Charleston Truck Accident Attorneys
Sharing the road with semi-trucks is an inevitable part of driving on South Carolina’s highways and interstates. We often assume that the drivers behind the wheel are qualified, trained professionals who are closely supervised by responsible trucking companies. Unfortunately, this assumption can be as dangerous as the trucks themselves.
In fact, South Carolina ranks number 1 on the list of most deadly highways per miles driven in the entire United States. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration report released in March 2019, nearly 5,000 people are killed each year in the United States due to collisions with large commercial vehicles. What’s most alarming is that these numbers have been on the rise for the last 10 years.
State And Federal Trucking Regulations
Truck companies in South Carolina are heavily regulated by our state and federal government because of the life-threatening injuries that can occur from a collision. But too often, attorneys take a quick look at the truck accident, determine fault and proceed as if the collision occurred between two regular vehicles. This is a huge mistake that undermines not only the value of the case, but also the chance to improve the way a dangerous trucking company operates.
Trucking companies are required to maintain very high levels of insurance, but insurance carriers for trucking companies in Charleston, SC and across the state can be the most difficult to deal with. Truck drivers who cause serious collisions may be pressured by their supervisors to tell a different story than what actually happened. Irresponsible trucking companies may also try to hide the fact that the trucking accident’s true cause may have been negligent hiring, training or supervision.
The Importance of Having a Truck Accident Attorney
Here’s the good news for victims of trucking accidents: An experienced attorney can not only navigate around these problems, but may be able to use them to your advantage.
At Hoffman Law Firm, our lawyers and staff have handled trucking accident cases from beginning to end in Charleston, SC, and other parts of the state, all the way through trial – although most settle out of court. In our experience, victims of truck collisions will not receive full compensation unless their attorneys have investigated thoroughly and prepared a strategic plan. Simply put, you have to give the insurance company a reason to want to settle the case, and presenting the basic facts is usually not enough.
We are proud to offer free consultations, so contact us today to schedule yours.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
The personal injury attorneys at Hoffman Law Firm have handled a wide variety of accidents involving large trucks. While no two accidents are the same, we have identified some common causes of tractor trailer accidents:
- Poor hiring practices
Many trucking companies hire cheap, unqualified drivers to save money.
- Driver fatigue
Forcing drivers to stay on the road even though the rules require them to stop and rest can have devastating results.
- Inadequate training
While truck drivers are required to meet certain standards, some companies relax the rules to get new drivers on the road – often before they have completed the necessary training hours.
- Improper truck maintenance or cargo loading
To save time and money, some truckers do not keep their tractor trailers in top condition. Improper loading can also result in a South Carolina truck accident.
- Failure to enforce safety rules
When safety rules prohibiting cell phone use or other forms of distracted driving are not enforced and the company tries to cover it up, dealing with their insurance companies becomes even more difficult.
- Alcohol/drug use
Impaired driving is all too common, risking the lives of truck drivers and those sharing the road with them.
- Speeding or overtaking
When weather or other circumstances put truck drivers behind schedule, they may speed or drive recklessly to make up the lost time.
What To Do After A Truck Accident
Truck accidents are often more severe than car accidents, leaving those involved wondering what to do next. Our personal injury lawyers recommend following these steps:
- Report the crash.
If anyone is injured, call 911 immediately. Even if no one appears to be injured, call the police to report the accident.
- Move to a safe location if possible.
Move your vehicle out of the road if you can and turn on your hazard lights to increase visibility. Use reflective cones if you have them. Stand far away from the road and wait for help to arrive.
- Get medical attention.
Even if you do not require emergency medical attention at the accident scene, be sure to visit your doctor as soon as possible. What seems like a minor ache could hint at a serious injury, so it’s important to get checked out as soon as possible.
- Exchange information.
Document the driver’s contact information, insurance details and driver’s license number. Record the name and contact information of the truck company/driver’s employer along with the truck’s license plate number and other identifying information.
- Document the accident scene.
Take photos of the truck accident scene, including the damage to your vehicle. Getting photo documentation of your injuries is also advised.
- Contact an attorney.
Before speaking to the insurance company, call your truck accident lawyer in Charleston. Let them handle all communications with the insurance company to ensure nothing you say is used against you.
Obtaining Compensation After A Truck Accident
If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, it’s crucial to have an experienced personal injury attorney on your side. Attempting to handle your case on your own could have disastrous effects, not only reducing the compensation you receive but risking your family’s future.
Victims of South Carolina truck accidents may be entitled to the following compensation:
- Medical expenses (past and future – including surgery, medication, physical therapy, home modifications, etc)
- Lost wages
- Disability benefits/lost earning potential (if you are unable to return to work)
- Property damage
- Non-economic damages (pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of the enjoyment of life, etc)
In some situations, truck companies can be assessed separate punitive or punishment damages when they show a conscious disregard for the rights and safety of other drivers on the road.
Contact The Hoffman Law Firm Truck Accident Lawyers
After your trucking accident, do not speak to insurance company adjusters or investigators without legal advice. Most importantly, choose an attorney with proven experience in trucking accident cases in Charleston, SC and across the state – one who truly understands that your family’s future and wellbeing are on the line.
Hire your Charleston truck accident attorney quickly because much of the evidence, such as black box data, can be lost or destroyed. Be upfront with your attorney and your doctors about any pre-existing conditions. This can help prevent skillful defense attorneys from using minor or even innocent errors to portray you as a liar – and deflect attention away from their clients’ dangerous practices.
At Hoffman Law Firm in Charleston, SC, we believe that dangerous trucking companies must be held accountable. Working to ensure they take full responsibility for the harm caused can not only make a difference in the victim’s life, but can also force much-needed changes in the trucking company’s overall operations. We repeatedly hear from our clients that one of their primary motivators for pursuing their case is to try and prevent trucking accidents from happening to others. At Hoffman Law Firm, that’s our goal, too.
Truck Accident Frequently Asked Questions
How much is my truck accident case worth?
Trucking accidents are complex, with many factors contributing to the value of a case. Our Charleston truck accident attorneys will be able to estimate your case’s value once we have received more information – such as the extent of your injuries and vehicle damage. Schedule your free consultation to get started!
Do I need an attorney?
Given the complicated nature of truck accident cases, it is incredibly risky to proceed without the help of an attorney who has specific experience handling cases like yours. Here at Hoffman Law Firm, our team understands the unique rules and regulations that apply to truck drivers – and we have the resources necessary to get the results you deserve.
How is fault determined?
Our Charleston truck accident attorneys will investigate the accident scene, relying on black box data, eyewitness testimony, police reports, driver logs and more to get a more complete picture of the circumstances that caused your accident. We will then use this evidence to determine fault and build your case.
Is the truck driver or the truck company held liable?
An investigation will be conducted to determine what caused the crash – and who should be held accountable. In some cases, the trucking company will try to shift the blame to the driver to protect its reputation. Because determining fault between the two can be very tricky, it’s best to trust your case to an experienced truck accident attorney.
How long will it take to resolve my case?
Timelines vary, depending on many different factors. The insurance company will likely offer a settlement right away, but keep in mind that quick pay-offs often leave money on the table.
Should I give the insurance company a statement?
No, do not speak to the insurance adjuster. Let your attorney handle all communications with the insurance company. Remember, they are not on your side and will likely use your statement to their advantage – and your detriment.
What are some common truck accident injuries?
Common injuries include spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, burns, broken bones/fractures and whiplash.
Why are truck accidents more dangerous than car accidents?
When you consider that a fully-loaded truck or tractor trailer can weigh over 80,000 pounds, while a typical car weighs about 3,000 pounds, it is no surprise that collisions between the two are particularly dangerous. Also keep in mind that large trucks take longer to stop and are more difficult to maneuver.
How can I prevent a truck accident?
To share the road safely, always drive defensively around trucks. Give truck drivers plenty of time to react and stay out of the truck’s blind spots. Be extra cautious when driving in low-visibility/inclement weather and always obey the speed limit.
Am I still eligible for compensation even if I am partially to blame for causing the accident?
As long as your actions contributed to 50% or less of the accident, you are still eligible for compensation. The amount will be adjusted according to the percentage of fault.