Tractor trailers and other heavy trucks are destroying too many cars and lives in South Carolina. Many 18-wheelers weigh in at over 80,000 pounds, which is more than 20 times the weight of the average car. A simple “fender bender” may result in devastating injuries to an innocent driver. Trucking wrecks were also the cause of nearly 3,500 deaths on U.S. roads in 2010. For this reason, federal and state governments require trucking companies to carry more insurance than is required for smaller, less dangerous automobiles.
If you are visiting this page, you know the incredible damage that commercial trucks can cause. As medical bills rise and injuries linger on, it is important to know that the trucking company’s insurer should be in a position to pay you what is owed.
Liability Insurance Coverage For 18 Wheelers
One of the initial steps we take in reviewing a truck accident case is assessing which companies and other entities bear legal responsibility for the at-fault truck driver’s negligence and recklessness. We then seek to identify all potential insurance policies that may apply. The various sources of insurance coverages include the following:
- If the trucker is working for a company as an employee at the time of the wreck, the company’s auto insurance should apply (Minimum Limits of $750,000.00);
- If the truck driver is an independent contractor, he may have personal insurance coverage that applies (Minimum Limits of $750,000);
- The trailer that is carrying cargo may be separately insured;
- The "broker" may bear liability if he knew that the trucking company he was arranging to carry the freight had a history of safety violations or other wrecks;
- There may be umbrella, secondary, and other excess liability policies that can be reached in the event of a catastrophic injury or death.
In South Carolina, a trucking company's insurance applies not only when the driver is negligent, but also when the company's own corporate negligence is a contributing factor to an accident. For instance, the business may not have properly trained, supervised, or drug tested the driver. The trucking company might also be requiring its employees to exceed the maximum hours of service while turning a blind eye to "log book" fraud. In other words, they may be consciously placing the public at risk in order to make more deliveries. In nearly every tractor-trailer accident our firm has handled, regulatory violations and a culture of profits over safety were the root cause of the collision. When that is proven, punitive damages may be recoverable.
What To Do if You’ve Been Injured By a Tractor-Trailer
As we tell all of our clients: we want your focus to be on your health and recovery. Our job is to handle the legal and insurance matters. While you are working hard to get well, we are working hard to hold all negligent parties responsible for the harm they caused you.
Insurance companies will want to take recorded statements, get you to sign health authorizations, and likely settle your case for far less than they know it is worth. Please remember that you only have one chance to hold the driver and company that put you in harm's way accountable for what they have done. If you have ongoing symptoms or fears over future medical problems caused by the collision, we strongly encourage you to at least have a free consultation with an attorney before entering any type of settlement.
My firm has helped a number of individuals and families impacted by 18-wheeler and other commercial vehicle accidents. These cases are not the same as an ordinary car wreck, and the lawyer who is handling your matter should have experience working on other trucking cases. For answers and guidance, call my office today at 803-790-2800 or one of our other South Carolina numbers listed above. We serve good people across our state, and look forward to being of service to you as well.