With the number of major highways and interstates running through Columbia, it is not uncommon to find yourself sharing the road with tractor-trailers, 18-wheelers, and other big rigs. Unfortunately, truck accidents are common in our area. When they occur, it is often other motorists who suffer the most severe injuries. Truck drivers and trucking companies often are responsible for these accidents. In these cases, The Jeffcoat Firm works tirelessly to hold them accountable and seek the compensation that victims and their families deserve.
As experienced truck accident attorneys in Columbia, we know that the injuries which people suffer in these crashes can have a long-ranging impact on their health. They can face mountains of medical debt and ongoing disabilities that affect their ability to make a living. When victims and their families file claims, we know that trucking companies and their insurers will try to take advantage of them.
At The Jeffcoat Firm, our personal injury lawyers won’t let that happen to you. We will protect your rights and pursue the maximum amount in your claim. To learn more, contact us today for a free consultation. Time is crucial. It is always best to begin our investigation of a truck accident as soon as possible. So, don’t wait to act.
How Our Semi-Truck Accident Attorneys Can Help You
During your free consultation with The Jeffcoat Firm, we will review all the details surrounding your case. This includes where and when the truck accident occurred, the other drivers involved and anything suspicious you may have noticed either before, during or after the crash. We will also discuss your injuries, their impact on you and your prognosis for recovery.
When we represent you in a truck accident case, we will take steps that include:
- Conducting a thorough accident investigation – We will immediately investigate the truck crash. Our investigation may involve visiting the accident scene, obtaining photos and videos, getting cell phone records and toxicology test results and talking to witnesses. We may also consult with accident reconstruction professionals to uncover hidden factors that may have contributed to the crash.
- Carefully reviewing your injuries – Our Columbia truck accident lawyers will thoroughly review your injuries, collect medical records, obtain statements from your doctor or other health care providers and consult with medical professionals to determine any long-term disabilities you may suffer. We will also speak to friends and family to determine the impact your injuries have on other areas of your life.
- Demanding a settlement – Once we have a clear idea of your current and future damages, we will demand a settlement from the insurance company or companies. If an agreeable settlement amount cannot be reached, we will not hesitate to take your case to trial.
During this period, you do not have to worry about paying upfront costs. The Jeffcoat Firm will represent you on a contingency fee basis. Under a written contingency fee agreement, we will promise to bear the up-front costs of your case, and we will discuss with you and determine what our percentage fee will be for your case. We will then deduct those costs after the computation of the percentage fee.
Common Types of 18 Wheeler Accidents in South Carolina
Even the most cautious motorists can find themselves involved in a truck accident. According to the South Carolina Department of Public Safety, close to 5,000 of these crashes occur throughout our state each year. Among the most common types of truck accidents are:
- Distracted driving crashes – The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has strict rules against texting or using cell phones in a commercial vehicle. Despite these rules, many truckers continue to text and talk on hand-held phones while driving. They also adjust GPS settings, watch videos, eat and drink behind the wheel and engage in other types of distracted driving behavior.
- Fatigued driving crashes – Long hours and a lack of breaks increase the risk of drowsy driving among truckers. FMCSA hours of service regulations set limits on the hours and days drivers can work. They also require regular break periods. Yet, many truckers violate these rules (and often under pressure from trucking companies).
- Impaired driver crashes – Driving under the influence dramatically increases the likelihood of truck accidents. As the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles notes, the blood alcohol content limit for commercial drivers in our state is .04 percent. Illegal drugs and prescription or over-the-counter medications can also impair truckers.
- Jackknife accidents – Adverse conditions and speeding can result in a skid, causing the truck’s trailer to swing out at an angle. Jackknife accidents are particularly dangerous as they often involve multiple vehicles.
- Tailgating accidents – When truck drivers are in a rush to meet tight schedules, they may engage in aggressive driving behaviors such as tailgating. This increases the likelihood of rear-end collisions.
- Turning accidents – Even an experienced driver can miscalculate when making a turn or navigating curves. In addition to hitting other drivers, turning can cause the truck to get into a rollover accident.
Establishing Liability in Truck Accident Cases
Thorough investigations into truck accidents are important for determining who is ultimately responsible. Being able to file a claim against several parties helps to maximize case value and increases the overall amount of compensation you may be entitled to recover. At The Jeffcoat Firm, we will work tirelessly to identify all parties who should be held accountable for your truck accident, which could include:
- The truck driver – Drivers may be liable for accidents that occur as a result of reckless and negligent driving behaviors such as speeding, distracted driving, and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- The trucking company – When trucking companies do not conduct background checks, provide proper training for truck drivers, require excessively long shifts and fail to properly inspect and maintain their vehicles, they can be held liable when truck accidents and injuries occur.
- Freight broker – A broker acts as an intermediary between shippers and carriers. When they demand overly tight delivery schedules or follow improper loading practices, they can also be held accountable in a claim.
- Truck manufacturer – Defects in the design of the truck or in parts such as the engine, tires, and brakes can increase the risk of accidents. In these cases, manufacturers may be held responsible.
The causes of a truck accident and responsible parties are not always immediately obvious. This is one of the many reasons why you need our Columbia truck accident attorneys to thoroughly investigate your case.
Types of Damages in Truck Accident Cases
At The Jeffcoat Firm, we know that truck accident injuries can be severe and potentially life-threatening. They can impact every area of your life and threaten your health, your overall well-being, and your financial security. While you focus on healing, we will focus on pursuing all compensation you are entitled to recover in your claim.
We will aggressively seek full and fair compensation for you, including:
- Economic damages – These damages cover the actual costs of your current medical expenses and lost wages along with any future costs you are likely to incur.
- Non-economic damages – These damages cover intangibles such as the pain, suffering, mental anguish and loss of enjoyment in life that you or your family suffer due to your injuries.
- Punitive damages – If a truck driver, trucking company or other parties involved in a truck crash engage in especially egregious misconduct, you may be entitled to punitive damages. These damages are designed to punish the at-fault party and deter future misconduct.
- Wrongful death damages – If your loved one died in a Columbia truck accident due to someone else’s negligence, The Jeffcoat Firm can help you to pursue a wrongful death claim and seek damages such as funeral and burial expenses and the loss of your loved one’s services and support.
Unfortunately, insurance companies are motivated by profits. They will do whatever they can to deny or dispute your claim. As truck accident attorneys in Columbia with years of experience, we can effectively negotiate with these companies on your behalf. If a reasonable insurance settlement cannot be reached, we will not hesitate to take your case to court.
What Should You Do After a Truck Accident in South Carolina?
In the aftermath of a truck accident in Columbia, you can take certain steps to fulfill your legal requirements under the South Carolina Motor Vehicle Code and to protect your rights in a claim. Those steps include:
- Notify law enforcement immediately of the accident.
- Exchange information with the truck driver and any other motorists involved. Make note of the trucking company.
- Attempt to document the scene, either by making a mental note of the surroundings or by taking pictures with your cell phone, if possible.
- Seek medical attention for your injuries, even if they appear minor.
- Report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible.
- Do not speak with the trucking company or its insurance company and do not sign any documents until you speak with a lawyer first.
Our Columbia Truck Accident Law Firm Is Here for You
If a truck accident in Columbia leaves you with serious injuries or the loss of a loved one, you can count on The Jeffcoat Firm to provide the sound legal guidance and experienced representation you need. Timing is critical in a truck accident investigation. If you cannot travel to meet us, we are available for home or hospital appointments, including on evenings and weekends. Contact us now to get started on your case.