According to statistics, in the United States, there are around 500,000 truck accidents that occur. Out of these accidents, approximately 5,000 truck accidents lead to fatalities. Statistics state that, out of every 8 deaths caused due to traffic accidents, one is because of truck collisions.
Whenever there’s a collision between a truck and a passenger vehicle, generally, it results in severe injuries or even fatality. When the cause of the accident is negligence by the truck driver or the trucking company, then they are held responsible for the damage caused.
The damage caused may involve medical expenses, loss of wages, money spent to overcome pain, suffering, or mental trauma. There are damage caps in states like Texas. In other words, in Texas, the law has imposed limits on the amount of compensation that can be recovered in some cases of personal injury or wrongful death. These limits are applied in three separate situations which include:
- Claims for personal injury which involves punitive damages
- Lawsuits which involve medical malpractice
- Cases which involve personal injury against government
Only in cases of gross negligence punitive damages are awarded. The main objective of punitive damage is not only to punish the negligent party but also to make sure that this kind of action is not repeated in the future. In general negligence cases, the party who was negligent will be responsible for the damage caused.
However, gross negligence indicates that the party was beyond negligent. For example, in the case of an 18 wheeler accident, the fleet wasn’t properly inspected or maintained when possible danger was known and played an essential role in the crash. Punitive damages are not related to reimbursing expenses such as loss of wages or medical costs. They are also termed as exemplary damages.
Limitations to Punitive Damage in Texas:
The punitive damage cannot be awarded in Texas beyond a specific limit. Generally, the amount declared for punitive damages can never be higher than twice the sum of economic losses and non-economic damages. Also, the total amount cannot exceed $750,000. In cases that involve medical malpractice, the party can be sued for all the economic damages; however, it has a cap on non-economic damages. The total amount which can be recovered under damages is $500,000. The claims which are in reference to the government entities have a limit of $100,000 per person, and in a single occurrence, you can claim for $300,000. There are limits in punitive damages to ensure that people don’t recklessly endanger the public and commit extreme dangerous acts. When someone else’s negligence causes damage to you, then the damages are generally limited to compensatory damages, although litigation is warranted.
In a trucking accident, compensatory damage will involve things like mental pain and suffering, disability, and medical costs. A victim is undoubtedly entitled to compensation if it involves loss due to the negligent act of the party.
It is highly advisable to hire an experienced truck accident lawyer as it will be complicated to get compensated, otherwise. An experienced truck accident lawyer or attorney will have to assess and review the whole accident, and only then, he or she can provide the best alternative to proceeding legally. This is because each case is different from the other, and it involves a different set of facts that need to be investigated.
Also, there are many cases related to personal injury which are resolved before going to trial. The truck accident attorney will try to gather evidence and also try to negotiate so that there is a possible chance of settlement.
Only in cases where settlement is not an option, the matter is escalated to the court. The lawyer’s primary focus will be to provide you compensation for the economic and non-economic damages and also to provide proof for gross negligence where applicable. There is a time limit within which a claim can be filed.
The victim is generally not aware of the legal details involved when legally fighting against the negligent party. So, the negligent party can possibly take advantage of this while dealing with compensation. Thus, a person should never delay in hiring a truck accident lawyer when his or her vehicle is hit by a truck.