Truck Collision Attorneys in Columbia, SC
South Carolina is dependent on the trucking industry. In fact, nearly 80 percent of all South Carolina communities depend on trucks to move their goods. Yet, while these trucks may help deliver everyday goods, they can cause serious problems on the road. Columbia, in particular, is a major thoroughfare for commercial trucks of all sizes. Here, three interstates crisscross with highways as trucks make their way from Savannah Georgia to Charlotte, North Carolina. From I-77 to I-20, big rigs and semi-trucks hauling goods over the road at all hours of the day and night can cause catastrophic accidents resulting in life-threatening injuries.
When preventable trucking accidents result in serious injury, victims can sustain tremendous losses. Columbia truck accident survivors often incur significant medical expenses and lost income from being unable to work. In addition, victims may experience substantial physical and emotional pain and suffering from truck accident injuries. Fortunately, South Carolina laws allow truck accident victims to recover significant compensation for these and other losses.
A Columbia, SC Lawyer Can Help with Your Truck Accident Case
Why Choose One of Our Attorneys?
When you suffer a serious injury in a truck accident in Columbia, you may not know where to turn for help. In the blink of an eye, your life and future have changed and you may find yourself facing a lifetime of disability, pain and suffering. When this occurs, you need someone on your side who can fight for you and the compensation you deserve.
The Columbia Truck Accident Lawyers at the Strom Law Firm are familiar with litigating South Carolina personal injury cases. Our lawyers can often help truck accident victims recover substantial compensation. Anyone injured in an accident should discuss their options with one of our experienced Columbia Truck Accident Lawyers.
Trucking companies often have large legal teams on their side dedicated to reducing their liabilities and damages. They may attempt a quick settlement that is just a fraction of what you truly need. We want to protect your future and your rights. With Strom Law Firm involved, we will focus on the insurance company, so you can focus your energies on recovery.
At the Strom Law Firm, our Columbia truck accident lawyers are here to help. Our office is located at 6923 N. Trenholm Road in Columbia, South Carolina near Carys Lakes. We offer free initial consultations and reviews to all injured truck accident survivors. To make things even easier, we can meet you at your home, your hospital room, or even virtually during this time. Schedule your free consultation with a Columbia truck accident lawyer at Strom Law Firm today by calling (803) 252-4800.
Causes of Trucking Accidents in Columbia
The National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) reports that, in 2018, there were 106,821 collisions in South Carolina involving commercial trucking vehicles. Almost 4,500 of those were fatal collisions. Because of the size and weight of these vehicles, any type of negligent, reckless, or careless driving can have serious and devastating consequences.
All of us have traveled the highways and roads throughout the Columbia area and are aware of the increasingly heavy traffic, particularly on major interstates like I-26, I-20, and even I-95. Eighteen wheelers, big rigs, construction vehicles, farm vehicles, and other multi-axle and commercial vehicles often rush to stay on schedule and beat deadlines. They are heavy. They are fast. They are weighted down by the load. When they collide with a smaller vehicle, destruction and serious injuries can occur.
Truck drivers sometimes operate these large vehicles in a negligent or careless manner. Sometimes, these truckers drive for long hours on the road, leading to physical and mental exhaustion. Other times, truckers have used medications and drugs to help them stay awake while driving.
Regular causes of truck crashes in Columbia and across Richland County include:
- Speeding or driving too fast for conditions
- Distractions while driving
- Reckless driving
- Driving Under the Influence of drugs or alcohol (DUI)
- Improper turning procedures
- Failure to maintain lanes
- Drivers carrying too much load
- Failure to maintain the vehicle
Some wrecks are caused by defective truck parts rather than a negligent driver. These can include problems with brakes, tires, lights, and other faulty or improper maintenance, etc. Faulty pre-trip inspections could be to blame. Sometimes, these defects could give rise to a product liability claim against the manufacturer, distributor, or maintenance facility that performed repairs on the truck. Contacting an experienced Columbia truck accident lawyer to review the situation and determine the best course to follow can help you secure the compensation you deserve.
Trucking Company Negligence
Trucking companies have a responsibility to ensure the safety of their fleet. This means performing proper maintenance on trucks, as well as ensuring that all drivers adhere to the state and federal trucking guidelines. When trucking companies cut corners in maintenance or push their drivers to drive long hours, they can cause serious trucking accidents.
If you or a loved one was seriously injured in a truck accident, you need to have someone working on the case immediately. The Columbia accident lawyers at the Strom Law Firm can ensure your personal injury claim is timely initiated, preserved, and filed to ensure you receive the legal compensation you deserve.
Common Types of Columbia Truck Accidents
As with any type of vehicle collision, trucking accidents that occur in Columbia can vary in severity. They can range from fender benders to catastrophic accidents, with fatalities or permanent disabilities.
At Strom Law Firm, our truck accident attorneys have represented survivors who suffered injuries in a variety of trucking accidents, including:
- Rear-end collisions
- Overturns as a result of taking a turn too sharply
- Failure to yield the right of way
- Illegal turns
- Multiple car pile-ups
- Chemical spills on the roadways
- Underride accidents
- Jackknife truck accidents
Occasionally late night or early morning accidents can be caused when a vehicle is either not equipped with or does not use its high beams and fails to see a hazard in the roadway. If the trailer’s haul is not loaded and secured appropriately, it can become dislodged from the trailer and careen into other cars on the road. Drivers on the other end of such a situation can find themselves in a serious, maybe even deadly situation on SC roads.
Our Columbia Truck Accident Lawyers Help Injured Survivors Like You
Common Columbia Truck Accident Injuries
These 18 wheeler accidents are the culprit for many fatalities each year on Columbia roadways. The weight and mass of a commercial truck increase the crushing force associated with these collisions. While every accident does not result in a fatality, victims involved in a collision with a tractor trailer rarely walk away from the accident unscathed. The damage these types of collisions can cause include severe trauma, head injuries, broken bones, dislocations, burns, and other injuries not always present in other types of car accidents.
Our Columbia truck accident attorneys have helped survivors who suffered from a variety of serious and catastrophic injuries. We know that no two accident injuries are ever quite the same. That is why we work alongside your medical team to determine how your injuries will specifically affect your life – and your future.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Victims of a truck and trailer accident may suffer head injuries known as traumatic brain injuries. Damage to the brain often results in lasting consequences requiring immediate diagnosis and long-term treatment. Brain damage can lead to cognitive issues that may permanently impact a person’s cognitive activity, emotions, and ability to conduct activities of daily living.
Imagine waking up in a fog, but that fog would be every day for the rest of your life. Traumatic brain injuries seen in truck accidents involve concussions, coup-contrecoup, and brain contusions.
Signs that you or someone you love may have suffered a TBI
There are a variety of signs and symptoms associated with traumatic brain injuries. The severity of such symptoms may vary based on the severity of the injury. Common symptoms include:
- Inability to remember the cause of the injury or events that occurred leading up to it.
- Confusion and disorientation.
- Difficulty remembering new information.
- Blurry vision.
- Changes in taste or smell.
- Sensitivity to light.
- Fatigue or drowsiness.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Ringing in the ears.
- Trouble speaking coherently.
- Changes in emotions or sleep patterns.
- Clear fluids draining from the nose or ears.
- Periods of unconsciousness following the injury.
While the symptoms of a traumatic brain injury may appear at the time of injury or immediately after, some symptoms may not develop for days or even weeks.
Back Injuries and Spinal Cord Damage
The size and weight of a tractor-trailer can also result in injury to someone’s spine. An impact on a person’s back can cause damage to the spinal cord. The brain receives sensory information through the spinal cord. If it is damaged, these functions can be compromised.
An accident where the back is injured often results in fractured vertebrae and can cause injuries to the sensitive nerves in the spinal cord. These injuries can cause conditions ranging from paralysis and issues with moving around to numbness and even incontinence.
Signs that you or someone you love may have suffered a back injury
There are a variety of signs and symptoms associated with back injuries. The severity of such symptoms may vary based on the severity of the injury. Common symptoms include:
- Pain or tenderness.
- Pain that worsens with movement.
- Stiffness or difficulty moving.
- Difficulty standing up.
- Muscles spasms on either side of the spine.
- Pain that radiates down one or both legs.
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath.
- Numbness or pins and needles to the arms, legs, hands, or feet.
- Blood in the urine.
Signs that you or someone you love may have suffered a spinal cord injury
There are a variety of signs and symptoms associated with spinal cord injuries. The severity of such symptoms may vary based on the severity of the injury. Common symptoms include:
- Pain or an intense stinging sensation.
- Muscle weakness.
- Loss of voluntary muscle movement in the chest, arms, or legs.
- Breathing problems.
- Loss of feeling in the chest, arms, or legs.
- Loss of bowel and bladder function.
- Loss or altered sensation, including the ability to feel heat, cold, and touch.
- Changes in sexual function, sexual sensitivity, and fertility.
- Difficulty with balance and walking.
- Quadriplegia (loss of function in the arms and legs).
- Paraplegia (loss of function in the legs and lower body).
Internal wOrgan Damage
Internal organs can often be damaged by the force of an accident with a semi-truck or tractor-trailer. Some of the damage to these organs include rupturing, tearing, and contusions, which can all turn out to be severe injuries. The organs can lose function, or internal bleeding can damage the body’s other organs or hemorrhage, which is irreparable and deadly.
Signs that you or someone you love may have suffered internal organ damage
There are a variety of signs and symptoms associated with internal organ damage. The severity of such symptoms may vary based on the severity of the injury. Common symptoms include:
- Stiff neck.
- Vision loss.
- Slurred speech.
- Lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting.
- Shortness of breath.
- Low blood pressure.
- Blood in the urine or stool.
- Abdominal pain.
- A large area of deeply purple skin.
- Loss of consciousness.
Liability of Columbia Trucking Companies and Drivers
Who is to Blame For My Trucking Collision?
Unlike auto accidents involving only passenger vehicles, truck accidents can quickly become very complex. In many cases, more than one factor contributes to truck accidents in SC.
To determine what caused your accident, your attorney will need to conduct a full investigation into the truck accident. This can include an analysis of multiple factors that may have contributed to the accident, such as reviewing the driver’s logbook, the truck’s load, and the operator’s driving history.
In South Carolina, numerous parties can share the blame for the accident including:
- Truck driver
- Trucking company
- Maintenance company
- Shipping or loading company
- Truck manufacturer
At Strom Law Firm, our Columbia truck crash attorneys will begin our investigation by asking several questions including:
Did the driver follow federal regulations regarding the number of hours spent behind the wheel each day?
According to federal law, a truck driver can spend 11 hours out of each 14-hour shift behind the wheel. After reaching those 11 hours or the end of the 14-hour shift, the driver must spend at least 10 hours off the road before resuming his trip.
Sometimes, however, trucking companies pressure their drivers to exceed those federal mandates to meet deadlines or extend their drive time. If the company allows those driving behaviors, the company may share liability for the accident, especially if it pressures drivers to push beyond the federal mandates.
Did a shifting load incident cause the collision?
Shifting loads can cause serious problems for many truck drivers. On a flatbed truck, shifting cargo can fall from the truck, causing serious injury to others around the vehicle. In a traditional truck and cab, a shifting load can make the load more likely to tip over on a curve or in a dangerous situation, substantially increasing the risk of a truck rollover accident.
Often, trucking companies hire other individuals to handle cargo loading and unloading. An improperly-loaded vehicle that causes a semi-truck accident may leave liability resting with the company that loaded the vehicle.
Did the company force the driver to drive in unsafe conditions?
From icy or very wet roads to high winds, even experienced drivers may face weather conditions that make it unsafe to get behind the wheel. Likewise, illness and inebriation can both make it dangerous for drivers to operate a truck.
If the company forces the driver to continue his route though it knows a truck cannot safely navigate in those conditions, the company may share liability for any accident caused by that negligence of the driver.
Did a mechanical failure cause or contribute to the accident?
Trucks need careful, regular maintenance to keep them running as effectively as possible and reduce accident risk. Unfortunately, trucking companies do not always take good care of their vehicles. They may ignore maintenance requests or put off routine maintenance to cut costs. These cuts, however, can prove incredibly dangerous, especially if the driver has reported a serious problem with the vehicle and has to take it out on the road anyway.
If the company does not take care of needed maintenance, the company may share liability for the accident. If the company does conduct maintenance, but a mechanical failure occurs due to mechanic error, the mechanic may share liability.
If a mechanical failure in a new vehicle causes a trucking accident, the truck manufacturer may share liability for the accident. Likewise, if an error in a newly-installed part, including tires or brakes, causes a serious accident, the manufacturer of that part may share liability for the accident.
If you suffered serious injuries in a truck accident, a truck accident attorney at Strom Law Firm can help provide you with a better picture of what factors contributed to your accident and how much compensation you should expect. Consult our experienced Columbia truck accident attorneys to learn more.
Columbia Truck Accidents FAQ
Large trucks are a common sight on Columbia’s roadways. Unfortunately, this also means that an accident with a truck is a frequent risk for drivers and pedestrians alike. Truck accidents often cause substantial injuries, serious confusion, and a lot of questions.
If you have specific questions about your accident, contact an experienced Columbia truck accident attorney as soon as you can following your accident. Below, we answer some of the questions we hear most often about truck accidents in Columbia.
What are the different types of commercial trucks?
Commercial trucks are used to transport goods, passengers, or other freight. Such trucks include:
- Dump trucks
- Heavy haulers
- Tanker trucks
- Garbage trucks
- Auto haulers
- and more.
When and where do most fatal commercial truck accidents occur?
In 2019, most truck accident fatalities occurred during the daytime (about 64%). Additionally, truck accident fatalities were most likely to occur in rural areas (about 57%) and on non-interstate roads (about 75%).
How long does it take to receive compensation for a Columbia truck accident lawsuit?
Before you can receive compensation for a truck accident claim, you may need to wait for the full investigation into that claim to take place. Often, your attorney may need to review substantial evidence to determine exactly who caused your accident. The trucking company and its insurance company may also want to go over evidence related to the accident before determining who bears liability for your injuries.
You should also expect several other things that may take time as you move forward with your truck accident claim.
For example, you may need to consider:
How much do you need to recover from your injuries?
Some injuries, including spinal cord injuries and traumatic brain injury, may leave victims with a long road to recovery. Your doctors may need you to walk down at least part of that road before they can predict your eventual recovery with any degree of accuracy.
Receiving an accurate report from your doctors is often critical to understanding the full scope of your legal claim. By waiting, you may be able to give a more accurate assessment of your actual medical bills and how your injuries will impact your life after the accident.
How much do you need to negotiate before reaching an agreement with the insurance company?
Sometimes, you can reach a quick agreement with the insurance company.
More often, however, the insurance company will come back with a lower settlement offer than you think is fair in your case. You may need to go through several rounds of negotiation before reaching an agreement that you feel reflects the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Your legal claim may take longer if you need to go to court to reach an agreement.
What type of evidence will my attorney review and utilize in my truck accident case?
There is a variety of evidence your attorney may want to review when preparing your truck accident case. Your attorney may review evidence related to fault and damages, including but not limited to:
- The accident report
- Photos from the scene
- Eyewitness accounts
- Medical bills
- Data from the truck’s electronic data recorder
- The driver’s logbooks
- Toxicology reports
- Maintenance and inspection reports
- The driver’s background check
- Expert reports and opinions
Will I have to go to court to settle my Columbia truck accident claim?
Sometimes, you may have to go to court to settle your claim. Working with a SC attorney can help you prepare for that possibility and ensure that you have quality legal representation that will keep your best interests in mind throughout the process.
What happens if the Columbia truck driver’s insurance company makes me a settlement offer?
Often, insurance companies do issue settlement offers soon after the accident. Usually, insurers design that settlement offer to sound very tempting. They may offer just enough to make you feel as though you will get what you deserve from your claim, or it might try to convince you that you cannot possibly get more for your claim, even with severe and permanent injuries.
You do not have to accept a settlement offer on the spot. Instead, take the time to consider it carefully. Talk to a truck crash attorney at Strom Law Firm to learn how much compensation you may need for the injuries you suffered in your trucking accident. Our attorneys can help you make a decision based on your needs, not on what the trucking company has to say about the accident.
Do I really need an attorney to help handle a truck accident claim in Columbia?
You may have handled car accident claims on your own in the past, following a routine auto accident with no injuries. A truck accident claim, on the other hand, may proceed very differently, especially if you suffered serious injuries in the accident.
An attorney can help you move through that claim successfully and increase your odds of getting the compensation you really deserve for your injuries.
As you work closely with an attorney throughout your truck accident claim, that attorney will provide you with advice and information at every step in the process. You will have a better idea of how much legal compensation you deserve, how to communicate with the insurance company, and how to avoid making any statements that could minimize the compensation you receive for your injuries.
An attorney can also provide a more comprehensive investigation into exactly what caused your truck accident and represent you if you do need to go to court. Ultimately, many people find that working with an attorney significantly increases the compensation they can receive after their accidents.
How much will your Columbia truck accident attorneys cost me?
You may have significant medical bills to deal with in addition to lost wages due to your inability to work. Many people worry about the cost associated with hiring an attorney following a truck accident.
How will you pay for that attorney?
Our truck accident attorneys understand that many victims do not have the funds on hand to hire an attorney. Fortunately, we make that easy.
When you connect with our truck accident attorneys, we start with a free consultation. That legal consultation will give you a chance to discuss how your accident occurred, what injuries you suffered, and how much compensation you might deserve for those injuries and the other losses associated with your accident.
Our Columbia truck accident attorneys will take cases on a contingency fee basis. If we accept your case on a contingent fee basis, you will not have to worry about coming up with payment for your attorney fees. Instead, you will pay for those services only as a percentage of any settlement or award you receive. If we don’t secure money for you, you owe us nothing.
What is the difference between a Columbia commercial truck accident and an accident with a passenger vehicle?
Following a truck accident, you must consider these differences:
- Big trucks often cause more severe injuries in accidents. Big trucks weigh significantly more than smaller passenger vehicles. They take longer to slow and longer to stop. They also need more space to maneuver before completing turns to avoid collisions. As a result, truck accidents often cause much more severe injuries than passenger vehicle accidents. Smaller passenger vehicles have little protection against the sheer mass of a big truck.
- Truck drivers spend many hours on the road each day. Truck drivers can drive up to eleven hours out of each shift. That means a lot of hours spent on the road and, therefore, a lot of opportunities for accidents. While truck drivers receive some special training before they can drive a commercial-weight vehicle, they may end up out on the road before they have the experience needed to avoid accidents and navigate the challenges they face. Long hours on the road can also lead to increased driver fatigue and a higher risk of accidents.
- Truck drivers often carry higher-value insurance policies. Truck drivers must carry insurance policies that provide higher-value coverage than the average passenger vehicle driver. Those policies can substantially increase the overall value of a truck accident claim. Your damages, however, will still depend on your injuries and the financial losses you faced due to your accident.
Can I receive compensation if I was partially at fault for the accident?
You may be entitled to compensation if you were partially at fault for the accident. South Carolina is a “modified comparative negligence” state, meaning that your damages may be reduced if you are found to be partially at fault. If found to be partially at fault, the overall damages award may be reduced in proportion to the percentage of such fault, and a percentage of fault greater than fifty percent may preclude recovery entirely. Accordingly, so long as your negligence does not exceed that of the defendant’s, you may still be entitled to compensation.
Contact a Columbia Truck Accident Attorney Today
Severe injuries and lifelong medical expenses resulting from a truck accident are serious issues for accident victims. Experienced truck wreck lawyers at the Strom Law Firm are here to talk to you and take a look at your case. We know what it takes to negotiate with insurance companies.
Do not resolve your truck accident case for too little. The attorneys at the Strom Law Firm are ready to litigate your case through depositions, hearings, and trial. Schedule your free consultation with a Columbia personal injury lawyer today at (803) 252-4800.
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