In the aftermath of a crash with a commercial truck, your well-being and recovery are the top priorities. We understand the physical, emotional, and financial toll such incidents can take on individuals and their families. We also understand how important it is to determine whose negligence played a part in the crash. We hope to shed light on the complexities of trucking company liability in crashes, offering valuable insights to assist victims and their loved ones in seeking the support and justice they rightfully deserve.
After a devastating crash with a semi-truck in South Carolina, the truck accident attorneys at the Derrick Law Firm will work to guide you through the insurance claim process and help you seek fair compensation from all liable parties.
Crashes With Semi-Trucks Can Be Catastrophic
If you’re driving a 5,000-pound car or SUV, a crash involving your vehicle and a fully loaded tractor-trailer weighing up to 80,000 pounds is likely to have disastrous results. Your property damage will probably be extensive, and your injuries could be catastrophic, leading to astronomical medical expenses and significant time off work for recovery. This means your damage claim will be a very costly one. The insurers of the liable parties might try to delay, dispute, devalue, or deny your claim in order to save money for the company and deprive you of fair compensation.
Potential Defendants in a Myrtle Beach Truck Accident
One or more of the parties listed below could bear responsibility for your truck crash damages.
The driver operating the truck that causes your accident is generally liable for your damages. That trucker might be solely responsible if:
- The driver was speeding, driving recklessly, distracted, drowsy, under the influence, or negligent in any other way.
- The driver is an independent contractor who is personally responsible for maintaining insurance.
- The driver was off the clock and using a company truck for personal business or pleasure when the crash occurred.
In any such case, you may file a claim against the trucker’s insurance company for your damages.
A commercial trucking company must adhere to state and federal regulations when it comes to safe operations, truck maintenance, and hiring and training of employees. While a trucker is required to hold a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and follow all traffic laws, the trucking company is required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to:
- Maintain trucks properly and conduct safety inspections of each truck before, during, and after every trip
- Put only safe and properly maintained trucks on the road
- Hire only qualified truck drivers with CDLs and other required certifications, conduct background checks, and consider the truckers’ driving records in the hiring process
- Provide thorough and proper training to every driver hired
- Ensure that all drivers follow the FMCSA’s hours of service (HOS) guidelines, which limit the consecutive number of hours a trucker may drive and establish the hours of rest required between driving shifts
- Enforce all FMCSA guidelines for loading cargo so that it’s properly balanced and secure and does not shift while being transported
Some companies violate these federal regulations and even offer their drivers financial incentives that encourage them to ignore HOS rules in order to deliver as much cargo as possible and meet tight delivery deadlines. If it can be proven that a trucking company failed to maintain its trucks, hire and train qualified drivers, enforce HOS regulations, or ensure safe cargo loading, that company could be held liable for damages in a wreck that results from its oversights or violations. Because a trucking company has deeper pockets than an independent trucker, there will be more insurance funds available to pay your damages as long as you can prove one or more of the violations above.
Other parties that might bear partial responsibility for your truck accident include:
- The truck’s owner or a leasing agency if the truck is not owned by the trucker or the company that employs the trucker
- The truck manufacturer or a manufacturer of replacement parts if equipment malfunction causes your crash
- A third-party mechanic or repair service that fails to maintain the truck properly
- A government agency if road conditions or faulty or missing traffic signs or signals play a role in the wreck
In some cases, even if the driver negligently caused the wreck and the trucking company did not violate any rules, the trucking company can still bear partial liability simply because the driver was carrying out job duties when the crash occurred. In other cases, both the trucker and the company might be found liable for damages.
Why You Should Speak With A South Carolina Truck Accident Attorney As Soon As Possible
When multiple defendants are involved in an accident claim, the process becomes legally complex and could be very difficult for you to carry out on your own, especially when you’re recovering from serious injuries. The truck crash lawyers at the Derrick Law Firm will work to identify liable parties and determine their percentages of fault. Doing so allows your attorney to make demands for reasonable compensation from each defendant.
Your lawyer can also help your case by:
- Interviewing witnesses to the accident
- Obtaining footage of the crash from nearby security or red-light cameras
- Gaining access to data from the truck’s black box recorder, dash camera, and other on-board devices
- Examining the driver’s log books or electronic logging device (ELD) to find out if HOS regulations were violated.
- Checking the trucker’s driving and safety records
- Obtaining results of the trucker’s sobriety tests to find out if drug or alcohol impairment was a factor in the crash
- Consulting with your doctors to determine your long-term medical needs and related expenses
- Negotiating with the trucking company and other defendants for reasonable compensation
- Filing multiple lawsuits and taking your case to court if fair settlements are not offered
What to Do After a Myrtle Beach Truck Accident
If you’re physically able to do so after a truck crash, you can strengthen your damage claim by calling 911 to report the accident, taking photos of the vehicles and the scene, exchanging information with the other driver(s) involved, getting contact information from eyewitnesses, seeking medical care right away, and informing your own insurer of the accident. Do not speak to any adjusters or other representatives of the trucker’s or trucking company’s insurer, and do not admit fault to anyone. Contact the Derrick Law Firm and let us do the talking.