Truck Accident Attorneys in Sumter, SC
Commercial trucking accidents are among the deadliest incidents that occur on South Carolina roadways. When a big rig truck that weighs upwards of 80,000 pounds when fully loaded collides with another vehicle or object, the results can be devastating. The sheer weight and force a tractor-trailer will bring on impact can cause severe injuries and fatalities, especially to those who share the road with 18-wheelers.
Each year, thousands of individuals are killed, and hundreds of thousands are injured in truck accidents. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), 68% of those killed in these types of accidents are occupants of cars and other passenger vehicles, 17% are commercial truck occupants, and another 14% are pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists.
If you or a loved one was injured or killed in a trucking accident in Sumter or a nearby South Carolina community, you deserve to be fully compensated. At Peake & Fowler, we understand that truck accidents can be physically, emotionally, and financially devastating for victims and their families, and we do everything possible to make the legal process smooth and stress-free. We work closely with our clients, putting our extensive experience to work to aggressively pursue full and fair compensation on their behalf. We handle all the complicated legal tasks, so you can focus on your health and recovery.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents in South Carolina
Countless big rig trucks roll through Sumter and nearby communities to deliver essential goods or while in route to other destinations. Trucking is very important in helping maintain the standard of living we enjoy, but unfortunately, those in the industry are not doing everything they can to prevent 18-wheeler accidents.
There are several reasons truck accidents occur, some of the most common include:
- Drowsy or fatigued driving: Truck drivers put in long hours over-the-road each week, many of which are during evenings and overnights. Unfortunately, many drivers go longer than they should in order to meet unrealistic deadlines imposed by their employers. This causes some of them to drive while drowsy and even fall asleep at the wheel.
- Speeding or reckless driving: Another way that truckers may try to stay on schedule is by speeding excessively or engaging and other forms of reckless driving. This type of driving behavior increases the chances of a big rig accident.
- Driving while intoxicated: Some drivers use various substances to deal with the stress of their job or try to stay awake on the road. Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs puts the driver and others that they share the road with at greater risk of an accident.
- Distracted driving: A growing percentage of motor vehicle accidents are being caused by distracted driving. Texting while driving and other forms of electronic activity while behind the wheel are especially dangerous, because they cause drivers to focus completely on their phones rather than the road.
- Improperly loaded trucks: Some big rig accidents happen because of trucks that are overloaded beyond a safe weight or loaded unevenly. When this happens, there is a greater chance of the truck rolling over or falling off to its side when there are adverse road conditions, such as high winds, heavy rain, and ice.
- Negligent truck maintenance: Large commercial trucks typically log thousands of miles over-the-road each month. For this reason, proper maintenance is absolutely essential. Negligent truck maintenance can lead to breakdowns which, if they occur in the wrong place at the wrong time, can result in an accident.
- Vehicle defects: Vehicle or vehicle product defects are another contributor to many trucking accidents. Examples of vehicle defects include new tires that blow out, leaking brake lines, and computer dashboard malfunctions.
Injuries from trucking accidents can be serious and catastrophic. These may include:
- Head and traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Severe burn injuries
- Back and neck injuries
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
- Fractures/broken bones
- Amputations/loss of limbs
- Internal injuries
- Wrongful death
Pursuing a Trucking Accident Claim in South Carolina
A truck accident claim is far more complicated than a standard car accident. There are several laws and regulations that govern the industry, and there are also multiple parties that may be responsible for the accident.
Some of the parties that may share fault for a semi-truck accident include:
- The truck driver
- The trucking company that employs the driver
- The owner or lessor of the truck
- The shipping company responsible for loading the truck
- The party responsible for maintaining the truck
- The designer, manufacturer, supplier, or distributor of a faulty vehicle or vehicle part.
A thorough investigation is required to determine the exact cause of the accident and who is to blame. This should be done as early on as possible after the accident to help ensure that critical evidence is preserved and that all parties responsible are held fully accountable.
Those injured in trucking accidents may be eligible for compensation, also known as “damages”. Compensatory damages can be divided into two general categories:
- Economic damages: These are monetary losses incurred by the injury victim, such as hospital bills, costs for surgeries and other medical procedures, rehabilitation costs, cost of ongoing medical care (in the case of a permanent and debilitating injury), lost wages, loss of future earning capacity, and funeral and burial expenses.
- Non-economic damages: These are losses that are intangible and more difficult to quantify. Examples of non-economic damages may include physical pain and suffering, psychological distress, loss of enjoyment, disfigurement, and loss of consortium.
In some rare cases in which there is clear and convincing evidence that the party who injured you acted willfully and with malicious intent, punitive damages may be awarded to “punish” the wrongdoer and serve as a deterrent to help prevent similarly egregious actions in the future. In most South Carolina personal injury cases, punitive damages are capped at three times your compensatory damages up to a maximum of $500,000.
Contact an Experienced Sumter, SC Truck Accident Lawyer
Being injured in a trucking accident can turn your whole world upside down. If this has happened to you or someone close to you, you need strong legal counsel by your side advocating forcefully for your rights and interests. At Peake & Fowler, we have successfully represented countless clients in truck accident cases in South Carolina. We have extensive knowledge of this area of the law, and we explore every potential legal avenue to help you obtain the just compensation you need and deserve.
For a free consultation with one of our attorneys, call our office today at 803-788-4370. You may also send us a message through our online contact form.