South Carolina is home to tens of thousands of miles of interstates, U.S. and state highways, and local roads that commercial trucking companies use to transport goods throughout the state and across the country. When these trucking companies and their drivers make mistakes or cut corners, they can cost innocent people their lives.
If you have lost a loved one in a fatal truck crash in South Carolina, turn to the lawyers at Jebaily Law Firm for help pursuing a wrongful death claim. We’re dedicated to seeking justice and accountability for accident victims and their families. We’re ready to stand up to the trucking companies on your behalf.
Contact us today for a free initial claim evaluation from a fatal truck accident lawyer in South Carolina and find out what we can do for you.
Fatal Truck Accident Statistics
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, more than 4,000 people were killed in truck accidents nationwide in one recent year alone. Fifteen percent of the fatalities were occupants of the truck involved in the crash, while 68 percent of the fatalities were occupants of passenger vehicles, and another 16 percent of the deaths were motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians.
The number of truck accident fatalities that year represented a 28 percent increase over the number of fatalities a decade earlier, which had the lowest number of truck accident deaths since fatalities first started to be recorded in 1975.
Causes of Fatal Truck Accidents in SC
Common causes of fatal truck crash in South Carolina include:
- Speeding and driving too fast for the conditions
- Unsafe lane changes, often due to a failure to signal or check mirrors and blind spots
- Distracted driving
- Drowsy driving
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Driver inexperience
- Unfamiliarity with routes or local roads
- Unsafe cargo loads, including excessive weight or failing to balance or secure cargo
- Failure to conduct vehicle inspections and maintenance
- Truck defects, including defective braking systems and tires
Trucker Regulations in South Carolina
The trucking industry is heavily regulated due to the risk of deadly accidents. Below are some of the most important trucker regulations at the state and national levels.
Hours of Service Regulations
Truck drivers are subject to the following regulations concerning their work schedules:
- A driver may not drive more than 11 hours after a 10-consecutive-hour period off-duty.
- A driver may not drive after the 14th consecutive hour on duty following a 10-consecutive-hour off-duty period.
- A driver may extend the 11- and 14-hour limits by up to 2 hours when encountering adverse driving conditions.
- A driver must take a break of at least 30 minutes after spending 8 cumulative hours driving without a 30-minute break. This break may be spent on duty but not driving, off-duty, or in a sleeper berth.
- A driver may not drive after 60 total hours on duty in a 7-day period, or 70 total hours on duty in an 8-day period. The periods restart after at least 34 consecutive hours off duty.
Trucking License Requirements
A truck driver operating a single vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 26,000 pounds, or a combination vehicle with a GVWR of more than 26,000 pounds when towing a trailer weighing more than 10,000 pounds, must obtain a commercial driver’s license from the South Carolina DMV.
Applicants must be at least 18 years old to drive a truck within South Carolina, and at least 21 years old to operate a truck in interstate commerce. Applicants must pass a written knowledge test and a road test. Truck drivers must also pass separate knowledge tests to obtain CDL endorsements to operate certain kinds of commercial trucks or to transport certain types of cargo, such as hazardous or radioactive materials.
Truck Driver DUI Laws
A truck driver may be charged with DUI if they have a blood alcohol content of 0.04 percent or more.
About South Carolina Wrongful Death Lawsuits
If your loved one passed away as the result of a truck accident, you could be entitled to file a wrongful death suit against the at-fault parties. Here’s what you should know about wrongful death suits in South Carolina:
- Only the executor or administrator of a decedent’s estate may file a wrongful death lawsuit.
- Surviving family members who can recover compensation from a wrongful death claim include:
- The decedent’s spouse and children
- The decedent’s parent or parents, if the decedent had no spouse or children
- The decedent’s heirs under South Carolina intestacy law, if they had no surviving spouse, children, or heirs.
A wrongful death claim can provide compensation for:
- Medical expenses incurred to treat a decedent’s fatal injuries
- Funeral and burial expenses
- The loss of the decedent’s income and financial contribution to their household
- The loss of the decedent’s care, companionship, and guidance
A wrongful death claim must be filed within three years of the date of a decedent’s death.
Determining the At-Fault Party
Potential at-fault parties in fatal truck accident cases include:
- The truck driver
- The trucking company that employed or contracted the truck driver
- The truck and trailer owner, if not the truck driver or trucking company
- The freight company responsible for loading the truck or trailer
- Mechanics and repair shops responsible for maintenance of the truck and trailer
- The manufacturer of the truck or trailer, or a manufacturer of a defective part used on the vehicle
How Our Lawyers Can Help After Fatal Truck Accidents in SC
If you’ve lost a loved one to a collision involving a commercial vehicle, the South Carolina truck accident lawyers at Jebaily Law Firm can help your family seek justice by:
- Recovering all available evidence from the accident to help identify the party or parties who can be held liable
- Identifying available sources of compensation, such as the extent of applicable insurance coverage
- Documenting your family’s losses to determine what constitutes fair and full compensation in your case
- Collaborating with expert witnesses when necessary to build an effective and persuasive argument in favor of your family’s right to compensation
- Filing claims on your family’s behalf
- Aggressively pursuing a settlement so that your family can begin the process of healing
- Going to court and to trial if it becomes the best way to secure maximum compensation for you and your family
Contact Our Truck Accident Lawyers at Jebaily Law Firm Today
Jebaily Law Firm is here to help you seek accountability and answers for your loved one’s untimely death. Contact our law firm today for a free, no-obligation consultation with our South Carolina fatal truck accident lawyers and tell us about what happened.