If you are injured because of another driver’s negligence, you are entitled to collect damages – regardless of what kind of vehicle either of you was driving.
All drivers have a duty to act with the level of care that a reasonable person in a similar situation would exercise – whether they are driving a Prius, a motorcycle, or an 18-wheeler.
But, if you decide to file a personal injury lawsuit, the kind of accident you were in – and what kinds of vehicles were involved – will play a role in determining how your SC auto accident attorney goes about collecting evidence and building your case.
Let’s take a look at some of the types of auto accident cases the attorneys at Axelrod and Associates handle for their clients in Myrtle Beach, SC.
Every car accident is different, and it’s important to start collecting evidence as soon as you can. You can start gathering the information you need immediately at the scene of the accident if you are physically able, and if you don’t interfere with emergency or law enforcement personnel.
What to Do After a Car Accident
Here are a few things you can do right after the accident:
- Learn everything you can about each driver who was involved. Write down their names, addresses, license plate numbers, and insurance information. Find out if anyone was driving as part of their job, and if so, find out who they work for.
- Talk to any witnesses who are still at the scene and take notes. Ask them for their contact information and find out if they took any photos or video of the crash or the scene of the accident.
- Take your own photos of everything at the scene – all vehicles that were involved, skid marks, any road conditions that may have been a factor in the accident, and any other property that was damaged. Also, take photos of any injuries you suffered.
- Communicate with the responding officers to make sure their report – which will be a key piece of evidence – is complete and accurate.
Allowing emergency personnel to examine you is another way you can help gather evidence at the scene. If for some reason you don’t do this, you should visit an emergency room or your regular doctor as soon as possible.
Delayed Onset Injuries
The kinds of injuries caused by car accidents are not always immediately obvious, and the adrenaline rush that follows a crash often masks pain that you will feel later.
If you decide to file a personal injury lawsuit, you will need all your injuries documented, and the insurance company will use any delay in getting treatment to argue that your injuries are not real, not serious, or not their problem.
The first thing you need to do is contact your SC car crash attorney. Remember, don’t talk to anyone from the insurance company – let us handle them for you.
Commercial Truck Wrecks
In 2016, large trucks or buses were involved in 4,440 fatal accidents and 119,000 crashes that caused injuries. Driver errors were a factor in many of these accidents, especially speeding and driving while fatigued.
When it comes to trucking accidents, we often recruit some of the same kinds of expert witnesses who can help with car crashes. But, trucking accidents are different for several reasons.
First, commercial trucks are bigger and cause more damage and injuries; as a result, the companies that own these trucks have significantly more insurance coverage than you have on your car or SUV.
Truck drivers and trucking companies are required to follow federal regulations. We will:
- Examine the company’s hiring practices to see if they followed federal rules;
- Determine if the driver is qualified, properly trained, or has an acceptable driving record;
- Examine the truck’s “black box” – or event data recorder – to see if the driver violated the Hours of Service Regulations, which limit how long truckers can drive without taking a break or sleeping;
- Review the driver’s logs and any dashcam footage or weigh station receipts; and
- Examine the company’s maintenance policies and records.
If the driver or the company – or both – violated any federal trucking regulations, they can be held liable for the crash, and we can file a lawsuit demanding damages for your injuries.
Driver negligence is a common cause or contributing factor in any kind of auto accident. But, when it comes to motorcycle crashes, a driver’s negligence can result in catastrophic injuries.
People who are used to driving cars and trucks are also used to sharing the road with cars and trucks, and many drivers are more likely to just not see motorcycles. That’s why the non-motorcycle driver is at fault in two-thirds of all multi-vehicle crashes that involve a motorcycle.
Motorcycle crashes are also different when it comes to injuries because motorcycles offer so much less protection than other vehicles. A whopping 98 percent of motorcycle riders involved in multiple-vehicle accidents get hurt, and they are more likely to suffer serious injuries such as traumatic brain injury and damage to the spinal cord.
Like motorcycles, bicycles don’t offer riders much protection. Here are some tips to help stay safe when sharing the road with automobiles:
- Wear brightly colored or reflective clothing, especially when riding just before sunrise and just after sunset, when drivers are more likely to not see you;
- Use the bike lane, if one is available;
- Be cautious when passing other vehicles, even if they are parked on the side of the road;
- Use proper hand signals when turning; and
- Don’t ride with more passengers than the bike is designed to carry.
But, no matter how vigilant you are, an automobile driver’s negligence can leave you with catastrophic injuries.
If you get hurt in a bicycle accident, your SC personal injury attorney will help you collect evidence and build your case with the same determination we would put into any other accident case.
Your chances of getting badly hurt are significantly higher in a DUI accident. Drunk drivers may be oblivious to impending danger – they often don’t brake or make any corrective maneuvers before colliding with other vehicles.
Jurors don’t have much sympathy for drunk drivers – if the case goes to trial, a jury is a lot more likely to hold a drunk driver liable, to award higher damages, and to award punitive damages against the drunk driver.
Insurance companies know this, and they are more likely to attempt to settle your case to avoid going before an unsympathetic jury.
Punitive Damages in DUI Accidents
In addition to higher compensatory damages, which are meant to cover your costs, SC law allows DUI accident victims to seek – and juries often award – punitive damages, which are meant to punish the drunk driver.
SC law normally puts a limit of three times compensatory damages or half a million dollars on punitive damages – except in DUI cases. When the defendant was impaired, there is no cap on punitive damages.
And, it doesn’t matter if the defendant was convicted of drunk driving. While a criminal conviction requires proof “beyond a reasonable doubt,” the standard of proof needed to collect punitive damages is lower – you only need to provide “clear and convincing evidence” of their liability.
Whatever kind of auto accident led to your injuries, the Myrtle Beach personal injury attorneys at Axelrod and Associates will work hard to make sure you get full compensation.