Few who are involved in serious truck accidents live to tell the tale. When a crash is less severe, a person may live, but likely with serious and permanent injuries, like traumatic brain injuries that affect cognition and spinal cord injuries that impair mobility. Most truck accidents would not happen but for negligence. If this is true in your case, our Charleston injury attorneys want to meet with you. A Joye Law Firm truck accident lawyer will fight for what is rightfully yours if you were injured due to trucking negligence.
Types of Truck Accidents
- Underride truck accidents. An underride truck crash is terrible. In this type of accident, a passenger vehicle literally rides under the back trailer of a large truck, resulting in the front of the car (and sometimes, the entirety of the vehicle) being completely crushed and destroyed. These accidents clearly pose a huge risk to drivers and passengers, and often result in catastrophic injuries, which may very likely be fatal.
- Override truck accidents. Similar to an underride truck accident, an override truck crash occurs when a truck drives over the rear of a passenger vehicle in front of the truck. Both types of accidents may result in significant damages to the roof of the vehicle, as well as the passengers inside.
- Jackknife truck accidents. A jackknife accident is named as such because the position of the truck and its trailer ends up resembling a jackknife; as 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 attempts to brake suddenly when traveling at a high speed.
- Squeeze play accidents. A squeeze play accident is an accident where a vehicle is “squeezed” between a large truck and another object, such as the curb. In most cases, this happens when a large trucks needs to make a right hand turn. Because large trucks need more room to turn, a truck may move into the left lane despite the fact that it is making a right hand turn. Losing patience or misunderstanding a truck driver’s intentions, a vehicle may 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 between the truck and the curb.
- Speeding — Exceeding the posted speed limit and driving too fast for road and weather conditions are common causes of semi truck accidents in Charleston and across South Carolina. Truck drivers who speed have less time to react to avoid a crash. The faster they are going, the more distance they need to stop.
- Driver fatigue — Truck drivers may experience extreme fatigue and lose alertness 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. But truck drivers may use poor judgment and disregard the limits.
- Improper lane changes — Truck drivers may attempt to change lanes and collide with a motorist driving alongside in a truck blind spot. Truck drivers must check carefully for other vehicles before changing lanes.
- Inadequate driving training — Commercial truck drivers must have the training and experience to handle large tractor trailers safely. Drivers who drive tank trucks must have additional training beyond that of other 18-wheeler drivers. If a truck driver does not have adequate training, that can contribute to a serious accident such as a jackknife accident or rollover accident.
- Mechanical failures or 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 evidence in a truck accident case.
Of course, these are not the only types of accidents that large trucks can be involved in – these are just a few accident types that are specific to large trucks. Large trucks may also be involved in rollover crashes, rear-end collisions, head-on crashes, and sideswipe accidents as well.
How Much Compensation Can I Receive If Involved in a Trucking Accident in Charleston?
Trucking companies and truck drivers that move freight into and out of South Carolina are required to carry higher amounts of liability insurance than owners of passenger cars because of the havoc large trucks can cause. A loaded semi-truck may weigh 20 to 30 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.
After a trucking accident caused by a truck driver or trucking company’s negligence, an accident victim may file a truck accident claim and seek compensation for:
- Medical expenses including doctor bills and hospital bills
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation
- Prescription medications and medical devices
- Repair or replacement of your damaged vehicle
- Permanent disability and disfiguring scars
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Lost earnings from missed work
The amount of compensation available will depend on the specific details of the accident including:
- the severity of your injuries
- the percentage of fault assigned to the semi-truck and others involved
- the insurance policies available to provide compensation.
If multiple parties are potentially liable, then compensation may be sought from two or more insurance policies. That can increase the amount of compensation available to accident victims.
When our attorneys at Joye Law take a truck accident case, we evaluate all the parties who may have liability and find the applicable insurance policies that may provide compensation.
How Can A Truck Accident Attorney in Charleston, SC Help Me?
Our Charleston semi-truck injury attorneys perform a number of services as part of our representation of people injured in truck accidents. Our attorneys will:
- analyze the truck accident, using accident reconstruction experts in some cases, and identify all the at-fault parties
- be sure you are receiving proper medical attention
- be responsive when you have questions
- assist you in getting referrals to medical specialists if needed
- calculate your present and future medical bills and other expenses
- identify all the insurance policies that may cover the truck accident
- send a demand letter to the insurance company requesting full compensation
- negotiate aggressively with the insurer for a settlement
- file an injury lawsuit if needed
- seek justice in civil court if a settlement cannot be reached
- stand beside you every step of the way
Our attorneys at Joye Law Firm are committed to helping people who have been seriously injured by a negligent truck driver or trucking company.
Why is Liability in Tractor Trailer Accidents So Complicated?
Liability in a truck accident is often much more complex than is making a determination about liability in a collision involving two standard passenger cars. This is because in addition to the two drivers, there is also an employer involved, a shipper, and multiple manufacturers, too. Here is a list of potentially liable parties – a thorough investigation will be necessary to pinpoint exactly who was to blame:
- Truck driver. Truck drivers sometimes act negligently when operating their vehicles. Rather than exercising the proper level of care that a situation demands, a truck driver may speed, drink while driving, drive over the hours of service limit, drive while distracted, or perform another type of careless behavior.
- Driver of the passenger car. Truck accidents are not always the fault of the truck driver; in most cases, the driver of the passenger car involved – or the driver of another passenger car – may be to blame.
- Trucking company. A trucking company may be held liable for the actions of the truck driver if the truck driver is an employer per the theory of vicarious liability. A trucking company may also be held liable if it contributed to the accident through its own act of negligence, such as failing to regularly inspect or maintain its truck, to properly train drivers, or to pressure drivers to work more hours than federal law allows.
- Cargo loader. Improperly loaded cargo can shift – this weight distribution can be extremely dangerous, and can lead to a rollover accident as well as other accident types. If cargo was improperly loaded, and this caused the accident, the loader may be liable.
- Truck or truck part manufacturer. Trucks, just like cars, are sometimes manufactured with defects or defective parts. If a truck collision occurred because of a defective part, such as a tire blowout, the manufacturer of the part may be held liable.
Steps to Take After a Truck Accident in Charleston
If you are in a semi truck accident in Charleston, you are likely suffering from serious injuries – get medical care for these injuries immediately. If you are able to, keep a thorough record of all treatment, pain you experience, and the healing process. If you are not able to do this, ask a loved one to write down their version of the experience for you.
You should make sure that the truck accident is reported to the police. Ask for a copy of the police report, as well as the names of any eyewitnesses who spoke to the police at the scene.
Call your insurance company and begin the process of filing a claim as soon as possible. If you delay, you may forfeit your right to compensation.
As soon as you can, contact our Charleston truck crash attorneys at Joye Law Firm. We will gather evidence and conduct an investigation to determine liability and prove negligence. Then, we will fight for a fair settlement amount that addresses the full extent of your losses.
We are Ready to Meet With You Today
A Joye Law Firm truck accident lawyer will fight for what is rightfully yours if you were injured due to trucking negligence. We want to help you get back on your feet again and recover the financial freedom you need to move forward with your life. Call one of the experienced truck accident lawyers in Charleston at Joye Law Firm to learn about how we can help you after a truck accident.