Authorities are investigating a wreck that killed a truck driver when the fuel tanker he was driving crashed and burst into flames. The crash happened around 3:30 a.m. Monday on U.S. Highway 278 near the intersection with South Carolina Highway 37. A tractor-trailer carrying fuel was traveling west on Highway 278 when it left the right side of the road, hit a ditch, and caught fire, according to the South Carolina Highway Patrol. Firefighters were unable to put out the flames, according to Barnwell County Coroner Lloyd B. Ward, and the driver died from blunt-force trauma, with the fire as a contributing factor. Toxicology testing will be performed in an attempt to identify the cause of the accident.
Fuel tankers increase dangers to other drivers when commercial truck drivers do not adhere to Federal and South Carolina regulations against driving while fatigued, distracted driving, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, reckless driving, and maintaining proper mechanical inspections. An truck accident attorney can help when deviations from regulations result in damage and injury.
Drivers can reduce tanker accidents by:
- Observing speed limits.
- Controlling surges through consistent brake pressure.
- Maintaining long stopping distances to reduce the likelihood of an impact crash.
- Driving smoothly to keep liquid from upsetting the truck balance.
- Avoiding skidding by driving with control, and moving slower in bad weather situations.
Fatalities caused by truck accidents in 2017 rose by 9% from the previous year and 72% of passengers killed were occupants of other vehicles. Tanker truck accidents are catastrophic because of the size discrepancy between a tanker and a passenger vehicle, the weight distribution when carrying liquids, and the possibility of toxic spills, or fires when tankers carry flammable liquids and pressurized gases.
Time to file and damages.
South Carolina is a “modified comparative negligence” state, where drivers share fault in accordance with assigned negligence. An accident victim, or a family member who has a wrongful death claim has three years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit in the state’s civil court system in accordance with S.C. Code Ann. section 15-3-530. Damages in these lawsuits can include:
- Medical bills and burial expenses
- Compensation for lost wages
- Compensation for pain and suffering
- Punitive damages that are intended to punish the person who caused the death.
In the case of a tanker crash where the vehicle leaves a roadway and becomes engulfed in flames, it will need to be determined if it was driver error, or something mechanical.
Seek legal counsel.
If you have lost someone you love due to a tanker truck accident near Charleston South Carolina, contact an attorney at the Clekis Law Firm for a free consultation to determine next actions toward compensation.
Clekis Law Firm
171 Church Street
Charleston SC 29401
Office Phone: 843-720-3737
Email: [email protected]