Why are there lawyers that specialize not just in vehicle accidents but tractor truck accidents in particular? It’s because tractor truck accidents are far more complicated than car accidents.
Factors That Play into Tractor Truck Accident Cases
- Tractor Truck Accidents Happen More Frequently
The South Carolina Commercial Motor Traffic Collision Fact Book (2009) recorded higher instances of tractor truck (big rig) collisions across every metric. Tractor trucks cause more property damage, injuries, and far more fatalities than any other type of vehicle accident. In fact, 66 fatal accidents were caused that year by big trucks, and over 38 fatalities were caused by cars. Out of 4,640 recorded collisions, rigs accounted for 1,533.
- The Numbers Are Not Improving Overall
The South Carolina Commercial Motor Traffic Collision Fact Book (2017) recorded the following sobering statistics of persons killed (in all the vehicles involved in the collision) in tractor truck fatalities: 88 in 2015, then 76 in 2016, and 65 in 2017.
- The Population is Rapidly Growing
South Carolina is growing at a rate of 1.06 percent, making it the 18th fastest growing state in the country. Between the 2010 Census and the 2019 Census, the population grew from 4.62 million to 5.15 million. More residents mean more drivers on the road.
Combine the facts. Big rigs are a leading cause of traffic accidents in South Carolina, and the accident rate is not decreasing dramatically, likely due in part to the rapidly growing population.
Why Do Big Trucks Have More Accidents?
Big rigs have impressive features. Their engines are six times larger than car engines and power up to 2,000 feet per pound of torque (a car has 100-200 ft./lb of torque). Unloaded, they can weigh 40 tons (80,000 pounds), and they average 70-80 feet in length. They take up 24 feet of the road and need a 55-foot turning radius. With all this weight, torque, and height, it takes a tractor truck 40 percent more time to stop than a car.
You can imagine the damage a rig can do when it’s running at highway speed and is forced to slam on the brakes or make a quick turn to avoid a collision. In far too many cases, the truck simply cannot stop or change course in time. Due to their size, when tractor truck accidents happen, it is devastating for all involved.
What Makes Tractor Truck Accidents So Complicated?
Unlike a car, which you lease or own, many tractor-trailer drivers do not own their rigs. Even if they do, they are using them in the employ of another company, either full-time or on a contract basis.
Since South Carolina is an at-fault state when it comes to insurance, the burden of providing compensation lies squarely with the party that caused the accident. Truck accident cases are more complicated than car accidents because it is very difficult to prove who is at fault.
For example, let’s say the brakes fail on a semi, causing a collision. Whose responsibly is it to check the brakes routinely? That answer differs in every case. It could be the owner of the truck if he or she contracts their services. Fault could also be on the company that owns the truck. It could be shared responsibility between the driver (who may be expected to assess the brakes before each trip) and the company (who should have a routine inspection schedule in place). The onus could even be on the brake manufacturer if they provided faulty parts and didn’t issue a recall.
When property is damaged, more complications arise. If a truck loses control on an incline, was the road built and maintained properly or was it driver error?
Fatalities pose even greater issues in truck accident cases. Compensation is due for the victims, but the truck’s insurance company may only offer a fast and low settlement to make the case go away. The victim and their family may be entitled to more money and more peace of mind.
Truck Accident Cases Need Expert Truck Accident Legal Help
Truck accident cases are incredibly complicated, and it’s very tempting to take the first cash offer given by an insurance company if you or a family member has been injured.
Don’t take it.
Get truck accident legal help right away. Have a truck accident case lawyer look at all facts and untangle who is at fault and why. Instead of a low settlement, you may be entitled to punitive damages from the trucking company or a parts manufacturer.
You also need truck accident legal help because the insurance company, trucking company, or other drivers may try to pin the blame on you! They may claim that you slammed on the brakes or cut them off, resulting in them causing a collision. That may not be the truth.
What may seem like a straightforward collision (as if there is such a thing) could also result in medical injuries or you being sued for damages later on. The statute of limitations to seek damages for wrongful death is three years. You may think you have handled the situation only to find yourself in big legal trouble years later.
Get the Truck Accident Legal Help You Need
Whether the accident was minor or fatal, you need truck accident legal help. After calling the authorities and exchanging insurance information with the other driver, do not discuss the accident with anyone involved. Call for truck accident legal help and get your truck accident case started.
The Clardy Law Firm knows that behind each truck accident case is a real person. Someone’s life has been changed forever. A stranger’s family is hurting. Someone’s finances and ability to work have been seriously compromised. We treat each truck accident case as though we were on the case of a friend or family member.
The Clardy Law Firm has lawyers with years of experience in successfully prosecuting truck accident cases. That involves closely looking at circumstances that are unique to your case, advising if a settlement amount is appropriate, going to court when required, and taking the stress of dealing with the legal side of the accident off your shoulders
If you or someone you love has been hurt in a truck accident, get the truck accident legal help you need. These cases are complicated, and we are the law firm that cuts through the confusion to provide the assistance you need.