How to File a Truck Accident Claim in South Carolina
Commercial trucks, because of their weight, size, and high travel speeds, pose a significant danger to other drivers on the road. For this reason, truck drivers and trucking companies are held to a high standard.
If you were involved in a truck accident, you might be able to file a claim. A South Carolina truck accident attorney is best equipped to help you with your claim.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Many factors can play a role in truck accidents. The most common causes of truck accidents include:
- Drowsy driving,
- Brake issues,
- Driving under the influence, and
- Distracted driving.
If the cause of your accident is not immediately evident, your attorney can investigate the evidence or utilize outside sources to determine who was at fault.
Truck Accident Claims
To get the maximum amount of compensation, you must first file a strong truck accident claim. Your claim should include:
- A well-worded demand letter detailing your claims;
- A police report;
- All medical records; and
- Evidence from the accident.
Anything you can provide, proving the claims detailed in your demand letter, will benefit your case.
While you can do this yourself, an experienced South Carolina truck accident attorney can help greatly with this process. It can be challenging to figure out exactly how to go about making a truck accident claim, but an attorney can make sure all appropriate steps are taken to file a compelling claim.
Establishing Fault in Truck Accidents
Determining who is genuinely at fault for the accident is crucial for your case. In many cases, the truck driver will be at fault. The trucking company employing the truck driver might also be partly at fault for your accident. Even if the trucking company was not directly at fault, they may be held responsible for the truck driver’s actions.
In order for a truck driver to be found negligent, certain elements must be established. These include:
- The truck driver owed you a duty of care;
- This duty of care was breached;
- There was actual and proximate causation;
- Resulting in damages.
If you were partially at fault for the accident, you can probably still seek damages. However, your settlement or award will be reduced proportionate to your fault. The insurance company will try to assign you as much fault as possible to avoid liability. But your attorney will use the evidence from the accident to see that fault is fairly apportioned and seek maximum compensation for you.
There are various kinds of damages that are recoverable for truck accident claims. Damages are often dependent on the extent of injuries sustained.
Economic damages are calculable damages. These damages might include:
- Medical bills,
- Rehabilitation expenses,
- Property damage, and
- Lost wages.
Your attorney can come up with a dollar amount once you have provided all the required information.
Unlike economic damages, non-economic damages are a bit more difficult to calculate. These damages may include:
- Pain and suffering,
- Emotional distress, and
- Loss of enjoyment of activities.
While these damages are harder to calculate, your attorney can use their experience to come up with an amount based on your individual circumstances.
If the truck driver or trucking company’s conduct is found to be “wilful, wanton, or reckless,” punitive damages may be added on to economic and non-economic damages. These damages are awarded in only the most egregious cases to punish and deter wrongful conduct.
In South Carolina, punitive damages are capped. Generally, punitive damages cannot exceed three times the amount of compensatory damages or $500,000, whichever is greater. However, there is an exception to this rule. The cap on punitive damages can be as great as four times the amount of compensatory damages or a maximum of two million dollars, whichever is greater, if these exceptions can be applied to your case:
- The actions of the defendant could result in a felony; or
- The actions of the defendant were motivated by financial gain and unreasonably hazardous with a high chance of injury.
There are additional exceptions that, when present, would place no cap on punitive damages. These exceptions are present when:
- The defendant was convicted of a felony due to their actions;
- The defendant had the intention to harm the plaintiff; or
- The defendant was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the act.
A South Carolina personal injury attorney will be able to determine whether you may be able to recover punitive damages.
When to File a Claim
Consult with a South Carolina truck accident attorney as soon as possible about filing your claim. South Carolina has a three-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims. If you wait to file your claim and your time runs out, there is little an attorney will be able to do for you. The sooner you contact an attorney the quicker they will be able to start working on your lawsuit. Once all information and evidence have been collected, your attorney will be ready to file your claim.
How a Truck Accident Attorney Can Help
When it comes to truck accident claims, a knowledgeable South Carolina truck accident attorney is your best ally. Aside from helping you file your claim, an attorney can help establish liability, calculate damages, and negotiate with insurance companies. Truck accident claims can be difficult and confusing, but an attorney knows how to navigate these claims so you don’t have to do it alone.
Peace Law Firm has over 18 years of experience representing clients with their claims. We work alongside clients to reach the most favorable outcome. Our goal is to achieve swift resolution while helping secure fair compensation for truck accident injuries. Contact us, and let’s discuss your case.