The Danger Of Large Trucks

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A fully-loaded 18-wheeler can weigh up to forty tons. A typical passenger vehicle, however, weighs only two tons. Considering this major difference in size and weight, it is crucial that commercial truck drivers make safety their top priority.

Unfortunately, many trucking companies place a higher priority on saving money and moving cargo as quickly as possible, overlooking safety concerns. When safety is placed on the backburner, catastrophic and fatal accidents can occur.

Miller Law Firm, PLLC, in Raleigh, North Carolina, helps victims of tractor-trailer truck accidents recover their losses.

According to a report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly 4,000 large trucks were involved in fatal crashes in the United States in 2013. More than 100 of these accidents occurred in North Carolina.

Large vehicles, such as commercial, dump, garbage and logging trucks, may cause multiple vehicle pile-ups when they flip, jackknife and lose cargo in the roadway. These trucks are particularly dangerous on rural roads. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reported that approximately 61 percent of all fatal crashes involving large trucks occurred on rural roads and 26 percent on interstate highways in 2014. In North Carolina, heavy commercial truck traffic on Interstates 95, 77 and 40 causes an increasing number of accidents each year.

What The Law Demands

North Carolina law requires that every driver use reasonable care when operating commercial trucks and tractor-trailers. A driver who fails to use reasonable care is considered negligent. When a driver's negligence causes a crash and resulting injury or death, the negligent party is obligated to compensate an injured person for his or her losses.

What To Do After An Accident

  1. The most essential thing you can do after an accident is to ensure that you receive proper medical care. You should seek medical attention immediately, even if you don't think you have been injured. Oftentimes, the pain caused by an accident surfaces only after the adrenaline of the event has passed, sometimes taking days to materialize.
  2. While still at the accident site, collect as much information as possible from the other driver, the trucking company and any witnesses. Take photos of the scene and the vehicles involved in the crash.
  3. Contact Attorney Stacy Miller. At Miller Law Firm, PLLC, our team will walk you through the legal process and treat your case with attentiveness and urgency. It is critical to consult with an attorney early in the process due to North Carolina's statute of limitations. This is essentially a time limit in which an injured party is required to file a lawsuit. A personal injury claim must be filed within three years of the date of the injury, and a wrongful death claim must be filed within two years of death.
  4. It is also important to write a description of the accident while the events are still fresh in your mind. As time passes, your memory may fade, making it more difficult to recount details.
  5. Keep all bills and records from any medical treatment, car repairs and lost wages if you have been out of work.
  6. Avoid talking to others about the particulars of your accident, especially through email or social media. The other party may use these statements against you and interfere with your chances of just compensation.
  7. Don't sign anything without first talking to an attorney. Trucking companies will often pressure an injured party into accepting a settlement offer that is much lower than he or she deserves.

Overcoming Challenges in Truck Accidents

Commercial truck accidents are far more complex than other motor vehicle accidents. Determining who is liable for the accident can be challenging. The driver, the owner of the truck, the loaders of cargo, the truck manufacturer and the dispatching company may share responsibility.

What Compensation Can I Receive?

Depending on the details of your case, compensation for a personal injury claim may include past and future medical bills and lost wages, inability to earn income in the future, scarring or disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life, and physical and emotional pain and suffering. Compensation for a wrongful death claim may also include funeral expenses for your lost loved on, lost companionship, and lost wages.

Additionally, when a driver or trucking company acts intentionally, willfully or with reckless disregard for the safety of others, the injured party may also receive punitive damages. Punitive damages are monetary awards designed to punish the wrongdoer and discourage others from engaging in similar behavior.

How Miller Law Firm, PLLC Can Help

At Miller Law Firm, PLLC, we will fully investigate your accident and work with professionals in many industries, such as accident reconstruction experts and economists. Our team may evaluate event data recorders, which are devices located in most trucks that monitor and record pre-crash speed, distance traveled, brake use and driving style. Additionally, we will examine the wreckage and any skid marks or damage to the roadways, which are critical in proving fault.

Why Did this Happen to Me?

Our investigation could reveal a number of causes for your accident, such as truck driver negligence or sleep deprivation, inadequate driver training, an overloaded or unbalanced truck, defective auto parts, or unmaintained vehicles. In 2014, these causes led to "collision with a vehicle in transport" being the most harmful factor in 73 percent of fatal crashes involving large trucks, according to the FMCSA.

Through intense preparation, we will put you in the best position to recover full compensation for your damages, whether your case is resolved in negotiations or in trial.

If you have lost a loved one in a truck crash or if you have been injured in such an accident, you need a lawyer on your side as quickly as possible. For years, people across Raleigh and beyond have put their faith in truck accident attorney Stacy Miller of Miller Law Firm, PLLC. Our law firm provides tough, skilled representation for those harmed or killed in severe motor vehicle accidents.