Someone is either seriously injured or killed every 16 minutes in a trucking accident in the United States. Because of the significant damage and injury that can ensue from a trucking accident, lawmakers have created separate rules and regulations that apply to this industry.
The legal issues involving truck crashes can be vastly different than those for a car accident. That’s why it’s important to work with an experienced South Carolina truck accident attorney if you’ve been injured or suffered a loss from one of these tragic events.
At Peake & Fowler, our personal injury attorneys understand the intricate nature of these cases. You and your loved ones can rely on the personal service and aggressive representation of our attorneys to fight for the compensation you need and deserve after a truck accident.
How Common are Truck Accidents?
There is a serious truck accident in South Carolina roughly every three to four days. Close to 10% of all accident-related fatalities involve large trucks, but just 4% of all vehicles are registered as trucks. When trucks are involved in crashes, 80% of the time it is a multi-vehicle accident.
Because trucks are so large, it’s often the other vehicles and their occupants who sustain the most damage. Trucks are classified by the NHTSA as being vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 10,000 pounds or more. In fact, a majority (86%) of truck accidents involve trucks that weigh more than 26,000 pounds.
Possible Causes of Truck Accidents
Of course, most truck accidents are completely preventable. When a truck driver or their employer doesn’t live up to their obligations, serious injury and damages can occur. Some of the top causes these severe crashes include:
- Distracted Driving. Not paying attention to the road, or driving while distracted, is one of the leading causes of vehicle crashes nationwide. This is particularly dangerous and deadly when it involves large trucks.
- Fatigued Driving. Even though time behind the wheel is federally regulated, truck drivers are under tremendous pressure to meet delivery deadlines and often drive when they aren’t supposed to be on the road. Fatigued driver accidents are especially dangerous because drivers can cross the center line and cause a head-on collision.
- Speeding. When attempting to meet tight deadlines, trucks are more likely to speed or drive too fast for conditions. The FMCSA reports that speed is a leading driver-related factor in truck crashes.
- DUI. Even though it is unlawful, substance abuse ranks high among driver-caused truck accidents.
- Unbalanced Loads. Trucking and shipping industry personnel understand that loads must be appropriately dispersed, or they can create a hazard. If a load is excessive for the vehicle or isn’t properly balanced, a truck might have difficulty maneuvering and stopping.
- Mechanical Failure. Trucks spend so much time on the road that they may not receive adequate maintenance and inspections. A faulty part is also more likely to fail with heavy use. Either situation can lead to a catastrophic accident.
- Poor Driver Training. This nation currently has a massive truck driver shortage. If trucking companies put inexperienced or poorly trained drivers on the road, it could lead to severe accidents.
- Jackknife Accidents. Trucks need more distance to stop than passenger vehicles. If a truck must slam on its brakes, possibly due to following too closely or speeding, it could cause the trailer to swing at an angle, creating a jackknife accident.
- Under-ride and Over-ride Accidents. Under-ride accidents occur when a passenger car rides “under” a large truck. Over-ride accidents occur when a large truck climbs over a car. Either can occur from following too closely, speeding, mechanical failure, and other careless operation.
Injuries and Damages from Truck Accidents
The size and sheer force of large trucks are catalysts for severe and costly damages. Determining how much compensation you deserve for a truck accident can be a complex matter.
You will likely have a series of economic damages. These will include the physical damage to your vehicle, which could end up being totaled after such a crash. You may also have to rent a car and will have a loss in value of your vehicle due to damages.
Some of the biggest economic damages result from physical injuries. You should not have to pay for your current and future medical care related to an injury that wasn’t your fault. Neither should you be responsible for lost wages or your lost earning capacity.
If you have a personal injury case, you can also claim non-economic damages. You have the right to ask for compensation for the mental trauma and physical pain that you must endure because of the accident.
Responsibility for a South Carolina Truck Accident
Even though truck crashes usually have an element of fault involved, it can be difficult to investigate and prove your case without assistance. If a truck driver or their employer has acted negligently, they should be held accountable. Unfortunately, they could deny wrongdoing or take quick steps to get rid of valuable evidence.
Trucking companies and their insurance carriers will often begin their own crash investigations within hours of an incident. These are companies with deep pockets who are willing to spend some cash to protect their short and long-term financial interests.
You may certainly have a personal injury case against a negligent truck driver, trucking company, or parts manufacturer, but you can level the playing field by working with a qualified truck accident attorney who understands how to protect your rights.
Hurt in a Truck Accident? Speak with Our Truck Accident Lawyers Today
If you or a loved one has been hurt in a crash involving a heavyweight vehicle such as a tractor-trailer, semi-trailer, 18-wheeler, dump truck, or construction truck, you need the guidance of an experienced truck accident attorney.
At Peake & Fowler, our qualified personal injury attorneys will investigate your case, explain your best legal options, and assist you in pursuing the compensation you deserve for your harm. We are just a phone call away and are available at your convenience.
Contact our Columbia office now at (800) 946-9461 or reach us online to schedule a free consultation.
To receive a free consultation with our experienced auto accident attorneys call us today!