Your complete guide to recovering compensation after an accident from a truck tire blow out in South Carolina
The trucking industry is responsible for transporting the majority of our nation’s freight. In fact, as of 2020, there are almost 39 million trucks registered for use as business vehicles in the United States.
Each owner and operator of these vehicles is responsible for making sure that their trucks are inspected regularly to ensure that they’re safe for use on public roads. Unfortunately, even when safety procedures are followed, accidents can still occur.
Although many vehicle collisions are caused by distracted driving, other causes, such as tire failures, are also preventable. Tire failures cause approximately 11,000 car crashes in the U.S. each year, and many of these accidents could be avoided with proper maintenance.
If you’re in an accident with a truck after a tire blowout, it’s important to understand which parties might be liable and how to file a truck accident claim.
What are the most common causes of tire blowouts?
Given the weight of a semi-truck and their typical loads, their tires are under tremendous pressure. Many trucks conduct cross-country trips that can add up to hundreds of miles between stops.
Even trucks that are used for shorter trips tend to rack up mileage on their tires fast, given that they may be driven for many hours each day.
All of that additional strain leads to more wear and tear than you’d typically see on other vehicles’ tires. In addition to the wear and tear, truck tire blowouts can also be caused by other factors such as:
- Under or overinflated tires
- Manufacturing defects
- Road hazards
- Overloaded vehicles
- Failure to change out or repair tires
What are the potential consequences of tire blowouts?
A semi-truck tire blowout can have more severe consequences compared to a run-of-the-mill flat tire on a typical car, including:
- Complete loss of control. When truck tires blow out, they can throw the entire vehicle off balance to the point that the driver loses complete control and is unable to safely pull their truck to the side of the road.
- Dangerous debris on the roadway. An exploding truck tire can send out large fragments of debris that can hit pedestrians, other motorists and their vehicles at high speeds. There’s also the risk that the cargo the truck is carrying could come loose and wind up on the road. Many truck tire blowout accidents involve motorists hitting items or substances that fall out of the trailer.
- Pile-up accidents. These types of blowouts can also cause other drivers to suddenly brake or swerve to miss the truck and/or debris, making multi-vehicle accidents common after a truck tire explodes.
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What types of injuries occur during truck accidents?
A fully loaded semi-truck can weigh around 80,000 pounds, which generates a greater force in crashes compared to smaller vehicles. Truck accidents can also result in situations where the trailer rolls over on a vehicle or a car gets trapped under the semi-trailer.
Unfortunately, being hit by a supersized vehicle can have devastating injuries for the people involved, including:
- Head and brain injuries. Head and brain injuries are common in these types of accidents due to the severe forces that the drivers and passengers of a car might be subjected to during a collision.
- Internal injuries. Internal injuries and bleeding are also common, and these are not always evident at the scene of the accident. This is why it is always best to seek a medical exam as soon as possible if you are involved in a vehicular collision.
- Burn injuries. Since many semi-trucks carry hazardous materials, there is also the potential risk of experiencing burns if a flammable substance or material catches on fire.
- Respiratory/breathing problems. Exposure to chemicals can lead to respiratory distress along with other serious bodily reactions.
- Neck, back and spinal cord injuries. These commonly result from whiplash or from the impact of the crash on your body during the accident.
- Loss of limb. Getting trapped between parts of a vehicle or cargo could lead to limb amputations.
Who is liable for a tire blowout-related accident?
Similar to traditional types of car accidents, the owner or driver of the semi-truck can be held liable for any damages that occur as a result of their negligence. However, truck tire blowouts can also lead to situations that involve a lot of finger-pointing.
In addition to the driver, the following parties may be liable in an accident that results from a tire blowout:
- The truck company that employs the driver
- The company that was responsible for the inspection and maintenance of the truck
- A product manufacturer if it can be proven that a defective product or part contributed to the crash
Figuring out who or what entity is responsible for the accident is often a large part of handling truck tire blowout claims, and you may be able to sue more than one party.
An experienced truck accident attorney can help determine liability to ensure you get maximum compensation for your injuries.
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How is liability proven after a truck accident in South Carolina
South Carolina is an at-fault state, which means that the driver who caused the accident is responsible for damages. To recover compensation after an accident, you need to prove that another party was negligent. To do that, you’ll need to prove the following 3 elements:
- The other driver owed you a duty of care to take reasonable steps to prevent an accident.
- The other driver breached their duty of care through an action or lack of an action that endangered you.
- The driver’s breach of duty resulted in your injury.
South Carolina also has a comparative negligence law in which each driver is assigned a percentage of liability for their fault in an accident. Drivers can only recover damages in South Carolina if a judge or jury decides that they’re not more than 50 percent at fault.
For example, if you were injured in a car accident because another driver ran a red light as you were crossing an intersection, but you were texting on your phone when the accident occurred, a judge might decide that you were 20 percent liable for the accident because you weren’t paying full attention. In this scenario, your final compensation would be reduced by your percentage of fault, which in this case is 20 percent.
What compensation can I get after a truck tire blowout accident in South Carolina?
In South Carolina, there are 3 types of damages that can be recovered in a personal injury case after an accident. They include:
- Economic damages. These are damages for monetary losses caused by the accident, such as medical expenses, lost wages and property damage.
- Non-economic damages. These are damages for non-monetary losses caused by the accident, such as pain and suffering and emotional distress.
- Punitive damages. These damages are reserved for cases in which a driver’s actions were deliberate or grossly negligent as a way to punish them and deter others from similar behavior in the future.
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The amount you can recover after an accident can vary significantly from case to case. That’s why it’s highly recommended that you speak with an experienced personal injury attorney before accepting any settlement offer from an insurance company.
Be aware that insurance companies often try to pressure injury victims into accepting a quick settlement that’s far less than they deserve, and once you accept a settlement, you won’t be able to go back and ask for more money later if you discover your injuries are more substantial than you originally realized.
When to contact a South Carolina truck accident attorney
Tire blowouts often happen without warning, and you might be left reeling from the physical and emotional effects of being in an accident. Since this type of case often results in more serious injuries and could end up involving multiple parties, it’s best to reach out to an experienced truck accident attorney that can guide you through the next steps in the process of handling your claim.
If you were in an accident and suffered an injury because of someone else’s negligence, the experienced personal injury attorneys at Chappell, Chappell and Newman are here to help. We’ve dedicated our practice to helping injured clients across the state of South Carolina get the justice and compensation they deserve. We can investigate your case, consult experts in the field and negotiate with the insurance company to ensure you get maximum compensation.
Contact us today for your free, no-obligation consultation.