Technological advances have put cell phones in nearly everyone’s hands. Most new cars have GPS, a touch screen for the radio and other music sources, and more. As technology has advanced, distracted driving has increased. Every day in America, thousands of people are injured and killed because a driver took their attention off the road, sometimes to make use of the technology in their vehicles.
But truckers, who are professional drivers, should have no excuses for driving distracted. When truckers are distracted, the consequences can be even more dire than with regular passenger vehicle drivers. For this reason, negligent drivers must be held responsible under the law.
If you or a loved one were injured in a trucking accident in North Carolina and suspect distracted driving was the cause, contact the North Carolina truck accident lawyers of DeMayo Law Offices at (704) 850-6832 right away. Injuries suffered from trucking accidents can be severe and may cost thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars in hospital bills. You have the right to file a claim and be compensated for your injuries.
Understanding Distracted Driving
All drivers should be focused on the road at all times. At the same time, they must also be aware of other drivers so that they can react or maneuver quickly to avoid an accident. However, according to studies by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), driver inattention was a factor in up to 80 percent of all crashes and ‘close-calls’ involving trucks. That makes driving while distracted one of the most dangerous things a driver can do on the road.
There are generally three types of distractions that can occur on the road. They include:
- Visual distractions: taking your eyes off the road.
- Manual distractions: taking your hands off the steering wheel.
- Mental distractions: taking your mind off the road.
Trucks weighing tons of pounds traveling at rapid speeds take a good amount of time to stop or recover. Distractions, for even a few seconds, can result in an out-of-control truck and cause a terrible accident on the road.
Listed below are some of the most common causes of distracted truck driving accidents:
- Texting or using a phone to search for something
- Eating or drinking
- Changing the stereo
- Insects, pets, or something moving inside the truck
- Reaching for something inside the vehicle
- Watching videos
- Using a navigation system
External distractions are a major cause of accidents as well. Sometimes drivers take their eyes off the road to look at billboards or something happening on the side of the road. When a driver takes their eyes or mind off the road for the slightest moment, the results can be catastrophic. Below are some of the most common types of injuries people suffer when they are in accidents with trucks:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Neck injuries and paralysis
- Back injuries
- Injuries to limbs and extremities
- Broken bones
- Deep bruises
- Lacerations and burns
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Loss of hearing or vision
- Wrongful death
Being in an accident with a truck is terrifying and in addition to physical injuries, can cause psychological harm as well. In some claims, victims can be compensated for their pain and suffering. At DeMayo Law Offices, we believe no one should be injured or killed because a truck driver was distracted while driving. All drivers on the road, especially professional truck drivers, have a responsibility to pay attention and help keep everyone on the roads safe.
Understanding the Law for Truckers
Because trucking can be so dangerous, there are specific laws in place to inhibit distracted driving. According to the FMCSA, texting while driving is prohibited. This law is also extended to bus drivers and transporters of hazardous materials. Drivers can talk on the phone but only using hand-free devices. When drivers violate these laws, they risk losing their commercial driver’s license or being fined. If an accident occurs because a driver violates these regulations, they can be held liable for the damage they caused.
Although victims of trucking accidents have the right to file a claim and be compensated for any injuries, the process is not always easy. Trucking accidents often involve different parties and interests and determining who was at fault is not always clear-cut. The driver, the trucking company, the cargo loaders, and many other people or companies may be involved in a single accident. Because of the complicated nature of trucking accidents, it’s vital to have an expert truck driving accident attorney on your side to help file your claim and defend your rights.
Distracted Driving Accident Statistics
According to the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles, distracted driving is the second most common cause of automobile crashes in North Carolina. Speeding is the first. That means that all vehicles, not just trucks, have a serious problem with distracted driving. However, when truckers fail to pay attention, they risk putting many lives, including their own, on the line.
Below are some additional statistics about truck accidents in the United States:
- According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA), truck drivers are 20 times more likely to cause an accident if distracted.
- In 2012, the FMCSA banned the use of any hand-held electronic devices by drivers. The rule applies to commercial drivers carrying 10,000 pounds or more.
- For each offense of using a hand-held device, drivers can face up to $2,750 in fines and have their commercial driver’s license suspended.
Specific Cases and Examples
At DeMayo Law Offices, we’ve handled thousands of cases involving distracted drivers, and have won or settled claims, recovering millions of dollars in compensation for our clients in the process. Truck accidents can be devastating for the victims who were wrongfully injured. Those who were harmed deserve to be compensated.
Below is a synopsis of some of the cases we’ve won for victims of trucking accidents over the years:
- In 2010, we recovered a $1.9-million settlement for a client who was struck by a tractor-trailer in Mecklenburg County and suffered arm, leg, and ankle fractures.
- In 2006, we recovered $250,000 for a client who was injured when his vehicle was rear-ended by an 18-wheeler in Gaston County, causing neck and arm injuries.
- In 2017, we settled an estate for $808,585 for a client who was wrongfully killed by a tractor-trailer merging onto the road and causing a collision.
At DeMayo Law Offices, we’ve won huge settlements for our clients over the years, totaling more than $750,000,000. The compensation our clients receive is used to pay for hospital bills, missed time from work, and to help restore their quality of life.
FAQs About Distracted Truck Driving in North Carolina
It’s difficult to know what to do after being injured in a trucking accident in North Carolina. First and foremost, you should take care of your health and get to safety as quickly as possible. Afterward, it’s helpful to talk with a truck accident attorney in North Carolina; you can talk to them about your case and they can explain your options moving forward.
Below are some questions people often have after truck accidents:
Is filing a truck accident claim simple?
Unfortunately, no. Truck accidents are particularly complicated because of the multiple potential parties involved. Of course, there is the driver of the truck, but other parties may include the trucking company, truck manufacturer, cargo loaders, vehicle maintenance crew, etc. For this reason, sometimes, multiple insurance companies are involved, all of which try to prove their insured had no part in any wrongdoing. Having a strong, experienced lawyer to discover whom are the at-fault parties and to negotiate or litigate your claim is important.
How do you prove a trucker was driving distracted?
The short answer is it’s not easy. Proving exactly what a truck driver was doing that caused them to commit an error is extremely difficult and sometimes impossible. However, a qualified attorney can bring in the help of expert investigators who can delve into the possibilities of surveillance or security videos, track down witnesses, and exert their skills to help determine exactly what happened. This can make the difference between winning or losing your claim.
Are lawyers expensive?
The North Carolina attorneys of DeMayo Law Offices work on a contingency basis. We will discuss your case with you in a free initial consultation and if we agree to work together, and we win compensation for you, we take a pre-negotiated percentage. In other words, there are no upfront costs to hiring a contingency fee-based attorney. We don’t get paid unless you get paid.
Contact the Distracted Driver and Trucking Accident Attorneys of DeMayo Law Offices
If you were injured in an accident in North Carolina and suspect distracted driving to be the reason, contact DeMayo Law Offices at (704) 850-6832 to speak with one of our experienced attorneys. We have years of experience representing truck accident victims in North Carolina and will fight aggressively for your rights. Nobody should have to suffer because of the negligence of a truck driver. Call us today for a free consultation about the compensation you deserve.
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