Sharing the road with big 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.
Trucking 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 trucking 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 accidents true cause may have been negligent hiring, training or supervision.
Examples of these poor practices include the following:
- Hiring cheap, unqualified drivers
- Forcing drivers to stay on the road even though the rules require them to stop and rest
- Not enforcing safety rules prohibiting cell phone use or other forms of distracted driving when these factors are present and the company tries to hide them, dealing with their insurance companies becomes even more difficult.
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.
Victims of truck collisions in South Carolina may be entitled to the following compensation:
- Medical bills (past and future)
- Lost wages (past and future)
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of the enjoyment of life
In some situations, trucking 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.
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 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 to prevent skillful defense attorneys from using minor or even innocent errors to paint 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.