Our San Francisco truck accident law firm frequently fields calls from prospective clients and their families inquiring about the process of determining the value of a trucking accident case. This process is relatively complicated though there are certain factors that experienced Bay Area trucking accident attorneys consider when evaluating a trucking accident case. It is important to understand that determining the value of a trucking accident case that goes to trial is more an art than a science. There are many intangible factors that can have a substantial outcome on your case, such as the quality of your attorney, the appeal of the injury victims and other factors that make the potential amount of a jury verdict uncertain. However, we have provided a number of factors that may help you understand the process of valuing a San Francisco trucking accident claim.
Economic Damages: Out of pocket tangible economic losses are always an excellent starting point when evaluating a Bay Area tractor-trailer accident claim. These damages include lost income from employment, medical bills, property loss and lost future earnings reduced to present value. In wrongful death trucking accident cases, funeral and burial costs are also a component of economic damages.
Severity of Injury: Generally, the more debilitating and permanent one’s injuries the more substantial the damages. Injuries that do not heal and will result in permanent disability, pain and physical or mental limitations will typically have substantial value. Severe injuries from which a full recovery is not possible will increase intangible damages amounts like pain and suffering, impaired quality of life and similar forms of intangible damages.
Risk vs. Reward: The probability of recovery in a trucking accident case must be balanced against the potential damage award. If a tractor-trailer rear-ends a passenger vehicle, the driver of the tractor-trailer typically will be at-fault. Assuming there are no complicating factors, this case will tend to have more value even if the prospective damage award is not particularly high. By the same token, tractor-trailer cases that involve catastrophic injuries resulting in paralysis, brain damage, amputation of limbs or wrongful death may be considered higher value cases even if the probability of obtaining a settlement or judgement is not high.
Egregiousness of the Conduct: When a truck driver engages in extremely dangerous behavior manifesting a conscious disregard for the safety of other, punitive damages may be appropriate. Punitive damages are intended to provide a financial punishment for such conduct and to deter similar conduct in the future. Many times a punitive damages award may exceed all other types of damages combined. Drunk driving or drugged driving are examples of the kind of conduct that might justify punitive damages in a San Francisco trucking accident case.
Effectiveness of Trucking Accident Attorney: Trucking accident law firms that have a successful track record in handling tractor-trailer accident cases often are able to obtain a substantial settlement without trial. This reputation is often based on success at obtaining verdicts or settlements in prior trucking accident cases. Some people make the mistake of retaining attorneys that do not focus on personal injury and trucking accidents which may mean that their attorneys have less experience and that the insurance company is less inclined to settle the case.
While these are not all of the factors that may affect the value of a San Francisco trucking accident, these factors illustrate the complexity of predicting the damages in a trucking accident case. We often also review prior jury verdicts and settlements for similar trucking accidents involving comparable injuries. If you or someone you love have questions about the value of your San Francisco tractor-trailer accident claim, we offer a free case evaluation so that we can assess your case and advise you regarding your rights and options.
Contact Us For Your Free Accident Consultation Today!
If you are involved in a San Francisco tractor-trailer accident, you may suffer catastrophic life-changing injuries. If you or someone you love has been injured or a loved one has died in a San Francisco tractor-trailer accident, you should contact us as soon as possible because critical deadlines apply. Our truck accident attorney in San Francisco invite you to contact The Law Office of Ian Zimmerman for your free initial consultation. We are open 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., speak Cantonese and Mandarin Chinese, and are available for weekend, evening, home and hospital meetings and visits. We also offer free initial consultations and work exclusively on a contingency fee basis so that you pay nothing if we don’t win your case.