Oversize trucks are a convenient solution for transporting bulk cargo across the state. Unfortunately, these large vehicles pose a significant risk to other motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians. Given their size and weight, oversized trucks can cause immense damage if they’re involved in an accident. The sheer force of impact can cause catastrophic injuries such as broken bones, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord trauma, and even loss of life.
If you or your loved one has been in an oversize load accident, you may be eligible for compensation. A skilled truck accident attorney from Elrod Pope Law Firm of Rock Hill, SC, can help you navigate the legal process and use every resource to help you receive the maximum compensation you deserve. Our highly trained attorneys will gather evidence, interview witnesses, negotiate with insurance companies, and represent you in court if necessary.
What is considered an Oversized Load in South Carolina?
In South Carolina, an oversize load is any vehicle or combination of vehicles and towed units exceeding a maximum width of 8’6″, in addition to having a length greater than 45 feet on highways. Any vehicle or combination of vehicles and towed units having a maximum width that exceeds 8’6″ but does not exceed 10 feet must be accompanied by a pilot vehicle.
In addition, any vehicle or combination of vehicles and towed units having a maximum weight over 80,000 lbs. or an outside dimension(s) exceeding the legal limits prescribed above must obtain special permission from the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT). The SCDOT has established rules for special hauling and temporary trip permits.
How Do Oversize Load Trucks Get into Accidents?
Oversized truck accidents are not uncommon in South Carolina and can cause serious injuries to other motorists. But how do they happen and wind up injuring other drivers?
- Sudden lane changes: When an oversize load truck needs to make a sudden lane change, it can be challenging to keep steady due to its size. This can cause it to move into the wrong lane and collide with another vehicle.
- Inadequate visibility: Due to their sheer size, oversized trucks often have inadequate visibility and can fail to notice other vehicles in the area. This can lead them to crash into passing cars.
- Improperly secured loads: Sometimes, oversize load trucks might have improperly secured cargo that can come loose and cause an accident.
- Poor maintenance: An oversize load accident can also result from poor vehicle maintenance, such as worn tires or inadequate brakes.
- Driver fatigue or negligence: As these vehicles cover longer distances, driver fatigue can set in and lead to mistakes while driving.
Who Is to Blame for an Oversize Truck Accident in South Carolina?
Determining who is liable for an oversize truck accident can be challenging, as multiple parties are responsible for ensuring the truck is safe and roadworthy. An experienced lawyer can get to the bottom of who is at fault and use every legal option to help you get justice and compensation for your troubles.
Depending on the circumstances, any of the following parties may be held liable for an accident:
- The driver: Drivers of oversize trucks must ensure that their vehicles meet all safety regulations and operate responsibly. If it is found that a driver was negligent or reckless in any way, they may be held legally liable for the accident.
- The company: Companies are responsible for conducting regular maintenance checks, providing adequate training to drivers, and ensuring their vehicles meet all safety regulations. If they fail to do any of these things, they can be liable for an oversize truck accident in South Carolina.
- The manufacturer: Manufacturers must also ensure their products are safe and meet all applicable safety regulations. For example, if a truck’s brakes fail due to faulty manufacturing, the manufacturer may be held responsible.
- The state: The state is responsible for ensuring that roads and highways are safe for all motorists. If it can be proven that a state did not provide adequate signage or warnings about potential hazards, it may be liable for an oversize truck accident in South Carolina.
What Next After an Accident With an Oversize Truck in SC?
After suffering an oversize truck accident in South Carolina, it is essential to take specific steps to protect your rights and ensure that you receive full compensation for your losses. This includes following any instructions given by emergency personnel, such as seeking medical treatment or calling the police.
- Seek medical attention. Your health comes first, so seek medical treatment as soon as possible after the accident. This will ensure your injuries are properly treated and documented for insurance purposes.
- Gather evidence. Take pictures of any property damage, get the contact information of any witnesses, and take down the details of the oversize truck driver. Also, if possible, gather all available evidence at the accident scene.
- Seek legal advice. Speaking with an experienced lawyer as soon as possible is essential. An attorney can help you understand your legal rights, gather evidence, negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf, and build a strong case for compensation.
- Document your losses. Keep track of medical bills, lost wages, and all other associated costs. Documenting your losses can be essential to the evidence-gathering process and will help a lawyer prove the full extent of your damages.
The aftermath of an oversize truck accident can seem overwhelming, but the right legal representation can help you get the justice and compensation you deserve.
FAQs About Oversize Truck Accidents
Do I need an attorney to pursue a claim for an oversize truck accident in South Carolina?
Legally, you are not required to do so. However, an attorney can help you understand your rights, gather evidence, and build a strong case for compensation.
How long do I have to file a claim for an oversize truck accident in South Carolina?
The statute of limitations in South Carolina is three years from the accident date. That means you have three years to file a claim, or your case can be dismissed, and you may not be able to recover any damages.