Trucking accidents in SC can be tragic, deadly, and devastating.
Even worse, they are often avoidable – a few more hours of sleep, a background check or drug test of a driver, a few more minutes to properly secure a load, or a few minutes to check the brakes on the rig could have saved lives and made all the difference to a family who is now missing their loved ones.
Trucking accidents are not like other types of personal injury cases or auto accident claims. Below, I’ll provide an overview of trucking accidents in SC, including:
- How trucking accidents are different;
- The most common causes of trucking accidents;
- Who you can sue after a trucking accident; and
- The types of evidence you will need to prove your case.
First, how are trucking accidents different than your average, “run of the mill” car crash case?
How Are Trucking Accidents in SC Different than Other Types of Auto Accidents?
The most obvious difference is that commercial trucks are huge. Weighing as much as 80,000 pounds, a fully loaded tractor-trailer can cause catastrophic damage to other drivers on the road with even the slightest misstep.
Commercial truck accident cases are also more complex than most other types of auto accident claims, not only because of the greater damages involved but because there are often multiple defendants (and insurance policies) from which to collect to ensure that our clients receive full compensation.
There may be different claims or causes of action against each of those defendants, and your trucking accident attorney must understand the impact of federal laws and regulations on trucking accidents in SC.
What are the Most Common Causes of Trucking Accidents in SC?
The most common causes of 18-wheeler accidents in SC include:
- Unsecured cargo;
- Overloaded cargo;
- Mechanical issues or failure to maintain equipment;
- Driver fatigue;
- Drug or alcohol use;
- Lack of training;
- Failure to maintain a proper distance;
- Speeding or other traffic law violations;
- Texting or other forms of distracted driving; and
- Violations of federal laws and regulations such as hours of service regulations.
What Kinds of Evidence Do I Need to Win a Trucking Accident Case?
We will need to prove: 1) that the truck driver (or their company or another defendant) owed you a duty of care, 2) that they breached that duty of care (negligence), 3) that their negligence was the proximate cause of your injuries, and 4) that you suffered damages as a result.
How do we prove that? Depending on the facts of your case, we may need:
- An accident reconstructionist who can provide an expert opinion on how the crash happened and what caused it;
- Photos or video of the vehicles, including your vehicle and the commercial truck;
- Witness testimony from people who saw the accident;
- The accident report from the responding officer;
- Your medical records;
- Expert testimony as to how your injuries have affected you and the amount of future medical costs that will be required to fully compensate you;
- The truck’s maintenance logs and inspection reports;
- Cargo logs;
- Weigh station receipts;
- The truck’s event data recorder (the “black box”); and
- Your vehicle’s black box.
There may be other types of evidence that we must seek and present to a jury depending on the nature of the claims we file, the nature and extent of the injuries, and what we will need to prove based on the facts of your case to establish liability and to recover full and fair compensation.
In every trucking accident case, we must work quickly to preserve evidence and to investigate the crash, which is why it is critical that you contact us immediately after the accident so we can begin working on your case.
Who is Liable After Trucking Accidents in SC?
Who is at fault in a trucking accident?
It will depend on the facts of each case. In many cases, the trucking company will be liable for the actions of their drivers unless the driver is truly an “independent contractor.”
Although trucking companies often attempt to classify their drivers as independent contractors for tax purposes and to avoid liability, the court may disagree, and the company may still be liable for the actions of their drivers under the theory of respondeat superior – an employer is liable for the actions of their employees if the employee is acting “within the scope of their employment” when the accident happened.
When an accident is caused by faulty equipment, the manufacturer or seller of that equipment may be liable instead of or in addition to the driver and the trucking company. We will help you to determine what caused the accident, who was at fault, and who to sue, which may include:
- The trucking company;
- The owner of the truck;
- The company that leases the truck;
- The people responsible for maintaining the truck;
- The governmental entity who was responsible for maintaining roads;
- The seller, lessor, manufacturer, or designer of the equipment that caused an accident;
- The company that was responsible for loading and securing the cargo;
- Other drivers who were responsible for the accident; or
- Any third party or company who was responsible for the accident.
Why does it matter?
First, it is important that you make sure the responsible parties are held accountable for the damage that they caused, so that they will fix the dangerous condition or practice and, hopefully, it will not happen again…
It is also important because we need to make sure that you are fully compensated for your injuries – if one defendant’s insurance policy limits do not cover what you are owed, the insurance policies of the other defendants might be able to make up the difference so that you receive the maximum compensation allowable for your injuries.
Trucking Accident Attorney in Conway, SC
If you have been injured or a loved one has been killed in an auto accident caused by a commercial truck driver, you need an experienced plaintiff’s attorney on your case immediately who can investigate the crash, gather the evidence that you will need to prove your case, and get maximum compensation for you whenever possible either in a settlement or jury trial.
Call Johnny Gardner Law now at 843-248-7135 or send us an email through our website to find out how we can help.