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Charleston, SC Car Accident Attorney
The Hartman Law Firm

Trucking Accidents

Commercial trucking accidents are almost never minor. The average semi, fully-loaded, weighs over 80,000 pounds. Put that up against the average car which weighs a mere 4,000 pounds. The outcome is usually catastropic.

Most trucking companies typically have dedicated staff to dispatch to accident scenes the moment they're alerted to a wreck. So while passenger(s) of the car are still trying to figureout what just happened, the truck company has a crew either on their way or already there, tampering with evidence.

The longer a person goes without contacting an attorney, the more time the tractor-trailer company has to recreate an accident to be in their favor. Time is of the essence when you've been in an accident with any sort of large commercial truck.

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?

Trucking accidents typically fall into two main categories: driver error and vehicle maintenance failure.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) released a 2019 Large Truck Crash Causation Study (LTCCS). The study is compiled of three years’ worth of truck accident data. It identifies 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)
  • Fatigue

A common reason for truck accidents is fatigue because of a 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 2019 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) study on distracted driving found that for fatal collisions involving commercial trucks, 5 percent were distracted, and 9 percent of those were distracted by their cell phones.

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.)
  • Lack of experience and/or inadequate training
  • Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol

Survivors of collisions with commercial 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
  • Paralysis
  • Spinal cord injury (SCI)

Medical expenses for treatment of these types of injuries are expensive. Severe injury victims often endure severe pain and suffering and lose wages because they're too injured to work. Medical expenses and lost wages are just some of the types of compensation you can recieve for your injuries.

Our Attorneys Can Deal With Trucking Insurance Companies

Personal injury 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 a truck crashes because it's 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 their insurance adjusters know the potential exposure for major lawsuits when a tractor-trailer causes an accident. They immediately start preparing their defense.

At the same time, you need an aggressive and dedicated law firm by your side to stand up to these companies and their insurers with their own experts and experience. Without adequate representation, you could end up with no compensation at all.

18-Wheeler Truck Accidents

Our country depends on our semi-trucks. Every item you purchase in your store has at one time or another been transported by a semi-truck. This is good news for every one of us as we can find what we need in almost every part of the country.

The bad news is that cars, vans, trucks and SUV’s that share the road with these large semi-trucks are driving down the road with deadly giants. Sadly, injuries and death occur every 16 minutes when a personal vehicle is involved in a collision with a semi-truck. These accidents tend to involve multiple vehicles, leading to more injuries and deaths.

Commercial truck drivers often share all the bad habits of other drivers, such as aggressive driving, driving drunk or under the influence, defective products, and more. Their actions put more people at risk based on their size alone.

What's unusual about a semi-truck accident is that often the trucking company will send an insurance representative to the scene of the accident. These agents are working hard to make sure it appears that the accident was not the fault of their driver. Some of these companies will even go so far as to attempt communication with the other parties.

Don't talk to any insurance company until you've talked to Frank Hartman. The insurance company wants to write you a check and disappear. Once you take the check you can't give it back, and more often than not, you deserved a lot more.

Contact the Hartman Law Firm now for your free 20-minute consultation

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Free Consulation and Case Evaluation

Frank offers a Free Case Evaluation and Consultation. He will visit with you at your convenience at your home or hospital bed to evaluate your matter. This is done on a case by case basis.

Frank Hartman opened The Hartman Law Firm, LLC in 2011 in Charleston, South Carolina. He chose Charleston so he could help his clients get the best results. He knows the people of South Carolina deserve better.

Frank concentrates his legal practice in several personal injury practice areas. His success in representing his clients is evident in the numerous case results cited. The office of the Hartman Law Firm brings a warm welcome and an understanding legal representation that you'll be hard pressed to find elsewhere.

Learn more about Frank's success in getting his clients the compensation they deserve in the Case Results and Testimonials pages.

The Hartman Law Firm, LLC

Serving North Charleston and the Charleston Metro Area

6650 Rivers, Ave, Suite 600

North Charleston, SC 29406


305 W Indian Ave

Folly Beach, SC 29439


Phone: (843) 300-7600

Email: frank@thehartmanlawfirm.com