If you have been involved in a trucking accident in South Carolina, the results can be devastating. On top of dealing with severe injuries and insane medical bills, you might be wondering how long you will be able to go without work or if the money the insurance adjuster is promising you will actually cover everything.
Spoiler alert: it usually won’t. But that’s why we’re here! Our attorneys at Hammack Law Firm know the kind of hoops you have to jump through just to get the compensation you are owed, and we believe you shouldn’t have to deal with it on your own.
Personal injury suits that involve a commercial truck can be very tricky, not just because injuries are more likely to be severe but also because the lawsuit can involve more than one party. Your case could involve the truck driver and the company the driver works for. But how do you know in what cases this could be applied?
Keep reading to find out!
Who Is Liable in My Truck Accident Case?
Do you know how much your car or SUV weighs? About 5,000 pounds. Sounds pretty heavy, right? But do you know how much a loaded 18-wheeler weighs? Up to 80,000 pounds! Why are we breaking down these numbers? Because it’s this difference in weight that makes trucking accidents some of the most devastating road accidents that occur. It also means that the size of your claim should match the severity of the situation, and this won’t happen unless you understand the parties involved in your case and which ones are liable (meaning they are responsible for compensating you).
Here are some of the parties that could be involved in your claim:
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The Truck Driver
This is, of course, the most obvious answer. In your accident, the person driving the truck is generally responsible for the damages if they are found to have been committing illegal driving practices like:
- Driving recklessly
- Under the influence
- Or any other negligent practices.
In cases where the driver is an independent contractor, they are responsible for maintaining their own insurance. Or it’s possible the driver was using the truck for personal use off the clock when the crash occurred. So what if that’s true of your case? This means that the truck driver is the party responsible for the accident and no other party (including any company they may work with).
If, however, this isn’t the case. There might be another party that may be liable for your damages.
The Trucking Company
When it comes to truck maintenance, safe operations, and employee training, commercial trucking companies must follow all South Carolina as well as federal regulations. If they don’t, they can be held liable for an accident involving one of their drivers/trucks. These regulations are outlined by the Federal Motor Carrier Administration and include rules like:
- All trucks must be appropriately maintained through regular safety inspections of each truck before, during, and after every trip.
- Only trucks checked for safety and correctly maintained may be on the road.
- Drivers hired by the company must be qualified by holding a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and completing the necessary background checks.
- A trucking company must provide thorough and proper training for its drivers.
- A trucking company must ensure a driver follows the Hours of Service (HOS) guidelines.
- A trucking company must ensure all cargo is loaded to be properly balanced and secure and does not shift while being transported.
As you can see from just these few rules we’ve listed, a trucking company and their drivers have many regulations that must be followed. In many trucking accidents, an investigation begins to uncover that one or more of these rules has not been followed. When that happens, it is no longer just the truck driver that is responsible but also the trucking company. While truck driving is already a dangerous practice, considering how much larger its weight is compared to standard cars on the road, trucking companies can make it even more dangerous by trying to cut corners to meet deadlines or increase their bottom line.
There are commercial companies that have been known to ignore HOS rules in order to deliver as much cargo as possible in one trip. It is critical to uncover these types of failures to enforce FMCSA regulations. Why? Because a trucking company’s insurance funds are much higher than just the truck driver, meaning you are more likely to be fully compensated after your accident.
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Call Our Greenville Truck Accident Lawyers Today and Let Us Help You With Your Claim
Any lawyers with experience in truck accident claims like ours know that these cases require a lot of time to ensure no detail is missed that could negatively affect your compensation. If you are dealing with injuries, it is nearly impossible for you to handle such a claim on your own and get the kind of payment you are owed.
Our team at the Hammack Law Firm is experienced in interviewing witnesses, obtaining possible footage of the crash, and gathering essential data from the truck’s black box recorder, dash camera, or other devices. Don’t wait until you are on your last straw before contacting us. Pick up the phone and call right now—we are ready to help you, and that starts with our free consultation.