A hazmat team is securing a site in Galivants Ferry after a tractor-trailer turned over and leaked fuel, and residents have been warned to stay away from the area. Fortunately, no one has been reported injured.
But, what happens when people are hurt because of this kind of accident?
Who is responsible if a truck spills fuel or other toxic chemicals in SC and you breathe or come into contact with them?
Big Trucks, Big Risks, Big Coverage
The companies that own commercial trucks carry insurance policies with higher coverage than what ordinary drivers have.
These policies are different because accidents involving commercial vehicles can cause far greater damage and more serious injuries.
For example, if a truck carrying toxic chemicals is involved in a crash with other vehicles, the other drivers and passengers are not the only people at risk of injury. If a poisonous gas or liquid is released, nearby residents, other travelers, people who drink from nearby water sources, and responding emergency personnel could be among those hurt.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is charged with regulating trucking companies and the people they hire to drive their vehicles. The rules enforced by the FMCSA are designed to make sure drivers are qualified, healthy, sober, and competent when they get behind the wheel of large vehicles that often carry dangerous loads.
Unfortunately, companies do not always follow the rules. If you are injured because of a crash or a spill involving a commercial vehicle, your SC personal injury attorney can help determine if the driver or their employer were negligent. If they were, you should be able to collect damages.
How Can Your SC Trucking Accident Attorney Help?
Personal injury cases involving trucking accidents can be complex – your attorney should be experienced not only in basic auto accident and personal injury law but also in federal regulations and how to investigate the trucking company and driver.
Did the driver meet federal requirements? Did the driver’s employer do their part to ensure that requirements were met? It can be difficult to find the answers, but your South Carolina personal injury attorney will examine the driver’s record, the company’s hiring practices, and the maintenance records for the truck.
We will determine if the accident and your injuries were caused by improper vehicle maintenance, faulty equipment, bad hiring practices, driver negligence, or inadequate driver training.
What Kind of Damages are Available After a Trucking Accident in SC?
If the trucking company or the driver are determined to be at fault, you can collect damages for:
- Medical bills;
- Future medical costs;
- Pain and suffering;
- Psychological trauma;
- Missed wages; and
- Any other expenses that are compensable under SC law.
In some cases, you may be able to collect punitive damages.
If you are injured because of a commercial vehicle accident, you should always talk to your attorney before speaking to representatives from insurance companies.