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Hartsville, SC Truck Accident Attorney
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    Hartsville, SC Truck Accident Attorney

    Accidents involving 18-wheelers are often more severe than accidents involving two smaller vehicles. Truckers often spend long hours on the road, and their driving skills and decision-making abilities might wane after hours and hours of driving, potentially making them more dangerous to those around them.

    If a truck driver hit you, make no mistake: you should get a lawyer. Trucking companies and the insurance companies they work with often have powerful legal teams that work to fight liability and keep their cases out of court or pay out low settlements just to end cases quickly. You deserve better, and our lawyers can fight to make that happen.

    For a free review with our truck accident attorneys, call Burriss Ridgeway Injury Lawyers at (803) 451-4000 today.

    Suing Truck Drivers and Trucking Companies for Injuries in Hartsville, SC

    When a truck driver hits you, you could be entitled to sue the at-fault driver as you would with any other auto accident case. However, cases can also be filed against the trucking company they work for in many situations.

    Suing a Truck Driver

    If the driver who hit you is an independent contractor or an owner-operator who is self-employed, then there might be no “trucking company” the driver works for. In these cases, you would sue the driver as an individual or sue them under their business name if they have one. In this case, they should still have the required insurance, which can pay for damages.

    In other cases where the trucker is an employee working with a larger company, our truck accident lawyers might still recommend that you sue the trucker alongside their employer, as they directly made the crash happen. However, damages will usually be paid by the company they work for.

    Suing Trucking Companies as Employers

    If the truck driver worked for a company and was working within the scope of their job duties when the accident happened, then that usually allows you to sue the trucking company. Like with any other worker or employee, an accident on the job is the company’s fault, not just the individual worker’s fault.

    This kind of “vicarious liability” setup allows you to hold the company liable for its employee’s actions, potentially opening up more money to you. An individual truck driver might not have the money to pay for their mistake, but their employer should. And if they do not, then they certainly have insurance that can pay for the harm they caused.

    Suing Trucking Companies Directly

    In some crashes, the trucking company will be responsible for a problem with vehicle maintenance or hiring and retention practices that allowed the accident to happen. This makes them directly responsible, at least in part, for causing the crash.

    Imagine, for example, that one of their truck drivers had just been arrested for DUI multiple times. There is no way that that trucker should have been able to stay on staff, and the company had an obligation to fire or suspend that driver. If they did not, and their driver hit you while drunk, they are responsible for that dangerous trucker being on the road. The trucker is still responsible for their own actions, making both parties share fault for the accident.

    Similarly, trucking companies often own their vehicles and are responsible for any problems with the vehicle that caused the crash, especially issues caused by skipped maintenance or un-repaired equipment problems.

    How Courts Find Fault in a Trucking Accident in Hartsville, SC

    When courts analyze questions of who was at fault, they look at many factors. The analysis is said to be a “totality of the circumstances” situation, where all factors, all participants, and all laws on point are looked at and taken into account. As such, this can often lead to complex decisions about who was at fault.

    To find any party at fault for a crash, courts must first see that all four legal elements of “negligence” are met. This means proving that the party owed you a legal duty and breached said legal duty and that their breach of duty caused your crash. For example, if a truck driver was speeding or falling asleep at the wheel, that would be a breach of traffic laws or safe-driving principles. If the crash was caused by speeding or sleepy driving, then that puts the trucker at fault.

    In some cases, courts will consider the victim’s fault as a factor in causing the crash. For example, if you were driving when a trucker hit you, but you were speeding, that might have helped cause the accident – or at least helped make your injuries worse. The court could find you partially at fault for the accident and assign you a percentage of the blame.

    This will also reduce your damages by the same percentage so that the defendants only pay for their share of damages. As long as you are a maximum of 50% at fault compared to the defendant(s), you can still recover damages for the defendant’s share of fault.

    Evidence for a Truck Crash in Hartsville, SC

    In a truck accident case, you need to present evidence to win your case. Your own testimony and recollection of what happened will be a core piece of evidence, but anything else you have to corroborate your claim is important. This can include photos of the vehicle damage, video of the crash, witness testimony, and more. You also need evidence of your injuries (such as medical records) and the cost of your damages (such as receipts and statements).

    Call Our Truck Accident Attorneys in Hartsville, SC Today

    For a free case evaluation, call the truck accident lawyers at Burriss Ridgeway Injury Lawyers today at (803) 451-4000.