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If you were severely injured in a collision with an 18-wheeler or another large commercial vehicle in North Carolina, you might be forced to deal with painful injuries and treatment, missed time from work, and an ever-growing pile of medical bills.
If negligence on the part of a truck driver, trucking company, or someone else caused the accident, you could potentially hold them accountable and seek compensation through a truck accident claim.
The knowledgeable personal injury lawyers at Poisson, Poisson & Bower, PLLC, want to help you seek the money you need to recover from your truck accident injuries. Contact us today to get started with a free initial consultation and learn more about your legal options.
Most Common Causes of Truck Accidents in North Carolina
Many North Carolina truck accidents result from:
- Driver fatigue – Long hours of isolation and boredom behind the wheel leave many truckers dangerously tired and more likely to cause accidents.
- Impaired driving – Some truck drivers turn to drugs to keep themselves awake during the day or alcohol to sleep at night, increasing the risk of DUI wrecks. Even prescription and over-the-counter medications can cause impairment.
- Distracted driving – Truck drivers using their phones, eating or drinking, fiddling with GPS, or otherwise not paying attention put themselves and others at risk.
- Following too closely – Large trucks require plenty of time and distance to slow and stop, so following too closely can easily result in rear-end truck collisions.
- Speeding or driving too fast for road conditions – Truck drivers who exceed posted speed limits or fail to adjust their speed in poor road conditions can cause devastating high-speed accidents.
- Failure to check blind spots – When truckers fail to monitor the expansive blind spots around their vehicles, they can hit smaller vehicles nearby.
- Failure to yield the right-of-way – Truck drivers who fail to yield at intersections or merge zones can cause catastrophic sideswipe, head-on, or T-bone crashes.
- Overloaded, unbalanced, or unsecured cargo – Overloaded trailers can make a truck more difficult to stop and handle. Poorly balanced or secured cargo can cause dangerous shifts in a truck’s center of gravity and subsequent loss-of-control accidents.
- Faulty brakes – When the brakes of a large commercial truck fail, truck drivers can lose control and slam into the vehicles in front of them.
- Poor driver training – A severe shortage of drivers in the trucking industry has led to an epidemic of poorly trained operators who are more likely to cause serious wrecks.
- Poor maintenance – Owners and drivers who fail to maintain their rigs properly can see critical components fail in transit and cause loss-of-control accidents
- Unsafe roadways – Poorly maintained roads with potholes, standing water, or missing signs could confuse truck drivers and lead to dangerous loss-of-control or failure-to-yield crashes.
Who is Responsible for Injuries and Damages After a Truck Accident?
Any of the following parties could be liable after a North Carolina truck crash:
- Truck drivers – The driver may be at fault if they were distracted, impaired, or violating traffic laws when the accident occurred.
- Other road users – Another motorist might be partially or fully responsible if their negligence contributed to the truck accident in some way.
- Trucking companies – The trucking company may be liable if it knowingly hired an unqualified driver, enforced dangerous policies, or failed to maintain its trucks properly.
- Cargo loading teams – The cargo loading team or company may be at fault if it failed to properly load or secure cargo or loaded a trailer with too much weight.
- Truck repair facilities – A truck mechanic or repair facility might be liable if they failed to properly inspect, maintain, or repair critical truck components.
- Government agencies – A government agency might be at fault if it failed to identify and remedy road defects that contributed to the truck accident.
What to Do After a Truck Accident
You can protect your health and your legal rights after a truck accident if you:
- Stop and report the crash – North Carolina law requires you to report any collision that results in significant property damage, injury, or death.
- Seek medical treatment – Seek immediate medical attention to determine the extent of your injuries, document your condition, and get the care you need.
- Identify other parties involved – Write down the truck driver’s vehicle, insurance, and employer information to determine the companies and parties involved in their trucking operation.
- Exchange information with other parties – Obtain insurance and contact information from the truck driver and other parties involved in the crash.
- Check for witnesses – Look around the accident scene for any eyewitnesses and ask them for statements and contact details if you need to follow up.
- Document the accident – Take photos or video of the accident scene with your cellphone. Write down everything you can remember about the accident while it’s fresh in your memory to ensure important details are recorded.
- Speak wisely – Avoid discussing the accident on social media and refuse to provide written or recorded statements to trucking industry insurance providers.
- Keep records and notes – Hold on to bills and other documentation of your losses and keep notes in a journal to track your daily physical limitations.
- Get help from a personal injury attorney – Contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible for dependable answers and professional legal advice.
Federal Regulations on Drive Time
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has developed the following drive time regulations to reduce the risk of drowsy driving truck accidents:
- Drivers are prohibited from driving more than 11 hours in one day following 10 consecutive hours of off-duty time.
- Drivers are prohibited from driving beyond 14 hours after coming on duty.
- Drivers may extend the 11-hour drive time limit or 14-hour drive time window by up to two hours in extreme weather conditions that would make it unsafe to stop.
- Drivers must take 30-minute breaks after driving for eight cumulative hours.
- Drivers are prohibited from driving more than 60 hours in a seven-day period or 70 hours in an eight-day period.
- Drivers may reset a seven- or eight-day period by taking an off-duty break period of at least 34 consecutive hours.
North Carolina Truck Accident Statistics
According to statistics from the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles:
- 8,749 tractor-trailer and a single-unit truck crash occurred throughout North Carolina in a single recent year, which accounted for 3.1 percent of statewide crashes that year.
- 1,841 of these truck accidents, or 21 percent, resulted in reported injuries.79 truck accidents resulted in fatalities, accounting for nearly 6 percent of statewide fatal motor vehicle accidents.
How Poisson, Poisson & Bower, PLLC Can Help
The North Carolina attorneys of Poisson, Poisson & Bower, PLLC have three generations of experience helping accident victims pursue fair compensation. To discuss the details of your truck accident claim with a compassionate attorney, contact us today for a free initial case review.