South Carolina Truck Accident Attorney

Trucking accidents can easily be catastrophic. The immense size and weight of large commercial trucks assert major gravitational forces on smaller passenger vehicles in a crash. The passenger vehicle will absorb the majority of the impact, crumpling under the pressure and causing serious injury. If a truck rolls over onto another vehicle, the outcome might be fatal. If you’ve suffered a serious personal injury because of a truck accident, trust the Hawkins Law Firm to pursue litigation on your behalf.

Special Laws Regarding Large Trucks

The dangerous nature of large commercial trucks requires special laws to ensure the safety of other roadway users. Truck drivers must go through stringent training to receive a commercial driver’s license and must adhere to specific rules while behind the wheel. The Department of Transportation and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration enact these rules, and there are penalties for drivers who break them. If a truck driver breaks the rules and causes an accident, the civil courts will hold the driver liable for damages. Trucking rules include:

  • Size and weight limits. In South Carolina, a truck cannot have a gross vehicle weight of more than 65,000 pounds.
  • Hours of service regulations. There is a federal law in place that mandates an 11-hour driving limit for truckers. Drivers must spend 10 consecutive hours off duty every day. Drivers cannot drive beyond the 14th successive hour after coming on duty. If drivers ignore these rules, they may fall asleep behind the wheel and cause a deadly accident.

Truck drivers must obey rules specific to their occupations as well as typical roadway rules. Some roadway rules have special stipulations for commercial drivers, such as the state’s driving under the influence (DUI) laws. The legal blood alcohol concentration level maximum for passenger vehicle drivers is 0.02%, while the limit is 0.04% for commercial vehicle drivers. Breaking any of these rules can result in an accident, for which the driver would be responsible.

Proving Liability and Recovering Damages

The maximum weight of a semi is 65,000 pounds, while the average passenger vehicle only weighs 4,000. It’s easy to see that a collision between these two vehicles could quickly turn fatal. Due to the intense nature of most truck accidents, injuries can be more numerous and severe. Truck accidents often result in life-threatening injuries to passengers in other vehicles involved. If you’re involved in a truck accident, you need to hire experienced personal injury attorneys for help navigating liability laws.

First, you must identify the defendant – it may be the driver, trucking company, the person who loaded the truck, or the parts manufacturer. There may be more than one party legally responsible for the accident. Once you name the defendant, you must establish the defendant’s liability. It’s often only necessary to show that a reasonably prudent truck driver would have acted with greater care in the same situation.

If the defendant isn’t the driver, however, more nuanced laws come into play. You may need to navigate the laws of vicarious liability or the liability of a trucking company to hire and train drivers. Truck accident cases require the legal counsel of  South Carolina personal injury attorneys for victims to receive the compensation they need to move forward after a crash. Call 888-HAWKLAW to set up your free consultation* today.