Author: Gordon Heuser, Esq., Colorado Springs, Colorado
Despite Driver Shortage, Accidents Still Happen. A Truck Accident Lawyer in Columbia Can Help
Corporate fleet vehicles are a major asset to our economy. Without their ability to carry heavy loads, we would be unable to function as a society.
The American Trucking Association (ATA) mentioned, “The trucking industry is the lifeblood of the U.S. economy. Nearly 71% of all the freight tonnage moved in the U.S. goes on trucks. Without the industry and our truck drivers, the economy would come to a standstill. To move 10.5 billion tons of freight annually requires over 3.6 million heavy-duty class 8 trucks and over 3.5 million truck drivers. It also takes almost 39 billion gallons of diesel fuel to move all that freight. Simply-without trucks, America stops.”
In most states, operating an 18-wheeler is one of the most common jobs. Yet, South Carolina is experiencing a shortage of drivers. With high demands for orders that require fleet vehicles, more operators are needed.
Although South Carolina is experiencing a shortage of drivers,18-wheeler accidents continue to arise. If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident involving a tractor-trailer, Harris & Graves can assist you.
Our truck accident lawyers in Columbia have over 25 years of personal injury litigation experience they can apply to your case. While past results do not guarantee similar outcomes for every case, we have a successful track record in helping our clients obtain compensation after an accident.
Reasons Behind Driver Shortage
Despite the recent increase in pay for semi-drivers, there continues to be a deficiency of drivers in South Carolina. Operators spend countless hours on the road, keeping them away from their families for days at a time. This is a stressful lifestyle that can take a toll on a family’s dynamics. To make matters more challenging, drivers face a variety of unfavorable conditions on the job including:
- Finding places to park and rest
- Unresourceful rest areas, or places that don’t offer fueling stations or meals
- No electricity to run the air and heat overnight, which forces drivers to keep their engines running
- Places to shower
Time away from family and the many difficulties associated with driving commercial vehicles could be a contributing factor to the shortage of drivers in South Carolina.
Common Types of Semi-Driver Negligence
Any accident can result in injuries, but when you have been involved in an 18-wheeler collision, it can be even more life-altering, resulting in severe injuries such as disfigurement, broken bones, spinal cord damage, or even death.
The legal weight of a semi-trailer is 80,000 pounds. A regular car weighs around 5,000 pounds. Therefore, the damage a large commercial truck can do is far greater than a regular size automobile due to their large size and immense weight.
Driving large commercial vehicles is a challenging job, but when drivers choose to disobey safety procedures, it’s considered negligence. Negligence, such as distracted driving, can cause severe roadway accidents. Listed below are negligent actions that commonly lead to truck accidents:
- Overloading fleets
- Brake failure
- Inadequate driving experience
- Oversized trailers on narrow roadways
- Excessive speeding
- Distracted driving including texting, dialing or reaching for items
- Prescription drug usage
- Failure to obey traffic laws
- Blind spots
If you have been injured by the careless actions of a tractor-trailer driver, our injury lawyers can help you receive the compensation you deserve.
When To Seek Legal Guidance
The moments after an accident can be overwhelming. If you have suffered injuries and are uncertain on what steps to take or how to file a claim, we can assist you.
Our truck accident lawyers in Columbia understand the legal process and can guide you through step-by-step after a devastating semi-trailer accident.
It’s important to seek legal guidance immediately following a collision. Insurance companies may push you to file your claim quickly. This is because they tend to initially offer low compensation in hopes that you’ll feel pressured to accept. But if you have our team of knowledgeable attorneys on your side, you won’t have to worry about handling insurance companies alone.
We are ready to help you fight for the compensation you rightfully deserve due to the negligent actions of another driver.
Finding a firm you can trust to handle the legal aspects of your case can be challenging. Our attorneys want you to know that when you seek our help, you will receive top legal representation and advice for your accident claim. Our law firm has our clients’ best interests in mind and we will not settle until you receive the compensation you deserve for someone else’s negligent actions.
The compensation you could receive for damages and injuries from an 18-wheeler accident are usually categorized into two sections: economic and non-economic. In some cases, punitive damages could also be awarded.
Economic Damages Can Include:
Injuries can result in temporary or permanent damage that can lead to time away from work. If you are unable to perform your job after an accident, you may be eligible to obtain benefits for your lost wages.
Present and future medical bills are a factor in determining how much compensation you’re entitled to after an accident.
Lost Earning Capacity
If your injuries decrease your ability to earn a living in the future, you could receive damages to compensate for potential future losses.
Non-Economic Damages May Cover:
Pain and Suffering
Physical pain and the length of time you have suffered from your injuries could be considered.
Loss of Consortium
If you’ve experienced the loss of a spouse or loved one, you could recover damages for their injuries or death. Loss of consortium is intended to provide financial assistance to spouses or family members who have suffered because their loved one is no longer able to function or provide for their family as they did before the accident occurred.
If the injuries you suffered were caused by another individual’s purposeful or willful actions, you may be able to file a claim. Punitive damages can be awarded in addition to compensatory damages (money awarded to the plaintiff to cover damages such as medical bills). Punitive damages are intended to financially punish the defendant and prevent them from committing similar purposeful actions in the future.
Our team of knowledgeable attorneys can help you fight to receive the maximum compensation you deserve for your injuries. Whether the collision was head-on, a rear-end, or a rollover, we can help.
Injuries such as blunt force trauma, spinal cord damage, paralysis, and death could drastically impact your life and family. After an 18-wheeler accident, it can be difficult to know what type of compensation you’re entitled to if any. One of our knowledgeable lawyers can evaluate your case and help determine what kind of compensation you deserve.
Representing Victims in Columbia
Despite the decreasing amount of operators for tractor-trailers in South Carolina, injuries continue to occur on the roadways. Corporate fleet companies will try their best to get out of paying for their drivers’ negligent actions, decreasing your chances of receiving compensation. The injury attorneys at Harris & Graves know how to stand up to big corporations and insurance companies.
About The Author
Gordon Heuser is a truck accident lawyer in Pueblo, Colorado and has been practicing personal injury law for more than 30 years. Gordon is a graduate of the Golden Gate University School of Law in San Francisco, California, and also welcomes cases related to car accidents, workers’ compensation, social security, and premises liability.