Various Factors that Cause Truck Accidents
The North Carolina Department of Transportation reports that there are about 10,000 accidents involving trucks in the state each year. These accidents happen on small roads, city streets, and busy highways. The Charlotte region has many large highways used by trucks to ship cargo throughout the eastern United States, and smaller passenger cars share the roads with large commercial vehicles every day. While it’s possible to be hit by a truck almost anywhere, accidents often happen on ramps, turns, or places where trucks enter or leave parking lots or rest stops. Small roads can be extremely dangerous as well since they are not always built to handle many large trucks who are using them to access agricultural, industrial, or recreational areas.
As a truck accident law firm with an extensive background in helping victims, we understand that each accident is different than the last. Many of the truck wrecks that we have seen were caused by the following factors:
- Reckless or speeding trucks
- Drivers who fall asleep at the wheel due to overwork
- Intoxicated drivers
- Distracted drivers
- Driving in poor conditions or weather
- Truck drivers who are not properly trained
- Trucks that are not well-maintained and in good working condition
Trucks Are Subject To Different State And Federal Laws
Your North Carolina truck accident lawyer must understand the many complexities of truck laws and regulations, on both the state and federal level, if you are going to recover damages after a serious accident with a truck. Trucks must follow many rules that do not apply to normal cars. While each state has their own trucking laws and regulations for truckers, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) oversees all truck requirements in the United States. If your lawyer can identify a safety violation by the truck in your accident, you may be able to recover the financial damages you need without much delay.
The many different trucking requirements that are governed by the FMCSA include:
- Routine safety inspections, which determine if a truck is safe for the road
- Driver training and licensing requirements
- Caps on driving hours
- Records of vehicle maintenance and driving logs
North Carolina law has minimum insurance requirements that large trucks must follow. These minimums are higher than normal vehicles since the state recognizes that an accident involving a truck can be especially devastating and injury or kill many people. Unlike normal cars in North Carolina which must have a minimum of $30,000 coverage, a truck must have a minimum insurance coverage ranging anywhere from $50,000 to $1,000,000. In some cases, the truck and trailer carry separate insurance policies as well. This coverage, which varies by size of the truck and dangers posed by the type of cargo, is meant to help you after being injured by a negligent truck driver.
Recovering Compensation After A Truck Accident
A North Carolina truck accident attorney must demonstrate the negligence of the other party if you are to secure financial compensation. This means showing that the other party was negligent, and then showing that their negligence clearly caused your injury. Truck accidents are almost always more complex than normal car accidents. They can involve many different defendants, technical details, and complex laws and regulations. It’s very important to have an experienced truck accident attorney working on your case.
At Randall & Stump, PLLC, we’ve successfully handled many truck accident cases for our clients and are well aware of the complexities involved. We understand that truck accident cases often require seeking a financial recovery from one or several insurance companies, who are actively trying to reduce their costs. These insurance providers and the large trucking companies who hire them, have teams of lawyers who might not be willing to offer what you are realistically entitled to. If this happens, our skilled trial attorneys will be prepared to take your case to trial.
Building a strong trucking accident case requires that we gather and study all the evidence, including:
- Police and first responder reports
- Truck maintenance logs
- Driving logs
- Past violations by the truck driver or trucking company
- Toxicology reports
- Witness testimony
- Medical records and doctors’ opinions
- Accident reconstruction data
Steps to Take If You Have Been In A Truck Accident
You or your passengers may be seriously injured in a truck accident. The first thing to do after a bad truck wreck is to try and move to a safe location where you are out of the way of oncoming vehicles and dangerous debris. After this, call for police and emergency medical help. While North Carolina law does not always require a police report for certain minor accidents, we strongly advise you to call the police whenever you are in an accident with a truck and have a police report filed. The police report will be very helpful to your lawyer and can be a strong piece of evidence in your pursuit of financial damages.
Further steps to take include:
- If you are injured or in pain, be sure to accept the medical treatment offered to ensure your recovery
- Calling your lawyer as soon as possible
- Give a complete description of the accident to responding law enforcement
- Collect the names and contact information of any witnesses, and write it down
- Write down a timeline of events as soon as you can
- Do not discuss details of your case with anyone other than your lawyer or doctor
- Abide by your doctor’s orders throughout your treatment for injuries