HOW IS A TRACTOR TRAILER ACCIDENT DIFFERENT FROM A CAR ACCIDENT?
People get into car accidents all the time. Most car accidents are relatively minor. People usually walk away with minor injuries and a few hundred dollars in car damage. With truck accidents, it doesn’t happen this way. Most tractor-trailer accident victims suffer very serious injuries. And, their cars are usually destroyed beyond repair. A lot of this has to do with the sheer size of a truck as compared to a car. When a commercial truck comes barreling toward you, it can be quite scary. There’s nothing you can do to protect yourself. Given the speed involved and the fact that the truck weighs so much, you’re bound to suffer very serious injuries. Most people survive a car accident. The same cannot be said for truck accidents. In fact, tractor-trailer accidents tend to cause more fatalities (per accident) than any other sort of accident. This is why it’s so important that you have an experienced truck accident lawyer in North Carolina by your side.
WHY SHOULD I HIRE AN ATTORNEY AFTER A TRUCK ACCIDENT?
For the most part, all tractor-trailer drivers work for a large company. They’re paid to transport goods across the country. When they make a mistake, their employer hears about it. And, when they get into an accident, their employer will pay lots of money to defend it. If you get hit by a truck driver, you’re going to need to file a claim against their insurance company. The insurance adjuster will do all they can to deny your claim. If this happens, you’re going to need an experienced truck accident attorney to help you file an appeal. Most truck accident victims suffer serious injuries. This means you’ll have a ton of medical bills. You’ll probably also miss a lot of time from work. The driver’s employer should be held responsible for these expenses. If you don’t have a lawyer handle your claim, you could be taken advantage of. The trucking company will have a team of lawyers working for them. If you’re on your own, you will be at a disadvantage. This is why you’re better off retaining a skilled truck accident lawyer in North Carolina.
HOW SOON DO I HAVE TO FILE A CLAIM AFTER A TRUCK ACCIDENT?
You only have three (3) years to file your claim after a truck accident in North Carolina. This is because this is the statute of limitations. If you don’t file your claim within this period, your claim will be dismissed. Don’t confuse the statute of limitations for your legal claim with your insurance claim. You don’t have three years to file an insurance claim. Most insurance companies require that your claim be filed within a reasonable time. Insurance companies tend to define a reasonable time period as just a few days. This is why it’s important you file your insurance claim right away.
NORTH CAROLINA TRUCK ACCIDENT STATISTICS
There are more truck accidents on the road every year than you may think. Truck accident attorneys in North Carolina know the truck accident statistics. They help dozens of clients every year get justice for their truck accident injuries. Thousands of people are injured in truck accidents every year in North Carolina. In 2016 alone, there were more than 14,000 truck accidents. And these accidents caused over 150 deaths. Tractor-trailers are the biggest culprits. Of all the truck accidents, more involved tractor-trailers than any other kind of truck. Still, thousands more were caused by other commercial vehicles, such as vans, buses, and common carriers.
WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON TYPES OF TRUCK ACCIDENTS?
There are all sorts of truck accidents every year in North Carolina. Most of these involve a truck and a passenger vehicle. Sadly, the driver of the car is usually the one who gets hurt. This is because there is nothing protecting the driver from the impact of the large truck. Some of the more common types of truck accidents include:
CENTER LANE CROSSOVERS
When a truck swerves into the lane of oncoming traffic, the person in the correct lane has no time to react. This can lead to dangerous, head-on collisions.
JACK KNIFED TRUCKS
When a large tractor-trailer gets folded into half, it can cause a chain reaction. This leads to multiple accidents and fatalities.
LOSS OF CONTROL
When a driver loses control of his truck, it’s bound to crash into other passenger vehicles. Since this usually happens at high rates of speed, it can be very dangerous.
When a truck crosses into oncoming traffic, there’s likely to be serious injuries or even casualties. The passenger car they hit has no idea what’s about to happen.
In these accidents, a truck hits you, usually while you’re going through an intersection. It could be caused by speeding or the driver may have lost control of their truck.
When you’re in bumper to bumper traffic, there’s always the chance that a truck can hit you from behind. The injuries you suffer will depend on how fast the truck was going at the time of the crash.
LANE CHANGE COLLISIONS
When a truck driver is trying to change lanes, they may not pay enough attention to the other cars. When they merge into existing traffic, it’ll cause a crash.
HIT AND RUN
Sadly, some truck drivers don’t stick around after they crash into you. If this happens to you, you’ll definitely need a North Carolina truck accident lawyer.
WHAT ARE COMMON CAUSES OF TRUCK ACCIDENTS?
Truck drivers are just like the rest of us. They make mistakes. The problem is, when a truck driver makes a mistake, they can cost people their lives. Most truck accidents are caused by a variety of things. Truck accident lawyers in Huntersville and Lake Norman are aware of this. They handle dozens of these cases every year. Some of the most common causes of truck accidents include:
LACK OF TRAINING
Driving a truck isn’t easy. It takes almost a year to complete most truck driving training programs. If someone isn’t trained properly, there’s a good chance they’ll get into an accident.
This can be caused by anything from bad brakes to issues with the wheels. This is why truck drivers need to maintain service logs. This way, they can ensure their vehicles are in good working order.
Some trucks are much bigger than others. If a driver isn’t accustomed to handling a large truck, they’ll be prone to make mistakes.
BRAKE FAILURE OR DEFECT
Tractor-trailers are huge. They’re also very heavy. When they’re driving fast, it takes a lot of power to stop them. If the brakes are defective, it can be very dangerous.
POOR DRIVING CONDITIONS
In rain, ice, and snow, trucks have to go much slower. Otherwise, they’re much more likely to get into a fatal accident.
Some drivers are new to the job. Early in their career, they’re liable to make many fateful mistakes.
Truck drivers work a lot of hours. They don’t get a lot of time off. When they get overtired, they make careless mistakes.
Sometimes, a truck takes on more than they should. If they’re trying to transport more cargo than what is safe, they can get into serious accidents.
Knowing how hard it is to handle and stop a giant truck, it’s important that truck drivers obey the speed limits at all times.
FAILURE TO YIELD
Some truck drivers forget that there are other vehicles on the road. They don’t always yield to the right of way like they should.
DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF DRUGS OR ALCOHOL
The most avoidable type of truck accident is the one caused by drugs or alcohol. There is no excuse for this.
DANGEROUS AND RECKLESS DRIVING
Some drivers make poor decisions when trying to get to their destinations quickly. This causes them to drive recklessly and dangerously.
RUNNING OFF THE ROAD
You’ve probably experienced this. Some truck drivers are so aggressive they actually run other drivers off the road.
WHAT KIND OF COMPENSATION FOR DAMAGES CAN I RECOVER IN A TRUCK ACCIDENT CASE?
In order to get compensation, your North Carolina truck accident attorney will have to show that the truck driver failed to use due care in the operation of their truck. Or, you can prove that the trucking company failed to follow the required federal and state safety regulations. In cases where the plaintiffs suffer serious injuries, they can expect to receive damages. These damages typically include the following:
You’re entitled to be compensated for both past and future medical expenses. If your doctor believes you’re going to need future medical care, you can demand that the defendant reimburse you for this.
If you’re in a trucking accident, your injuries may be serious. This means it’s possible spend some time in the hospital and you may also be out of work for a while. The defendant needs to be held accountable for this.
PAIN AND SUFFERING
You may be entitled to damages for physical and mental anguish. This is known as pain and suffering.
LOSS OF CONSORTIUM
If you lose your spouse, you may be entitled to these types of damages. If your family member dies as a result of their truck accident, your family can demand compensation for the loss of the victim’s income and companionship. The trucking company may not immediately agree to pay your medical bills. However, your private insurance will usually agree to cover your medical expenses. They’ll just expect to be reimbursed once you settle your case. Keep in mind, you shouldn’t sign a medical release or authorization because you may be signing away your rights. You also don’t want to give a statement to the trucking company or the insurance company before talking to an attorney. You can call and speak with a truck accident attorney at Harman Law at any time to discuss your case.
ARE THERE LAWS THAT APPLY TO TRUCKERS’ HOURS AND SAFETY?
There are federal laws that apply to truck drivers in this country. They are set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. These rules control how many hours a truck driver can work in a given week. It also dictates that drivers must take mandatory breaks. Per these rules, all truckers must also keep a log of hours worked. This log must also include all maintenance and service done on the truck. A truck driver can be pulled over at any time so an officer can inspect these logs. If a driver is caught violating these rules, they can be fined. They can also have their commercial driver’s license suspended or revoked. If your truck accident attorney in Huntersville or Lake Norman notices the defendant didn’t follow these laws, they can use this as evidence in court.