Oftentimes, when a personal injury occurs in a truck accident, the first step is to determine the liable parties and the amount of insurance coverage or other ability to pay damages. Sometimes, the only number available is that which represents all the insurance coverage available. If there is insurance coverage limited to $25,000, then the maximum available is $25,000 and that is going to be the highest and best settlement or award. If the truck is owned by a government agency, that amount of money available to pay a claim is also limited. If a state’s cap on damages against itself as a sovereign entity is $375,000, then $375,000 is the maximum that can be collected. And while all personal injury suits follow the same legal process, injuries are unique to each case. injury that prevents you from working for a short period of time and leaves no permanent injury or scarring, may have less value to a jury than an injury resulting in permanent damage, permanent scarring or permanent loss of enjoyment of life. In other words, a broken arm and an amputated arm have different values. It’s important to speak with a reputable attorney, like a truck accident lawyer Delray Beach, FL trusts, who practices personal injury law in the geographical area where the accident occurred in order to understand the value of the individual claim. There are some factors that are easy to determine – lost income and medical treatment are solid numbers that can be pinned down. Pain and suffering is not. It can be impacted by the area in which one lives. The cost of living varies widely throughout the nation. Societal norms and the understanding of what it means to enjoy life differ widely from region to region as well. Rural areas tend to have a lower cost of living. Because of that, juries in those areas tend to think in smaller numbers overall than people who live in metropolitan areas. Age can be another factor. A younger person with a speedy recovery and no long-term residual effects may be seen differently by a jury than an older person who suffers the same injury but has a more difficult recovery and has a greater residual effect. Conversely, a person who suffers traumatic injury at an advanced age may not be seen as suffering to the same degree that a younger person will suffer over a longer period of time. Punitive damages can be equally difficult to pin down. When a person or company’s actions are so egregious and negligent as to cause a jury to wish to levy a punishment to both vindicate the injured party and to act as a deterrent against future bad acts, that number can range from very high to very low. Once you stop to consider that these are just a few of the factors to be evaluated in determining the value of a personal injury lawsuit, it becomes apparent that lawyers have to apply a wide range of skills and knowledge to achieve the best possible result for each of their clients.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Eric A. Luckman, P.A. for their insight into settlements and truck accident cases.