It might not be worth hiring a truck accident lawyer in South Carolina if you did not sustain significant injuries or property damage. However, this outcome is not common in commercial truck accidents. Most passenger car versus truck collisions result in substantial damage and devastating injuries.
If you have amassed large medical bills, missed weeks from work, and have other financial and intangible damages, having an experienced truck accident law firm on your side could offer many benefits. In addition, you can focus on your rehabilitation and healing while they take care of your claim.
Truck Accidents Play Out Differently Than Many Crash Claims
If you were in a crash caused by a trucker or another commercial vehicle driver, you might find it worth your while to hire a trucking accident lawyer familiar with these cases. They often prove the best way to protect your rights and build the strongest case possible.
In addition to the driver, the liable party in these cases is often a large corporation. These entities could share responsibility in your case:
- The driver’s employer
- The company that owns the truck or cargo
- Those responsible for maintaining the truck
- The manufacturer of any defective parts or components
- The municipality or agency that designed or maintained the road
How Vicarious Liability Can Affect Your Truck Accident Claim
The legal doctrine of respondeat superior, or vicarious liability, comes into play in many of these cases. South Carolina case law – affirmed in many state Supreme Court decisions, including Sams v. Arthur (1926) – makes the driver’s employer vicariously liable for their employee’s actions.
Your attorney will build a case against the company, taking on their corporate attorneys and insurer.
A Lawyer Will Gather Evidence to Support the Claim
Proving a truck accident case is more complicated because of these factors:
- The trucking company possesses much of the evidence
- There are industry regulations you must understand
When a law firm accepts a case, it acts quickly to preserve the trucking company’s evidence. They will issue a spoliation letter that grants access to these bits of information:
- The truck’s computer data
- The driver’s rest log
- The driver’s drug and alcohol test results
- Dashcam video
- Previous incidents in the driver’s record
- The driver’s medical records
Your attorney will also need to examine the role trucking industry regulations played in the crash. For example, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has hours of service regulations that all drivers must follow. However, it is not unusual for drivers to ignore these rules and their employers to encourage them.
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Your Attorney Will Document Your Damages
When you get hurt in a South Carolina truck crash, you will need to uncover, document, and value the costs and losses you incurred. This course of action is the only way to prove the fair settlement value of your case. A truck accident attorney can handle this process for you.
While managing this process may seem relatively straightforward, that is only true for your current economic damages, such as your medical bills, lost income, and property damages. Other expenses and losses are much more difficult to determine. These include future medical needs and intangible damages such as pain and suffering.
Your lawyer will know how to prove these losses and establish an accurate value on them. They will then demand the insurer or liable parties pay an appropriate payout.
Your Legal Team Will Know How to Navigate the Claims Process
To recover compensation in a commercial vehicle accident, you must prove what happened, who is responsible, and how much the claim is worth. When you hire an attorney, they will take care of each of these steps.
Truck accident lawyers know the evidence needed to prove the most common causes of truck accidents:
- Drowsy driving
- Reckless driving
- Distracted driving
- Driver error
- Loading errors
- Mechanical failure
- Blindspot accidents
- Underride accidents
- Jackknife incidents
They will investigate your collision, support the claim with evidence, and demand a settlement covering your damages. They will also prepare the necessary paperwork, communicate with the insurer and opposing counsel, and negotiate the settlement. If a settlement cannot be reached, your attorney can file a lawsuit before the statute of limitations runs out to recover compensation for you.
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Your Attorney Will Manage the Timeline of Your Case
Most truck accident claims settle without a trial. However, you only have a limited time to sue the trucking company and other liable parties if necessary. In South Carolina, this is generally three years per S.C. Ann. § 15-3-530. Some exceptions exist, and your attorney will determine the deadlines in your case and ensure you meet them when possible.
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At Hammack Law Firm, our truck accident attorneys help clients recover compensation in their collision cases every day. We provide complimentary case reviews and will represent you based on contingency. Call (864) 326-3333 to get started.