Rapid City Truck Accident Attorney
Truck Accidents in South Dakota
Thousands of semi-trucks, big rigs, and tractor-trailers travel through South Dakota, carrying a variety of goods and products. While most truck drivers are highly trained, experienced professionals, they are not immune from making mistakes. According to the South Dakota Department of Public Safety (DPS), there were 476 semi-truck accidents in the state in 2021 alone. This led to 120 drivers being injured, and 0.6% of all truck accidents in the state resulted in driver fatality.
If you were injured or if your loved one was killed in an accident with a semi-truck or another large commercial vehicle, you already know how devastating these accidents are. What you may not realize, however, is that you could be entitled to financial compensation for your damages, including your medical expenses, lost income and earning ability, pain and suffering, lost quality of life, and more.
Reach out to Beardsley, Jensen & Lee today at (605) 777-7466 to speak to one of our Rapid City truck accident lawyers about your potential case during a free initial consultation.
How Do Large Truck Accidents Happen?
Just like regular car accidents, most truck accidents are caused by negligence.
According to DPS, the leading factors involved in truck accidents in South Dakota in 2021 were:
- Failed to yield to vehicle
- Wild animal hit
- Failure to keep in proper lane
- Driving too fast for conditions
- Improper backing
- Followed too closely
- Disregarded traffic signs or signals
- Improper turn
- Running off road
- Improper passing
- Drinking and driving
- Exceeded posted speed limit
- Wrong side or wrong way
- Fatigued/fell asleep
While most truck accidents result from the truck driver’s error, negligence, or wrongful conduct, some occur due to improperly loaded cargo, vehicle defects, and other outside factors. In any case, the truck driver may not be the only—or even the primary—liable party, making these cases far more complex than standard auto accident claims.
Liability in Your Truck Accident Case
Because South Dakota is an at-fault state, you must prove that another person or party was at fault for the accident that caused your injuries in order to bring a personal injury claim for damages. Typically, in standard car accident claims, this means proving that another driver was to blame and, therefore, is liable for your losses. However, in truck accident cases, the at-fault party may not be the liable party.
Truck drivers are typically “on the clock” when these accidents happen. As a result, their employers—the trucking companies—are often liable. Under respondeat superior laws, employers are generally liable for the conduct of their employees while those employees are carrying out job-related duties. However, there are some exceptions. The trucking company could dispute liability by arguing that the truck driver was violating company policy or was not an employee but an independent contractor.
Additionally, the trucking company may argue that they are not liable because their driver did not cause the accident. And, in fact, a third party could be to blame. This may be the case if the accident resulted from a defective vehicle or poor truck maintenance. It could also be the case if another motorist acted negligently, or if defective roadway construction or design contributed to or caused the crash.
It is critical that you work with an experienced attorney who can help you uncover the liable person or party and bring a claim against them and their insurance provider. At Beardsley, Jensen & Lee, our Rapid City truck accident lawyers pool their resources, experience, and skill to build powerful cases for our clients. We work together as a team and employ an aggressive, strategic approach when it comes to negotiating favorable settlements for our clients. When insurance companies are unwilling to settle, we are fully prepared to fight for our clients in the courtroom.
South Dakota's Truck Accident Statute of Limitations
Truck accident victims have a finite amount of time to seek legal action against the party responsible for their injuries. In South Dakota, you typically have three years from the date of your crash to file a claim in civil court. This is commonly known as a "statute of limitations." If you attempt to file a claim after this window has expired, the court will almost certainly refuse to hear your claim and you will be unable to recover compensation for your injuries.
It is critical you understand how the statute of limitations applies to your situation. Even if you are confident that your case will be resolved through a pending insurance claim, you will want to give yourself as much time as possible to file a lawsuit if necessary. For this reason, we urge you to get in touch with our attorneys as soon as possible.
Should You Hire a Truck Accident Attorney?
South Dakota law does not require you to hire a lawyer for your personal injury or wrongful death claim. However, there are many reasons to do so.
When you work with Beardsley, Jensen & Lee, you will get:
- An entire team of legal professionals working together on your case
- Over a century of combined experience and knowledge
- A free initial consultation and contingent fees
- Compassionate, personal attention and aggressive advocacy
We are recognized as leaders in the personal injury field, having helped numerous clients secure fair settlements and verdicts in complex cases since 1997. We genuinely care about you and our community as a whole, which is why we strive to achieve outcomes and impart changes that will make our community a better, safer, and stronger place.