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The aftermath of a truck accident can be difficult and stressful, especially if the accident was not your fault. You might be wondering how you will shoulder the financial burden of your medical bills and other expenses. You may ask, “How much can I recover from a truck accident injury?” and “Will that be enough to cover my expenses? You don’t have to face these challenges alone because The Melonakos Law Firm is here to help.

Our experienced attorneys have helped injured people in Greenville, South Carolina pursue the compensation they were harmed in truck accidents. Our dedication to our clients, commitment to results, and experience on both sides of the negotiation table have helped us recover more than $50 million in compensation to date.

To discuss your case with a compassionate attorney who’s ready to answer your questions, contact us online or call The Melonakos Law Firm today for a free consultation.

What Damages Can I Recover After an 18-Wheeler Accident?

Damages is the legal term for the monetary compensation awarded to a person who has been injured or incurred some other loss due to another party’s negligent actions. If you were injured in an accident that was someone else’s fault, you might be entitled to pursue damages from them. However, the law is different in every state. 

Damages are classified in the following categories, depending on the state.

Economic Damages/Special Damages

Economic damages are monetary losses incurred by an injured party with a specific dollar value attached to them. Both North Carolina and South Carolina recognize this category of damages, while in Georgia, they are known as special damages. Examples of economic or special damages include:

  • Hospital and other medical bills and expenses
  • Costs of future medically necessary care
  • Lost wages
  • Diminished future earning capacity
  • Property damage

Non-Economic Damages/General Damages

Non-economic damages are intangible losses that a victim cannot easily quantify by looking at a bill or receipt. Both North Carolina and South Carolina recognize this category of damages. In Georgia, these damages are called general damages. Examples of non-economic or general damages include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of consortium
  • Inconvenience

Punitive Damages/Exemplary Damages

Punitive damages, also known as exemplary damages, are meant to punish the at-fault party for their actions and deter similar actions in the future. Here is how each state approaches punitive damages:

  • North Carolina – Punitive damages may be awarded when the defendant’s actions were “egregiously wrongful” and involved fraud, malice, or willful or wanton conduct.
  • South Carolina – Punitive damages may be awarded if the accident victim can prove they were harmed by the defendant’s “willful, wanton, or reckless conduct.”
  • Georgia – Punitive damages may be awarded if the defendant’s actions demonstrated “willful misconduct, malice, fraud, wantonness, [or] oppression,” which exemplifies an indifference to the consequences of their actions.

Damage Caps

Some states cap the amount of damages awarded to accident victims. Generally, there are no caps on economic damages, although there are certain exceptions. Here are the caps in each state:

  • North Carolina – Punitive damages are capped at three times the amount of compensatory damages (including both economic and non-economic damages) or $250,000, whichever is greater. There are no caps on economic or non-economic damages in North Carolina.
  • South Carolina – Punitive damages are capped at three times the amount of compensatory damages (including economic and non-economic damages) or $500,000, whichever is greater (except in specific circumstances). There is no cap on non-economic damages in most personal injury cases. Furthermore, under the South Carolina Tort Claims Act, when the at-fault party is the government or a government employee, damages are capped at $300,000 per person or $600,000 per incident, with a few exceptions. 
  • Georgia – Georgia has no caps on economic or non-economic damages in most personal injury cases. Punitive damages are usually capped at $250,000, with a few exceptions. For example, the cap does not apply if the defendant was impaired by drugs, alcohol, or other substances to the extent their judgment was substantially impaired. The cap also does not apply to cases in which the defendant intentionally harmed the plaintiff. 

How a Greenville Lawyer Can Help

The laws regarding damages in truck accidents are complicated and vary from state to state. Furthermore, the rules may differ depending on the circumstances of an accident. Working with an experienced truck accident attorney is crucial to pursuing the maximum possible compensation. An 18-wheeler accident attorney can help you by:

  • Explaining the applicable laws in your state and situation
  • Investigating the cause and contributing factors of the accident
  • Gathering compelling evidence to prove who is at fault
  • Understanding how the accident and injuries have affected you
  • Discussing potential truck accident injury compensation with you
  • Negotiating with the at-fault party’s lawyers or insurance company to pursue the best possible outcome in your case
  • Filing a lawsuit if negotiations break down and going to court becomes the best way to demand the compensation you’re owed

Talk to our Expert Greenville Truck Accident Attorney Today

If you were injured in a truck accident in Greenville, South Carolina, the attorneys at The Melonakos Law Firm can help. We understand how devastating these accidents can be and want to help you get the money you need for your well-being and your future. Contact us today for a free consultation with a knowledgeable truck accident attorney.

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