If you were hurt in a commercial vehicle accident that a professional driver caused, you can file a claim for damages. Understanding how truck accident settlements work and what is needed to prove your claim in South Carolina is vital to recovering compensation. This process will require:
- Identifying the liable parties
- Collecting evidence to support your right to financial recovery and estimate your case’s value
- Filing a claim with the appropriate insurance companies
- Negotiating a settlement that addresses your damages
Once you accept a settlement, you cannot seek further compensation from the liable parties. As such, you may want to consider hiring a truck accident lawyer to manage your claim. There are many complexities in these cases that will be easier to sort through with a legal team on your side.
Who Is Liable for Your South Carolina Truck Accident?
Liability in tractor-trailer collisions is often a little confusing for victims. In most cases, even when the truck driver is clearly at fault, there is also a claim against their employer. This is because of a legal doctrine called “respondeat superior.” With this doctrine, as confirmed in South Carolina case law such as Adams v. S.C. Power Co. (1942), the employer is vicariously liable for the actions of their employees at work.
When a truck driver is behind the wheel and hauling goods for a trucking company or other corporation, they are working within the scope of their employment. This means the company is vicariously liable for their negligence during this time and that:
- You can file your claim based on the trucking company’s corporate liability insurance.
- You can sue the trucking company.
- You may need to face corporate attorneys to recover damages.
- A defendant in the case may hold much of the evidence, so you will need to act quickly to preserve it.
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What Does It Take to Prove Your Case to the Insurer?
All traffic accident claims are based on negligence and fault in South Carolina, including truck collision cases. You can recover compensation only if you can show the truck driver’s careless or reckless behavior caused your accident.
There are four parts to proving negligence:
- The truck driver had an obligation to do something, such as stop at a stop sign.
- They failed to do so, usually violating a traffic law.
- Their failure caused the collision.
- You have injuries and financial losses as a result.
Proving Your Truck Accident Damages
Once you have the evidence necessary to show negligence, you can begin gathering the documentation to prove your related expenses and losses. Your medical bills, work documents, medical records, car repair estimates, and more will show how much your case is worth.
You can present this evidence to the insurer and demand a just payout. They are likely to lowball you initially, so it may take ongoing negotiations to get a payout that falls within the acceptable settlement range.
If You Cannot Reach an Agreement with the Insurance Company
If the insurance company does not offer a fair settlement based on the evidence in your case, you may need to go take the trucking company and driver to court. This will give you the opportunity to go in front of a judge and jury and ask them to determine the outcome of your case.
Most defendants do not want to go to trial, and they may increase their settlement offer when you file the paperwork. You should prepare for trial, though, because it may be necessary to secure justice and compensation.
Note that there are deadlines for taking action. Per S.C. Ann. § 15-3-530, you have a limited time to sue the liable parties if you cannot reach an out-of-court settlement. This is generally three years from the accident date, but other factors could change this timeline.
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Hiring a Truck Accident Attorney to Help with Your Claim
Working with a lawyer who understands truck accident cases can give you peace of mind when seeking compensation from a trucking company. Many victims find that partnering with our firm allows them to focus on healing from their injuries while we take care of their legal matters.
Choosing the right law firm is key. You want someone with the necessary resources and experience to develop a case and fight for the compensation you deserve—not back down from the insurance or trucking company.
Our firm fulfills these requirements. We take a stance to protect our communities from negligent truck drivers and their employers.
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Let Hammack Law Firm Review Your Truck Accident Case for Free Today
Hammack Law Firm fights for justice for truck collision victims in South Carolina. We believe in holding trucking companies accountable for the bad behavior of their drivers and recovering just compensation for our clients.
We have five South Carolina offices to serve clients injured in truck accident cases. This includes our main office in Greenville and additional locations in Spartanburg, Anderson, Pickens, and Seneca. Call (864) 326-3333 now to speak with a team member about our services in a free consultation.