Commercial vehicles engaged in interstate commerce are subject to regulation by numerous federal standards and agencies including the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Commercial vehicles that are not involved in interstate commerce can still be subject to state regulations, often enforced by the South Carolina Department of Public Safety (SCDPS).
All commercial vehicles are expected to be well-maintained and safe to operate in South Carolina, but there are many commercial truck accidents that are ultimately attributed to numerous forms of trucking company negligence. When a trucking company is negligent in its maintenance of a commercial truck or the hiring of a truck driver, it could be liable for damages resulting from a crash.
If you suffered serious injuries or your loved one was killed in a commercial truck accident in South Carolina, you deserve to know if a trucking company’s negligence was a factor in the crash. Hammack Law Firm can help you get answers and make sure all negligent parties are held accountable. We have more than 20 years of experience handling trucking accident cases from both the plaintiff’s and the insurance company’s side, so we bring a unique set of skills and knowledge to every case we handle.
Our firm will evaluate all records and other relevant evidence to determine if the trucking company’s negligence caused or contributed to your 18-wheeler truck crash. We will explore all of your legal options with you as soon as you call (864) 326-3333 or contact us online to set up a free consultation with one of our South Carolina truck accident lawyers today.
Do I Need A Trucking Company Negligence Lawyer?
A trucking company’s negligence is rarely immediately apparent, so it is often uncovered as the result of an independent investigation. You will want an attorney so a thorough investigation can be performed into your crash as soon as possible after the accident.
The insurance company for the truck driver or trucking company involved in your crash will often tell you that it is conducting its own investigation, but you should probably not place too much hope in what they are going to learn. Many insurers are going to look for reasons to attribute as much negligence as possible to the actions of other drivers involved in a crash.
If you are contacted by a claims adjuster who is seeking a recorded statement from you, you should always decline until you have legal representation. Be very careful about anything you say to an insurance company because many agents have been trained to ask questions designed to evoke damaging responses, and you will be best served by simply having a lawyer deal with an insurance company for you.
The attorney is going to be able to help you achieve a far more just settlement for you than whatever the insurer may attempt to offer you early on, and they can also file a lawsuit when the insurance company is not proving capable of providing a sufficient settlement. When affording medical care is an issue for you after a truck accident, a lawyer may be able to get you a medical lien that will allow you continue receiving treatment but delays payment until your case is resolved.
Why Choose Hammack Law Firm To Handle My Trucking Company Negligence Case?
Hammack Law Firm is a Greenville-based law firm serving all of South Carolina and Georgia. Our Client Bill of Rights will give you a 30-day unconditional satisfaction guarantee.
Paul Hammack is a member of the Academy of Truck Accident Attorneys and the American Association of Justice (AAJ) Trucking Litigation Group. He is licensed to practice in all South Carolina and Georgia state courts, the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
When you need a qualified litigator that understands how the insurance company will prepare to defend themselves against your claim, turn to Attorney Paul Hammack for help. His fifteen years of experience working as a trucking insurance defense lawyer gives him valuable insight into how the other side will work to protect their interests. He’ll use that knowledge to build the strongest case possible for you.
Hammack Law Firm will also provide representation on a contingency fee basis. You will only pay when you receive a financial award.
Types of Trucking Company Negligence Cases We Handle
Truck drivers and trucking companies are responsible for regular inspections of commercial vehicles, including tire pressure and brake system checks. Cargo bed and individual axle strength also needs to be tested, and steering columns may need to be realigned and headlights or taillights may need to be replaced.
Some of the most common elements of a commercial truck that need to be inspected before it hits the road include:
- Steering mechanism
- Service brakes
- Trailer brake connections
- Parking brake
- Rear-view mirrors
- Windshield wipers
Failure to maintain commercial trucks is often one of the most common causes of 18-wheeler truck accidents when trucking companies often fail to take necessary steps to keep their vehicles in proper working order. Common problems resulting from failure to maintain vehicles include, but are not limited to:
- Suspension failure
- Unsecured cargo
- Non-functioning turn signals and headlights
- Steering column problems or failures
- Damaged windshield wipers and windows
- Hitch failure
- Malfunctioning onboard electronics
- Brake failure
- Steering equipment malfunction
- Trailer problems
- Tire failure
Trucking companies can also be negligent when it comes to the number of hours that they are requiring or allowing their drivers to work. The number of hours a truck driver can drive per day and per week are strictly regulated by the United States Department of Transportation (DOT).
Certain trucking companies falsify driver logs or take other steps to cover up violations of Hours of Service rules. General Hours of Service guidelines establish that:
- Every duty period must begin with at least 10 hours off-duty
- Drivers cannot work more than 60 hours on-duty over seven consecutive days
- Drivers can be on duty for up to 14 hours after 10 hours off duty but are limited to 11 hours of driving time.
- Drivers must take a mandatory 30-minute break by their eighth hour of coming on duty.
Drivers are allowed to restart their 7-day period once every 168-hour work week. Drivers on one-day work schedules may be on duty for up to 16 hours when they both begin and end at the same terminal, but they still cannot exceed 11 hours of driving time.
Some trucking companies can be negligent in their hiring practices, possibly allowing somebody to drive without a valid commercial driver’s license (CDL) or a person who has multiple driving under the influence (DUI) convictions. It is also possible that a trucking company could be negligent in its training of commercial truck drivers, possibly putting some drivers on the road without proper training.
All trailers and semitrailers manufactured on or after January 26, 1998 with a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 pounds or more are required under Code of Federal Regulations § 393.86(a)(1) to be equipped with a rear impact guard. The guard must meet the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 223 (49 CFR 571.223), which involve satisfying guard strength, strength and energy absorption, and guard energy absorption requirements.
Trucking company negligence could failure to install these underride or override guards on their vehicles when a commercial truck is involved in an underride or override accident.
Injuries possibly stemming from trucking company negligence can include, but are not limited to:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Muscle strains
- Neck injuries
- Internal organ injuries
Certain truck accidents can also lead to people suffering fatal injuries. The families of people killed in accidents caused by trucking company negligence could be able to file wrongful death lawsuits against the trucking companies.
Trucking Company Negligence Statistics
The 2017 Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts (LTBCF) from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reported that tires were the vehicle-related factor in 61 fatal large truck crashes in 2017, brake system was attributed to 47 crashes, eight related to power train, 8 were other lights, 6 were attributed to truck coupling, trailer hitch, or safety chains, 4 were steering issues, and 2 were headlights.
According to the LTBCF, vehicle-related factors were coded for 5 percent of the large trucks involved in fatal crashes, with “Other Working Vehicle” and “Tires” being the most common vehicle-related factors for large trucks in fatal crashes, at 2 percent and 1 percent, respectively.
The large truck’s loss of control, which includes events such as loss of control due to a blowout or flat tire, stalled engine, and other disabling or non-disabling vehicle problems, was cited as the critical pre-crash event in 147 fatal large truck crashes in 2017, or 3.2 percent. The large truck’s loss of control was also the critical pre-crash event in 4,000 injury crashes and 7,000 property damage only crashes.
Contact a Trucking Company Negligence Attorney in South Carolina
Did you sustain severe injuries or was your loved one killed in a collision with an 18-wheeler in South Carolina? Trucking company negligence is a common factor that go unnoticed in many cases, but you will want to know if it was a contributing or causal factor and hold the company accountable for the harm you’ve suffered.
The South Carolina truck accident lawyers of Hammack Law Firm won’t be intimidated by powerful trucking companies or their insurers, and we will be ready to fight for the compensation you’re owed. Call (864) 326-3333 or contact us online to take advantage of a free consultation.