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Common Causes of Truck Accidents in North Carolina

Large truck crashes can be especially devastating and deadly. According to 2021 data from the North Carolina Department of Transportation, accidents involving a semi-truck are more than three times as likely to result in at least one fatality than crashes only involving passenger vehicles. If you or someone you love has been the victim of a semi-truck accident, you know first-hand how this can be a life-altering experience.

But that’s not the only major difference between truck accidents and other types of motor vehicle crashes. Truck cases are often complicated and may have involve multiple negligent parties, such as the truck driver, the trucking company they work for, or even equipment manufacturers, cargo loaders, maintenance professionals, and more.

In order to get fair and full compensation for your injuries, you’ll need to prove what really happened, and identify all the relevant contributing factors. But the insurance company representing the trucking company won’t make it easy for you. An experienced lawyer can make a huge difference to your case. If you’ve been involved in a collision with a large truck, Myers Law Firm is dedicated to helping you recover the financial compensation you deserve.

Common Causes of Trucking Accidents

The cause of an accident is critical to determining liability. Due to North Carolina’s “contributory negligence” law (more on that below), liability in a truck accident can be the reason you get the fair compensation you deserve, or you get nothing. Therefore, it is absolutely essential to prove that you were not at fault—not even a little bit.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has released a study of Large Truck Crash Causation, which determined that the top ten factors in crashes involving large trucks are as follows:

  1. Brake problems
  2. Traffic flow interruption (such as congestion from a previous crash)
  3. Prescription drug use
  4. Traveling too fast for conditions
  5. Unfamiliarity with the roadway
  6. Roadway problems
  7. Required to stop before a crash (such as a stoplight or crosswalk)
  8. Over-the-counter drug use
  9. Inadequate surveillance (this refers to truck drivers not looking around for potential hazards and/or distracted driving)
  10. Driver fatigue

Most of these factors are due to truck drivers being negligent, but brake problems are the responsibility of the entity who maintains the truck. That can be an owner-operator, or it could be the trucking company.

As you can imagine, a passenger vehicle is likely to sustain significant damage if a large truck plows into them because of braking problems. These can be fatal crashes, and they can cause severe injuries for the passenger car drivers. Getting fair compensation for these truck accident cases is a matter of liability, or proving who is responsible.

RELATED: How Are Truck Accidents Different From Car Accidents?

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Who Is Liable in a Truck Accident?

A forklift unloading a truck

Determining liability for truck accidents can be a complicated process, since there are often multiple factors. It can also make a big difference in compensation for truck accident injuries, because truck drivers and trucking companies may have different insurance policy limits. If your medical costs exceed the policy limit of one negligent party, proving that another party also has liability can provide you with additional compensation for the damages you’ve suffered.

Since truck accidents involving passenger vehicles often cause serious injuries, it’s important to complete a full investigation into the causes of truck accidents. This investigation may reveal several responsible parties, including the truck driver, the trucking company, the parts manufacturer, the loader, and more.

For example, the loader may not have received adequate training, which caused them to load delivery trucks with all the weight on one side. Poor cargo loading creates imbalanced tractor trailers, which are now at higher risk of an accident. All it takes is a moment of distracted driving, and someone’s life is changed forever.

In this example, you can easily see that the loading company bears fault for inadequate training and the driver is responsible for not paying attention. The investigation may also show that the trucking company is responsible for poor vehicle maintenance that contributed to the accident.

Proving liability for complicated truck accidents can be extremely challenging. Because of North Carolina’s strict law about contributory negligence, if you were even 1% at fault for the accident, you are not entitled to any compensation, even when the truck driver was 99% at fault for your serious injuries.

RELATED: Why Contributory Negligence Matters for Your North Carolina Personal Injury Case

How Can a Truck Accident Lawyer Help?

Carriers are going to be extremely protective of any information regarding their commercial trucks or commercial truck drivers. Insurance companies know all they have to do is prove that the other drivers were a tiny bit responsible for the truck accidents. If you are trying to make a wrongful death claim, you may only have the truck driver’s statement about what happened, because your loved one is deceased.

If you feel like a small fish in a big sea, you need to talk to a truck accident attorney. A lawyer has the tools and knowledge to dig deep into the facts of the investigation, from procuring records and statements, to surveillance footage, drug usage, and more. An experienced attorney will know where to look for additional sources of insurance coverage if your lawsuit exceeds the limits of one policy, and they will help you hold the responsible parties accountable.

If you’ve been in an accident with a commercial vehicle, it’s very important to talk to a lawyer right away. They will immediately start to collect evidence before it disappears. For example, trucking companies are only required to maintain hours of service logbooks on trucks and drivers for a limited time. Once that time is up, they can legally destroy them—unless you or your attorney have already sent them a letter to preserve evidence or filed a lawsuit.

Other pieces of evidence like witnesses and surveillance footage can also disappear if you don’t act quickly, so the sooner that evidence can be preserved, the better.

Call Myers Law Firm for a Free Consultation

In the event of a collision between commercial trucks and passenger cars, the trucks have the advantage in height, weight, and safety. If you’ve been involved in one of these truck accidents, you may have suffered spinal cord injuries, internal injuries, or worse. These can lead to life-long pain and suffering, and leave you with insurmountable medical debt.

At Myers Law, we understand how stressful it can be to stand up to the insurance companies when you are trying to recover from your injuries. We will compassionately take on the insurance companies on your behalf, giving you the freedom to focus on rest and recovery.

For a free consultation, call us at 888-376-2889 or fill out our online contact form. We can help you understand what your options are, and how we can help.

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.

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