Although you're entitled to compensation for those medical bills, as well as your property damage, lost income, and pain and suffering, the trucking company's insurer knows every trick in the book to avoid giving you fair compensation if your claim is an expensive one. An attorney with a thorough knowledge of State and Federal laws regulating truckers and trucking companies, as well as familiarity with the many factors that distinguish truck wrecks from car wrecks, will work to obtain a fair insurance settlement or a successful lawsuit.
There Will Likely Be Multiple Defendants
Unlike a car accident in which you normally demand compensation from one at-fault driver, a truck accident could be caused by more than one liable party, including the following.
The Driver of the Truck
Truckers sometimes speed or drive too many hours without rest because they have financial incentives to meet tight delivery deadlines. A trucker might also be fatigued, drowsy, under the influence of drugs/alcohol, or distracted behind the wheel by food, drink, cigarettes, a radio, a computer, or a GPS device.
The Truck's Manufacturer
The truck manufacturer or a replacement parts manufacturer could be found responsible if faulty equipment or mechanical failure contributed to your wreck.
The Shipping or Loading Company
A shipping company or its loading dock personnel might be liable for improper loading that allowed cargo to shift, affected the handling of the truck, and played a part in the crash.
A Government Entity
If poorly maintained roads or missing/faulty traffic signs or signals contributed to your wreck, a city, county, or state government entity could bear partial blame.
The Company That Owns and Maintains the Truck
The company that owns the truck and employs the trucker owes a duty of care that consists of:
- Hiring only qualified and properly trained truck drivers
- Checking those drivers' backgrounds for previous traffic violations, accidents, or criminal convictions
- Monitoring all truckers' hours of service (HOS) and ensuring compliance with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations
- Putting only safe and properly maintained trucks on the road
If you can prove that any of the potential defendants listed above violated the duty of care and completely or partially caused the accident that injured you, you may file an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit to recover damages. Truckers and trucking companies are required to carry liability insurance with high coverage limits to pay such damages.
This does not mean, however, that the insurer(s) will just send you a check without a fight. The more expensive your claim, the more apt the adjusters and attorneys from the insurance company might be to devalue, delay, or deny your claim. An adjuster might even contact you and offer you a quick, low settlement before you can hire an attorney or even determine the total cost of your medical care. We recommed you never accept such an offer before consulting a truck crash lawyer.
What an Experienced Truck Crash Attorney Can Do for You
In order to help you establish fault and obtain fair compensation from all defendants, your truck accident attorney will likely take the following steps:
- Investigate your crash with the help of an accident reconstructionist to prove liability
- Obtain data from the truck's on-board black box recorder, dashboard camera, and electronic logging device (ELD) to determine the trucker's hours of service (HOS) before the wreck and find out whether any state laws or FMCSA regulations were violated
- Access the trucker's driving record and criminal record, if any
- Examine the truck's interior for evidence of distracted driving (a cell phone, food or drink containers, cigarette packs, or a tablet or laptop)
- Identify multiple defendants and determine their respective percentages of fault
- Check the police report of the accident for evidence of liability and/or inaccuracies
- Obtain footage from any nearby security cameras that might have recorded your wreck
- Interview eyewitnesses to the crash
- Consult with your doctors to collect and organize your medical evidence and accurately estimate your future medical expenses
- Calculate your projected loss of income and present supporting evidence
- Handle all communications with insurance companies
- Demand reasonable settlements from the insurers of all defendants
- File multiple lawsuits and take your case to court if fair settlements are not offered
- File a wrongful death claim on your behalf if you've lost a loved one in a truck crash
Have You Been Injured In A Florence, South Carolina Truck Accident?
If you've been hurt in a truck accident you should speak with an experienced South Carolina truck accident lawyer as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Florence office directly at 843.488.7540 to schedule your consultation. We are also able to meet clients at our Conway, Myrtle Beach, Murrells Inlet, Mt. Pleasant, North Myrtle Beach, Charleston or North Charleston office locations.