Sharing the road with large trucks in South Carolina can be a nerve-wracking experience, particularly when you witness a truck accident. The presence of 18-wheelers and other large commercial vehicles on South Carolina’s highways demands extra vigilance due to the severe risks they pose in collisions. Such accidents can result in catastrophic injuries or fatalities.
For those in smaller passenger vehicles, the disparity in size with commercial trucks is a significant factor in accident outcomes. Data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety-Highway Loss Data Institute reveals a stark reality: a large proportion of truck accident fatalities are occupants of passenger cars.
Facing the possibility of an accident with a commercial truck is a concerning reality for drivers in South Carolina. While this blog offers a broad overview rather than in-depth legal advice on what to do after a truck accident, it’s grounded in the extensive experience of our lead attorney at Hammack Law Firm. With 24 years in truck accident law, including unique insights gained from representing both trucking carriers and accident victims, we provide general guidance that’s informed by a deep understanding of both sides of these cases.
For more specific advice tailored to your unique situation if you’ve been injured, we welcome you to reach out to us at (864) 326-3333 for a free case review. We’ll personally connect with you to make sure you’re taken care of from the beginning to the end.
Now, let’s delve into the critical actions to take following a truck accident, as well as the common pitfalls to avoid.
Evaluate Injuries and Contact Emergency Services
The immediate step after a truck accident is to check for injuries and dial 911. This is not only crucial for ensuring prompt medical attention for the injured but also a legal requirement in South Carolina for any accident resulting in injuries, death, or significant property damage.
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Move to a Safe Location
If it’s safe to do so, move yourself and your vehicle to a secure location, such as the roadside or a nearby parking area. This helps prevent additional accidents and ensures the safety of all parties involved.
In situations with low visibility or at night, it’s also advisable to use safety flares. Setting out flares around the perimeter of the accident scene can significantly enhance visibility, alerting other drivers to the hazard and further protecting everyone involved. Remember to place them at a safe distance from the accident site to provide ample warning for oncoming traffic.
Document the Scene
It’s imperative to gather as much information as possible at the site of the accident. The details and evidence you collect will be fundamental in constructing your case and seeking fair compensation for your injuries. This includes:
- Filing a Police Report: Once you have called 911, make sure a police report is filed. This report serves as an unbiased record of the accident and is invaluable in legal proceedings and insurance claims. It’s a key document for establishing fault and can be critical in the claims process.
- Photographic Evidence: Capture detailed photos of the accident scene. This should include the positions of all vehicles involved, any skid marks, debris, and the overall road conditions at the time of the accident. Also, take clear pictures of the damage to your vehicle and the truck, as these images will be crucial in demonstrating the extent of the damages.
- Witness Information: Witnesses play a crucial role in corroborating your account of the accident. Collect names, phone numbers, and if possible, get brief statements from them. Their testimony can provide valuable insights that support your version of events.
- Truck Driver’s Information: It’s essential to obtain information about the truck driver, including their insurance details and employer information. Ask for their insurance card, driver’s license, and the contact information of the trucking company they represent. This information is necessary for any compensation claims.
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Seek Medical Attention
Even if you believe you’re uninjured, it’s critical to seek medical attention right after a truck accident. The urgency of medical assessment cannot be overstated, as it plays a vital role in both your health and any potential legal claims.
- The Hidden Nature of Some Injuries: Some injuries, such as concussions or internal bleeding, may not show immediate symptoms. These types of injuries can take hours or even days to become apparent. Early medical evaluation is essential for detecting these hidden injuries, which, if left untreated, could lead to more severe complications.
- Benefits of Timely Medical Attention: Receiving medical care promptly after the accident can significantly impact the recovery process. It not only helps in preventing injuries from worsening but also establishes a documented link between the accident and your injuries. This documentation is critical when seeking compensation, as it provides concrete evidence that your injuries were a direct result of your accident.
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Notify Your Insurance Company
Following a truck accident in South Carolina, it’s imperative to inform your insurance company about the incident without delay. This timely notification is a key step in the claims process.
When contacting your insurer, have the necessary details on hand. This includes your insurance policy number, the specific date and location of the accident, and the identity of the law enforcement agency that responded to and investigated the incident.
It’s important to be factual and concise when reporting the accident to your insurance company. However, exercise caution in discussing details of the accident or making any admissions of fault. Stick to the facts and avoid speculating or offering personal opinions about what happened.
Keep in mind that initial report calls are typically recorded for routine purposes. However, for formal recorded statements or detailed interviews requested by insurance adjusters, it’s advisable to first seek legal counsel. These statements are more in-depth and can significantly affect your claim.
Critical Mistakes to Avoid Following a Truck Accident
Understanding what not to do after a truck accident is just as vital as knowing the correct steps to take. Certain actions can adversely affect your claim and legal standing in South Carolina. Here are key missteps to avoid:
- Avoid Leaving the Accident Scene Prematurely: Remain at the scene until you have exchanged necessary information. Leaving early can have legal consequences and negatively impact your claim.
- Refrain from Discussing Accident Details: Do not discuss the accident with the truck driver, their employer, or their insurance company. Statements made to them can be used against you in your claim.
- Be Cautious with Social Media Posts: Avoid posting about the accident, your injuries, or your recovery on social media. Such posts can be used to challenge your claim.
- Don’t Rush into Settlement Offers: Be wary of accepting settlement offers from insurance companies without legal consultation. These initial offers might not reflect the full value of your claim.
- Decline Providing Recorded Statements: Politely refuse requests for recorded statements by insurance adjusters until you have consulted with an attorney.
- Do Not Sign Documents without Legal Advice: Avoid signing any documents from insurance companies or other parties without having them reviewed by your attorney first.
- Don’t Delay Seeking Legal Help: Avoid waiting too long to seek legal advice, as this can lead to loss of crucial evidence and weaken your claim.
By avoiding these common mistakes, you help protect your legal rights and increase the likelihood of a favorable outcome in your truck accident claim in South Carolina.
Seek Assistance from Skilled SC Truck Accident Attorneys
Truck accident cases in South Carolina can be intricate and challenging due to a myriad of factors such as stringent federal regulations, the involvement of multiple parties, and complicated insurance policies. Engaging skilled and experienced SC truck accident attorneys from a reputable South Carolina personal injury law firm is crucial for effectively navigating these complexities. A lawyer experienced in truck accidents can thoroughly investigate the incident, accumulate vital evidence to fortify your case, and adeptly handle negotiations with insurance companies.
Your chosen attorney will not only offer legal counsel but also stand as your advocate in court, should your case proceed to trial. With their deep understanding of South Carolina’s legal landscape, combined with their skills and resources, they are well-equipped to guide you through the legal system and vigorously defend your rights. Their involvement is instrumental in ensuring that you receive the guidance and representation necessary for seeking justice and fair compensation.
Keep in mind that the statute of limitations for filing a claim is three years from the date of your accident. Early consultation with a lawyer ensures that your claim is managed effectively and increases your chances of a favorable resolution.
What Makes Us Different
Deep Industry Insight with 24 Years of Experience: At Hammack Law Firm, our approach to trucking law is shaped by an extensive, two-decade-long journey in this specialized field. Unlike many personal injury lawyers who may only dabble in trucking cases, our foundation is built on a profound understanding and specific focus on truck accident cases.
Insider Advantage: Our lead attorney’s unique perspective comes from 15 years of experience working for trucking carriers and insurers. This insider knowledge equips us with a nuanced understanding of how the other side operates, giving our clients a distinct advantage.
In-Depth Knowledge of Federal Regulations: We’re not just familiar with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations – we know them inside and out. This expertise allows us to navigate complex legal landscapes, pinpoint liabilities, and effectively counter the tactics used by truck insurers to obscure facts and evade responsibility.
Hands-On Industry Experience: What truly sets us apart is our hands-on experience in the trucking industry. Our lead attorney has personally operated various types of trucks, including dump trucks, semi-trucks, and flat-bed haulers. This practical experience offers an unmatched and invaluable perspective that enriches our legal strategies and client advocacy.
Injured in a Greenville Truck Accident? Experience the Hammack Law Firm Difference
If you or a loved one has been involved in a truck accident in Greenville, South Carolina, you need an advocate who understands every facet of these complex cases. At Hammack Law Firm, our expertise goes beyond the average legal representation. With our lead attorney’s 24 years of experience, including a deep understanding of the trucking industry from both sides, we provide unparalleled legal assistance to victims of truck accidents.
Start your journey to justice with a free case review. At Hammack Law Firm, we are committed to your cause, working on a contingency basis – you won’t pay unless we win your case. Our goal is to secure full compensation for you, covering all damages from medical expenses to lost wages, pain and suffering, and necessary vehicle repairs.
In cases of wrongful death, our empathetic team stands ready to support families in their quest for justice and appropriate compensation. With our track record of significant settlements and a relentless commitment to safety and accountability, choosing us means choosing a partner dedicated not only to your individual case but to advocating for safer roads across South Carolina.
When searching for “truck injury lawyers near me,” remember that Hammack Law Firm offers more than just legal expertise – we offer a unique blend of industry insight and in-depth knowledge of federal trucking regulations. Call us at (864) 326-3333 or visit our website to schedule your free consultation. Join us at Hammack Law Firm, where our experience and dedication are your strongest allies in seeking justice.
At Hammack Law Firm, our team is trained and experienced to win!
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The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country, or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.