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What Are The 5 Differences Between Commercial Truck Accidents and Car Accidents in Charleston, SC and Summerville, SC?

Posted by Jay McMillian | Jun 17, 2018 | 0 Comments

THE MCMILLIAN LAW FIRM - COMPASSIONATE AND AGGRESSIVE LEGAL SERVICES FOR VICTIMS OF COMMERCIAL VEHICLE ACCIDENTS IN CHARLESTON, SC AND SUMMERVILLE, SC

 

It goes without saying that each auto accident is unique. There are minor yet key differences that effect the assessment of liability, and ultimately responsibility for damages. If, however, you are involved in an accident with a commercial truck or another automobile owned by a business, this will fundamentally change the way your personal injury case is handled and valued. Beyond the usual negligence analysis, there are additional state and federal laws and regulations governing commercial vehicles that must be considered. The collection of evidence and the establishment of liability get more sophisticated with commercial truck accidents. It's important to know the steps to take after being injured in a commercial truck crash.

5 KEY DIFFERENCES OF COMMERCIAL TRUCK ACCIDENTS

1. RULES AND REGULATIONS
 
When it comes to commercial truck accidents . . . size does matter! Federal and state safety regulations specifically target large trucks that weigh between 10,000 and 90,000 pounds because they are more difficult to operate safely and they cause such catastrophic  damage when they contact smaller passenger cars. The government requires commercial trucks to comply with special regulations to keep the general public safe.If a commercial truck is not properly maintained or inspected, it is considered to have been “out of service” and never should have been on the road. In addition to vehicle maintenance records, a drivers' log is the other critical piece of evidence in a commercial truck accident. Long haul drivers must take federally mandated breaks and are only allowed to operate for a maximum set of hours before they must shut the vehicle down and rest. 
 

The McMillian Law Firm is known for compassionate and effective legal representation. Call us now at (843) 900-1306 or use the online form to schedule your free no-obligation case evaluation today.

 
2. LIABILITY
 
Considering the serious nature of these types of accidents and the damages that could result, commercial truck drivers, their employers, and their insurance providers avoid accepting responsibility for their negligence. The mindset here is simple to understand . . .  business income is impacted by accepting liability. It takes a thorough investigation and some hardball tactics to get  truck drivers and their employers to admit fault and disclose regulation violations. Victims of trucking accidents need to be patient and persistent in order to prove the trucking company and its driver caused the negligently caused the crash, either through negligence of operation of the vehicle or in the maintenance of the vehicle. Law enforcement officers will prepare a report and make conclusions on who contributed to the crash, yet this determination by law enforcement is not binding on the insurance companies. Trucking companies and insurance companies will contest the conclusions of law enforcement and actively shield evidence after a crash. Victims of commercial truck crashes who read the  police report are often frustrated to learn that the despite those conclusions, the trucking company and their insurance company continue to deny the claim. 
 
3. SEVERITY OF DAMAGES
 

Remember earlier when I said size does matter . . . well it is clear to see the physics and the science involved when an 80,000 lb. tractor trailer hits a 4,000 lb. passenger car. Multiply the mass of the truck with its speed, and you begin to see the exponential difference between the force delivered by commercial trucks versus passenger cars. The force delivered by commercial trucks often causes very severe and catastrophic damages to property and to accident victims. Injuries that occur as a result of a commercial truck collision include catastrophic brain injuries, amputations, broken bones, paralysis and even death. 

Example: To demonstrate the force delivered by a fully loaded tractor trailer, lets look at he scientific formula for measuring force. The scientific formula for force is mass of the object multiplied by its accelerationTherefore, a commercial truck, loaded with cargo, that weighs 80,000 lbs. traveling 10 mph delivers the same amount of force as a 4,000 lb. passenger car traveling at a speed of 200 miles per hour . . . let that sink in for a second!

4. THE INVOLVEMENT OF THE "BUSINESS" IN THE ACCIDENT

One very fundamental and key component to any accident involving a commercial vehicle will be the capacity the driver of the vehicle was acting in at the time of the wreck. Was he on the clock? Was he delivering for his employer? Did the employer do its due diligence in hiring, training and supervising its employee who caused the crash? Did the company properly maintain and service the vehicle? Did the employer encourage the employer to shortcut and bypass safety protocols in order to increase the bottom line? Did the employer look the other way at employee violations of safety regulations such as hours of service and mandatory down time. Generally speaking, when the driver who causes a crash is working at the time, the employer of that driver is usually responsible. 

5. VEHICLES OWNED BY BUSINESSES USUALLY CARRY MORE INSURANCE THAN PERSONALLY OWNED VEHICLES

Unlike privately owned passenger cars, businesses usually carry an umbrella liability policy on all of the vehicles in its fleet. The most common coverages that I see on these umbrella policies is either $500,000.00 or $1,000,000.00 policy limits. These policies serve the businesses in two primary ways. One, from a business perspective, it is cheaper to by a single umbrella high limit policy to cover their entire fleet than to purchase a policy for each individual vehicle. Second, these high limits of coverage on commercial vehicle liability policies acknowledge that accidents involving larger commercial vehicles often have more severe property damage and statistically more likely lead to catastrophic personal injuries. Therefore, the higher limits do more accurately reflect the possible exposure of a business to personal injuries claims arising out of the negligent operation of a commercial vehicle. 

THE MCMILLIAN LAW FIRM - DEDICATED TO SERVING INJURY VICTIMS IN CHARLESTON, SC AND SUMMERVILLE, SC 

As a Car Accident and Personal Injury lawyer in my solo practice, I will take all necessary steps to protect your rights and earn just compensation for you as a result of your accident. Through my efforts, I can bring about much needed financial relief to a victim who may be suffering from serious injuries and permanent disability. Being a small firm allows you to have direct access to your lawyer during this entire process, with open lines of communication as we work together towards a viable solution to your specific case. 

Being an experienced personal injury attorney, I have experience dealing with insurance companies. I also know where the courthouse is and will not be afraid to call the insurance company to the mat in front of a judge and jury if necessary.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident or due to the negligent or reckless acts of another in Charleston, Summerville, Mount Pleasant, James Island, West Ashley, Goose Creek, Moncks Corner, North Charleston, or any of the other fine communities of the Low Country, and need to meet with an experienced personal injury lawyer, please contact me to set up your free case evaluation today. Let me help prevent you from being taken advantage of by the insurance company. I am serious and I am here for you! Contact The McMillian Law Firm today @ 843-900-1306

About the Author

Jay McMillian

Background I chose to build my law practice in the areas of Car Accident and Personal Injury because these areas of the law are the most accurate reflection of my values and my upbringing. Being the son of a breakfast hostess and a retired US Army Sargent turned construction worker, the values instilled upon me by my par...

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The McMillian Law Firm

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Attorney Jay McMillian operates a solo practice with an emphasis on two core principles. First, to provide competent legal advice in the areas of Auto Accident and Personal Injury Law to the people he is proudest to serve, the people of the South Carolina Low Country. Second, to provide the most personal and intimate service to each and every client and give them the attention and compassion that they deserve while going through the stress and strain of negotiating or litigating an injury claim. If you live in Charleston, Summerville, Mount Pleasant, Goose Creek, James Island, Walterboro, Moncks Corner, and you or someone you love has been injured by the negligence of another, please call Jay at The McMillian Law Firm today.

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