Most truck accident claims will settle before trial. However, this answer will often depend on your injuries, the strength of your case, and your attorney’s ability to convince the insurance companies and the trucking company that they do not want to risk heading to trial.
Unfortunately, following a truck crash, no attorney will be able to tell you exactly how much your accident may be worth.
This is because there are just too many factors that can affect the value of a claim, such as:
- The victim’s age
- The victim’s health before the accident
- The extent and nature of the injuries after the truck collision
- The type of treatment required now and in the future
- The duration of this treatment
- The timeline for recovery
- The prognosis for recovery
- The impact of the injuries on a victim’s daily life
- The victim’s ability to take part in activities they previously enjoyed
- The defendant’s culpability
- The credibility of the evidence presented
Although an attorney cannot tell you exactly how much money you can receive following a Charleston truck accident, they can go over these unique factors and prepare a solid case in response to them, fighting for the maximum compensation you need.
Following a truck accident, it is important to take action. This is because the steps you take after a collision not only help keep you safe but ensure that your legal rights remain protected. For these reasons, following a Charleston trucking crash, you should do the following:
Immediately Contact the Authorities. After a truck accident, you need to call 911 immediately. This is the fastest way to notify the authorities, including emergency medical personnel, that you or someone at the crash scene needs medical assistance and get the crash on record.
Once the authorities get to the scene, they will investigate the accident and write down their findings in their police report. If you decide to pursue an injury claim after the collision, this report can provide you important information regarding the accident.
Try to Gather Evidence From the Accident Scene. If you do not require emergency medical care and the area is safe, try to collect as much evidence from the crash scene as you can. This evidence should include videos and photographs of your visible injuries, the road conditions, skid marks on the road, weather conditions at the time of the accident, the vehicles involved in the collision, and any other evidence that can help show what happened.
Get Information From the Other Drivers. Make sure to exchange details with all the motorists involved in the accident. This includes names, numbers, driver’s license numbers, contact details, and insurance information.
Obtain Witness Statements. If people were at the crash scene and saw what happened, try to get their personal information. These witness statements can frequently provide you with important details regarding the crash and back up your claim.
Get Checked out by a Physician as Soon as You Can. Generally, trucking accidents are known to cause devastating injuries that will require immediate medical attention. However, even in rare instances where you may believe your injuries are not that serious, you still need to get looked over by your doctor as soon as possible following your truck accident. Frequently, serious injuries such as head and brain trauma can take time to appear, sometimes even weeks. Yet, the longer you wait to get medical help, the more severe and fatal the injuries can become. That is why you need to get to your doctor as soon as possible following your truck accident.
In addition, getting prompt medical attention is also important to your legal claim. In many instances, insurance companies will look for any reason to deny your case or pay you less money than you deserve. By not seeking medical help, these insurance companies can argue that your injuries are not that serious or a result of a separate event. Thankfully, when you get examined by a medical professional after your truck crash, these doctors will jot down information about your injuries in their medical report, providing you with evidence of a direct link between the harm you sustained and your trucking accident.
Watch What You Say to Others at the Scene. After the accident, you need to be careful what you say to the others at the scene. You do not want to apologize for anything that occurred, make any definitive statements about the crash, or take responsibility for anything that happened. These comments can come back, hurt your case, and reduce the compensation you receive.
The statute of limitations is a law that dictates the amount of time an individual has to file a lawsuit following an alleged offense. If they do not file the case within that time, they can be barred from pursuing compensation for their injuries.
In South Carolina, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim following a truck accident is three years from the date of the accident. However, there are often exceptions to this rule that can shorten or extend the time a victim has to file their case. That is why, following a trucking accident, it is important to speak to a knowledgeable truck accident lawyer as quickly as possible. These attorneys can verify how much time you have to file your case and ensure that all your motions and legal documents are filed before time runs out.
Unfortunately, following a trucking accident, it is not always easy to prove fault, as many times, there can be more than one party liable for the collision.
These potential wrongful parties include:
- The Liable Truck Driver: Generally, if a truck driver was driving recklessly or negligently, such as speeding, not paying attention to the road, or texting and driving, and they were involved in an accident, they can be found at fault for the harm, losses, and damages that result.
- The Trucking Company: In instances where the truck driver is an independent contractor, they will likely have to carry all the responsibility for the truck crash. However, if the trucking company employs these drivers, you might hold the company partially to blame for the crash.
- Other Parties: In some situations, it is not the truck driver who is responsible for the crash. Rather, it is the other third parties on the road, including other motorists, bicyclists, pedestrians, and even motorcyclists.
- Governmental Entities: If agencies are responsible for maintaining Charleston roads, and a truck crash occurs because of poor conditions, these governmental entities can be found accountable for the injuries.
Working with a skilled Charleston truck accident attorney can help you figure out not only who was responsible for your truck accident, but they can also ensure they hold all the liable parties accountable for the harm you sustained.
Most truck accidents in Charleston are caused by driver error, which means most of these accidents are preventable.
Although these errors can vary depending on the circumstances, some of the more common causes of truck accidents in Charleston include:
- Excessive speeding
- Distracted drivers
- Fatigued driving
- Drunk driving
- Overloaded trucks
- Faulty truck parts
- Poor maintenance
- Bad weather
- Poor road conditions
In addition, dangerous intersections also play a significant role in these horrific trucking accidents, especially areas such as Sam Rittenberg Boulevard at S.C. 61, Rivers Avenue at Otranto Road, and I-526 at North Rhett. For these reasons, if you have been harmed in a Charleston truck accident, you should reach out to an experienced Charleston truck accident attorney as soon as possible. These lawyers can go over your accident, determine what happened, and fight for the compensation you require.
Truck drivers, trucking companies, insurance carriers, or any other party named as a defendant in a truck accident injury suit will often go the extra mile to avoid paying damages. Insurance companies will deny claims on technicalities, downplay injuries, or claim that victims didn’t sustain their injuries in the truck accident. South Carolina applies a comparative negligence rule to personal injury cases, including those that involve truck accident. Comparative negligence, sometimes calledcomparative fault, is the notion of shared liability; if the court determines that the defendant was negligent, they assess the extent to which the plaintiff might have been at fault for the accident and their injuries by assigning a percentage blame to each party in the suit. The court reduces the plaintiff’s award by that percentage.
For example, you sue a famous cartoon coyote’s Acme Trucking Company for $500,000. The court finds that speeding in a truck carrying large amounts of TNT explosives is not only violating the law, but negligent too. Yet, you had a couple of cocktails at happy hour that caused you to hit the legal limit for a DUI. This might cause the court to rule that you were 50 percent at fault for the accident, so they will reduce the award to $250,000. A seasoned truck accident attorney can defend against counterclaims from the defense and seek the best outcome for your case.
For example, we are not content simply gathering existing medical records, negotiating with applicable insurers and settling your case. We track down witnesses, obtain security tapes and police records, depose law enforcement officials, and work with investigators and other professionals to recreate accident scenes and locate involved parties. This is the level of dedication and detail you can expect and deserve when working with Hughey Law Firm and our personal injury attorneys. We can also help uninsured clients locate health care providers who will provide ongoing treatment and defer payment until the legal case is resolved.
If you have been injured in a truck accident, you have most likely experienced different types of loss on a grand scale. South Carolina law gives you the right to recover these damages in civil court. Specific damages vary based on circumstances, but these are some of the most common damages awarded by the court:
- Medical costs including ambulance and emergency services, surgery, radiology, follow-up visits, medication, and more;
- Future medical costs for severe injuries that require extensive recovery, multiple surgeries, and/or lifelong health care because of a permanent disability;
- Recovery and rehabilitation costs including physical therapy and assistive devices such as wheelchairs, prosthetic limbs, canes, and more;
- Lost wages for missing work due to injury;
- Future lost wages when a truck accident injury prevents a victim from returning to work;
- Modifications that a victim must make to make their home more accessible such as ramps, handrails, and more; and
- Non-economic losses including pain and suffering, loss of consortium, scarring and disfigurement, and any other loss that might apply to your situation.
Our personal injury lawyers in Charleston, South Carolina, represent clients in all types of truck accident injury and wrongful death claims, including:
- Drunk truck driver and DUI accidents
- Speeding or reckless driving
- Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act (FMCSA) violations
- Untrained, unlicensed truck drivers
- Improper truck maintenance
- Unsafe loads
- Jackknife accidents
Truck accident injuries don’t differ greatly from injuries that one might sustain in any other type of motor vehicle accident, except for their severity. The heavy weight and massive size of tractor trailers often result in catastrophic and severe injuries that are usually worse than car accident injuries. Truck accident injuries are also more likely to lead to death. The most common types of truck accident injuries include:
- Fractured, broken, and crushed bones
- Deep lacerations and cuts that might leave permanent scars
- Road rash if drivers or passengers are thrown from a motor vehicle
- Neck, back, and spinal cord injuries that might lead to temporary or permanent paralysis
- Head injuries which might include blunt force trauma or sudden jarring that leads to traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Organ damage and severe internal bleeding, often caused by broken ribs or vehicle parts that puncture an organ
- Severe burns if a fire or explosion occurs
The most recent data from the South Carolina Department of Public Safety (SCDPS) estimates that trucks were involved in more than 5,000 collisions in 2017, including more than 60 fatalities and almost 1,200 crashes resulting in injury. SCDPS includes semis, petroleum tankers, flatbed trucks, and auto-transport trucks in the truck tractor category. Truck drivers contributed to the collisions about half of the time.