We've all been there - you're driving down the road with the kids yelling in the back seat, and another driver turns out in front of you.
Hopefully, you avoid the collision, but you still have a moment of terror. It's scary enough if the other driver is in a car like yours. But, when it's a big company van or an 18-wheel tractor-trailer, it can end in tragedy.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports that there were 415,000 crashes involving commercial vehicles in the United States in 2015, with 3,852 fatalities.
Federal data also shows that the commercial driver's errors and negligence play a role in most commercial motor vehicle accidents.
Car wrecks that involve commercial vehicles come with their own unique challenges which is why you will need to quickly get advice from a SC personal injury lawyer before speaking to insurance company representatives - to find out what your next step should be.
Commercial Vehicle and Trucking Accidents are Different
Commercial trucks are owned by businesses, and these businesses carry different insurance policies than you carry on your car, with substantially higher insurance coverage.
Because the vehicles are owned and insured by a business, the company's policies, hiring practices and vehicle maintenance procedures can become part of the process of determining whether and how much the company should pay you.
If the company hired a driver with a bad driving record or let the driver work more hours than allowed by federal law, these decisions could affect the outcome of any lawsuit you may file.
Truck drivers often engage in behaviors that make them more likely to crash - sending text messages while driving, using prescription or even over-the-counter drugs, driving while exhausted, or driving recklessly, but they may also have special considerations because of the nature of their job:
- Exhaustion from driving too far for too long;
- Job-related stress that can affect their driving;
- Worn tires;
- Faulty brakes;
- Other equipment-related issues; and
- Pressure from their employers to increase their productivity.
What to do After a Car Crash with an 18-Wheeler or Commercial Vehicle
If you are involved in an accident with a commercial vehicle, you should immediately notify highway patrol and seek medical attention when needed.
If possible, take photos of the crash site, because tire marks, broken glass, debris, and other evidence will not remain there for long.
Take notes as soon as possible after the accident, and try to get contact information from any witnesses on the scene. Be sure that you provide accurate information to any law enforcement on the scene because their reports will become a primary source of information in your lawsuit.
Most importantly, contact your personal injury attorney before speaking to insurance company representatives.
South Carolina Trucking Accident Attorney
If you have been involved in a trucking accident or an auto accident with a commercial vehicle, you need to get an experienced trucking accident attorney on your case as soon as possible. Schedule a free consultation with a Myrtle Beach trucking accident lawyer on the Axelrod team. Call us at (843) 916-9300 or fill out our contact form today.