Did you know that the number of truck accidents nearly doubled from 2009 to 2016? The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 74,000 people were injured in truck crashes in 2009. Meanwhile, a staggering 145,000 individuals sustained injuries from large truck crashes in 2016.
A truck crash often results in irreversible consequences. For survivors, daily life can become a nightmare in the aftermath of a severe injury.
South Carolina Trucking
South Carolina is undeniably rich in natural resources. Notably, it is one of the top peach producers in America; the state is also a leading producer of timber, livestock, and cotton. Today, the world’s largest gingko farm resides in Sumter, South Carolina.
Consequently, the state’s resources are in high demand. Every day, large tractor-trailers filled with South Carolina products trek across the state. The South Carolina Trucking Organization reports that the state is home to more than 8,000 trucking companies. That’s a lot of trucks—and a huge potential for accidents.
Hughey Law Firm Truck Accident Attorneys
Boldly Advocating for the Rights of Truck Accident Victims
Truck accident injuries are serious business in South Carolina. No one understands this better than Hughey Law Firm. In fact, our attorneys have previously recovered six- and seven-figure settlements for victims of trucking accidents. Most importantly, we have extensive experience in litigating catastrophic truck injury cases. If you’re interested in results, you’ll want to work with a law firm that consistently produces them. At Hughey Law Firm, we believe that our past victories speak for themselves:
- $5,425,000 verdict for a client rendered paraplegic after a large truck swerved into his pickup truck. Hughey attorneys worked closely with accident reconstruction experts to determine the circumstances of the tragedy. In the course of their investigations, they also subpoenaed cell phone records. These showed extensive phone activity by the defendant prior to the accident. Hughey attorneys provided undeniable proof that the defendant acted negligently on the day of the incident.
- $2,025,000 verdict for a client injured when a truck collided with his motorcycle.
- $750,000 verdict for a client injured due to a highway defect.
While these verdicts are impressive, it is also impossible to guarantee the outcome of any particular case. However,.know that our attorneys understand the uniqueness of each injury, and work tirelessly on behalf of injured clients with any case we take.
Types of Catastrophic Truck Injuries
If you have been the victim of a truck accident, you likely already understand the severity of these events. At Hughey Law firm, we see a wide variety of injuries caused by truck collisions, including:
- Spinal cord injuries – Most of these injuries result from impact that dislocates or fractures the vertebrae. Signs of such an injury include loss of mobility, numbness in the upper/ lower half of the body, and chronic neck/back pain. Many spinal cord injuries result in tetraplegia (paralysis from the shoulders down) or paraplegia (paralysis from the waist down). According to the NSCISC, the lifetime cost for a 50-year-old paraplegic victim is $1,569,714. For tetraplegics, the costs balloon to a frightening $3 million.
- Severe burns – If a victim’s vehicle collides with a truck carrying hazardous material, he/she can expect to sustain radiological, thermal, or chemical burns. The American Burn Association reports that almost 500,000 people sought treatment for burn injuries in 2016. The most severe burns are third or fourth-degree burns, which constitute full thickness burns. Many victims do not survive injuries incurred from these burns.
- Traumatic brain injuries – These types of injuries include concussions, contusions, and diffuse axonal injuries (DAI). The latter is a much more serious form of concussion. Many of these injuries can lead to various stages of unconsciousness. Victims may lapse into a coma, or end up in a persistent vegetative state. The most severe brain injuries may even result in locked-in syndrome, a horrific fate to imagine; victims with this condition do not possess voluntary control of their muscles. While cognitive function is preserved, victims cannot move any part of their body or speak.
- Wrongful death – Many victims do not survive severe incidents. According to the United States Department of Transportation, South Carolina experienced 936 fatal crashes in 2016. These are sobering statistics; only a handful of larger states such as Florida and Texas have higher fatality incidents.
Trucking Industry Negligence and How Guilty Parties Evade Responsibility
In the event of an accident, who is liable for the damages incurred? The answer will depend on a number of factors. Some important factors to consider include:
- Trucking companies – Many victims choose to sue trucking companies for their negligence. However, these companies often resort to unethical means to avoid paying out hefty settlements. For example, they may try to conceal any evidence that incriminates them for negligence. They may obscure the truck driver’s health history, or discard specific information from driver time logs. Some companies even delay the litigation process using procedural means. This delaying tactic is designed to wear you down and to force you to accept a lower settlement; trucking accident cases can be challenging when much of the evidence is controlled by the trucking company.
- Truck drivers – If truck drivers are independent contractors, they are usually held liable for damages. That said, there are often crucial factors that result in negligent behavior. The NHTSA cites fatigue, prescription drug use, and mechanical anomalies (such as brake problems) as among the top concerns for long-haul drivers. In the event of a lawsuit, some trucking companies may claim that the truck driver is an independent contractor rather than an employee. At Hughey Law Firm, our attorneys are familiar with this tactic, and will work with investigators to uncover the truth.
- Truck manufacturers – If a mechanical failure caused the accident, manufacturers may be held liable for putting defective products on the market. Hughey attorneys are already well-versed in defective product litigation, and will investigate thoroughly to discover where the liability lies in your case.
Types of Damages That Injured Parties May Recover
In South Carolina, victims can recover compensation for many losses sustained from truck accidents. Some of these damages include:
- The cost of medical expenses stemming from surgical procedures, rehabilitative treatment, prescriptions, counseling services, and therapy sessions.
- Loss of present and future income. Injuries can be financially devastating for families when the victim is unable to work; victims may be entitled to compensation for both lost wages as well as future inability to work.
- Non-economic damages such as psychological distress. Emotional distress is notoriously difficult to quantify, but in South Carolina, non-economic damages include mental anguish, loss of companionship, feelings of humiliation, and/or loss of convenience. To determine the level of compensation, juries often consider the age and life circumstances of a defendant; for example, permanent disfigurement, disability, or inability to engage in normal life activities may result in substantial non-economic damages.
Hiring a Columbia, South Carolina Attorney is Easier Than You Think
If you sustained injuries from a truck accident in Columbia, South Carolina, don’t wait to contact a lawyer. At the Hughey Law Firm, we understand that cost is a serious concern for most people. This is why we handle cases on a contingent fee basis; this means there is no charge for representation until a successful settlement or judgment has been achieved.
At the Hughey Law Firm, we are dedicated to achieving success for our clients, and have consistently fought against large corporations and their insurers to ensure compensation for victims; our work has made us recipients of numerous awards and accolades for our passionate representation on behalf of clients. Don’t let fear stand in the way of justice for you and your family.
Don’t wait to pursue justice: call us today at (843) 881-8644 or write to us online for a free consultation with one of our experienced associates.