Founded in 1999, the law office of Pierce, Herns, Sloan & Wilson, LLC is a boutique litigation law firm dedicated to serving the needs of its clients. We represent clients ranging from injured individuals to insurance companies and corporations. For experienced assistance, contact our Charleston, South Carolina, lawyers today.Read more
If you or someone you love has been injured in a South Carolina commercial truck accident, one of the Charleston truck accident lawyers at PHSW, LLC may be able to help you recover compensation for your losses. Collecting damages from an insurance or large trucking company can be very complex. But you can be sure our attorneys have the experience required to properly navigate these types of accident claims. These claims, typically, will be filed against the company which owns the tractor trailer, not the driver, and will demand the assistance of an experienced team of lawyers familiar with claims against defendants which have deep pockets and a team of experienced attorneys themselves. The attorneys of PHSW, LLC have successfully handled many personal injury claims against large trucking companies and insurance carriers across the state of South Carolina.
Partner Allan P. Sloan III has handled more than 45 truck accident cases involving wrongful death or serious injury. He is a member of the National Advisory Board of the Association of Plaintiff Interstate Trucking Lawyers of America. He is the author of Trucking Company Compliance with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, which appeared in the South Carolina Trial Lawyers Journal. He teaches the Continuing Legal Education course Truck Accident Litigation to members of the South Carolina Bar. He has also appeared on Charleston News Talk 94.3 FM for a program entitled Truck Driver Fatigue and the New DOT Hours of Service Rules.
Immediately After a Truck Accident
The steps that you take after a truck crash can make all the difference in your lawsuit. Call 911 and make sure that police officers investigate the accident. Make records of important information about the accident, such as the road conditions, officer’s names, and names of all eye witnesses. We dispatch accident reconstruction experts as soon as we are retained to document important evidence from the accident scene.
Call our truck accident lawyers in Charleston, SC right after the accident. We need to begin investigating your accident immediately after the incident if possible. We will visit you in the hospital or in your home if necessary to discuss your case. Do not discuss the accident with insurance companies or give recorded statements to insurance companies because they will try to bait you into saying something that may hurt your case.
In the aftermath of a catastrophic truck accident, it is very important to document all injuries and record all appointments with medical professionals.
Truck Driver Fatigue and Log Book Violations
Drivers of 18-wheelers and other over-the-road commercial vehicles must comply with federal Hours of Service rules such as no more than 11 hours driving following 10 consecutive hours off duty, no more than 14 total hours driving and working after starting the shift, and no more than 60 hours in an 7-day period or 70 hours in 8 days.
In addition to the danger of falling asleep while driving, studies show that truck drivers who exceed these limits are measurably less alert and react slower in crisis situations. Some drivers break the rules because the more they drive the more they are paid, others may be pressured by their company to meet delivery deadlines.
Truck drivers are required to keep a detailed log book of their trips. In order to hide time violations, some truck drivers falsify their log books. It is the trucking company’s responsibility to ensure that their drivers are not falsifying log books and violating the hours of service. Our lawyers have many times successfully used satellite tracking (GPS) records, the truck’s “black box” data recorder, phone records, gas receipts, bills of lading, witness accounts and other information to prove that the driver falsified log books and that the company condoned it or ordered the driver to break the rules.
Can A Charleston Trucking Injury Attorney Help Me?
There are a number of parties who may be liable for your losses, including the truck driver and or the company who employed the driver. It is very common for these aforementioned groups to deny fault or liability for a crash. An experienced injury attorney may be able to help establish liability, collect evidence that may strengthen your claim and help ensure you are awarded a fair amount of compensation.
After a commercial truck crash, the trucking company, their insurers and their lawyers will quickly and diligently begin their own private investigation of the accident scene in question. They have very specific, highly detailed and tested procedures for handling claims against them which are in place to negate or minimize recovery for those injured in the accident.
Once engaged, our truck accident lawyers will immediately begin to reconstruct your accident scene, thoroughly review all police reports of the accident, personally interview every witness, analyze all medical records and interview all medical personnel.
After a serious truck accident, you need lawyers who know how to determine who’s liable and can be held accountable. These may include: The manufacturer of the truck, employer of the driver, the truck driver, the company leasing the trailer to name a few.
In order to prove such liability, our accident lawyers will investigate the truck driving logs and maintenance records, the company which owns the truck, past SC driving violations, history of the truck and the trailer, possible past criminal convictions of driver, driver DMV records, and manufacturing defects of truck or trailer.
If serious injuries are incurred and treated, it is very unlikely that your Personal Injury Protection insurance will cover all costs. In order to help you collect compensation for the remainder of your losses and beyond, your injury lawyer may have to engage in serious negotiations with the insurance company and most likely, file a lawsuit. A wrongful death suit may be in order if you have lost a loved one in the truck accident. To ensure you give yourself the best chance to recover the compensation to which you may be entitled, it is important to hire an experienced truck accident lawyer.
Truck Accident Lawsuits
Broken bones, spinal cord damage, head trauma and burns are just a few of the injuries that may be incurred in a truck accident. After the initial injury insurance benefits are used up, accident victims have the right to argue for additional compensation.
Types of Commercial Trucking Accidents Lawsuits
These lawsuits may include driver negligence, if there was a lack adequate truck driving experience, excess cargo, disobeying traffic rules, using improper route, distractions, too long on road without a break, skipping weigh stations, tailgating or misjudging stopping distance, driving too fast for conditions (fog, rain, traffic, construction), failure to maintain the lane, failure to signal or look when changing lanes, failure to halt a stop sign or red light, failing to check running lights, cargo straps and doors, backing across a road at night, drug or alcohol use, including prescription drugs.
To win a negligence lawsuit, the injured party and their attorneys will have to show the truck driver clearly breached their duty of care to other drivers on the road by some act or failure to act.
Product Liability & Defects
If the truck had a defect or one of its components contributed to the accident, there may be a real claim against the product manufacturer. Product liability lawsuits based on manufacturer’s negligence will require that the defective truck or truck part was “unreasonably dangerous” and the truck was being operated within its limits.
Wrongful Death in Truck Accidents
Many times, the victim will not survive a severe truck accident. In some cases, the family may bring a claim on behalf of their loved one to recover compensation for their losses. An experienced trucking crash lawyer may be able to help family members recover economic and in some cases, punitive damages for the loss of their loved one due to a fatal truck accident.
What Level of Compensation Can Be Recovered?
Compensation for truck accidents involving injuries usually fall into two categories: economic and non-economic. Punitive damages may also be available in some cases.
Economic damages will attempt to compensate victims for their monetary losses such as medical expenses. This may include fees for ambulance transportation, emergency room visits, long term medical care, surgeries, etc.
Sometimes, the injuries sustained in the accident are so severe that they will require extended medical treatments and these ongoing expenses may be compensated.
Some injuries prevent the victim from returning to work and cause them to lose wages. The law provides for recovery for the wages lost between the time of injury and the conclusion of the lawsuit.
Loss of earning capacity: Compensation may be available if the victim can demonstrate that their ability to earn a living has been negatively impacted. Past wages are considered
in determining the amount of this award, but also, the amount the victim might have earned had the accident not occurred.
Non-economic damages include intangible losses, such as: pain and suffering, which includes compensation for the physical pain suffered after a crash, the extent of the pain,
and the length of time the victim can be expected to suffer.
Mental Anguish may be awarded for emotional pain suffered as a result of the accident. Mental anguish damages compensate the victim for nervousness, worry, depression and other forms of emotional distress.
If the truck driver’s actions that caused the injuries can be shown as intentional or malicious, punitive damages may be awarded and serve to punish the offender and discourage similar behavior by other drivers.
If you are the victim of a South Carolina truck accident, please get in touch with an attorney as soon as possible. Remember, there is a time limit on how long you have to file a claim against the insurance company or against another party. To learn how our Charleston, SC truck accident attorneys can help you, set up a free consultation today.