If you or someone you love suffered injuries in a truck accident, you may be considering filing a personal injury claim. This type of legal claim can provide medical care and compensation for injury victims, so they can recover as fully as possible. However, for many victims this is an entirely new experience, and it can be hard to know what to expect from the process
Find an Experienced Myrtle Beach Attorney
Before starting an injury claim, it can be beneficial to talk with an experienced local attorney. Even if you believe your case is simple or straightforward, a lawyer can provide knowledge and guidance that will help victims be as successful as possible. An effective attorney will:
● Ensure that victims understand the full value of their claim, so they can obtain all the compensation necessary for their health and success, both now and in the future.
● Protect victims from the deceptive tactics of the at-fault party’s insurance company.
● Take care of the details necessary to successfully navigate the claim system, so victims and their families can focus on physical and emotional recovery.
Contacting and Negotiating With Insurance
In many cases, it is possible to settle the claim with the insurance company rather than go through the litigation process. An attorney will draft a demand letter, which details the victim’s damages, asserts the at-fault driver’s responsibility, and seeks appropriate compensation for the injuries sustained. Along with this demand, the lawyer will provide support for the claim, which could include documents such as medical bills, medical records, witness statements, police reports, photographs from the scene, expert opinions, and work absence verification.
It is likely that the insurance company will respond with its own offer for a settlement, and negotiations may follow. At this point, the lawyer will go back and forth with the insurance company, answering calls, providing information, and ensuring that the victim’s rights are being protected. If the insurance company does provide an appropriate settlement, a lawyer can facilitate the payment of this settlement to the accident victim.
When Negotiations Fail: Filing the Legal Claim
Sometimes, negotiations are not successful. When an insurance company refuses to provide the proper compensation, it can become necessary to pursue the claim through the legal system. This involves filing paperwork with the court that details what happened, the injuries that were sustained, and what the victim is seeking in damages. Damages come in two forms—compensatory and punitive. Compensatory damages cover medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Punitive damages are intended strictly as punishment for the responsible party and to discourage future bad behavior.
The Discovery Process in South Carolina
The next step is called the discovery process. Discovery is an information gathering period that can include:
● Requests for admissions. These requests ask those involved to admit or deny the truth of a statement.
● Interrogatories. Interrogatories are written questions or requests for information. More open-ended than a request for admission, these are often simply sent back and forth between parties.
● Requests for production. This is a request for documents, electronic information, or other tangible materials that can provide information necessary for the claim.
● Depositions. Under oath, witnesses and other pertinent parties are questioned. This typically takes place in an attorney’s office rather than a court.
Pre-Trial Motions and Mediation
Once information has been gathered and shared, attorneys for either side may request a pre-trial motion. The attorneys will meet in court to present any motion they deem necessary before the trial begins. This could include motions such as those to suppress some pieces of evidence or dismiss part or all of the claim. A judge will hear the motions and make decisions.
Next, both sides can meet to once again attempt to resolve the case. This is known as mediation. If it is not possible to reach an agreement, the case will go to trial.
Taking Your Truck Accident Claim to Trial
A truck accident injury trial would operate as most other trial situations. Attorneys for both sides will present their claims and evidence to support those claims. A judge or jury will decide who is at fault and, in South Carolina, evaluate the comparative negligence. With comparative negligence, fault is assigned to all parties involved using a percentage. It could be that the truck driver is 100 percent at fault, and the victim could recover full damages. Or, the victim may be assigned some level of responsibility. In Myrtle Beach, victims can recover damages equal to the other driver’s degree of fault. So, if the victim was found to be going slightly faster than the speed limit at the time of the crash, he may be assigned 10 percent of fault. He would then recover 90 percent of the damages determined by the court.
Have You Been Injured In A South Carolina Area Truck Accident?
If you or a loved one was injured in a commercial truck accident in South Carolina, our experienced truck accident lawyers are ready to help right away. Contact us online, or call our Conway, South Carolina office directly at 843.484.0707 to schedule your free consultation. We are also able to meet clients at our Myrtle Beach, Charleston, Mt. Pleasant, Columbia, North Myrtle Beach or North Charleston office locations.