South Carolina’s roads are a vital part of the national transportation system. The heavy truck traffic of the Palmetto State also means a higher probability of serious accidents.
If you have been injured in a truck accident in Mount Pleasant, you may be entitled to significant financial compensation in a lawsuit against the trucking company or an insurance claim. To speak with a truck accident lawyer in Mount Pleasant, call the dedicated attorneys at Rikard & Protopapas today. We offer free consultations to prospective clients.
Causes of Truck Accidents
The number of serious truck accidents is increasing because there are more trucks on the road. At the same time, there are fewer experienced truck drivers to operate the vehicles.
Here are some causes of truck accidents:
- Fatigued operators driving when they should be resting
- Distracted drivers who do not have both eyes on the road
- Speeding drivers trying to reach their destination more quickly
- Trucking companies that cut corners by putting trucks on the road in poor condition
- Improperly secured cargo
In order to receive financial compensation, you would need to prove that the truck driver or the trucking company was negligent.
Serious Injuries From a Truck Accident
There is little chance that you or a loved one would walk away from a truck accident completely unscathed. An accident with an 80,000-pound truck will unleash a tremendous amount of force that can cause the following:
- Neck and back injuries
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Internal injuries
- Organ damage
- Lacerations and contusions
The fatality rate in truck accidents is also much higher than it is in car crashes.
Federal Trucking Regulations
The trucking industry in South Carolina is highly regulated by the federal government. These regulations touch upon practically every area of the trucking company’s operations. In addition, the state will administer the test that the driver must pass to obtain their CDL.
Federal trucking regulations include:
- Restrictions on the hours of service during which the driver can operate the truck
- Obligations to inspect and maintain trucks in roadworthy conditions
- Requirements for how cargo is to be loaded onto trucks
- Drug and alcohol testing requirements for drivers
- Minimum insurance coverage requirements for trucking companies
- Record-keeping obligations for trucking companies
The extensive body of federal regulations makes it even more crucial to be able to obtain evidence held by the trucking company. Our Mount Pleasant truck accident lawyers may obtain this evidence through the discovery process.
If you can prove that the accident was caused by the truck driver or the trucking company’s violation of a rule, it may be evidence of negligence in itself.
Who May Be Liable for a Truck Accident?
In the usual case, the truck driver will be working for a trucking company at the time of the accident. The legal rule is that, as long as the truck driver acted within the scope of their employment when the accident happened, their employer is legally responsible for the driver’s negligent acts.
It is vital for you to be able to sue the trucking company. You likely have suffered more serious injuries because you were in an accident with a large truck. The individual driver would certainly not have the assets to pay for your damages. The trucking company has at least $750,000 of insurance coverage (and likely far more) to pay for your injuries. If the trucking company does not have enough coverage, you can collect a judgment against their assets.
There are some cases where the truck driver is not an employee of the company itself. They may be in an independent contractor relationship.
For example, FedEx does not hire its own drivers but uses independent contractors for its routes. Independent contractors will still have an insurance policy of at least $1 million. In addition, you may still be able to sue the company that engaged the independent contractor for negligent hiring and retention.
Truck Accident Damages
Your settlement or jury award in a truck accident case will be higher on average than you would receive in a car accident for the following reasons:
- Your injuries tend to be more serious in a truck accident.
- The responsible trucking company has more insurance coverage than the average motorist.
- It is very rare, but there is a possibility that you can receive punitive damages from the trucking company if their egregious behavior warranted it; juries have been known to slap trucking companies with “nuclear verdicts” — verdicts meant to punish.
You have the legal right to be paid for all the damages that you have suffered, including:
- Medical costs
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Embarrassment and humiliation
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Emotional distress
Your family can file a lawsuit under South Carolina’s wrongful death statute if a loved one died in a truck accident. Here, your family is the victim, and your personal injury is the loss of your loved one. You can be paid for what your family personally lost when your loved one died.
How Our Truck Accident Lawyers in Mount Pleasant Can Help You
There is a lot at stake in a truck accident case. Given the severity of victims’ injuries, you may be looking at a large settlement or jury award if you can prove that the truck driver was responsible for the accident, and you have significant damages.
Our injury lawyers in Mount Pleasant will:
- Investigate the accident and gather the proof that you need
- Estimate your damages and help you prepare the claim
- Aggressively obtain evidence from the trucking company through the discovery process
- Negotiate a potential settlement of your claim or lawsuit
- Advocate for you by arguing your case in court
Contact a Mount Pleasant Truck Accident Lawyer Today
A Mount Pleasant truck accident attorney at Rikard & Protopapas will fight for your legal right to financial compensation after you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident. You must take the first step — which is reaching out to us for a free initial consultation. You can send us a message online or call us today at 803-978-6111.