Charleston Truck Accident Lawyer
If you live in Charleston or North Charleston, then you are familiar with the 2.3 million cargo containers hauled in and out of ships at the Port of Charleston every year, loaded onto tractor-trailers and shipped across the country via US 17, US 52, and I-26. A fully-loaded tractor-trailer is 80,000 pounds heavy and 80 feet long, an intimidating presence on the road to say the least. When you are sitting in a 4,000-pound car that is 15 feet long, what once might have felt like an impregnable fortress no longer feels so safe. And with good reason. A collision with a tractor-trailer can be very bad for the occupants of the smaller vehicle. In 2018, the 3,989 truck crashes that occurred in South Carolina only added up to three percent of the state’s overall traffic collisions. But the 105 fatal collisions included in that total accounted for 11% of all fatal crashes. Simply put, tractor-trailer accidents can be serious and deadly.
Truck accidents could be the fault of either driver. Insurance companies make the most of this fact when you have a claim against their driver; they will be quick to try and push at least some of the blame onto you. If you share a portion of the negligence, it drives down the amount of money they have to pay, and if you are more than 50% at fault, then they don’t pay at all. If you were injured in a truck accident in Charleston that wasn’t your fault, you need a skilled and knowledgeable Charleston truck accident lawyer on your side who knows how to investigate the accident, determine who was at fault, and stand up to the insurance companies when they try to lowball a settlement or evade responsibility. You need attorney Gus Anastopoulo of the Gus Anastopoulo Law Firm. Call 843-310-5555 to get started on your claim.
What Causes Tractor-Trailer Accidents in Charleston?
Several different factors can be behind a tractor-trailer accident in Charleston, many of them the fault of the truck driver or trucking company. Below are some of the main reasons for truck crashes in Charleston.
Drowsy drivers. Truck drivers spend most of their day behind the wheel, often on long, boring cross-country trips. It’s easy for fatigue to set in, especially when drivers work longer than is safe. Under current federal regulations, truckers are allowed to spend 11 hours behind the wheel on a 14-hour duty day before taking ten hours off, and even this punishing schedule is riddled with exceptions. Plus, drivers can work seven or eight straight days in a row, putting in as many as 60 or 70 hours of work, before being required to take 34 hours off. After that “mini-weekend,” they can lawfully start up a new week and do it all over again. The legal hours of service for truck drivers are bad enough, but many break the rules and drive even longer, faking their logbooks to hide their malfeasance.
Underride accidents. Tractor-trailers are so much taller than passenger vehicles that in a crash, the passenger vehicle can go right under the trailer. This type of crash is especially dangerous to the vehicle occupants and is often deadly. Semi-trucks are required to have rear-guards to protect against underride accidents, but the current standards don’t reflect some of today’s heavier vehicles that are not kept from an underride by the guards. Also, guards are yet to be mandated on the sides of trailers, and few companies bother to install them.
Jackknife accidents. When an 18-wheeler has to stop suddenly on an icy, wet or oily road, the driver has to rely on training, skill and quick-thinking to choose the right braking method for the current conditions. Choosing the wrong method can cause the truck to jackknife, where the drive wheels lock up while the trailer continues to roll, sliding around horizontally and taking out every car in its path.
Negligent drivers. Truckers are professional drivers who are specially trained to handle the big rigs, but they are people like everyone else and prone to negligent and dangerous driving behaviors, including drinking and driving, texting while driving, driving recklessly or aggressively around other vehicles, and making unsafe lane changes without signaling or checking their blind spots. Truck drivers might drive more cautiously and safely than other drivers most of the time, but they might also drive more recklessly and aggressively when pushing to make a deadline or make up for time lost in a traffic jam earlier in the day. Truckers get paid by the miles they travel and the jobs they complete on time, not the time they spend sitting in traffic.
Poor truck maintenance. When government agencies and safety organizations make roadside inspections of tractor-trailers, they uncover an alarming number of safety violations. Routinely, about one in five vehicles inspected need to be immediately placed out of service due to bad tires, bad or missing brake components, or the lack of critical working parts like signals, lights and coupling devices.
Improperly loaded trailers. Trailers that are overloaded can roll over too easily due to their center of gravity being raised too high. If the load is unbalanced or becomes unbalanced during travel because the trailer wasn’t loaded properly, the driver can lose control. If the load isn’t properly secured, it can come loose and fall off of or out of the trailer, wreaking havoc on traffic for miles.
The Attorney to Call on After a Tractor-Trailer Accident in Charleston
After a Charleston truck accident, attorney Gus Anastopoulo works to see that injury victims get the right type of medical care while he goes to work securing compensation from the trucking company behind the wreck. These are big companies with even bigger insurance carriers, and they fight hard to avoid large payouts. Gus Anastopoulo fights even harder to get his clients the financial support they need and deserve. If you or a loved one were hurt in a tractor-trailer accident in Charleston or North Charleston, call the Gus Anastopoulo Law Firm at 843-310-5555 for a no-cost, confidential consultation on your claim.