South Carolina roads and highways have always had dangers present for drivers. One of the major risks is that commercial trucks heading through the state congest our busy highways.
These large trucks not only take up space on the roads, but their drivers can make errors that put your welfare in jeopardy.
When the truck driver was to blame for the accident, the trucking company may owe you a significant amount of money. To learn about your legal options after a truck crash, call the Jordan Law Center to schedule a free initial consultation with our Greenville truck accident lawyer.
Types of Truck Accident Cases We Handle
Any type of truck accident will involve a large amount of force that can result in serious injuries. There’s an 80,000-pound vehicle involved that weighs over 25 times more than most passenger cars on the road.
Some common types of truck accident cases we handle include:
- Rollover crashes: The truck can lose its center of gravity, either because of a steering error or cargo shifting. The driver can lose control, and the truck may topple.
- Rear-end crashes: Trucks take a long time to bring to a full stop, and that can mean the tractor-trailer runs into the back of a car.
- Jackknife accidents: Any stress around the point where the tractor connects to the trailer can cause a truck to swing wide and act unpredictably.
- Sideswipe accidents: The driver may drift out of their lane, or they may fail to properly check their blindspot before they make a lane change.
- Wide-turn accidents: In order to turn right, the truck must veer left first, and it can strike a driver when preparing to turn. A truck may also squeeze a driver on the right-side when making a right turn.
Causes of Truck Accidents in South Carolina
Everything must go right for a truck to safely complete its travel on the road. All it takes is for the driver or the trucking company to make one brief error that changes a life forever.
Here are some common causes of trucking accidents based on negligence:
- Fatigued driving: Truck drivers are under a lot of pressure to reach their destination on time, and they may be on the road late at night when they can maximize the amount of distance they can cover.
- Distracted driving: When they are on the road for such a long time, drivers can split their focus, especially because they do not want to lose time by pulling over.
- Poorly maintained trucks: Trucking companies do not want to pull trucks off the road because it costs them money. Brake failure or tire blowouts are immediate causes of many truck accidents.
- Inadequately trained drivers: Trucking companies are having more difficulty finding enough drivers to keep up with demand, and they are putting operators behind the wheel who have less experience
In the end, much of the blame can be laid on the driver for the accident. The trucking company may have cut corners in any way possible or created a culture where compliance with trucking laws is lax. Profits could take priority over people in a way that contributed to the accident.
Either way, you do not have to establish the exact cause of the accident — just that the driver did something that was considered unreasonable under the circumstances.
Federal Trucking Regulations
The trucking industry is among the most regulated in the country, and for good reason. Trucks present an unwanted safety hazard for other drivers on the road (although trucks are crucial to the health of the nation’s economy). The federal government is usually very proactive about regulating and inspecting trucks. There is an extensive body of rules that trucking companies and their drivers must follow.
Trucking regulations touch upon practically every area of operation, including:
- The truck driver’s qualifications and training
- The hours of operation for the truck
- Drug and alcohol testing
- Maintenance and inspection requirements
- How cargo is loaded onto the truck
- How much insurance truckers must carry (a minimum of $750,000, but most policies are for at least $1 million)
If you can prove that the trucking company failed to follow trucking regulations, it could be evidence of negligence that could help you prove your case. Your injury lawyer would investigate the truck accident and learn the cause.
Defendants in a Truck Accident Case
One of the reasons why truck accidents lead to higher compensation is that there are some entities with deep pockets — multi-million dollar companies who may be able to pay your damages.
The truck driver and the trucking company are the same exact entities for purposes of legal liability. What the truck driver does is considered the actions of the trucking company.
The most obvious possible defendant in your case is the trucking company. They are the “deepest pocket” of all. If they do not have the insurance coverage to pay for your injuries, you can go after their assets.
Then, you could sue the following if they potentially had a role in your truck accident:
- The manufacturer of the truck if the accident was caused by a defect.
- A company that was hired to perform inspections and maintenance on the truck.
- A third party that loaded the cargo onto the truck.
You may even be able to sue more than one defendant in a truck accident case. All you need to do is prove that a defendant was responsible for the injuries that you have suffered. It will be up to them and the courts to determine which one must pay which part of your damages.
What Damages and Compensation Can You Recover After a Trucking Crash?
The value of your case is tied to the harm that you have suffered (with the understanding that there may be more money available to pay for your harms). On average, truck accident injuries tend to be more severe than those suffered in a car accident. You may find yourself facing millions of dollars in damages, when your life has been completely or have lost a loved one in the accident.
You can be paid for the following in a truck accident settlement:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Emotional distress
- Scarring and disfigurement
One potential source of damages that can amount to a large portion of your case is punitive damages. There have been cases when a jury has awarded plaintiffs many millions of dollars in punitive damages because they were outraged by what the trucking company did. Some of these verdicts even put trucking companies out of business. The trucking company may have the motivation to settle the case because they do not want to face the jury.
How the Jordan Law Center Can Help
Truck accident cases often have large dollar values attached, and you cannot afford to leave anything to chance. The insurance company will do everything within its own power to protect itself at your expense. If you do not have anyone to stand up for your rights, it will cost you money.
Among the many things that we will do for your case are the following:
- Investigate the truck accident and gather evidence from various sources that could prove liability
- Learn more about your situation and estimate the value of your case
- File a lawsuit or insurance claim on your behalf
- Negotiate compensation, rejecting offers that are too low and pressuring the insurance company to pay you more
- Present your case in court if you cannot reach a settlement agreement
Contact a Greenville Truck Accident Lawyer Today
If you or a loved one have been injured in a truck accident, Jordan Law Center can help. There is no reason for you to try to take care of your own legal matters after a trucking accident. Not only that, but you could get less money. To begin your case with the help of an experienced litigator, you can send us a message online, or you can call us today at 864-808-1810.