Average Truck Accident Settlements in Columbia, SC
A truck accident can result in life-altering injuries, massive medical bills, and extended periods of time off work. These damages can threaten your health and future in an instant. If you were injured in a commercial vehicle crash in South Carolina, you need a truck accident attorney to fight for compensation that will restore your sense of security again.
While some injury cases go to trial, the vast majority are settled out of court. To get a fair settlement from the other party, it will take an aggressive and experienced lawyer to negotiate for what you’re rightfully owed.
The Columbia, S.C. accident attorneys at Stewart Law Offices have provided qualified and compassionate representation for those hurt in truck accidents for the past 25 years. During that time, we’ve secured millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts on behalf of our clients. We strive to obtain maximum results for every client by crafting customized legal claims that stand up to challenges from stubborn insurance companies.
Questions? Call us today to arrange a free consultation with a skilled Columbia truck accident lawyer.
What Is Taken into Account for Columbia Truck Accident Settlements?
Truck accidents can wreak havoc on all aspects of your life: Your health, your finances, your job, your peace of mind, and more. Recognizing this, South Carolina law allows truck accident victims to recover compensation for many kinds of losses.
After a truck accident, you could seek compensation for:
- Past, current, and future medical bills
- Rehabilitation expenses
- Cost of future medical care
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning potential
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of emotional and financial support
- Punitive damages (extra compensation awarded by the courts if your accident is due to another party’s reckless, wanton, or willful actions)
An insurance adjuster will take a wide variety of factors into account before making a settlement offer, such as:
- The extent of the injuries
- Who is at fault
- Insurance policy limits of the defendant(s)
- Age of the victims
- Any preexisting conditions
- The likelihood of winning at trial
Truck companies typically have insurance policies with far greater limits than the average driver. This means that victims have a chance to secure significant compensation in a successful claim. But beware — the first settlement offer from an insurer is almost always too low. A truck accident lawyer can help place an appropriate value on your claim so that you are not under-compensated.
What Is the Average Truck Accident Settlement?
There’s no such thing as an average truck accident settlement. The potential value of your settlement will depend on the unique facts of your case. The greater your injuries and other losses are, the more damages you can pursue in your claim, provided you have enough proof to substantiate your claim.
Truck Accident Statistics and Facts
Truck accidents in South Carolina have risen steadily in over the years. The most current statistics from the state Department of Public Safety shows that:
- There were 5,159 total collisions involving tractor-trailers in a recent year.
- In those accidents, 87 people died and 1,583 people were injured.
- 25 people died in accidents involving other kinds of large trucks in South Carolina, excluding pickups.
- The number of people killed in fatal accidents involving tractor-trailers in 2018 increased 33.8 percent from the previous year.
- Another 3,156 other commercial trucks (not tractor-trailers) were involved in traffic collisions in 2018. From that total, 25 trucks were in fatal crashes and 680 were involved in injury crashes. The rest were in property-damage-only collisions.
- The worst month for tractor-trailer collisions in South Carolina is October, which saw 528 wrecks with 9 deaths and 123 injuries in 2018.
- Most truck accidents occur during the business week, from Monday through Friday.
- The vast majority of truck crashes occur during the day when the weather is clear or cloudy.
How to Maximize Your Truck Accident Case Value in Columbia
Recovering compensation after a truck accident isn’t easy. A lawyer won’t conjure a case value out of thin air and demand that the opposing insurance company accept the offer.
Maximizing the value of your truck accident case requires careful preparation and extensive documentation. Here’s what you need to do to maximize your claim:
- Photograph the crash scene: Get pictures of your car’s damage and the damage to any other vehicles that were involved in the crash. If you can do it safely, take photos of the vehicles from as multiple angles. You’ll also want pictures of your injuries, the area around the crash scene, any nearby traffic signs or signals, inclement weather, or anything else that may have contributed to the crash.
- Get the contact information for the truck driver and any witnesses: Ask for the truck driver’s name, employer, insurance information, and CDL number. It’s especially important to get contact information for any third-party witnesses. Get the individual’s name, phone number, email address, mailing address, license plate number, and driver’s license number.
- See a doctor immediately: If you aren’t taken to a hospital by first responders immediately after a truck accident, make an appointment with your doctor right away. First, you need to make sure there aren’t any hidden or internal injuries to worry about. Second, early treatment is your best chance at a full recovery after an accident. Seeing a doctor quickly also shows the insurance company that you took appropriate steps to treat your injuries and protect your rights to compensation.
- Keep your accident-related receipts: You need proof of your losses to be awarded compensation in a truck accident claim. Save all your various receipts and other records. The more proof you have of what it cost to treat your injuries, the more compensation you may be able to recover. You’ll also want to make copies of all your records and sign a release so your truck accident attorney can share those records to substantiate your claim.
How Proving Fault Can Make or Break Your Settlement
Proving fault is crucial in order to be awarded a truck accident settlement. In South Carolina, determining and distributing fault in accident claims is based on a legal doctrine called comparative negligence.
Comparative negligence means that any damages awarded in a settlement will be based on the percentage of fault each party bears for the accident. If you’re partially to blame for the crash, your damages will be reduced by your percentage of fault. However, if you are found to be more than 50 percent responsible for the wreck, you will not be able to recover any compensation at all.
Because trucking companies and their insurers have teams of lawyers who are trained to fight back against injury claims, it’s vital to demonstrate how the truck driver, the trucking company, a third-party maintenance company, or another associated entity was at fault for the crash. Getting an aggressive Columbia truck accident attorney on your side can put you in a position to make a compelling argument for full and fair compensation.
If a reasonable settlement cannot be reached, your lawyer may suggest that you file a truck accident lawsuit to seek a fairer result. Keep in mind that trials are riskier and more expensive. While you could stand to gain greater compensation through a lawsuit than you would with a truck accident settlement, you also could recover less — or nothing at all — depending on what the judge or jury decides. Ask your lawyer to discuss the pros and cons of a trial with you before deciding whether to accept what the insurance company claims is its “final” settlement offer.
Injured in a Columbia Truck Accident? Contact Stewart Law Offices Today
If you’ve been hurt in a truck accident in Columbia, you shouldn’t have to fight for the settlement you deserve alone. Contact Stewart Law Offices today. Our team of battle-tested trial lawyers know what it takes to build a convincing case for the maximum possible award for you.
Don’t wait to get your case underway. Although South Carolina gives you three years to file a truck accident claim, it’s best to get a lawyer’s advice well before the deadline expires.