Did you recently get hurt in a Charlotte truck accident someone else caused? If so, you’re likely dealing with physical pain, emotional trauma, and financial strain. You’re also probably wondering how to access the resources you need to heal.
The good news is that you could be entitled to significant financial recovery for your losses through a truck accident injury case. But preparing and filing a successful injury case isn’t easy, especially when trucking companies and their insurers fight hard to avoid paying their share. This is where the help of an experienced Charlotte truck accident law firm comes in.
Schwaba Law Firm understands how complex and challenging personal injury cases can be, and Andrew Schwaba is here to take the pressure off you. A dedicated attorney, Andrew has successfully advocated for countless individuals just like you and recovered millions in deserved compensation. He has the knowledge, experience, and tenacity to stand up for what’s right and is ready to fight for the maximum settlement you are owed.
Don’t wait to demand the recovery you deserve. Contact Schwaba Law Firm today for a free case review with a Charlotte truck accident lawyer.
What Is Considered a Truck in North Carolina?
According to the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) guidelines, a commercial truck is any vehicle used for business or non-profit purposes with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) exceeding 10,000 pounds. This category doesn’t just include standalone trucks or vans but also combinations of vehicles like tractor-trailers. The definition also extends to vehicles that regularly cross state lines in the course of their business operations.
State law also considers cargo and passenger capacity when defining commercial trucks. Vehicles that transport hazardous materials, irrespective of GVWR, are classified as commercial due to their increased operational risks. Similarly, certain types of vehicles designed to carry passengers fall into the commercial category, regardless of weight.
Why Truck Accidents Are More Complicated Than Other Motor Vehicle Crashes
Truck accident cases often prove more complex than other vehicle accident cases for several reasons, including:
- More Severe Injuries – Truck accident injuries are typically more severe than those from standard vehicle accidents. These severe injuries often lead to more significant medical expenses, recovery times, and lost wages. Therefore, resulting injury claims are commonly more time-consuming, costly, and contentious.
- Multiple Potentially Liable Parties – In truck accidents, several parties could be liable, including the driver, the trucking company, a cargo loading team, or even the manufacturer of a faulty vehicle part. Identifying and pursuing all potentially liable parties makes these cases more complicated and drawn out.
- Complex Regulations – Commercial trucks are heavily regulated at the federal and state levels. When a truck driver or another party fails to comply with these regulations, their violations can significantly affect subsequent personal injury claims. Understanding and proving these violations requires deep knowledge of the relevant laws.
- Unique Evidence – Numerous types of evidence are commonly available in truck accident cases, ranging from driver’s logs and maintenance records to electronic data from truck “black boxes.” Gathering, preserving, and interpreting this evidence requires knowledge and experience.
What Are the State and Federal Trucking Laws?
Both state and federal laws regulate commercial truck operations in North Carolina. Here’s a brief overview of these regulations:
- Licensing Rules – Drivers must be 18 or older to operate commercial vehicles in North Carolina and 21 or older if they intend to operate across state lines. Depending on the type of vehicle and cargo, drivers might also need specific endorsements on their licenses.
- Fleet Manager Rules – Fleet managers in North Carolina have numerous responsibilities. They must keep Driver Qualification Files for all drivers, conduct driver drug and alcohol testing, and maintain registers of any collisions involving their vehicles.
- Insurance Requirements – For interstate carriers that haul non-hazardous cargo, North Carolina requires at least $750,000 in liability insurance coverage. Certain carriers, like those that haul hazardous substances, must maintain higher insurance coverage amounts.
- Size Restrictions – Commercial vehicles in North Carolina may be no wider than 102 inches, no taller than 162 inches, and no longer than 40 feet. For combination trucks like tractor-trailers, the max length is 60 feet. However, there are permits for trucks that surpass these sizes.
- Load securement laws – All commercial drivers that haul cargo in North Carolina must ensure their loads are properly secured to prevent spillage and stability issues.
Common Types and Causes of Commercial Truck Accidents
Some of the most common types of truck accidents include the following:
- Rear-end collisions
- Blind spot accidents
- Underride accidents
- Wide-turn accidents
- Cargo spill accidents
- T-bone crashes
- Head-on collisions
- Jackknife accidents
- Rollover accidents
Many of these truck accidents occur due to the following common causes:
- Driver fatigue
- Distracted driving
- Driving under the influence
- Improper loading
- Mechanical failures
- Inadequate training
- Poor road conditions
- Aggressive driving
- Inadequate maintenance
- Brake failures
- Inadequate safety inspections
What Injuries Can Someone Sustain in a Truck Accident?
Even at relatively low speeds, truck accidents often lead to severe injuries. These are some of the most common types:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Internal injuries
- Burn injuries
- Cuts and lacerations
- Crushing injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
- Rib and torso injuries
- Neck and back injuries
- Facial and dental injuries
- Psychological injuries
In addition, when a truck accident is fatal, the victim’s family could file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Who Could Be Liable for a Truck Accident?
The various parties that could potentially be liable in a truck accident injury case include:
- Truck Drivers – A trucker could be liable if their wrongful actions contributed to the accident. This could include behavior such as speeding, impaired driving, or failure to follow traffic laws.
- Other Road Users – Sometimes, other road users could be partially responsible for a truck accident. For example, if another motorist cuts off a truck in heavy traffic, that motorist could be liable for a subsequent loss-of-control truck accident.
- Trucking Companies – The company that owns the truck or employs the driver could also be liable, either on behalf of a negligent driver or due to its own wrongdoing.
- Cargo Loaders – The party responsible for loading a truck’s cargo could be liable if poor load securement or overloading contributed to an accident.
- Manufacturers – If the accident occurred due to a defect in the truck or any of its parts, injured parties could hold the truck or parts manufacturer accountable under product liability law.
- Government Entities – A state or local government could be held liable if unsafe road conditions such as inadequate drainage, defective signals, or improper signage contributed to the accident.
What Compensation Can I Expect to Recover in a Charlotte Truck Accident Claim?
Truck accidents often have devastating consequences, including significant physical, emotional, and financial losses. If you get hurt in a truck accident, you could be entitled to compensation for various accident-related losses, including the following:
- Medical expenses
- Future medical costs
- Lost income
- Lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Lost enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
- Property damage costs
What If I Am Partly at Fault in a Charlotte Trucking Accident?
North Carolina is one of just a few states to apply a “pure contributory negligence” standard in personal injury cases involving at-fault injured parties. Under this doctrine, if you get hurt in a truck accident that you contribute to in any way, you cannot recover any money in court. This means that if you are even 1 percent at fault, you may not demand compensation from another party. Trucking companies and their insurers know this, and they often work tirelessly to pin the blame on victims and avoid paying what they owe.
Because the determination of fault can be highly contested, and state laws leave no room for error, having an experienced attorney is essential after a North Carolina truck accident. A lawyer can identify useful evidence for your case, argue aggressively in your favor, and protect your right to a fair recovery.
Benefits of Hiring a Charlotte Lawyer for Your Truck Accident Claim
A truck accident lawyer can benefit you and your truck accident injury claim by:
- Conducting a thorough investigation to establish the facts of the accident
- Determining the full extent of your current and future losses
- Identifying potentially liable parties and sources of compensation
- Identifying and preserving helpful evidence that supports your claim
- Handling all necessary paperwork and legal documentation for your case
- Enlisting the help of experts like accident reconstruction specialists to strengthen your case
- Interpreting complex trucking regulations and laws that could apply to your situation
- Handling all communications and negotiations with insurance companies on your behalf
- Filing a lawsuit and representing you in court if a fair settlement cannot be reached
- Challenging any attempt to place unfair blame on you
- Advocating fiercely for your right to full and fair compensation
Get in Touch with a Truck Accident Lawyer in Charlotte Today
Don’t let the burden of an 18-wheeler, semi-truck, big rig, or other commercial truck accident claim weigh you while you’re struggling to recover. It’s time to reclaim your life and secure the compensation you rightfully deserve.
Let Schwaba Law Firm carry the legal load for you. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation with a truck accident lawyer in Charlotte.