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Accidents Involving Semi-Trucks: The Dos

October 23, 2015

 

With the increasing number of tractor trailers on major interstates and freeways in South Carolina, a recent article highlighted the efforts of a local truck driving school in Columbia that is attempting to significantly reduce the number of semi-truck and tractor trailer-related accidents in the state.  The school focuses on minimizing and otherwise teaching current and prospective truck drivers in South Carolina regarding the risk of tractor trailer speed, and the various issues involved in navigating a 80,000 pound vehicle in the state. Although the number of tractor trailer accidents has typically decreased in the U.S. over the course of the past decade, the number of tractor trailer and semi-truck-related accidents remains fairly significant, where for example, in 2012, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, approximately 3,802 large trucks were involved in fatal crashes, constituting a 5% increase from 2011.   

What to Do in the Event of an Accident

Understanding the statistics involved, and that although the likelihood of an automobile driver being involved in an accident involving a tractor trailer or semi-truck is not significant, there are a number of important points that drivers should consider when involved in such accidents.  First, accidents involving semi-trucks should be treated differently than an automobile accident with another car.  For instance, the driver of a semi-truck is rarely the owner of the truck being driven; rather, the truck involved is typically owned or leased by the trucking company, and the driver is often either employed as a truck driver for the company or is an independent contractor.  Additionally, semi-trucks and tractor trailers have their own form of registration, licensing, and other regulatory requirements, which includes a U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) number.  Second, it is important to note that trucks maintain specific insurance coverage mandates, which includes both liability and cargo based insurance coverage, where forms must be filed and maintained with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).  Additionally, there are specific mandates that govern coverage amounts for public liability, comprising bodily injury, property damage, and environmental restoration.  Understanding these unique requirements governing semi-trucks and tractor trailers, individuals who are involved in accidents should be cognizant to obtain additional information, including, for instance, the driver’s relationship to the truck, whether employee or independent contractor, the name of the trucking company, the DOT-related number, and any specific FMCSA insurance related information.  As such, the lesson for drivers involved in a semi-truck or tractor trailer-related accident is to seek as much information as you can, above and beyond the type of information you would typically ask in car accident.  

Let Us Fight For Your Rights

If you have suffered harm or injury as a result of car accident involving semi-truck or tractor trailer, you need an attorney on your side who will fight for your rights.  The attorneys at the Connell Law Firm in South Carolina will provide a free consultation and begin working on your behalf immediately.