You should call the police after a commercial truck accident unless you know that someone else has done so. If you’re not sure, it’s best to make the call yourself. While South Carolina law requires drivers to call the police after a wreck only if there has been injury or death, you should contact law enforcement after an accident so that an official report of your crash can be made.
Furthermore, if you’re involved in an accident, you’re required to stop, exchange insurance and contact information, and help any injured parties. If you leave the scene, you could be charged with hit-and-run, which is a crime in South Carolina.
Important Numbers to Call After a Crash in Florence
If your accident is minor, there appear to be no injuries, and the vehicles involved are not blocking traffic, you can call a non-emergency number:
- SC Highway Patrol: 803-896-7920
- Florence, SC, Police: 843-665-3191
Truck crashes, however, generally result in significant property damage and serious injury, for which you’ll get the fastest response by calling:
- *47 (*HP)
Showing Proof of Insurance to the Responding Officer
If you’re involved in a wreck that results in injury, death, and/or property damage, the SC Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) requires you to show proof of your auto liability insurance. A police officer who responds to your call should provide you with an insurance verification form, which must be completed by your insurance company and returned to the DMV within fifteen days following your accident. If you miss the 15-day deadline or cannot prove you have insurance, your license and registration could be suspended.
Filing an Insurance Claim for Damages
If your wreck was caused by a negligent trucker, you can file a claim with the trucker’s insurer for your damages, including medical bills, lost income, property damage, and pain and suffering.
The Importance of a Police Report
An official police report of your accident is crucial to your damage claim. The report will prove the accident happened when and where you say it did. It will also include important evidence about how the crash occurred and who’s at fault, based upon the officer’s observations and both parties’ answers to questions. You should respond to all such questions honestly, but do not apologize or admit any fault for anything to anyone. To get a copy of your accident report, submit Form 50 and a $6.00 fee to the DMV.
Commercial Truck Crashes Involve Multiple Defendants and Insurers
Because of the major property damage and catastrophic injuries that often result from truck-car crashes, a commercial truck carries liability insurance with higher coverage limits than passenger vehicles must carry. It’s always best to report your accident, wait for the police to come, let them make an official report, and follow through with your damage claim to collect the compensation you deserve from one or more of the following potential defendants:
- The truck driver
- The trucking company
- A leasing agency
- The manufacturer of the truck or of a replacement part
- Personnel on the loading dock
- A mechanic or repair service
Why You Need an Tractor-Trailer Crash Attorney
If multiple defendants share liability for your accident, there should be sufficient insurance coverage for your damages even if your claim is expensive, but the insurer(s) involved may still try to delay, devalue, or deny your claim. With multiple defendants and insurance companies involved, you’ll probably need the help of a truck crash lawyer to identify liable parties, determine their percentages of fault, file multiple damage claims, negotiate for fair awards, and possibly file multiple lawsuits if reasonable settlements are not offered.
After you’ve called the police, you can protect your damage claim by taking these steps while waiting for law enforcement to arrive:
- Take photos of the vehicles involved and the scene of the crash
- Get contact information from witnesses
- Report the wreck to your own insurer, but don’t give statements to other insurance company adjusters
- Contact a truck crash lawyer
As soon as possible after the wreck, seek medical attention even if you don’t feel you’re seriously injured.
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, South Carolina, 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.