Car accidents and fender benders happen every day, and most people understand what to do if they are in an accident. As scary as these situations can be, automobile collisions become downright terrifying when a commercial vehicle is involved. Commercial trucks are heavy, bulky, and offer a poor view of certain areas surrounding the truck. These factors, among others, make a collision with a commercial vehicle such as an eighteen-wheeler, tractor-trailer, or even a company van extremely dangerous. The circumstances surrounding an accident with a commercial vehicle are different than those brought about by a “normal” accident with two sedans, for example. A collision with a large truck is (hopefully) unfamiliar to victims, and uncertainty regarding the next steps to take following the accident can lead to a difficult recovery and a smaller settlement.
HOW IS A COMMERCIAL TRUCKING ACCIDENT IN SOUTH CAROLINA DIFFERENT?
First, commercial trucks are business-owned vehicles, meaning businesses must carry different insurance policies on them. There are also extra regulations in place for drivers of commercial vehicles. Additionally, liability defaults to the company rather than the “at fault” company driver, and the company itself can be held liable for other requirements and regulations that it failed to adhere to.
The largest commercial trucks must have a minimum insurance policy of $750,000, much higher than an individual’s policy would cover in a normal accident. This means that despite the higher potential damage caused by the bigger vehicle, the medical treatment necessary after a collision would more easily be covered.
Additionally, the company normally claims liability instead of the driver of the company vehicle. This means that their hiring practices and policies can come into question. Perhaps they hired a driver with a bad driving record because they were short-staffed. Maybe they allowed drivers to work past the government-regulated 70-hour maximum workweek. Defective equipment can cause an accident as well; some companies will operate with unsafe equipment, attempting to save a few dollars by determining that a tire or brake doesn’t need to be repaired immediately. Any number of questionable choices can be investigated and may lead to a better settlement for the victim. An experienced attorney will know the correct questions to ask to find the key information needed to win a bigger settlement.
WHAT CAN YOU DO AFTER A TRUCKING ACCIDENT IN SOUTH CAROLINA?
After an accident, first, make sure that you are not injured, and get medical treatment if you are. Barring any injury, it is important to document the crash area as soon as possible because much of the evidence, such as tire marks and broken glass, will not remain for long. Getting contact information from any witnesses is critical as well, as they will be able to testify in court about what occurred. In addition to the evidence at the scene of the accident, there will also be information available from the trucking company too. Should a lawsuit be necessary, you’ll need to gather that information through discovery, or the production of documents. This can be a lengthy process that can be difficult to navigate. Following an accident, it is best to speak with an attorney before speaking with the insurance companies so we can form a plan to get the most compensation possible. There are many tasks that need to be taken care of after any kind of automobile collision, but as you can see, adding a commercial truck to the mix tends to further convolute things. An experienced personal injury lawyer can make a stressful situation much more bearable, as they handle the legal paperwork while you focus on recovery.
ROCK HILL, SC ACCIDENT ATTORNEYS FOR TRUCKING ACCIDENTS
With our combined 50 years of experience, Lewis Law Firm has helped many victims of commercial auto accidents. If you were in an accident, call us for a free consultation to discuss your rights, options, and what our accident attorneys can do for you.