Depending on the findings of their investigation, your lawyers will advise you whether you should settle with the insurance company or file a lawsuit.
In 2020, South Carolina was ranked 6th across all 50 states for the most traffic accidents involving trucks and, unfortunately, these are the most dangerous of all crashes. If you’re reading this, chances are you or a loved one were recently involved in a truck accident and don’t know what to do. The answer is simple, don’t waste any time and contact the best South Carolina truck accident lawyers you can find. And another thing, if the trucking company reaches out to you asking for a statement, don’t tell them anything. They’re probably trying to cover up any fault on their part and they will use anything you say to minimize your claim. Let them know you’ll have your Columbia truck accident lawyers or other attorneys in your area contact them. And they will because there are a lot of things experienced lawyers want to find out when dealing with a truck accident.
First thing they’ll do is send out spoliation letters to all the parties involved requesting them to preserve all evidence pertaining to your case. One of the most important pieces of evidence is the driver’s log, which is actually an electronic device recording a commercial driver’s activity. Electronic Logging Devices (ELD) have been mandatory on commercial vehicles since 2017 and, luckily, they are hard to tamper with. Your lawyers will review the data on the truck’s ELD to make sure the driver’s activity meets the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s regulations. If it turns out that the truck driver did not get the recommended amount of sleep and breaks, you might have a case of driver fatigue, one of the most common causes of truck accidents. It might be the driver’s fault, but in many cases it’s the trucking company that’s forcing them to ignore safety regulations to deliver their cargo on time.
Your lawyers will also check out the truck driver’s criminal record to see if they have any priors for DUI or other traffic laws violation. And they will review the training the driver had. If it is determined that the driver was undertrained, the trucking company can be accused of negligence.
Seasoned truck accident lawyers also review technical reports on the state of the semi or whatever truck hit you, to make sure the accident was not caused by a mechanical problem. If there are any doubts about that they might call in independent experts to have a look at the vehicle. This is essential because, if there’s a mechanical issue, it’s the trucking company that should be held accountable, not the driver.
Depending on the findings of their investigation, your lawyers will advise you whether you should settle with the insurance company or file a lawsuit. If you have a strong case against the company, suing them is preferable as you can get a better settlement. If you settle with the insurance company, you’ll only get economic and non-economic damages, but if you sue you can also receive punitive damages. If your lawyers can prove the defendant’s wrongful action was motivated by greed and they knowingly engaged in a dangerous conduit, you can get punitive damages of up to $2,000,000.