The timber and logging industry is ever-present in South Carolina and as a result, there are occasional accidents involving log trucks. Most of these accidents cause significant injuries and fatalities.
If you or your loved one has been involved in a log truck accident and seeking compensation, it’s in your best interest to engage an experienced truck accident lawyer. The Elrod Pope Law Firm serves Rock Hill, South Carolina and advocates for victims of accidents with log trucks, and fights for those whose lives have been changed permanently.
The Danger of Log Truck Accidents
Fatal logging truck accidents can occur in several ways, including:
- Tire blowouts, which cause the truck to lose control
- Jackknifing, which can result in a pile-up of multiple cars
- Truck rollovers, which occur when the brakes fail or as a result of overspeeding and improper loading
- Flying logs and other debris, which collide with other motorists
- Sideswipe or head-on collisions with other vehicles
Why Are Log Truck Accidents So Severe?
Logging trucks are extremely dangerous and can lead to severe property destruction, catastrophic injuries and loss of lives. Often these fatal accidents are a direct cause of negligence by the drivers and the logging industry.
Before the government-mandated safety features in all trucks that transport heavy cargo, logging trucks were often the oldest vehicles involved in fatal accidents on American roads. Even now, most logging trucks have an average age of over a decade old and are sometimes incapable of handling heavy weights, as well as the newer trucks and are more prone to losing control and brake failures.
Due to this, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires all transporters to be adapted to secure the cargo during loading, transportation and loading to reduce the occurrence of accidents on the roads.
All logging trucks must be built with stakes, holsters and bunks to prevent the logs from rolling off the trailer and into oncoming traffic. Log truckers must also perform daily inspections to identify mechanical issues that could lead to fatal crashes. Still, some vulnerabilities can be missed until it’s too late.
Contributing Factors to Log Truck Accidents
There are several causes of logging truck accidents; some of the common ones include the following:
Unqualified or inexperienced drivers can cause various errors on the road, such as speeding, texting and driving, improperly judging the distance from other vehicles or breaking at the wrong speed, which can be catastrophic.
Most logging truck accidents happen when there are adverse conditions that impair the driver’s vision and make it difficult to operate the vehicle properly.
Most logging trucks have been on the road for 10 years or longer, meaning they have suffered significant wear and tear, and might affect the brakes and other components if they don’t receive maintenance regularly.
Drunk and fatigued drivers
Most accidents happen as a result of tired and drunk drivers. Commercial truck drivers, especially those operating lengthy distances, should be well-rested and avoid operating under the influence.
Improperly secured cargo
Improperly secured logs can fall off the truck, striking other motorists.
Who Is Liable for a Log Truck Accident?
To determine liability for a logging accident, you first need to find the cause. Typically, liability often falls to one of the involved parties:
- The logging company
- The owner of the truck
- The truck driver
- Shipping entities
- Maintenance company
- Loading company
The logging company can be liable if it has not implemented all the mandated safety measures. Multiple parties can also be held accountable depending on the circumstances of the accident.
Why Hire a Lawyer After an Accident With a Log Truck?
If you or your loved one is involved in an accident with a logging truck, speak to a skilled accident lawyer as soon as possible. Various regulations govern the trucking industry, and you need a knowledgeable attorney to go through them to identify who was at fault. They will help you calculate the amount of compensation you deserve as well.
Insurance companies sometimes try to avoid paying compensation or deflect accountability. They have a team of lawyers working for their best interest, and you might have to take them to court; in this case, having an experienced lawyer by your side is vital.
Compensation Available After a Log Truck Accident
It’s impossible to calculate the average compensation because it will depend on the circumstances of the accident, the extent of the injuries and any fatalities. However, if the injured person is found to not be at fault in the accident, the liable party must pay for any medical costs incurred and could be incurred in the future.
Contact Elrod Pope Law Firm for Help With Your Claim
If you need help with your claim following a log truck accident, a qualified South Carolina lawyer from Elrod Pope Law Firm can help you. We can help you identify the liable party, calculate the potential settlement you are owed and represent you in court. The Elrod Pope Law Firm has offices in Rock Hill, Fort Mill and Lake Wylie, SC. Contact us for a consultation with a truck accident lawyer to ensure that you exercise all options at your disposal.