If you or a loved one was injured in a trucking accident in North Carolina, you need to contact an experienced personal injury accident lawyer as soon as possible. Every year, hundreds of people are killed in trucking accidents and thousands more are injured.
The sheer quantity of trucks on the road makes some accidents inevitable, and many more are caused by distracted driving or driver errors. But sometimes, it isn’t the driver of the truck who is at fault. Poor vehicle maintenance or defective equipment cause a number of accidents each year in the United States.
The Charlotte truck accident attorneys of DeMayo Law Offices have helped thousands of clients recover compensation for their injuries. No one deserves to suffer because of the negligence of a truck driver or trucking company. Call us at (866) 240-2251 for a free consultation about your accident and learn how you can earn compensation for your injuries.
Common Causes of Poor Vehicle Maintenance and Equipment Failure
Trucking is a huge, multi-billion-dollar industry in America with many different companies and people involved. Truck drivers have a responsibility to drive safely and cargo loaders are required to adhere to weight limits and make sure cargo is tightly secured. Trucks are required to undergo regular maintenance checks so that a mechanic can make sure the truck’s systems are functioning properly.
When any of these elements get overlooked and an accident results, the party or parties that were at fault can be held liable. Below are some of the things that can go wrong and cause an accident due to poor vehicle maintenance or equipment failure::
- Brake or tire failure. When brakes fail or tires give out, there can be big problems on the road. Regular brake checks are required by the federal government and should be strictly enforced by trucking companies.
- Trailer issues. When trailers are not properly secured or cargo is loaded incorrectly, the load can shift, wobble, or even fall off during transit and cause a dangerous situation for everyone on the road. It is possible that the coupling mechanism that connects the tractor to the trailer can malfunction, releasing the trailer onto the road suddenly.
- Malfunctions with steering. Anyone who has driven a vehicle when the steering wheel froze up or malfunctioned, knows how dangerous and scary it can be. A steering wheel that doesn’t work means a vehicle can lose control.
The size and weight of the cargo and how it is loaded can cause equipment to malfunction. Trucks can be loaded with thousands of pounds of cargo, but strict weight limits must be observed. When a semi-truck is overloaded or loaded incorrectly, the brakes can fail, the transmission can overload, or the truck may respond sluggishly to steering commands. Any of these factors can lead to a dangerous accident.
Common Types of Equipment Failure Accidents in Charlotte
When equipment fails or malfunctions, a number of types of accidents can happen. These are the most common:
- Underride accidents. This type of accident happens when a passenger vehicle drives or somehow slides under the trailer of a truck, either from the back or the side. Underride accidents often occur in poor visual conditions but can also occur in instances where the trailer has come separated from the truck and is slowing down without benefit of brake lights, or when something goes haywire with the truck’s engine systems, and the vehicle slows and stops without warning.
- Jackknife accidents. These accidents often occur when a malfunction of the brakes or steering wheel causes the truck driver to brake or change directions suddenly. When that happens, the trailer on the back of the truck may swing out to form a 90-degree angle with the front of the truck, creating the impression of a jackknife. These accidents can also result from cargo shifting in the trailer. Such shifts could happen if the securement devices break and the cargo moves, creating weight distributions that force the rear of the trailer to swing wide.
- Rollover accidents. Broken cargo securement devices, connectors between tractor and trailer that break during high-speed turns, and a variety of other factors can cause rollover incidents. A “rollover” is when the trailer of a truck rolls onto its side, creating a dangerous situation for everyone around.
Injuries That Commonly Result from Equipment Malfunction or Poor Maintenance Accidents
You can be seriously injured, and even killed, in trucking accidents caused by equipment failure and poor vehicle maintenance. Some of the most common injuries from truck accidents in Charlotte, NC include:
- Broken and dislocated bones
- Lacerations, cuts, and burns
- Disfigurement and amputations
- Back and neck injuries
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
- Head injuries
- Traumatic brain injury
- Internal injuries
Truck accidents have higher rates of fatalities than regular passenger vehicle accidents. If a loved one was killed in an accident and you suspect poor vehicle maintenance or equipment failure was the cause, contact a Charlotte truck accident attorney right away.
Trucking Laws and Regulations
The federal government has strict laws in place to govern trucking companies and their equipment. Routine inspections of equipment are required and must be observed for trucking businesses to continue to operate. Nevertheless, equipment failure still happens and causes accidents that injure and kill others on the road. Although truckers, manufacturers, and trucking businesses are liable in cases of equipment failure or improperly performed maintenance on tractor-trailers, it is not always easy to determine which party was at fault.
Trucking companies are big businesses; they and their insurance companies want to lose as little money as possible in the event of an an accident. Trucking companies will often begin investigating immediately after the accident to find ways to get themselves off the hook. That’s why it’s never too soon to consult with a truck accident attorney and determine your best course of action. An experienced attorney can gather evidence about the accident, hire an investigator to help determine if equipment failure or malfunction played a role in the accident, and create a strategy to show that you were the victim.
Charlotte Trucking Accident Statistics
In 2018, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported 1,373 automobile accident fatalities in North Carolina. That makes North Carolina one of the top five states in the country for accident fatalities. Mecklenburg County, home to the city of Charlotte, is the most populous county in the state making it home to the highest number of automobile and trucking accidents.
Below are a few more statistics about trucking accidents in North Carolina:
- In 2013, there were a total of 9,984 truck accidents in North Carolina, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
- In that same year, 122 people were killed, and nearly 3,000 were injured in these accidents.
- Single unit 2-axle trucks were responsible for the most accidents and fatalities in 2013 in NC.
- Semi-trailers/tractors were responsible for the most injuries, with a total of 1,029.
FAQs About Truck Accidents in Charlotte
Nobody plans to be involved in an accident with a truck nor do they plan for the events that follow afterward. Often, injured victims are left with mountains of hospital bills and questions about what they should do next. Consulting with an attorney who understands trucking accidents is the first step you should take.
Listed below are some commonly asked questions about what to do after a truck accident:
Should I talk with the insurance companies?
Avoid making statements to insurance companies after your accident. Insurance adjusters may try to use your words against you to reduce the value of your claim. Should the insurance company call you, tell them politely that you’d like to speak to your lawyer before you talk to them – then call an attorney. A skilled truck accident attorney will handle all communication with the insurance company for you.
Should I save my documents?
Yes! Save everything related to your accident, including doctor and hospital bills, bills for damage to your vehicle, witness names and statements if possible, and any other documents you have that relate to the accident. It’s also wise to begin a journal. Record times and dates of appointments, and how you feel, both physically and mentally, in the days that follow the accident.
Do I have to go to court?
Many injury claims from trucking accidents are settled out of court. A lawyer that specializes in truck accidents can negotiate on your behalf to give you the best chance of receiving fair compensation for your injuries.
What if I don’t have money to pay for an attorney?
The truck accident lawyers of DeMayo Law Offices work on a contingency fee basis. This means that there are no up-front costs for you to pay. We only get paid if we gain compensation for you. Meeting with a lawyer to discuss your situation is the first step to get on the road to financial recovery after your accident.
Contact the Truck Accident Attorneys of DeMayo Law Offices in Charlotte
If you or a loved one was injured in a truck accident in Charlotte, and you suspect that poor vehicle maintenance or equipment failure was the cause, call DeMayo Law Offices at (866) 240-2251 for a free consultation. We have over a hundred years of collective legal experience and take pride in fighting for the residents of Charlotte who were wrongfully injured in accidents involving trucks.
At DeMayo Law Offices we understand how difficult injuries from a truck accident can be for you and your family. Our attorneys dedicate themselves to providing compassionate and personal legal counsel. Don’t wait. Call us today.
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