Were you severely injured in a crash with an 18-wheeler? Did you know that responsibility for the crash might not just fall on the truck driver, but might also extend to the company that owns the truck or hired them? Freight companies have specific responsibilities when it comes to the maintenance and upkeep of the fleet of trucks they own, as well as the hiring, training, and supervision of their drivers.
If the trucking company’s negligence in any way contributed to a serious injury or fatal accident, the company could be held liable. To identify negligence and hold the company accountable, it is crucial to hire an attorney with specific experience handling truck accident claims.
Attorney Paul Hammack and the team at the Hammack Law Firm have the right experience, skills, and resources to take on the trucking company and its insurer. Attorney Hammack has more than 20 years of experience in the trucking industry, first as a defense attorney and then fighting for the rights of those who’ve been hurt.
His current and previous trucking-industry memberships include:
- Academy of Truck Accident Attorneys (member)
- American Association for Justice, Truck Litigation Group (member)
- Trucking Industry Defense Association (prior member)
- Transportation Lawyers Association (prior member)
When you’ve been hurt, you want to feel confident in the law firm that’s working for you. Our satisfied clients will tell you that we are uniquely qualified to handle these cases, and we’re committed to you and your case.
Call Hammack Law Firm to discuss the specifics of your accident with us right away. We’ll use all the resources at our disposal to investigate the accident and hold the trucking company responsible. To schedule your free consultation, call us at (864) 479-8742 or fill out our contact form.
What Types of Vehicles Qualify for a Truck Accident Case?
We pursue compensation for victims injured by a wide range of trucking vehicles. Companies use different types of trucks to store and transport products. We can handle claims involving the following:
- Tanker trucks that carry hazardous materials
- Big rigs, semi-trucks, tractor-trailers, and 18-wheelers
- Tow trucks
- Emergency response vehicles, such as fire trucks
- Fuel truck tankers
- Cargo trucks
- Commercial work trucks like dump trucks, cement mixers, etc.
- Coal, log, and refrigerator trucks
- Garbage trucks
- Delivery vans
- Moving vans, specifically box trucks and minivans
Responsibilities of a Trucking Company
Trucking companies have a responsibility to perform maintenance on their trucks, hire reliable employers, and provide ongoing training for their drivers. If one of their drivers causes an accident, they might be liable for the victim’s resulting expenses, and they could face legal ramifications.
The responsibilities of a trucking company in relation to safety include the following:
Maintain, repair, and inspect all trucks: It’s a requirement to make sure each vehicle performs as intended. That means following maintenance schedules to look for any potential hazards. If there are any issues, immediate repairs to fix the problem should occur. Regularly inspecting new and old trucks ensures they function correctly and don’t create dangerous situations while on the road.
Hire qualified drivers: All drivers must hold the appropriate commercial driver’s license and know how to operate a truck. Thoroughly interviewing prospective employees and performing background checks help determine if someone is right for the job. It’s also useful to look at their work history, call previous employers, and ask specific questions about their experience.
Provide training: The ability to retain experienced truck drivers is crucial for any trucking company. Making sure they safely operate the truck and know how to react in hazardous conditions is essential. Training for new employees, as well as seasoned drivers, ensures they’re up to date with strict regulations and techniques to remain safe at all times.
What Should I Do if I Get Injured in a Truck Accident?
There are multiple steps you should take after an accident involving a commercial truck. While you’re at the scene, there’s information to collect that could help you in your case. If you’re not severely injured, do the following before you leave:
- Call the police and request a copy of the traffic crash report;
- Write down the trucker’s name, contact information, insurance carrier, and policy number;
- Take photos of the crash site and damage to both vehicles;
- Get the names and phone numbers of all witnesses; and
- Recall important information about the accident, such as where it occurred, how it happened, and your resulting injuries.
If you can drive yourself, go to the hospital immediately, or get transported by an ambulance. Undergoing a medical evaluation ensures your injury isn’t life-threatening and also provides a record of your injuries which can be used as evidence.
If your doctor refers you for imaging, diagnostic testing, or specialty treatment, you must follow their orders. Insurance companies often look for reasons to deny claims. If you wait multiple days before going to the ER or there’s a significant gap in your treatment, it’s an indication that you didn’t sustain serious injuries.
Reviewing insurance policies and filing claims are complicated procedures for most people. After you seek initial treatment, call Hammack Law Firm and hire one of our trucking company negligence attorneys. Having an attorney by your side to walk you through each step will help you understand your rights and a fair settlement in your claim.
When you hire us, we’ll launch a full investigation into the accident and find sufficient evidence to hold the trucking company responsible. Some of the evidence we’ll obtain includes:
- Police reports
- Witness accounts of the accident
- Insurance policies from the trucking company and driver
- Video surveillance of the crash
- Photos of the scene
- Vehicle repair estimates and invoices
- Medical records related to your injury
Once we find the company’s liability insurance information, we’ll file a claim on your behalf. All businesses typically carry general liability insurance with bodily injury coverage. That coverage pays compensation to individuals injured because of the company’s negligence.
Building a strong case requires submitting everything we find to the insurance adjuster. The adjuster assigned to the claim will review the evidence and determine who caused the accident. If they find fault on the part of the driver, we’ll start negotiating a settlement based on your total costs.
What’s the Maximum Settlement I Could Receive?
Damages are losses suffered as a result of an accident or injury. In trucking accidents, you could receive reimbursement for a range of economic and non-economic damages. The amount you’re entitled to depend on a variety of factors, including:
- Liability found on the part of the trucking company
- The severity of your injury
- Duration of treatment needed
- Permanent disability requiring future expenses
- Time missed from work
Economic damages are actual costs caused by the crash. You could receive compensation for the following:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Property damage
Non-economic damages are immeasurable suffering you endured because of your injury. You could claim the following as non-economic damages:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of consortium
When it comes to economic damages, the amount you can receive depends on the coverage listed on the trucking company’s insurance policy. You could potentially win the maximum amount available.
Non-economic damages are different. It’s difficult to investigate something you can’t physically see. The insurance adjuster or judge at a trial will review all the evidence and decide how much your non-economic damages are worth.
Can I Sue the Trucking Company for My Damages?
If there’s a clear liability on the part of the trucking company, you could file a lawsuit. Liability exists in the following circumstances:
- The company hired the unqualified driver who caused the accident
- The company failed to perform routine maintenance on the truck involved in the crash
- The company didn’t make necessary repairs promptly
- The company didn’t provide adequate training for the trucker
- The company knowingly supplied the driver with a truck with faulty parts
While an insurance claim seeks reimbursement for economic and non-economic damages, a lawsuit seeks punitive damages. Punitive damages don’t compensate you for your expenses. They punish the negligent party for their careless actions.
Laws in South Carolina prohibit the total financial award you receive when you pursue a lawsuit. The amount of punitive damages you could claim can’t exceed three times the total of your economic and non-economic damages or a maximum of $500,000 (whichever is higher).
If you want to file a lawsuit, there’s a statute of limitations to follow. A statute of limitations is a strict deadline for bringing legal action against another person or entity. In the state of South Carolina, there’s a three-year statute of limitations for injuries sustained in an accident. That means you only have three years from the date of the crash to sue the trucking company. If three years pass, you lose your right to pursue compensation for their negligence.
Why You Should Choose Hammack Law Firm
Our firm has been helping victims of truck accidents since 2015. We dedicate our time and attention to fighting for injured people just like you. We believe in working hard to seek justice for our clients. When you hire us, we’ll work efficiently to recover the compensation you need to move forward with your life.
We believe in the importance of providing excellent customer service. Our diverse team can speak fluent Spanish for those who require it. With our 24/7 live chat feature, you can reach us whenever you need us. We’re available to discuss your case and answer any questions at a time most convenient for you.
If you’re worried about the cost of a consultation, we’re the right law firm for you. We offer a free consultation, so there’s no risk or obligation to receive the legal advice you need. Call us at (864) 479-8742 if you were the victim of a trucking company’s negligence.