Were you seriously hurt, or did you lose a loved one in a truck accident? At Randall & Stump, PLLC, we have helped many people who have incurred harm in a North Carolina tractor trailer accident recover compensation for their injuries. We have experience with a wide range of cases, including many types of commercial vehicles.
A vast number of truck accidents in the state involve semi-trucks, also known as 18-wheelers or tractor trailers. These are the trucks you see on the highway hauling and delivering cargo around the country. Given the size and weight of these vehicles, you expect the drivers to be trained, experienced, and know what they are doing. Unfortunately, a truck driver’s negligence is often the cause of a serious or fatal crash. If you were harmed in such a collision, call a Charlotte tractor trailer accident attorney right away.
What are Semi-Trucks and 18-Wheelers?
There are many types of large commercial trucks. A semi-truck is specifically a combination of a tractor unit and a trailer unit. The tractor is the front of the truck that has the cab where the truck driver sits. It may also have a sleeper compartment. A trailer then attaches to the back of the tractor. Depending on the weight of the trailer and the tractor’s hauling capabilities, there may be more than one trailer unit attached.
An 18-wheeler is a nickname for a truck with 18 tires. However, the term 18-wheeler is typically used by those outside of the trucking industry to describe any large semi-truck.
There are many Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations regarding how large semi-trucks can be. These regulations dictate maximum height, width, and weight. The maximum weight a semi can reach is 80,000 pounds. For another perspective, this is 40 tons. This measurement is without a truck having any special permits for being oversized or overweight. Various 18-wheelers you encounter on the road may be longer, wider, or heavier than normal.
Some dump trucks can also be large and take up significant space on the road. These vehicles can cause serious accidents when they malfunction or crash due to driver error. Spilled loads due to improper loading and unsteady materials are also common.
Dump trucks are common in construction zones or even driving down the road on the way to a work site. They should be avoided because they can cause serious damage if there is a crash or other incident.
If you were in an accident with a truck, call a commercial vehicle accident lawyer from our firm right away. We are highly experienced in truck accident claims, and we will carefully review your situation. We can advise you of the type of truck involved in the crash and any nuances or complexities this may bring to your case.
Common Trucking Accidents in North Carolina
Because of their size, configuration, and weight, tractor-trailers are prone to certain types of accidents. At Randall & Stump, PLLC, our Charlotte 18-wheeler accident attorneys have represented individuals injured following:
Any tractor trailer can be involved in a jackknife accident. This type of incident occurs when the trailer moves toward the tractor. It resembles folding a pocket knife. Instead of the trailer being straight behind the tractor, it is at an obtuse or 90-degree angle from the cab. This type of accident can happen when the truck driver attempts to stop and the wheels of the trailer lock, skid, or slide over the road. If you incurred injuries in a jackknifing accident, do not hesitate to contact a Charlotte truck accident lawyer immediately.
Tip Over Accidents
Another common type of tractor-trailer accident includes a truck rolling or tipping over. These types of vehicles, due to their dimensions and weight, are vulnerable to these actions. Their centers of gravity are much higher than a typical passenger vehicle. These accidents can be caused by a truck trying to slow down or come to a stop too quickly or taking a curve too fast. In most cases, truck driver error is the underlying cause of the crash.
Drivers of 18-wheelers must comply with state and federal regulations regarding rest periods and time on the road. If they fail to comply with those regulations, or are not feeling well, they could suffer from driver fatigue. Fatigued drivers often swerve into other lanes and run off the road.
A truck underride accident occurs when a passenger vehicle collides with a large, tall truck and the vehicle goes underneath the trailer. These collisions typically lead to catastrophic injuries or fatalities. If you were injured in an underride accident or lost a loved one, call a commercial truck accident lawyer immediately.
During an override accident, a semi-truck runs over a smaller vehicle. In many situations, the truck entirely rides over the other vehicle, whether it is a car or motorcycle. In many underride accidents, the smaller vehicle becomes lodged under the trailer. If you were injured or a loved one was killed when you were hit by a commercial truck, which then drove over the vehicle, call a Charlotte 18-wheeler accident attorney right away.
Lane Change Accident
Semi-trucks are massive vehicles with large blind spots. A trucker changing lanes into a vehicle that is in one of their blind spots is unfortunately common. This can cause a sideswipe accident, a vehicle override or underride accident, or it may push the smaller vehicle off the road and into a barrier or ditch. If you were injured in a lane change accident, call Randall & Stump, PLLC for skilled representation.
Wide Turn Accident
18-wheeler accidents often occur when a truck makes a wide left or right turn. Right turns are particularly difficult and dangerous. Despite truck drivers being trained to safely make turns, carelessness, fatigue, and distraction can lead to a serious or fatal collision. These maneuvers can cause a truck to collide with oncoming traffic or lead to an override or underride accident.
What Should I Do if a Commercial Truck Rear-Ended Me?
If you were involved in one of the many commercial vehicle accidents that take place in Charlotte every year, you should take a few steps:
Put your health and safety first.
After a crash, check yourself for injuries. Never move yourself or a passenger who appears to be seriously injured unless you have to. Following the accident, see a doctor. You may go to the emergency room right away or wait to see your family doctor. You should always see a physician for a full check up as soon as possible after a crash.
After a tractor-trailer accident, you’ll want to begin documenting what happened for a future claim. By calling 911, the police and emergency responders will arrive within minutes. An officer will conduct a brief investigation of the crash, will gather parties’ names and information, and file a crash report. Your Charlotte 18-wheeler accident attorney will obtain a copy of that report as soon as possible.
Document the crash.
If you can do so safely, take pictures and photos of the accident on your phone. Get plenty of pictures of the truck and your vehicle. Also, take pictures of any surrounding property damage or marks on the pavement.
Get the trucker’s information.
Ask for the truck driver’s name and contact information, employer’s name and information, and insurance information.
Ask for information from witnesses.
After serious accidents, one or two witnesses may stop to provide aid or give their statements to the police. Ask for any name and contact information from available witnesses. Your attorney may contact them for a formal statement.
Notify your insurer.
You should notify your auto insurance provider of the crash and your injuries as soon as possible.
Call a Charlotte 18-wheeler accident attorney.
When you incur injuries in a semi-truck accident that was the truck driver’s fault, you will want to pursue compensation. Our semi-truck accident lawyers at Randall & Stump, PLLC are well-versed in FMCSA regulations and truck accident law. We will fight hard for you to receive what you need to move on with your life.