South Carolina Truck Accident Lawyer
There were just under 5000 fatal accidents involving semi-truck drivers in the U.S. last year and according to this article, SC-35 is listed as the 10th most dangerous road in the country. When it comes to truck crashes, tractor-trailers are by far the most dangerous vehicles out there.
Reasons Truck Crashes Occur
One reason is sheer miles they log. Semi-trucks account for almost half of all miles driven by commercial vehicles on U.S. roadways. Other reasons that semi-truck accidents occur are:
Speeding — Exceeding the posted speed limit and driving too fast for weather conditions are common causes of semi-truck accidents in South Carolina. Truck drivers who speed have less time to react to avoid a crash. Tractor Trailers require 40% more space than passenger vehicles to stop.
Underride accidents - In this type of truck accident, a passenger vehicle such as a car, rides under the back trailer of a large truck, resulting in the front of the car and sometimes the whole car, getting crushed. These terrible accidents often result in catastrophic injuries and fatalities.
Override accidents - An override truck crash occurs when a truck drives over the rear of a car in front of it. This usually results in significant damages to the vehicle, as well as the passengers inside.
Jackknife accidents - A jackknife accident is when the cab of the truck moves in one direction, the trailer of the truck swings around the side at a 90-degree angle to the cab. This type of accident might occur if a truck takes a turn too fast, or brakes suddenly while traveling at high speeds.
Squeeze play accidents – a passenger vehicle is “squeezed” between a large truck and another object, such as the curb. This happens most often when a truck needs to make a right-hand turn. Because semi-trucks need more room to turn, a truck may move into the left lane to widen the turn. Sometimes a passenger vehicle will try to pass the truck, or turn in front of it, on the right-hand side. As the truck begins to make its right turn, the car can become wedged in.
Driver fatigue — Truck drivers may experience fatigue if they spend too many hours behind the wheel without adequate rest. Federal hours-of-service regulations limit the number of hours truckers can drive without a break. Sometimes these legal limits are disregarded.
Improper lane changes — Truck drivers may attempt to change lanes and collide with a motorist driving in their blind spot. Truck drivers must check thoroughly for other vehicles before changing lanes.
Inadequate driver training — Commercial truck drivers must have the training and experience to operate large tractor-trailers safely. Sometimes it is discovered that training was not completed.
Mechanical failures and defects — Trucks must be adequately maintained to operate safely, according to guidelines by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. If a truck’s air brakes are out of adjustment or a truck tire blows out, it may be due to a manufacturing defect or a lack of adequate maintenance. Trucking companies are required to keep service records for a certain amount of time and these records can provide significant evidence in a case.
Compensation Involved in a Trucking Accident Case
Trucking companies and truck drivers are required to carry higher amounts of liability insurance than owners of passenger cars because of the extreme damage they can and have caused.
A semi-truck can weigh 25 to 40 times as much as an automobile. When a semi-truck and an automobile collide, the occupants of the smaller vehicle typically sustain the brunt of the impact and injuries.
Because truck accidents are more likely to result in serious injuries or even fatalities and the fact that more parties are involved, means victims and their families are more likely to receive bigger settlements or verdicts than people involved in car accidents.
Truck Crash Injury Claim Value Has Many Factors
On average, truck accident claims are worth more than auto accident claims, but it depends on the circumstances.
How serious are the injuries? Catastrophic injury, such as paralysis, loss of a limb, or permanent disability, will typically receive more money for their accident than someone who suffers less severe injuries.
How long will the injuries affect the victims? A broken bone may sound severe initially, but usually will heal. Nerve damage, on the other hand, can result in permanent disability and reduced quality of life.
How do the injuries affect victims’ earning power? Medical bills can be significant. A single ambulance ride can cost thousands. Medical expenses may pale in comparison to months, years, or even a lifetime of disability and lost earnings.
South Carolina Truck Accident Lawyer You Can Trust
It’s important to have an experienced attorney on your side who can determine the full costs associated with your injury and communicate effectively with the insurance company. The Insurance companies’ goal is to pay victims as little as possible, even when their damages are significant and multiple parties may be liable.
Caroline West has over 25 years of experience helping accident victims and fighting for the compensation they deserve. Schedule a free, no obligation, consultation today.