Even though truckers are professional drivers, they are still human, and capable of making mistakes. When these mistakes occur, they can cause serious accidents that can leave you with substantial physical and financial harm. Fortunately, you may be able to file a lawsuit that will help you recover for those harms.
To win your lawsuit, you will have to show that some party caused the accident that led to your injuries – perhaps the trucker, or maybe their employer or a third party. Truck drivers might speed, get distracted, fall asleep at the wheel, or even drive under the influence. Trucking companies might fail to provide adequate training to their drivers or overschedule them, causing fatigue.
Getting started with this process may seem intimidating, but the seasoned South Carolina truck accident attorneys at Burriss Ridgeway Injury Lawyers can help, starting with a free initial case assessment to get you started. Learn more by calling our offices at (803) 451-4000.
Trucking accidents happen every day in South Carolina. Whether you are on a highway, driving through the country, or downtown in traffic, any of the below instances of trucker negligence may cause an accident that leaves you injured.
Trucks, particularly semis, are substantially heavier than other vehicles on the road and require much more time and roadway to come to a complete stop. Truckers are responsible for keeping that in mind on the road so that they avoid situations where they cannot stop in time to prevent an accident.
Speeding can cause the same dangers as tailgating, for the same reasons. Trucks that are moving at a higher speed will take even more time than usual to slow down and may not be agile enough to avoid an upcoming hazardous condition. Truckers may be more likely to speed if they might earn additional compensation or meet aggressive deadlines set by employers.
Driving under the influence is a major problem in the trucking industry. Though drunk driving is dangerous for any driver, commercial vehicles like trucks are larger, heavier, and are more likely to cause serious or fatal injuries in the case of an accident.
Truckers operate for long and irregular hours, sometimes deep into the night. If a truck driver gets distracted or falls asleep for even a second, they could veer out of their lane. Once you lose control of a truck, it is much more difficult to regain that control than it might be in a passenger vehicle.
While the truck driver might have caused your accident, they may not be the party that was actually responsible for your damages. Each trucking accident injury case is different, and we recommend that you speak with one of our South Carolina truck accident attorneys to assess who is liable in your case.
The first step that you will have to take to find out who is liable is to determine whether the truck driver is an employee or an independent contractor. An independent contractor is someone who is technically self-employed, even though they do work for another person or entity and get paid by them. Some key characteristics of an independent contractor include the ability to structure the time, place, and manner of their work, which often allows the contractor to do similar work (i.e., drive a truck) for other clients. An independent contractor will typically file a 1099 with the IRS for their taxes, as opposed to a W-2.
If the truck driver who caused your accident was a traditional employee of a trucking company, you generally will be able to name the trucking company in your lawsuit. This can be beneficial for victims who suffer serious damages that the trucker’s commercial auto insurance might not fully cover. If the truck driver was an independent contractor, however, you may only be able to name the truck driver in your suit.
There are several other considerations that may make a trucking company liable for your damages. Trucking companies are responsible for overseeing their drivers’ hiring, training, and work schedules. If the company hires a driver with a poor record or fails to provide adequate safety and operational training to their driver, you may be able to show that the company’s failures contributed to your accident. Trucking companies may pack a driver’s schedule in order to meet deadlines, forcing them to work on little to no sleep. If the trucking company owns the vehicle that the driver uses, the company may also be responsible for inspections and maintenance for the vehicle to cure any problems that might lead to a dangerous malfunction on the road.
Many truck drivers own their own vehicles. A number of entities, such as the truck manufacturer and the manufacturers of individual parts, must produce safe vehicles, and they should institute recalls if they find a defect. If a particular defect was responsible for causing your accident, you may be able to name one or more of these manufacturers in your suit. Our experienced South Carolina truck accident attorneys will help you with identifying defendants in third-party liability cases.
The State of South Carolina limits you to three years with which to file your civil suit for truck accident damages. The three-year clock begins to run on the date of your accident, so if you file later than the three-year anniversary of your accident, you will not be able to recover damages. Give your South Carolina truck accident attorney enough time to get your claim filed in time by acting today.
Burriss Ridgeway Injury Lawyers will offer you a free initial case review so that you can make the best decision for your financial future. Call us today to learn more at (803) 451-4000.
Our Caring Attorneys in Columbia, SC are here to help.