Anyone who has driven the highways and streets of Rock Hill, South Carolina knows there are plenty of trucks on the road. It might not occur to many of us how difficult these trucks are to drive! 18 wheelers can be as long as 53 feet and weigh as much as 80,000 lbs. You can only imagine how difficult these are to operate!
Although most truck drivers are extremely skilled, they are susceptible to accidents. Chances of an accident are even higher for truck drivers because trucks are heavy and harder to stop and maneuver. And because trucks are so large, and often carry hazardous materials, accidents can be extremely serious.
If you are the victim of a truck accident, the Elrod Pope Law firm has Rock Hill trucking accident lawyers that can help you.
Causes of Trucking Accidents in South Carolina
South Carolina truck drivers are expected to comply with a number of local laws. These include having a professional commercial driver’s license, having a carefully balanced load, and taking care to comply with federal and state safety regulations.
In spite of this, accidents do occur. Here are some common causes:
- Driver Fatigue: Because drivers work long hours, they are often too tired to drive. They can fall asleep at the wheel or just be too exhausted to concentrate. Because there are so many fatigue-related truck accidents, weekly hours have been reduced from 82 to 70 hours a week and breaks are required within the first eight hours of driving for long haul drivers. While these regulations are helpful, accidents still occur.
- Speeding: Because trucks are so heavy and difficult to stop, accidents are likely if trucks are going too fast.
- Distracted Driving: Talking on cell phones or watching a video while driving is dangerous behavior. Truck drivers have an added burden because they are driving such a large vehicle. This makes distracted driving especially hazardous.
- Unbalanced Load: If a truck has an unbalanced load, it increases the risk of accidents. In these cases, rollover accidents are especially likely.
- Jackknife Accidents: These occur when the trailer slides out to the side of the tractor. This can be extremely dangerous to other motorists as the trailer can block their paths making a collision likely.
- Under Ride Accidents: These occur when a car slides underneath a trailer. These are one of the most dangerous trucking accidents that can occur. Fortunately, South Carolina Code Section 56-5-4070 imposes a mandate on most large trucks to use ride guards to prevent these accidents from occurring.
- Mechanical Failure or Defects: Trucks have many parts which must be maintained in accordance to guidelines set forth by the FMSA. If trucks are not properly maintained, a failure can result in an accident.
- Blind Spots: Because trucks are so large, drivers encounter many blind spots while driving. Truck drivers and motorists must be aware of these blind spots to keep the road safe.
- Poor Driving: Although truck drivers should be skilled, a shortage of skilled workers can lead to companies employing drivers who are not experienced enough to be driving. This greatly increases the risk of accidents.
Who Takes Responsibility for a South Carolina Truck Crash?
It may be difficult to determine who is responsible for a South Carolina truck crash. A reliable Rock Hill trucking accident lawyer can help figure out who is at fault.
Determining who is responsible will depend on the circumstances of the accident. If the driver was negligent, he or she may be to blame, or the trucking company may be held responsible for the actions of its employees.
If the accident was due to a mechanical failure or the truck or its components not being up to code, the truck driving company, the company that owned the cargo, or the manufacturer of the truck could be to blame.
Agencies responsible for road design or maintenance may be held responsible if the accident was due to poor road work or maintenance.
Often times, more than one person or organization can be at fault.
Victims will be likely to get more money if they are able to go after companies as opposed to individual drivers.
What to Do After a Trucking Accident Occurs
If you find yourself the victim of a South Carolina trucking accident, there are certain actions to take directly after the accident that will help you build a stronger case. Injuries and emotional upset may prevent you from thinking of doing everything required, but here are some things that you want to prioritize if possible:
- Call the police or 911
- Seek medical attention
- Gather information, take photos, find witnesses
- Stay calm, don’t discuss blame
- Notify your insurance company
Finding a Reliable Rock Hill Trucking Accident Lawyer
If you are the victim of a trucking accident, there is a lot you need to think about. Taking legal action can be difficult if you are trying to recover from an injury. However, if you call the right Rock Hill trucking accident lawyer, they can make the experience a lot less stressful.
The Elrod Pope Law Firm is comprised of a team of experienced lawyers who can help you through the process of filing a claim to make it as stress-free as possible. They can determine who is responsible for the accident and calculate all your damages to make sure you get the compensation you deserve.
Compensation can include lost wages, medical expenses, physical and mental upset and more. They will help you gather all the necessary evidence and negotiate any settlements you may be offered.
Getting into a trucking accident can be upsetting, to say the least. The first course of action should be to call a reliable South Carolina trucking accident lawyer. Then, leave the rest to them so you can concentrate on what’s really important, getting better!