Any type of motor vehicle accident can result in serious injuries, but trucking accidents are some of the deadliest. Tractor-trailers are massive vehicles that can weigh more than 80,000 pounds when they are fully loaded. And when a vehicle of this size collides into a regular passenger vehicle, those inside the passenger vehicle are the ones who usually suffer the most.
Statistics published by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) show the extent of the mismatch between large commercial trucks and other types of vehicles. Each year, there are thousands of fatalities that result from large truck crashes. And of those who are killed, 68% are occupants of cars and other passenger vehicles, while 17% are occupants of big rig trucks. Another 14% are motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians.
For those who are injured in a truck accident, proving the claim can be challenging. These cases tend to be far more complex than standard auto accidents, and there are several potential contributing factors. To further complicate matters, the trucking industry is governed by numerous laws and regulations, and an in-depth familiarity with these rules is required in order to successfully prove a trucking accident claim.
Who is At Fault for a Truck Accident?
One of the factors that makes trucking accidents more complicated is the number of parties that may have been involved. In addition to the truck driver and other motorists, there are several other parties that could share fault in the accident. These include:
- The trucking company that employs the driver;
- The owner or lessor of the truck;
- The cargo or shipping company that was responsible for loading the truck;
- The party that was responsible for maintenance on the truck;
- The party that was responsible for maintaining the roads;
- The designer, manufacturer, supplier, or distributor of a faulty vehicle or vehicle part that might have contributed to the accident.
A thorough investigation will be required to get to determine the root cause of the accident and which parties were to blame. This investigation should be performed as soon as possible after the accident, because witnesses tend to forget important details over time, and critical evidence has a tendency to disappear as well.
What Evidence is Necessary to Win my Truck Accident Case?
Once you have identified how the accident happened and the parties that were at fault, you need to collect sufficient evidence to prove the essential elements of a personal injury claim. These are:
- The defendant (or defendants) owed you a duty of care;
- The duty of care owed was breached by the negligent actions (or omissions) of the defendant/s;
- The negligence or breach of duty of care (on the part of the defendant/s) was the direct cause of your injuries;
- Your injuries resulted in actual losses (economic or noneconomic losses or both).
Some of the most important pieces of evidence that may be needed to prove a trucking accident claim include:
- The Vehicles: The condition of the vehicles after the accident will help show how the crash occurred and what may have caused it.
- The Police Report: If the truck accident resulted in injuries, the police should have been called to the scene. If so, there will be an official police report on file that will have been compiled by examining the scene, interviewing witnesses, and obtaining all of the facts.
- Your Medical Report: If you were injured in the crash, you should have received medical attention right away. If so, there should be a report on file with your doctor or hospital. Your medical report will help confirm the extent of your injuries and link those injuries to the accident.
- Truck Driver Data: Information and monitoring data on the truck driver will be very important to your case. Drivers are only allowed to be on the road for a certain number of hours before they are required to take a break. These are known as Hours of Service regulations. Any violations of government regulations on the part of the driver could constitute negligence.
- Cargo Logs: There should be data available showing how much cargo was inside the truck at the time of the accident. Sometimes, commercial trucks are overloaded or unevenly loaded, making them more susceptible to a crash when they encounter adverse road conditions.
- Truck Maintenance Data: Semi-trucks log thousands of miles over-the-road each month. For this reason, regular maintenance is required to help ensure that they stay safe. Maintenance and inspection reports could show that negligent maintenance contributed to the crash.
- Other Important Information: Any other pieces of evidence that might connect any of the responsible parties to the accident must be preserved to help substantiate your claim.
Injured in Truck Accident in South Carolina? Contact a Seasoned Attorney
If you or a loved one suffered injury in a trucking accident that was someone else’s fault, you need strong legal counsel by your side working hard to prove your claim. If the accident happened in South Carolina, call Peake & Fowler today at 803-788-4370 or message us online to schedule a free consultation and case assessment. We are ready to go to work for you and to fight for every dollar of compensation you deserve.