Common Causes of Truck Accidents
The majority of people fatally injured in commercial truck accidents are the ones traveling in passenger vehicles. When loaded with cargo, tractor-trailers weigh nearly 20 times more than most cars. Trucks require a 20-40% greater distance in order to come to a complete stop, and slippery road conditions or bad brakes make this worse. Also, trucks have higher ground clearance and high centers of gravity that make them susceptible to rollover accidents. When a trucker causes an accident, it is usually due to: Non-performance: A driver experiencing a physical impairment, falling asleep, or suffering a heart attack would not be able to perform his duties. Recognition: A driver becoming distracted or demonstrating a failure to observe does not recognize and respond to road conditions.
Decision: A driver who underestimates the speed of an approaching vehicle, or does not allow for adequate braking distance with a vehicle he or she is following, makes a poor decision. Performance: A driver who fails to properly control his vehicle or overcompensates on a turn is not performing his duties. Safety Standards for Tractor-Trailer Drivers: Federal limitations prevent big rig operators from driving more than 11 hours in a day and over 77 hours in a period of seven days. Trucking companies and their drivers are subject to federal safety standards, inspections, and enforcement.
Here are a few regulations: Drivers must acquire and maintain a commercial driver’s license (CDL) that requires enhanced training and testing. Drivers must maintain a minimum of $750,000 in accident liability insurance coverage. Drivers must follow a clearly defined schedule for logging their activity, as well as safety and maintenance schedules. Transport companies are legally required to abide by and enforce these regulations. Electronic Logging Devices: An ELD coordinates with the engine of a vehicle to document critical data such as driving time and driver status. And in North Carolina, they’re the law. All trucking companies have to install the required model by December 18, 2017. The data is automatically recorded and data transfer and storage is done seamlessly. ELD data can be used as evidence in accidents to determine liability and better reenact the circumstances. Many people know about “black boxes,” devices for recording or documenting activity on board an aircraft. Some manufacturers of cars, trucks, buses, and other vehicles install these event data recorders (EDRs); however, black boxes are not legally required for commercial motor vehicles. Some useful data that can be retrieved from a black box includes: The speed of travel at the time of a collision
When the vehicle accelerated
When the brakes were used Daily or weekly driving activity Use of cruise control If You Are in an Accident Involving a Commercial Vehicle North Carolina law requires that collisions resulting in injury, death, or property damage exceeding $1,000 be reported to law enforcement. If you are involved in an accident with a commercial vehicle you should: Safely stop your vehicle where it is unlikely to obstruct traffic. Contact the authorities. Get assistance for injuries. Gather the information of all parties involved and wait for law enforcement. Do not admit fault at the time of the accident, and speak with a personal injury lawyer for the best protection. Insurance Carriers and Trucking Companies Commercial transport trucking companies and the drivers they hire typically have high-value insurance policies. This means they have experienced insurance adjusters and attorneys to help minimize their financial responsibilities. The opposing counsel will be tough, smart, and effective. At the Goolsby Law Firm, PLLC, we enjoy the opportunity to battle these well-funded big-firm attorneys. The stakes are high, and we fight as hard as we can to combat their teams with experts, cutting-edge research, and strategies we have developed over decades of litigation. Don’t be taken advantage of by trucking companies and their insurance carriers. Hiring an experienced trucking or transport accident lawyer will help you to protect and enforce your rights. The injuries incurred in a truck accident can be life-altering or fatal. Even with nonfatal injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, lack of quality of life, and pain and suffering can make life very difficult for the victims and their families.
If a truck driver or company caused your accident, call me, Thom Goolsby, at 910-262-7401 to talk to an experienced Wilmington truck accident lawyer.
What Should I Do?
From the first day of injury, a client should keep records and receipts for any expense incurred or associated with the accident. Photographs of visible physical injuries and any damaged property are very important at this stage of your case. We recommend that clients should try and obtain several color photographs if possible and be sure to document any notes associated with the accident.
Photographs show things better than you can describe them. They reveal details that a person may not notice at first, or at all. Documenting what happened at the time helps in the preservation of an accident scene before the other party has time to change things.
Be sure to contact an attorney. A well-prepared case is one that will be more apt to settle before going to trial. A poorly-prepared case will be tried and, most likely, lost, leaving the plaintiff to pay all costs of litigation. Preparation costs do not include attorney’s fees. Most personal injury or automobile accident law firms, including ours, do their work on a contingent fee basis, which means the law firm earns a percentage of the recovery made for the client. If nothing is recovered, the attorney does not receive a fee.
Goolsby Law Is Here To Help
We have helped thousands of clients in Wilmington North Carolina successfully resolve their car accident claims. Don’t be fooled by insurance companies or what they may tell you. Their goal is to protect their interests and their insured. Our goal is to protect your rights and ensure that you receive all the compensation you deserve.
What’s My Case Worth?
Clients often want to know what their case is worth by way of settlement or verdict. In general, if the plaintiff can prove that the owner is legally liable for the injury, the following types of damages may be recovered:
Medical bills incurred as a result of the accident (even if covered by your own insurance).
Gross lost earnings or income for time lost from work (includes time lost even if you took vacation or sick leave to avoid loss of income).
Fair value of clothing damaged.
Compensation for pain and suffering.