Commercial truck accidents in South Carolina are serious events. Collisions between two or more smaller vehicles may cause minor or major injuries, but serious injuries are practically guaranteed in a truck accident. The sheer size and weight of an 18-wheeler mean that a victim in a small passenger car is at an extremely high risk of suffering catastrophic injuries when involved in a crash. If you or a loved one was injured in a big rig wreck, you need the help of a Columbia, SC truck accident lawyer.
In 2012, about 317,000 accidents involved a large truck. The main cause of on-the-job deaths for truck drivers is when they get in an accident. In the U.S., there are around 2.6 million people that drive commercial trucks that weigh over 10,000 pounds. When these kinds of trucks are involved in high-speed crashes, the results can be devastating.
Truck accident lawsuits are complex and require quick and decisive action to ensure that the responsible parties are identified, important evidence is preserved, and your opportunity to obtain full compensation for your injuries and losses is maximized.
Truck Accidents Are Inherently Complicated
Investigating a truck accident can be both complicated and frustrating, especially if you attempt to do so on your own. An accident investigation is usually not complete unless the attorney or individuals investigating the incident are able to review the truck driver’s logbooks and medical certifications and obtain data from the truck’s onboard computer.
A urine or blood test from the truck driver may also be warranted. However, if the proper legal request for this evidence is not made promptly, then this evidence can be lost or destroyed. This may negatively impact your truck accident lawsuit.
Another aspect of truck accident cases that make them complicated is that there are often numerous parties who bear some measure of responsibility for the crash. Identifying and bringing suit against all these responsible parties is essential to obtaining full compensation. These at-fault parties can include:
- The driver of the truck
- The truck’s passenger, if he or she was distracting the driver in some manner
- The driver’s employer
- The person or company responsible for loading the driver’s freight
- The truck’s mechanic
- The truck’s manufacturer or the manufacturer of a failed part on the truck
What Factors Lead to Truck Accidents?
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health released information about truck drivers in 2010. There’s a large portion of truck drivers who make dangerous decisions and have unsafe driving practices.
- 32% didn’t have a written safety program with their employer
- 15% drove over the speed limit by 10 mph or more
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration listed three critical events that cause trucking accidents:
- Swerving out of their lane and into another lane or off the road
- Loss of control because of speeding, inclement weather, or vehicle failure
- Crashing into the back of another vehicle in front of the truck
It’s also possible for a truck to do a maneuver referred to as “jackknifing” when the driver slams down on the brakes extremely quickly to avoid an accident or comes to a sudden halt in case of a collision. The trailer’s momentum will cause it to keep rushing forward as the cab slows, forcing the trailer to spin to the side. The resulting shape looks like a “V”, similar to the motion a jackknife makes when unfolding. These can be especially dangerous since the spin takes place in multiple lanes of traffic, potentially causing a serious, multi-vehicle pileup.
Another common type of accident that results is referred to as an underride collision, when a smaller vehicle hits the side or back of the truck’s trailer, causing the vehicle to partially be pushed underneath the truck. These types of accidents can be especially fatal to occupants of the smaller car.
Sometimes, there isn’t one main issue that leads to a truck accident. Other factors can make truck drivers less safe on the road. Some are out of the trucker’s control, which shows that they aren’t always automatically at fault. These factors include:
- Brake failure
- Unfamiliar with route
- Using prescription drugs
- Irregular traffic flow
- Driving with an overloaded or unbalanced cargo load
What Can Help Prevent Truck Accidents?
While so many factors can cause truck accidents, the truck driver can control a lot of them. Truckers that are alert and practice safe driving tips could drastically reduce truck wrecks. Some basic safety tips that could help truckers make the roads safer for everyone include:
- Buckle up
- Take frequent breaks and get plenty of sleep
- Keep your eyes on the road, hands on the wheel, and stay mindful that you’re driving
- Don’t use your phone while driving
What to Do After a Columbia Truck Accident
If you or a loved one has been injured in a Columbia truck accident, your primary concern should be to obtain immediate medical treatment for any injuries you sustained. Even if you feel fine, you should still visit a medical professional as soon as possible. Some injuries can become more severe if they are not promptly diagnosed and treated, and this can result in you receiving less compensation that you might otherwise receive.
If possible, you should also try to:
- Obtain the names and contact information of any witnesses who observed the accident
- Get as much information about the driver of the truck and his or her vehicle as possible (name, employer, truck description, license plate number, registration number, etc.)
- Write down your recollection of events as soon as possible after the event so that your memory is preserved
- Don’t apologize for the accident. While you might want to say “I’m sorry” after the shock of a crash, this will imply that you were somehow at fault and you might not get full compensation for your injuries.
What Will Help Your Truck Accident Claim?
Evidence of how the other driver’s negligence caused the accident and affected you will help your claim. While you can gather a lot of evidence right after the accident, you need other crucial documents that come later.
- Provide the police report about the accident. This will help determine who was at fault. You might have thought it was the truck driver’s fault, but the report could show that they experienced a brake failure.
- Have copies of your medical bills, medication, and other documents about your recovery from the crash.
- Photos of the accident and your injuries.
- Proof of lost wages.
When you show this evidence, you increase your chances of getting full compensation.
How Can a Columbia, SC Truck Accident Lawyer Help?
When you or a loved one is recovering from a truck accident, the last thing you want to worry about is filing a claim. You need a skilled lawyer who will look out for your legal rights and help you get the justice you deserve.
Contact the experienced South Carolina truck accident lawyers of The Solomon Law Group as soon as possible after your accident. We have helped numerous truck accident victims recover compensation for their injuries following a tragic wreck. Contact us right away at (877) 323-3120 so we can assist you.