Although motor vehicle accidents happen every day, they still come as a shock – particularly when it’s a truck involved. And because trucks can weigh upwards of 80,000 lbs, a tractor-trailer can cause far more catastrophic damage than a car, which usually weighs around 4,000 lbs. Commercial vehicles, like tractor-trailers, are also much bigger and have a higher center of gravity.
With our experienced and dedicated attorneys at Cooper Elliott, handling the aftermath of a trucking crash doesn’t have to be a daunting task. We will work with you to determine who is at fault and how you can be compensated for your injuries.
How does Ohio define damages?
In Ohio, you can seek two kinds of damages after a trucking crash: economic and non-economic.
→ Economic Damages
A trucking crash can result in significant and catastrophic damage. You might be facing medical expenses amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars or more. Therefore, economic damages go towards the bills you might receive in the mail – expenses that have receipts, for example, with itemized charges of every specific item that needs to be paid. The following are some common examples:
- Medical bills → Anything from scans to overnight fees will likely be included in your medical bills. Remember to keep anything you receive in the mail or at the hospital as they can serve as evidence in court.
- Property damage → If your car wasn’t completely totaled, you might have to replace entire parts, which can add up very quickly. If it was totaled, an expert opinion on the total value of the car will help in court.
- Lost pay from time away from work → You may have to bring in official documentation from your employer to prove how much in lost wages you have incurred while recovering from the crash, including for example, attending doctor’s appointments, time spent in the hospital or physical therapy, or time during which you physically could not work.
- Future costs → Any other anticipated future treatment related to your injuries from the crash. For example, a doctor can testify and determine you need physical therapy for six months. From there, we can offer calculations based on where you are receiving treatment and how often you’ll need to attend treatment..
Whether negotiating with insurance companies or arguing a case in court, the goal is to prove the dollar amount is tied to real expenses. That’s why it’s important to keep a record of any documents or reports surrounding the crash. Every dollar counts.
→ Non-economic damages for pain and suffering in Ohio
There are other damages that aren’t tied to receipts or future expenses. Typically, non-economic damages consist of pain and suffering you and even your family endured because of the crash. The following are some examples:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental stress
These damages are just as serious as the economic ones since they impact your quality of life. Ohio law recognizes that before being injured in a collision, we are used to a certain quality of life, and it’s unjust for our life to be derailed due to someone else’s negligence or recklessness.
And while emotional and mental stress does not come in the mail, it does come with expenses, like therapy or medication. That’s why we may use testimony from a mental health professional to prove you are entitled to compensation.
[Note: Truck crash victims should be careful not to act in a way that could contradict their claim of pain and suffering. In other words, if you are suffering from depression from the crash, it would be bad for your case to upload party pictures on social media. We know life is a bit more complicated than that–maybe your family planned an event to lift your spirits! But it’s best to avoid giving the insurance lawyers any ammunition. Those posts can actually be used against you in court.]
What does Ohio say about punitive damages?
If evidence of economic and non-economic damages is proven, we can also seek punitive damages for your trucking crash.
The idea behind punitive damages is that the person responsible for your injuries should also face consequences for the actions that caused the collision.
Here are some example scenarios:
- The truck driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- The trucking company encouraged drivers to break the law and stay on the road longer than they were allowed
- A parts manufacturer knowingly released defective parts for sale, resulting in unsafe trucks
- A third-party mechanic knowingly hired unqualified workers to save money
- A company failed to train workers on the proper way to load trucks
In any of these scenarios, you may be awarded punitive damages so the person or entity responsible faces real consequences that might motivate them to address their wrongdoing. A big company might not want to do anything about its role in a trucking crash, but a monetary incentive might push the company to change its policies.
Contact Our Cooper Elliott Trucking Attorneys
There are so many factors that could contribute to the cause of a trucking crash. Everyone should be responsible on the road, and when they are not, justice needs to be served. Our experienced and dedicated attorneys at Cooper Elliott will analyze the facts of your case, no matter how complex, to make sure you are not missing out on any compensation you deserve. Contact us today to get started.