Were you hurt in a truck accident in Huntersville, NC? If so, you’re likely struggling with painful injuries, expensive medical and repair bills, lost wages from time off work, and other long-term consequences it might still be too early to accurately predict.

If someone else was to blame for the crash, they could owe you compensation for these and other losses. But prying that money loose from powerful trucking companies, insurance carriers, and defense teams is easier said than done.

That’s why you need help from an experienced truck accident lawyer in Huntersville, NC. Andrew Schwaba understands the unique factors that make a truck accident especially devastating, as well as the challenges victims face when seeking the money they deserve. Andrew knows how to thoroughly examine truck accident cases, determine who could be to blame, and demand that his clients be compensated fairly for what they’ve been put through.

Ready for your free consultation with a Huntersville, NC, truck accident lawyer? Then contact Schwaba Law Firm today.

What Is Considered a Truck in North Carolina?

North Carolina regulates trucks as “commercial motor vehicles” on the basis of their gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR). A GVWR refers to the combined weight of:

  • Fuel
  • The vehicle
  • Cargo
  • Passengers
  • Other fluids

commercial motor vehicle is any designed for used for transporting goods or people that is also:

  • A vehicle that includes a towed unit with a GVWR of at least 10,001 pounds
  • A single vehicle with a GVWR of at least 26,001 pounds or a combination vehicle with a towing unit weighing at least 26,001 pounds and a towed unit weighing less than 10,0001 pounds
  • A vehicle that is designed to transport at least 16 occupants
  • A vehicle that is transporting hazardous substances and must carry a corresponding placard

Why Truck Accidents Are More Complicated Than Other Motor Vehicle Crashes

While truck accidents are similar to other motor vehicle collisions in that they cause injuries and property damage, they are also more complicated because they often involve:

  • More Vehicles – Truck crashes often involve several vehicles. Commercial vehicles are about 4½ times as long as passenger vehicles and 2½ times as tall. That makes them likelier to strike multiple other vehicles in the event of a collision, which means more injured parties looking for compensation.
  • More Complex Liability – In most car accidents, liability rests with one or more of the drivers involved. However, the many layers of the trucking industry mean there are more potentially liable parties. In addition to the driver, the trucking carrier could be responsible either vicariously or directly, as could whoever owns the truck or its cargo. A third party, like a cargo loader or a vehicle manufacturer, could also be at least partially liable for their contributions to an accident.
  • More Insurance Coverage – State and federal regulations require trucks to carry substantial insurance policies because of their potential for causing severe damage in an accident. However, with bigger payouts on the line, insurers have a greater incentive to limit their liability and minimize claims to protect their profits.

What Are the State and Federal Trucking Laws?

North Carolina and the federal government impose strict regulations on individuals and companies in the trucking industry. These regulations include rules on licensure and training, the number of hours truckers can drive each day, and the frequency of inspections and maintenance on the trucks.

State law requires anyone operating an 18-wheeler, semi-truck, or big rig to carry a specific license and endorsement if applicable. Someone driving a combination vehicle weighing at least 26,001 pounds must hold a valid commercial A license. A commercial B license is a requirement for a single vehicle weighing over 26,001 pounds. Transporting hazardous materials or at least 16 passengers requires a class C commercial license.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) sets regulations for interstate trucking operations, such as:

  • Alcohol and Drug Testing – Trucking companies must conduct drug and alcohol tests on every truck driver. A driver can lose their commercial driver’s license if they fail one of these tests or are convicted of drunk driving.
  • Maintenance Schedules – Trucks must be inspected, repaired, and maintained systematically and regularly to ensure safe usage.
  • Hours of Service (HOS) Rules – The HOS rules limit how many hours a truck driver can drive in a given day and week. Truckers can’t drive for more than 11 consecutive hours or beyond their 14th hour after spending 10 consecutive hours off-duty. They must also take 30-minute breaks after driving for at least eight cumulative hours without 30 minutes of interruption.
  • Record-Keeping – Motor carriers must maintain records showing their compliance with federal regulations.

Common Types and Causes of Commercial Truck Accidents

Commercial truck accidents can be grouped based on the type of impact involved, including the following:

  • Rear-End Collisions – Because commercial vehicles require a greater stopping distance, truckers must keep enough space between themselves and the cars ahead. Tailgating prevents braking in time to avoid a rear-end crash.
  • Underride and Override Accidents – An underride accident involves a vehicle colliding with the back of a large truck and sliding underneath the trailer. An override accident occurs when a truck crashes into the back of a small car and drives over it.
  • Jackknife Accidents – An abrupt change in direction caused by sudden braking or turning can send the trailer sliding toward the tractor at an acute angle. This is called “jackknifing” because it resembles the closing action on a pocketknife.
  • Head-On Collisions – Truckers who become fatigued or confused behind the wheel risk drifting into oncoming traffic or going the wrong way down a one-way street, with potentially devastating consequences.
  • Rollover Accidents – Rollover accidents are among the most dangerous of collisions. If a truck tips or rolls, it can land on a small car, trapping the occupants inside.

These accidents have a number of underlying causes, such as:

  • Speeding
  • Tailgating
  • Distracted driving
  • Inexperienced or unlicensed driving
  • Driving under the influence
  • Ignoring right-of-way laws

What Injuries Can Someone Sustain in a Truck Accident?

Because of the size and weight of the vehicles involved, truck accidents often result in serious injuries, like:

  • Amputations
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Broken bones
  • Internal bleeding
  • Burn injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Back and neck injuries
  • Whiplash
  • Severe lacerations
  • Paralysis
  • Scarring or disfigurement

If a truck accident becomes fatal, the family of the victim could file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Who Could Be Liable for a Truck Accident?

Anyone who contributes to an accident could be at least partially liable for any injuries or property damage that results from it. Because the trucking industry is large and complex, many different parties can play a role in a given accident, such as the following:

  • The truck driver
  • The trucking carrier
  • The truck or cargo’s owner, if separate from the driver or carrier
  • The cargo loaders
  • The manufacturer of a defective vehicle or part
  • A government entity responsible for maintaining roads
  • The company that maintains or inspects the truck
  • Other vendors involved in the operation of the truck

What Compensation Can I Expect to Recover in a Huntersville Truck Accident Claim?

If someone else was ultimately to blame for your injuries, they could owe you money for the following:

  • Ambulance services, physical therapy, surgeries, and other medical expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of quality of life
  • Physical impairment
  • Cost of household services
  • Lost wages
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Cost to replace or repair damaged property

What If I Am Partly at Fault in a Huntersville, NC, Trucking Accident?

North Carolina follows a pure contributory negligence standard, which bars you from recovery — unless an exception applies — if a judge or jury acting as factfinder determines you were in any way to blame for the truck accident that injured you.

While this rule applies to trials rather than insurance claims, adjusters make their decisions based on what they think will happen in court. In other words, they might offer you little or nothing if they think you are in any way to blame for the accident that injured you.

This harsh standard, and to determine whether one of the exceptions applies, is just one reason you should strongly consider working with an experienced Huntersville, NC, truck accident attorney as you pursue your lawsuit.

Benefits of Hiring a Huntersville Lawyer for Your Truck Accident Claim

Seeking justice after a truck accident isn’t an easy battle. You need someone to protect your rights and get your life back on track. An experienced Huntersville, NC, truck accident injury lawyer can help by:

  • Investigating the Crash – A good lawyer knows how to collect and review evidence to build their truck accident claim for compensation. They should also have working relationships with experts in the fields of medicine, accounting, and crash reconstruction to aid them in their investigations.
  • Navigating Liability Issues – Your attorney can determine each at-fault party, the degree of their liability, and how much insurance coverage might be available. They can file claims with the appropriate insurance carriers and calculate the value of your losses so you don’t suffer the burden of out-of-pocket expenses.
  • Negotiating for a Settlement – Insurance companies have a vested interest in saving themselves money by denying or minimizing claims whenever possible. An experienced truck accident lawyer knows the tricks they might play and how to counter them. Moreover, insurance companies know they can’t push around accident victims who have quality legal help, because if they do, they could soon be facing the prospect of an expensive, drawn-out trail.

Get in Touch with a Truck Accident Lawyer in Huntersville Today

At Schwaba Law Firm, your recovery is Andrew Schwaba’s priority. He is committed to protecting your rights and putting your life back on track.

Reach out to Schwaba Law Firm today. You’ll speak with a truck accident lawyer in Huntersville, NC, in a free, no-obligation consultation and case review.