Commercial shipping using 18-wheel semi-trucks is a multi-billion-dollar business—especially here in the Charleston, South Carolina area where the State Port Authority fuels much of our economy.
Unfortunately, the high pressure placed on truck drivers and shipping companies can result in those companies cutting corners related to driver and load safety. These shortcuts, as well as other precarious elements of trailer trucks, can lead to accidents.
Accidents with semi-trailer trucks, even seemingly minor ones, can result in serious injuries. If you or someone you know has been injured or killed in a collision with a semi-truck, our team of truck accident attorneys at Bostic Law Group, P.A. can help you fight for compensation.
The sooner we can start working on your case, the sooner you will be able to get back on your feet. Don’t settle for a small settlement from an insurance company.
WHO IS LIABLE AFTER A TRUCK ACCIDENT?
More often than not a trucking company is held legally liable for a truck accident. The main reason for this is because trucking companies are often caught encouraging or expecting their drivers to break trucking regulations in order to help save their company money.
While it’s true that the truck driver can be held liable, this usually happens if the accident was directly caused by their negligence, such as drunk driving. There are other parties that can be held liable besides the truck driver and the trucking company such as a truck manufacturer or cargo loading team.
The legal team at Bostic Law Group, P.A. is experienced in investigating truck accident claims and is ready to help you today.
WHAT ARE THE HOURS-OF-SERVICE REGULATIONS?
The Hours of Service (HOS) regulations are rules established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in the United States to govern the working hours of commercial motor vehicle drivers. These regulations are designed to prevent driver fatigue and promote highway safety by ensuring that drivers get enough rest and do not drive for excessive periods.
The main provisions of the HOS regulations for property-carrying commercial motor vehicle drivers are as follows:
- 11-Hour Driving Limit: Drivers are allowed to drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty.
- 14-Hour Duty Limit: A driver’s workday, including driving and non-driving tasks, cannot exceed 14 consecutive hours after coming on duty following 10 consecutive hours off duty.
- Rest Breaks: Drivers are required to take a 30-minute break if more than 8 hours have passed since their last off-duty or sleeper-berth period.
- 60/70-Hour Weekly Limit: Drivers are subject to a maximum of 60 hours of on-duty time in a 7-day period or 70 hours in an 8-day period, depending on the carrier’s schedule.
- Sleeper Berth Provision: Drivers can split their required off-duty time into two periods, provided that one is at least 8 hours long and the other is at least 2 hours long (in the sleeper berth).
These regulations apply to most commercial motor vehicle drivers engaged in interstate commerce, such as long-haul truck drivers. The HOS regulations help ensure that drivers are well-rested and alert, reducing the risk of accidents caused by driver fatigue and improving overall highway safety. Unfortunately, these rules are not always followed. Our team can investigate to uncover if fatigued driving due to not following the HOS regulations played a part in your accident.
COMMON CAUSES OF TRUCK ACCIDENTS
Over 15 million commercial trucks take to our nation’s highways each year. During that same time period, over 100,000 people are injured in truck accidents.
Reasons for car and heavy-truck accidents in Charleston include:
- Speeding: Truckers are constantly pushing themselves and their vehicles to meet deadlines, which can lead to recklessness and injury. Speeding is never safe, especially for vehicles weighing 46,000 pounds per axle.
- Heavy payloads: Not only are commercial semi-trucks heavy, but they may be pulling weighty loads that make it even more difficult to stop the vehicle. When a truck with a heavy payload hits a car or other passenger vehicle, the damage can be catastrophic.
- Lack of maintenance: Overlooked or improperly completed preventive maintenance is a major factor in heavy truck accidents. Such maintenance is expensive—as a result, many trucking companies put it off or simply refuse to perform the work.
- Lack of sleep: Driver fatigue is a result of being overworked or sleep deprived. Many experienced truckers are paid by the mile, and as such, drivers often want to push their bodies to the limit to earn a better paycheck. By pushing themselves too far, professional truck drivers can end up nodding off or falling asleep behind the wheel.
- Highway hypnosis: This condition, also known as “white line fever,” is a condition that occurs when operators drive long distances without taking a break to rest. It only takes a moment for a truck driver to fail to see a break light or other visual detail that would otherwise alert a fully conscious driver to an incoming collision.
- Blind spots & noise: One of the first things truck drivers learn is how to avoid blind spots. Unfortunately, the slightest maladjustment in a semi’s mirror system can result in truck driver not realizing that he or she does not have a full view of the area around them. Furthermore, the loud engine can drown out the horns of smaller vehicles operated by concerned motorists, leading to a crash.
- Carelessness or recklessness: Last, but not least, is that some truckers have a negligent attitude and think that every other motorist should yield to them because of their massive size. This is simply not possible, and the results can be deadly.
IS IT WORTH HIRING AN ATTORNEY AFTER AN ACCIDENT WITH A COMMERCIAL TRUCK?
After experiencing an accident with an 18-wheeler, it is worth contacting an experienced lawyer to represent you. Our skilled Charleston truck accident attorneys may be able to negotiate a satisfactory legal outcome that could cover any potential damages and liabilities arising from the incident.
Our legal team can answer your questions regarding trucking regulations, investigate truck maintenance records, and assess the parties involved that could affect liability.
When pursuing compensation after being injured in a truck accident, it’s important to understand your rights within the law. Hiring a truck accident attorney will ensure you receive competent and experienced representation of your case.
IF YOU HAVE BEEN INJURED, CONTACT OUR CHARLESTON TRUCK ACCIDENT LAW FIRM IMMEDIATELY
At Bostic Law Group, P.A., our 25+ years of personal injury experience can be used to help you build a case following your accident with a semi-truck. If you or a loved one has been involved in a truck accident, it is important to contact an attorney as quickly as possible so we can begin the process of gathering evidence while it is still fresh, such as interviewing witnesses while they clearly remember the accident.
Our Charleston truck accident lawyers will carefully investigate the events leading to your accident in an effort to obtain evidence of negligence on the part of the driver or the trucking company.
Any evidence demonstrating such negligence will be used to attempt to negotiate a settlement or pursue a favorable judgment in court. The head start you give us by contacting us quickly can dramatically improve your chances of collecting compensation to cover your losses.