According to the South Carolina Department of Public Safety (SCDPS), roughly 800 deaths occur every year on the state’s highways. Many of these fatalities – along with thousands of severe injuries – result from accidents involving 18-wheelers and other commercial trucks.
Our lawyers serve victims of commercial truck accidents in Columbia and throughout South Carolina, as well as surviving family members, as they seek compensation from the responsible party or parties. If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a collision with a commercial truck, our Columbia truck accident lawyer wants to review your case today at no cost to you. You may qualify to recover medical expenses, vehicle repair costs, and other damages.
You Can Leave Your Truck Accident Case to Us
Our team at Hammack Law Firm is prepared to manage all aspects of your case. Big and small, from beginning to end, we will put in the time to build a strong case to present in court. Our goal is to relieve you of the burden of having to:
- Collect evidence: Supporting your testimony with documentary evidence will strengthen the case and help us persuade the insurance company to offer a fair settlement.
- Fill out paperwork: Completing forms correctly and submitting them on time are crucial tasks in any personal injury case. We will make sure all forms are completed and sent out within the correct deadlines.
- Calculate damages: Reviewing an accident to proceed with a claim may be cathartic for some and distressing for others. We can guide you through this process and figure out how much money you are entitled to seek.
- Fight the insurance company: We generally start by negotiating for a settlement because this can result in a payout with less stress for you. However, we are more than willing to take the trucking company on in court and represent you at trial if necessary.
Whether your claim stays on the settlement path or requires us to file a lawsuit, our team will do our due diligence to give you the best possible chance at securing the compensation you seek.
We Care for Our Clients Like Our Own Family
Just as important as confronting the insurance company and the liable party is, we want to make sure our clients feel cared for. We put this in practice by:
- Keeping you updated each step of the way: We take the initiative and call you when something important happens. This way, you do not have to worry about calling us for updates or wondering about the status of the case.
- Responding in a timely manner: Whenever you have a question, no matter the time of day, please call us. Our phone lines are open, and we will get back to you as quickly as we can.
- Showing empathy: We know how devastating truck accidents can be. Our team will listen to everything you have to say and we are happy to take reasonable extra steps to make the legal process easier on you.
- Charging no attorney’s fees until we win: Our firm seeks to bring you justice, not further financial harm. If we cannot get compensation for you, then we do not charge attorney’s fees for our services.
At Hammack Law Firm, we “really do treat you like family here,” as one happy client put it. While we tackle the tough legal work, you have more time to recuperate at home with your family and put the pieces of your life back together.
Our Commitment to Fighting for Safety on South Carolina Roads
In addition to securing financial recovery for every client, our team’s goal is to make the roads safer for South Carolina residents – including dangerous highways like I-95 and I-26. With each successful claim and lawsuit, we seek to hold negligent truckers and trucking companies accountable and minimize the future occurrence of truck accidents across the state.
There Are Two Types of Compensation We Will Fight to Recover for You
Personal injury cases generally allow victims to pursue financial recovery for both economic and non-economic damages. Compensation serves several purposes. In addition to holding the liable party to account, it can get you enough money to pay your medical bills, reimburse you for lost wages, and support your family if you can no longer work.
If the accident caused you some form of financial hardship, you could qualify to seek economic damages, such as:
- Loss of income, if you were unable to work or had to cut back on working hours for any period of time
- Loss of employment, if the accident cost you your job or you are no longer able to work at all
- Medical bills, if you needed any form of treatment to manage your injuries or expect to need such treatment in the future
- Repair bills, if your car was damaged so badly that you had to have it fixed or even replaced before you could drive again
Meanwhile, non-economic damages are for physical and mental harm caused by things like:
- Disability, if you experienced any loss in your physical abilities or a traumatic brain injury that affected your intellectual abilities
- Physical pain, if your injuries caused or will continue to cause physical distress (as in the case of chronic pain)
- Emotional suffering, if your injuries or the accident caused or will continue to cause emotional distress (as in the case of mental illness)
- Impaired quality of life, if your injuries have robbed you of the ability to live as independently or as stress-free as you would like to
The above damages represent only some of the compensation you may be eligible to recover. Our team at Hammack Law Firm will help you better understand your rights and the money you may qualify to collect after a commercial truck accident.
Wrongful Death Cases
If a commercial truck accident cost your loved one their life, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit as their spouse, dependent, or other close relative. You have our deepest condolences if your family is facing such a tragedy. Our team at Hammack Law Firm takes wrongful death cases, as well as personal injury cases, in the hopes that our work helps minimize these fatal accidents in the future.
In some ways, wrongful death cases are similar to those involving non-fatal injuries – they generally follow the same legal process and could entitle you to similar types of damages.
The sooner we can get started on your wrongful death action, the easier it may be for us to collect time-sensitive evidence and build the strongest possible case. In addition, your right to seek compensation generally expires after three years, per S.C. Ann § 15-3-530. For both of these reasons, we advise you to get legal help as soon as possible.
How Truck Collisions Occur and Who is Responsible
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is a major authority on commercial trucking regulations and accidents in the United States. The agency has compiled crash data over many years and used it to conduct studies on the matter, which give us valuable insight into why these accidents happen.
Based on the critical reason behind your truck accident, our team can begin to identify the party or parties liable for your damages. We outline the top contributing factors below.
Truck Driver Errors Behind the Wheel
In FMCSA’s most recent study on truck accident causation, driver error was by far the most common cause, making up 87 percent of these collisions overall. Driver errors fall into several categories, with the top being decision- or recognition-based mistakes (38 and 28 percent, respectively). Examples include:
- Speeding or driving too fast for weather/road conditions
- Following too closely for necessary stopping distance
- Misjudging vehicle speed
- Inattention or distraction
- Failure to recognize changing road conditions or hazards in time to respond
These actions frequently cause commercial drivers to veer into other traffic lanes, lose control of their trucks, or rear-end other vehicles. Since they either break traffic laws or go against safe driving practices, these actions can constitute negligence and make a driver liable when a collision results.
Failure to Follow Safe Driving Regulations
The accident causation study also points to non-performance-related driver errors, such as falling asleep at the wheel. While this cause often places fault on the driver, it can also point to the trucking company that employs them.
FMCSA mandates that truck drivers must follow a strict schedule, driving no more than 10 or 11 hours consecutively, depending on whether they transport goods or passengers. Between these regulated hours of service, drivers must spend eight or 10 consecutive hours off duty, respectively. Recent updates to these regulations also requires drivers to take a minimum 30-minute break after 8 hours of cumulative driving.
These restrictions are in place to limit driver fatigue, which can cause truckers to fall asleep and lose control of their vehicles. While drivers must adhere to these restrictions, trucking companies must enforce them by not overscheduling their employees and monitoring driving logs. Failure to do so can leave both parties liable.
Improper Maintenance of the Commercial Vehicle
Per additional FMCSA regulations, trucking companies are responsible for ensuring that their vehicles are:
- Inspected regularly
- Repaired as necessary
- Maintained to ensure safety and reliability
Failure to do so could increase the risk of an accident. If we have reason to suspect the truck involved in your accident was not properly maintained, we can request inspection reports from the trucking company to find out.
Alternatively, a third-party maintenance team could hold responsibility for failing to carry out the necessary steps to repair or maintain the vehicle.
Evidence in Commercial Truck Accident Cases
Along with truck maintenance and driver reports, other potential sources of evidence in a truck collision case include:
- Medical records to prove the accident caused your injuries, worsened a preexisting condition, or forced you to seek treatment you would not have needed otherwise
- Eyewitness testimony to corroborate your version of events
- Expert testimony to verify the impact the injuries had on you or the liable party’s guilt
- Police reports to demonstrate that the accident occurred when and where you say it did and that the liable party was involved
- Photos and video to show how the accident happened and the extent of the damage it caused
Altogether, these documents will help our team pinpoint which party or parties to hold responsible in your case. Then, we will focus our attention on constructing a robust case that the insurance company will struggle to deny or undervalue.
Call Hammack Law Firm Today
Our team strives to provide clients with professional legal service paired with compassionate advice and assistance. We can assign a lawyer to protect your rights and help you seek compensation after a commercial truck accident in Columbia.
Let us help you hold the negligent truck driver or trucking company accountable so we can fight for safer South Carolina roads. For a small firm feel with a big firm experience, call Hammack Law Firm at (864) 326-3333.