Were You or A Loved One Injured in A Truck Accident?
According to the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles crash statistics, accidents involving a semi-trailer are about 4 times as likely to end in a fatality than crashes with regular passenger vehicles. Even when a fatality does not occur, getting into an accident with an 80,000-pound tractor-trailer is going to have serious consequences. This is why you need to know your rights if you’re involved in an accident with a tractor-trailer. Call our car accident attorney in Wake Forest at (919) 228-4487.
What is a Truck Driver’s Duty of Care?
Whether you’re driving a sedan or a tractor-trailer, every driver has a certain duty of care to other drivers. This means that drivers must comply with all traffic laws and try to avoid an accident when possible.
Tractor-trailer drivers are held to a higher duty of care than smaller vehicles. They must follow all basic traffic laws as well as other state and federal rules.
Even before a truck driver hits the road, they must obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL). They must pass a drug test and a physical exam as well as:
- Maintain and inspect the truck’s engine, tires, lights, brakes, etc.
- Turn, park, back up and brake with the truck
- Be aware of procedures and regulations for transporting hazardous materials
Once they obtain a CDL, they must also follow these rules:
- Keep a logbook of activities
- Record dates and times of pickup and delivery as well as the weight of the truck before and after delivery
- Record the number of hours driven daily as well as the number of hours of rest in between
These rules are in place to keep everyone safer on the roads and to avoid accidents when possible.
Proving Negligence in a Truck Accident Lawsuit
When you are involved in a truck accident in the Wake Forest area and state or federal laws were violated at the time, there can be strong evidence that negligence was involved. But this needs to be proved if you want to win your case.
It’s important to distinguish between violations that were accidental or intentional ones. If the violations are considered criminal, it could result in punitive damages that exceed what could be recovered for expenses, pain, and suffering.
At The Doyle Law Offices P.A. , we can subpoena evidence to determine whether any laws were violated. This can include:
- CDL records
- Driver’s logbook
- Criminal background records
- Prior tickets
- Drug test records
- Driver’s financial background
Every piece of evidence will be looked at thoroughly including the driver’s financial background. In some cases, drivers may put in longer hours to get out of debt. Since truck drivers can be paid by the mile, some may try to work longer than allowed to earn extra money.
Besides looking into whether there are regulation violations, our team will also look for moving violations including:
- Running a red light or stop sign
- Failure to yield the right-of-way
- Failure to use turn signals
- Failure to maintain an assured clear distance ahead (ACDA)
- Failure to properly secure the load
- Illegal window tints or other view obstructions
- Crossing over the center line
We also look at whether distracted driving played a role in the accident. Distracted driving is a public safety hazard that can lead to deadly consequences.
Gathering Evidence After an 18-Wheeler Collision in Wake Forest
When you are in an accident with an 18-Wheeler you want to get out of harm’s way and call the police. When the police arrive they will file a report. The police report will contain many pieces of vital information including:
- Who was involved in the crash
- The insurance companies involved
- Weather conditions
- Diagram of the accident scene
If you are able, it is also important to take pictures for evidence. Something like a skid mark at a certain length may indicate the truck driver was speeding. Any rear-end damage could indicate that the driver didn’t leave enough space between vehicles.
You also want to take pictures of injuries as any bruises or cuts will heal and disappear over time. Seek medical attention right after the accident. While some injuries are obvious, others can take a few days to appear. You want to have documentation that you received medical attention promptly.
It’s important to know that you are only eligible to receive compensation for injuries that are documented. This is why having proof of medical visits from a professional is vital. Also, any written notes can be helpful because remembering details after the accident can sometimes be difficult.
If you are dealing with insurance companies, it’s important to never give a recorded statement. You are under no obligation to do so regardless of what the insurance agent on the phone may tell you. The insurance adjuster may be trying to get you to say something that can damage your case. This is why you don’t want to say anything over the phone. Speak with our Wake Forest law firm to discuss your case.
How to Determine Liability in a Tractor-Trailer Crash in Wake Forest
When you are involved in an accident with a tractor-trailer, it can be more complicated than determining liability in a normal passenger car accident. This is because a claim involving a passenger vehicle will generally be filed against the driver and their insurance company. When an 18-wheeler is involved, your claim can be against several parties including the trucking company since many drivers don’t own their trucks.
Also, if mechanical failures are to blame, third parties may be held liable. This can include the truck manufacturer, mechanics, and workers who may have fastened loads improperly.
Get the Compensation You Deserve for Your Injuries
Hiring an experienced truck accident lawyer for an accident involving a tractor-trailer in Wake Forest is important if you want to receive the compensation you deserve.
You may be able to receive compensation for:
- Property Damage
- Pain, suffering, and emotional trauma
- Lost earnings
- Medical expenses and ongoing treatment
- Punitive damages in the case of gross negligence
When you consider that the minimum liability for a tractor-trailer in North Carolina is $750,000, you want to have someone on your side that will fight for the compensation you deserve.