Who Can Be Held Responsible for a Truck Accident?
When individuals are injured or killed in a commercial truck accident, the driver and several other parties could be held responsible for the crash. The truck driver could be legally responsible for a crash if they were negligent or careless behind the wheel.
The trucking company could also be responsible for the accident if they were negligent in hiring, training, or monitoring the driver. Trucking companies are generally liable for the negligence of their employees. Some companies may argue that a driver was an independent contractor, not an employee. However, the evidence may prove otherwise. The trucking company will likely have a larger insurance policy to pay for injuries and damage that result from their employee’s actions.
Other parties that could share responsibility for the crash include:
- The company that owned the cargo being shipped
- The company responsible for maintenance and repairs to the carrier’s fleet of vehicles
- The manufacturer of defective truck equipment or parts
- Government agencies responsible for road maintenance or design
Because multiple parties could share liability for your injuries or the death of your loved one, it is critical to have an experienced South Carolina Truck Accident Lawyer evaluate your case right away and discuss your legal options.
Compensation for Losses in a Commercial Truck Wreck
Truck accident victims typically require emergency medical attention and may require long-term medical treatment. Medical bills can quickly pile up. If the victim is unable to return to work for a long period of time, the financial burden can become unbearable.
The law allows injured people to seek fair compensation from the party responsible for the crash. You could be owed compensation for:
- Medical expenses (both past and future)
- Lost wages (including past and future earnings)
- Repair or replacement of damaged property
- Rehabilitation and medical devices
- Non-economic damages like pain and suffering, disfigurement, emotional distress, and others
In South Carolina, victims in injury accidents could be eligible to recover compensation for both economic and non-economic damages. It is important to note that punitive damages (which are only awarded in cases involving gross negligence) are capped at either $250,000 or three times the amount of actual damages (whichever is greater).
How Long Do You Have to File a Tractor Trailer Accident Injury Claim?
The statute of limitations to file a truck accident claim varies from state to state. South Carolina Code of Laws 15-3-530 requires accident victims to file an injury claim within three years of the date of the accident. Any claims filed after that time will not be heard by the court unless a very narrow exception applies.
Because truck accident claims require so much investigation, collection and preservation of evidence, and evaluation of the different parties’ actions, it is crucial that you hire an attorney as soon as possible to get started on your case. Your attorney can conduct a thorough investigation, negotiate with the insurance companies, and if a fair settlement is not offered, file a lawsuit within the state’s required time limit.
Common Causes of Truck Crashes in SC
Some of the most common causes of truck accidents include:
- Speeding or reckless driving
- Distracted driving
- Driver error
- Drowsy driving
- Unbalanced loads
- Mechanical failure or parts defects
- Inadequate maintenance or lack of inspections
- Blind spots/ No-zone accidents
- Underride accidents