Hundreds of thousands of semi-truck accidents happen every year in the United States. These trucks can cause a lot of damage when they hit regular vehicles, especially when drivers don’t take the right safety precautions. Here’s a closer look at semi-truck accident causes, what to do if you’ve been in an accident, and how a semi-truck accident attorney near Brookings can help you.
What causes big truck accidents?
Semi-truck drivers face situations that other drivers don’t. This is why they’re specially trained to respond to dangers on the road. Truck drivers understand that should they could have their commercial driver’s license revoked, get fired, and/or have legal action taken against them if they don’t drive responsibly.
Here are a few ways that a commercial truck driver could cause an accident on the road:
- poor training
- exhaustion or fatigue
- tailgating (or driving too closely to the car in front of them)
- not using signals to turn or merge
- texting or using the CB radio
- being under the influence of drugs or alcohol
Who is liable in your semi-truck accident case?
Liability is based on the idea that each party has certain responsibilities or duties in an event. Your semi-truck accident attorney near Brookings will help you better understand liability and why it matters to your case.
As a licensed driver of a car, truck, or SUV, you’re responsible for driving safely according to South Dakota state laws and safety priorities. And since South Dakota is an at-fault state, which means that you can recover damages if you’re not found fully liable for the accident, it’s crucial to determine liability in your case.
However, even if you share some fault, you can still recover damages. This just depends on the percentage of responsibility that falls on you for the accident. Under South Dakota’s comparative negligence laws, you can still collect some damages if you were at or before 50 percent fault.
How to get compensation
The details of your case will determine which expenses you’ll be compensated for. These expenses include (but are not limited to):
- Medical expenses (hospital visits, in-home care, ambulance fees, etc.)
- Pain and suffering (pain, anxiety, and stress that resulted from the accident)
- Lost work and wages (what you lost from being out of work due)
- Lost earning capacity (injury-related impairments that have caused a future inability to earn more money)
- Loss of companionship (loss of affection or relations within a marriage, or in the case of wrongful death, the loss of a loved one)
Who are the defendants in a semi-truck accident?
Big rigs can make liability more difficult to assess. In a semi-truck accident, multiple parties could be liable. This includes the trucker, the trucker’s employer, the trucking company, the insurance company, and/or the manufacturer or shipper of cargo. If the accident involves flammable, hazardous, or toxic material from within the truck, liability becomes more complex.
And depending on the specifics of the accident, you could be dealing with multiple insurance companies, or one for every party. But with a Brookings semi-truck accident attorney on your side, you won’t have to worry about navigating legal processes like these by yourself.
What to do after a commercial truck accident
Here are a few tips to keep in mind after you’ve been in a commercial truck accident.
- Don’t post photos or details on social media. Anything you post online can cause issues in your case. Even messaging family or friends to say that you’re fine can cause problems. When you post something online, just know that it’s there forever. It doesn’t matter if you share it or delete it. If you need to update anyone on your wellbeing, just call them.
- Document the accident. Make sure to take photos of the accident and of your surroundings. This includes damaged vehicles, skid marks, traffic lights, and damage to any surrounding items. This can help prove the other party’s negligence.
- Take notes. If possible, write down any details that could help you later. This can include weather conditions, witness names and contact information, license plate numbers, makes, and models of all cars involved.
- Don’t take blame, or admit fault. This is important. If you say that you caused the accident, you’ve already lost your case. Or at the very least, you’ve made winning it nearly impossible. Don’t say anything about fault until you talk to your attorney about what happened.
- See a doctor. Even if you don’t feel hurt, it’s a good idea to get fully checked out by a doctor after the accident. You may not even feel some injuries after the accident because of the adrenaline in your body. It’s also important to see a doctor right away, because if you wait too long after the accident to do it, you could make your case more difficult to win.
When to contact a semi-truck accident attorney near Brookings
Find a semi-truck accident lawyer right after the accident. Commercial truck collisions are not like passenger-car accidents. This is because trucking companies often have larger insurance companies and more money than you’ll be up against.
Don’t rely on your insurance company alone to help you fight this. The insurance adjuster is neither allowed qualified to give you legal advice, and they aren’t there to represent you or to have your best interest in mind. Your insurance provider wants to pay out as little as possible. Having an attorney on your side after your commercial truck accident will ensure that you get the compensation that you deserve.
For more information
If you’ve been in a semi-truck accident, don’t wait to get legal help. The attorneys at Turbak Law Office want to take the stress off of you, and they want to help you win your case.
Contact us today at (866) 348-4598 for more information, or fill out this form for a free consultation.