience in these accidents. You can make the settlement process easier for yourself and those affected by the accident by knowing what information to provide to your attorney.
7 Factors Affecting Settlements
Understanding the average truck accident settlement variables will streamline the legal process and ensure you receive the settlement you deserve after an incident. Here are seven factors influencing the average payout for an 18-wheeler accident in Texas.
1. Accident Specifics
The specifics of the accident play a crucial role in determining the settlement. If the accident caused fatalities or serious injuries, the burden of gathering evidence is on the victim’s relatives. There may be a need to track down eyewitnesses or examine security footage to identify what happened.
The bottom line is thatit’s essential to establish the leading factor contributing to the accident. Here are four circumstances that can cause an 18-wheeler accident.
- Negligent Truck Driver: There are instances where the truck driver commits a traffic violation, like running a red light or failing to slow down.
- Improper Packing: The truck’s cargo could have been packed improperly. It may shift, causing the truck driver to lose control or spill cargo onto the roadway and cause an accident.
- Unroadworthy Truck: The truck company may not have maintained its fleet, resulting in truck problems. Issues often occur when companies fail to check trucks between deliveries.
- Driver Fatigue: Another common reason for truck accidents is driver fatigue. Unfortunately, many truck drivers push themselves when they have very tight schedules. This urgency may result in them driving when they should be resting.
2. 51 Percent Bar Rule
In Texas, there’s a 51 percent bar rule determining the fault percentage for each driver. The truck driver and car driver are given a percentage of the fault for the accident. You’re not entitled to a settlement if the fault assigned to you is over 50%. Thus, the lower the fault percentage below 50%, the larger your potential settlement.
Here’s an example to help illustrate how much you’ll get paid if an 18-wheeler hits you in Texas: Suppose you were in an accident resulting in $80,000 worth of damages, and it was determined that you were 30% responsible.
Under the 51 Percent Bar Rule, your final settlement would be reduced to $56,000. The other party would receive nothing since they would be 60% responsible for the accident.
Injuries and fatalities can also affect the average truck accident settlement. The severity of the injuries of the car passengers is a significant negotiating factor in settlements. Lawyers consider whether the injuries are life-altering in terms of disabilities or if they hinder the person’s ability to work or live normal lives.
Additionally, there are also medical bills to consider from the accident.Any further operations, treatments, or rehabilitation costs after the accident must also be considered when determining proper settlement distribution. You might be able to include the costs of traveling to and from medical appointments following a truck accident.
Learn more about common truck accident injuries in our FAQ section below.
Getting in a truck accident rarely results in just a dented bumper. The massive size difference between an 18-wheeler and a car means the damage is usually extensive. In many cases, the insurer will deem the car beyond repair simply because the repair cost is higher than the car’s value.
An insurance adjuster will provide an estimate of the damage. Still, it’s wise to get an independent estimate.
Insurance policies are tricky to navigate regarding truck accident settlements, as the accident can involve multiple insurance companies. There’s the trucking company, the truck driver, and possibly the client whose cargo was on the truck. It’s essential to consider the accident specifics.
Additionally, a truck driver not working for a specific truck company may need to rely on their insurance to pay your claim, which may prolong the settlement process. It’s crucial to have a Dallas truck accident lawyer help navigate the different insurers to get the settlement you deserve.
6. Defendant’s Ability to Pay
The defendant’s ability to pay also determines how much settlement you can receive following a truck accident. In this situation, the exact amount will depend on these three conditions:
- How much the jury awards you
- The amount the defendant’s insurance is willing to cover
- Whether the defendant has other assets they can use
7. Incentive to Avoid a Trial
In some cases, truck companies found liable for an auto accident might offer a large settlement to the victims and their families to avoid a trial. Why? Because they’re concerned that taking the issue to court could damage their company’s reputation. Instead, they work out an agreement with the victim’s family by settling a claim both parties can agree on.
How to Ensure You Get Your Settlement
If you’ve been in a truck accident, getting a fair 18-wheeler accident settlement in Texascan be challenging. It’s common for the aftermath to take a toll on your physical and mental health because it can be quite stressful. It’s essential to have trustworthy people around to ensure that you get your settlement.
Still, you must rely on two primary steps besides your support network.
Obtain Critical Documents
You mustcollect essential documents to prove you deserve the proper compensation. Here’s some of the information you should obtain immediately:
- Pictures or video footage of the accident
- Eyewitness reports
- Police records
- Medical reports
In addition to those items, collect every bill, insurance report, repair cost, and doctor’s consultation information. A lawyer can use these items to negotiate a reasonable settlement on your behalf. It will also save you time from scrambling to find documents later on.
If you decide to pursue legal action following a truck accident, don’t delay! Under Texas law, you must file a personal injury lawsuit after an auto accident in just two years. Remember that this statute of limitation applies to anyone who files an injury lawsuit. If you delay legal action, you risk losing any chance of receiving a fair settlement.
Act quickly, collect the essential documents and find the best attorney who will fight for a fair settlement.
Hire a Professional Dallas Lawyer
Hiring a professional is the best way to get the compensation you need and deserve. Professional attorneys handling only truck accident cases exist. It’s up to you to find one willing to help you.
Having a professional lawyer specializing in truck accidents working on your case will make it easier to negotiate a settlement. Their experience dealing with these types of accidents lets them know the average payout for 18-wheeler accidents in Texas.
If you work with a lawyer with little to no experience in truck accident cases, they might agree to a low payout you don’t want.A reputable lawyer can advise you about what you should and should not do while negotiating the claim. This advice can be helpful when navigating the complexities of a legal case that’s prolonging the settlement distribution process.
Assess the Worth of Your Case with Our Calculator
You should also determine how much your case might be worth. While this may sound difficult, we make it easy. Here at Reyes Browne Law Firm, we’ve gone the extra mile to help assess the value of your case if you were involved in a truck accident. Just provide us with basic information using our free case calculator.
There are no hidden surprises; you can rest assured that our team of experts will contact you to discuss the case in depth.
How to Find a Good Lawyer in Dallas: 3 Steps
If you end up in an 18-wheeler accident, you must find the right injury attorney to work with you through every step of the legal process. How do you find a good lawyer in Dallas who will represent you in time of need? Here are three steps to acquire the best legal team in Dallas after a truck accident.
1. Focus On Reputation and Experience
Reputation and experience are two of the most important factors when finding the best injury defense lawyer. When assessing potential lawyers, ask about their experience representing injured victims in 18-wheeler accidents. Were the outcomes favorable for the clients? Did they receive the compensation they deserved?
Don’t stop there. Search for online reviews, scout their website for information, and ask your friends and family for referrals to find the best injury attorney.
2. Asses Their Resources
An injury attorney specializing in 18-wheeler accident cases should have a roster of reliable experts to establish liability and ensure an outcome favorable for you. Specifically, they should have a network of:
- Medical professionals to assess injuries and determine the best treatment plan.
- Financial experts who can calculate post-accident losses and negotiate liens.
- Reconstruction specialists who can assess an auto accident and determine proper liability for injuries.
As mentioned before, truck accidents can result in physical, psychological, and long-term financial setbacks. Partnering with an attorney with access to experts in different disciplines can strengthen your defense and provide a settlement to cover your losses.
3. Acquire Fee Information
Hiring an attorney is expensive, so you must learn about an attorney’s fees before partnering with them. Specifically, you must determine what financial arrangements they have in place before moving forward.
Does the injury attorney work on a contingency basis—an arrangement where they receive a portion of your money after settling a case? Remember that a typical contingency fee is anywhere between 33.33 and 40%.
Alternatively, they could work on a fixed hourly rate, where you pay them based on the number of hours they dedicate to the case. Regardless of the financial arrangement, determine how much you’ll expect to pay for all expenses. This way, you’ll be better positioned to hire great legal representation without stretching your budget.
Why Choose Reyes Browne Law Firm to Represent You?
To provide our clients with the settlements they deserve after an 18-wheeler accident, we’ve gone above and beyond to get them the maximum compensation they need to get back on track. Look at some of the 18-wheeler accident settlements in Texas we’ve handled in the past and see how we’ve delivered for our clients.
Settlement of $15,000,000
After a collision with an 18-wheeler, resulting in the wrongful deaths of several family members, we fought to secure a $15,000,000 settlement for all affected parties. This includes $585,318.72 in expenses and $6,000,000 in attorney fees.
Settlement of $7,250,000
In another instance, we were able to intervene in a liability dispute where the affected parties were wrongfully blamed for the accident. Our commitment to our clients helped us secure a $7,250,000 settlement in an accident that resulted in three injuries and the unfortunate death of one man. This inculdes $413,719.36 in expenses and $2,900,000 in attorney fees.
Settlement of $1,500,000
Following a severe 18-wheeler accident that caused a broken vertebra, a knee injury, and brain damage to one individual, we secured a settlement of $1,500,000 for the parties involved. This includes $152,199.28 in expenses and $600,000 in attorney fees.
The Average Settlement Amount in Dallas
When examining cases we’ve handled, you’ll see that the average 18-wheeler accident settlement we’ve secured for victims and their families amounts to almost $8 million. However, as we’ve stated many times, it’s difficult to determine the average payout for an 18-wheeler accident in Texas.
Every legal case is unique, and monetary distributions can easily fluctuate.
Hire Reyes Browne Law Firm as Your 18-Wheeler Accident Attorney
Unfortunately, the average 18-wheeler accident settlement in Texas is hard to define. Given the unique circumstances of each claim, settlement amounts will always vary. If you’ve been the victim of an auto wreck involving an 18-wheeler, hiring Reyes Browne Law Firm is your best betsince we specialize in truck accident cases.
We’ve got the expertise to negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf. The truck companies will always try to settle for less money quickly instead of paying more significant amounts later on when damages increase. It’s always best to seek proper legal counsel before settling so you can go into the situation knowing someone is ready to fight for you.
Our legal team has a five-star track record, 30 years of experience in Texas road accident law, and a genuine care for victims. Contact us for a free consultation to discuss your case today.
Check our FAQ section below for more information about settlements and other topics.
Here’s a list of the most common 18-wheeler injuries:
- Traumatic brain injury: An impact with an 18-wheeler can damage the skull, causing severe brain damage and behavioral changes.
- Spinal cord injuries: Depending on the severity of the impact, survivors might suffer a spinal cord injury that results in circulatory problems and paralysis.
- Burns: If a gasoline leak occurs due to an accident, it can ignite a fire that results in life-threatening burnsrequiring hospitalization.
- Neck injuries: Those involved in a collision can suffer damage to the soft tissue structure of the neck, including the muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
- Lacerations: A laceration is a skin wound caused by shattered glass, sharp metal, and blunt impact. If the 18-wheeler accident is severe enough, it can result in visible skin wounds.
You can claim both economic and non-economic damages. In lay terms, this means that you can claim for the financial impact the accident had in terms of doctor’s bills, damages, and loss of income, as well as the non-economic impact of disfigurement, disability, pain, and suffering.
Your lawyer can also argue punitive damages if evidence shows that the truck company has been negligent or has not complied with safety regulations.
Video footage of accidents is common due to the popularity of dashcams. However, posting videos online regarding your settlement is still unwise. It’s fine if a lawyer uses video footage from others as evidence in your settlement. Still, you should refrain from doing so on social media.
Determining fault percentage in a trucking accident in Texas generally takes 15 days. In plain terms, the insurance company has 15 days to reject or approve the claim. This period could be extended depending on the accidents' specific nature and effects.