Columbia Truck Accident Lawyers Helping Victims Recover Damages
Commercial truck and big-rig 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 a tractor-trailer mean that a victim in a small passenger car is at an extremely high risk of suffering catastrophic injuries when involved in a truck crash. If you or a loved one were injured in a trucking accident, you would need the help of a Columbia, SC truck accident lawyer.
In 2012, about 317,000 accidents involved a large trucks. The main cause of on-the-job deaths for truck drivers is when they resulted from accidents. In the U.S., around 2.6 million people drive commercial trucks weighing over 10,000 pounds. When these kinds of trucks are involved in high-speed trucking accidents, the results can be devastating for many people.
Truck accident claims are complex and require quick and decisive action. This will 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. As such, you will likely need to hire a truck accident attorney to help you pursue full and fair compensation after a tractor-trailer accident.
Why Do I Need a Truck Accident Attorney’s Help?
It’s important to reach out to an experienced truck accident attorney after the collision. This is because investigating a truck accident is often complicated and frustrating if you try to do it on your own. After all, the claims process requires you to gather numerous details before you can even try to seek damages after a devastating truck crash.
In fact, an accident investigation is usually not complete unless the car accident attorney or individuals investigating the incident can able to review the truck driver’s logbooks and medical certifications. They also need to obtain data from the truck’s onboard computer, which would be difficult to do on your own, especially if you suffered injuries that you’re still recovering from.
Additionally, if you want to pursue a truck accident case, you’ll usually need a urine or blood test from the truck driver. However, if the proper legal request for this evidence is not made to the trucking company promptly, then this evidence can be lost or destroyed. This may negatively impact your truck accident lawsuit in the long run.
Another aspect of big-rig and semi-truck accident cases that make them complicated is that numerous parties often bear some measure of responsibility for the truck crash. Identifying and bringing suit against all these responsible parties is essential to obtaining full compensation. These at-fault parties can include:
- The truck driver
- The truck’s passenger, if he or she was distracting the driver in some manner
- The truck 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 Often 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 ten 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, reckless driving, 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.” Jackknife accidents occur when the truck driver slams down on the brakes extremely quickly to avoid an accident or comes to a sudden halt in case of a collision. When this happens, the tractor trailer’s momentum will cause it to keep pushing 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. Jackknife accidents can be especially hazardous since the spin takes place in multiple lanes of traffic, potentially causing a serious, multi-vehicle pileup that could result in severe injuries or death for the drivers of the vehicles involved.
Another common type of accident involving a large commercial vehicle is referred to as an underride collision. This happens when a smaller vehicle hits the side or back of the truck’s trailer, causing the vehicle to be partially pushed underneath the truck partially. Underride accidents can be especially fatal to occupants of smaller passenger vehicles.
Rollover accidents are also common when it comes to types of truck crashes. These are among the most likely tractor-trailer accidents to result in serious injuries and wrongful death, as they involve large trucks rolling over other vehicles. Rollover accidents most commonly occur on off-ramps and on-ramps to freeways, and they’re typically due to speeding, distracted driving, or improperly loaded cargo.
Sometimes, there isn’t one main issue that leads to a crash involving a truck or tractor-trailer. Other factors can make truck drivers less safe on the road. Some are out of the trucker’s control and aren’t always considered negligent actions, which shows that they aren’t necessarily automatically at fault. These factors include:
- Brake failure
- Driver fatigue
- Using prescription drugs
- Irregular traffic flow
- Driving with an overloaded or unbalanced cargo load
Regardless of the possible reason for the tractor-trailer collision, you should arrange for a free consultation with an attorney to discuss your options. During your meeting at a local law firm, you can let the lawyers know the details of the collision. At that time, you’ll find out your next steps on how to pursue compensation from the truck drivers or trucking companies that may be held responsible for the crash.
What Can Help Prevent Truck Crashes?
While many factors can cause truck accidents, the truck driver can control many of them. Truckers that are alert and practice safe driving tips could drastically reduce truck accidents. 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 to avoid drowsy driving
- Keep your eyes on the road, hands on the wheel, and stay mindful that you’re driving
- Don’t use your cell phone while operating a vehicle
What Should You Do After a Semi-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 soon after the accident occurred. Some injuries can more severe if they are not promptly diagnosed and treated, and this can result in you receiving less compensation than you might otherwise receive.
If possible after a truck accident, you should also try to:
- Obtain the names and contact information of any witnesses who observed the trucking accident
- Get as much information about the truck driver and his or her commercial 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 crash 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 lawsuit. 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.
What Kinds of Compensation Can Trucking Accident Claims Pursue?
If you’re thinking about hiring South Carolina truck accident attorneys to pursue compensation from a truck driver and/or a trucking company, you should get an idea of the compensatory damages to include in your personal injury lawsuit.
To start, there are economic and non-economic damages, both of which you can pursue in personal injury cases. Economic damages are meant to make you whole after an accident has required you to spend or lose money through no fault of your own. Some examples of economic damages include:
- Medical expenses
- Future medical care, like physical therapy
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Loss of earning capacity
You may be able to pursue non-economic damages, too, depending on what your South Carolina truck accident lawyer. These damages can include the following:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of quality of life
The compensatory damages you pursue will depend on many factors, including the severity of your truck accident injuries, evidence gathered from the accident scene, the cause of the crash, and recommendations from your personal injury lawyers.
The types and amount of damages you seek may also likely depend on who your case is focused on, such as whether you’re bringing a claim against the driver or the entire trucking company that employs him or her. You can find out more about these details regarding compensation when you schedule a free legal consultation with the South Carolina personal injury attorneys you choose.
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 accident 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 Solomon Law Group, LLC 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 803-219-8870 so we can assist you.