What Is the Average Truck Accident Settlement in Illinois?

Posted on November 30, 2023

It’s difficult to determine the average truck accident settlement in Illinois because truck accident cases vary significantly. There are many factors that impact the settlement amounts that truck accident victims can recover, such as the severity of the injuries, the Illinois modified comparative negligence rule, a victim’s pain and suffering, and the insurance policy limits involved. Learn more about how these and other factors affect truck accident settlements to get a better idea of what to expect in your case in Chicago.

Truck accident in a highway. Average truck accident settlement

Truck Accident Statistics in Illinois

According to data compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 9.3% of the vehicles involved in fatal accidents in 2021 in Illinois were large trucks. There were 177 large trucks involved in fatal crashes. According to the 2021 crash statistics released by the Illinois Department of Transportation, there were 11,178 truck accidents. A fatality occurred in 103 truck accidents, and 1,817 truck crashes involved injuries.

Serious Injuries From Truck Accidents

Truck accidents cause greater harm than crashes involving smaller passenger vehicles. The force created by the massive size and weight of the trucks during accidents often causes catastrophic injuries and even death.

According to the IDOT 2021 crash statistics, 292 injuries resulting from truck accidents were categorized as incapacitating. The number of truck occupants that were killed was 15, whereas 97 occupants of the other vehicles involved in the truck accidents were killed. The number of truck occupants who suffered incapacitating injuries was 69, as compared to 284 in the other vehicles involved. These statistics show the vulnerability of occupants in smaller vehicles in these types of crashes.

Severe injuries sustained in truck accidents include brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, broken bones, crushing injuries, major burns, internal organ damage, amputations, and paralysis.

Common Causes of Truck Accidents in Illinois

A study by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) found 87% of trucking accidents to be caused by driver error. Driver error includes incidences of violating federal and state regulations, such as driving while fatigued or drowsy due to working too many hours and driving under the influence. Other common causes include:

  • Defective equipment
  • Poor vehicle maintenance
  • Bad weather conditions
  • Roadway hazards
  • Poorly secured cargo

Recovering damages is easier in truck accident cases where you can show the driver or trucking company violated the regulations, such as hours-of-service regulations, vehicle maintenance, and driver’s qualifications. That’s one of the reasons why you need a truck accident lawyer. A lawyer will gather information from black box data, employment records, maintenance records, driver’s logs, and other sources to establish whether there was any misconduct or violation of state and federal regulations.

Truck Accident Settlements in Illinois

A settlement is the most common resolution in Illinois truck accident cases. It involves the at-fault party, such as the truck driver or the driver’s employer, and the party’s insurance company paying an agreed-upon compensation amount to the injured party. The settlement amount is reached through negotiations typically involving the truck driver, trucking company, insurance company, victim, and the victim’s truck accident lawyer.

Truck accident settlements are usually higher than regular car crash settlements because of the size of the trucks, their increased risk of causing serious damage, and the companies involved carry more insurance than drivers of smaller vehicles.

Calculation of Truck Accident Settlements in Chicago

Several factors contribute to the value of truck accident settlements. Here’s a closer look at the factors considered when calculating settlement amounts.

The Severity of Injuries

The severity of the injuries sustained is a significant determining factor in the final value of a truck accident settlement. The potential settlement amount increases as the severity of injuries suffered increases. For example, an accident victim who suffered traumatic brain injuries that will alter his or her quality of life forever will recover a larger settlement than someone who suffered a fracture that will heal in six to eight weeks. Settlements of accident cases that led to the death of one or more victims tend to be higher than claims involving only non-fatal injuries.

Pain and Suffering

Truck crashes are traumatic events. A truck accident settlement is supposed to reflect the physical and emotional pain and suffering a victim has endured, such as anxiety, depression, fear, and humiliation. In some cases, the pain and suffering may last during the recovery period and significantly diminish after a crash victim resumes normal life. In some cases, the pain and suffering may continue for the rest of the victim’s life. The more significant the pain and suffering, the larger the settlement expected.

Liability of the Involved Parties

Liability establishes the party that was at fault for an accident. The at-fault party is responsible for paying the damages resulting from the accident. The modified comparative negligence rule applies in Chicago and throughout Illinois. Under the rule, if you’re partially at fault for the crash, your compensation amount will be reduced by your percentage of liability. If you’re found to be 20% liable for the truck accident, you’ll only recover 80% of the total compensation. You can only recover compensation if you’re less than 50% responsible for the accident.

The Available Liability Insurance Coverage

A trucking company’s insurance policy can also determine the range within which your settlement may fall. The FMCSA requires large truck owners and operators to carry a minimum liability insurance coverage of $300,000 for trucks weighing below 10,001 pounds hauling non-hazardous property, $750,000 for trucks weighing over 10,000 pounds carrying non-hazardous property, $1 million for private tankers transporting oil, and $5 million for private carriers carrying hazardous cargo.

If your damages exceed the value of the trucking company’s policy limit, you may not recover the total damages. For example, if you present a demand for $1 million for your damages and the trucking company only has $750,000 liability insurance limits, getting the last $250,000 may be challenging. You’ll likely get a higher settlement amount if the trucking company carries a high amount of insurance coverage from which claims can be paid.

Compensation After a Truck Accident

Data from FMCSA suggests the average cost of large truck accidents to be around $91,000. An FMCSA study found the estimated average cost of police-reported crashes involving trucks weighing more than 10,000 pounds to be $91,112 in 2005 dollars. The costs included medical costs, lost productivity, property damage costs, monetized values of pain and suffering, and loss of quality of life due to an injury or death. The same FMCSA study found the average cost to be $15,114 for property-damage-only truck accidents, $195,258 for non-fatal injury crashes, and $3,604,518 for fatal truck crashes.

These figures can’t be considered the standard average personal injury lawsuit settlement amounts for these types of crashes. Some cases have settled for less than $100,000, while others have garnered millions and tens of millions.

Generally, a victim’s compensation should cover the past, current, and future expenses and other damages that resulted from the truck accident, such as the following:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost income
  • Diminished future earning potential
  • Property damage
  • Funeral and burial expenses, and loss of financial support in wrongful death cases
  • Non-economic damages, like pain and suffering, mental anguish, scarring and disfigurement, and loss of consortium

The best way to know what to expect when pursuing a fair settlement for your case is by contacting a truck accident lawyer. Rather than provide an average truck accident settlement value, a lawyer will review the facts of your accident and the damages suffered. Your lawyer will tell you the different factors that may affect your case and quantify your damages.

Safeguarding Your Rights in Truck Accident Settlements

When you’re injured in a truck accident resulting from someone else’s negligence, you have a right to recover compensation from the truck driver, trucking company, or any other liable parties.

Consider Legal Representation for Fair Settlement Amounts

Trucking companies tend to have substantial assets, aggressive defense teams, and expert witnesses to defend against the accident cases brought against them. Additionally, insurance companies don’t automatically play claimants for damages, instead, they try to undervalue claims through several strategies, like blaming you for the accident and disputing your injuries or medical costs.

You’ll have a better chance of receiving maximum compensation if you have proper legal representation. Defendants and their insurers take your case more seriously when you’re represented by a truck accident attorney.

Your attorney will investigate your crash, determine the value of your case, identify liable parties, and gather vital evidence to build a solid foundation for your truck accident case. After helping you build a strong case, your attorney will file a claim with all the companies involved and negotiate a fair settlement.

Most truck accident cases in Chicago are resolved through an out-of-court settlement. However, if the insurance company refuses to offer a fair settlement, you can file a lawsuit to take your case to court and let a judge or jury decide.