A teenager was killed Tuesday when her SUV was struck by a tractor-trailer in Conway.
A passenger who was removed from the SUV by emergency personnel survived but was in critical condition at a local hospital at the time of the report.
The SC Highway Patrol said the SUV turned in front of the tractor-trailer, failing to yield the right of way - although it appears that the accident was the SUV's fault, this tragic incident highlights the damage that big trucks can do when they collide with smaller vehicles on the highway.
The damage has been done, and nothing will ever replace this teenage girl who was someone's daughter, sister, niece, or granddaughter. When accidents like this are because of the truck driver's negligence, what can the family do?
Truck Accident Cases are as Complex as They are Deadly
While the accident report seems straightforward - the SUV failed to yield the right-of-way and the girls were not wearing seatbelts - commercial vehicle crashes often turn out to be more complicated once police, insurance companies, and attorneys start digging into the details.
In any accident involving a commercial vehicle, we ask questions like:
- Was the truck driver qualified?
- Was the vehicle properly maintained?
- Did the brakes work properly?
- Did the trucking company allow the driver to work more hours than allowed?
- Was the driver intoxicated or sending a text message when the accident happened?
Commercial vehicles are involved in almost half a million accidents every year, and almost 4,000 people die in these crashes, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Administration (FMCA).
Trucking Companies are Responsible for Their Drivers and Vehicles
Trucking accidents are different from other auto crashes in several ways. Tractor trailers, 18-wheelers, and even commercial vans can cause significantly more damage than other vehicles. That's why the companies that own them carry larger insurance policies.
These companies are also required to meet federal regulations when hiring drivers, maintaining their vehicles, and managing drivers.
They are responsible for the performance of their drivers and the vehicles. If they hire an unqualified driver in violation of federal regulations, they can be held liable if the driver has an accident. If they fail to maintain the brakes on one of their trucks, they can be held liable if the truck smashes into another vehicle.
Call a Truck Accident Lawyer ASAP
Anytime you are injured in an auto accident, you should contact your personal injury attorney quickly. But, with trucking accidents, the stakes may be higher for the trucking company, especially if they are faced with a potential wrongful death lawsuit.
The trucking company's insurance company will start collecting evidence quickly with one goal in mind - to shut down or minimize your lawsuit.
The sooner your attorney can begin their own investigation, the better your chances of winning your claim. Your attorney will gather the company's driver documentation, vehicle maintenance records, and accident history. They will dig into the driver's record, medical history, and qualifications.
The insurance company may begin retaining experts to analyze your case and testify against you - and your attorney should be doing the same where experts are needed. Your accident reconstructionist, for example, needs to examine the accident location immediately if possible, before evidence is lost or destroyed over time.
The most important thing to remember is that, from the moment the accident happens, you are in an adversarial relationship with the trucking company's insurance company. Contact your attorney before you speak to any insurance company representatives because the insurer's goal is not to help you...
If you or a family member has been hurt in an accident with a commercial vehicle, call your SC truck accident lawyer in Myrtle Beach now at (843) 916-9300 or fill out our contact form today to set up a free consultation.