The differences in size and weight between a commercial semi-truck and a passenger car make an accident involving the two very dangerous for the occupants of the smaller vehicle, who are apt to suffer catastrophic injuries or death.
Unfortunately, fatal truck accidents happen far too often on South Dakota roads. They can occur for a number of reasons:
- Insufficient training and/or supervision
- Poor truck maintenance
- Faulty equipment
- Drowsy or distracted drivers
- Improper cargo loading
- Driving error
- Failure to check blind spots
- Hazardous weather or road conditions
Filing a Wrongful Death Claim
After a fatal truck crash, the victim’s family is not only bereaved but often likely to suffer practical and financial hardship. If the accident was caused by a trucker’s negligence, only the personal representative of the deceased victim’s estate may file a wrongful death claim against the at-fault driver and other defendants for:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Medical bills
- The victim’s pain and suffering
- The family’s loss of companionship
- Wages/benefits the victim would have earned if alive
The personal representative will distribute the financial award from the wrongful death claim among the deceased victim’s surviving spouse and children. If the victim had neither, the surviving parents or closest relatives of the victim receive the compensation.
Statute of Limitations
The personal representative’s first step is to file a wrongful death claim against the insurance company of the at-fault driver and negotiate a fair settlement. If the company disputes the claim or refuses to offer a fair award, the representative may file one or more lawsuits to obtain reasonable compensation for survivors. The statute of limitations sets the deadline for filing such lawsuits at three years from the date of the victim’s death.
Because the process of negotiating with the insurance company might be lengthy, it’s important to start seeking compensation right away and move the claim along as efficiently as possible, leaving time to file a suit by the deadline if necessary. This is best accomplished with the services of a truck accident wrongful death attorney, who can:
- Gather and present strong evidence of the defendant’s liability
- Identify multiple defendants
- File claims against/negotiate with multiple insurance companies
- File multiple lawsuits and fight for you in court if necessary
- Meet all deadlines and procedural requirements of the court
Have You Lost a Loved One in a South Dakota Truck Crash?
An experienced truck accident wrongful death lawyer can help prove the defendant’s liability and meet all court deadlines to collect fair compensation. Contact us online or call us at 605-644-5003 to schedule a free consultation. You pay no attorney fees until we win your case.