Proving Fault in a Truck Accident Case in South Carolina
About 150,000 people suffer injuries in truck accidents each year. And in South Carolina, about 8.3% of all fatal crashes involve large trucks. If you or a loved one were in a truck accident, you may want to file a lawsuit against the responsible party. However, proving fault in a truck accident can be difficult. Numerous parties, including the driver and truck manufacturer, can be responsible. Sometimes two or more of these groups are at fault.
We will review how to prove fault in a truck accident in this article. We will also touch on how a truck accident attorney can help you determine fault and recover compensation for your losses.
If you have any questions after reading the article about finding fault after a truck accident, call John Robert Peace, PA. Our lawyers can apply the law to the specific facts of your case to help you understand your legal options.
Determining Fault in a Truck Accident
While understanding who is at fault in a truck accident is occasionally straightforward, it is generally a difficult process. Unlike other non-commercial vehicles, any number of parties could be to blame. A few examples include:
- The truck driver;
- The trucking company;
- The truck’s manufacturer;
- A third-party maintenance company;
- The loading company; and
- The manufacturer of an after-market part.
Fortunately, the legal analysis for determining fault will be similar for all of these potential bad actors. Assuming the at-fault party did not act intentionally, you will have to prove that they were negligent. Let’s take a moment to briefly review how to prove negligence.
The Legal Elements of Negligence
The four elements of negligence are standard in South Carolina and the United States. Those elements are duty, breach, causation, and damages.
Your first task when proving negligence is to show that the bad actor had a duty towards you. Most people associate the word “duty” with military personnel or police officers. However, the law imposes a duty on many different groups of people. Doctors have a duty of care toward their patients. Lawyers have a duty of care toward their clients. And every driver in the country has a legal duty to act with reasonable care toward others on the road. Generally, acting with “reasonable care” means following the rules of the road and not engaging in dangerous driving practices.
Breach of Duty
Once you show that a party owes you a duty of care, the next step is establishing a breach of that duty. If you think the truck driver is at fault, you could establish a breach of duty in many different ways. For example, you could show that the driver was:
- Exceeding the speed limit;
- Intoxicated with alcohol or drugs;
- Driving while using a cell phone;
- Swerving or changing lanes erratically;
- Asleep at the wheel; or
- Not trained or otherwise unqualified to drive a truck.
Often, proving a breach of duty requires significant evidence, such as witness accounts, videos of the accident, expert testimony, and photos. If you are curious to learn about other ways to establish a breach of duty, consult a qualified truck accident attorney.
The third part in proving negligence requires the plaintiff to show that the defendant’s breach of duty caused their losses. For example, if the truck driver breached his duty by texting while driving, you would need to show that the accident happened right around the time he was texting.
The final element of negligence is damage. The plaintiff must provide evidence of their damages. Simply claiming that you suffered a broken leg from the accident is not sufficient. Instead, you’ll need to collect various documents to connect your damages with the truck accident. Valuable evidence could include things like the following:
- Medical bills,
- Doctor’s notes,
- Prescription records
- Emails to doctors or therapists, and
- Pay stubs.
One benefit of having an attorney is that they are skilled in collecting helpful evidence. They can then use the evidence to effectively press your claim for damages in court.
Looking for a Quality Truck Accident Attorney? We’re Ready to Serve You.
Now you know the four parts of finding fault after a truck accident. But these four tasks are often easier said than done. This is especially the case when you’re struggling to recover from the physical and mental trauma of the accident. If you want to maximize the chances of a successful lawsuit, seek professional legal assistance.
We are dedicated to serving our clients. We see our clients not as numbers—but as people with unique stories and hopes. Thanks to our team’s experience and professionalism, we’ve helped our countless clients receive their rightful compensation. Don’t risk your financial future by going it alone. Instead, let us give you the stellar legal representation you deserve.
Unlike many law firms, Peace Law Firm offers free initial consultations to all potential clients. That means you have nothing to lose by calling us at (864) 298-0500 or contacting us online. Start your path toward success today!