Top 10 Causes of Fatal Truck Accidents
Truck accidents are more deadly than most other types of vehicle accidents including car accidents. The size, weight, and mass of a truck mean that when a truck and a smaller vehicle collide, the smaller vehicle will absorb most of the force of the collision. More force means more serious injuries and a greater likelihood of death.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), with help from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), keeps data on why deadly traffic accidents happen. The FMCSA reported the following causes of deadly truck accidents for 2020 for single and multiple-vehicle truck accidents.
Single-vehicle truck crashes involve such events as truck jackknives; truck rollovers; and colliding with stationary objects such as lane dividers, traffic poles, and other objects. The top five causes of single-vehicle truck crashes for 2020 were:
- Driver impairment (drunk driving, driver fatigue, and other types of impairment): 131 crashes, accounting for 13.5 percent of all fatal crashes.
- Speeding: 120 crashes, accounting for 12.4 percent of all fatal truck accidents.
- Negligence (improper driving, driving without due care, careless driving, and inattentive operation): 86 fatalities, accounting for 8.9 percent of all deadly truck accidents.
- Driver distraction/inattention (texting while driving, cell phone use, eating, drinking, and more): 82 deaths, accounting for 8.4 percent of all fatal truck accidents.
- Overcorrecting: 55 deaths, accounting for 5.7 percent of all truck crash fatalities.
Other causes of single-truck accidents include vision obscurity, improper lane usage, and failure to yield the right of way.
The five leading causes of multi-vehicle crashes (crashes with at least one other vehicle) for 2020 were:
- Any type of speeding: 6.1 percent.
- Failure to yield the right of way: 4.5 percent
- Driver distraction: 4.4 percent.
- Impairment: 3.1 percent.
- Improper lane usage: 2.9 percent.
About nine percent of truck fatalities in 2020 involved at least one moving violation. About 48 percent of truck deaths in 2020 involved at least one driver-related factor.
Who is liable for a deadly truck accident in South Carolina?
Often, one or more trucking companies or businesses are liable for a truck accident, in addition to the truck driver. Some of these additional defendants may include:
- The trucking company that employed the truck driver
- The owner of the truck, if different from the truck driver, may also be liable
- A manufacturer of a defective truck part such as a defective brakes
- A trucking broker that arranged the shipment
- Any mechanic who may have provided a faulty repair to a vehicle
How to file a wrongful death claim after a South Carolina truck accident
Our truck accident lawyers understand just how devastating the death of a loved one is – especially when your loved one’s death was preventable. Our wrongful death lawyers understand the unique issues involved with wrongful death claims. These issues include determining who the beneficiaries are, who can file the claim, what happens if there are criminal charges, how you prove the defendants are liable and what damages can be awarded.
South Carolina law specifically provides that the beneficiaries include the wife (or husband) and child (children) of the decedent. If the decedent did not have a spouse or children, then the beneficiaries are any surviving parents. Otherwise, the beneficiaries are the decedent’s remaining heirs.
The executor or administrator of the decedent’s estate files the wrongful death damages.
There’s no amount of money that can fully compensate victims for the death of a loved one. We seek the maximum amount of compensation South Carolina permits to hold the wrongdoers accountable, pressure the responsible drivers and truck companies to take corrective actions, and help families live their best lives possible – the lives your loved one would have wanted for you.
Our attorneys seek compensation for:
- The funeral and burial expenses of the decedent
- The income the decedent would have provided the beneficiaries had they lived
- Any medical bills of the decedent incurred prior to his/her death due to the truck accident
- The value of the care, companionship, and guidance the decedent would have provided the beneficiaries
- The pain and suffering of the family members
- Any property damage
We also seek punitive/exemplary damages. These damages may be awarded in cases of egregious wrongs, such as when your loved one was killed by a driver who was intoxicated.
Some limitations on the amount of damages may apply if the government is responsible for the death of your loved one (such as if the government’s poor roadway design caused the fatal truck accident) or for other reasons.
The South Carolina attorneys at McGowan, Hood, Felder & Phillips, LLC have nearly 20 lawyers to help you obtain justice when a loved dies due to the fault of truck drivers, trucking companies, or other defendants. We’ve been fighting for personal injury victims and families for 20 years. We’re ready to help you today if a loved one died in a truck accident. To schedule a free consultation, call our offices or fill out our contact form today. Your consultation is always confidential.
Randy is the former President of the South Carolina Association for Justice. He has been certified by the American Board of Professional Liability as a specialist in Medical Malpractice Law which is recognized by the South Carolina Bar. Randy has also been awarded the distinction of being a “Super Lawyer” 10 times in the last decade. He has over 25 years of experience helping injured people fight back against corporations, hospitals and wrong-doers.
Read more about S. Randall Hood