Rock Hill Truck Accident Lawyer
For more than 20 years, the dedicated attorneys of Schiller & Hamilton have been helping people who have been hurt or lost loved ones in tragic truck crashes. Our respected legal team works tirelessly to pursue the full and fair compensation that accident victims need to recover and move forward with their lives.
Large vehicle cases can be complicated by multiple factors, not the least of which is the trucking company (or motor carrier), which often owns the truck, employs the driver, and has a large investment to protect from an insurance claim. Trucking firms move fast to protect their bottom lines after accidents. But our qualified accident attorneys will work aggressively to demand justice for you.
If you or a family member has been seriously hurt in a collision with a tractor-trailer or some other kind of commercial truck, you can expect to hear from the motor carrier’s insurance company and/or lawyers very quickly. They may offer you a fast settlement to try to get you to sign away your rights before you have a clear idea of how your injuries will affect you. Protect your legal rights by contacting a skilled Rock Hill truck accident lawyer today.
Determining Fault Following a Tractor-Trailer Accident
If you were in a car accident with a tractor-trailer or 18-wheeler, depending on how and why the truck accident that injured you occurred, you may be able to pursue claims against one or more parties, which could mean multiple sources of compensation for you.
Our semi-truck accident lawyers will launch a thorough investigation to determine who should be held liable for the damages you have suffered. We may end up seeking compensation from the:
- Driver—In many truck accidents, the driver was negligent in one way or another, and caused or at least contributed to the crash. For example, truckers are often required to meet delivery deadlines. This can lead to speeding, aggressive driving (tailgating, frequent lane changes, etc.), or driving beyond federally mandated Hours of Service (HOS) time limits. Each of these, especially fatigued or drowsy driving in violation of HOS rules, are common causes of truck accidents.
- Motor carrier—The company that owns the truck and/or employs the trucker can be held liable for the safety of its vehicles and actions of its employees, especially drivers but also employees who maintain or load trucks. A motor carrier may also be held liable for company negligence that contributed to an accident, such as having hired an unqualified or unlicensed driver, failing to test a driver for drug use as required by law, pushing a driver to stay on the road in violation of HOS regulations, or cutting corners on truck maintenance to save money.
- Motor carrier service vendors—Some companies outsource work like truck maintenance and repair or packing and loading cargo. If work performed by — or neglected by — service vendors contributes to an accident, that third-party company may be held liable. For example, the negligence of a firm that packs and loads cargo may be responsible for a cargo shift or cargo spill that causes a driver to lose control of the rig and crash.
- Truck and parts manufacturers—If the truck itself or a defective part — brakes, tires, couplings, lighting, engine components, etc. — failed because of how it was designed or made, and this failure contributed to an accident, a product liability claim may be possible.
- Governmental agency responsible for the roadway—If it can be shown that a defective road design or lack of maintenance contributed to a truck accident, the governmental agency responsible for that stretch of road may be held liable. This would include a case in which the setup of a highway work zone contributed to a truck accident, such as by not providing enough warning and/or room for a truck to slow from highway speed before entering the work area. The contractor responsible for a faulty work zone or dangerous roadway might be held responsible for its role in a wreck, too.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates interstate commercial trucking and administers rules for every aspect of a truck driver’s and motor carrier’s duties, as well as their vehicles and cargo. The FMCSA also requires motor carriers to document just about every aspect of their operations, which we can obtain as a part of our accident investigation.
Commercial trucks also contain “black box” event data recorders (EDRs), which record a wealth of information when a wreck occurs. If we are retained before they are destroyed or “lost,” we can obtain FMCSA records and EDR evidence through a court order to support our investigation and legal claims.
In some truck wreck cases, our local lawyers may also enlist the aid of accident reconstruction specialists, whose forensic work can pinpoint and explain what caused a complicated crash.
What Types of Damages are Available to Accident Victims in Rock Hill?
Once we determine which party(s) should be held liable for your tractor-trailer wreck, we will identify and analyze insurance coverage that should provide compensation to you. Our truck crash lawyers in Rock Hill will also want to thoroughly evaluate your injuries and other losses to make the argument for maximum compensation. This may include payment for medical expenses, lost income, property damage, pain and suffering, punitive damages.
Even if your health insurance covers many of your medical bills related to the accident, we will pursue the full amount billed by health care providers for treatment. This will include costs since your accident and projected costs for any anticipated care needs.
If you can no longer work or are forced to take a lower-paying job because of your injuries, we will include payment for a reduction in your future earnings in our demands.
We will demand payment of costs to repair or replace your vehicle, as well as for any other personal property damaged in the crash. Payment we seek will also account for your vehicle’s diminished value as a result of having been wrecked.
Pain and Suffering
You deserve consideration for the physical, emotional, and psychological pain and suffering caused by the crash. Our team will work with you to document how detrimental your injuries have been to you and your lifestyle, and seek appropriate compensation.
If circumstances warrant, we will seek compensation awarded as punishment when an at-fault party has acted with intentional or extreme misbehavior. For example, punitive damages may be available if a motor carrier knowingly put an unqualified driver with a history of recklessness behind the wheel of a transfer truck.
In addition to truck accident claims, our compassionate attorneys help families who have lost loved ones file wrongful death lawsuits in pursuit of the compensation they need to heal and get back on solid ground financially. These claims may recover compensation for funeral and burial expenses in addition to damages listed above.
What are Some Unique Aspects of a Truck Crash Claim?
Accident claims involving a tractor-trailer, semi, large dump truck, or another “big rig” are very different from car crashes. For example:
- Passenger car occupants are much more likely than the truck driver to have been hurt or to suffer catastrophic injuries. This is due to the overwhelming size and weight advantage a truck has in a collision.
- Interstate trucking is governed by numerous federal, state, and local laws and regulations, which a negligent driver, owner, or other worker can be held accountable for if violating them contributed to a wreck.
- There are often multiple parties who were responsible for putting the truck and truck driver on the road, and who may have had a role in the accident.
It is crucial that you seek legal advice from an attorney who has experience handling complex truck accident cases. At Schiller & Hamilton, our knowledgeable team has a proven track record of success in these challenging types of claims.
Call a Rock Hill Truck Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in an accident involving a commercial truck, you need to talk to a skilled attorney as soon as possible. Our experienced Rock Hill truck accident lawyers can meet with you and explain your legal options for free. And we don’t charge anything unless we recover money for you.