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Truck Accident Case
South Carolina Truck Accident Lawyers
Accidents involving commercial trucks are legally complex, and trucking and insurance companies will try to take advantage of that to deny you compensation. We won’t let them.
For a free case review, call us at 843-720-2800.
Truck Accident Lawyers in South Carolina
After a truck accident, you must take time to focus on recovery for yourself and your family.
Being involved in any type of automobile accident can be a horrible experience for all involved. But a crash caused by an 80,000-pound semi-truck is horrific and leads to serious damages and injury. The usual causes of accidents involving 18-wheelers or semi-trucks vary, but often they involve the truck driver being negligent or reckless.
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Answering Your Questions
Who may be liable in a semi-truck accident?
A variety of people and entities may be liable for truck accident injuries. In addition to the truck driver, the trucking company, the truck manufacturer, and those in charge of truck maintenance may also bear responsibility. Additionally, if poor or dangerous road conditions contributed to an accident, you may be able to sue some government departments.
How a Truck Injury Law Firm Can Help You
The truck crash lawyers at the Steinberg Law Firm have handled many complicated cases.
We will start protecting your rights and start working on the case immediately. Large trucking companies and insurance companies have armies of lawyers on their side; you should have an experienced team working for your benefit so that you can receive the fair compensation you deserve.
After a crash with a semi-truck, there are many things that have to be done as quickly as possible to preserve evidence so that the cause of the crash can be recreated. With a serious big rig crash where one or more people have been seriously injured or killed, the trucking company will immediately send a team of investigators to the crash site in order to either gather evidence that will hurt you or even attempt to destroy or conceal evidence. Therefore, it is important that your team is on your side as quickly as possible.
These are only some of things the lawyers and staff will accomplish when you hire the Steinberg Law Firm:
To Help Fight and Win Your Case We Will
Examine the crash scene
Take detailed photographs and measurements at the scene of the crash, noting the lengths of any skid marks and locations of the vehicles.
Collect and maintain any evidence at the scene of the accident and ensure the “chain of custody” so that it can be used in court without claims of evidence tampering.
Obtain trucking company records
Obtain records from the trucking company about the driver of the semi including their driving log notes which are required to be kept by Federal law.
If necessary, hire our own crash reconstruction expert to look at all the evidence and give an expert opinion on what caused the collision and how the crash occurred.
Obtain police records
Acquire the police accident investigation report and any documentation, photos or measurements taken by the police while investigating the crash.
Collect witness statements
Find all witnesses and get recorded statements as soon as possible so that the information provided is the most accurate and no one forgets important facts.
Get the black box
Obtain the truck’s “black box” and preserve the data. Like airplanes, 18-wheelers have a black box that records all data about the truck in real time, including speed, direction and breaking action.
Common Semi-Truck Accident Injuries
Due to the size of these trucks, the injuries that are caused by a truck crash can be, on average, much more severe than in car accidents. Moreover, semi-truck accidents cause multi-vehicle collisions, affecting more people than just a car fender bender. Here are some of the common semi-truck crash injuries:
- Brain injuries: Brain injuries are common in crashes. Although newer vehicles are equipped with more and better airbags, there is still a chance of brain injury in a truck crash.
- Back injuries: Injuries to the spine and back are common in many types of accidents with all types and sizes of vehicles. However, due to the size of tractor-trailers, accidents involving 18-wheelers are more violent, causing more spinal cord injuries.
- Loss of limbs (amputations): When a smaller vehicle is struck by a speeding semi-truck often the smaller vehicle flips in the air. When this happens, the driver and passengers in the smaller vehicle are thrown out of the car, and in the process have arms and legs severed.
- Burns and death by fire: In most crashes, cars do not catch on fire. But due to the impact of a crash caused by an 18-wheeler, this can ignite the gas tank or fuel lines, causing vehicles to catch fire.
- Fatal truck crashes: Again, due to the size of these machines and the speed at which they travel down the highway, there is a higher percentage of fatalities when semi-trucks are involved.
In recent years, truck crashes accounted for 67 of the 1,030 vehicles involved in fatal South Carolina auto crashes, accounting for 6.5 percent of fatal accidents in the state. These semi-truck crashes took the lives of 49 occupants of other vehicles, 10 truckers, and 6 pedestrians.
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Pedestrian Hit by Semi-truck
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What Should You Do at The Scene of a Semi-Truck Crash
There are many things that people at the scene of a semi-truck crash can do that will help their case or the cases of friends and family that were also in the vehicle.
Get to safety
The first thing is to make sure you are not putting yourself further into harm’s way — for example, if your vehicle is on fire then get out of it immediately.
Next, assuming you are able, call 911 as soon as possible so that help can arrive for anyone that is injured, including yourself. The quicker an ambulance arrives the better chances the injured will have to survive. Also, the quicker police arrive the better they can direct traffic to help prevent subsequent accidents. The other reason that you want the police there is to be able to investigate the crash by interviewing witnesses and taking pictures. Once an accident report is generated, that document can be used later by the attorneys to determine who was at fault if a lawsuit is necessary.
Note the truck driver's behavior
Note if the truck driver is acting intoxicated. Check for the following: slurred speech and stumbling/falling over. Note if the truck driver is attempting to destroy evidence of being intoxicated by throwing away bottles or cans of alcohol from the truck cab.
Document the scene
Attempt to get the names, addresses, and phone numbers of everyone involved including anyone who could potentially be a witness.
If you have a smartphone take pictures so that you can record what the scene of the crash was like right after the crash. Take photos of the entire area so that, if necessary, your future personal injury lawyer will be able to get a good sense of the roadway and how the crash happened. We can not emphasize how important these photos will be going forward.
Be cooperative and honest with the investigating police officer when they ask you to provide a statement of what happened. Do not exaggerate anything but also do not leave any facts out, even if you think they might not matter.
Free Truck Accident Injury Consultations
In the aftermath of an injury-causing 18-wheeler accident, there are numerous damages for which you may seek compensation.
We understand injuries can prevent you from supporting yourself and your family, and we have the legal knowledge and skill to help you pursue financial compensation from the person responsible for your unnecessary pain and suffering. If you have been the victim of such an accident in South Carolina, our attorneys are ready to help you understand the scope of your legal options.
Potential Causes of Tractor Trailer Accidents
Every motor vehicle crash usually has one or more causes. The most likely cause of motor vehicle crashes is driver negligence, and truck accidents are no different. Negligence includes actions like distracted driving or driving too closely behind another vehicle and not being able to stop in time, or reckless driving such as sudden lane changes. However, due to the specific nature of tractor-trailers, their size, and the regulations that control drivers’ actions, the causes of truck crashes can be many. Here are some of the main causes of semi-truck crashes:
Speeding & DUI
A truck driver traveling at a high rate of speed will be unable to stop the truck in time. Semi-trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds and are difficult to stop. If the truck driver is faced with a sudden emergency and cannot stop in time due to speeding, then the driver would be negligent.
Driving Under the Influence
A surprising number of truck accidents are caused by drivers being intoxicated by alcohol or being under the influence of other drugs.
Falsified Log Books
Falsified Log Books
Federal law requires semi-truck drivers to only drive a certain number of hours in a 24 hour period. Once they hit that maximum amount of hours, they have to pull over and rest for at least 10 hours.
This law is in place to protect the truck driver as well as other vehicles on the roads and highways of America.
Often, however, a semi-truck driver falsifies the log book that keeps track of the hours, thus creating a dangerous situation and violating the law.
Every state has requirements for people to get their specialized license to driver trucks. Frequently, the trucking companies themselves hire and train drivers. Sometimes, corners are cut in the training and there are ill trained drivers on the road who cannot handle the big rigs properly.
While this may get drivers on the road more quickly, it also produces potentially dangerous situations for drivers and everyone else sharing the roads with them.
Truck parts can fail during use for several reasons. Due to wear and tear on the big rigs, there are bound to be mechanical failures such as break failures or tire blowouts. However, trucks are supposed to be inspected on a regular basis, and sometimes these inspections fail to catch problems.
Mechanical failures can also spring from poorly manufactured parts that should not have made it into the truck in the first place. When manufacturers and inspectors are negligent, all motorists are put at risk.
Overloaded or Improperly Loaded Trailers
Sometimes semi-truck crashes are caused not by the negligence of the driver but by the negligence of the people loading it.
If too much weight is loaded onto the semi, this could be dangerous and cause a crash. Also, if the cargo is loaded into the rig in an unsafe manner without properly being strapped down, the cargo could shift during transit, causing the vehicle to become unstable.
If you are seriously injured due to the negligence of a semi-truck or pickup truck driver, then you have the right to be compensated for your injuries. These types of crashes can cause devastating injuries that can rip a family apart. You should contact an attorney that has experience handling large truck accident cases so that, if necessary, a civil lawsuit can be filed against the driver and the trucking company.
Charleston, South Carolina Truck Accident Lawyers
Recovering Compensation After a Truck Accident
The economic damages that can be recovered may include the following:
- Property damage to your car and any items you may have had in the vehicle
- Unpaid medical bills and expenses related to your treatment and recovery
- Lost wages due to an inability to work while healing from your injuries
- Future lost wages due to a long term disability affecting your future earning capacity
Non-economic damages that you would be able to recover are more difficult to discern because your lawyer is not just adding up numbers. Non-economic damages include the following:
- Pain and suffering from your injuries
- Emotional distress, post-traumatic stress disorder, and mental suffering
- Humiliation and damage to your reputation
- Loss of enjoyment of life and relationships
Unlike semi-truck crashes that involve driver negligence, if the driver was intoxicated, you may be able to seek punitive damages from the drunk truck driver and the trucking company. Punitive damages can be awarded to the injured plaintiff not to compensate the plaintiff for any injuries, but to punish the drunk driver and the trucking company for their outrageous and reckless behavior.
This is why contacting an experienced semi-truck crash lawyer is very important in order to protect your rights. If you have been injured by a collision with a large truck, please do not hesitate to contact the lawyers at Steinberg Law firm at (843) 720-2800. We can answer your questions and help you recover the damages to compensate you for your injuries. The initial consultation is free.
Your Questions Answered
Car Accident Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, it is best to have a truck accident attorney. The law allows accident victims to file their own claims against negligent truck drivers, trucking companies, and insurance companies. However, most accident victims end up working with an experienced attorney for several reasons.
First, the personal injury recovery process can be a hassle, and it may be a lot to take on in the wake of a major truck accident. For example, you will need to gather all the appropriate documentation required to file your case, including accident reports, investigation summaries, medical records, receipts, and more. In addition, to accurately identify the full extent of your damages, you will need to forecast the value of your future damages, including any decrease in earning capacity and necessary medical expenses.
These tasks are generally better left for attorneys to deal with. Attorneys know how to locate records and compile them in an organized, effective manner. This can make the recovery process much easier on you and your family, so you can focus on your recovery rather than preparing your case.
Another reason why most South Carolina truck accident victims decide to hire a lawyer is because they do not want to negotiate with an unscrupulous insurance company. Truck drivers and their employers are almost always covered by an insurance policy. Thus, when you file a claim after a semi-truck accident, the insurance company is the party legally responsible for defending against your claim. Insurance companies know when an accident victim is unrepresented and will often try to take advantage of this. For example, you may open the door and hurt your claim by including completely legitimate expenses in your claim that the insurance company then turns around and uses against you.
For example, an insurance company may approach you with a low-ball settlement offer, knowing that you are in a desperate situation and probably need money quickly. However, by taking these initial offers, accident victims leave a lot on the table. A South Carolina truck accident lawyer will know what the insurance company needs in order to offer a fair settlement offer. Additionally, insurance companies know that a lawyer will not hesitate to take a case to trial if a settlement cannot be reached.
The final reason truck accident victims choose to work with an attorney is that most personal injury lawyers take cases on a contingency basis. This means that accident victims pay nothing upfront to bring their claim. A lawyer will only bill the client if they can successfully recover damages on the client’s behalf. Thus, there is no risk to working with an attorney.
If you suffered injuries and want to ensure that you are fairly compensated for your damages, reach out to a dedicated South Carolina truck accident lawyer for immediate assistance.
Three years. South Carolina imposes a strict statute of limitations on all personal injury matters, including truck accident cases. The statute of limitations requires an accident victim to bring their case within three years of the date of the accident. If you were involved in a truck accident and file your claim after three years, the court will most likely dismiss your case. When this happens, you will almost certainly be left with no way to recover compensation for your injuries.
There are, however, exceptions to the three-year statute of limitations. For example, if a minor is injured in a truck accident, they will have until they turn 19 to file a claim. Another exception involves accident victims who suffer a legal disability, preventing them from understanding their right to file a claim. For these individuals, the statute of limitations allows them to file a claim within a year of when they are no longer under the effect of the disability. However, the extension in time cannot exceed five years.
While it may seem as though there is ample time to file a truck accident claim, it is always better to start the process as soon as possible. To successfully bring a claim against a negligent truck driver or their employer, you will need to present the court with proof of the accident and your injuries. This requires a detailed investigation, and, as time goes on, it often becomes more challenging to gather the necessary documentation and locate witnesses. By reaching out to a South Carolina truck accident attorney as soon as possible, you will make it easier for your attorney to prove your case.
Every case is different, and damages vary widely between accidents. However, as a general rule, state law allows truck accident victims to recover compensatory damages and, in some cases, punitive damages.
Compensatory damages are those that pay injury victims for the impact that the accident had on their life. Compensatory damages consist of two types of damages: economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are those out-of-pocket expenses that you incur as a result of the accident. For example, common types of economic damages in a truck accident case include:
• Past medical expenses
• Future medical costs
• Lost wages
• Decrease in earning capacity
• Property damage
These damages are objective, meaning they are typically proven by presenting the court with medical bills, work records, or receipts. To identify the full extent of your damages, it is crucial to understand the overall impact that the accident had on your life and what expenses you may face as a result.
Non-economic damages provide compensation for the psychological and emotional effects of the accident. Non-economic damages include the following:
• Pain and suffering
• Loss of enjoyment of life
• Emotional distress
• Physical disability or disfigurement
Non-economic damages are much more subjective because accidents affect people in very different ways. Consequently, to prove non-economic damages, you must be able to present a compelling story about how the accident changed your life. Are you no longer able to play with your children or grandchildren because of your injuries? Do you suffer from depression or anxiety as a result of the accident? Are you still living with lingering pain months after the conclusion of your treatment? A skilled South Carolina personal injury lawyer can help you identify your non-economic damages and persuasively present them.
Notably, South Carolina does not impose limits, or caps, on the amount of economic or non-economic damages that you can recover (except in medical malpractice cases and those cases naming government defendants).
The last type of damages in a South Carolina truck accident case is punitive damages. Punitive damages are different from compensatory damages because, instead of focusing on making the victim “whole” again, they focus on punishing the defendant for their actions.
Punitive damages are not available in every case. Courts will only award punitive damages in cases where an accident victim can prove by “clear and convincing evidence” that the defendant’s actions were willful, wanton, or reckless.” For example, punitive damages may be appropriate when a truck driver was under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs but are not available in cases involving ordinary negligence. South Carolina law caps the maximum amount of punitive damages at $500,000, or three times the amount of actual damages, whichever is greater.
After being involved in a truck accident, life can feel like a blur. In addition to the physical and psychological effects, accidents also take a financial toll. While it may be difficult to look ahead during this challenging time, you must take certain steps to protect your health as well as your financial future. Below are a few things to keep in mind in the weeks and months following a South Carolina truck accident.
Report the Accident
After a truck accident, the first thing you should do is either call 911 or the local police or sheriff’s department to report the collision. Reporting the accident will ensure emergency responders come to the scene to determine if you, or anyone else involved in the accident, require life-saving medical treatment. Additionally, by reporting the accident, you create documentation of the incident, making proving your case much easier.
Collect Evidence From the Scene
If your injuries do not prevent you from doing so, it is a good idea to gather whatever evidence you can from the accident scene. While police officers will conduct an official investigation, you cannot be sure that they will not miss something. For example, you should take pictures of your vehicle, the truck, and any road signs or lane markings in the immediate vicinity. You may also want to talk with anyone who witnesses the accident, obtaining their name and contact information.
Go to the Emergency Room or Your Primary Care Provider
After a truck accident, your injuries may be obvious. However, that will not always be the case. If emergency responders offer to take you to the hospital to get checked out, take them up on that offer. However, even if they tell you that you are fine to go straight home, you must go to an urgent care facility or make an appointment with your primary care provider so a doctor can determine whether you suffered any less obvious injuries such as brain damage, spine or disc injuries, or soft tissue injuries.
Be Cautious Who You Speak to About the Accident
In the weeks after an accident, a representative from the truck driver’s insurance company will likely reach out to you to discuss the accident and your injuries. Remember, even if they come off as sympathetic, they are not looking out for your best interests. Insurance companies are interested only in settling your claim for as little money as possible, and anything you say to an insurance company representative can be used against you. Additionally, be careful about what you post on social media. Insurance companies have been known to dig up tweets and other social media posts. For example, if you claim you suffered debilitating knee injuries in an accident, you would not want to share a post from your recent ski trip.
Contact an Experienced South Carolina Truck Accident Law Firm
Even if you are not sure you want to bring a lawsuit, consider contacting a personal injury lawyer to discuss your situation. Once you have decided to move forward, having a lawyer’s assistance will make the process much easier for you and increase your chances of success. A lawyer can help you investigate the accident, prepare your claim, and negotiate on your behalf with the insurance company. If the insurance company is unwilling to extend a fair offer, your attorney will be able to take the case to trial without hesitation or delay.
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Contact a South Carolina Truck Accident Attorney
Talk to a Truck Accident Attorney in South Carolina at The Steinberg Law Firm
For a free review of your case, call us at 843-720-2800.
If you have been injured or otherwise harmed in a truck accident, we can help. Contact the truck accident attorneys at the Steinberg Law Firm today by calling us at 843-720-2800 to learn more about how we can put our extensive experience fighting for truck accident victims to work for you.