Average 18-Wheeler Accident Settlements in Texas

August 5, 2023 | By Francis Firm Injury Attorneys
Average 18-Wheeler Accident Settlements in Texas
18 wheeler accident settlements in texas

If you were hit by a commercial truck in Texas and suffered injuries, you probably have a lot of questions. The one that people who were injured in truck accidents most commonly ask is, "What is the average settlement for an 18-wheeler accident?"

The fact is, there is no such thing as an average truck accident settlement in Texas. All 18-wheeler accident settlements highly depend on the specific facts of the circumstances involved in the truck accident.

Some factors you may have control over, and others you will not. It is important for you to know which circumstances you can control so that you can improve your chances of recovering a fair settlement.

Factors That Affect Truck Accident Settlements

Commercial trucks include not only 18-wheelers but any number of large trucks used by businesses, such as tractor-trailers, tow trucks, tankers, emergency vehicles, etc.

Although there is no average truck accident settlement for an 18-wheeler accident, there are a number of factors that may increase or decrease the amount of your personal injury claim.

Circumstances of the Accident

The truck driver's conduct is a crucial element of your personal injury claim, as you typically must prove that they acted negligently. Some examples of negligent behavior include:

  • Carelessness or not paying enough attention to the road;
  • Driving while fatigued;
  • Poorly attached trailers or cargo;
  • Vehicle maintenance failures; and
  • Traffic violations.

Parties other than the driver may also be responsible for your accident, such as a cargo company that improperly loaded the cargo, the manufacturer of a defective part on the truck, or a trucking company that provided inadequate training for the driver or required them to drive excessive hours.

Percentage of Fault 

Texas is a modified comparative negligence state. What this means is that any person who contributed to their accident and injuries through an act of their own negligence can still recover compensation as long as they are less than 50 percent at fault. However, their compensation will be reduced in proportion to their degree of fault. If the injured person is more than 50% at fault, they cannot recover any compensation for the accident.  

For example, if you are involved in an accident caused by a speeding truck driver, but the court finds that you slightly contributed to the accident by five percent because you were texting at the time of the accident, you can hold the truck driver liable for 95 percent of your damages.

The Severity of the Injuries

The severity of injuries plays a major role in 18-wheeler accident settlement amounts. Due to their size, 18-wheelers and other commercial trucks can cause catastrophic injuries.

Medical bills begin accruing from the first response to the accident, including ambulance rides, emergency room visits, and hospitalization—never mind any actual treatments like surgery, prescription medication, imaging, or testing that you receive. 

Often these injuries require ongoing medical treatment such as physical rehabilitation. The costs of your medical care from the point of the accident and your expected future medical expenses weigh heavily on the outcome of your case.

You might also be able to include the costs of travel to and from your treatments with your total amount of costs. 

Retaining the services of a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible after a semi-truck accident helps ensure you are compensated for all your accident-related medical expenses.

Value of Property Damage

Obviously, a passenger car or SUV is no match for a collision with an 18-wheeler. Trucking accidents often cause extensive damage to smaller vehicles, usually causing the driver's insurance to consider them totaled.

An insurance adjuster will inspect your car and provide an estimate of the damage. You should also take your car to your own repair shop and have your own estimate done.

Other Possible Damages

Dealing with your injuries after an accident with an 18-wheeler will likely mean taking significant time off work for medical treatments. Your lost wages as well as your estimated future lost income earnings can be factored into the value of your damages.

There are also non-economic damages that make up the total compensation, such as pain and suffering. You may be entitled to compensation for your physical pain, emotional distress, accident-related PTSD, disfigurement and scarring, etc.

After evaluating your personal injury case, your attorney can determine the extent of your damages based on the severity of your injuries and how they have impacted your and your loved ones' lives.

Truck Driver Employer’s Insurance Policy

Most 18-wheeler lawsuit settlements involve more than one defendant. Generally, you will be negotiating with the truck driver, their employer, and their insurance company, though there may be other parties as well, depending on the facts of your truck accident case.

Usually, the trucking company's insurance policy is big enough to cover your compensation. A truck driver that is not working for a trucking company may have to pay your claim through their own insurance.

In that case, individual insurance policies may not be comprehensive enough to cover your damages, especially if you suffered serious injuries, and you may have to go after the truck driver personally.

How to Maximize Your Compensation

Being in the middle of personal injury truck accident litigation can be confusing and overwhelming.

There are so many moving parts to the settlement process, and this is likely an experience you've never had before. However, there are some things you can do to make sure your case has the best possible financial outcome.

Hire an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney

The most effective way to ensure that you're getting the compensation you need and deserve is to hire an experienced personal injury trucking accident attorney.

You have only two years from the date of your accident to file a claim. It is essential that you begin the process right away.

Your attorney will investigate your accident, collect evidence and witness statements, and identify all the parties you should sue.

They will also negotiate with the insurance companies on your behalf to get you the maximum settlement possible. If a settlement agreement is not possible, your attorney will take your case to trial and represent your interests in court and fight for full and fair compensation.

Gather Evidence and Records

Your documentation may be the biggest key to proving your damages.

You must keep records of all your medical treatments and bills, any property repair bills, and any other costs associated with your injuries. You should also collect the police report and keep track of witness contact information and any photos of the accident scene.

Be Patient 

Often, the insurance company involved will try to send you a settlement offer as soon as possible after your accident in the hopes that you will accept it and make the issue go away.

Generally, these first offers are lowball amounts. Your best bet is to take the offer to your attorney to weigh your options.

You also need to be patient about how long your claim may take. The more complex the situation is, the worse your injuries were, and the more damages there are, the longer it may take to resolve.

You should try to explain the situation to your hospitals and doctors—you may be surprised that they would be willing to wait for payment or set up an affordable payment plan.

Follow Your Attorney’s Advice

Just as your doctor knows the best treatment plan to help you heal your injuries, your attorney knows the best way to litigate your claim. Follow their advice to the best of your ability. Your attorney has your best interests in mind.

Your attorney will also probably advise you to stay off social media, as all of your posts and pictures are subject to scrutiny by the defense. They will use any evidence they can find that your injuries are not as severe as you claim. 

You should also limit any interaction you have with the other side's insurance companies. Your statements will be used against you in court if possible. If you're represented by an attorney, all communication with the insurance company will go through them.

Contact the Truck Accident Attorneys at the Francis Firm

Your attorney is your best asset in an 18-wheeler truck accident claim. It is absolutely imperative that you hire an experienced truck accident attorney to represent your interests.

Injury-based lawsuits are complex and time-consuming. Even settlement negotiations can be lengthy and involved. The experienced Texas personal injury attorneys at the Francis Firm can help.

Michael Francis, our managing partner, worked as a defense attorney for some of the largest trucking companies for almost a decade. He now puts that expertise to work in representing their accident victims.

Your first consultation is free, and you do not pay any legal expenses unless you have a successful settlement or trial. Please contact us to discuss your case.