Handling Compensation for Trucking Accident Victims in South Carolina
Tractor-trailer accidents have serious and lethal consequences. While the average car on the road weighs approximately 3,000 pounds, tractor-trailers and their cargo can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. The result of that much tonnage colliding with even the most safety-enhanced cars can be catastrophic. If you are the victim of an accident involving a semi-truck, tractor-trailer, or 18-wheeler, our truck accident lawyers are here to help.
The truck accident lawyers at the Strom Law Firm, LLC have experience handling cases involving different kinds of truck accident cases, and we can help with yours. There’s no doubt that this is a difficult and even painful time in your life. The results of a truck crash can be devastating, resulting in loss of income, mounting hospital bills, and personal suffering. A commercial truck accident lawyer will work towards getting you the compensation you are entitled to by applying our knowledge of the trucking industry and familiarity with the South Carolina legal system.
Why You Need a Truck Accident Lawyer Right Away
Immediately after a big rig accident, the trucking company will send its attorney to the scene. You need to have the same competent representation as soon as possible. A truck accident lawyer will begin building your case from the moment you hire us, gathering information to support your claim, investigating both the trucking company, the at-fault driver, and the circumstances surrounding the accident. We have the experience and the resources to move quickly to preserve evidence at the scene of the accident, interview witnesses, evaluate police reports, and answer tough questions.
The insurance companies who most often defend at-fault drivers spend millions of dollars teaching their adjusters how to successfully deny claims — all of which can make even a “minor” wreck anything but simple for the victim of an accident. Our trucking accident attorneys and investigators understand what is at stake. Let our experience and know-how work for you just as hard as the trucking company lawyers will be working for them.
Trucking Accident Injuries Handled by the Lawyers at Strom Law Firm, LLC
If you are injured in a truck accident, you are entitled to seek recovery from the injuries you sustain and the damages to your life and livelihood as a result of the accident. Injuries resulting from semi-truck accidents can be severe and impair your health and quality of life indefinitely. The Strom Law Firm, LLC handles all injuries, including:
- Brain trauma
- Spinal cord injuries
- Severe burn injuries
- Broken bones
- Internal bleeding
The purpose of your lawsuit against the responsible parties is to get compensation for your accident and injuries that will help you get your life as close to the way it was before the accident. Had it not been for the negligence or carelessness of the other driver or trucking company, your life would have continued as normal. Instead, you are left with physical pain from your injuries, time lost from work, medical bills, and possibly a diminished ability to enjoy and live your life normally.
While compensation can never turn back the clock, the damages you receive can help you get your life back on track, while also paying the bills you accrue and the wages you lost due to the accident.
Damages Awarded for Trucking Accidents
Every case is unique, and our team of experienced truck crash lawyers will aggressively and competently build your claim, seeking the full extent of the damages you are entitled to. Damages that plaintiffs in trucking accident cases can pursue include:
- Hospital expenses
- Physical therapy
- Rehabilitation facility stays
- Loss of income
- Future loss of income
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional damage
Evaluating a Semi-Truck or Tractor Trailer Accident
To fully evaluate a trucking accident case, our semi-truck accident lawyers utilize a network of experts, including investigators, automotive engineers, and accident reconstructionists. Our network enables us to gather the evidence needed to determine the exact cause of the crash and the responsible party or parties. Our process includes steps such as gathering evidence from police reports and witnesses, analyzing logs and other records from the trucking company, conducting a thorough investigation of the truck, and pursuing any other elements relevant to your claim.
Because of the inherent danger of driving trucks, due to their sheer size and mass, rigid requirements exist with respect to their design and maintenance to make them safer for operation. These requirements are placed on owners and operators to ensure that the vehicle’s key systems, such as the truck’s tires, brakes, hydraulics, and lighting systems are kept in proper working order. In accidents involving trucks, the vehicle’s design, manufacture, and maintenance must be considered.
An accident involving a tractor-trailer can have many causes. Some of the most common are:
- Excessive speed
- Loss of control
- Drowsy or sleepy driving
- Drunk driving
- Driving under the influence of illegal drugs
- Driving under the influence of prescription medications
- Distracted driving
- Faulty equipment
- Negligent maintenance
If you suspect or know any of these factors were involved in your accident, call the truck accident lawyers at Strom Law Firm, LLC today. During your free consultation, we will discuss the facts of your case and evaluate your next best course of action. With years of experience taking on accident and personal injury claims, our team has the knowledge and resources necessary to properly pursue your accident claim and seek the compensation you are entitled to.
Our Truck Crash Lawyers Will Find Answers to These Questions
To support your claim, we will apply our years of experience working with trucking accident claims, and we will find answers to the following important questions:
Was the Truck Properly Loaded?
Improperly loaded trucks can make it difficult for the driver to control the truck effectively. If a truck was not loaded correctly, the company that loaded the truck or other parties might be held responsible.
Was the Truck over the Weight Limit?
Stringent rules apply to the maximum allowable weight a tractor-trailer can carry. This ensures a truck can safely be driven, and more importantly, the truck can safely slow down and come to a stop when needed. The brakes on a semi-truck are very powerful, but they can not effectively stop an overloaded truck. Overloading can also increase the chances of a rollover. If the trucking company attempted to put more cargo on the truck than it should have had, whether in an attempt to save money or through negligence, the trucking company can be held liable.
Were Alcohol or Drugs Involved?
Driving under the influence can be extremely dangerous in a standard passenger vehicle. But when you factor in the size and weight of a large truck, driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol while operating a semi is downright reckless. Trucking companies are under an obligation to hire responsible drivers who do not have a record of reckless driving. Commercial truck drivers are not allowed to operate a truck within four hours of drinking any alcohol, and drivers must submit to random drug tests to ensure they are not driving under the influence. If drugs or alcohol were involved in a trucking accident, the responsible parties should be held accountable.
Did the Driver Have Enough Sleep?
Truck drivers work long hours and are under pressure to deliver their goods in a timely manner. Trucking companies, as well as federal laws, mandate rest periods for commercial truck drivers, expressly to ensure that drivers are getting the required amount of rest in order to avoid dangerous driving situations. These rules, however, are sometimes ignored, and a driver will operate the truck without observing the required period of rest, resulting in a situation that can cause an at-fault accident.
Was the Vehicle Properly Maintained?
The trucking industry is regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The FMCSA requires that trucking companies systematically inspect and maintain every truck they operate. Accurate logs of this maintenance must also be kept. If, after an accident, an investigation reveals that the trucking company did not properly maintain or repair the truck or any of its parts, the trucking company can be held liable.
Were the Truck Log Books Accurate?
Truck drivers and trucking companies are required by law to keep logs of their working and rest hours, as well as logs of proper inspections to the equipment in order to ensure safe operation of the truck. If these logs were not properly kept, or worse, doctored or falsified, this could lead to an at-fault accident.
Was the Truck Driver Working an Appropriate Amount of Hours?
If a commercial truck driver is under pressure to deliver their loads faster, there is a chance that they may be tempted to skip mandatory rest periods. Studies have proven that the probability of accidents increases significantly, the longer a driver has been on the road without proper rest. Drivers are also required to have a full 34 hours off at the end of every workweek. Any circumvention of these rules can result in dangerous driving situations and increase a driver or trucking company’s liability.
Did the Driver Take into Account Blind Spots?
Drivers must be fully trained before operating a tractor-trailer. One of the things they are taught to be aware of our blind spots. Due to the massive size of the truck, their ability to see certain areas around their truck is limited. Responsibly handling a commercial truck includes avoiding potential collisions through awareness of blind spots.
The causes of accidents are wide-ranging, but these are just a few of the more common elements at play in a truck accident. Identifying some of the causes will often involve a complex analysis of the design, manufacture, and maintenance of the truck itself.
Our team of truck wreck lawyers and the investigators we hire are well versed in discovering the underlying causes of an accident and determining who is liable and whether negligence or worse was involved in an accident. If you were injured in an 18-wheeler accident, call the lawyers at Strom Law LLC for a free consultation to go over the facts of your case.
State and Federal Regulations Relating to Truck Accidents
Due to the potential harm a large truck can cause, the trucking industry is heavily regulated. Federal and state regulations and guidelines apply to many aspects of the truck’s operation — from the maintenance of the truck and equipment to the hiring and conduct of the driver. If the owner, leasing entity, contracted user, or driver of the truck fails to comply with such mandates, including those of the Department of Transportation (DOT), liability can arise on their part as well.
Let Our South Carolina Trucking Accident Attorneys Assist You
If you or someone you know has been involved in a trucking accident, tractor-trailer accident, 18 wheeler accident, or semi-truck accident, contact us for a free case evaluation at 803.252.4800. We have experience in litigating accidents involving large privately-owned or commercial trucking companies and the manufacturers that make and sell the trucks themselves. We stand ready to use our knowledge to help clients injured in trucking accidents due to truck defects or related negligence.
We know that some truck accident injuries do not appear serious at first, but that they may, in fact, have an impact on the victim for life. Our attorneys and support staff are experienced in this regard and can aggressively pursue compensation for all your injuries, both current and future. Many accident victims that we represent are hesitant about going to court. Many times we are able to resolve an accident case without filing a lawsuit. However, if the insurance company digs in their heels, you can be sure that we will be up to the challenge.
Contrary to what television lawyers may tell you, motor vehicle accidents are not simple. In all likelihood, what “getting the cash you need now” really means is that you will not have the cash you will need down the road. If you or someone you love has been injured in a truck accident, contact the Strom Law Firm, LLC today. To discuss the facts of your case over the phone or to schedule a free, face-to-face consultation at our Columbia, SC office, call 803.252.4800.