While any vehicle accident can cause emotional trauma, pain, and suffering, sometimes truck accidents can feel even worse. With an increased population and more trucks on the roadway, you will meet up with truck drivers more frequently.
With such a heavy vehicle, injuries can be catastrophic. Whether it was you or a loved one who got injured, a Forest Acres personal injury lawyers can help with the next steps.
South Carolina Collision Statistics
Accidents happen everywhere. However, as of 2020, according to the South Carolina Collision Fact Book, there is one traffic collision every four minutes. Approximately every nine hours, there is one fatal collision. Every 16 minutes, there is at least one injury collision.
From 2019 to 2020, there was an increase of 25.8% in fatalities from collisions involving tractor-trailer trucks. For the same type of collision, pickup trucks went up 8.4%. There are many contributing factors to these accidents. For these two examples, the highest contributing factors were driving too fast for the conditions, driving under the influence, illegally in the roadway, and failing to yield the right of way.
Other Common Causes for Truck Accidents
While the two examples above were the main factors that led to a collision, there are a few other common scenarios.
Truck drivers work long hours and do not always get the sleep they need. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), U.S. trucks and buses combined travel 300 billion miles annually. The FMCSA was formed to reduce collisions, injuries, and fatalities that involve large trucks and buses. Their mission is to enforce guidelines and work with the government and each state to manage the hours driven and the fatigue of drivers.
Improper Lane Change
Truck drivers must be cautious when changing lanes because of their blind spots and size. A car can improperly change lanes and cause an accident, or the truck driver can fail to check blind spots, not signal properly, or make an unsafe lane change and sideswipe a car.
Lack of Maintenance
Trucks are driven consistently, which means they need a lot of maintenance. Drivers need daily inspections on their trucks and trailers. They have to fix the problem immediately and show how they resolve it. Failing to do this can cause avoidable accidents.
How Truck Accidents Are Different
When comparing a truck accident to a car accident, the first noticeable factor is the size. A tractor-trailer can weigh around 30,000 pounds when it is combined with a semi-truck. The trailer by itself weighs between 10,000-15,000 pounds. A tractor tailor with nothing inside weighs more than a passenger vehicle.
Trucks cannot stop as fast as a passenger vehicle. For example, a truck needs around 20-40% more distance to stop. Combining the distance to stop, the speed, and the weight often leads to catastrophic injuries.
What Your Truck Accident Claim May Be Worth
Each case is different. Depending on the factors of your accident, yours could be more or less than the next person. When an insurance adjuster calculates a claim, they determine the medical expenses, projected future medical costs, and any lost or projected lost income.
The formula is usually pain and suffering multiplied by medical expenses and loss of income; whatever that number is would be your projected settlement. In South Carolina, you have three years to claim injuries, and they can go back to when your issues began, but only if you have proof.
Make Sure You Provide All Proof
In some cases, it is clear that the truck caused the accident. Other times, you must prove that you are not at fault. The first step is to document everything from the scene. Write down the time, the road conditions, what happened, and anything else supporting your claim.
Look to see if there are any surveillance cameras on street lights, businesses, or homes nearby. If there are, your Forest Acres truck accident attorney can work to get you the live feed. Never ask a business or homeowner to see it; they do not have to. It is best to let a police officer and a truck accident attorney in Forest Acres obtain that footage for you. If you have a dashcam, that would be one of the best pieces of evidence.
Consider getting witness statements. If you had passengers in your car, they could write a statement of what happened. Also, if anyone from a home or business witnessed the accident or came outside after, you could ask them to write a statement to help support your case.
Be Careful of What You Say
As hard as it can be sometimes, watch what you say. You do not have to say anything aside from identifying who you are to the police officer and other motor vehicle drivers involved. You should provide your proof of insurance and driver’s license. That is all you have to do.
It is important not to apologize for anything if it is not your fault. You could end up misconstruing the idea that you caused the accident. Wait until you have a truck accident lawyer in Forest Acres before you say anything else. Unfortunately, sometimes people are under tremendous stress when they get into a motor vehicle collision and could falsely admit they caused it, but you could be wrong.
Get Legal Representation on Your Side with a Forest Acres Truck Accident Lawyer
If you or someone you know was involved in a truck accident, having someone on your side who understands the law in and out is crucial. An advocate can fight for you. Experiencing a collision, especially when a truck is involved, can be an emotional rollercoaster. You may not even be able to think clearly. You can get a fair chance at fighting for your case with someone on your side.
The Shelly Leeke Law Firm in South Carolina has a team ready to fight for your rights. While they have a track record for success, they want each client to feel comfortable through the process.
The team at Shelly Leeke is ready to navigate this process with you. Contact us today for a free consultation. There is no fee unless we win.