Lexington Truck Accident Attorney
The number of trucking accidents in South Carolina and throughout the country has been steadily increasing for the past several years. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the number of truck accident fatalities has risen by 30% during the past decade. And of those who are killed in these types of accidents, 68% were occupants of cars and other types of that passenger vehicles, 17% are large truck occupants, and 14% are pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists.
It comes as little surprise that those who are involved in accidents with big rig trucks usually take the brunt of it. These trucks are massive in size and weight, and when they cause a collision, it can have devastating consequences. Those who are seriously injured typically have to deal with mounting medical bills, time missed from work, and the untold physical and emotional pain that comes with the injury. If you or a loved one was injured in a truck accident in Lexington or a nearby South Carolina community, you need strong legal counsel in your corner advocating forcefully for your rights and interests.
At Peake & Fowler, we have been standing up for the legal rights of those who have been injured through no fault of their own for almost two decades. We proudly serve the communities throughout Lexington, Richland, and Kershaw counties, and we work closely with our clients, putting our extensive experience to work to provide the skilled and personalized representation they need and deserve. Our lawyers are focused exclusively on personal injury and workplace accidents, and over the years, we have successfully handled thousands of cases and encountered virtually every scenario you could imagine.
Truck accident cases are typically far more complicated than a standard auto accident. There are multiple parties that could share fault, and there are numerous laws and regulations that govern the industry. We have in-depth experience with these types of cases, and we routinely go up against well-funded adversaries such as large trucking companies and their insurers. We are skilled litigators and strong negotiators. Whenever possible, we look to secure a settlement that provides full compensation for your injuries without the need for trial. That said, if the other side is not willing to be reasonable, we are ready and willing to aggressively pursue full damages through litigation.
What Causes Commercial Trucking Accidents in South Carolina?
Trucking is one of the largest industries in the United States. There are more than 3.5 million truck drivers on the road, and the industry takes in over $250 billion in revenue each year. Big rig trucks ship approximately 70% of all the freight that is moved throughout the country, and those here in Lexington and throughout South Carolina certainly depend on commercial trucks to help maintain the standard of living we enjoy.
Trucking is definitely a vibrant industry, but there is a downside. Unfortunately, many trucking companies put profits ahead of the safety of those who drive for them. They often encourage practices such as overloading the truck to ship more goods, and they place unrealistic deadlines on their drivers. In order to meet these deadlines, drivers frequently have to cut corners by driving longer than they should, use dangerous substances to try to stay awake longer, and similar practices. Under these conditions, it is no wonder that we have seen a vast increase in truck accidents in recent years.
In the majority of cases, the truck driver is the one at fault for causing an accident. However, other parties often play a role as well. Some of the most common reasons truck accidents happen include:
- Speeding and other types of aggressive driving;
- Drowsy or fatigued driving;
- Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
- Distracted driving;
- Blind spot accidents;
- Jackknife accidents;
- Overloaded or unevenly loaded trucks;
- Mechanical failure;
- Faulty vehicles or vehicle parts.
Who is Responsible for a Truck Accident in Lexington, SC?
As mentioned earlier, the truck driver who is operating a commercial vehicle is legally responsible for an accident that is caused by his/her negligence or reckless actions. Truckers carry a commercial driver’s license (CDL), and as a result, they are held to a higher standard than others on the road. Not only are they required to obey all South Carolina traffic and safety laws, they must also adhere to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations. If a trucker violates any of these laws and regulations and/or is negligent behind the wheel and it results in a crash, they can be held responsible for any injuries and property damage that occurs.
In addition to the driver, the trucking company that employs the driver may also be held responsible for their employee’s actions. There may be some question about whether or not a driver is technically “employed” by a trucking company, and many companies misclassify employees as independent contractors to try to avoid responsibility for their actions. But just because a trucking company “says” that the driver is an independent contractor, that does not necessarily make it true. A worker must meet certain classification tests to be considered an independent contractor, and we will conduct a full investigation to determine if a driver can be considered an employee and thus the trucking company can be held responsible for the accident.
There are several other parties that could share responsibility for a tractor-trailer accident, depending on the circumstances. These may include:
- The owner or lessor of the truck;
- The cargo company that may have overloaded or unevenly loaded the truck;
- The truck maintenance and/or repair shop if the accident was caused by negligent maintenance;
- The vehicle or vehicle part designer, manufacturer, or distributor if the accident was caused by a product defect;
- The government entity responsible for maintaining the roads if poor road design or maintenance contributed to the crash.
South Carolina has a statute of limitations of three years from the date of the incident to file a personal injury lawsuit. If the lawsuit is against a government agency, the statute of limitation is only two years.
Our attorneys can serve you best if we are involved as early as possible in the process. Trucking companies and their lawyers will work aggressively to defend their clients right from the get-go, and you need an experienced advocate working on your behalf sooner rather than later.
Speak with a Knowledgeable and Compassionate Lexington, SC Trucking Accident Attorney
Being injured in a truck accident can be in life-changing event. At Peake & Fowler, we understand the devastation a serious injury can cause, and our goal is to make the legal process as smooth and stress-free as possible. We handle all the complicated legal tasks, so you can focus on recovering from your injuries and getting your life back on track. Throughout the process, we provide frequent updates on the progress of your case, and we are always available to answer any questions and address any concerns you may have.
To schedule a free consultation with one of our skilled South Carolina truck accident lawyers, call our office today at 803-788-4370. You may also send us a message through our online contact form or stop by our office in person at your convenience.