Charleston, SC Fatal Truck Accident Lawyer
South Carolina Wrongful Death Attorneys for Semi-truck Crashes
According to the most recently available data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2021, approximately 42,915 people lost their lives in truck, car and other motor vehicle crashes in the United States. This amounts to more than 117 fatal accidents every day— the highest number of fatal traffic accidents per day since 2005.
South Carolina accounted for a sizable portion of the nation’s fatal crashes due to the high rate of fatal truck and other vehicle accidents. In 2021, 1,195 people died on South Carolina roads. These deaths included 192 pedestrians, 159 motorcyclists, 24 cyclists, and 814 drivers and passengers in cars and trucks.
According to the South Carolina Department of Public Safety (SCDPS) 2020 Traffic Collision Fact Book, fatal car accidents from 2019 to 2020 increased by 17.3%. Also, pickup trucks, truck tractors and other trucks showed a combined increase of 39.1%. Greenville County had 78 fatalities, Charleston County had 69 fatalities, and Berkeley County had 58 fatalities. These were among the highest across the state.
Why The Number of Truck Accidents Continue to Increase
While semi-trucks and other large commercial vehicles make up only a portion of the total number of cars on the road, big trucks are responsible for a disproportionate number of accidents. In 2022, there were 131 fatal collisions involving pickup trucks, truck tractors and other trucks. More specifically, the S.C Department of Public Safety (SCDPS) reports that more people died in fatal crashes in South Carolina in 2021 compared to the previous reporting year.
Most fatal South Carolina truck accidents occurred on U.S. interstates and state highways There are various reasons why the rate of truck accidents continue to increase. For example, data suggests that trucks are responsible for transporting nearly 80% of the country’s cargo. This increase of trucks on major Charleston roadways is likely a factor in the overall increase in fatal trucking accidents.
According to the SCDPS, truck drivers were at least partially responsible for more than half of all fatal and non-fatal accidents. Vehicle crashes that happen in rural areas often involve hitting objects such as trees at terminal velocities. In contrast, urban roadways often have wide shoulders and ample traffic controls to help guide drivers.
Causes of Fatal Truck Accidents in Charleston
The following are the most common causes of fatal Charleston truck accidents:
- Fatigued driving
- Distracted driving
- Drunk or drugged driving
- Aggressive driving
- Faulty equipment and tire blowouts
Can Truck Drivers Be Held Liable Following a Fatal Accident?
If a truck driver’s negligence causes a fatal South Carolina truck crash, the truck driver and the trucking company can be held financially responsible through a wrongful death lawsuit. A wrongful death lawsuit is similar to other personal injury claims, the primary difference being that the claim is brought by the administrator or executor of the deceased accident victim’s estate.
In most cases, a court will appoint a family member to serve as the administrator if the accident victim did not name an executor in their will. An administrator or executor must act in the estate’s best interest, which means pursuing a wrongful death claim whenever appropriate. The decision to pursue a wrongful death claim is left to the discretion of surviving loved ones.
In most cases, the company that employs a negligent truck driver can also be held liable for the loss of life following a tragic truck crash. This is because the law holds employers accountable for the negligent acts of their employees whenever they act within the scope of their employment. Naming a trucking company in a fatal South Carolina trucking accident case is imperative because trucking companies have insurance policies with higher limits, meaning accident victims will be able to collect full and fair compensation for what they’ve been through.
Damages in a South Carolina Fatal Truck Accident Lawsuit
Families that pursue a wrongful death claim after a fatal truck accident are entitled to recover compensation for what they have been through. While the exact amount of compensation varies depending on the surrounding facts, families can recover for the following types of damages:
- Lost income that the deceased accident victim would have contributed to the household;
- Loss of care, protection, and companionship the accident victim would have provided to their family;
- Mental anguish suffered by surviving family members; and
- Funeral and burial expenses.
In some cases, families may also be eligible to collect punitive damages. Punitive damages are meant to punish a driver or trucking company for their especially egregious conduct and deter others from acting similarly. Although punitive damages are not available in every case, they can be substantial when awarded.
Have You Lost a Loved One in a South Carolina Truck Crash?
You are undoubtedly going through a tough time if you recently lost a family member due to a South Carolina truck accident. At the Steinberg Law Firm, we recognize your challenges and want to help in any way we can.
If you believe that your loved one’s death was preventable, and was caused by a truck driver’s negligence, give us a call to schedule a free consultation. We can advise you of your rights, explain the recovery process, and provide you with an honest assessment of your case.
If you decide to bring a claim with the Steinberg Law Firm, there is no fee until we collect compensation for you. To learn more and to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case, call 843-720-2800.
WE HAVE RECOVERED OVER $500 MILLION FOR CLIENTS IN THE LAST 10 YEARS, INCLUDING:
Leaders in the Legal Industry
Steinberg attorneys have been awarded numerous distinctions, such as Super Lawyers, Best Lawyers in America by U.S. News & World Report, Gedney M. Howe, Jr. Award for Outstanding Public Service, the SC Leadership in Law award, and has been voted Best Workers’ Comp Firm in SC, among other distinctions.
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