South Carolina truck accident fatalities are at an all-time high. Per the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2020 there were 132 fatalities involving big trucks in South Carolina, up from 122 in 2019. NHTSA.gov
The number one contributor to these fatalities is truck drivers speeding, most likely trying to get to their destination before the federally required rest-break they must take after eight hours on the road.
The Hours-of-Service (HOS) rule limits driving to 11 hours in a 14-hour period with a 30-minute break at eight hours.”(fmcsa.dot.gov) Drivers and carriers can be penalized and/or fined for violating HOS regulations.
Other South Carolina truck accident causes:
- Driver error
- Distracted driving
- Work zones (involving driving through work zones)
- Driving under the influence
The impact of a truck colliding with an automobile can be enormously destructive. It becomes even more damaging if the collision happens at highway speeds. In most cases, trucking accidents can be catastrophic with a high number of fatalities and severe injuries. These accidents often involve collisions with more than one driver and multiple passengers.
These huge trucks share the freeways and city roads with everyday car drivers. Since these trucks are harder to maneuver, there are special tests, training and certifications that prepare truckers to drive these big rigs. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is responsible for setting stringent rules and regulations to maintain the safety of truckers and other drivers.
If you have been recently involved in a trucking accident, the steps you take immediately after the collision are vital.
What to do after a truck accident
We have compiled the following guide to explain the steps you need to take immediately after recovering from the shock of an accident with a commercial rig:
- Stay Put
The best thing you can do right after an accident is to not leave the accident scene. Remain close by, try to calm down and wait for the authorities and emergency medical help to arrive. If you leave the accident site, it may look like a hit and run, and the authorities may give you a hard time during questioning.
You can move the car to a safer location near the site if needed. But we recommend leaving your car in the same position as right after the collision, if possible. This might be helpful as evidence when authorities assess the scene for the cause of the accident, damages and injuries.
- Call Authorities
Notifying emergency authorities about the crash and seeking medical help should be priority number one in any kind of accident. Call 911 as soon as you are able to do so. Collisions with large vehicles like 18-wheelers, trucks or buses can do quite a bit of damage and even cause fatalities. Once again, right after the crash, if you are physically able, call emergency services so they can dispatch police and an ambulance.
- Check to See if Other Vehicles Have Been Hit
Since trucks, semis and buses are significantly larger than regular passenger vehicles, they can often cause damage to more than one automobile. After giving immediate attention to yourself, take a look around to see if anyone else might need your help. There may be other vehicles or pedestrians who have suffered damage or injuries, requiring assistance.
- Take Photos and Videos
Taking pictures or video of the all the vehicles involved, immediately after an accident, provides the opportunity to capture exactly what happened. These will act as evidence and save important details that might be missed in the chaos of the authorities securing the site.
If you have a smartphone and you are able to, take photos or record a video of the entire scene. Make sure to include your injuries, traffic signals, skid marks and any other details that might prove helpful later on.
- Talk to Other Drivers Involved in the Crash
If you can approach other drivers that were also hit by the truck, talk to them about what happened. This is the best time for you to exchange some important information that you might need later on. Try to get each driver’s name, phone number, license plate number, driver’s license number, insurance carrier and policy number.
- Don’t Make any Statement Right Away
Accidents can leave you feeling a bit shaky and emotional, which can sometimes lead you to say something incorrect. Therefore, it is important that you take your time to calm your nerves and collect yourself before talking to anyone. If necessary, ask any important questions and move away from the scene to make an official statement.
- File an Official Report of the Accident
Depending on which state you reside in, you might be required to file a report with the DMV, State Police or another authority. In South Carolina, if the accident causes an injury, death or property damages of $1,000 or more, you it may be a good idea to file a report with the DMV within 15 days after the accident. This way you can get a head-start on bringing a claim against the trucking company.
Contact a South Carolina Truck Accident Lawyer
After you have gotten the proper medical treatment and filed the accident report, the next most important thing to do is get a truck accident lawyer on board. Focus on recovering from your injuries and let an experienced attorney handle the situation from here. You need someone who can deal with the insurance company, make medical claims, and begin assembling material to file a legal claim.
South Carolina Truck Accident Lawyer – The Law Offices of David L. Hood
Dealing with a truck accident can be an overwhelming task, as trucking companies and their insurance companies have lots of money to fight these expensive cases. This is where The Law Offices of David L. Hood can help make your life easier. Being your personal injury lawyer, we put in all our efforts to maximize your recovery. We have the experience and skills to negotiate and deal with a powerful defendant. Over the years of our service in South Carolina, we have represented victims of truck accidents and made successful damage recoveries.
We and our co-counsel have a team of diligent truck accident experts determined to give you the legal representation that you deserve. If you end up choosing us to represent you, we will work your case on a contingent-fee basis, where you pay our fee only AFTER we obtain a recovery. To get your no-risk free initial assessment for your case, schedule a consultation with us by calling at (843) 491-6025 or contact our offices here.