If you’ve ever been on the highway, then you know how much bigger commercial trucks are than passenger vehicles. It can be intimidating to drive in the shadow of a vehicle that weighs up to 80,000 pounds.
Any anxiety you have when you’re next to a truck is warranted. When reckless or negligent truck drivers crash into smaller cars, the injuries they inflict can be serious and even catastrophic. If you were hurt in a truck accident in Charlotte, contact the personal injury lawyers of DeMayo Law Offices at (704) 333-1000 immediately.
We help truck crash victims throughout North Carolina pursue the compensation they’re owed. You may need significant treatment, including ongoing therapy and time off work to recover after your crash. That puts financial strain on you and your family that you shouldn’t have to bear.
When someone else causes your injury, you have the right to demand fair compensation. Our Charlotte truck accident attorneys at DeMayo Law Offices can assist you in making sure the responsible party pays for their actions. Call (704) 333-1000 today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.
Who’s Responsible for My Truck Accident?
When you’re the victim of a truck accident, it can be complicated to seek compensation. That’s because there are potentially so many interests involved. The driver may have caused the crash, but other parties could share some blame. Your attorney must find out everyone who was at fault so they can seek compensation from the at-fault person, people, or business.
Truck crash liability could fall to any of the following parties:
- The truck driver
- The trucking company
- The trailer’s owner
- The cab’s owner
- A third-party that provided maintenance or repairs
- Whoever loaded and secured the cargo
If you want to hold any of the above parties accountable for your injuries, you and your attorney will need to prove these elements existed at the time of the crash:
- Duty of care: A duty of care is the legal obligation one party has to another to avoid harm. Your claim will demonstrate that the responsible party owed you a duty of care. Trucking companies and their drivers owe the public safety on the road. If they fail in that duty, they could be financially responsible for any injuries they cause.
- Breach of duty: If someone’s careless, negligent, or willful actions lead to a breach of duty, they could be held liable for the crash. For example, if the trucker was texting behind the wheel, that’s an action that puts others’ safety at risk. A court could determine that it was a breach of duty.
- Causation: The injury you sustained must be a direct cause of the other party’s breach of duty. You can’t seek compensation for a preexisting condition or injury caused by another event. For example, you can ask for damages for a broken leg if it was broken before the crash.
- Damages: In legal terms, damages are the physical, emotional, and financial injuries a victim suffers because of an accident. If you didn’t incur damages, you wouldn’t be able to pursue compensation.
Regulations for Truck Drivers and Trucking Companies
Those working in the trucking industry have to follow strict regulations. There are both state and federal laws meant to keep truckers and the public safe. If you’re a truck driver in North Carolina, you must adhere to the following service rules:
- Never drive more than 12 consecutive hours after spending eight hours off duty.
- Never work more than 70 hours in seven days or over 80 hours in eight days.
- Take at least a 30-minute break after the first eight hours on duty.
- Never drive over 16 hours after taking eight consecutive hours off.
If a trucker gets into an accident, they must report it to law enforcement right away. If the crash causes fatalities, they must report to the Public Service Commission within 24 hours of the crash. If there weren’t any fatalities, they have 15 days to report it. Truck drivers must report every accident, even minor ones, within 30 days to the Director of Public Safety.
Other federal and state trucking requirements truck drivers must meet include:
- Divers must be at least 21 years old for interstate driving and 18 for driving within North Carolina.
- They must speak, read, write, and understand English enough to communicate with others, read traffic signs, and write reports.
- They must have the physical ability to operate a truck.
- Drivers have to carry a valid commercial driver’s license at all times.
- They must complete all required tests and certifications successfully.
- Drivers and their employers must keep driver logs that track their hours on and off duty, truck maintenance, and document any issues.
- They may not drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Truckers and truck owners must maintain the truck and equipment at all times, report problems or damage immediately, and repair them expeditiously.
Truck employers have obligations too. They must make sure all their employees have the qualifications and experience necessary to operate a truck safely. If their driver doesn’t know how to operate their truck in all conditions, it puts the safety of everyone at risk. Responsible employers perform thorough evaluations of their drivers to make sure they’re qualified.
Why Truck Accidents Happen
Anyone who operates a truck needs a high level of training and ample experience. They need to be aware of their surroundings at all times to avoid hazards. If drivers become distracted or don’t follow traffic laws, they could cause devastating injuries.
The sheer size and weight of a commercial vehicle mean that collisions with small passenger cars are often catastrophic. Drivers sit in the cab and pull a trailer loaded with heavy cargo. Sometimes the cargo is consumer goods. Other times, they carry toxic chemicals that can cause severe burns to accident victims.
Trucking regulations exist to ensure the safety of drivers and passengers traveling on the country’s roadways. Unfortunately, not all drivers follow those regulations. When they don’t, they cause crashes. The most common causes of truck accidents include:
- Distracted driving
- Failure to check blind spots
- Taking sharp turns
- Overloaded, overweight, or imbalanced cargo
- Mechanical defects
- Poor vehicle maintenance
- Failure to yield the right of way
If a trucker failed to operate their vehicle safely and caused your accident, they must pay for the cost of the injuries you suffered.
The Charlotte truck accident attorneys from DeMayo Law Offices know all the laws and regulations that govern the trucking industry. We can review the details of your case and determine who may be liable. Our legal tactics are proven ways to hold liable parties responsible for their behavior. We’ll demand that they pay the money you’re rightly owed.
Types of Truck Accident Compensation
Trucking companies and commercial drivers are required to carry liability insurance with higher coverage than passenger vehicles. That’s because large trucks can cause more damage than smaller cars. If they cause life-threatening injuries that require long-term treatment, they need to pay for it.
Each case is unique, and the compensation victims receive depends on their circumstances. Generally, people injured in North Carolina truck crashes can seek compensation for the following damages:
- Medical expenses, including rehab costs and future care
- Loss of earning potential and past lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Repair or replacement of the damaged vehicle
- Physical impairment or disability
- Emotional distress
- Punitive damages
Some commercial vehicle accidents are fatal. When someone dies because the trucking company or their employee failed to follow federal or state regulations, an immediate family member can pursue a wrongful death claim. The survivor could receive compensation for their loved one’s funeral and burial costs, medical bills, loss of earnings, and pain and suffering.
Can I Sue the Truck Driver or Their Employer?
If a negligent or reckless trucker injured you, you can file a lawsuit against the driver or trucking company. But you may not have to. Many personal injury cases can be resolved outside of court in an insurance claim, followed by mediation.
If we need to, our Charlotte truck accident attorneys are prepared to prove negligence or recklessness caused your injury and submit evidence of it in court. Our Charlotte truck accident attorneys will document the facts of your crash to show that you deserve fair compensation from the at-fault party.
In North Carolina, there is a three-year statute of limitations to pursue civil action. If you want to file a lawsuit, you have to do so within three years from the crash date. If the statute passes and you haven’t proceeded with legal action, you may lose your right to seek compensation for your damages.
Choose DeMayo Law Offices
With over 150 years of combined legal experience, our Charlotte truck accident attorneys have the knowledge and skills to pursue the maximum settlement available in your case. Truck drivers and trucking companies often cut corners to stay ahead of schedule and save money, which results in injuries to other motorists. You deserve compensation for the suffering you endured if it happened to you.
We believe in holding truck drivers and their employers responsible for their careless and negligent behavior. You shouldn’t pay for your own expenses when you were acting safely and responsibly behind the wheel. DeMayo Law Offices will work hard to help you recover from the financial consequences of your injury.
We know you’re under financial strain after your truck crash. We don’t want to add to your burden, which is why we take cases on contingency. That means we don’t get paid unless you get paid.
To schedule a free consultation and find out how we can assist you in your truck accident claim, call DeMayo Law Offices at (704) 333-1000 today.
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