If your passenger vehicle is hit by a negligent commercial truck driver in South Dakota, the injuries you stand to suffer are much more severe than those you might sustain in a car accident, but that isn’t the only difference between the two types of collisions. While a car accident victim files a claim against the other driver and one insurance company, your truck accident might have been caused by the negligence of a number of parties. Responsibility for your medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering is likely to be spread among multiple defendants:
- The driver (either a company employee or an independent contractor), who might have been distracted, drowsy, using a phone, speeding, or under the influence.
- The truck owner, who might be leasing the truck to the company or the driver.
- The trucking company, which is subject to many state and federal regulations and is held to a high safety standard.
- A truck rental company, like U-Haul, which must keep its trucks in a safe condition.
- Cargo loading personnel, whose negligence could cause a shift in cargo leading to a jackknife or rollover.
- The truck manufacturer if there is a defect in brakes, steering, or other systems.
- A parts manufacturer if faulty parts have been recently installed.
- A third-party truck maintenance service, which might have been negligent in repairing the truck.
You may have to file claims against more than one of these defendants and deal with all their respective insurance carriers. It’s very important that you know whom to file a claim against. If you bring a claim against the wrong party, it will be dismissed, and you could lose the opportunity to get the compensation you deserve.
The sooner you identify the liable parties and take action against them, the more likely your claim is to be successful, so you don’t want to wait until you’ve recovered to file. Important evidence could be lost or destroyed during the delay. When you’re under medical care and recovering from your injuries, you definitely require the services of a truck accident attorney to identify the right parties and start the process of investigation and negotiation promptly.
An 18-Wheeler Is Not the Only Kind of Truck That Causes Accidents
The differences in liability listed above apply not only to accidents caused by semi-trucks. Responsibility for your damages might be shared by more than one defendant if you were in an accident with a:
- Box truck or delivery van used for any commercial service. With more people shopping online daily, the number of delivery vehicles on the road has multiplied exponentially, and the number of accidents they cause has increased, as well. Companies like Amazon, FedEx, and UPS are held to higher standards of safety than private drivers are. Violation of those standards is negligence that can cause an accident.
- Moving truck or van. Whether it’s owned by a moving company or rented to an individual, it is company-owned, and the liability extends to the owner.
- Passenger van or bus. This kind of vehicle could range from a shuttle bus transporting a dozen people to a school bus with 50-75 students. If any of those passengers are walking around in transit, they might distract the driver, and their shifting weight could affect the handling of the vehicle.
- Garbage truck. They are big, heavy, tall, and wide, so the driver’s vision might be obscured when the truck backs up. In residential neighborhoods with many cars on the street and entering or exiting driveways, accidents can happen.
- Tanker truck. These trucks often carry gasoline or hazardous materials. An accident could result in a spill or fire and cause serious burn injuries, as well as other damage.
- Cement mixer. They combine the awkward size and shape of a garbage truck with a shifting load of moving cement, making it hard for the driver to see and affecting the handling of the vehicle.
- Piece of heavy equipment like a dump truck, bulldozer, or backhoe. These are huge vehicles often used in road construction with moving traffic very close by. A collision with one of them could be disastrous for a passenger car.
If you’ve been injured in an accident with any of the vehicles listed above, you’re going to face the complexities of a truck accident claim. The type of vehicle affects the investigation of your accident, the defendants to name, the damages you can claim, and the amount of your award. Only a truck accident lawyer can be sure you go after the right parties for the right amounts.
Have You Been Injured in a Truck Accident in South Dakota?
The first step toward getting your just compensation from the liable parties is to consult an experienced truck accident lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call us at 605-644-5003 to schedule a free consultation. We take cases on a contingency fee basis, so you pay no attorney fees until we win your case.