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Charleston Truck Accident Attorney

In collisions with large commercial trucks, occupants of passenger vehicles almost always suffer serious injuries. If you or a loved one have been injured in a Charleston truck accident, you need an attorney working for you as soon as possible. Trucking companies and their insurers have deep pockets and will begin an investigation into the accident almost immediately, building a case against you.

At Mickelsen Dalton, our truck accident attorneys can help preserve evidence, protect your rights and best interests, and fight to recover the compensation you need to move forward. We offer a free and confidential case evaluation, call today to speak with an attorney.

What Kind of Damages Are Available to Truck Accident Victims?

Types of Compensation You Can Recover

Damages from a truck accident are often more life-altering than any car accident. The time spent recovering from your injuries and time away from work can quickly add up. Damages that you may be entitled to include:

  • Medical treatment
  • Lost wages
  • Property damage
  • Emotional stress
  • Loss of companionship
  • Disability
  • Disfigurement
  • Inconvenience

No two truck accidents are the same. Without reviewing the evidence, there is no way to know what your case may be worth. Mickelsen Dalton is a skilled truck accident law firm serving the Charleston, SC area. We fight for every penny you deserve and won’t stop until you are fully compensated.

Mickelsen Dalton: Fighting for Compensation for Your Truck Accident Injuries

Injuries from truck accidents are often more catastrophic than your average auto accident. You or your loved one may face months or years of medical care and rehabilitation. Our attorneys are skilled at fighting to ensure you get the compensation you deserve, including temporary or permanent disability.

What Causes Most Truck Accidents in Charleston?

Just like car accidents, no two truck accidents are the same. However, some of the most common causes include:

Driver Error and Negligence

One of the leading causes of truck accidents is driver negligence or error. This includes distracted driving, speeding, drowsy driving, reckless driving, or other careless behavior on the part of a truck driver. It’s normal for drivers to make mistakes from time to time, but reckless or careless behavior behind the wheel can put other motorists at risk. 

Mechanical Failure

Another major factor contributing to truck accidents is mechanical failure. The sheer size and weight of commercial trucks means they require more frequent maintenance than passenger vehicles do, but unfortunately, not all companies prioritize regular maintenance on their fleets as they should. 

Mechanical failures that could have been caught during regular maintenance, such as faulty brakes or tires, can lead to catastrophic accidents when an 18-wheeler loses control on the highway.  

Poorly Loaded Cargo

Cargo that is improperly loaded onto a semi-truck can lead to serious consequences as well. If cargo is not properly secured before leaving the loading dock, it can shift during transit and cause an imbalance in the weight distribution, which increases its chances for overturning during transit. 

Driving Under The Influence

Intoxication while driving is one of the leading causes of all vehicle accidents nationwide, including those involving trucks. Drivers are legally obligated to abstain from alcohol and drugs before getting behind the wheel to ensure their safety and that of other drivers on the road. 

Defective Parts

Another common cause of truck accidents is faulty or defective equipment on the vehicle itself. In some cases, a manufacturer may have produced parts with defects that cause malfunctions during operation. 

Common Trucking Accident Injuries

Being involved in a truck accident can be a traumatic experience and can result in serious injuries. While some people are lucky enough to walk away with only minor scrapes and bruises, many sustain life-altering injuries that require extensive medical treatment and rehabilitation. The most common truck accident injuries include the following: 

Head Trauma

The impact of a collision between a truck and another vehicle is often significant enough to cause severe head trauma. This can range from minor concussions to life-threatening traumatic brain injuries (TBI). 

Head trauma is often seen as one of the most devastating truck accident injuries because it can have long-term effects on cognitive function, memory, sight, hearing, speech, mobility, and balance. Furthermore, victims may also suffer from depression or anxiety due to their injury. 

Broken Bones

Broken bones are another common injury sustained in truck accidents due to the sheer force of the collision between two vehicles that are moving at high speeds and the size of the truck. Broken bones typically involve fractures or dislocations of the arms or legs but can also affect the ribs or other parts of the body. 

Spinal Cord Damage

Injuries to the spine are among the most serious types of truck accident injuries because they can lead to permanent paralysis if not treated properly. Victims may suffer from complete paralysis below the site of injury or partial paralysis due to damage done to spinal cord. 

Psychological Trauma

Psychological trauma is another common injury sustained in truck accidents due to both physical and emotional distress caused by being involved in such a serious event. Victims may experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, or anxiety due to their traumatic experience. This can have lasting effects on their mental health even after all other physical ailments have healed. 

What Is Negligence?

Negligence has four components:

  1. Duty: (the other party owed you a duty of care)
  2. Breach: the other party breached that duty
  3. Causation: that breach caused you harm
  4. Damages: you were injured as a result

Unfortunately, proving negligence falls on the victim. Mickelsen Dalton can help. We can help you find the evidence you may not otherwise have access to, such as traffic or security cameras, driver logs, maintenance records, vehicle black box data, and more. We take the burden of proof off your shoulders, allowing you to focus on healing.

What if You’re Partially at Fault For The Accident?

Under South Carolina law, any person who is found to be more than 50% at fault for their own accident may not recover any compensation from another party. This means that even if you have compelling evidence that another person was in large part responsible for your accident, you may still end being unable to recover compensation. This is known as modified comparative negligence

Conversely, if you are found to be 50% or less at fault for you injury, you can still recover damages from the other parties involved, but your damages will be reduced by the percentage of your liability. 

For example, if it is determined that you were 20% responsible for the accident and awarded $10,000 in damages, you would only be able to recover $8,000 (the remaining 80%).

Who Can Be Found Liable for a Truck Accident?

If you’ve been in an accident involving a truck, you may be wondering who can be held liable and how to go about filing a lawsuit. Here are some possible parties that could be legally responsible for the accident: 

The Truck Driver

The most obvious suspect is usually the truck driver. To determine liability, it must first be proven that the driver was negligent in some way, meaning they failed to exercise reasonable care while operating their vehicle.

This can include distraction due to cell phone use or other forms of negligence such as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, speeding, failing to follow traffic laws, or fatigue due to lack of rest. Evidence such as police reports, eyewitness statements, cell phone records, and toxicology tests can all help prove driver negligence. 

Another Vehicle Driver

In some cases, another motorist may have contributed to the accident through their own negligence. Factors like reckless driving or failure to obey traffic laws can also play a role in some collisions with trucks. As with proving truck driver negligence, police reports and witness testimony are often used as evidence in these types of cases. 

The Trucking Company

It is also possible that the company behind the truck or its drivers could bear responsibility for an accident if it is proven that insufficient background checks were conducted prior to hiring a driver or if maintenance records show that regular maintenance procedures were not followed on time or correctly performed. 

Documents like employment records and maintenance logs will need to be examined by experienced attorneys to make this determination.  

The Company Responsible For Loading the Truck

If it is determined that cargo was not securely fastened or overstuffed onto a truck, this could lead to an instability issue which could cause an accident. Companies should follow all safety guidelines when loading trucks so that accidents like this do not occur.  

Truck Manufacturer

The manufacturer of a truck can also be held liable in some cases. This is most likely to happen if there were defects with the design or manufacture of the vehicle which contributed to an accident. 

What Should I Do After Getting into a Wreck in Charleston?

If you or a loved one are involved in an accident with a commercial truck, it is likely that the damage to your vehicle and the injuries incurred are severe. Receiving immediate emergency medical treatment is the most important thing to do. Once you or your loved one are receiving treatment, speak to an attorney as soon as possible to protect your best interests.

Do Most Truck Accident Cases Settle Out of Court?

While some cases do go to trial, the majority of truck accident cases settle out of court. There are many advantages to settling a case out of court, and it’s important to understand why so many cases are resolved this way.

The Legal Process Can Be Lengthy and Costly

When a truck accident case is taken to court, it can take several months or years to reach a verdict. During this time, there are costs associated with having an attorney and any experts who may need to be consulted throughout the process. 

This could include expert witnesses who can help build your case for damages, which requires payment. 

Insurance Companies Prefer Settlements Over Going To Court

Insurance companies typically prefer settlements over taking a case to trial because they know how costly it will be if they lose in court. They also do not want their insurance policies brought into question by having their claims practices scrutinized in open court proceedings. 

Victims Can Often Negotiate A Fair Settlement

While insurance companies usually offer settlements before heading to court, that doesn’t mean you have to accept them without negotiation. You should always talk with an experienced personal injury lawyer about your situation before agreeing to any settlements. They can ensure you receive fair compensation for your losses from the insurance company involved in your case. 

Charleston Truck Accident Attorneys

How Does a Lawyer Help and How Much Do They Cost?

Most truck accident attorneys operate on a contingency fee basis. Under this payment structure, an attorney agrees to represent you and receive payment only if they win or settle your case. This means that if no money is received, then the attorney does not get paid for their services. 

The amount that the attorney receives is usually between 33-40%, depending on the terms of your agreement with them. 

It’s important to note that this percentage does not include any out-of-pocket costs associated with pursuing your case, such as filing fees, expert witness fees, etc. Those costs are usually in addition to the contingency fee and will be charged separately.

While this may sound like a lot, it’s usually worth it. Your attorney should be able to help you navigate all aspects of your case from filing insurance claims to representing you in court if necessary. 

They will also collect evidence and build your case with the goal of getting maximum compensation for injuries or damages sustained during the accident. Furthermore, they will handle all negotiations with insurance companies so that you don’t have to worry about dealing with them directly during this difficult time.  

Your Trusted Charleston Truck Accident Lawyers Are Standing By

At Mickelsen Dalton, our Charleston personal injury attorneys are trial lawyers. It is our mission to fight for you. We have witnessed time and again the powerful taking advantage of the powerless. We have made a promise to protect our clients. When we take on your case, we will look at every bit of evidence presented, leaving no corner unchecked and no stone unturned. We will fight for you, ensuring you get the compensation you are owed!

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