WHAT MAKES TRUCKING ACCIDENT CASES DIFFERENT FROM CAR ACCIDENT CASES?
Some differences between car accidents and trucking accidents can be obvious. For one thing, passenger vehicles weigh approximately 4,000 pounds, while many semi-trucks can weigh as much as 40 tons. This means that the property damage and personal injury in a trucking accident can be much more severe, more often than not for the driver of the car. But there are also key legal differences that may not be as obvious. Unlike most car accidents, trucking accidents can also have extensive liability far beyond the driver or drivers involved in the crash, all the way from the company that employs the driver to the mechanics who service the rig.
With the potential for such catastrophic physical and financial consequences, it is essential to have a team of skilled truck accident attorneys to make sure your case is handled correctly and you recover every dollar to which you are entitled.
WHO IS LIABLE FOR DAMAGES AFTER A TRUCKING ACCIDENT?
While car accident cases are relatively straightforward, determining liability in a trucking accident can be a bit more complex and there are numerous potential parties who may be responsible to pay damages. In addition to the driver, it may be the trucking company, the manufacturer, the maintenance company, and even the cargo shipper. National and international shipping and logistics is huge business, so you can expect that each and every party will have a team of attorneys at their disposal – make sure you have an attorney to fight for you.
WHAT ARE COMMON CAUSES OF TRUCKING ACCIDENTS?
Global shipping and transportation are essential to our economy and way of life. But with so many trucks sharing the road unfortunate truck accidents are all too common. Accidents happen all of the time; many are avoidable and most of the time the cause falls into one of several common categories.
- DRIVER FATIGUE: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act regulates and sets strict limits on the hours that drivers may drive, how frequently they must break, and for how long. But with so much at stake and companies being on tight deadlines, oftentimes drivers spend more time on the road than is allowed by law. This can lead to sleep deprivation which can slow reflexes, motor function, reaction time, and may even lead to falling asleep at the wheel.
- DRUG OR ALCOHOL USE: With so many hours on the road, drivers may use drugs to offset the fatigue. Driving under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or medication is always a bad idea, but when the intoxicated driver is behind the wheel of a semi truck the consequences can be catastrophic.
- SPEEDING OR ROADWAY VIOLATIONS: Whether trying to make a deadline, hitting a daily quota, or simply racing to get home faster, drivers speed for any number of reasons. Regardless of why a driver is speeding or otherwise not driving cautiously, it is a danger to everyone else on the road and increases the likelihood of an accident.
- MECHANICAL OR ENGINE MALFUNCTION: Sometimes accidents are not the fault of the driver, but rather a failure or a fault somewhere on the rig. This can cause brake failures, tire blow outs, trucks swerving off the road, or any number of other crashes.
- LOAD ISSUES: Sometimes the cargo being transferred was either loaded incorrectly, at an imbalance, or comes loose during transit. That much weight moving that fast or abruptly can often lead to accidents.
- UNSKILLED OR UNQUALIFIED DRIVERS: Drivers go through rigorous training to obtain their CDL licenses, and oftentimes companies simply cannot find the manpower and are forced to hire inexperienced or unlicensed drivers. In some instances companies can even save money by intentionally hiring drivers with minimum or substandard qualifications. Driving a truck is not as simple as driving a regular car and a driver with a lack of experience can be a real hazard on the road.
- WEATHER CONDITIONS: New England is known for inclement and rapidly changing weather. A driver attempting to drive through hazardous weather when it simply is not safe to do so may be liable in the event of an accident.
- BLIND SPOT ACCIDENTS: Tractor trailers have four major blind spots about the vehicle and oftentimes accidents occur when either the truck driver or the other motorist are not aware of or heed the danger of a potential blind spot.
WHAT ARE COMMON TRUCKING ACCIDENT INJURIES?
Truck accidents that involve passenger vehicles can be severe. Two passenger vehicles colliding can certainly have devastating consequences, but a passenger car is simply no match for the size and power of a tractor trailer truck. The damage from such an accident may be irreversible and last a lifetime, saddling you with current and future healthcare and life expenses. The following are typical truck accident injuries:
- BACK AND NECK INJURIES: Your back and neck are made up a of a matrix of bones, tissue, and ligaments when can be very sensitive and fragile. Whiplash injuries, when the head and neck snap in a direction different from the body, are common in trucking accidents. These injuries can be difficult because the damage my not be apparent immediately following the accident.
- SPINAL CORD INJURIES: Spinal injuries can be devastating as they frequently result in permanent, irreparable injury. This can include loss of motor function, or partial or complete paralysis below the waist, torso, or neck. Spinal cord injuries may require ongoing treatment, medical operations, therapy, and accommodations to your home or automobile.
- HEAD AND BRAIN INJURIES: This may be as simple as a bump on the head resulting in a minor concussion, or as severe as a life-altering traumatic brain injury.
- AMPUTATION OR DISFIGUREMENT: Frequently trucking accidents result in someone being trapped or pinned in or under a vehicle for a period of time. Sadly, this may result in a limb becoming disabled or lost completely. This can require the use of a prosthetic, plastic surgery, or a lifetime of physical therapy and care.
- CUTS, BURNS, BRUISES, AND BROKEN BONES: With the speed and power of a trucking accident there is always jagged metal, broken glass, pavement, and even the possibility of fuel combustion. This can lead to all manner of cuts and burns ranging from the mild to severe. While they may not seem as life altering as, say, a spinal cord injury, they can still require extensive recover and result in significant pain and suffering.
- DEATH: Unfortunately, many trucking accidents are so severe that people do not survive. If your loved one died as a result of a trucking accident, either immediately or after the fact, you may be entitled to file a wrongful death suit. Of course there is no amount of money that can bring a loved one back or heal the pain of losing them, but there may be unpaid medical bills, funeral expenses, life expenses, and pain and suffering that needs to be accounted for and to which you may be entitled.
Contact a S.C. trucking accident attorney with Marin and Barrett, Inc. if you or a loved one has suffered injuries after a trucking accident in South Carolina. We are available 24/7 at (843) 642-2449 to help you recover the compensation you deserve.
HOW MUCH IS MY TRUCKING ACCIDENT CASE WORTH?
Like all cases, each Charleston trucking accident case has its own particular facts and circumstances that go into determining the amount of damages that may be recovered. Depending on your case you may be entitled to both economic and non-economic damages.
- Medical expenses, including past, present, and future bills
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation costs
- Lost wages, both from missed work and missed future earning potential
- Household bills
- Transportation costs
- Pain and suffering
- Anxiety and post-traumatic stress (emotional distress)
- Loss of companionship or consortium
- Lifestyle impairment
- Punitive Damages
In the most tragic cases truck accidents can result in death. Of course there is no amount of money that can bring a loved one back or fill the void left by their absence. Nevertheless, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim to recover funeral expenses, pain and suffering, and loss of consortium.
The monetary and intangible costs of a trucking can be staggering; in addition to the mounting medical bills, there is a good chance that you have lost your income and earning potential as a result of the accident. You may only have a limited opportunity to get the money that you rightfully deserve after an accident. Attorney Matthew Marin is a local Charleston 18-wheeler crashes lawyer who stands ready to fight for your rights to ensure a full financial recovery.
NATIONAL TRUCKING ACCIDENT STATISTICS
With trucking and transportation such a vital part of our economy, trucks necessarily spent countless hours and miles on the road. In 2018, large trucks and tractor trailers accounted for 9% of all miles traveled on the road. With all of the trucks and passenger vehicles on the road, accidents are an unfortunate reality. In 2018 alone, there were 4,761 people killed in trucking accidents – a 12% increase in a ten year period according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Authority. Of the 4,761 fatalities, 16% were the truck drivers themselves, while 67% were passenger vehicle occupants and 15% were pedestrians.
In accidents involving both a large truck and a passenger vehicle the statistical likelihood of survival weighs much more heavily in favor of the truck driver. In 2018, of the 2,212 deaths that resulted from fatal accidents between trucks and passenger vehicles, 96% percent of the deaths were the car passengers.
CHARLESTON TRUCK ACCIDENT INJURIES ATTORNEY
Across the country tens of thousands of people are injured every year in trucking accidents. If you or a loved one has been injured, suffered a devastating injury, or been killed in a trucking or semi-truck accident you have the right to seek financial compensation. The money you recover can help to cover expensive medical bills, make up for lost income while you recover from your injuries, and compensate you for the emotional stress of the accident and your injuries.
Attorney Matthew Marin stands ready to help you assert your legal rights and recover the money you deserve. Call us 24/7 at (843) 642-2449 for a free, no obligation truck accident case review and consultation.
To Learn More About Your Rights and Receive a Free Initial Consultation from a local Charleston Semi-Truck Accident Attorney, Contact us 24/7 at (843) 642-2449
YOU ONLY PAY IF WE WIN
HOW DO I GET STARTED WITH MY CHARLESTON TRUCK ACCIDENT CASE?
Your first priority should be seeking the necessary medical attention. Once you do that you will need to address the mounting medical bills and costs and should contact an attorney as soon as possible. The evidence you may need is often the freshest shortly after the accident, and you can rest assured that the party or parties responsible for your injuries will be gearing up for their own legal fight and you will not want to be left behind.