If you were injured in an underride accident with a big rig, contact the North Carolina truck accident lawyers of DeMayo Law Offices at (704) 850-6832 to speak with one of our attorneys. A qualified underride truck accident attorney in North Carolina can help you navigate the complexities of the legal system. We can help you file a claim so you can be compensated for your injuries. No one should be injured because of someone else’s negligence, especially not by a professional driver.
Accidents involving large trucks, especially underride accidents (when a vehicle is trapped underneath a tractor-trailer), are particularly dangerous and can result in serious injuries, and in severe cases, death. If you or a loved one was injured in a truck accident, contact DeMayo Law Offices for compassionate and professional legal representation today.
What is an Underride Accident?
There are many different types of trucking accidents. Jackknife accidents, rollover accidents, and underride accidents are some of the most common. Underride accidents can be particularly terrifying and often result in severe injuries or even death for parties involved. So, what is an underride accident exactly? Let’s take a closer look.
Large trucks are high enough from the ground that when mistakes happen, it’s possible for passenger vehicles to fit underneath the trailer. This is referred to as an underride accident—the car “rides under” the trailer.
There are two types of underride accidents:
- Side underride. This happens when a passenger vehicle goes under the side of the trailer of a semi-truck. These accidents frequently occur at night or in poorly lit conditions and when truck drivers are turning, making U-turns, or moving through an intersection. Side underrides happen when vision is obstructed or a mistake is made.
- Rear underride. This refers to when a passenger vehicle slips under the rear end of a semi-truck or trailer. It is frequently caused by visual obstructions and poor visibility conditions, as well as by poorly marked trucks or trucks whose taillight assembly is not functioning properly.
While there are only two types of underride accidents, they can happen in a myriad of ways. Here are some of the most common ways underride accidents happen in the state of North Carolina:
- Truck driver negligence, such as distracted driving or sudden braking
- The truck driver’s failure to use under-ride guards
- Poor vehicle maintenance or the failure to use required lighting
- Improper breakdown marking (no cones or flares)
The U.S. Department of Transportation has strict regulations for the marking of all trucks. Markings must be visible and conspicuous. Failure to adhere to certain state and federal standards can make truck drivers or trucking companies liable in the event of an accident.
How Do You Determine Who’s at Fault in an Accident?
Unfortunately, determining who was at fault can be a complicated matter. That determination is best handled with the assistance of a qualified North Carolina truck accident attorney. An attorney can mount a thorough investigation into the actual cause of the accident. They have the resources to obtain investigators, accident reconstruction experts, and other professionals to make it clear where the fault lies. They can gather evidence and documentation to put together a compelling argument that you are entitled to full and fair compensation for your injuries.
Once they’ve discovered who was negligent, your lawyer can hold that party accountable for your injuries and pain and suffering. Your aggressive attorney can negotiate for the best possible settlement, and if the insurance company will not be reasonable, they will be prepared to stand up for you in court.
Underride accidents can have devastating effects on their victims and families, not just physically, but psychologically and emotionally as well. The bills from these accidents sometimes range in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. DeMayo Law Offices is ready to hold those responsible for your injuries accountable.
Common Types of Underride Accident Injuries
Because an underride accident can be severe, especially when it happens at high speeds, the injuries that result can be devastating. Some of the most common types of underride injuries include:
- Broken, shattered, and dislocated bones
- Paralysis and spinal cord injuries
- Head injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Wrongful death
These and other injuries may change your life after an underride accident. Having the right lawyer on your side can mean the difference between going forward comfortably with your life or struggling every day to try and get enough money to pay the bills and your increased accident-related medical expenses.
What Compensation Is Available After an Underride Accident?
After an accident, you may not be able to work, which adds additional stress to the already anxious period while you’re healing from the wreck. You’re likely watching the medical bills mount while your income may have dwindled because you have to stay home to get well.
What compensation can you get after an accident? You may be eligible to get money for these items:
- Medical expenses, including doctors’ visits, physical therapy, prescriptions, hospital stays
- Lost wages and future wages, should you be unable to return to work in your usual capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of quality of life
An underride truck accident lawyer can discuss your situation with you and help you discover exactly what compensation you may be entitled to because of your injuries.
Why Are Trucks Dangerous on the Road?
The sheer size and weight of trucks make them dangerous on the road and a threat to other vehicles. Large trucks like 18-wheelers and flatbeds can weigh up to 80,000 pounds with cargo. Because of the weight, they need long distances to stop and wide spaces to turn. Shifting cargo, hydraulic breaks, and sometimes hazardous materials can complicate matters.
There are many state and federal regulations in place to make sure truckers and trucking companies do everything possible to reduce the risk of accidents. Here are some of the requirements for commercial vehicles and drivers:
- All drivers must have a current commercial driver’s license
- Drivers may not drive while fatigued
- Drivers must comply with “hours of service” regulations
- Regular tire and brake checks are required
- Strict cargo weight limits are enforced
Also, like all drivers of any vehicle, truck drivers may not be under the influence of alcohol or drugs and must obey the speed limit and all rules of the road. Truckers who fail to follow the laws of the road, whether merging without looking or rolling through a stop sign, endanger everybody and can be held liable for their negligence.
Though truck drivers may be at fault in truck accidents, filing a claim and being compensated is not always easy. The trucking industry involves many parties: drivers, employers, crews, and manufacturers. Finding out who was responsible and where the error occurred can be complicated. Also, sometimes state and federal truck accident laws come into play, and multiple insurance companies get involved. That is why an experienced underride truck accident attorney is so crucial to your case.
State Truck Accident Statistics in North Carolina
Sadly, every day in North Carolina, truck accidents happen. Listed below are some state truck accident statistics:
- In 2016, there were over 14,000 large truck accidents in the state.
- 150 people died in these accidents, and thousands were injured.
- Tractor-trailers or semi-trucks were involved in the highest number of crashes, over 4,400. Single unit trucks with two axles were involved in over 4,100 accidents and killed over 38 people.
- Other large vehicles like school and commercial buses were involved in nearly 1500 crashes and injured almost 500 people.
Professional drivers of large trucks have an extra responsibility to be safe on the road. When accidents occur because of the negligence of a driver or a trucking company, and you or your family are injured, you have the right to file a claim and be compensated for your injuries. Truck crashes are horrendous, and injuries can be painful and life-lasting. No one deserves to suffer because of an accident that wasn’t their fault.
FAQs About Underride Truck Accidents in North Carolina
Sharing the road with trucks is scary and can require extra caution. When the unthinkable occurs, knowing what to do after the accident is not always easy. Below are some common questions people ask after being in an accident with a truck:
How do I prove who caused the accident?
Determining who was at-fault can be complicated, but also the most important aspect of your claim. An attorney can help you collect and gather evidence, handle insurance companies, hire experts, and gather witness testimony to present your best case. They will also make sure you don’t jeopardize your case by throwing away important documents and filing paperwork late.
How long will I have to file a lawsuit?
In North Carolina, you have three years from the date of injury to file a lawsuit regarding your accident. If you miss that deadline and try to file late, the court will likely dismiss your lawsuit altogether, and you will lose the ability to obtain money for your accident through the court system.
Three years will fly by, so it’s a good idea to engage a lawyer right away. That way, even if settlement negotiations take three years, your lawyer can protect your interests and file a lawsuit before your time runs out.
Is my claim guaranteed?
Unfortunately, no. The insurance company will fight to reject your claim. It’s up to you and your attorney to prove you were not at-fault and deserve to be compensated for your injuries.
Contact an Underride Truck Accident Attorney in North Carolina
Call DeMayo Law Offices today at (704) 850-6832 if you were injured in an underride or any type of trucking accident in North Carolina. We’ve represented thousands of clients in the state for many years and have recovered millions of dollars in claims. We look forward to discussing your case with you and getting you the compensation and justice you deserve.
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