South Carolina Truck Accident Lawyer

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Truck Accident Attorney in South Carolina

Any motor vehicle accident can be terrifying and has the potential to cause serious injuries to those involved. Vehicle accidents involving a commercial truck can have especially devastating consequences for smaller vehicles and others on the road. Commercial trucks have significant size, power, and weight. Damages in truck accidents are more severe, and fatalities are much more likely.

Commercial truck drivers provide an essential service, and most take their duty of care on the road seriously. Truck accidents can be caused by several issues, including defective truck components, unrealistic scheduling and expected deadlines from commercial truck companies, and improper maintenance on commercial trucks. Unfortunately, they can also be caused by truck drivers who are not as responsible. Determining fault in a truck accident can be more complex.

Truck accidents involve more parties, making South Carolina’s personal injury or wrongful death claims much more complicated. South Carolina is an at-fault state, meaning that injured parties would file with the at-fault driver’s insurance. Filing insurance claims becomes more complex when commercial trucking companies are involved.

Because property damage and injuries are likely to be more serious, the standard insurance coverage may not be enough. In that case, injured parties will also need to file a truck accident personal injury claim with the negligent party to cover additional medical bills or lost income.

If you have been injured in a tractor-trailer accident, it’s in your interests to begin working with a South Carolina truck accident lawyer. As you recover, they can take care of insurance claims and legal deadlines while working to maximize the compensation that you receive from either claim.

Legal Help For South Carolina Truck Accident

If you were involved in a vehicle accident with a commercial truck in South Carolina, it is in your interests to work with an 18-wheeler accident lawyer. Insurance providers protect their bottom line, and they do not want to give you the compensation that you rightfully deserve.

Property damage costs and medical bills are going to build up, and you are likely losing income. You need an accurate calculation of your present and future damages, and you need someone who can negotiate with the providers to get those damages covered.

At the Tatum Law Firm, PLLC, we can fight for your rights to compensation. While you recover, we can determine your damages, negotiate with insurance providers, and file personal injury claims if necessary. Our firm has more than 20 years of experience in litigation.

We have worked for years on complicated truck accident claims and want to use that experience to benefit your case. We can represent clients from communities all across South Carolina, and our firm wants to work diligently for your rights and interests.

Why Are Truck Accident Claims More Complex Than Other Vehicle Accidents?

Truck wrecks cause significantly more serious injuries and are more likely to be fatal to those involved. According to reports by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in 2013, nearly 4,000 people died from truck accidents in the country. 65 of those deaths were in South Carolina.

As a result, truck accidents are much more expensive for those involved, thanks to severe injuries and extreme property damage. This makes it harder to obtain a fair amount of insurance provider compensation.

Truck accident claims are also complex because more than one party may be at fault for the accident. This means that there are more insurance providers involved, more negotiations, and more attorneys. All parties will be trying to determine who can be held liable for damages.

These claims are also complicated because of state and federal regulations that apply to truck drivers and the commercial trucking industry. Under federal laws, truck drivers have to be limited to a certain number of working and driving hours. These and other regulations are there to keep truck drivers and others on the road safe. If these regulations were violated, this can impact liability in a claim. Determining regulatory violations can be incredibly complex without an experienced South Carolina truck accident lawyer.

Common Causes of Truck Accidents in South Carolina

Truck accidents can be caused by many factors. Some of the most common include:

  • Overworked and fatigued truck drivers
  • Truck drivers who are expected to meet tight deadlines
  • Drivers who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Distracted drivers who are texting, eating, drinking, or otherwise not watching the road
  • Reckless drivers who are speeding, driving aggressively, or tailgating
  • Failure to check truck blind spots when changing lanes
  • Failure to be cautious in truck blind spots
  • Overloaded or improperly loaded truck trailers
  • Defective vehicle components, such as brakes, tires, taillights, or other important systems
  • Badly maintained or repaired commercial vehicles
  • Improper truck design that leads to jackknifing, rollovers, or lost control
  • Bad road conditions
  • Bad weather conditions, including those that create low visibility

To determine the at-fault party for the accident, a South Carolina truck accident attorney can help investigate the cause of the accident and whether any parties were negligent.

Determining Liability in a South Carolina Truck Accident Claim

South Carolina operates under at-fault car accident rules. This means that, when an accident happens, those who are injured or who suffered property damages can file for compensation with the insurance provider of the driver or party who was responsible.

Like any personal injury claim, insurance claims and truck accident claims rest on the idea of negligence. This means that some party, whether that be a driver, a manufacturer, or a third party on the road, acted recklessly or otherwise failed to uphold their duty of care. Because of these reckless, negligent, or malicious actions, the accident occurred.

In a truck accident, it’s more common for multiple parties to be responsible. Determining liability in any accident is complex, and it can be even harder in a commercial truck accident. Your truck accident lawyer in South Carolina can help review important information and evidence to determine the liable party or parties.

Who Could Be Liable in a South Carolina Truck Accident Claim?

Every truck accident will have unique circumstances. To file an insurance claim or personal injury claim, the at-fault party or parties need to be determined. Commonly responsible parties in trucking accidents include:

  • The commercial trucking company
  • The truck driver’s employer
  • A party who owns the vehicle, trailer, or cab
  • A truck or other vehicle’s manufacturer
  • The manufacturer of certain components
  • Another party who maintained, reviewed, or cleared the vehicle to be on the road
  • The driver of the commercial truck
  • The driver of other vehicles
  • A third party on the road
  • The governmental bodies responsible for road maintenance

Because truck drivers are usually on the clock while driving, their employers may be liable for their actions if a driver behaved negligently. The employer or the company responsible for the truck may also be liable for:

  • Impossible scheduling
  • Breaking federal requirements for truck driver rest breaks
  • Failing to properly maintain their trucks

When the trucking company is involved for any reason, truck accident claims can become much more complicated. Claims may be filed against the driver and the employer, but handling multiple insurance negotiations is not easy.

Insurance providers do not want to pay you for the damages that you should receive. Providers for trucking companies are going to be especially hard to negotiate with. During these complicated discussions, you’re likely dealing with significant injuries. This process will be easier if you work with a South Carolina truck accident lawyer who can negotiate on your behalf.

Comparative Negligence in South Carolina

South Carolina operates under comparative negligence laws. This means that, even if you were partially at fault for the accident, you can still claim some amount of compensation. Your final settlement will be reduced by your percentage of fault in causing the accident. During a claim, the court will determine how much fault each driver had in causing the accident. For example, if a driver is found to be 10% liable for the accident, their final settlement is reduced by 10%.

However, South Carolina is a modified comparative negligence state, meaning that this percentage must be less than 50%. If the party filing for damages is found to be more than 49% liable, they cannot receive compensation.

When multiple parties are involved in a claim, a party can file for compensation as long as their fault is not greater than the other parties’ or over 49%. Once fault is determined for three or more parties, the at-fault parties pay their percentage of fault in damages.

Comparative negligence laws impact personal injury claims, and they also affect how insurance providers handle claims. Determining percentage fault is not an exact system, and it requires an experienced truck accident lawyer to argue for your interests and explain who should be most at fault for an accident.

Proving Negligence and Liability

When you file a personal injury claim against a responsible party, you must prove that their negligent behavior led directly to the injuries and damages that you suffered. For negligence claims, you have to prove that the at-fault party failed to take reasonable care. This means that a reasonable person in their situation would have acted differently. You must prove the following for a successful negligence claim:

  1. The at-fault party owed you a duty of care.
  2. The at-fault party breached this duty of care by behaving recklessly, negligently, carelessly, and/or by failing to follow regulations.
  3. This breach of duty of care led directly to the accident.
  4. The accident caused injuries or other financial, emotional, and economic damages to the filing party.

A South Carolina truck accident lawyer is a useful asset in finding evidence to prove each of these aspects.

Common Injuries Caused by Truck Accidents in South Carolina

Truck accidents cause severe damage. Common injuries for parties in a truck accident may include:

  • Neck and spine injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Sprains and strains
  • Broken and fractured bones
  • Road rash
  • Burns and electrocution
  • Cuts and lacerations
  • Limb loss and amputation
  • Psychological issues, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

These injuries cause pain and suffering, and they also cost victims a lot in medical bills and recovery. In addition, victims are unable to work for the duration of their recovery, and they may even be unable to work in the future, depending on the severity of their injuries.

Many people involved in accidents are unaware of how much compensation they are truly entitled to and settle for a much smaller amount. A truck crash attorney can calculate the future impact of an injury, such as costs associated with medical complications, and the impact on your earning capacity to ensure that you are fighting for the right amount of compensation.

Damages Available in a Semi-Truck Accident in South Carolina

In a successful insurance or negligence claim, compensation should cover the damages suffered in or as a result of the accident. Any physical, emotional, and economic damages should be compensated. If you lost a loved one in a truck accident, you can file a wrongful death claim and receive financial reparations for your loss.

Damages from a truck accident claim may include:

  • Property damage from the accident
  • Any medical costs associated with the accident injuries, including transportation to a healthcare facility, medication, surgeries, and hospital stays
  • Any future medical costs that result from the injuries, such as physical therapy or health complications
  • Lost wages from the time that you spent recovering from injuries
  • Lost earning capacity if the injury has affected your ability to complete your job effectively
  • Pain, suffering, and mental anguish damages
  • Compensation for permanent disability or disfigurement
  • Funeral and burial costs for loved ones in the accident
  • Loss of consortium if a spouse died in the accident
  • A loved one’s medical costs if they died from their injuries
  • Punitive damages if the at-fault party behaved especially recklessly or maliciously
  • Any other expenses directly related to the accident

Calculating the compensation that you’re owed can be complex, particularly when trying to determine future costs and expenses. A truck accident attorney has significant experience with personal injury and wrongful death claims. They can use this experience to help accurately calculate the compensation that you should receive.

The Statute of Limitations on Personal Injury Claims in South Carolina

A statute of limitations is common in a civil claim and means that there is a time limit that you have to file by. If you don’t file within the statute of limitations, you give up your right to pursue compensation.

In South Carolina, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims like truck accidents is 3 years. The same statute length applies to property damage claims from car accidents and wrongful death claims. This statute does not apply to insurance claims, only to negligence and court claims. You must file a personal injury claim within 3 years of the date of the accident and a wrongful death claim within 3 years of the person’s death.

Although this may seem like significant time, it’s important to work quickly. Insurance claims often require you to file a claim soon after an accident in a reasonable period of time. Working with an attorney during this process can help you determine if you need to file a personal injury claim.

It’s also better to file a personal injury or wrongful death claim sooner before the statute expires. This is because important evidence can get lost or become useless over time. This may weaken your case to get the compensation that you deserve. The sooner you begin working with an skilled South Carolina truck accident lawyer, the better your chances are to get the compensation you need. It also gives them time to investigate, gather evidence, negotiate, and build your claim.

How Does a South Carolina Truck Accident Attorney Help Me?

Truck crashes often result in severe damage and injuries. If you were in a truck accident, you may be in significant pain and emotional stress. After such a traumatic experience, you should be focusing on resting and recovering. The last thing you should have to deal with is difficult negotiations with insurance providers who do not want to provide you with the compensation you need to live.

When you work with a personal injury attorney, they can negotiate on your behalf. Not only does this take stress away from you, but it also increases your chances of a fair settlement. An attorney has done this often and knows effective negotiating strategies to give your claim its greatest chance of success.

Many victims of personal injuries and vehicle accidents underestimate the damages they may be awarded. An attorney can keep this from happening and cover the past, present, and future damages you need.

Your South Carolina truck accident lawyer can also handle other tasks essential to the success of an insurance or personal injury claim. This includes:

  • The investigation of the accident
  • Gathering reports and evidence
  • Interviewing witnesses
  • Determining what party or parties are at fault

An attorney can negotiate settlements and represent your claim during litigation if necessary.

If you were involved in a truck accident in Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Myrtle Beach, or any other area in South Carolina, the team at the Tatum Law Firm, PLLC, wants to help you.

Common Types of Truck Accidents in South Carolina

Each truck accident is unique and comes with its own complications. These accidents can take many forms, including:

  • Rear-End Accidents: Rear-end accidents with trucks may be caused by other drivers who are distracted, recklessly driving too closely, or failing to monitor changes in traffic. They may also be caused by truck drivers who lose control of their trucks or a manufacturing defect that causes the truck to fail.
  • Head-On Accidents: Head-on collisions are immensely devastating when a semi-truck or large commercial truck is involved. These accidents are not as common as other forms of truck accidents, but they can be caused by car and truck drivers who are fatigued, intoxicated, or distracted.
  • Sideswipe Accidents: Sideswipes may happen if truck drivers are inattentive, reckless when changing lanes, or distracted and drifting in their lanes. They may also happen when other drivers on the road are in the significant blind spots of a commercial vehicle and don’t take the necessary precautions.
  • Underride Accidents: An underride accident happens when a smaller vehicle is wedged between the underside of the truck trailer and the road. These may be the result of rear-end, sideswipe, or other accidents. These types of accidents frequently cause fatalities in car drivers and passengers. Although there are some regulatory protections against these accidents, such as rearguards, they are not always effective.
  • Jackknife Accidents: A truck jackknife means that the trailer swings to one side of the cab, often ending up ahead of the cab, in a movement like a folded knife. Jackknifing may be caused by bad truck design, badly loaded trailers, steep road inclines, and bad weather conditions. It can also be caused by truck driver errors like rapid stops or too-sharp turns. Jackknife accidents are likely to lead to multiple-car accidents.
  • Rollover Accidents: Rollover accidents may be caused by overloaded or badly loaded trailers, tire blow-outs, sharp turns, or truck component defects. Rollover accidents can result in serious accidents with multiple cars and even crush smaller vehicles. They often strew debris across the roadway, creating an additional likelihood of accidents.
  • T-Bone Accidents: These frequently occur at intersections and happen when the front of one vehicle hits the side of another vehicle. Depending on the speed and size of the vehicles, these accidents can be serious. It may be caused by failure to yield, failure to follow traffic stops, or bad road conditions.

At the Tatum Law Firm, PLLC, we have years of experience with many forms of complex truck accidents and their claims.

Evidence Useful in a South Carolina Truck Accident Claim

To prove negligence and fault, evidence is needed. Your South Carolina truck crash lawyer can gather this, and there is also information that you can gather at the scene if you are able to. Evidence useful in your claim may include:

  • Testimony and statements from those who witnessed the accident, including other drivers, passengers, and third parties
  • Police reports and accident documentation
  • Hospital and medical records regarding injuries caused by the accident
  • Photos of the accident, damage to vehicles, injuries, and other important information
  • Video footage, such as dashcam, CCTV, or other footage of the crash
  • Testimony from accident reconstruction professionals
  • Maintenance and inspection reports from those who serviced the truck

If you are in an accident, the first thing you should do is get medical attention. If you are able to get photos of the scene and similar evidence, you should, but medical care is your first priority. An attorney can help you get the evidence you need.

Work With an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer in South Carolina

At the Tatum Law Firm, PLLC, we want to help you recover and get the compensation you need. We can diligently review your unique case and fight for your rights. Contact our team today.

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