A study found that the median award in rear-end truck accident cases is $93,909. Remarkably, plaintiffs recover damages in 63 percent of hit from behind truck accident cases that go to verdict.
Why so low? This is the median truck accident verdict, not the average settlement payout. The average verdict will be higher than the median verdict. We have not seen average rear-end truck crash data (we estimate below), but we do know that 12% of the verdicts in rear-end truck accident cases are over $1 million. These are national statistics but our lawyers think these statistics hold up well for Maryland.
A more pressing question might be how do victims only win 63% of these hit from behind cases. That is a tough question to answer. Bad lawyers or people unrepresented by counsel? Certainly, defense lawyers representing trucking companies have a lot of tricks up their sleeve but this 63% number makes no sense.
Our law firm, Miller & Zois, has never lost a rear-end truck accident claim (or any truck accident claim, for that matter, while securing millions of dollars for our clients.)Car Accident Values Are Generally Less But...
Okay, so what if you were not in a truck crash, but a car accident. There is no data available that our lawyers have seen that shows the average rear-end settlement or verdict for a rear-end accident.
You can expect, in general, terms, the settlement payout to be less simply because the force of the collision caused by cars is usually less than you see in big rig crash cases.
In Maryland, the median - as opposed to average - accident payout in a verdict is around $12,000. This means that most car crash cases that go to trial in Maryland are not serious injury or death cases.
So you have to look more at the type of harm as opposed to the mechanism of injury to determine how much money you will get in compensation. That's the better test. Juries don't care how the collision happened. They want to know how hurt you are.
Our truck accident lawyers estimate the average settlement value of a truck accident case involving a rear-end collision (where a truck rear-ends another vehicle) is around $150,000 to $200,000. But exact statistics are not available. Most lawyer prefer median verdict data. The median jury award in rear-end truck accident cases is $93,909 and 12% of verdicts in these cases are over $1 million.
The primary factor that drives the settlement value of a rear-end truck accident case is the extent and severity of the plaintiff’s physical injuries. If the plaintiff suffers serious, permanent injuries such as a brain injury, ruptured spleen, or broken leg, the potential value of their case will be much higher.
If a truck hits you from behind, the truck driver is almost always going to be found to be responsible for the accident. The truck driver has a duty to maintain a safe distance from vehicles in front so that he can stop the truck in time to avoid a collision. There are some limited instances where the truck driver may not be at-fault in a rear-end collision, such as failure to yield.
Below are a few sample rear-end truck accident verdicts and settlement to give you some idea of how lawyers and juries are determining the worth of rear-end car accidents.
Do not extrapolate too much from these examples. The axiom "every case is different" really does apply here.
But while there is no predictive value in how much of a payout you will get, looking at verdicts and settlements does give you a deeper lens into the possible range of compensation payouts for a particular case, particularly when used in conjunction with other case value evaluation tools.
- 2020, California: $3.5 Million Verdict: This is a classic rear-end truck accident case. The victim is hit by a tractor-trailer transporting liquid nitrogen. Plaintiff refuses care at the scene, a fact that the defendant later tries to shove down his throat. He suffers a herniated disc at the L5-S1 level with radicular pain down his legs. He gets a lumbar fusion requiring the insertion of plates and pedicle screws. He has $880,000 in medical bills which his own expert concedes should have been about $632,000. The defendant's insurance company, Prosight, was able to get an expert to testify that the bills should have been $174,000. He also brings a claim for future medical care and life care needs. The jury awards $532,000 in past medical bills, $500,000 in future medical bills, $282,288 in past lost earnings, $900,000 in future lost wages, $500,000 for past pain and suffering, and $750,000 for future pain and suffering.
- 2015, Michigan: $1,365,000 Settlement: A soon-to-be-married couple is driving on the highway when their car experiences a mechanical failure. They turn on their hazard lights and begin to slow down. A commercial semi-truck quickly approaches from behind and slams into their vehicle. The car immediately catches fire and is pushed along the interstate. Unfortunately, both occupants succumb to their injuries, prompting their estates to file a wrongful death suit against the trucking company. They allege that the driver was not paying attention and did not even realize when he struck their vehicle. The driver admits to not being attentive, meaning the only issue is damages. The parties agree to a $1,365,000 settlement.
- 2014, Virginia: $920,000 Verdict: A 57-year-old information analyst is driving along I-66 in Virginia when traffic begins to slow. A commercial tractor-trailer rear-ends her vehicle with the front of the truck entering the back seat of the woman’s vehicle. She suffers a traumatic head injury and a mild brain injury in addition to soft-tissue damage to her body. When she sues the trucking company, they allege that she pulled out in front of the truck, thus causing the accident. Eye-witnesses refute that claim, and the defendants are determined to be at fault. After a four-day trial, the jury returns a verdict for the plaintiff for $920,000.
- 2014, Maryland: $743,000 Verdict: The passenger of a small SUV decides to reach for something in the backseat of her car when the driver stops at a red light. At the exact moment that she unbuckles her seat belt to do so, a concrete truck crashes into the back of her vehicle. The force of the impact throws the passenger into the windshield of the SUV, which results in back and neck injuries. She is transported via ambulance to the hospital where MRIs reveal disc herniation and tears. Doctors predict that she will require surgery in the future. She sues the concrete company for negligence, claiming that the truck was traveling too fast and should have slowed down when approaching the intersection. A Harford County jury returned a verdict for $743,000.
- 2013, Maryland: $2,301,250 Verdict: An occupational therapist is driving in Hagerstown on the way to our client’s house. The car in front of her intended to make a left turn, prompting her to slow down. As she slowed down, a truck rear-ends her vehicle. After the accident, the woman feels severe pain from a headache immediately. She is treated for whiplash and a concussion and also develops symptoms of vertigo. She hires a personal injury lawyer and files a lawsuit, claiming that vertigo prevents her from doing her job since she often has trouble getting to her clients’ homes. She claims that she has hundreds of episodes of vertigo each year. After she sues the trucking company, they allege that she was responsible for the accident by not turning on her turn signal. At a bench trial, though, the judge determines that she was slowing for the car in front of her as opposed to turning left, so signaling was not required. The judge awards a verdict of $2,301,250
- 2011, Maryland: $750,000 Settlement: A man on a motorcycle was rear-ended by a commercial truck, causing his instant death. This case highlights how in some wrongful death cases in Maryland it's hard to obtain a fair recovery because of the ridiculous cap on non-economic damages. Our law firm, Miller & Zois, handled this case.
- Valuing truck accident cases: this is another one of those valuation tools that can help you better understand the range of value for your claim
- Get verdicts and settlements (including more Miller & Zois verdicts) in Maryland (and some more recent results)