Understanding what to expect from an average truck accident settlement can help ease the uncertainty ahead when facing the aftermath of a truck accident.

While it’s impossible to provide an exact figure, several factors, including the nature and severity of injuries, determination of liability, and the availability of insurance coverage, all play a significant role in shaping potential compensation.

By working with an experienced California truck accident attorney, victims of truck accidents can fight to receive the fair and just settlement they deserve. 

At Silva Injury Law, we prioritize compassionate advocacy to help victims navigate the complex settlement process with confidence. Contact us online or call (209) 600-4389 today to learn more about how we can support your recovery.

Read on to learn more about the factors that impact an average semi truck accident settlement. 

Injury Type and Severity

Injury type and severity are fundamental factors impacting truck accident settlements. When you sustain severe injuries, the associated medical costs, rehabilitation needs, and long-term care can significantly raise the potential settlement amount.

Here are some examples of how specific injuries impact commercial truck accident settlements: 

  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). TBIs often require specialized care, frequent therapy, and prolonged rehabilitation, resulting in extensive medical expenses and potential loss of future earning capacity. These factors can dramatically increase the settlement value.
  • Spinal cord injuries. Spinal injuries that cause partial or complete paralysis generally involve lifelong medical care and adjustments to living accommodations, justifying higher compensation to cover these costs.
  • Broken bones. Multiple fractures or complicated breaks might necessitate surgery and significant recovery periods, leading to higher settlements due to prolonged absence from work.
  • Whiplash and soft tissue injuries. While considered less severe, soft tissue injuries like whiplash can result in chronic pain and mobility issues that warrant additional compensation for long-term therapy and lost wages.

A skilled attorney will assess the full extent of a client’s injuries to account for current and future medical needs, helping you fight for the maximum compensation.


Liability, or fault, is another critical factor affecting truck accident settlements. In California, the comparative negligence rule means that a victim’s compensation can be reduced by their percentage of fault in the accident.

Here’s how liability can influence the average truck accident settlement:

  • Multiple liable parties. Truck accidents often involve multiple parties, such as the driver, trucking company, and maintenance contractors. If more than one party is liable, your settlement might increase, as each party may contribute a portion of the compensation.
  • Federal regulation violations: Commercial trucks must follow strict regulations set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). If violations like exceeding driving hours or inadequate vehicle maintenance are proven, it can bolster a liability case and lead to a higher settlement.
  • Accident investigation reports. Thorough investigations by law enforcement, insurance companies, and legal teams help establish liability and strengthen a victim’s claim, potentially increasing settlement offers.

An attorney can build a compelling case by gathering strong evidence to identify all liable parties, ultimately contributing to a more accurate and comprehensive settlement calculation. 

To better understand how comparative liability impacts your potential settlement, consider an accident involving $100,000 in damages. If the victim is 25% at fault, they would receive $75,000 in compensation. However, if they are 75% at fault, they will only receive $25,000. Liability can lead to drastically different settlements, even when two victims have similar injuries and damage totals.

Insurance Limits

Insurance limits set a cap on the amount of compensation an insurer can pay out, directly affecting the value of 18-wheeler accident settlements.

Here’s how:

  • Commercial truck policies. Commercial trucks generally have higher policy limits than standard passenger vehicles due to their potential to cause extensive damage. However, even these higher limits may not fully cover a victim’s losses if multiple people are involved or if injuries are catastrophic.
  • Multiple policies. Trucking companies and drivers may have multiple policies, including primary and excess insurance, which can extend available compensation beyond the primary policy’s cap.
  • Uninsured/Underinsured coverage. Victims may need to rely on uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage to bridge the gap if the at-fault party is uninsured or lacks sufficient coverage.

Even with high policy limits, working with an attorney ensures a thorough investigation into all potential sources of coverage. That can lead to a more comprehensive settlement addressing your financial needs.


The types and extent of damages directly impact the final settlement value, as each victim’s unique losses require careful consideration. Economic measurable financial losses. Serious injuries often necessitate long-term care and expensive treatments, which can significantly raise the overall settlement value.

Available Damages in California Trucking Accident Settlements

A trucking accident can cause you to incur thousands of dollars in losses. Through a settlement, however, you may be able to recoup many of these costs.

According to California law, any person who suffers detriment as a result of the wrongful actions or omissions of another may recover compensation from the at-fault party. This compensation is referred to as damages.

In a trucking accident case, recoverable damages typically include compensation for things such as:

  • Hospital bills,
  • Ambulance fees,
  • Physical therapy expenses,
  • Lost income,
  • Loss of earning capacity,
  • Pain and suffering, and
  • Loss of enjoyment of life.

In some rare circumstances, a truck accident victim may also seek what is known as punitive or exemplary damages. However, such damages are usually reserved for the most egregious cases in which there is evidence of oppression, fraud, or malice by the at-fault party.

What Is a Truck Accident Settlement Calculator?

Insurance adjusters use various methods to evaluate economic and non-economic damages when determining the value of a truck accident settlement. Economic damages like medical bills and lost wages are relatively simple to calculate, but non-economic damages such as pain and suffering require a more nuanced assessment. Two standard methods used to calculate non-economic damages are the per diem and multiplier methods.

Per Diem Method

The per diem method assigns a daily monetary value to the victim’s pain and suffering. This daily rate is multiplied by the number of days that the victim is expected to experience symptoms related to their injuries.

Here’s how the per diem approach works:

  • Daily value calculation. The daily rate is typically based on the victim’s daily wage or salary, reflecting the loss in quality of life equivalent to a day’s work.
  • Duration of suffering. Adjusters consider the period during which the victim is expected to endure pain and suffering, counting each day from the accident until complete recovery or long-term symptoms stabilize.

While the per diem method can be effective in cases where recovery is expected, it may not fully account for permanent disabilities or ongoing emotional trauma.

Multiplier Method

The multiplier method involves multiplying the total economic damages by a factor (typically between 1 and 5) to calculate a lump sum for non-economic damages.

The multiplier factor depends on several variables:

  • Injury severity: More severe injuries tend to receive higher multipliers due to the increased pain, suffering, and lasting effects; 
  • Treatment and recovery duration: Long-term treatments or permanent disabilities often result in a higher multiplier, reflecting the prolonged impact on the victim’s life; and 
  • Impact on daily life: If injuries significantly affect the victim’s ability to work, participate in hobbies, or maintain relationships, the multiplier may be increased to compensate for this loss of enjoyment.

Insurance adjusters evaluate all these factors to assign a fair multiplier, which is then applied to the total economic damages to determine the non-economic portion of the settlement.

Don’t Feel Pressured to Accept the First Offer You Receive

Each case is different. Accordingly, there is no average amount of time it takes for a truck accident case to settle.

Some cases may settle within a matter of weeks. However, depending on the facts and circumstances of your particular case, it could be months or even longer.

It’s also important to remember that a quick settlement doesn’t necessarily mean a fair or equitable settlement. In many cases, the opposing party, their insurer, or their legal counsel may provide an initial settlement offer that is well below what you may be legally entitled to recover.

Often, however, an experienced truck accident settlements attorney may be able to help you obtain a significantly more favorable outcome. Thus, when in doubt, always run any initial settlement offers past an attorney before deciding whether to proceed.

Be wary, however, of the statute of limitations. This is the timeframe in which a plaintiff must file a legal claim in court. For trucking accidents and other personal injury cases, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of injury caused by the wrongful or negligent act of another.

If your case is approaching the two-year limit and it still hasn’t settled, it may be time to consider filing a lawsuit. Failure to file or settle before time expires may result in forfeiture of your legal claim entirely.

How To Maximize Truck Accident Settlements In California

Navigating the truck accident settlement process can be stressful, complicated, and confusing. That’s why we’ve made it our mission to help injury victims like you.

At-fault parties in a truck accident case will frequently try to make lowball offers and take advantage of people who are just trying to recover. But hiring an experienced injury lawyer is one of the best ways to prevent this from happening.

At Silva Injury Law, Inc., we’ve helped our clients obtain extraordinary results—in some cases obtaining settlements as much as 45% more than the initial offer from the adverse party. We will always fight zealously to get our clients the outcomes they deserve. Contact us today for a consultation to see how our attorneys can help you with your truck accident settlement.

Find Out How We Can Help

At Silva Injury Law we promote healing through compassionate advocacy. With each case tailored to the individual, we look out for your best interests by evaluating your unique circumstances. Contact us online or call (209) 600-4389 today for a FREE in person or remote consultation.