Commercial Truck Accident Liability: Who Is Held Responsible After Accidents?

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The South Carolina Ports Authority, which includes Charleston, Georgetown, and several other commercial ports in the state, handles over $75 billion of cargo. Almost all this freight either arrives at or departs the port on a large truck. So, it is little wonder that these massive vehicles are a regular feature on the highways of the Palmetto State.

When a large truck causes a crash, the resulting injuries, such as serious burns and head injuries, are often catastrophic. So, a Lake Wylie truck crash lawyer can normally obtain substantial compensation for these victims. However, as outlined below, these claims can be rather complex.

First Party Liability

Driver fatigue is one of the leading causes of truck crashes in South Carolina. Usually, the company’s policies are the root cause of operator fatigue. 

Alcohol and fatigue have basically the same effect on a person’s brain and body. These effects include slow reflexes and impaired judgement. In fact, driving after eighteen hours without sleep is like driving with a .05 BAC level. That’s above the legal limit for commercial operators in South Carolina.

Both the state and federal government have strict laws which limit driving hours. If a driver violates these laws and causes injury, the driver could be liable for damages as a matter of law.

Victim/plaintiffs can also use circumstantial evidence to prove fatigue. The time is a good example. Most people are naturally drowsy early in the morning, around midday, and late at night. The driver’s medical records might be relevant as well. Some people have medical conditions, such as sleep apnea, which deprive them of deep, retroactive rest.

Compensation is available if the victim/plaintiff proves, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the driver’s fatigue substantially caused the crash.

Third Party Liability

Most transportation and shipping companies do not pay drivers by the mile. Instead, they pay by the load. So, these drivers must stay on the road as long as possible in order to make money on each trip. A simple policy change could stop wrecks before they happen. Therefore, the company, and not the driver, is financially responsible for damages in most cases.

The respondeat superior theory usually applies in truck wreck claims. Employers are financially responsible for their employee’s negligence if that negligence occurs within the scope of employment. South Carolina law defines all these key words and phrases in broad, victim-friendly terms.

Truck crash cases are usually complex. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Lake Wylie, contact the Elrod Pope Law Firm, P.A. Attorneys can connect victims with doctors, even if they have no insurance or money.

FAQs

How big is a large truck?

A fully loaded large truck weighs over 80,000 pounds.

Why do truckers fall asleep at the wheel?

Unless they stay behind the wheel for hours on end, most truck drivers lose money on most runs.

What evidence does a lawyer use in a drowsy truck driver claim?

Large trucks have Electronic Logging Devices which automatically keep track of hours driven.

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