Valuation Of Truck Accident Claims
When you have the misfortune of being involved in a truck accident that produces serious injuries or death, it is important to get a feel for the scope of damages you may be able to collect. All personal injury plaintiffs have a vested interest in how their claim may be valued, and this is especially true in cases related to heavy truck accidents, as the losses are often staggering, and the resulting damage awards can truly change lives.
Maximizing Truck Accident Claim Value
A first step in assessing potential settlement value in a truck accident case involves taking a look at what a jury would be likely to award. This just means conducting an evaluation of the best case scenario if a jury were to hear the case. However, it is necessary to note that the mere issuance of a large verdict does not always mean that the full amount can be collected.
What is the reason for this? Damage caps provide much of the answer. For instance, Maryland has imposed a non-economic damage cap in truck accident cases, with the upper limit being between $830,000 and $2,075,000. The former number applies to living plaintiffs. The cap rises to $1.245 million in cases involving a single wrongful death payout beneficiary and hits $2.075 million in cases with more than one such beneficiary.
It must be remembered that these limits apply to non-economic damages only, meaning payment for pain, suffering and the like. Truck accident cases tend to produce substantial damage awards when they pertain to victims who were large earners and would likely have provided significant financial support to family members for years to come. No limit exists for economic damages, meaning that there is no cap on payment for medical bills, lost earning capacity and similar categories of loss.
Valuation of Claims for Settlement Purposes
A truck insurance carrier is unlikely to pay the full value of any claim, particularly if it runs into the millions. Thus, it is important to determine what your best possible award scenario might be in court and adjust downward for the purposes of reaching a settlement. If you are unable to agree to terms in which you will at least reach your bottom line dollar figure, a truck accident lawsuit may be the only choice. Bear in mind that this may involve ultimately going to trial and enduring all the stress such a process will entail.
Case valuation can often be hampered when there are legitimate questions surrounding liability. With this there is always the danger that no damage award will be handed down by a judge or jury. Thus, plaintiffs must engage in a complex calculus which takes into consideration the value of losses suffered as well as the likelihood of a litigation win. By assessing these factors, the appropriate legal strategy to pursue in a truck accident matter can become somewhat clearer.