As part of the Upstate region, Greenville, South Carolina is one of the strongest manufacturing centers in the county. The city is also home to a diverse range of businesses and industries, from biotech to warehousing and distribution. Consequently, commercial vehicles like tractor-trailers, semi-trucks, big rigs, and 18-wheelers are constantly on the road throughout Greenville County.
Although important to the regional economy, trucks can also be a source of deadly accidents. Compared to other motor vehicles, they are huge, heavy, and can inflict devastating injuries when involved in a crash. If you have been injured or lost a loved one in an accident involving a commercial truck, let a Greenville truck accident lawyer at The Derrick Law Firm fight for the compensation you need to pay for medical treatment and secure your future.
Truck Accidents in South Carolina
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2019, there were over 5,000 people killed in truck accidents on U.S. roads. An estimated 71% of these victims were occupants of other vehicles and 23% of the truck drivers involved had previously been in an accident. In South Carolina, 8.6% of the 1,397 vehicles involved in fatal crashes were classified as large trucks.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents Around Greenville
In a lot of cases, truck accidents are caused by avoidable errors such as driver fault, defective parts, or poor loading practices. Below is a summary of the top reasons why preventable truck crashes happen in South Carolina.
- Driver Exhaustion: An alarming number of truck drivers stay on the road longer than they should, either because of employer policy or pressure to meet a deadline. Although the FMCSA states that long-haul truckers can only drive 11 hours a day and need to take a 30-minute break after the first eight hours, too many of them exceed the legal driving time and cause accidents due to sheer exhaustion.
- Intoxication: The blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) threshold for commercially licensed drivers is .04%, which is less than the .08% threshold for all other drivers. They are not permitted to consume alcohol within four hours of driving a commercial vehicle and can’t drink while on duty. Drinking and driving is a crime, regardless of the circumstances, and can have extreme consequences for everyone on the road with the drunk driver.
- Distracted Driving: Distracted driving is dangerous, illegal, and reckless, especially for truckers because of their vehicle size. When truck drivers take their eyes off the road even for a few minutes, they can cause an accident that injures and even kills other motorists.
- Speeding: More deliveries mean more profit for companies and a higher income for truck drivers. This type of pressure can motivate drivers to push for longer trips and speed to ensure that all deliveries are completed on time. When going too fast, they aren’t always able to brake or swerve in time to prevent a collision.
- Overloaded Cargo: Tire blowouts can occur on trucks carrying large loads. Too much weight can also cause them to tip over during a turn or lane change. In addition, flying debris or slipping loads pose a serious hazard to drivers, causing them to lose control and create dangerous obstructions on the road for other motorists.
- Vehicle Failure: While most truck accidents are caused by driver error, this is not always the case. Some trucking companies fail to properly inspect and maintain their fleets, and a defective part can cause a vehicle to suddenly become inoperable or crash. One of the leading causes of trucking accidents is brake failure.
Greenville Truck Accident Settlements
There are two types of compensation you can pursue after a serious truck accident: economic and non-economic damages. The former, which are quantified by invoices, receipts, and reasonable estimates, include:
- Current and future medical treatment costs
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning ability
- Property damage
Noneconomic damages include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
The value of your settlement will depend on the specific facts and details of your accident, as well as its anticipated impact on your life. An experienced Greenville truck accident attorney at During negotiations with insurers, The Derrick Law Firm will demand full and fair compensation for your losses and refuse any lowball offers. If the insurance company won’t pay you what your claim is worth, we can take your case to court to get the result you need.
Truck Accident Liability in South Carolina
One of the reasons why truck accidents are so complex is that there may be multiple parties involved. Depending on the cause of your crash, liable parties could include:
- The truck driver
- The owner of the truck
- The trucking company
- The parties who loaded the truck and/or their employer
- The truck manufacturer
- The manufacturer of a defective part, such as the brake or steering
A truck accident lawyer with experience and a proven track record of success is critical to getting a favorable outcome. With so many potential defendants, it can be difficult to assign and prove negligence, and the insurance company or companies responsible for compensating you will definitely be looking out for their own interests. The skilled lawyers at The Derrick Law Office have the experience and determination to identify who may be responsible for your injuries and demand compensation based on their share of fault.
What Should I Do After a Truck Accident?
If you’ve been injured in an accident involving a large commercial vehicle, your first step should be to seek medical attention. Call 911 and wait for the police and an ambulance to arrive. Even if you don’t think you’ve been hurt, go to the emergency room or see your doctor as soon as possible- some injuries (including traumatic brain injury) don’t show symptoms right away. You also want medical documentation to support your personal injury claim against the trucking company.
While you’re waiting for the police, use your phone to take photos and videos of the accident scene. Include the damage done to your vehicle and to the truck, the road conditions, and any visible injuries you and your passengers sustained. If there were any witnesses, get their contact information, as their statements can help prove your version of events.
If the truck driver remained at the scene, get their insurance details and contact information for their company. During any conversation, don’t make comments that could suggest you were to blame for the accident. You need to be careful what you say because the truck driver or trucking company may use your statements to minimize your compensation or deny it completely.
Once your injuries have been assessed and treated, you should seek legal representation. Cases involving commercial motor vehicles can be complicated, but an experienced Greenville injury lawyer can guide you through the process and fight for your rights.
Do I Need a Lawyer for My Truck Accident Claim?
You may be wondering whether you need a Greenville truck accident lawyer, especially if your injuries don’t appear to be serious. Wouldn’t it be easier- and less expensive- for you to deal with the insurance company yourself?
While the law does not require you to obtain representation in a personal injury case, you stand a better chance of receiving the compensation you need when you hire a lawyer. A personal injury lawyer knows how to assign a value to your claim, identify the party or parties responsible for the crash, and negotiate with their insurance companies for the money you need to cover your medical bills and other losses.
It’s also important to remember that trucking companies and their insurers are often reluctant to admit liability and have teams of attorneys determined to limit the amount of compensation they need to payout. That seemingly generous offer you receive at the beginning is almost certainly far less than your case is worth. If you accept it, you won’t be able to sue for more money if your injuries worsen later on or you realize that it doesn’t really cover all your losses.
By working with a lawyer, you have peace of mind knowing that an experienced advocate is in your corner. The personal injury attorneys at The Derrick Law Office know the laws that govern the commercial trucking industry and will use their knowledge and resources to get the financial recovery your case deserves.
Why Should I Hire The Derrick Law Office?
There are so many complex laws surrounding the commercial trucking industry that it can be difficult to bring a case against large corporations or insurance companies. The Derrick Law Office has been fighting for the rights of injured clients for over 30 years and knows how to deal with these companies and their counsel on equal footing.
We work closely with experts and accident reconstruction specialists to determine what caused your crash and who is responsible. We immediately notify the trucking carrier that it must preserve all evidence, including the truck itself, and subpoena the drivers’ logs and employment records, truck maintenance records, and other vital evidence that we then use to negotiate a fair settlement. Should negotiations fail, our attorneys are experienced litigators who can prove your damages at trial.
You can rest assured that no matter how hard the defense tries to deny responsibility, we will work tirelessly to win your case. We will ensure that your claim is filed within the three-year statute of limitations period and represent you with aggressive advocacy that gets results.
Talk to a Greenville SC Truck Accident Lawyer Today
At The Derrick Law Office, we have been serving clients in Greenville for over 30 years. We have successfully represented truck accident victims who have suffered physical and emotional injury due to the negligence of others and know how to take on this state’s largest and most powerful trucking companies and insurance carriers.
Our firm takes personal injury cases on a contingency basis, meaning that we take our fees from your settlement or award and if we don’t win, you owe us nothing. To learn more or schedule a free initial consultation, please contact us.