Did you suffer catastrophic injuries or was your loved one killed in a commercial truck accident in South Carolina caused by a drunk truck driver? The state may pursue criminal penalties against the driver, but it is crucial for victims who’ve been hurt to hire an experienced truck accident attorney to help them get the full compensation they’re entitled to.
If you’ve been hurt by an intoxicated truck driver, turn to a South Carolina truck accident lawyer with the right experience to handle your case. Attorney Paul Hammack has the knowledge and resources you need on your side. As a former trucking insurance defense lawyer, he has unique insight into how the other side will prepare their case. He will put his decades of experience to work building a persuasive case and litigating on behalf of you and your loved ones.
South Carolina Code § 56-5-2930 is the state law that makes it illegal for a person to drive a motor vehicle “while under the influence of alcohol to the extent that the person’s faculties to drive a motor vehicle are materially and appreciably impaired,” and South Carolina Code § 56-5-2933 is the state law establishing that a person is presumed to be driving under the influence (DUI) when they have a blood or breath alcohol concentration of 0.08.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has established 0.04 percent as the BAC level at or above which a commercial motor vehicle operator required to have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) will be deemed DUI make the driver subject to disqualification sanctions in the federal regulations.
While causes of 18-wheeler truck accidents may be somewhat difficult to determine and contested in some cases, there is often very little doubt about the cause of a crash involving a drunk truck driver. It is important to note that truck drivers can also face criminal charges when they operate commercial vehicles while under the influence of various drugs, including illegal controlled substances, prescription drugs, or possibly over-the-counter medications.
Our South Carolina big rig accident lawyers treat all of our clients like family, and our attorneys will come meet you in your hospital room or home if you cannot come to our office. We can help you understand all of your legal options as soon as you call (864) 326-3333 or contact us online to take advantage of a free consultation.
Do I Need A Drunk Truck Driver Accidents Lawyer?
No insurance company ever wants to pay any injury victim any more than it legally has to, and most insurers will be immediately looking for any all reasons possible to deny an injury claim, even if the truck driver was legally intoxicated at the time of the crash. One of the first ways insurers often accomplish their mission is by getting damaging statements from the victims themselves, which is exactly why you want to avoid providing any kind of recorded statement.
You will want to have an attorney simply so they can deal with an insurance company for you. The lawyer will also be able to conduct their own investigation into your crash and help preserve the evidence needed to prove that a truck driver’s intoxication caused a crash.
In many cases, insurers could be quick to offer you a lump sum settlement, and you are right to wonder if you are really being given as much as possible because chances are very good that it is nowhere near that. Unlike the insurance company, an attorney is only going to have your best interests in mind when negotiating a possible settlement, and they can even file a lawsuit to take a case to trial when settlement negotiations are not productive.
Why Choose Hammack Law Firm To Handle My Drunk Truck Driver Accidents Case?
Hammack Law Firm is a bilingual firm comfortable speaking English and Spanish. We also provide you with the Client Bill of Rights that comes with 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 received the AV Preeminent rating from Martindale-Hubbell, which denotes the highest level of professional excellence.
You do not have to worry about how you’ll afford quality legal representation when you work with Hammack Law Firm because we will represent you on a contingency fee basis. This means that you will only pay when you receive a financial award.
Types of Drunk Truck Driver Accidents Cases We Handle
Alcohol is commonly involved in many DUI offenses in South Carolina, and truck drivers are certainly at risk of criminal charges because of their lower limits. In recent years, impairment because of drugs has become a greater concern among truck drivers.
On October 25, 2013, Reuters reported that a study published in the Occupational and Environmental Medicine found that alcohol and drug use was disturbingly high with commercial truck drivers. Approximately half of drivers admitted to drinking and driving, but another 30 percent admitted to using amphetamines, 20 percent used marijuana, and 3 percent used cocaine.
In June 2018, the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health published a study that found a “binge drinking” prevalence of 19.0 percent, an “everyday drinking” pattern rate of 9.4 percent, and an alcohol misuse rate of 22.7 percent. The study concluded that its findings showed that “the prevalence of alcohol use among this occupational category can be considered harmful.”
While FMCSA requires truck drivers to undergo regular and random drug and alcohol testing, there are drivers who are able to avoid the required tests. Even those who fail such tests are often able to secure jobs with other employers without disclosing why they lost their prior jobs
Certain independent contractors or owner-operators could be members of consortiums that also administer alcohol and drug tests, but there are often no penalties for drivers who refuse to submit to these tests. Worse yet, test refusal or failed test results are rarely reported to FMCSA or any state agencies.
While the truck driver who chose to drive drunk will usually be the primary liable party, others like the company that employed them could also share responsibility. This is especially true if it can be shown that the company failed to perform a thorough background check, if the driver had been cited for drunk driving in the past, or was otherwise negligent in the hiring, training, or supervision of the driver.
Some of the most commonly reported injuries in truck accidents include, but are not limited to:
- Spinal cord injury
- Head trauma
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Neck injury
- Burn injuries
- Back injury
- Muscle sprains
There will also be cases in which a drunk truck driver could be responsible for a fatal accident that kills other innocent people. The family of a person killed in a crash caused by a drunk truck driver may be entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Drunk Truck Driver Accidents Statistics
According to the 2017 Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts (LTBCF) from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), 3.6 percent of 4,600 large truck drivers had BACs of 0.01 or more, which was the highest percentage since the 3.7 percent in 2013. There were also 2.5 percent of truck drivers who had BACs of 0.08 or more, which was the highest number for any year since recording began in 1997.
Impairment such as alcohol was blamed for 184 fatal 18-wheeler truck crashes in 2017 (4.0 percent of all fatal crashes), which was an increase from the 160 fatal large truck crashes in 2016 that was an increase from the 135 fatal large truck crashes in 2015. Drug or alcohol testing was refused in seven cases.
There were 76 truck drivers determined to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs in 2017, and 45 were involved in multiple-vehicle crashes while 31 were in single-vehicle crashes. The South Carolina Department of Public Safety reported that the 301 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities in the state in 2015 were the fewest of any year in the most recent five-year period, lower than the 331 in 2014, 339 in 2013, 348 in 2012, and 309 in 2011.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that the percentage of alcohol-impaired driving fatalities in South Carolina was 32 percent, which was equal to four other states but only less than the 51 percent in the District of Columbia, 43 percent in Connecticut, 41 percent in Rhode Island, 40 percent in North Dakota, 39 percent in Texas, 39 percent in Hawaii, and 36 percent in Wyoming.
Contact a Drunk Truck Driver Accidents Attorney in South Carolina
If you sustained serious injuries or your loved one was killed in an 18-wheeler truck accident caused by a drunk truck driver anywhere in South Carolina, you are going to want to take immediate action to make sure that your rights are protected. Do not try to deal with the insurance company on your own, and make sure to have a committed attorney on your side to protect you from those who wish to deny or diminish your claim.
At Hammack Law Firm, our South Carolina truck accident lawyers are here to provide you with the compassionate service and aggressive litigation that you deserve. Call (864) 479- 8949 or contact us online to set up a free consultation with an experienced member of our team today.