Overloaded Truck Accident Lawyer
South Carolina’s interstates and roads are continuously used by tractor-trailers as they pass through the state and make important stops to deliver goods. They’re the largest and heaviest vehicles on the road, which is why federal and state laws limit how much cargo they’re allowed to carry. However, not every trucking company obeys weight limits – and when those rules are violated, innocent drivers often pay the price.
Federal law states that the maximum gross vehicle weight for a big rig with a loaded trailer on an interstate system is 80,000 lbs. On non-interstate highways in South Carolina, the limit is 73,280 lbs. In certain instances, the South Carolina Department of Transportation will authorize an oversize/overweight permit for trucks which exceed legal size and/or weight limits.
Truck drivers in South Carolina are required to periodically stop at weigh stations so they can prove their vehicle is not overweight. However, this isn’t a perfect system. If a truck is overweight, the driver is often given a fine and sent on their way.
The state’s lax policing system for overweight trucks leaves many trucking companies with little incentive to comply with the law – especially because the fine is likely to be less than the profit gained by carrying the overweight load. In many overloaded truck situations, the trucking companies get to keep their schedules and the state receives revenue. It’s a win-win for everyone except the innocent drivers who are put at risk by those dangerous decisions.
Why Are Overloaded Trucks Dangerous?
Overloaded trucks are an extreme hazard which can cause innocent drivers to be seriously hurt – or worse. Here are just some of the reasons why overweight trucks are highly dangerous:
- Overloaded trucks cause more severe impacts in accidents
- Drivers are more likely to lose control of an overloaded truck
- Drivers of overloaded trucks can’t easily slow down or stop
- Overloaded trucks are more likely to be imbalanced and flip over
- Overloaded trucks travel too fast when going downhill
- Overloaded trucks may not have enough power to travel uphill at a safe speed
- Excess weight can cause tires to blow out
- Excess weight can cause brakes to overheat or fail
- Excess weight can cause axles to bend or break
- Drivers of overloaded trucks can’t make quick adjustments to avoid accidents
- Overloaded trucks can collapse bridges and overpasses
Your Health & Safety Come First
If you find yourself in an accident with an overloaded truck, your health and the health of others involved in the accident should always come first. Call 911 if someone is seriously injured, and do not try to move anyone who is hurt – leave that job to the paramedics.
Even if your injuries seem minor, you should get examined by a doctor right away. It’s very common for injuries to be far more serious than they initially appear.
If you’re able to do so, you should get a copy of the police report at the scene, as well as the license plate numbers for the truck and trailer involved in the accident. You’ll also want to gather the truck driver’s personal information and their insurance information, and the contact details for any witnesses.
Pictures are extremely valuable when it comes to documenting how a truck accident occurred, so take photos from different angles. The photos should show the damage to both vehicles, the condition of the truck’s tires, and any skid marks or other details which could help tell the story of what happened.
Oversized Truck Accidents Can Have Tragic Consequences
In 2020, big rigs were involved in 4,978 collisions in South Carolina. A total of 1,132 of those accidents resulted in injuries, while 75 were fatal. Tractor-trailer accidents of any kind can have tragic consequences, but the risks are even higher when a truck is overloaded.
Here are some common injuries caused by overloaded tractor-trailer accidents in South Carolina:
- Broken bones
- Back and neck injuries
- Head injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal injuries
In many cases, innocent drivers needlessly lose their lives because of an accident caused by an overloaded truck, leaving their families and friends to deal with trauma, devastation, and expensive medical and funeral expenses.
When an innocent motorist or passenger is injured in an overloaded truck accident, they shouldn’t have to pay the cost. Since trucking companies have an obligation to ensure their trucks are safe and their staff are properly trained, they are generally held liable for overloaded truck accidents in South Carolina. However, truck drivers and cargo loaders can be held liable if they were negligent outside of the scope of their job.
One thing remains true, regardless of whether the trucking company, the driver, or the cargo loader are held liable for the accident – victims of overloaded truck accidents should not be responsible for paying a single penny towards their medical treatment or rehabilitation.
However, getting the other side to pay a fair amount is never an easy task, even though it should be. That’s why anyone who has been injured in an overweight truck accident in South Carolina should hire a personal injury lawyer who can fight for them.
Injured In An Overloaded Truck Accident? Call McWhirter, Bellinger & Associates
When you hire a McWhirter, Bellinger & Associates overloaded truck attorney, you are hiring a professional with a track record of dealing with cases exactly like yours. Experienced personal injury lawyers know exactly how to fight for you so that you aren’t forced to accept a low-ball settlement offer.
The personal injury lawyers at McWhirter, Bellinger & Associates have decades of experience dealing with insurance companies and lawyers who do everything they can to poke holes in victims’ claims in an attempt to avoid paying out a fair sum.
South Carolina truck accident victims often try to negotiate with the other side on their own, and that’s a big mistake. One tiny slip-up can be used against you and result in compensation which is far too low to cover your medical treatment, rehabilitation, and pain and suffering.
McWhirter, Bellinger & Associates has been representing South Carolina overloaded truck accident victims for more than 40 years, and we do everything we can to maximize the amount of compensation that our clients receive.
Every case is different, but victims of overweight truck accidents in South Carolina often receive compensation for the following:
- Medical bills
- Lost income
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Cost of rehabilitation
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional pain and suffering
- Punitive damages
- Funeral expenses (in wrongful death cases)
McWhirter, Bellinger & Associates believes in fighting for what is right, and that’s why we have dedicated our careers to standing up for victims who have been injured due to no fault of their own. When you allow us to handle the legal side of things, you allow yourself to focus your time and energy on what matters most – your recovery.
If you’ve been injured by an overloaded truck accident in South Carolina, call McWhirter, Bellinger & Associates. We have offices in seven locations across the Midlands of South Carolina, and we’d love to provide you with a free case evaluation.
Give us a call today at 888-353-5513. It won’t cost you anything to see if we can help.