Are There Caps on Truck Accident Lawsuits in Washington State?

Passenger Car Struck by Large Semi-TruckThere are no limits on the damages you can recover in a truck accident case in Washington State, but judges usually do not allow successful plaintiffs to recover punitive damages. There are no limits on damages for wrongful death cases.

If you suffered injuries in a crash, a truck accident lawyer can help you pursue compensation for your damages. At Max Meyers Law, we will investigate your accident, build a compelling claim on your behalf, and go after the party responsible for your truck accident for the full value of your losses. Call us at 425-242-5595 today for a free consultation.

What Economic Damages Are Available After a Truck Crash in Washington State?

Economic damages represent out-of-pocket costs you incur as a result of the wreck. You might qualify for compensation for any of the following economic losses.

Lost Income

This includes compensation for your lost wages, salary, and other income you did not receive because of the accident, your recuperation, and your medical treatment.

Medical Bills

You can recover compensation for the reasonable expenses you faced for medical treatment and care. This category can include ambulance transportation, emergency treatment, a hospital stay, x-rays and other imaging, surgery, lab tests, a stay at a rehabilitation center, physical therapy, and prescription drugs.

Equipment

If you suffered a permanent, disabling injury, you might need to purchase specialized equipment. You could qualify for reimbursement for the cost of a walker, a wheelchair, home modifications, an accessible vehicle, and other expenses incurred because of your injuries.

Decreased Earning Capacity

After significant injuries, you might not be able to work as many hours as you did before. Depending on the long-term consequences of the harm you suffered, you might have to switch to a lower-paying or part-time job, or you might be completely disabled and unable to support yourself through employment. You can recover compensation for that loss.

Long-Term Care

Some people need ongoing medical and personal care after catastrophic injuries from a truck accident. Whether you receive these services at an inpatient facility, on an outpatient basis, or in your home, the costs are compensable.

What Non-Economic Damages Are Available to Truck Accident Victims?

When you sustain injuries in a crash, you suffer harm that goes above and beyond your economic losses. Your non-economic damages can include such things as your pain and suffering, disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life, and your significant other’s loss of consortium.

While a tort reform law from the 1980’s used to limit how much you could recover for these losses, the state Supreme Court struck down this damage cap in a 1989 decision. There is no longer a limit on non-economic damages for personal injury claims in Washington.

When Can I Recover Compensation for Wrongful Death?

If your family member died in a truck accident, state law allows the surviving spouse, state registered domestic partner, child, or stepchild to bring a wrongful death action. The jury can award whatever amount of damages it feels are just under the circumstances of the case.

Does My Case Qualify for Punitive Damages?

Washington law has three requirements for juries that want to award punitive damages in a personal injury case:

  1. The jury must find that the defendant acted with malice or with reckless disregard of the consequences to the plaintiff;
  2. The damage amount must be high enough to punish the conduct; and
  3. The amount must be high enough to deter the defendant and others from similar conduct in the future.

Punitive damages in a truck accident case are relatively rare. However, if the truck driver or their employer acted egregiously, we might be able to build a strong case for this additional compensation.

What If I Was Partially at Fault for My Truck Accident?

The judge can reduce your damages award if you were partly at fault in the wreck. Washington’s comparative negligence laws allow each at-fault party to recover partial compensation that is reduced based on the amount of negligence.

For example, imagine your damages were $40,000, but you were 10-percent responsible for the crash. The judge would take 10 percent off of your damages award, and you would receive $36,000.

How Will a Lawyer Prove My Damages?

At Max Meyers Law, we begin by gathering your medical records, invoices, employer records of lost wages, and all other pertinent evidence of your economic losses. We will get the police report to establish who was negligent, and we will also speak with eyewitnesses about factual issues related to your claim. We will talk with you and your loved ones to build the case for your non-economic damages.

To get started, call 425-242-5595 today. You can set up a free consultation with a member of our truck accident team.

Max Meyers
Max is a Kirkland personal injury attorney handling cases in Seattle, King County & surrounding in WA State.