Laurens Semi Truck Accident Lawyer
Were you the victim of a truck accident in Laurens? South Carolina law gives you the right to seek compensation for your losses, and a semi truck accident lawyer can help. You should contact a Laurens truck injury attorney to guide you through the process.
Unfortunately, you are not the only one in this situation. The number of truck accidents is on the rise in Laurens County. The same trend is noticeable at the state and national level. Even the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration acknowledges the pattern. They report an increase in the number of truck accidents nationwide.
The number of truck accidents increased significantly from 2015 to 2016. It grew from 415,000 to 475,000. The number of related fatalities grew as well, from 3,598 to 3,864. No less than 104,000 injury crashes occurred in 2016, up from 83,000 in 2015.
Truck accidents result in huge damages that are not easy to recover. Their victims will need all the help they can get. The best person to provide it is an experienced tractor trailer accident lawyer. The latter can help prove liability, document damages, and take over the formalities.
Accident Liability Scenarios and the Role of the Laurens, SC, Semi Truck Accident Attorney
Under South Carolina laws, the party at fault for an accident covers the damage they caused. The victims claiming compensation will have to prove the defendant’s liability. Depending on how the accident occurred, there are four possible scenarios. We will describe them below.
1. Truck Driver Liability – A Common Situation for Any Trucking Accident Attorney
Statistics show truck drivers are at fault in more than 50% of the accidents they get into. However, that is not enough to justify a compensation claim. Proving truck driver liability takes solid evidence. The best person to gather it is an experienced tractor trailer attorney. Knowing how most accidents attributed to truck drivers occurred may help as well. FMCSA reports that:
- 32% of accidents occur when truck drivers get out of their traffic lane. They either leave the road completely or enter the adjacent lane. If they do not turn over, they drive other vehicles off the road.
- 29% of accidents involve truck drivers who lose control of their carrier. Common causes include high speed, shifting cargo, technical problems, bad roads, or bad weather.
- 22% of accidents involve truck drivers rear-ending the vehicles in front of them. Possible causes are high speed, tailgating, and distracted driving. The damages are often extensive, and many accidents end with serious injuries.
Fatigue is the hidden cause of many truck accidents. It is common in truck drivers, who are always on the road and in a hurry. It is also challenging to prove even for an experienced tractor trailer accident attorney. Studies connect fatigue with:
- Non-performance – Some truck drivers fall asleep. Others suffer seizures or heart attacks. Fatigue may lead to physical impairment and prevent the driver from performing adequately.
- Poor recognition – Many drivers start using their mobile devices to stay awake. These divert their attention from the road and incoming dangers. A simple hole in the carriageway can cause the truck driver to lose control of their vehicle. It takes a skilled tractor trailer attorney to find the hole and deduct what happened.
- Bad decisions – Tired drivers no longer process information properly and make dangerous decisions. They neglect to reduce speed in dangerous or crowded road portions. They miscalculate the distance from other vehicles. They may even misjudge the condition of the carriageway and drive too fast.
- Exaggerated responses – Truck drivers often doze off and then panic. Their responses to traffic stimuli are often exaggerated. Their maneuvers in traffic become chaotic, risky.
Even when everything points to fatigue, the evidence is all that counts. To obtain it, a Laurens tractor trailer accident attorney will check the driver’s work diary. FMCSA allows truckers to driver 11 out of 14 hours every day, 7 days weekly. They do impose minimum rest periods. A tractor-trailer accident lawyer will try to prove the truck driver missed their rest periods. This equals to proving fatigue.
Alcohol is another factor that may impair a truck driver. Any truck accident lawyer will look for signs of intoxication. The accident reports prepared by the police may serve as evidence. Of course, truck drivers are not always at fault for the accidents they get into.
2. Trucking Company Liability – A Challenging Scenarios for Any Tractor Trailer Accident Lawyers
It is not uncommon for trucking companies to be responsible for accidents. Unfortunately, proving their fault is never easy. It takes an experienced and knowledgeable tractor trailer attorney and tons of evidence.
To blame a trucking company for an accident, a tractor-trailer accident lawyer would have to show that:
- The company willingly hired inexperienced, undisciplined drivers
- They failed to ensure adequate training for their drivers
- Their trucks did not receive regular inspections, maintenance, and repairs
- They failed to ensure the minimum safety equipment required on their trucks
- Their trucks do not meet the weight, length, and width limits.
To prove their case, a tractor-trailer accident attorney will check any or all of the following:
- Driver qualifications and experience
- Truck inspection, maintenance, and repair records and requirements
- Truck lights and reflectors type, condition, and functioning
- Emergency equipment available
- Truck markings
- Cargo ties and securement methods
- Tires and covers
- Cargo dimensions and loading.
These verifications require specific knowledge and experience. To ensure adequate results, you should work with a seasoned tractor trailer accident attorney. Besides analyzing the police report, they should not hesitate to perform their own investigations. They should not give up if the evidence exonerates the trucking company and their driver. The fault may belong to a third party.
3. Third-Party Liability or Why Experienced Truck Wreck Lawyer will Keep Investigating
In rare cases, neither the trucking company nor their driver is at fault. There are service providers who occasionally neglect their duty. Common examples are truck maintenance companies, cargo owners, parts suppliers and road administrators. Other traffic participants may cause accidents as well.
An experienced tractor trailer accident lawyer will not rest until they identify the party at fault. Depending on their findings, they will decide whom to file the compensation claim against. At the Law Office of Brian T. Smith, we usually advise our clients to take on insurance companies.
This way, the claim process is simpler and shorter. Moreover, the risk of not obtaining the due compensation is lower. Of course, our truck accident lawyers do not hesitate to go to court when necessary. We always warn clients that sharing fault for the accident could cost them their compensation.
4. Shared Liability – Getting a Trucking Attorney's Help with Your Claim
As mentioned, the parties sharing fault for a truck accident may lose their right to compensation. This happens if their fault percentage exceeds 50%. South Carolina laws allow the possibility for both parties to be at fault. However, they sanction those more than 50% at fault.
As an accident victim, you should expect the defendant to your claim to try to blame you. To defend yourself, you should consider working with a tractor-trailer accident lawyer. The latter will both defend you and accuse the other party.
Every percentage they manage to attribute to the other party is a percentage more on your compensation. For example, if you are 30% at fault for your accident, you should recover 70% of your losses. However, your tractor trailer attorney may be able to prove that you were only 20% at fault. If that is the case, should get back up to 80% of your losses.
Besides helping you prove your innocence, a tractor-trailer attorney will take over the claim process. They will handle the paperwork and deal with the other parties involved. To help you appreciate their assistance, we will review the process and the timeline below.
Compensation Claim Timing or When to Call a Truck Accident Lawyer in Laurens, SC
South Carolina laws set out strict limits for accident claims. They only give claimants three years. The clock starts ticking on the day of the accident. You should not give up your compensation claim without consulting a tractor-trailer accident attorney.
They may be able to invoke the discovery rule. It means showing that the effects of the accident only appeared later. This way, the countdown would start at the discovery, not at the date of the accident.
At the Law Office of Brian T. Smith, we advise our clients to get in touch with their truck accident lawyer early. A great time to do it would be at the very scene of the accident. This way, we can help them every step of the way. Why is timing so important?
Accident claims rely on evidence of how the accident occurred and what losses you incurred. Much of this evidence is available at the scene of the accident. If you don’t collect it on time, it will get lost or destroyed.
Witnesses are easier to identify at the scene as well. If you fail to get their contact information, chances are you’ll never find them again. A tractor-trailer accident lawyer will not let that happen. They will guide you on what evidence and information to collect. They will also gather data themselves.
They will not rush the claim process, but rather help you prepare for it. You can then file the claim when you are both ready and you have enough evidence. Here is what you should expect from the claim process.
Steps to Follow for a Compensation Claim and How a Truck Injury Lawyer in Laurens May Help
Here are the steps every claimant should follow:
1. Analyze the case and identify the party at fault. This means assessing how the accident occurred and who caused it. The party at fault or their insurer will be the defendant to the claim. In some cases, the claimant can seek compensation from their own insurer. A truck accident lawyer can help you determine with whom to file the claim.
2. File the Notice of Claim. This is a letter announcing your decision to seek compensation and briefly describing your motives. It helps to prepare it with an experienced tractor trailer accident lawyer. The latter will know how to make it convincing yet easy to process.
3. Substantiate the claim. As mentioned above, your claim should rely on evidence. You should organize all the evidence thoroughly, to make it easy to understand and follow. An experienced tractor trailer accident attorney can help with that. They will manage to show beyond reasonable doubt how the accident occurred. They will also prove the value of the losses you incurred.
4. Negotiate a settlement. If your claim follows procedures and relies on solid evidence, you should receive an offer to settle. Your lawyer can help you assess if the offer is worth accepting and negotiate a better settlement. If you are not satisfied with the offer, you can file an appeal.
5. Get the Compensation You Deserve. Either through the settlement offer or as a result of your appeal, you should get your money. When you do, you will most likely have to pay your tractor trailer accident lawyer. At the Law Office of Brian T. Smith, we work on a contingency basis. This means we only get paid at the end of the claim process if we win. We charge a percentage of the compensation we win for our clients. This keeps us motivated to strive for more.
As you can see, your claim basically lies in the hands of your tractor trailer accident lawyer. To increase your chances of winning and expedite the process, you should call them now.
Call a Brian T. Smith Laurens Truck Injury Attorney in Laurens, SC, Now!
Do you want a knowledgeable and dedicated 18 wheeler accident attorney on your case? We are here for you. Call our office at 864-239-2007 or contact us online and schedule a free review of your case. You will receive all the answers and advice you need! Speak to a Semi truck accident attorney today for a FREE case evaluation.
I had a personal matter that needed a personal touch. I was told to get in touch with Brian Smith. He and his team of experts took my case and gave me a fantastic result in my case. I could NOT be more happier. If I have any more problems in my life I know that Brian Smith will protect my rights. Whether it be personal like mine was or professional I know that he takes care of his clients. Thanks Mr. Smith!