Wilmington Trucking Accident Attorneys
Representing Clients Injured In Accidents Involving Large Trucks
Tractor-trailers, buses, and commercial transport vehicles present serious threats to other drivers on North Carolina roadways, such as I-40, I-95, Highway 74/76, Highway 140, Highway 421, and Highway 130 in the Wilmington area. With many trucks weighing in close to 40 tons and reaching 80 feet in length, their sizes alone are enough to cause overwhelming property damage and catastrophic injuries in an accident.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
The majority of people fatally injured in commercial truck accidents are the ones traveling in passenger vehicles. When loaded with cargo, tractor-trailers weigh nearly 20 times more than most cars. Trucks require a 20-40% greater distance in order to come to a complete stop, and slippery road conditions or bad brakes make this worse. Also, trucks have higher ground clearance and high centers of gravity that make them susceptible to rollover accidents.
When a trucker causes an accident, it’s usually due to:
- Non-performance: A driver experiencing a physical impairment, falling asleep, or suffering a heart attack would not be able to perform his duties.
- Recognition: A driver becoming distracted or demonstrating a failure to observe does not recognize and respond to road conditions.
- Decision: A driver who underestimates the speed of an approaching vehicle, or does not allow for adequate braking distance with a vehicle he or she is following, makes a poor decision.
- Performance: A driver who fails to properly control his vehicle or overcompensates on a turn is not performing his duties.
The injuries incurred in a truck accident can be life-altering or fatal. Even with nonfatal injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, lack of quality of life, and pain and suffering can make life very difficult for the victims and their families. If a truck driver or company caused your accident, call Rhine Law Firm, P.C., to talk to an experienced Wilmington truck accident lawyer.
Safety Standards for Tractor-Trailer Drivers
Federal limitations prevent big rig operators from driving more than 11 hours in a day and over 77 hours in a period of seven days.
Trucking companies and their drivers are subject to federal safety standards, inspections, and enforcement. Here are a few regulations:
- Drivers must acquire and maintain a commercial driver’s license (CDL) that requires enhanced training and testing.
- Drivers must maintain a minimum of $750,000 in accident liability insurance coverage.
- Drivers must follow a clearly defined schedule for logging their activity, as well as safety and maintenance schedules.
Transport companies are legally required to abide by and enforce these regulations.
Electronic Logging Devices
An ELD coordinates with the engine of a vehicle to document critical data such as driving time and driver status. And in North Carolina, they’re the law. All trucking companies have to install the required model by December 18, 2017. The data is automatically recorded and data transfer and storage is done seamlessly. ELD data can be used as evidence in accidents to determine liability and better reenact the circumstances.
Many people know about "black boxes," devices for recording or documenting activity on board an aircraft. Some manufacturers of cars, trucks, buses, and other vehicles install these event data recorders (EDRs); however, black boxes are not legally required for commercial motor vehicles. Some useful data that can be retrieved from a black box includes:
- The speed of travel at the time of a collision
- When the vehicle accelerated
- When the brakes were used
- Daily or weekly driving activity
- Use of cruise control
If You Are in an Accident Involving a Commercial Vehicle
North Carolina law requires that collisions resulting in injury, death, or property damage exceeding $1,000 be reported to law enforcement. If you are involved in an accident with a commercial vehicle you should:
- Safely stop your vehicle where it is unlikely to obstruct traffic.
- Contact the authorities.
- Get assistance for injuries.
- Gather the information of all parties involved and wait for law enforcement.
Do not admit fault at the time of the accident, and speak with a personal injury lawyer for the best protection.
Insurance Carriers and Trucking Companies
Commercial transport trucking companies and the drivers they hire typically have high-value insurance policies. This means they have experienced insurance adjusters and attorneys to help minimize their financial responsibilities. The opposing counsel will be tough, smart, and effective. At Rhine Law Firm, P.C., we enjoy the opportunity to battle these well-funded big-firm attorneys. The stakes are high, and we fight as hard as we can to combat their teams with experts, cutting-edge research, and strategies we have developed over decades of litigation.
Don't be taken advantage of by trucking companies and their insurance carriers. Hiring an experienced trucking or transport accident lawyer will help you to protect and enforce your rights.
Proven Truck Accident Case Results in Wilmington
At the Rhine Law Firm, P.C., our goal is to help commercial trucking victims obtain the maximum compensation available to help get their lives back on track. When you consult our firm, we will go to work investigating your circumstances and collecting evidence to build a powerful case on your behalf. We understand the tactics used by truck companies and their insurers to avoid liability, and our Wilmington personal injury lawyers are fully prepared to help you obtain the compensation you are entitled to under the law.
Please do not delay in calling a lawyer when you fall victim to trucking company negligence. These companies often have teams of investigators, lawyers, and insurance representatives on-site and working on the case within hours of the collision. If possible, please contact us within 48 hours of the collision so we can dispatch our own team. You must even the playing ground, and we would like to help. Call (910) 772-9960 or toll-free (866) 772-9960 for a free initial consultation with one of our Wilmington truck injury attorneys regarding your legal needs.
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