When truck drivers cause crashes, they and their employers may bear liability, and victims may be eligible to seek compensation for the physical, financial and psychological damage they suffered in the accident. However, it is important to discuss the accident with a licensed Charleston truck accident attorney to learn whether you may have a case.
Find out if you have a case. Ph: 1-844-RESULTS
At Roden Law, our team of experienced attorneys has recovered millions in compensation on behalf of our clients, many of whom were victims of motor vehicle crashes. This includes a settlement of $900,000 for a truck crash victim who suffered facial fractures.
There is no risk or cost to meet with us – the initial consultation is 100 percent free and comes with no obligation to file a case. We also work on contingency – unless you receive compensation, we do not get paid for providing representation.
Call Roden Law at 1-844-RESULTS to learn how we may be able to help.
Can I Seek Compensation?
Our Charleston truck accident lawyers need to determine if your accident resulted from someone else’s negligence. That means we must prove you were owed a duty of care, the duty was breached, the breach led directly to your injuries and those injuries caused damages.
A duty of care is a legal duty, such as the duty for a truck driver to operate his or her vehicle safely to prevent accidents with smaller vehicles. Trucking companies also have a duty to hire qualified drivers, enforce safety regulations, drug test drivers, and take other reasonable steps to keep drivers and others on the road safe.
Our attorneys have experience building negligence cases on behalf of our clients. We are prepared to conduct a detailed investigation to gather evidence and build a robust case.
What Could be the Value of My Claim?
The value of your damages is based on your past out-of-pocket expenses for the accident and any psychological or emotional damages you sustained, along with possible future out-of-pocket costs. The more severe your injuries, the more your claim may be worth.
Some of the damages our attorneys may be able to recover compensation for may include:
- Hospital stays
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Future medical expenses
- Physical therapy
- CT scans
- Follow-up appointments
- Damage to personal property
- Physical pain
- Emotional suffering
- Lost enjoyment of life
- Lost companionship
You can discuss your damages in a free consultation. The attorneys at Roden Law are dedicated to pursuing maximum compensation for you if we find you have a case. We can help you gather receipts and other documentation of your damages, particularly emotional damages, which are hard to properly evaluate without help from a licensed lawyer.
Need legal help? Call our Charleston truck accident lawyers to learn more about how we may be able to assist you.
Roden Law: 1-844-RESULTS
Who Could be Held Liable for My Injuries?
Truck drivers are often the ones at fault for truck accidents. Many of these crashes are caused by reckless driving, such as:
- Drowsy driving
- Distracted driving
- Driving under the influence
- Failing to check blind spots
- Trying to take a corner too fast
Other parties may also be at fault for the accident. For example, the trucking company may be at fault for negligent hiring, if the driver was unqualified. The trucking company could hold liability for negligent maintenance of the truck, such as if it failed to fix a mechanical issue and it is linked to the crash.
Other potentially liable parties in a commercial truck crash may include:
- Third-party cargo-loading companies, if they were negligent in loading the truck and cargo was too heavy or poorly secured in the trailer
- Truck owners, who are responsible for maintenance and repair of the vehicle
- Manufacturers, such as the manufacturer of the truck or its components, if your lawyer can prove a defective or dangerous design led to the crash
- Company that leased the trailer
What is South Carolina’s Deadline for Filing a Claim?
There is likely a deadline for filing an insurance claim after a truck crash, which you can discuss with a licensed attorney to be sure you do not lose the right to pursue compensation.
Sometimes it may be necessary to file a lawsuit to recover compensation for your damages. In South Carolina, the deadline, or statute of limitations is just three years from the date of your injury. If you miss this deadline you may lose the ability to file a lawsuit over your accident. If you attempt to file, the case is likely to be dismissed in court.
While there are exceptions to this three-year deadline, this is something you can discuss with a licensed attorney in a free consultation. The clock may already be running on your ability to file a claim, so call today.
Charleston truck accident lawyers: 1-844-RESULTS
Who Regulates the Commercial Trucking Industry?
At the federal level, the commercial trucking industry is regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). At the state level, the South Carolina Department of Transportation regulates this industry.
These organizations set a variety of regulations designed to keep trucks safe to operate and ensure drivers are qualified and in the proper state to operate these vehicles safely. Commercial trucks weigh a lot, and they are much more difficult to operate than passenger vehicles. Driver errors are also difficult to correct because these trucks are harder to maneuver and bring to a stop.
Regulations on Hours Behind the Wheel
Drivers can only spend a certain number of consecutive hours behind the wheel to help decrease the risk for drowsy driving and falling asleep behind the wheel. Driving for a long period can also be physically demanding, increasing the risk of not reacting to hazards quickly enough.
There are several rules about hours of service:
- After being off duty 10 straight hours, drivers cannot operate the truck for more than 14 hours
- Drivers cannot drive more than eight hours after the driver’s last off-duty or sleeper-berth period that lasted a minimum of 30 minutes
- 11-hour driving limit after 10 straight hours off duty
Learn more on the FMCSA webpage on this topic.
In South Carolina, commercial vehicles cannot be more than 13 feet and six inches high without an oversized permit. The weight limit for trucks is 80,000 lbs. If there is an oversized permit, then the maximum weight is 90,000 lbs.
Drug tests are conducted at various times, such as before hiring, after accidents that result in serious injury or death, and when there is reasonable suspicion of drug use.
The test is a five-panel test, which looks for:
When drivers refuse random testing or show up late to a test, it is considered the same as testing positive. There is more information in the FMCSA brochure for drivers.
Whenever a driver tests positive for drugs or has a blood alcohol content of 0.04 or more, the driver must be immediately removed from safety-sensitive functions until he or she completes the return-to-duty process, which includes a drug test.
Roden Law’s experienced Charleston truck accident lawyers have knowledge of these laws and how they may apply to your accident. We are prepared to research relevant laws to help us build a robust argument for your claim.
What to do After a Truck Accident
Treating your injuries should always be the first priority after a motor vehicle crash. In a catastrophic accident, victims are likely to be transported away from the scene in an ambulance. Even if you are able to exit your vehicle and stand up or walk around after the crash, you may be transported to the hospital in an ambulance.
If you are not taken to the hospital, it is important to go right away so your injuries can be diagnosed and treated. It is common for adrenaline to mask the symptoms of an injury in the hours and even days following a crash. You may have injuries you are unaware of. Identifying and treating them quickly could not only help prevent them from getting worse, but it also helps to establish a strong link between the crash and the injury.
When possible, accident victims can try to gather evidence at the scene of the crash, such as pictures of the damaged vehicles and landmarks that identify the location of the crash. You can also jot down notes on things like, identifying information for the truck, the date, time and location of the crash, what you remember, and pain and other symptoms you are feeling. However, only concern yourself with gathering evidence if it is safe and you will not be putting yourself in harm’s way.
Accident victims should make sure to do what the doctor says as far as limiting physical activity, taking medication, going to doctor’s appointments or following any other recommended treatments. Failing to continue prescribed care could hurt your chances of recovering full compensation.
Calling an attorney is also an important step. Call 1-844-RESULTS to get started today.
Insurance Requirements for Commercial Trucks
Commercial trucks carrying non-hazardous cargo must have a minimum liability policy of $300,000 so long as the vehicle is under 10,001 lbs. and is carrying non-hazardous freight. For other types of freight, trucks need to have somewhere between $750,000 and $5,000,000 in coverage, depending on what is being transported.
You will likely be contacted by an insurance company after the accident, and they may be looking to settle. However, it is difficult to know the full value of your damages while you are still recovering. That means any settlement offered is likely to be for far less than your claim may be worth.
It is generally best to decline to give a recorded statement or give details about the crash, beyond the basic facts. You can refer insurance companies to your attorney, who can protect your claim and negotiate for fair compensation.
Avoid saying things like, “I feel OK,” or “I will be OK.” You may end up being OK after treatment ends but saying this gives the insurance company something to use against you to limit the value of your claim.
Common Reasons Truck Crashes Happen
Some of the most common reasons for commercial truck collisions include:
- Poor training
- Distraction (eating, texting, using the radio, using a GPS device, etc.)
- Falling asleep behind the wheel
- Breaking traffic laws
- Poor training
- Lack of experience
- Overcompensating when operating the truck
These causes are discussed in a study conducted by the FMCSA and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Among the crashes studied, they found poor decisions on the part of the driver were responsible for 38 percent of collisions.
Driver negligence can result in many kinds of crashes that injure those in passenger vehicles, such as:
- Rear-end crashes
- Jackknife crashes
- Rollover accidents
- Head-on collisions
- Lane-change crashes
- T-bone accidents
- Underride accidents
Call Today to Set Up a Free Consultation with a Charleston Truck Accident Lawyer
You may have a case, but our attorneys need to review the accident with you and find out what happened and how negligence may have been involved.
The consultation is free, and you are not under any obligation to take legal action after meeting with us. You pay no fee up front and our attorneys are not compensated unless you are.
Roden Law has represented many personal injury victims and has been able to recover millions in compensation on their behalf.
You do not have to come to us, we can come to you. You can also complete a Free Case Evaluation form to receive a call from our firm.