South Carolina Truck Accident Frequent Questions
Contact an Experienced South Carolina Truck Accident Lawyer
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If you are able to do so after a collision, you should:
- Call 911 or Your Local Police Department – You want law enforcement and emergency responders to arrive as soon as possible to provide medical care and control traffic to reduce the risk of further accidents and injuries.
- Get Medical Care – You may be taken by ambulance to a local hospital or emergency room. If you do not go to the ER by ambulance, have a friend or family member take you to there or to a trusted physician for a full exam. You should see a doctor as soon as possible after a collision. Often times, people in car accidents may have injuries they cannot see.
- Exchange Insurance Information – If you can, ask for the truck driver’s name, contact information, insurance company, and insurance policy number. If you or your loved one could not exchange this information, don’t worry. We can still help.
- Collect Evidence – There is evidence you can gather at the scene of a collision that can be very helpful. Use a phone to take pictures and video of the crash and surrounding property damage. Also, ask for witnesses’ names and contact information.
- Keep a Journal – After the truck accident, keep a journal or daily log to record how you feel and what you do each day. Include the activities you can or cannot do including going to work, household chores, playing with children or friends, or any other activities. This may help refresh your memory months later of how you felt.
- Call a South Carolina Truck Accident Attorney – When you are in a car crash and suffer injuries, the best way to protect yourself is to contact an experienced truck accident lawyer.
Every case is different and, therefore, it depends. However, if you hire an experienced and creative attorney like Keibler Law Group, they can rely on top resources, experts, and technologies to convince a jury, the court, and opposing counsel to pay more.
No one can determine how much any case is worth without first analyzing the facts. However, there are certain factors you can use to make an approximate estimation of your claim.
First, you must look at the “economic” damages or those you can quantify. Then you can recover additional, “non-economic” damages for pain and suffering and other damages that are more difficult to quantify. Finally, depending on the particular facts, you may be able to recover punitive damages or damages designed to punish the defendant and deter future wrongdoers.
The main factor that will affect the value of your claim is the damages, or losses you incurred. The more damages involved in the case, the more your claim is worth because you can be compensated for all of them. Some of the most common forms of damages include
- Medical expenses
- Lost income
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of earning capacity
- Permanent disfigurement or disability
Next, you must analyze liability or fault. Who is at fault and how much “fault” will a jury attribute to them? If the other party was 100% at fault, then you can recover 100% of your actual damages. However, South Carolina is a modified comparative fault state – in other words, if a jury determines you are 10% at fault, any award a jury gives you will be reduced by 10%. Keep in mind, your fault must be less than 51%. Additionally, if the at-fault party showed gross negligence or blatant disregard for the safety of others, the courts may award you punitive damages. In this instance, your case will be worth more.
Once liability is established, you need to make sure the defendant has money to pay you. Under 49 CFR 387.9, interstate for-hire trucks and commercial vehicles that have a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,001 or more pounds must have at least $750,000 in insurance. Therefore, if you’ve suffered a catastrophic injury from a truck accident, the truck is required by law to carry at least $750,000 in insurance. Many carry more. Creative lawyers, however, may be able to locate other responsible parties.
Do not accept blame for an accident since there are usually many factors involved. Even if, after an investigation, it is determined you may be partially at fault, in South Carolina you may still be entitled to compensation. South Carolina is a modified comparative negligence state. In South Carolina, as long as the plaintiff is less than 51% responsible for an accident, he or she will be eligible for financial recovery from the defendant. If your claim is worth $100,000, but it is determined you are 20% at fault, a court will limit the amount of recovery by $20,000.
All insurance companies – including the other driver’s insurance company – are not in the business or paying out money. They provide lowball offers and try to convince you to take it. You should speak to a qualified and experienced attorney before speaking to the other driver’s insurance company or taking their lowball offer. If you accept a settlement offer too soon after the accident, you may not receive the full value of your claim.
You should only sign a medical records release under a limited circumstance and after consulting with an experienced South Carolina truck accident attorney. If an insurer obtains your medical records, it could impact your claim. If you have already provided them records, do not worry! We can help. An insurer may use your records to downplay the seriousness of your injuries or to state they were preexisting injuries before the accident.
It depends, but usually no. Most cases are resolved in settlement negotiations before having a trial in front of a judge and jury. However, there are many steps before getting to that point. A “high level” stream line of events that take place when you file a personal injury claim:
- Your attorney will negotiate with the insurance company before filing suit to attempt a reasonable settlement
- If the insurance company or defendant is not being reasonable, we will file a Complaint with the Court and begin an action. In South Carolina, this usually must be done within three years of the accident.
- We will undergo discovery where the parties exchange information related to the claim and the defenses. In discovery, defendants may want to depose you. That is when the defendant attorney gets to ask you questions about the accident and your injuries. This is under oath and typically in front of a court reporter or stenographer. Your attorney will be there too and we will prepare for beforehand. This is your opportunity to explain what happened, the injuries that resulted, how it made you feel, and how it has impacted your life.
- Next, the parties participate in mediation. Mediation is when the two parties come together along with a neutral, agreed-upon mediator to try to resolve the case. Many cases are resolved at mediation or shortly thereafter.
- If mediation is unsuccessful, the parties will prepare for trial. Many times, the parties will settle “on the eve of trial.”
- If all of these steps fail to reach an agreement between the parties, then your case will go in front of a judge and jury and you will have to go to Court to testify.
- Chase is an experienced truck accident trial attorney; he treats and prepares every case as if he will argue it in front of a jury at trial. This puts constant pressure on opposing counsel and the defendants and gets you the best results.
Possibly. If the truck driver was an employee of the trucking company, the company will be held legally liable for the driver’s negligence under the legal theory known as respondeat superior or vicarious liability. In addition, the company may have acted negligently too and, therefore, their negligence, in part, may have caused your accident. For example, if the driver had a bad driving record the employer may be responsible under a negligent hiring and retention theory. It is important to retain a qualified South Carolina truck accident attorney to determine who all is responsible for your damages suffered in the truck wreck.
Now, if the driver is an independent contractor, it may be more difficult to place responsibility on the company that hired him.
Damages awarded in a South Carolina catastrophic injury case can be substantial due to noneconomic damages that can be recovered like pain and suffering, loss of consortium, permanent disability and loss of enjoyment of life.
In South Carolina truck accident cases, it can be difficult for a defense attorney to limit damages. Therefore, they will likely attempt to place the blame on the plaintiff. If the defense attorney can show that the plaintiff was partially at fault for the injuries sustained, they may be able to limit the amount that their client owes the plaintiff.
If you or a loved one has suffered a catastrophic injury due to the negligence or intentional act of another, A truck accident lawyer serving South Carolina can help recover damages, including:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Future lost wages
When bringing a catastrophic injury claim, it is important to choose a lawyer with trial experience. A truck accident injury attorney in South Carolina with trial experience will have more leverage than an attorney who settles most of their cases when it comes time to negotiate with the defense attorney.
After suffering any injury in a truck accident, your focus should be on your physical and mental health. There are many medical treatments available for truck accident injuries, but the treatment path depends on your particular injury. Possible treatments for these injuries include:
- Emergency medical care to prevent the injury from becoming worse
- Surgeries and operations, of which there are typically many in catastrophic cases
- Rehabilitation and physical therapy, particularly if you have lost function or mobility in a part of your body
- Cognitive therapy can help if you suffered a traumatic brain injury, if you’re suffering from trauma, and/or if your injuries result in mental health challenges
- Medication to treat the injury or manage pain
- Skin grafts, if the injury involved extensive burns
- Vocational rehabilitation helps patients recover skills the injured person needs to be able to return to work of find new employment
- If you or your loved one suffered a traumatic brain injury, speech and language therapy may be necessary.
These are just a few of the treatments available for truck accident injuries. Your treatment plan will depend on the nature and severity of your injuries.
Yes. South Carolina law allows accident victims to sue at-fault parties for their injuries in order to recover economic and non-economic damages. These are the losses you sustained as a result of the truck accident.
Traumatic brain injury usually results from a violent blow or jolt to the head or body. An object that goes through brain tissue, such as a bullet or shattered piece of skull, also can cause traumatic brain injury.
Mild traumatic brain injury may affect your brain cells temporarily. More-serious traumatic brain injury can result in bruising, torn tissues, bleeding and other physical damage to the brain. These injuries can result in long-term complications or death.
We work on a contingency fee basis meaning the victims we represent pay nothing at all unless we win. Once you receive money from either a settlement or verdict, we receive a certain percentage of that settlement or verdict. If your lawsuit is unsuccessful, you will not owe us any attorney fees. This allows the plaintiff to reap the rewards without risk of having to pay for a loss.
Truck accident lawsuits can be expensive to bring. There are court costs, medical expert fees, and accident reconstructionist fees. The way a contingency fee case works, is the attorney or law firm will pay for all of these fees associated with researching, filing, and prosecuting your claim. You owe $0 out of pocket to bring the case.
If the attorney successfully recovers money for you, they will typically take an agreed upon percentage of the recovery, recollect the costs associated with bringing the case (court costs and expert fees), and then you receive the remainder of the settlement.
Typically, if a jury rules in favor of the defendant and you lose the case, you do not owe any money to the attorney for the costs they incurred in bringing the case (court costs or expert costs) or for the attorney’s time. Chase has never lost a personal injury case.
Under 49 CFR 387.9, interstate for-hire trucks and commercial vehicles that have a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,001 or more pounds must have at least $750,000 in insurance.
Yes, typically a commercial motor vehicle (commercial vehicle weighing at least 10,001 pounds including tractor trailers), must carry at least $750,000 in insurance.
If the vehicle is carrying hazardous materials in bulk, they must carry at least $1,000,000 in insurance coverage.
If the vehicle is carrying hazardous materials non-bulk hazardous materials must have at least $5,000,000 in insurance coverage.
Smaller buses that carry 15 passengers or less are required by federal regulation to have at least $1,000,000 in insurance.
Larger buses or other commercial passenger vehicles that carry 16 passengers or more, are required by federal regulation to have at least $5,000,000 in insurance.
South Carolina Truck Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one suffered from a life-altering injury, our South Carolina truck accident lawyer at the Keibler Law Group can help you get your or your loved one’s life back on track.
Truck accident injuries occur suddenly and unexpectedly and can leave a person with injuries that affect them for the rest of their lives. Victims of these catastrophic injuries are often left with astronomical medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, and fear of costs of future medical treatments. An experienced truck accident lawyer in South Carolina can help you get your life back to normal and gain the compensation you need for lost earnings, medical bills, pain and suffering, and other costs.