Truck Accident Attorneys in Rock Hill, South Carolina
In many communities, it’s nearly impossible to get around in modern society without a car, and unfortunately, this means you’re always putting yourself at some level of risk whenever you’re out on the road. And while it’s true that car accidents can occur without causing major damage, it's a different story with truck accidents. If you or someone you love has been involved in a commercial truck accident, you know first-hand how devastating the consequences can be from severe injuries or even the loss of a life.
If you’d like to learn more about your options for filing a wrongful death or personal injury claim, call us at Duncan and Nobles LLC to schedule a consultation. We’re located in Rock Hill, South Carolina but can represent clients throughout Chester and Lancaster counties.
Laws Affecting Truck Accidents
To better regulate semi-trucks on our roadways, there are both federal and state laws that aim to increase safety and reduce accidents. At the nationwide level, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) set limits on how many hours in a day a commercial driver can operate their truck and when they must take breaks.
For example, a driver can only operate their vehicle for 11 straight hours within a 14 hour work shift. Then, they must be off work for at least 10 hours before their next shift begins. There are also limits on how many hours in a week a driver may work, and this typically means they’re limited to working a maximum of 60 hours within seven consecutive days.
The state of South Carolina also has its own regulations on roadways and licensed drivers. Some of these include additional requirements to get a license to operate a semi-truck and obtaining special endorsements for hauling hazardous materials. Consult an experienced attorney in your area to understand the specific laws that affect your truck accident case.
One of the most difficult tasks in a personal injury claim is how to determine liability in a truck accident. An 18-wheeler accident is unique compared with other accidents that occur between two vehicles because it’s not as simple to figure out who was at fault. This is primarily because most commercial truck drivers are employees who don’t actually own their truck or have control over when they drive and what they’re hauling. Because of this, liability can fall to one of several different parties.
In many cases, this could mean the fault lies directly with the truck driver. If an investigation reveals the driver was overly fatigued, or negligent in their actions and was speeding or not taking the proper precautions when changing lanes, they can be held liable. However, the truth may be more complicated than this. For example, if the driver was tired because they were asked to work longer hours than federal law allowed, it could then be the truck driver’s employer (presumably the truck company) who would be held responsible. Fault can also lie with the employer if they allowed the driver on the road without adequate training which in turn caused the trucking accident.
Other responsible parties could be the truck manufacturer or parts manufacturer if it was a faulty part that caused the truck to malfunction. Under other circumstances could also be the fault of the person or entity who loaded the cargo into the truck. For instance, if the load was unbalanced in the back of the truck and the driver attempted to make a turn that caused the container to topple over due to poorly distributed weight, this wouldn't be the driver’s fault at all.
Liability may fall on the maintenance personnel who last did a safety check on the truck. If they cleared the truck to safely operate but neglected to address an issue, they could be the ones at fault.
It’s also important to note that it’s not always the fault of the truck driver or company. In some cases, the other vehicle driver will have to claim responsibility if they weren’t following the rules of the road. For example, they may have cut in front of a semi-truck without signaling or failed to check their blind spot when changing lanes. Finally, there are times when no single party is at fault and the accident occurred due to hazardous road or weather conditions such as ice, snow, or dense fog.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim
You should always work with a personal injury attorney when pursuing a truck accident injury claim. These can be lengthy and complicated cases, and an experienced lawyer can help you collect the evidence you need to back up your claim and take much of the legal burden off your shoulders.
Per state law, you have three years from the date of the incident to file a claim for compensation, whether you’re filing as the victim or representing a loved one who was incapacitated or lost their life.
Rock Hill, South Carolina
If you’d like to speak with a personal injury attorney about a recent semi-truck accident and are in the Rock Hill, South Carolina area, reach out to our team at Duncan and Nobles LLC.