Big trucks carry big risks. Their extraordinary size and weight – up to 80,000 pounds – make semi-trucks difficult to stop, corner or maneuver quickly. Trucks have large blind spots. Without proper maintenance, the chance for mechanical failure is high.
Unfortunately, the consequences are big, too. Truck accidents can result in catastrophic injuries, including brain damage, spinal cord injuries, fractures, disfigurement, burns, amputations, paralysis and even death.
As commercial trucking grows and the number of 18-wheelers on the road increases, so, too, do the accidents. According to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report, in one recent year, truck accidents caused 148,000 injuries and 4,761 deaths.
Truck accidents involving 18-wheelers, semis, tractor-trailers and other big trucks can be traumatic – physically, emotionally and financially. If you were seriously injured because of a truck accident in Greensboro, NC or anywhere in North Carolina, contact a truck accident attorney at Ward Black Law immediately. Our 18-wheeler accident lawyers can review the details of your truck accident. We will advise you of your legal rights and, if applicable, pursue compensation for your loss.
Contact us for a free initial case review. You can discuss your case with one of our experienced Greensboro truck accident lawyers. Call us today.
Why Truck Accidents Are More Complicated
You may think that truck accident claims are no different from any other type of motor accident claim. However, truck accident cases often prove to be more complicated than your average car accident claim. Here’s why:
- Truck accident victims suffer more serious injuries. Truck accidents tend to inflict serious, even life-threatening injuries, on accident victims. As a result, truck accident victims often require greater compensation than they would in a typical car accident case. Truck accident victims may be still undergoing treatment when their case goes to settlement negotiations or trial.
- Truck accidents have more potentially liable parties. Most motor vehicle accidents are limited to the motorists involved in the wreck. However, the complexity of the trucking industry means several parties may bear some liability for your injuries and damages.
- Truck accident claims involve more pieces of evidence. The cause of a truck accident may not always be apparent. When we investigate truck accidents, we often examine numerous pieces of evidence that are generated by truck industry regulations. That evidence can indicate an underlying cause of the accident, such as truck driver fatigue or an unsafe load.
Given how complex a truck accident claim can become, you should seek the assistance of an experienced truck accident attorney. Our attorneys can advocate on your behalf and look out for your rights and interests. Our goal is to get you the maximum compensation you deserve.
Who Can Be Held Liable for a Semi-Truck Accident?
Most motor vehicle accidents typically only involve the drivers of the vehicles involved in the crash. However, semi-truck accidents may have several liable parties:
- The truck driver – When an accident is triggered by a truck driver’s careless or reckless behavior, the driver can be held liable for the injuries and damages caused by the accident.
- The trucking company – A trucking company may bear liability for a truck accident. The trucking company may have negligently hired or trained the driver who caused the accident. The trucking company may be liable for directing or encouraging the driver’s negligent or reckless actions, such as speeding or driving beyond hours of service limits.
- The truck’s owner – If the truck is owned by someone other than the truck driver or the trucking company, that party may be held liable if poor maintenance of the truck caused the accident.
- The freight company – A truck’s freight may shift during transit, causing the truck driver to lose control of the vehicle. The company responsible for loading a truck or trailer may bear liability for an accident caused by an overloaded or improperly loaded truck.
- The truck’s maintenance company – A mechanic or maintenance company may be held responsible when a catastrophic accident results from inadequate or improper maintenance.
- The truck’s manufacturer (or a part manufacturer) – Truck or truck part manufacturers may also be held liable for defectively designed or manufactured parts that fail during normal operation and cause an accident.
In many truck accidents, more than one of these parties may share liability for your crash. Our attorneys will work to ensure you are fairly compensated for your injuries and losses.
Evidence Our Law Firm May Use in a Truck Accident Claim
Investigating any truck accident involves multiple pieces of evidence that wouldn’t normally be examined in other motor vehicle accidents. When you hire Ward Black Law to handle your Greensboro truck accident case, our firm will examine this evidence:
- The truck driver’s logs – Federal regulations limit how many hours truckers may spend on duty and behind the wheel. Drivers are required to log their time on duty and on the road. Reviewing a driver’s logs can show whether a driver exceeded their hours of service limits. That evidence may indicate the truck driver was fatigued at the time of the accident.
- The truck driver’s toxicology report – Truck drivers may be required to undergo an alcohol and drug screen after an accident that injured another motorist. The toxicology report can show whether the driver was intoxicated or under the influence of drugs when the accident occurred.
- The truck’s “black box” data – Many commercial trucks are equipped with data recorders that record information, including the truck’s GPS position, speed, steering and acceleration/braking inputs. That information can be used to show what the truck driver was doing in the moments before the accident.
- The truck’s maintenance logs – Maintenance logs can show if a truck had deferred maintenance or mechanical work that was improperly performed.
- The load manifest – The truck’s load manifest may reveal if a truck was overloaded or had an improperly secured load that shifted, triggering the accident.
Maximizing Compensation in a Truck Accident Claim
If you have been injured in a truck accident, you may be entitled to seek compensation in a truck accident claim for the damages you’ve suffered as a result of your injuries, including for:
- Past, ongoing, and future costs of medical treatment
- Costs of long-term personal care
- Lost income and earning potential
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment or quality of life
- Loss of consortium (spouse’s loss of your services at home)
Statute of Limitations on Truck Accident Lawsuits in North Carolina
In North Carolina, you have a limited period, known as the statute of limitations, in which to file a lawsuit to seek compensation for your injuries or for the death of your loved one caused by the negligence of a truck driver or the trucking companies. A lawsuit for personal injuries must generally be filed within three years of the date of your accident, while a lawsuit for the wrongful death of a family member caused by a truck driver and/or the trucking companies must be filed within two years of your loved one’s passing.
If you fail to file your lawsuit within the applicable limitations period, the court can permanently dismiss your suit, and you will lose your right to seek compensation for your damages.
What Are the Causes of Truck Accidents?
There are a number of reasons why truck accidents occur. A thorough investigation by Ward Black Law into the facts and circumstances of the accident often reveals liability by both the truck driver and the trucking company. Factors contributing to an accident can include:
- Driver fatigue – With long hauls and deadlines to meet, truck drivers may push their limits, exceeding the number of approved driving hours per shift, or cut short their breaks between shifts. Drowsy or sleep-deprived truck drivers pose a real danger on the road. They can be inattentive, with dulled senses and slow reaction times. Drivers who actually fall asleep behind the wheel might cross over the centerline, force cars off the road, rear-end cars, or cause collisions between other vehicles.
- Falsified logbooks – The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act requires all truck drivers to keep up to date and accurate records of their daily activity, including driving time, mileage, rest breaks, cargo weight, meals, etc. In order to meet their goals and maximize profit, however, truckers may drive too many hours and record a false time or skip an entry entirely, violating Federal Law.
- Reckless driving – Truckers may speed, tailgate, drive under the influence of alcohol and drugs or otherwise break the rules of the road.
- Incompetence/Improper Hiring – Truck drivers may not be adequately trained or licensed for 18-wheelers or other big trucks.
- Overweight/improper loading – Truck companies might employ dangerous loading practices, which can cause increased braking distance, shifting and unbalanced loads, and unsecured freight falling from the truck.
- Insufficient maintenance – Improper maintenance can affect the truck’s performance, causing it to swerve, stall, or brake suddenly. It may also lead to problems that impede the driver’s visibility and other drivers’ ability to see the truck on the road. All 18-wheelers should be routinely inspected for bald tires; worn axles and brakes; broken headlights, taillights or trailer lights; cracked windshields, rearview mirrors, or side mirrors; missing mud flaps; broken trailer latches; ripped tarpaulins and shredded tie-downs; and weathered reflective tape.
Common Truck Accident Injuries
Examples of injuries that our clients frequently experience in their truck accidents include:
- Contusions (bruises) and lacerations (cuts), which if severe enough can lead to profuse, even dangerous bleeding
- Broken bones
- Soft tissue injuries like sprains and tears of muscles, tendons, and ligaments
- Neck and back injuries such as herniations or ruptures of spinal discs
- Damage to internal organs
- Internal bleeding
- Burns, if the accident leads to a fire
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
- Head injuries, including eye trauma
- Traumatic brain injuries
Truck accidents frequently inflict severe injuries that can permanently impact the quality of life or even threaten the life of a truck accident victim and lead to their untimely death.
How Our North Carolina Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help You
After you’ve been injured in a truck accident in Greensboro, a semi-truck accident lawyer from Ward Black Law can help you pursue a legal claim. We will help you maximize the compensation you receive in your claim by:
- Investigating your accident and securing critical evidence, including driver logs, truck data and load manifests.
- Identifying at-fault parties from the trucking industry and finding the insurance coverage the trucker and trucking companies have. That will help determine how many financial resources exist to compensate you.
- Collaborating with experts to develop a legal case. We will work with engineering experts to develop reports proving how your accident occurred. We will use experts to demonstrate why the trucking defendants bear fault for your accident. Medical, vocational and financial experts can help us calculate your past and future damages.
- Filing claims with the insurance companies and negotiating for a settlement, aggressively pursuing fair and full compensation for you.
- Preparing your claim to go to court or to trial, if necessary, when we believe a lawsuit represents the best opportunity to secure the financial recovery you deserve.
If you have been injured in a truck accident in Greensboro or anywhere in North Carolina caused by the negligence or recklessness of the truck driver and/or the trucking companies, you need experienced, resourceful legal representation to help make sure you receive maximum compensation for your injuries and damages.
Contact Ward Black Law today for a free, no-obligation case evaluation with a Greensboro truck accident attorney. You and our attorney can discuss the details of your accident and injuries. You will learn how our knowledgeable truck accident lawyers can help you secure the financial recovery you deserve.
Call us today or reach out online.