Types Of Damages Available After a Truck Accident
Posted in Truck Accidents on May 16, 2023
Accidents involving larger commercial trucks often result in significant injuries and property damage expenses. When these incidents occur due to the careless or negligent actions of another party, victims should be able to recover various types of compensation for their losses. Here, we want to examine the various types of compensation typically available in these situations, ranging from economic damages and non-economic damages to the possibility of punitive damages in certain situations.
We do want to point out the importance of working with a skilled attorney if you or a loved one have been injured in a truck accident caused by the negligence of another party. These cases are complex, and determining compensation amounts is only one part of the overall claim that must be handled with skilled legal assistance.
Economic Damages (Special Damages) for a Tennessee Truck Accident
When most people think of personal injury compensation, they think of economic damages, even though they may not have the exact words for it. These are the types of losses that are measurable after a truck accident occurs. Truck accident victim and their attorney can gather the receipts and bills that come in after the incident to adequately add up specific types of damages to recover.
Some of the most common economic damages associated with a Tennessee truck accident include the following:
- Emergency medical bills
- All ongoing and follow-up medical visits
- Coverage of physical therapy, medication, and medical devices
- Lost income and loss of future earnings
- Property damage expenses
- Household or transportation out-of-pocket losses
- Rental vehicle expenses
Establishing accurate economic damages after these types of incidents can be challenging if an individual needs ongoing care. Any eventual settlement or jury verdict will have to take into account long-term expenses caused by a disability, so this may require assistance from a skilled medical or economic expert who can testify at trial. Establishing the economic damages is usually the easiest part of determining the overall damages available after a truck accident occurs.
Non-Economic Damages (General Damages) for a Tennessee Truck Accident
Non-economic damages are a bit different than the economic damages just mentioned. However, they are equally as important. These types of losses are more subjective and “immeasurable,” though there are certainly ways to measure these types of damages. Individuals often refer to non-economic damages as “pain and suffering” damages, but it needs to be a more nuanced conversation than that.
Non-economic damages after a truck accident in Tennessee revolve around the accident victim’s:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional and psychological pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium damages for a spouse or family members
These damages are meant to provide compensation for the victim based on how their life has been affected by the injuries, the recovery, and any disability they sustain. There are a few accepted ways to adequately calculate non-economic damages in these situations. Your attorney will help you determine which method will be best for your particular situation.
The multiplier method
This method includes examining the total of all economic damages and then multiplying that total by a set number (usually a number ranging from 1.5 to 5). We can use a completely theoretical scenario to show how this works.
Suppose an individual sustains $200,000 worth of medical bills and other economic damages caused by the incident. An attorney could use a multiplier of “three” which means they will multiply $200,000 by three to reach $600,000 for economic damages.
The per diem method
A per diem method works differently. Using this method, an attorney will work to determine the total amount of days a person is expected to experience pain and suffering caused by the truck accident. They will assign a daily value to each day and then multiply that daily value by the total number of days decided on.
For example, suppose an attorney determines that an injury victim will experience two years, or 730 days, worth of pain and suffering after the incident. Let us also assume that an attorney assigns a daily value of $300 for pain and suffering. 730 days multiplied by $300 equals $219,000.
Punitive Damages for Tennessee Truck Accident
Punitive damages are not common when it comes to personal injury or truck accident claims in Tennessee. Punitive damages will only be awarded if the plaintiff can prove with clear and convincing evidence that the alleged negligent party acted intentionally, recklessly, fraudulently, or maliciously. There are specific instructions that juries must listen to when determining whether or not punitive damages are appropriate.
When we examine TN Code § 29-39-104, we can see that punitive damages, if they are awarded, cannot exceed an amount equal to the greater of two times the total compensatory damages or $500,000.
Work With a Truck Accident Lawyer in Tennessee
If you or somebody you care about has sustained an injury caused by the negligent actions of a truck driver or trucking company, we encourage you to reach out to an attorney for help as soon as possible. These claims can be incredibly challenging, and you need to make sure that you recover the compensation needed to make a recovery and move forward with your life.
Your attorney will handle much more than determining damages for your particular case. A truck accident claim is an incredibly challenging process, and this involves conducting an extensive investigation into the incident. Not only do these investigations include going to the scene of the incident and gathering evidence, but also speaking to eyewitnesses, working with trusted medical professionals and accident reconstruction experts, and handling complex negotiations with insurance carriers.
Preparation for trial may be necessary if the insurance carriers refuse to offer a fair settlement. When you work with a Nashville truck accident attorney, you will have an advocate ready to handle all of this on your behalf, and your attorney will also explain to the insurance carrier or a personal injury jury the importance of you recovering compensation.