Passenger vehicles and large commercial trucks are tasked with safely sharing South Carolina's roadways. Unfortunately, accidents between these types of vehicles are all too common in the Palmetto State. According to the South Carolina Department of Public Safety (SCDPS), there are between 3,000 and 5,000 collisions involving large commercial trucks reported each year, which result in significant property damages, injuries, and even fatalities.
For victims, a truck accident can be both physically and financially devastating. However, if the accident and injuries were caused by someone else's negligence, the victim may be entitled to compensation for damages. If you're considering taking legal action to pursue compensation for truck accident-related losses, here's what you need to know.
Truck accident and car accident cases may both involve vehicle collisions but, in many ways, they're two very different animals. While there are certainly similarities between car and truck accident cases, truck accidents are often associated with more severe property damage and injuries, as well as a greater number of fatalities than car accidents. That's not surprising, considering the size and weight of large commercial trucks, compared to the average passenger vehicle. When fully loaded, semi-trucks, big-rigs, 18-wheelers, and other large trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds—compared to passenger vehicles which average between 3,000 and 5,000 pounds.
Common Types of Truck Accidents and Causes
Large trucks can be involved in any number of common types of accidents, including:
- Rear-end accidents
- Side-impact or T-bone crashes
- Head-on collisions
- Tire blowouts
However, there are also several types of accidents that are specific to large trucks, such as:
- Jackknife wrecks
- Swinging-turn crashes
- “No Zone” blind spot collisions
- Lost load accidents
- Underride collisions
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) research, common causes of large truck accidents include:
- Speeding and other reckless driving behaviors
- Distracted driving
- Drowsy driving
- Improper hiring practices
- Insufficient driver training
- Poor vehicle maintenance
- Improperly loaded cargo
- Drunk or drugged driving
Injuries Associated With Truck Accidents
The injuries associated with truck crashes can vary dramatically from accident to accident. Some of the most serious injuries reported by South Carolina car accident victims include concussions and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), spinal cord injuries resulting in varying degrees of paralysis, internal bleeding and organ damage, broken or crushed bones, lost or amputated limbs, and death.
Potential Damages Available in Truck Accident Cases in South Carolina
The losses sustained by truck accident victims can be significant. Fortunately, South Carolina law allows victims to seek a wide range of economic and non-economic damages. Meant to compensate a victim for quantifiable losses, common economic damages include:
- Accident-related medical expenses
- Property repair or replacement costs
- Lost wages
- Loss of income
Non-economic damages are intended to compensate victims for intangible losses, such as pain and suffering, mental anguish, scarring or disfigurement, and loss of enjoyment of life.
In cases where the defendant's conduct was particularly egregious, the plaintiff may also be awarded punitive damages, which serve as a punishment to the defendant and a deterrent to similar behavior.
Hurt in a Truck Accident? Our Lawyers Can Help
If you were injured in a truck accident you didn't cause, you may be entitled to compensation from the at-fault party. Our seasoned South Carolina personal injury attorneys can help you understand your rights and explore your options for compensation. Hurry, as the time to act is limited; South Carolina law gives truck accident victims just three years to file their lawsuit in the state's civil court system. This time can pass quickly—especially if you're busy dealing with accident-related medical issues. Contact the Law Offices of Shane Smith today to request a free initial case analysis, and we'll be in touch within 24 hours to schedule an appointment for your complimentary consultation.