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Truck accidents can be catastrophic and result in terrible injuries, leaving their victims in financial difficulty, stress, and pain. However, you should not be left to deal with these challenges alone. You deserve to be compensated and the trucking company should be held accountable for the harm you’ve suffered.
The Melonakos Law Firm wants to help if you were injured in a truck accident in North Carolina, South Carolina, or Georgia. Our firm focuses solely on personal injury cases, which has helped us secure more than $50 million in compensation for deserving clients to date. Recently, we helped a client get $2 million from a Canadian trucking company after a tractor-trailer collision left the victim with severe spinal cord injuries.
On this page, we discuss some of the common causes of truck accidents in South Carolina. If you were injured in a truck accident, contact The Melonakos Law Firm today. We can explain your legal options and help you pursue compensation for your injuries. You should not have to pay when someone else is to blame.
Truck drivers work long hours under considerable pressure, often with minimal human interaction. Perhaps unsurprisingly, fatigued driving is one of the leading causes of truck accidents.
Because of the danger and prevalence of fatigued driving in the trucking industry, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration enforces hours-of-service regulations for truck drivers. These include an 11-hour driving limit, 14-hour on-duty limit, and a 60/70-hour limit, which says a driver may not be on duty for more than 60 hours in a seven-day period or more than 70 hours in an eight-day period, depending on their carrier’s schedule. Drivers are also required to take regular breaks.
Truck drivers may feel pressure from their employers to push beyond these limits, which puts themselves and everyone else on the road at risk. If a fatigued truck driver causes an accident, the driver or their employer could be held liable.
Whether they work for a company or for themselves, most truck drivers are paid by the mile or the load, so they have an incentive to cover more miles in a shorter amount of time. Even without an employer’s insistence, many drivers on extended treks will increase their speed as the journey progresses, consciously or subconsciously trying to get to their destination sooner. An 80,000-pound big rig requires almost 400 feet to stop at just 55 mph, a distance that increases for every additional mile per hour. Speeding increases the risk of many different types of collisions, including multi-vehicle crashes, rollover accidents, and jackknife accidents.
Distractions are everywhere today, including in the cab of a commercial truck. Truck drivers fighting the boredom of long hours on the road can get distracted by various stimuli, including cellphones, CB radios, and onboard entertainment systems. A truck driver who gets distracted and takes their eyes off the road for even a moment could cause a serious accident.
Truck drivers must abide by strict rules and be tested regularly for alcohol and drug use. But even legal drugs, such as prescription medications, can result in impaired driving. Certain medications cause drowsiness, dizziness, or other side effects that make it difficult to operate a large truck. If a truck driver who causes an accident is found to be under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or medications, they could be held liable for any injuries resulting from the accident.
An aggressive driver may ignore right-of-way rules, tailgate the vehicle in front of them, change lanes without signaling, or otherwise act in an irresponsible and belligerent manner on the road. Such actions are often illegal and are always dangerous. An aggressive truck driver who causes an accident could be liable for their actions, as could their employer.
One of the most common truck accident causes is unrealistic time constraints on truckers. Trucking companies make money by delivering goods as quickly as possible. Companies that deliver more goods in less time make more profits. In pursuit of greater profit margins, trucking companies may pressure their drivers to travel faster than is realistic, safe, or legal. If a truck driver under severe time constraints causes an accident, their employer could be liable.
Another common cause of truck accidents is inexperienced truck drivers. The trucking industry has one of the highest turnover rates in the country. This results in many new truck drivers being hired. However, a truck driver in training is not making their employer any money. Consequently, trucking companies may push inexperienced or poorly trained drivers out on the road before they are ready. If a novice driver causes an accident, the trucking company could be held responsible for failing to provide sufficient training.
Properly loading a truck’s cargo is essential to maintaining safety on the road. If the load is imbalanced, something as simple as a sharp curve in the road could result in a terrible accident. If a load is unsecured and spills out onto the interstate, multiple vehicles could be severely damaged in the aftermath. Various parties could be liable for such accidents, including the truck driver, the carrier that employs them, the owner of the cargo, and any third party that loaded the truck.
Large commercial trucks must undergo strict maintenance and inspection protocols to ensure all parts and equipment are functioning properly. When a piece of equipment fails while in operation, such as a brake malfunction or a tire blowout, the driver could lose control of the truck, resulting in a devastating accident.
When a large truck and a smaller vehicle collide, the smaller vehicle can get wedged violently underneath the tractor-trailer in what is called an undercarriage accident. Undercarriage accidents typically occur because of driver negligence, poor weather conditions, or a combination of both. When a car slides underneath a tractor trailer, severe or fatal injuries can occur.
If you were injured in a truck accident in South Carolina, The Melonakos Law Firm can help you seek compensation from the at-fault driver, their employer, or other responsible parties. Contact us today for a free consultation with an experienced South Carolina truck accident attorney.