Any truck accident is a serious matter. A truck is a large vehicle with the potential to cause extreme harm in the event of a crash.
Knowing the settlement value of a truck accident is key to getting justice. Each victim deserves what their claim is worth – a fair reflection of their losses. Our lawyers explain South Carolina truck accident settlement values.
What is the settlement value of a truck accident?
Each truck accident settlement value reflects numerous factors. The severity of the harm to the victim is a key factor.
South Carolina does not limit the amount of compensation that a victim may receive for a trucking accident claim. For severe injuries and when other circumstances are present, the settlement value may exceed $1 million.
What losses are included in a truck accident settlement?
South Carolina law allows a settlement to include a wide range of economic and non-economic losses. Financial losses can be direct expenses as well as unearned income because of the accident. Non-economic losses may include pain and suffering, disfigurement, and lifestyle limitations. Punitive damages may be available if the conduct of the defendant is particularly offensive and of a nature, that is likely to cause harm.
What factors can affect the settlement value of a truck accident?
Factors impacting the settlement value of a truck accident are:
- The severity of injuries – The purpose of a truck accident claim is to compensate the victim for their damages. The more severe the injuries, the more significant damages are likely to be. Damages may include medical bills that are both past and future. Pain and suffering is typically awarded in proportion to the severity of physical injuries.
- Other damages – Injuries are only one part of a truck accident settlement value. When a victim has damages that fall into a recognized category, it impacts the settlement value of a truck accident. Damages include a wide range of economic and non-economic losses outlined in Title 15 – Civil Remedies and Procedures, Chapter 32, Non-Economic Damage Awards.
- The personal circumstances of the victim – Because a trucking accident settlement value is personalized, it’s necessary to look at the victim’s personal circumstances for some categories of damages. For example, to what extent does the person have lost income or a damaged career path? Are they unable to provide household services for the family? These personal factors can impact the settlement value of the trucking accident claim.
- Insurance to pay a claim – The U.S. Department of Transportation imposes fiscal responsibility requirements for commercial motor vehicles. In other words, trucking companies must have commercial auto liability insurance. The amount they are required to have depends on whether they are a general freight carrier or a transporter of hazardous materials. The availability of the insurance to pay the claim impacts the settlement amount.
- Actions of the defendant – Punitive damages are acknowledged in South Carolina. (S.C. Code § 15-32-520). The victim must prove by clear and convincing evidence that the accident occurred because of the defendant’s willful, wanton or reckless conduct. If awarded, the jury determines the amount with the purpose to penalize the defendant and deter future misconduct.
- Causation – An important part of any trucking accident claim is causation between the accident and injuries. The victim must show that the defendant’s actions caused the accident and the harm to the victim. If there are questions about the nature of the injuries, it may reduce the settlement value of a truck accident claim.
- Comparative fault – If the victim did something to contribute to the accident, their compensation amount may be less than if they had no fault. South Carolina uses comparative negligence to look at the fault of each person. With shared fault, the victim is usually not completely prohibited from bringing a claim, but questions of shared fault may negatively impact settlement value.
How is pain and suffering calculated in South Carolina?
Pain and suffering is typically calculated by applying a multiplier to the amount of economic damages. The amount of the multiplier may be between .05 and 5, depending on the relative suffering and severity of the accident.
There’s no one formula to use to calculate pain and suffering in all circumstances. The judge or jury looks at the suffering associated with the injury, physical pain, and the length of the recovery period.
How can I maximize my truck accident settlement value?
Receiving the maximum settlement value that you deserve for a truck accident is not automatic. You need to do the right things to build a strong case. Addressing the legal questions and issues, as well as identifying all categories of damages, can ensure that you receive the appropriate truck accident settlement value.
Lawyers to Maximize Truck Accident Settlements
You deserve a fair settlement for your truck accident claim. We specialize in helping accident victims get justice. Contact our lawyers to examine the factors that may impact your settlement value. Then, we can take the steps to maximize the amount that you receive.
Call us at (864) 432-1747 to discuss your case.