Semi-Truck Accident FAQs in Lancaster, SC
At David Blackwell Law, we’re proud to help clients get on the road to recovery after being hurt in an accident with a semi-truck or other commercial motor vehicle. But if you’re like most people, you probably need guidance on how these complex accident claims are handled. Our legal team created this FAQ to help you through this stressful time.
For more information, call or contact us today to schedule a free consultation with a South Carolina semi-truck accident attorney.
What to Do After a Truck Accident in Lancaster, SC
If you’re involved in a truck accident, there are a number of steps you can take to help protect your rights:
- Get help. Call 911 if you’re still at the scene of the accident. Wrecks involving large trucks are often serious and first responders can provide the immediate help you need to take care of injuries and damages from the crash.
- Get medical care. If you were in an accident with a semi-truck and did not receive medical attention at the crash scene, it’s critical to see a doctor as soon as possible, even if you feel fine. Many injuries from these types of collisions don’t show up right away, but they can become worse the longer they go untreated.
- Seeing a doctor soon after the accident will support your case if you decide to file a future legal claim. If you wait too long after the wreck, then the insurance company might argue that your injuries aren’t as bad as you claim or that something else caused your injuries, such as a preexisting condition.
- Collect proof. It’s important to work quickly to gather evidence after an accident to help prove the cause of the wreck and the extent of the damages you’re suffering. Some critical pieces of evidence, such as debris from the crash, might disappear or change with time.
- Take photos of your injuries, vehicle damage, and the accident scene. Make sure to include shots of damaged guardrails, missing traffic signs, skid marks, wreckage, and other debris. You can also request copies of footage from security and traffic cameras that might have captured pictures or videos from the accident.
- Get contact and insurance information. Gather the name, license plate number, and contact details for the truck driver, as well as the name of his/her employer and insurance information. If other drivers were involved, get this information as well.
- Identify witnesses. Eyewitnesses can provide strong testimony to support your claim for compensation after a tractor trailer crash. Get their names and contact numbers before they leave the accident scene.
- Don’t admit fault. Even if you think you might have contributed to the accident, never admit fault. It’s difficult to know who is truly to blame in an accident without a full investigation. But insurance companies will seize upon anything you say and use it against you to avoid making a fair payout.
A truck company’s insurer may rush to the accident scene or contact victims shortly after the crash to try to talk them into accepting low settlements. Another tactic they try is to trick victims into saying something they can use against them later. In the aftermath of a serious wreck, saying something as basic as “I’m sorry” to the other driver, police, or insurance adjuster can keep you from getting the justice and compensation you truly deserve. Rather than take these risks, call an experienced 18-wheeler accident lawyer who can do all the talking for you.
Hire a skilled Lancaster truck accident lawyer. A semi-truck accident claim is much more complicated than the average car accident claim. With a standard car crash, another driver is typically to blame. But with commercial truck accidents, companies and corporations may be to blame. Going up against a high-powered corporate lawyer is not something you want to do alone. Get a truck accident lawyer on your side to fight for the justice you are owed.
What Is the FMCSA?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is the agency that governs all commercial motor vehicles, such as semi-trucks, tractor trailers, 18-wheelers, buses, and more. FMCSA issues safety regulations and enforces rules that trucking companies and truck drivers must follow, including policies on vehicle maintenance, driver’s training requirements, and rules to limit the number of hours that truck drivers can work.
When FMCSA regulations are broken and a truck accident occurs in South Carolina, the parties responsible for these violations can be held liable through a personal injury claim. Because trucking regulations involve a mix of federal and state laws, it’s important to have a lawyer who understands how these rules intersect and how they apply to your case.
Truck Accidents vs. Car Accidents
Truck wrecks are often much more serious than collisions involving passenger cars due to the massive size difference between the two. Semis, 18-wheelers, and other large trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds — approximately 20 to 30 times more than the standard automobile.
Despite the severity of damages that these crashes cause, it’s often difficult for victims who pursue truck accident claims and get the full compensation they’re owed without the help of an attorney. Fault in truck collisions may be shared among multiple parties, all of whom will try to push blame to another.
Even if you played role in the wreck that injured you, South Carolina law says you still can collect compensation as long as you are not 50 percent or more responsible for the collision. A strong truck accident attorney can protect you from being assigned more fault than you deserve for your role in the crash.
Wrongful Death Claims After a Lancaster Truck Accident
If someone dies in a truck accident, their loved ones may be able to file a wrongful death claim to recover compensation for their losses. Compensation in these claims can cover expenses such as medical bills, funeral and burial costs, payments to help replace the deceased’s income, and coverage for other non-economic damages like loss of companionship.
What Should I Look for in a Truck Accident Lawyer in Lancaster?
It’s essential to look for a semi-truck accident lawyer who has a depth of experience specifically handling commercial motor vehicle claims — not just general experience with personal injury cases. Skilled truck accident lawyers are better prepared to handle the unique set of facts that come with large truck collisions.
For example, a knowledgeable truck crash attorney will understand how to deal with all the parties often involved in these wrecks, such as insurance carriers and large companies’ legal representatives.
A truck accident lawyer can also research results from previous cases to help determine how much your case might be worth and use this information to help you achieve the best possible results.
What Goes into a South Carolina Truck Accident Investigation?
A truck accident investigation involves gathering basic evidence, as well as some more challenging pieces that might be needed to help prove your case. For example, the investigation might involve obtaining the trucker’s driving logs, weigh station records, or delivery receipts to help show that he/she violated FMCSA rules.
However, the evidence needed will be customized based on the facts of your case. An investigation might also involve hiring experts, such as traffic reconstruction specialists, who can use evidence from the crash to help piece together who or what caused the collision.
Who Is Liable in a Truck Accident?
One of the primary reasons that claims for damages after truck wrecks are so complicated is that so many different parties might be liable. For one, truck drivers themselves might bear some responsibility for the wreck.
The trucker might be liable if they were doing something negligent that contributed to the accident, such as drowsy driving, texting, changing the radio, or engaging in some other form of distracted driving. They might also hold responsibility if they were doing something illegal like speeding, violating traffic laws, or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Alternately, the trucking company, truck owner, cargo loader, the vehicle’s manufacturer, a government entity, or other drivers might be at fault for the crash. A truck accident lawyer can conduct an independent investigation into the case to identify all liable parties.
How Can David Blackwell Law in Lancaster, SC Help Me?
David Blackwell Law has a long history of helping injured South Carolinians. We understand the complexities that surround semi-truck accident cases and can help you meet the challenges with solid evidence, aggressive negotiating skills, and compassion.
Don’t wait to stand up for the compensation you deserve. Call or contact us now to get started.