Common Causes of Truck Accidents in Beaufort
Truck accidents are commonplace on South Carolina highways, particularly Highways 21 and 178. Every year, crashes involving commercial trucks cause many injuries or fatalities on local roads. There are multiple common causes of truck accidents in Beaufort, but unfortunately negligence—a preventable, human error—factors into many of these incidents.
However, anyone injured due to someone else’s negligence might be able to assert a claim for money damages. Victims of tractor-trailer collisions are advised to consult with a seasoned truck accident attorney soon after their crash to determine whether someone else may be held liable for their injuries and losses.
Driver Error is the Most Common Cause of Truck Crashes
The National Transportation Safety Board cites truck driver error as the most common cause of truck accidents. Driver error usually means that the truck operator was negligent, but there may be other negligent actors in a tractor-trailer collision, depending on the circumstances.
Driving Under the Influence
Most trucking companies claim to have a zero-tolerance policy regarding drug and alcohol use by their employees. The law also prohibits commercial drivers from operating vehicles with a blood alcohol level of .04—half that allowed other motorists. Despite this, truck drivers involved in traffic wrecks frequently receive citations for driving under the influence.
Truckers who injure other motorists in these circumstances might be liable for punitive damages. South Carolina Code §15-32-510 allows this type of compensation for plaintiffs whose attorneys can prove, by clear and convincing evidence, that the behavior that caused their truck accident in Beaufort was reckless, wanton, or showed disregard for others’ safety.
Violations of Traffic Law and Regulations in Beaufort
Speeding is a driver error, as is driving while texting. Both actions increase the likelihood of traffic collision and are in violation of South Carolina law and federal regulations. If a trucker is ticketed for speeding or using a cell phone, an injured person and their local attorney could present the citation as proof of negligence.
Truck operators also are subject to federal work rules that limit how many hours they can work in a day and how many hours they can drive in a week. Unfortunately, the economic reality of the trucking industry is that workers are often encouraged to disobey these rules. As a result, fatigue is a frequent cause of driver error for commercial truck operators. If a driver’s employer offers incentives or imposes schedules that cause a driver to disobey safety regulations regarding rest, the employer might be liable.
Large vehicles such as semi-trucks are difficult to control and require full attention to operate safely. Truckers who take their eyes off the road or their hands off the wheel substantially increase their chances of crashing. Cell phones, radios, other passengers, food or beverages, and GPS devices are all potential distractions for a semi driver. As such, using or engaging with any of the above may constitute inattentive driving and negligence on the road.
Big rig operation is a skill that requires training and experience. Sometimes, a truck crash occurs because a driver is inadequately prepared. In this scenario, an injured victim might be able to bring a negligence action not just against the trucker, but also against the driver training school for graduating an incompetent driver, and the employer for negligent hiring.
Truck accidents occasionally occur because of a mechanical part failure. In these cases, a plaintiff could potentially seek damages from the part manufacturer, retailer, distributor, and trucking company that owns the vehicle.
When poor maintenance is the cause of a mechanical failure in Beaufort, the plaintiff and their accident attorney might hold the truck owner or maintenance company liable for their injuries. An experienced legal professional could subpoena maintenance records to determine whether the truck was properly maintained.
Ask an Attorney for More Common Causes of Truck Accidents in Beaufort Claims
Typical truck collisions could involve the negligence of more than one party. An experienced accident attorney has the resources and knowledge to investigate a traffic wreck and determine whose negligence contributed to the collision. They could then negotiate with the negligent parties to secure a reasonable settlement that appropriately compensates the victim for their injuries.
If you were hurt due to one of these common causes of truck accidents in Beaufort, contact a litigator with years of practice handling these types of claims. A local attorney at Schiller & Hamilton could represent you and your interests as you recover from your injuries. Call today for a free case review.