Why Choose Stewart Law Offices
Our team of commercial truck accident lawyers has helped many clients receive fair compensation for their injuries. Our case results speak for themselves with several multimillion-dollar victories achieved for truck accident victims and their families. We have the experience and resources necessary to advance your case and pursue maximum compensation for your injuries.
When you hire a truck accident lawyer from our law firm, you get the following:
- A team of lawyers with extensive experience advancing truck accident lawsuits on behalf of our clients.
- Support staff to help investigate, gather evidence, and prepare your truck accident claim.
- A commitment not to charge any fees unless we recover compensation on your behalf per our contingency-fee* basis for billing.
- A clear legal strategy designed to help maximize your recovery while minimizing stress in your life.
- A strong community of support that allows you to focus on your recovery while we fight to protect your rights.
- An advocate who will communicate with insurance adjusters and fight for a fair settlement from the insurance company.
- Dedicated legal representation at every stage of your case.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
If you were in an accident involving a tractor-trailer, you might not know what ultimately caused the accident. Our truck accident lawyers can investigate your case and determine if any of the following common causes contributed to the truck crash:
Truck drivers work long hours and may have to sleep during the day, which can be difficult. This puts them at risk of falling asleep while behind the wheel. While the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration mandates rest breaks and maximum hours truck drivers can work, some drivers and truck companies violate these rules to get their shipments across the country faster.
Truck drivers who engage in distracted driving do not give their full attention to the roadway as they should. Distracted driving may include:
- Talking on a cell phone
- Sending text messages
- Watching videos
- Using in-vehicle controls and GPS units
- Eating or drinking
Drunk or Impaired Driving
Some truck drivers turn to drugs or alcohol. While drunk driving is dangerous enough when a driver is behind the wheel of a passenger vehicle, it is infinitely more dangerous when the driver is behind the wheel of a large commercial truck.
Any time a driver speeds, they increase the odds they will get into a wreck because they are more likely to lose control of their vehicle or do not have adequate time to stop their vehicle before crashing. Truckers are at an increased risk of crashes because commercial trucks are much more difficult to operate.
Federal regulations require cargo to be loaded and secured in a certain manner to prevent the loads from becoming unbalanced or falling off the truck during transit. Unbalanced loads can increase the likelihood of a truck accident.
Defective Vehicle Parts
Defective vehicle parts can cause mechanical failures that result in serious truck accidents. Parts can also become worn and can fail if they are not properly maintained.
If you were hurt in an 18-wheeler accident in South Carolina, contact Stewart Law Offices to speak with a passionate lawyer who will fight for you.
Why Are Tractor Trailer Accidents Different?
When people are hurt in accidents with a semi-truck or other large commercial vehicles, they often mistakenly believe that the process of getting compensation will be the same as any other car accident. This is usually not the case. Truck accident claims are often quite different from passenger vehicle accident claims. The following are some reasons why truck accident claims are different:
- Higher risk of severe injury
- Increased risk of death
- Significant property damage
- Different regulations
- Larger insurance policies
Evidence in South Carolina Truck Accident Claims
Proving fault after a truck accident can be challenging. It is vital to hire an attorney who can collect the evidence necessary to build a persuasive case on your behalf. Evidence that could help bolster your truck accident case includes:
- Damage to your vehicle: The visible signs of damage to your vehicle are often some of the most compelling evidence in any truck accident case.
- Driving logs: Truck drivers are required to keep a logbook of hours driven. It is a criminal offense to falsify a logbook and doing so could result in federal penalties, including six months in jail. The driver’s log could prove to be a vital piece of evidence in some cases, especially when driver fatigue is in question.
- Inspection reports: Commercial vehicles must be inspected to make sure that they are in safe operable condition. The trucking company could be considered negligent if the vehicle misses an inspection
- Maintenance logs: Vehicles must undergo routine maintenance before making trips. If proper maintenance is not performed, the truck could be unfit for the road, and the company could be liable for accidents that occur.
- Cargo logs: The weight of the cargo and how it was loaded could be vital evidence in your case. Overweight trailers can cause serious problems with steering and braking and could be the cause of your crash.
- Electronic monitoring data: Data from the vehicle’s “black box” could show that the driver was speeding, failing to brake, or driving over the number of legally permitted driving hours. This information is automatically recorded and getting access to that information is valuable in many cases.
- Substance abuse test results: Trucking companies may have records of drug and alcohol tests administered to their drivers. If a driver was inebriated or had a history of failed tests, that evidence could be a factor in your claim.
- Other employer records: Records including background checks, hiring, training and discipline, and company policies could be crucial pieces of evidence for your injury claim.
Who Is Responsible for Truck Crashes?
The trucking industry consists of many moving parts. Any of the following parties may be to blame for the accident:
- Truck driver – The truck driver may be one of the first liable parties you look to. The driver’s negligence may be to blame if the accident was due to the driver speeding, driving while fatigued, or otherwise engaging in careless driving behavior.
- Trucking company – The trucking company may be responsible for a truck accident that was caused by its own negligence, such as negligent hiring practices. The trucking company’s responsibility also extends to its employees, so if a driver’s negligence causes a truck accident, the company may ultimately be held liable for the driver’s actions.
- Maintenance company – If a third party maintains the fleet and a mechanical failure caused the accident, the maintenance company may be to blame for the trucking accident.
- Cargo-loading company – An accident caused by an unbalanced load may be due to the cargo-loading company failing to properly load or secure it.
- The truck manufacturer or parts manufacturer – If defective vehicle parts contributed to the accident, the truck or parts manufacturer may be responsible for the trucking accident.
How to Prove the Trucking Company Is Responsible
Truck accident lawyers can investigate the truck accident and determine how it happened by:
- Reviewing the accident scene and police report, including pictures and videos of the accident, damage to vehicles, and physical evidence like skid marks
- Interviewing witnesses who saw the accident
- Hiring accident reconstruction experts who can input data and theorize how the truck crash occurred
- Reviewing records from the trucking company, including employment records, inspection records, driver logs, the truck driver’s driving record, vehicle maintenance records, and safety records
- Demanding evidence from the truck company that can provide key data points prior to the accident, such as black box data
Possible Compensation for Truck Accident Victims
If you were hurt in a truck accident, you may be able to recover compensation for the harm you have suffered. We can pursue compensation for the economic damages you have suffered, which may include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Out-of-pocket expenses
Additionally, we can also pursue compensation for non-economic damages, such as mental anguish and pain and suffering. A tractor-trailer accident lawyer from our law firm can review the circumstances of your case and determine what compensation may be available for your truck accident claim.
How Long Do You Have to File a Tractor Trailer Accident Injury Claim?
The statute of limitations to file a truck accident claim varies from state to state. South Carolina Code of Laws 15-3-530 requires accident victims to file an injury claim within three years of the date of the accident. Any claims filed after that time will not be heard by the court unless a very narrow exception applies.
Because truck accident claims require so much investigation, collection and preservation of evidence, and evaluation of the different parties’ actions, it is crucial that you hire an attorney as soon as possible to get started on your case. Your attorney can conduct a thorough investigation, negotiate with the insurance companies, and if a fair settlement is not offered, file a lawsuit within the state’s required time limit.
If you were injured in a tractor-trailer accident, contact a South Carolina truck accident lawyer from our personal injury law firm for your free consultation