Did you suffer injuries in a truck accident? Did someone else cause the crash? If so, you could be entitled to seek compensation for the losses you incur due to the accident. However, pursuing the money you need can be challenging because trucking companies often deny liability for accidents. Hiring an experienced Mooresville, NC, truck accident attorney is crucial to getting the best outcome in your case.
Andrew Schwaba has extensive experience handling Mooresville truck accident cases. He understands the laws that apply to these claims and how to stand up to truck companies and insurers that try to avoid liability. With years of experience and results, Andrew will help you seek compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and other losses.
You deserve effective representation and an advocate who will fight to protect your rights. Reach out to Schwaba Law Firm for a free, no-obligation consultation with a Mooresville, NC, truck accident lawyer.
What Is Considered a Truck in North Carolina?
North Carolina law classifies most large trucks as commercial vehicles.
According to the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT), a commercial vehicle can be a combination of vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 pounds or more (provided the GVWR of the vehicle or vehicles being towed is 10,000 or more) or a single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 pounds or more. If the latter vehicle tows another vehicle, the towed vehicle may not have a GVWR over 10,000 pounds.
Trucks that transport hazardous materials are considered commercial vehicles for the purposes of federal regulations.
All commercial vehicles are subject to federal and state safety regulations.
Why Truck Accidents Are More Complicated Than Other Motor Vehicle Crashes
When truck accidents occur, investigating the cause can be lengthy and complicated. Various factors can contribute to the cause of a truck accident, and numerous parties can be responsible. Truck accidents are more complicated than other motor vehicle crashes for many reasons, including the following:
- Multiple Parties and Entities – The trucking company comprises various individuals and companies, any of which could be liable for injuries and damage from a truck accident. Potentially liable parties include the truck driver, the trucking company, the maintenance crew, or the manufacturer of the truck or a defective part. Sometimes, more than one party shares responsibility. These parties may shift blame onto each other to avoid compensating victims. Pursuing compensation requires knowledge of federal and state laws, applicable insurance policies, and the procedures for seeking legal action against each defendant.
- Multiple Insurance Policies – Every motor carrier must purchase insurance with liability coverage for their commercial vehicles. However, the minimum liability limits depend on the type of cargo and weight of the truck. Determining the available coverage to compensate for an accident victim’s losses means obtaining copies of the policies to file claims with the appropriate insurance companies. Also, these companies may try to deny or minimize claims.
What Are the State and Federal Trucking Laws?
In North Carolina, anyone who owns or operates an 18-wheeler, semi-truck, or big rig must register with the International Registration Plan (IRP). The IRP regulates the transportation of passengers and goods in the United States and Canada. Motor carriers and truck owner-operators must register their vehicles with the IRP if the vehicles meet these criteria:
- Any vehicle with at least three axles, regardless of the gross vehicle weight
- Any truck with a gross vehicle weight over 26,000 pounds and two axles
- Any combination of trailers, tractors, or other vehicles with over 26,000 pounds gross vehicle weight
Registering with the IRP also means following state-specific regulations, such as:
- Holding a commercial driver’s license (CDL)
- Maintaining operational records
- Carrying the minimum required commercial liability insurance coverage
- Obtaining an interstate Common or Contract Motor Carrier (MC) number or U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) number from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)
- Reporting mileage totals to renew IRP applications
North Carolina truck drivers must also adhere to federal regulations, such as:
- Passing a knowledge and skills test
- Providing the DMV proof of meeting the minimum physical condition requirements to operate a commercial motor vehicle
- Completing a road test using a commercial motor vehicle representing the vehicle intended for use
- Paying commercial driver’s license fees
Hours of service (HOS) regulations are essential to federal standards keeping people safe on the roads. These regulations prevent driver fatigue by limiting the number of hours truckers can drive. Under the HOS regulations, drivers:
- Can drive up to 14 consecutive hours after 10 successive off-duty hours
- Can drive a maximum of 11 hours after spending 10 consecutive hours off duty
- Must not drive longer than 60 hours in seven consecutive days or 70 hours while on duty during eight consecutive days after at least 34 consecutive off-duty hours
- Must take a break for 30 minutes after eight cumulative driving hours without a 30-minute interruption or longer
Common Types and Causes of Commercial Truck Accidents
Various types and causes of commercial truck accidents can result in injuries or fatalities, often inflicting severe injuries on occupants of smaller passenger vehicles.
Factors such as the truck’s speed at the time of the crash, the type of truck involved, road conditions, and weather can contribute to the type of crash. The most common include:
- Underride Truck Accidents – An underride truck accident involves a small vehicle crashing into the back of a large truck and sliding beneath the trailer.
- Override Truck Accidents – In an override truck accident, a truck driver collides with the back of a passenger vehicle and runs over it.
- Rollover Truck Accidents – Large trucks have a higher center of gravity than small cars. They can roll over easily in a collision, upon contact with a curb, or if the trucker brakes too hard or turns too fast.
- Jackknife Truck Accidents – Jackknife accidents occur when a trailer swings out perpendicular to the tractor. It’s dangerous and potentially deadly because any car in the way can get pinned or crushed by the sliding commercial vehicle.
Truck accidents have various causes, but truck driver error is the most common. Truckers can make mistakes despite training and experience, increasing the risk of collisions and injuries. The most common causes of truck accidents include:
- Aggressive behavior, such as road rage
- Distracted driving
- Weaving in and out of traffic
- Sudden braking
- Lack of truck inspections and maintenance
- Turning too fast
- Drunk driving
- Changing lanes without checking blind spots
- Running red lights or stop signs
- Failing to yield the right-of-way
What Injuries Can Someone Sustain in a Truck Accident?
A truck accident injury can range from superficial to disabling or life-threatening. The most common injuries in truck crashes include:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Broken bones
- Burn injuries
- Back injuries
- Loss of limb or amputation
- Internal bleeding
- Disfigurement or scarring
- Permanent impairment or disability
Should a truck accident become a fatal one, the victim’s family could file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Who Could Be Liable for a Truck Accident?
Commercial truck accident cases differ significantly from collisions involving only passenger cars for various reasons, including who can be liable.
In a truck accident case, many parties could be at fault or share liability for someone’s injuries, including:
- Cargo loading company
- Truck or cab owner
- Truck driver
- Motor carrier
- Maintenance or repair worker
- Truck or part manufacturer
What Compensation Can I Expect to Recover in a Mooresville Truck Accident Claim?
If you suffered injuries in a truck accident, you could be entitled to compensation for your losses resulting from the crash. You might seek financial relief for the following:
- Cost of household services
- Pain and suffering
- Hospital stays, surgeries, rehab, and other medical expenses
- Loss of income
- Lost earning capacity
- Mental anguish
- Decreased enjoyment or quality of life
- Physical impairment
- Property damage
What If I Am Partly at Fault in a Mooresville, NC, Trucking Accident?
North Carolina follows a pure contributory negligence rule when determining fault and compensation in truck accidents. Under this rule, a defendant (or multiple defendants) must be 100 percent at fault for the plaintiff’s injuries for a plaintiff to be eligible for compensation. A judge or jury can prohibit a plaintiff who is even 1 percent responsible for the injuries from obtaining compensation. However, many exceptions apply. Contact a Mooresville, NC lawyer to learn more about this.
Hiring an experienced personal injury attorney in Huntersville, NC, is crucial to increasing your chances of getting the best outcome in your case. Andrew Schwaba can investigate the circumstances around your injury and gather evidence to prove that the other party is 100 percent to blame for your injuries.
Benefits of Hiring a Mooresville, NC, Lawyer for Your Truck Accident Claim
A truck accident lawsuit can be complex because there may be multiple liable parties, numerous insurance policies, and various pieces of evidence. A truck accident lawyer in Mooresville, NC, can handle every aspect of your claim so you can focus on healing from your injuries. Specifically, an attorney can:
- Investigate the accident and gather crucial evidence
- Calculate the total value of your losses, including past, current, and future expenses
- Negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf to reach a fair settlement
- Represent you at trial if it’s the best way to pursue the maximum compensation that you deserve
Get in Touch with a Truck Accident Lawyer in Mooresville, NC, Today
If you suffered injuries in a truck accident that wasn’t your fault, you deserve to seek compensation and accountability. Andrew Schwaba can advocate for your rights and help you pursue financial relief for your medical bills, lost wages, and other losses.
Contact Schwaba Law Firm today for a free consultation with a truck accident lawyer in Mooresville, NC.