Truck Accidents Lawyers in Charlotte, Fighting to Help Tractor Trailer Wreck Victims Get Justice
Tractor-trailer trucks serve an essential role in America’s economy. They carry over 70% of all goods that are shipped in America. This is more than $10.4 trillion worth of products. Unfortunately, their positive economic impact is not the only effect they have on our country. Big truck accidents are a major contributor to fatal collisions on American roadways. Even crashes at low speeds often prove disastrous, and if you or a loved one experience such an incident, you may be wondering how to move forward. There are no doubt some difficult tasks on the horizon, but a truck accident lawyer in Charlotte may be able to help.
At Harman Law, our team of personal injury attorneys has seen what can happen when tractor-trailer accidents occur on our streets. We know that the injuries sustained are often severe, and many victims end up facing significant burdens such as lost wages, medical bills, therapeutic needs, and even an inability to care for themselves. Our goal is to ensure that negligent truck drivers, carrier companies, and other liable parties involved are held accountable for their actions. If you need legal representation that will advocate for your rights, schedule a free consultation with a Charlotte truck accident attorney at Harman Law today.
Do You Have a Valid Truck Accident Claim?
The first question many people ask is whether they have a legitimate legal claim after involvement in trucking accidents. Although this may seem like an obvious question, it actually showcases some of the intricacies of personal injury law in North Carolina. While you might not realize it, there are multiple parties involved in every big rig collision that happens in our state. These include accident victims, truck drivers, the trucking company, and potentially others. Even in the most complex truck accident claims, though, the validity of a legal claim boils down to the same basic points:
- Duty of care: This is a legal obligation we all face. We all have a legal responsibility to avoid negligent or reckless actions that could cause harm. For instance, a truck driver has a duty of care to avoid harming others on the road. In fact, we all do. For a personal injury claim to be successful, it must first be established that a duty of care existed.
- Duty violation: When someone violates a duty of care, the potential for harm exists. For instance, trucking companies have a duty to ensure their vehicles are safe on the road. If they fail to do this by ensuring their fleet is properly maintained, literally everyone around these tractor-trailers could be in danger.
- Violation leads to harm: A violation of duty that causes no harm is not a compensable event under personal injury law. For instance, you couldn’t file a truck accident claim related to a violation of a duty of care if you suffered no damages (economic or non-economic). If some form of harm did occur, though, you may be entitled to compensation.
Trucking companies are highly motivated to avoid potential liability. This is why truck drivers are among the most highly trained professionals on America’s roadways. Unfortunately, not even extensive training, vetting, and education can prevent all truck accident cases. If you’re injured in such a collision, it’s important that you don’t assume that you have a valid case. You may overlook a critical issue that entitles you to significant compensation. Let the Charlotte personal injury attorney at Harman Law review your case free of charge.
Why Are Accidents With Big Rigs So Dangerous?
Tens of thousands of people die in car accidents on American roads every year. Relatively speaking, few of these deaths stem from truck accident injuries. As we’ve stated already, big rig drivers are highly-trained. This explains why only 9% of fatal crashes involve tractor-trailer vehicles. Unfortunately, these trucks only make up 5% of all vehicles on American roadways. This means that trucking accident fatality rates are nearly double what statistics suggest they should be. What explains this disconnect? When it comes to commercial vehicles, size really does matter.
In America, tractor-trailers can weigh up to 80,000 lbs when fully loaded. However, most passenger cars weigh less than 4,000 lbs. Even large pickup trucks — which have seen weight increases of 24% over the last two decades and present their own dangers to others on the road — are not a match for these behemoth vehicles. And if you look at motorcycle accidents involving big rigs, the statistics are even grimmer. The simple fact is that a rolling fortress on wheels is often put up against a much smaller automobile when these collisions occur. The size and weight issue isn’t just anecdotal. We have the evidence to back it up.
Over two-thirds of all deaths in accidents involving commercial trucks are occupants of passenger vehicles. When you consider the fact that big rigs are also involved in deadly pedestrian and bicycle accidents, it becomes clear that truck drivers are often shielded from the most serious outcomes of vehicular collisions. A trucking accident can have serious repercussions for everyone involved, but it’s typically passenger vehicle drivers who suffer the most significant outcomes. If you’re hoping to get fair compensation for your injuries or the loss of a loved one, you should consider reaching out to a trucking accident attorney in Charlotte today.
What Are the Leading Causes of Trucking Accidents?
A truck accident doesn’t just happen. Unless inclement whether leads to a collision, there is typically someone at fault. In fact, there are actually instances where liable parties exist even when weather was the chief contributor to a collision. It’s difficult to completely recognize the full scope of potential liability, but understanding the most common causes of trucking accidents in America is a good start. If you’ve experienced a car accident involving a commercial vehicle, there’s a good chance that one of the following issues was the culprit:
- Driver fatigue
- Distracted driving
- Poor cargo loading
- Lack of vehicle maintenance
- Driving under the influence
- Unmaintained roadways
- Obstructions on the road
- Driving while sick
- Roadway unfamiliarity
- Illegal maneuvering
While all of these issues can lead to a serious truck accident, it’s actually interruptions of traffic flow that cause the most collisions. Regardless of the underlying causes, however, an injured victim may receive compensation if it’s proven that other parties were at fault. It’s important to note, though, that whose insurance company this comes from could vary. For instance, the trucking company’s insurer would likely pay if a lack of maintenance caused a collision. If improperly maintained roadways were the culprit, however, the local government agency overseeing maintenance would probably be financially responsible.
Of course, these causes don’t always tell us who’s to blame for a truck crash. That’s why being able to assign liability is so important.
Who Is At Fault in a Truck Accident?
The truck accident attorneys at Harman Law have seen big rig collisions occur for a variety of reasons. There are any number of parties who could be at fault, and in many instances, it could be someone you’d never expected. Let’s take the cause of “driver fatigue” as an example. While it’s easy to point the finger at commercial truck drivers for not getting enough rest, they may not be the only party to share liability. For instance, what if the trucking company didn’t properly train the trucker on how to keep appropriate driver logs? What if that same company didn’t properly vet the driver to discover their numerous collisions in the past?
This is just a basic example of how multiple parties can be at fault. However, one fact that surprises many people is that it’s often not the driver or their company who’s to blame. In fact, a full 80% of all commercial truck accidents happen because of the negligence of drivers in passenger vehicles. This means most severe injuries resulting from such collisions are not eligible for financial recovery. Of course, there are many instances where drivers share liability. What happens in a situation where a truck driver is 90% at fault for a collision — but the negligence of the driver contributed to the incident in a minor way?
In such cases, accident victims will likely not be entitled to fair compensation. That’s because North Carolina is a pure contributory negligence state. This means that an injured party is not entitled to compensation if they’re even 1% at fault for their own injuries. After you’re involved in a serious accident, though, this is likely the last thing on your mind. You need to seek medical attention, and you may be so flustered that you’re unable to contribute significantly to the police report. Regardless of how the aftermath played out, you should reach out to a truck accident attorney in Charlotte. Don’t make assumptions regarding liability.
Do You Need a Truck Accident Attorney to Get Compensation?
Many people think they can’t afford an experienced truck accident attorney. This is particularly the case since much of their money is likely going to medical bills, ongoing therapy, and other financial burdens at a time when you may be unable to work. In reality, these are the exact reasons why you need an attorney. Fortunately, many Charlotte personal injury attorney offer a free consultation to get you started. At Harman Law, we also work on a contingency fee basis — meaning you won’t owe us a dime if we don’t secure compensation on your behalf. Still, you’re not required by law to have legal representation.
In theory, you could enter into settlement negotiations with insurance companies yourself. If that company refuses to offer a fair settlement, you could also sue them in a court of law. In some instances, it may be very difficult for you to lose. For instance, a carrier company may find it challenging to claim you’re at fault for your own injuries if they put an obviously defective truck on the road. Of course, this doesn’t mean they won’t do that — particularly since North Carolina’s pure contributory negligence rules mean that even 1% of fault on your part would bar you from financial recovery. Even if your case seems like a “slam dunk,” though, having an attorney that handles truck accident claims is ideal.
That’s because truck accident victims with legal representation typically receive higher compensation than those who aren’t represented by lawyers. Considering the fact that everyone at a personal injury law firm handles these types of cases daily, this statistic makes perfect sense. Experienced legal professionals know how to deal with insurance adjusters. They know what judges and juries look for. Most importantly, they know the law and how it works — and if you hire a Charlotte personal injury attorney, you’ll even have someone on your side that has working relationships with local officials and legal professionals.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Truck Accidents in North Carolina?
The statute of limitations for truck accident injuries in North Carolina is three years. This means you have three years from the time of your collision to file a personal injury claim against liable parties. Failure to do so will forfeit your ability to seek compensation — even if the tractor-trailer accident in question resulted in serious injuries. While this may seem like a long timeline, keep in mind that these cases can become more difficult to prove the further you get away from the accident date. Evidence has a way of disappearing or deteriorating, so don’t hesitate to seek the assistance of a Charlotte personal injury attorney.
If serious injuries sustained in a truck accident lead to wrongful death, however, the timeline for seeking financial compensation changes. That’s because the statute of limitations on wrongful death in North Carolina is just two years. There are some exceptions to this rule, but for most people, two years is what they’ll have to work with. Fortunately, this is more than enough time for Charlotte truck accident lawyers to file a lawsuit against liable parties. The worst thing you can do in these situations is procrastinate, so contact us today at Harman Law to learn more.
Truck Accident Lawyers in Charlotte Can Help
Any tractor-trailer accident has the potential to be serious. You simply can’t expect passenger cars and trucks to stand a chance against big rigs that weigh up to 80,000 lbs. This is why so many of these collisions lead to major injuries and wrongful death cases. When such instances occur, victims typically have an uphill battle. A trucking company and its insurer both have substantial incentives to not only avoid paying a large settlement — but to avoid admitting fault altogether whenever possible. This means they’ll often have teams of trained adjusters to offer low settlements and attorneys to fight back against personal injury claims.
At Harman Law, we don’t think it’s right that the deck is stacked against victims. This is why we’ve spent years helping truck accident victims recover the compensation they so rightfully deserve. While liability can be more difficult to pinpoint, the potential financial compensation in such cases is significant. That’s why our team of truck accident lawyers in Charlotte is always on standby to review your case and help you decide how to best move forward. Contact us today by calling (704) 286-0947 to schedule a free consultation. Let our law firm fight to assist you in seeking justice and the maximum compensation allowable under the law.