Truckers are required to maintain a commercial driver’s license, abide by strict federal trucking laws (which are described below) and obey the rules of the road. Truck drivers are held to these high standards for good cause: Semi trucks and other large commercial trucks have the capacity to cause serious and fatal injuries to other motorists. If you were involved in a truck accident, our truck accident attorney in Greenville can help you. Ryan Montgomery has more than a decade of experience representing clients who have been injured in motor vehicle, truck and commercial vehicle accidents throughout upstate South Carolina.
Contact the law firm of Ryan Montgomery, Attorney at Law, in Greenville, S.C. to set up a free initial consultation about your case. Bringing a case now can help prevent future accidents from occurring in the future. Mr. Montgomery serves the injured throughout Anderson County, Charleston County, Georgetown County, Greenville County, Horry County, Richland County and Spartanburg County, South Carolina.
Tractor Trailer Accident Basics
The average semi truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. In an accident, this can lead to serious, life-altering injuries for drivers and passengers in other vehicles. Additionally, the particular cargo a truck is hauling can have devastating effects on the road. With trucks hauling hazardous chemicals, construction materials and industrial equipment, for example, even the smallest error by the driver can turn into a serious accident for everyone involved.
Common Types Of Trucking Accidents
Any driver can make a mistake. With truck drivers, however, there are federal rules and regulations in place to help prevent errors on the road. For example, truck drivers must keep a log of when they drive, including hours on the road and time when they are stopped. This is to demonstrate that the driver is in compliance with federal laws regarding the amount of time he or she can be on the road without sleep or a break. When drivers violate those laws, it can lead to serious accidents as they become fatigued.
In addition to driver fatigue, common errors and negligent acts that can lead to accidents include:
- Distracted driving from using cellphones, computers and other electronic devices while driving
- Unsecured cargo or overloaded cargo
- Failure to properly maintain the commercial vehicle, including maintenance of brakes and tires
- Excessive speeding or sudden lane changes
- Reckless driving in poor weather
- Drunk driving and drugged driving
- Excessive fatigue
Certain times, trucking companies will push their drivers to work too hard and too long of hours. When this happens, we can pursue claims against the trucking company as well for its negligent behavior. This allows us to obtain the maximum compensation for you.
Most American industries are facing significant challenges in our current economic state. Everyone is trying to do more with less. The trucking industry faces this challenge more than many other industries. With the increased gas prices and other financial challenges, everyone involved in truck driving is doing everything possible to increase efficiency.Unfortunately, this pressure to cover more miles in less time occasionally results in truck drivers pushing the limits of safe driving. Although this is understandable, when dangerous driving leads to serious accidents, the drivers responsible need to be held accountable for the costs and damages that result.
At Ryan Montgomery, Attorney at Law, LLC, we serve clients throughout the Greenville and Columbia areas in all types of truck accident cases, including accidents caused by dangerous driving. At our law firm, we understand the challenges you are facing and we are committed to helping you obtain the compensation you deserve for the full impact the accident has had on your life. Attorney Montgomery and our entire team will take the time to work with you personally and represent your interests aggressively.
Dangerous Driving Accident Cases
We take cases on Interstate 85, I-95 and throughout the Greenville area involving:
- Excessive speeding: Obviously speeding can increase the danger for other drivers, but truck drivers are held to an even higher standard of care. In instances of bad weather, a driver going under the speed limit can still be considered driving with excessive speed for conditions.
- Truck driving under the influence: The rigors and challenges of life on the road can lead some truck drivers to seek out relief in drugs and alcohol, but there is no excuse for professional drivers taking the wheel while intoxicated.
- Driving while exhausted: As drivers become fatigued due to high demands and long hours, this exhaustion can result in a number of bad decisions behind the wheel.
- Overloaded and poorly maintained vehicles: Truck maintenance and proper load securing are critical to safety on the road. When drivers fail in these regards, the danger is increased for everyone else on the road.
As an experienced lawyer, Ryan Montgomery has seen all types of truck accident cases throughout the area. Our firm can help you.
South Carolina Trucking Accident Statistics
In fact, a recent report by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) notes that there was an increase of four percent in deaths connected to these accidents from 2011 to 2012. This translates to 3,921 victims killed in truck crashes in 2012 alone. An additional 104,000 victims were injured in these accidents, resulting in an 18 percent increase from 2011.
NHTSA’s investigation found that 79 trucks were involved in fatal truck accidents in South Carolina during the year of 2012. The study also found that semi-trucks were more likely to be involved in deadly, multi-vehicle crashes than in crashes with another single vehicle. In addition, approximately 18 percent of truck drivers involved in fatal accidents had a previous record of violating speeding laws.
Steps To Increasing Safety
A number of steps are being taken to help increase the safety of our nation’s roadways. Some examples include:
- Electronic log books. Electronic log books can be used both to help companies keep track of how long their drivers are working and for regulators to make sure that the drivers are not violating hours of service regulations. These regulations are intended to help reduce the risk of fatigue related accidents.
- New standards. Critics of the current regulations are pushing for increased safety efforts by the NHTSA. One regulation currently under considering includes increasing the strength of rear impact guards.
- Increased vigilance. One of the areas that the federal government is focusing on is the use of “chameleon carriers.” These trucking companies often shut down and reopen under a new name in an attempt to avoid scrutiny for violation of safety regulations.
- More technology. A recent article in CNBC noted that Volvo is working on including radar in trucks that can help detect cars ahead and brake if the truck gets too close, before it collides with traffic that may be stopped ahead of it.
Unfortunately, even if all these steps are taken accidents will likely continue. Those who are the victims of truck accidents are likely eligible to receive compensation. This can help cover the high cost of medical treatment and rehabilitation, as well as lost wages. Contact an experienced Greenville truck accident lawyer to discuss your case and better ensure your legal rights and remedies are protected.
Federal Trucking Industry Regulations
All industries that have professional drivers as employees are heavily regulated. This is done in an attempt to promote safe driving habits, protect other drivers on the road as well as the professional drivers themselves. Unfortunately these regulations, rules and laws are not always adhered to by the drivers. Also, trucking company owners and managers may turn the other cheek if they know a driver is violating these regulations provided they are making the trucking company money. Failure to adhere to any of these rules may result in a South Carolina trucking accident that can cause severe injuries and possibly claim the lives of those involved in the crash.
The trucking industry has very extensive rules and regulations in place to prevent trucking accidents, injuries from trucking accidents and accidental death due to trucking accidents. Some of these rules and regulations have to do with:
- Not performing scheduled maintenance on all fleet vehicles
- Failing to hire safe drivers
- Neglecting to keep, maintain and enforce accurate trucking and maintenance log books
- Not properly securing cargo prior to embarking
- Use, consumption and ingestion of drugs, alcohol and other controlled substances
- Driving too many hours without a break or rest
It is important that you work with an experienced South Carolina trucking accident lawyer who is well versed in all areas of federal trucking industry regulations. This is so that they can make any and all liable parties liable for your injuries based on their negligence as well as their driver’s/employee’s negligence.
Trucking Accident Investigation And Your Case
It will need to be uncovered how and why your trucking accident occurred. This can be accomplished by your attorney thoroughly investigating the accident, recreating the accident if necessary as well as researching the behaviors of the driver in the 24 hours preceding the accident. Thoroughly and properly identifying all liable parties will help you obtain all possible means of compensation for your injuries, lost wages and income, medical bills and pain and suffering. This is why it is important to have a knowledgeable South Carolina trucking accident attorney fighting on your behalf.
What to Do After A South Carolina Trucking Accident
In 2014 there were more than 32,500 tractor trailer accidents across the country. Statistics show that the volume of trucking accidents dropped approximately 1% from 2013 to 2014. Despite the slight decline in the number of tractor trailer accidents one out of nine (11%) traffic fatalities resulted from a collision involving a large truck in both 2013 and 2014 according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
As a motorist you need to know what steps you should take to protect yourself physically and financially if you, or a loved one, are ever involved in an 18 wheeler, semi-truck, logging truck or tanker truck accident in South Carolina.
Call Police & Get Medical Attention
Provided you are awake, alert and ambulatory following a trucking accident the first thing you should do if you are involved in a truck accident is call 911. The police, emergency medical technicians (EMT’s) and paramedics will assist you with your injuries at the scene of the accident.
The police will create an official record of the accident. Make sure you provide the police officer with a detailed account of what occurred. This information may be used as evidence in a legal proceeding if you seek legal damages against the party who injured you.
Exchange Information with the Truck Driver
Never leave the scene of a truck accident without obtaining information from all involved parties. Record an accurate description of the other driver’s vehicle color, type and model. You also want to document their driver’s license number, car license plate number, and record all of their personal information (name, physical description, address, phone number, etc).
Document The Accident
In addition to the police report, you should document the truck accident for your personal records. Use a recording device if possible and describe in detail the event that led to the accident. Take pictures of any damaged property and the injuries you sustained.
Contact Your Insurance Company
You need to contact your insurance company shortly after the truck accident. However, it behooves you to consult with a track accident lawyer in Columbia, SC prior to disclosing any information to your insurance carrier. Your insurance company will have you a series of general questions and it is best to have your attorney communicate with them on your behalf. as you do not want to disclose information that can be used against you in a negative manner during a legal proceeding as a result of the truck accident.
Contact A South Carolina Auto Accident Attorney
You should consult with a truck accident attorney in Greenville if you sustain any bodily or property injury as a result of the truck accident. If you are the victim of a trucking accident due to driver negligence, intoxicated driving, the driver logging too many hours without rest or any other cause, an experienced South Carolina tractor trailer injury attorney can help you recover damages for your medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, loss use of your vehicle, pain and suffering, and/or mental anguish (if applicable).
Contact Trucking Accident Attorney Ryan Montgomery for effective legal counseling and representation by dialing (864) 373-7333. Mr. Montgomery has many years of experience handling serious commercial vehicle injury claims and will provide you with sound legal advice regarding your injury case. Mr. Montgomery offers free consultations and charges no fee unless he recovers on your behalf.
Mr. Montgomery and his staff have extensive experience handling trucking accident cases throughout all of South Carolina including Anderson, Charleston, Columbia, Greenville, Myrtle Beach and Spartanburg, South Carolina.