Tractor-trailers or eighteen wheelers are importation to the economy of our state and our nation at large. However, when an eighteen wheeler is involved in a collision or accident the damage is catastrophic because of how big they are. In fact, it is often other drivers and their passengers in automobiles who are injured or killed.
In South Carolina, there were 82 fatalities as a result of crashes involving tractor-trailers in the year 2012, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). There were 12 fatalities in Berkeley, Charleston, and Dorchester counties combined in the calendar year 2012.
We will pursue evidence about your collision immediately following your contact of our firm. We will be looking for the following:
Evidence at the scene — We send investigators and accident reconstruction experts to the scene to measure skid marks, photograph the vehicles, interview witnesses, and analyze the debris field.
The “black box” — Many tractor-trailers (and many passenger cars) carry an on-board data recorder that yields important evidence about the speed at impact and distance traveled before the crash. We will recover this data when available to help prove our case.
Driver’s logs — Federal regulations mandate a specific period of rest between driving stints. We match the logs against other evidence to determine if the trucker was likely fatigued, speeding, or illegally doctoring the books.
If you have been hurt or lost a loved one in a truck crash, the law firm of Hartman Law Firm, L.L.C. is here to help you. Our Charleston truck accident firm can offer legal guidance and advocacy that’s personalized to your circumstances. Call us today toll free or use our online form to get a free, no-obligation consultation.
Commercial Truck Accidents in Charleston
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) said in November 2011 that there were 286,000 wrecks involving large trucks (tractor-trailers, 18-wheelers, semis, big rigs, etc.) in the U.S. in 2009. These accidents resulted in 3,380 deaths and 74,000 injuries.
What Causes Truck Accidents in South Carolina?
The causes of trucking accidents typically fall into two main categories: driver error and vehicle maintenance failure.
The FMCSA’s 2007 Large Truck Crash Causation Study (LTCCS) compiled three years’ worth of truck accident data. The study identified the top 10 factors for truck accidents:
- Brake problems
- Traffic flow interruption (congestion, previous crash)
- Prescription drug use or other forms of intoxicants
- Traveling too fast for conditions
- Unfamiliarity with roadway
- Required to stop before crash (traffic control device, crosswalk)
- Obstructed vision or failure to keep a proper lookout (not seeing traffic, another vehicle or obstacle)
A common reason for truck accidents is when the driver is tired for lack of sleep. These drivers have tight schedules for delivery and oftentimes will continue driving to make the time. Their decision to drive while fatigued can be very dangerous. Being tired can lead to falling asleep at the wheel, which can lead to catastrophic results for the surrounding cars.
Truck drivers also drive distracted, texting, emailing, or otherwise diverting their attention from their immediate surroundings. Use of cell-phones or other devices has been banned by the FMCSA, however it still occurs.
A 2010 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) study on distracted driving found that, for collisions involving commercial trucks resulting in fatality, 5 percent were distracted, and 9 percent of those were distracted by their cell phones.
Truck drivers’ lack of experience, improper or inadequate training, and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (prescription or illegal) are known to contribute to driver error.
Other common causes of tractor-trailer accidents include:
- Overloaded trucks
- Oversized trucks
- Driving in conditions of poor visibility due to fog, snow, rain, or smoke
- Driving at high speeds beyond the road and weather conditions
- Failure to yield the right of way
- Aggressive driving behavior (speeding, tailgating, inappropriate lane changes, etc.)
Survivors of collisions with tractor-trailer trucks often require a lifetime of care. They may suffer severe injuries that include:
- Back injury
- Broken bones
- Loss of limbs
- Internal bleeding
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI) or other brain damage
- Spinal cord injury (SCI)
The medical expenses can be high. Victims who are severely injured endure pain and suffering and lose wages because they cannot work. That’s why it’s important to seek help from a truck accident attorney experienced with Charleston and South Carolina courts to help obtain compensation for losses incurred in a truck accident.
Our Attorneys Can Deal With Trucking Insurance Companies
Trucking litigation involves claims against negligent truck drivers and the companies who hire them.
But the trucking company might be at fault if their driver was speeding or fatigued because the company sets strict or unreasonable deadlines for its drivers. If the truck crashes because it is overloaded, the driver is responsible, but the company may also be partially to blame.
If a tire blowout or brake system failure is the cause of the truck accident, then a manufacturer or distributor might be held liable.
Trucking companies and insurance adjusters know the potential exposure for major lawsuits when a tractor-trailer causes an accident. They immediately start preparing their defense. It helps to have an aggressive and dedicated law firm by your side to stand up to these companies and their insurers with their own experts and experience.
Contact a Charleston Truck Accident Lawyer Today
Truck accident cases can be complex. Proving negligence in a crash that involves a tractor-trailer takes an investment of time, experience and resources.
If you have been injured in an accident involving a tractor-trailer, 18-wheeler, semi or another large commercial truck, the Charleston truck accident firm of Hartman Law Firm, L.L.C. can help you obtain the compensation you need and deserve. Call us today toll free or complete our online form. We can give you a free, no-obligation case evaluation.[contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"]