Semi-truck accidents in North Charleston, SC, are terrifying. For trucking accident victims who survive, catastrophic injuries can affect them for the rest of their lives. With help from a North Charleston personal injury lawyer, you can get compensation from anyone responsible for your trucking accident and injuries.
At the Shelly Leeke Law Firm, we understand what can happen in the months and years after a trucking crash. Our North Charleston truck accident lawyer can work with you to help you get a fair settlement from anyone who caused your trucking crash. To get started, please reach out to us.
Why Truck Crashes Occur in North Charleston
In the United States, large trucks make up 5% of all registered vehicles, according to the National Safety Council (NSC). Most truckers act cautiously behind the wheel. Yet, truck crashes happen every day, and they occur for many reasons, such as:
A trucker can look at their GPS or cell phone while they are driving. If this happens, the truck driver can lose focus. Even worse, the trucker can cause a distracted driving accident and be held responsible for any harm that they cause.
If a trucker chooses to drive while intoxicated, the consequences can be severe. The trucker can get into an accident and injure or kill other motorists or pedestrians. They can face criminal and civil charges for their negligence, too.
When a cargo company loads up a vehicle, they need to make sure that they do so the right way. If a vendor or distributor overloads the trailer or does not distribute the weight of their load properly, the truck can tip or roll over when the driver turns sharply. This can lead to an accident in which many people are injured or killed.
Truck drivers can spend many hours traveling from one location to the next. They are required to take breaks as they travel but may choose not to do so. If a driver is tired, they are prone to mistakes that can lead to accidents.
If a trucker ignores the posted speed limit, they pose a risk to themselves and others. A speeding trucker may be unable to stop quickly enough to prevent a crash. This truck driver can get into a collision that injures or kills anyone involved in it.
To legally drive a truck in South Carolina, an individual must have a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Even if a trucker has a CDL, they may lack sufficient experience behind the wheel. If a driver panics while they are driving a truck, they can cause a crash.
Vehicle Performance Issues
A trucking company must provide its drivers with safe vehicles. However, there can be instances when a truck safety defect goes undetected and unaddressed. If a truck’s brakes or other components do not work correctly, a trucker can get into an accident, and the driver and their employer can be held responsible.
Poor Road or Weather Conditions
A trucker may blame the road or weather conditions for the accident that they caused. Every driver must account for the road or weather conditions. If a trucker says the road or weather contributed to their crash, you can still sue this individual for damages.
The Shelly Leeke Law Firm has an outstanding track record in head-on collision lawsuits and other personal injury cases. Our North Charleston truck accident attorney will do everything they can to help you get the compensation that you deserve. To find out more, please get in touch with us.
Steps to Take After a Truck Accident in North Charleston
In the aftermath of your commercial truck wreck, you may be struggling to cope. The chaos at the accident scene can be intimidating. You may even be in shock.
Although the scene of a trucking crash may seem chaotic, try to remain calm. Remember, you can take control of the situation and handle it with poise. Here are steps to help you do just that:
Call the Police
Contact 911 to get emergency responders to the accident scene. Make sure to connect with the North Charleston Police Department, which will dispatch officers. You can then get a crash report that can help you fulfill the burden of proof needed to get compensation as part of a trucking accident lawsuit.
Collect the contact information of the trucker involved in your crash and any witnesses who saw your accident happen. In addition, take photos and videos of any damage to your car, any injuries you suffer, and other elements of the accident scene. It is important to preserve evidence from the crash scene, as each piece of evidence can help you show a judge or jury why you should be awarded damages in your personal injury lawsuit.
Treat Your Injuries
Get a medical evaluation when emergency responders arrive at the accident scene. It is common for truck accident victims to be in shock after a collision. There may be adrenaline coursing through your veins that is preventing you from feeling the severity of the injuries you have sustained.
Hire a Truck Accident Lawyer in North Charleston
Reach out to a truck accident attorney in North Charleston in the days after your crash. Choose a lawyer who has received many positive client testimonials. This lawyer will do whatever they can to help you secure compensation from any negligent parties.
How to Prove Fault in a North Charleston Trucking Crash Case
Many semi-truck collisions happen because a trucker failed to do something they should have or did something they should not have done. Truck drivers are typically held to higher driving standards based on state and federal regulations. When a trucker does not adhere to these laws and gets into an accident, they should be held responsible for their actions.
Before you hire a trucking accident lawyer in North Charleston, consider the root cause of your crash. For instance, if you were involved in a left-turn crash in which a trucker was speeding, you may be able to sue. To get compensation, you will need to show that the trucker was negligent, which resulted in your crash and any injuries that you have incurred.
A North Charleston trucking accident lawyer will review all aspects of your claim. They will ask you questions about your accident and find out why it happened. If you have a legitimate claim, they can file your lawsuit in accordance with South Carolina’s statute of limitations.
How Much Time You Have to Ask for Compensation After a Trucking Crash in North Charleston
South Carolina has a statute of limitations of three years for personal injury lawsuits. This means you have a maximum of three years from the date of your trucking collision to ask for compensation. If you decide against filing a lawsuit within this time frame, you are solely responsible for any costs associated with your crash.
A trucking accident attorney in North Charleston will make sure that your lawsuit is submitted before the statute of limitations to do so expires. They can submit a claim in which you seek both economic and non-economic damages. Your lawyer will encourage you to ask for the most compensation possible.
You can receive economic compensation based on your medical bills, lost wages, and other losses relating to your trucking crash that are quantifiable. Comparatively, non-economic damages are awarded for suffering, pain, and other subjective losses. There is no cap on the amount of economic and non-economic damages that you can ask for in a trucking collision lawsuit, either.
How Liability Is Determined in a Truck Crash Lawsuit
The cause of your truck accident will often determine who is liable. If the truck driver or other parties were at fault, then they would be held liable on the basis of negligence or carelessness. To establish that the trucker or other parties were negligent, your attorney will examine their actions based on the following elements:
- Duty of Care: All truck drivers have a duty to drive safely and adhere to driving laws so that other road users would be safe.
- Breach of Duty: If a trucker drives recklessly or acts in a manner that puts other road users at risk, they have breached their duty of care.
- Causation: If a truck driver’s recklessness leads to a crash and injures other people, this individual is responsible for the collision and any damages associated with it.
- Damages: If you suffered damages as a result of the negligence of a trucker, their employer, or both, you can sue for damages.
Your lawyer can help you figure out who is liable for your trucking crash and file your claim accordingly. They can also explain how a personal injury settlement is determined and address any other legal concerns that you have. Along with this, your lawyer works hard to build a compelling argument that makes it clear to a judge or jury that you should be awarded damages.
Who to Sue After Your North Charleston Trucking Crash
You are responsible for identifying any parties to hold accountable for your trucking accident. The evidence you uncover during and after your crash can help you figure out who is at fault. Often, a trucker and their employer may be responsible for a trucking accident, but you may also be able to sue any of the following parties:
- Cargo loader
- Auto parts designer, distributor, manufacturer, or retailer
- Owner of a tractor-trailer
- Safety inspector
- 18-wheeler maintenance worker
- South Carolina Department of Transportation
- City of North Charleston
Your lawyer will urge you to seek compensation from any at-fault parties. If there are multiple parties involved in your litigation, your lawyer will make sure that claims are filed against each one. With the help of your attorney, you can request the damages you want from anyone who contributed to your crash.
How North Charleston Truck Accident Insurance Settlements Work
One of the ways to recover compensation after a truck accident is by filing a claim with an insurance company. This is one of many options, and injury victims often find that insurance settlements are not enough to fully cover their damages. South Carolina’s fault insurance laws can play a role in how much money you receive.
South Carolina is a fault insurance state, per the state’s Code of Laws Title 38. While you may have your own auto insurance coverage in place, you can file a claim against the liable party’s insurance policy as opposed to your own. You may have the option of filing a claim with your insurance provider, too.
Keep in mind that no matter how insurance companies market themselves, they are not on your side. Insurance companies are profitable because they pay out as little as they can get away with in claims. Therefore, an insurance company will try to limit your trucking crash settlement — and suing any parties responsible for your crash may be a superior option.
What to Do If You Receive a Trucking Accident Settlement Offer
You may get a call from a truck driver’s insurance provider or their employer just after your trucking crash. They may offer a settlement that gives you money that you can use to cover your losses. It may be tempting to accept the settlement, but doing so can be problematic.
If you verbally accept a settlement offer or approve one in writing, you risk giving up your right to sue for damages. The party that offers the settlement is unlikely to provide you with sufficient compensation for all of your losses. By accepting an offer, you may be stuck paying some or most of the costs relating to your crash in spite of the fact that you were not responsible for it.
For those who get a settlement offer following a trucking crash, be careful. At this point, it is beneficial to consult with a trucking accident lawyer. Then, you and your lawyer can examine the proposal, weigh its pros and cons, and decide how to proceed with it.
Hire a Dedicated North Charleston Truck Accident Attorney Today
At the Shelly Leeke Law Firm, we want you to get compensation from anyone who caused your trucking crash. Our attorney can evaluate your case and help you submit your claim right away. For more information or to request a free case consultation, please contact us today.