Why Do You Need a Qualified Truck Accident Lawyer?
Truck accidents are on the rise, up 20% over the past two decades, and even though they only account for about 3% of the total vehicular accidents on the road, the damage they cause is catastrophic. Many result in death, or in the kind of severe injury that can cause long-term or even lifelong disability.
The sheer size and momentum of these vehicles lead to commercial truck accidents being some of the most devastating kinds on the road. Most involve multiple vehicles and extensive damage to property as well as severe injuries to drivers, passengers and pedestrians alike. In many cases, the hazardous cargo carried can present further hazards or make the injuries even worse.
Because of this, those involved in a severe truck accident need help from a qualified Columbia truck accident lawyer like those at Harris and Graves.
What Is a Commercial Truck?
Commercial trucks are those vehicles which are purpose-built for use in transporting goods or passengers in a professional sense are commercial vehicles. Where passengers are involved, they must be built to carry more than 15 passengers. These kinds of vehicles include:
- 18-wheeler semi-trucks
- large freight trucks
- box trucks
- even some taxis.
If you’re involved in an accident with any of these vehicles, you’ve been involved in a commercial truck accident.
While most commercial trucks make it to their destinations without incident, a few are involved in accidents that result in serious injury or even death. An experienced South Carolina truck accident lawyer will know how to proceed when a commercial truck accident occurs.
Commercial truck accidents can be some of the most dangerous types of crashes due to the sheer size and speed of the vehicles involved. Many of these accidents involve multiple vehicles, extensive property damage, and serious injury to drivers, passengers, and/or pedestrians. Often, 18-wheelers carry hazardous or flammable materials or other possibly dangerous cargo, which broadens the scope of damage and injury even further. Collisions between these large trucks or buses and the other smaller vehicles that occupy the road have a high fatality rate.
Truck Accident Claims
It’s not only the truck driver who can be liable for a trucking accident. Trucking and insurance companies, as well as commercial businesses and contractors, have a stake in ensuring the safe operation of a truck during its daily transit. If you have been involved in an accident with a commercial truck in the Columbia, Greenville, Rock Hill, Sumter, or surrounding South Carolina areas, you will need a personal injury lawyer to pursue all of the defendants liable in your case.
When filing a claim in an accident involving a commercial vehicle, the first thing to consider is time. There are strict limitations on how long you have to make a claim. Also, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration allows companies to destroy all of their trucking records after 6 months. That means any information relevant to your case could be gone if you wait too long to file a claim.
A personal injury lawyer with experience in 18-wheeler accidents, construction truck accidents, and cargo van accidents will know that they must act quickly to ensure that all the documentation regarding your case is obtained.
The Complexities of Truck Accident Cases
Truck accident cases can get very complex and difficult to pursue. This is because unlike an accident where two private vehicles are involved, with commercial vehicles there are a wide range of parties that might share responsibility. Certainly, in many cases, it’s the driver, but if the accident was caused by a faulty part, the parts manufacturer could hold responsibility. If the cargo was improperly secured, the loading company might be at fault.
In many cases, the trucking company itself, or the direct owner of the truck could hold responsibility. This is where truck accidents become problematic—no insurance company makes money by paying huge sums, and nobody wants to accept responsibility. It can be a fight just to nail down who is really at fault for the accident.
Another factor is time limits. There are strict statutes of limitations on when a claim can be filed, and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA) doesn’t permit companies to keep trucking records after six months. If you don’t file your case promptly, you could lose some important evidence you’ll need to push it through.
Working with a Greenville or Columbia South Carolina Truck Accident Lawyer
All of these factors together mean it’s in your best interests to work with an experienced and qualified Columbia truck accident lawyer. The right attorney can cut through the attempts to deflect blame and avoid payments, and can defend your rights to ensure that everyone remembers you’re the victim. A good accident attorney can get you the compensation you deserve for your lost wages and future earnings, your medical bills, your pain and suffering, your emotional trauma, lost relationships and comfort, and more.
Have Your Case Reviewed
Harris and Graves is one of the premier personal injury law firms in South Carolina with offices in Greenville, Columbia, Spartanburg, Rock Hill and Florence. Our law firm has been serving South Carolina since 1977 and specializes in practice areas such as auto accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents and workers compensation. To schedule a consultation with one of our practicing attorneys, please give us a call at 877-958-8038 or complete our inquiry contact form.