When a tractor-trailer or other commercial vehicle is involved in a wreck, the results lead to personal injury that is often tragic. These vehicles can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, and even the safest car, truck, or SUV doesn’t stand a chance when it gets hit by a tractor-trailer.
From requirements that drivers have commercial licenses to rules about the way the trucks are maintained and how long drivers can go without taking a break, truckers and other commercial drivers have to follow rules to protect themselves and the other drivers on the road.
If you or a loved one is involved in a wreck with a tractor-trailer or other commercial vehicle, you need a Greenville truck accident lawyer who understands the rules for commercial drivers and knows what to look for when investigating your case.
South Carolina truck drivers must abide by both federal and state-based regulations.
South Carolina only issues commercial driver’s licenses to those ages 18 and up who have passed all knowledge tests for the preferred type of vehicle class — and held a commercial learner’s permit at least 14 days prior to testing.
The South Carolina Department of Transportation mandates both liability and uninsured coverage for oversize vehicles, with limits of 25/50/25.
If a truck operates in multiple states, then the FMCSA requires that it carry a minimum of $300,000 in liability coverage if it weighs 10,000 lbs or less, and a minimum of $750,000 in liability coverage if it weighs more than 10,000 lbs. 18 wheelers generally fall into the second category and are required to carry $750,000.
It’s important to keep in mind that these are just the minimum — many commercial vehicles carry liability policies that are greater than the minimum. Also, there are often additional layers of coverage that apply in addition to the primary liability coverage.
Your actions in the immediate aftermath of a truck crash can make all the difference in the outcome of your potential injury claim. To protect your right to compensation, be sure to do the following.
If you can do so safely, move your vehicle off the road onto the shoulder or a nearby parking lot. This will help to prevent additional accidents and keep you out of harm’s way.
It’s a good idea to call 911 even if you don’t feel injured. The responding police officer will create an official report of the accident, which can be invaluable when filing a claim. The emergency medical personnel can also screen you for any injuries that aren’t immediately obvious.
When the police officer arrives, give them your version of events. It’s important to be honest and accurate, but take care not to admit fault for the accident.
You will need to let your insurance company know that you were involved in a truck accident. However, you should not give them any details about the incident or your injuries until you speak with a personal injury lawyer in Greenville, SC.
If possible, take photos of the scene, including the vehicles involved, any contributing road hazards, and any visible injuries. You’ll also want to exchange contact information with any potential witnesses.
Even if you don’t have any symptoms, it’s a good idea to visit a doctor after being involved in a truck accident. Some injuries don’t become apparent until hours or even days after the accident. Seeking medical treatment helps to document your injuries in the event you need to file a claim.
You should contact an experienced truck accident attorney as soon as possible after the crash. An attorney can explain your legal options and guide you through the process if you decide to file a claim.
Various factors can contribute to truck accidents, with the following being some of the most common types of accidents that can occur.
Jackknife accidents happen when a truck’s trailer skids out of control and the trailer swings around at an angle to the cab.
Some truck accidents involve the trailer tipping over after taking a turn too quickly or running off of the road.
Taking a turn too wide can cause the trailer to swing out and hit other vehicles or objects.
Underrides occur when a smaller vehicle slides underneath the trailer of a tractor-trailer, often resulting in catastrophic injuries or death.
If cargo isn’t properly secured, it can come loose during transit and cause a crash.
Truck drivers may fail to stop in time when traffic suddenly stops or slows, leading to a rear-end collision.
Due to the size of commercial vehicles, truck drivers may not be able to see smaller vehicles in their blind spots until it’s too late.
Keep in mind that you have a limited amount of time to file a claim for compensation after a truck accident. Most personal injury claims in South Carolina must be filed within three years of the date of the crash.
If you don’t file a claim within this time frame, you may not be able to seek compensation for your losses, so it’s essential to contact a Greenville truck accident lawyer soon after an injury.
The primary objective of any Greenville truck accident claim is to recover compensation for the losses you have suffered due to the accident. These losses are formally known as damages and may include both economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are those that can be easily quantified in monetary terms. Examples may include past and future medical expenses, lost wages, and lost earning capacity.
Any losses that are not easily measurable in terms of money are called non-economic damages. These damages are designed to compensate the victim for the non-financial effects of the injury on their life, such as emotional distress, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment.
Trucking insurance companies often have robust teams of lawyers and insurance adjusters ready to challenge claims. These companies exist to make money, and they will do everything in their power to minimize the amount of compensation paid to you.
At Smith Jordan, we level the playing field. Our Greenville truck accident lawyers have the experience and resources to take on even the most powerful trucking insurance companies. Our goal is to maximize the compensation you receive to account for the full scope of your losses.
Before our attorneys can begin the process of filing a claim, we must determine which parties are liable for your injuries. The most common parties in a truck accident case are:
Depending on the circumstances, multiple parties may be liable for your losses. We strive to identify all liable parties so that you can receive the full compensation you deserve.
After we have identified the potentially liable parties, our attorneys will begin the process of gathering evidence to prove liability. This evidence may include:
One of the most important pieces of evidence that may be used in a trucking accident case is the data recorded by the semi-truck’s “black box”, also known as the event data recorder. These devices are installed in most large trucks that collect information about the vehicle’s speed, braking, and other activities leading up to an accident.
This data can be critical in proving how the crash occurred and who may be liable for the accident.
Every case is different, and the amount of time it takes to settle a claim will depend on many factors. Generally, it can take anywhere from a few months to several years for a truck accident claim to be fully resolved.
Perhaps the greatest factor impacting the duration of a claim is whether it can be resolved through negotiations or must go to trial. If the parties involved can come to a fair agreement before entering the courtroom, the process will usually move much faster.
When a semi-truck collides with another vehicle, the results are often catastrophic. The following are some of the most common injuries that occur due to truck accidents:
These injuries often have lasting effects on the victim’s life, impacting their ability to work and function as they had prior to the crash.
Our Greenville truck accident lawyers will take care of most of the communication with the insurance company, but the insurer may still try to contact you directly. If they do, remember the following tips.
When in doubt about what to say or do, it’s always best to be safe and talk to your Greenville truck accident lawyer.
You’re facing enough financial stress as it is from medical bills, missed work days, and other costs. We don’t want you to worry about whether you can afford a truck accident lawyer. We offer free, no-obligation consultations and take most cases on a contingency fee basis.
That means we don’t charge you anything unless we win your case. If we do, the fee is based on a percentage of your award. This means you can get the quality representation you deserve without paying anything out of pocket.
If you believe that somebody else’s negligence could be to blame for your current suffering, take a stand. With a Greenville truck accident lawyer in your corner, you can achieve the justice and damages to which you’re entitled.
While a variety of qualities are desirable in a truck accident lawyer, knowledge of the area is one of the most frequently overlooked considerations — and it’s one of the most important. Your personal injury lawyer in Greenville, SC should have an intimate understanding of local rules and procedures. Small details can make a difference, so representation targeted to the local community is crucial.
Also important? Assertive representation. Many roadblocks will stand in the way as you seek compensation for your suffering, but the right truck accident lawyer can bypass these concerns simply by employing a proactive approach.
You should feel confident that your Greenville truck accident lawyer will fight passionately on your behalf. With Smith Jordan Attorneys at Law in your corner, you can feel confident in your path to justice. Contact us today at (864) 343-2222 to learn more.
Immediately after the incident, seek medical attention and gather contact information from the driver, any passengers, and any witnesses. Once your health is attended to, exchange insurance information with the truck driver and make sure to obtain copies of all documents related to the accident. It is highly recommended to also document as much evidence as possible by taking photos at the scene and recording any details regarding what happened in case they are needed later down the road. Finally, it is advisable to consult a legal professional experienced with personal injury law to ensure your rights are protected throughout the entire process. Taking these actions can help ensure the best possible outcome following a truck accident.
The time limit to file a lawsuit after an accident involving a truck depends on your state. Typically, the amount of time you have to take legal action can range from 6 months all the way up to 3 years. It is important that you familiarize yourself with the laws and regulations in your particular state as statutes of limitations vary. Consulting with a lawyer who specializes in truck accidents is an excellent way to get started, so that you fully understand the legal process involved, and feel comfortable in taking the necessary steps. Don’t wait until it is too late – having a better understanding of the timing aspects can ensure that any claims against the responsible parties are addressed promptly.
If you have been involved in an accident with a truck, it is important to consider if you need a truck accident lawyer. Hiring one can be a great advantage if your injuries are severe or have caused a disability. They specialize in dealing with insurance adjusters and understand the law regarding personal injury damages. Furthermore, they will ensure that you receive just compensation for medical bills, future medical treatments, lost wages, emotional pain and suffering, and more. If you choose not to hire a lawyer, however, you may face challenges in navigating the often complex process of filing an insurance claim for damages. Knowing this, it is essential to make an informed decision about whether or not you need a lawyer to represent your case.
Such accidents can be caused by a number of factors including reckless driving, bad weather conditions, poorly maintained vehicles, road rage and fatigue. Reckless driving is one of the leading causes as it involves drivers operating their vehicles at excessive speeds or making dangerous maneuvers without due consideration for any potential consequences. In addition, adverse weather conditions such as storms or heavy rain can prove to be very hazardous for truck drivers and other motorists due to reduced visibility and slippery roads. Poorly maintained trucks with worn-out tires or brake problems also contribute greatly to such collisions.
In the event of an accident caused by a truck driver possibly due to equipment failure, liability can be complicated as different factors contribute to each incident. The question of who is responsible for the accident needs to be evaluated to determine if there is any cause for legal action. In such cases, the trucking company may be held responsible based on different elements such as negligence in providing proper training and instruction, failure to vet and inspect the driver’s competency before granting access to vehicles, maintenance issues that result in structural failures while on the road, or difficulties with other drivers on the road. It is important to note that all of these circumstances must be taken into account in order for legal responsibility to be assigned properly.