Truck Accident Lawyer
Large trucks play an important role in the Charleston and American economy, while posing a huge hazard to motorists. When a truck driver injures a motorist, a truck accident lawyer can help you and your family obtain justice. South Carolina consists of many urban and rural freight highway and railroad corridors to move goods to major ocean ports, inland ports, seven regional airports, and rail lines. There are five interstates that travel through South Carolina: I-20, I‐85, I‐95, I‐77, and I‐26. These major roads are often used by big rigs in South Carolina, moving product north, south and west to major freight hubs. According to the South Carolina Trucking Association, there are 7,960 trucking companies located in South Carolina.
Large trucks have many names, and may be referred to as semis, semi-trailers, big rigs, tractor-trailers, “semi-trucks,” or 18-wheelers. Trucks are governed by stricter law than the general motoring public because the damage they can cause is much greater than a smaller vehicle. Trucks are bigger, heavier, and generate much greater force when they hit another vehicle. Often times multiple vehicles are involved in truck accidents. For example, in Charleston, trucks must drive in the right hand lane when driving slower than normal speed of traffic, except when passing or turning left, under SC Code § 56-5-1810 (2012). Truck accident cases must be handled differently than most car accident cases. They are more complex and involve much different work than what is required in a typical car accident. Some lawyers without truck accident experience may take on your case but not be prepared to fight against a powerful trucking company and its army of lawyers. You may not want to be a “guinea-pig” client for a lawyer or law firm who is not familiar with the nuances of commercial truck accidents.
Charleston truck accident lawyer Mark Bringardner has seen how accidents involving a big-rig or semi-truck can cause life-changing injuries or deaths in a matter of seconds. In 2018, there were 84 fatal collisions involving truck tractors in South Carolina, 94 serious injury collisions, and 1,091 “other injury collisions.” Mark has represented truck accident injury victims in personal injury and wrongful death claims, recovering millions of dollars from trucking companies. In 2018, Mark Bringardner was a part of a trial team that recovered $17 million for three families who lost loved ones in a truck accident. In 2020, Mark Bringardner won a $5 million settlement for a woman who was killed by a negligent driver of an industrial power truck, commonly called a “yard dog.”
What to Do Following a Trucking Accident in Charleston: Call a Truck Accident Lawyer
With any accident, getting prompt medical care is very important. Go to the emergency room, pick up prescription medications and complete any recommended follow-up visits. You should report the accident to authorities so that a police report can be prepared, gather names of parties involved and witnesses, and take pictures (or ask someone to take pictures for you.
You should not speculate on fault, admit fault, or give any information about your injuries to Insurance companies. Trucking companies are sophisticated and have the money to deploy a “Rapid Response” team immediately to the scene. Trucking companies will send investigators, accident reconstruction engineers, and defense attorneys to the scene while the first-responders are still helping the victims. The Rapid Response teams sometimes try to influence the investigation and document evidence before you even make it to the hospital. Usually the trucking company will already be working against you before you have a chance to hire an attorney. It is extremely important to hire a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible after a truck accident. Truck accident attorney Mark Bringardner has handled many serious truck crash cases. He has written an article teaching other lawyers about trucking companies’ “Rapid Response” teams. Once you hire a truck accident lawyer, they can handle the investigation and communications with the insurance company to help you maximize the value of your case and obtain the full and fair compensation you are entitled to.
Occupants of passenger injuries are subject to catastrophic injuries like broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, paralysis, and death. Often times, the trucking company is more responsible than the truck driver. Truck drivers are hard working men and women who keep our country moving. Unfortunately, trucking companies often impose unreasonable requirements on the truck drivers and penalize them for not making delivers on time. As a result, truck drivers are sometimes incentivized to break the safety rules about speed or sleep and break requirements which can result in serious truck accidents.
Trucking Industry Regulation in the United States
The trucking industry in the United states is regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (the FMCSA), which is an agency of the United States Department of Transportation. The FMCSA establishes regulations (rules, or regs, for short) which outline the responsibilities of trucking companies and commercial truck drivers. Some of the operational areas that FMCSA regulations cover include:
Truck Driver Qualifications:
Truck drivers must be proficient in English, have a valid commercial driver’s license, and be at least 21 years of age.
Truck Driver Drug Testing:
FMCSA regulations require that drug tests are given to drivers in specific circumstances, including pre-employment, reasonable suspicion, post-accident, random, and return-to-duty
Truck Maintenance and Repairs:
Drivers are required to make daily written pre and post trip inspections each day, which must identify the vehicle and list any defects or deficiencies discovered by or reported to the driver, which could affect operation or cause the truck to break down Commercial vehicles must be thoroughly inspected at least once every 12 months per Minimum Period Inspection Standards. This is a comprehensive check for defects and deficiencies including brake system, steering mechanisms, windshield glazing, lighting devices, fuel system, and other components
Driver Hours of Service and Required Rest:
Drivers are subject to weekly and daily Hours of Service limits for driving. All driving must be completed within a 14-consecutive hour period. There is a mandatory 34 consecutive hours off-duty after weekly limits have been reached. Regulations also prohibit commercial operation if the driver is impaired by illness of fatigue.
A Charleston personal injury lawyer knowledgeable about FMCSA regulations will be an important representative in any personal injury claim. Log book reviews are necessary to confirm the drivers had the required list and did not drive past mandatory regulations. The Electronic On-Board Reorder (EOBR) is the black box which provides operational times the vehicle is moving and when it is stopped. As soon as you hire an attorney, they can begin collecting records and gathering evidence for your injury claim.
Contact Truck Accident Attorney Mark Bringardner Today For a Free Case Evaluation
Following a Charleston truck accident, attorney Mark Bringardner can help you protect your rights and hold negligent truck drivers and trucking companies accountable, and recover maximum compensation for medical care expenses, lost earnings, and pain and suffering. Mark is familiar with FMCSA regs and works with trucking industry expert witnesses and investigators. Call today for a free consultation and conversation about your case. If we represent you, there are never any legal fees unless we recover money for you.