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Raleigh truck accidentEvery day, thousands of tractor-trailers, flatbeds, logging trucks, and other large trucks haul goods across North Carolina. Any collision involving a large truck and a car has the potential to cause serious injuries. All motorists, including truck drivers and trucking companies, have a legal duty to operate vehicles in a safe and responsible manner. When a driver acts carelessly and disregards speed limits or other traffic laws and causes a crash involving injuries to others, the driver may be held accountable for the damages they cause.

At Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks, P.A., our compassionate attorneys understand the hardship and disruption that a serious injury can cause. We know you may be struggling with pain, financial stress, and an uncertain future. We want to help you regain control of your life. We provide quality legal representation and hands-on attention. Many of our clients are referred to us by former clients who were pleased with the attentive service we provided. Our legal team includes staff members who speak Spanish as well as English. If your future is at stake after a serious truck crash, call an experienced truck accident lawyer in Raleigh, NC at Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks, P.A.

How Can a Truck Accident Lawyer Help?

An experienced Raleigh truck accident attorney can guide you through the process of pursuing fair compensation for serious injuries caused by a large truck.

  • We will conduct a detailed investigation to identify all the potentially at-fault parties and then locate all the insurance policies available to provide compensation. This is an important step in the process. Finding additional sources of insurance may increase the amount of compensation available to cover your losses.
  • Our attorneys will calculate the extent of your losses from the truck accident, including your medical expenses, lost income, future medical and rehabilitation expenses, the cost of remodeling your house to make it accessible, and reduced earning capacity.
  • We will submit a claim to the insurance company and negotiate aggressively for a full settlement. We will discuss any settlement offers we receive and offer our perspective on whether the settlement is reasonable based on your injuries. If the insurance company refuses to make a fair settlement, the attorneys at Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks, P.A., will be ready to pursue justice for you in court. We are dedicated to helping our clients move forward after a serious injury.

Our Client Testimonials on Truck Accidents

Excellent communication and was very effective in analyzing the situation and working diligently to resolve the issues. I was very pleased with the professionalism and expertise of the staff and highly recommend them.

Theodocia Shabazz

We are very grateful with this firm, They have been our lawyers for more than 17 years, always excellent service and good communication, in Spanish or English! Younce, Vtipil, attorneys at Law always fighting for the rights of their clients!! For that reason I give them 5 stars if I could I would give them more!!!!

Javier Pintos

Mr. Vtipil was great! Very kind, calm, knowledgeable, and actually cares about you as a person! This law firm is very organized as well. Highly recommend!

Lanie Luck

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Why Are Truck Collisions Different than Car Crashes?

Accidents involving a commercial truck and a car are different in a number of significant ways from collisions involving two automobiles. The notable differences include:

Semi truck and car accidents can be deadly for car passengersSize Difference — The disparity in size and weight of tractor trailers and passenger vehicles increases the chances that the occupants of the smaller vehicle will sustain serious injuries, catastrophic injuries, or fatal injuries. Most people injured in truck crashes are occupants of other vehicles.

More complex liability in trucking accidents usually due to multiple parties makes truck crash cases more difficult.More Complex Liability — Truck crashes are more likely to involve numerous insurance companies and potentially responsible parties. An investigation of an 18-wheeler crash may identify any of the following as contributors to the accident: the truck driver, the trucking company, the owner of the trailer, the cargo shipper, the company that loaded the cargo, and the manufacturer of truck mechanical equipment such as brakes. Each of these potential at-fault parties may have separate insurance companies. The truck crash may have multiple responsible parties and a number of insurance companies.

Truck drivers must carry higher insurance coverage.Higher Insurance Amounts — Truck drivers and trucking companies are required by North Carolina law to carry higher amounts of liability insurance than auto owners because of the greater harm a commercial trucking accident may cause. The owner of a commercial truck that transports non-hazardous material is required to carry a minimum of $750,000 in liability insurance. The insurance requirements are higher for commercial trucks engaged in transporting hazardous goods. The higher policy limits increase the financial stakes after a truck crash. You can potentially recover high amounts of compensation because of the higher limits. That means that the trucking company and the insurance provider will have seasoned lawyers protecting their interests. You should have committed attorneys fighting for your interests, too.

Federal and state rules of interstate trucking can affect an accident settlement.Federal and State Rules — Truck drivers and commercial trucking companies involved in transporting goods from state to state are governed by federal laws that prescribe the number of hours that truckers can operate a truck, the size of loads they can carry, and records that should be kept. Trucking companies are required to keep for a certain amount of time inspection reports, maintenance records, driver logs, employee records, and other records that can provide valuable evidence of negligence after a serious truck accident. It is important to have a skilled North Carolina truck crash lawyer who understands the regulations that apply to commercial trucking to investigate your accident and secure critical records before they are lost.

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How Do Truck Accidents Happen?

The size and weight of semis and tractor-trailers mean they handle much differently than a passenger car or pickup truck, as any commercial driver knows. A significant difference lies in their braking ability. A tractor-trailer weighing 70,000 to 80,000 pounds takes a much greater distance to stop than a 3000-pound automobile. A truck driver may be driving within the posted speed limit, but still going too fast for the existing traffic conditions. If an automobile driver cuts in front of a large truck, a truck driver may be unable to brake or take evasive action in time to avoid a collision.

Fatigued Driver

Truck drivers have physically demanding jobs that involve spending many hours behind the wheel. Driver fatigue is a common cause of car and truck crashes. Drowsy drivers take longer to recognize and react to sudden changes in traffic conditions. To prevent accidents caused by drowsy driving, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has rules that limit the number of hours that a driver can drive each day and each week. Trucking companies may set unreasonably tight delivery deadlines, pressuring drivers to disregard the hours-of-service rules that limit the number of hours a commercial driver may drive. When the driver of an 80,000-pound truck is drowsy or falls asleep at the wheel, the result can be a catastrophic accident.

Blind Spot Accidents

Tractor trailers and other 18-wheelers have larger blind spots than passenger cars. The blind spots include areas beside the truck, behind the truck, and on the front passenger side of the truck. A truck driver cannot see a car riding in a blind spot. A truck driver may try to change lanes and collide with a vehicle riding in a blind spot or force the vehicle off the road. Motorists should pass large trucks with care and avoid lingering in blind spots.

Equipment Failure

A significant number of truck accidents are caused by inadequate maintenance and mechanical failures involving the trailer or cab. Brakes out of adjustment are a common cause of semi-truck crashes. Trucking companies are supposed to perform routine maintenance and make needed repairs to keep trucks in safe operating conditions. Truck drivers are required to complete reports that identify any defects in the truck’s parts and safety equipment including the brakes, steering mechanism, reflectors, lighting devices, tire coupling devices, tie-down bolsters, locking pins, kingpin upper coupling device, and rear vision mirrors.

What Are the Different Types of Trucking Accidents?

Rear-End Accident

Rear end truck collisionA truck driver following too closely may be unable to stop if traffic comes to a stop unexpectedly ahead of him. If a driver is distracted or drowsy, a tractor-trailer may plow into the back of a car that stops unexpectedly ahead. An automobile driver who cuts off a truck driver by pulling in front of the truck may contribute to a rear-end collision. Car drivers who cannot see around a truck and do not realize a traffic light has turned red may hit the rear of a truck, causing a rear-end collision.

Ride Under Accidents

ride under car- semi truck crashBecause large trucks are taller and have greater ground clearance, a car may slide under the side or rear of a large truck, crushing the passenger compartment. Many large trucks are now equipped with underride guards on the back of the trailer to prevent underride accidents. But truck underride guards often fail in crashes, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Ride-under collisions can cause serious or fatal injuries to the occupants of automobiles and other smaller vehicles.

Jack Knife Accidents

jack knife truck wreckIcy roads or improper braking may cause a truck to jackknife. If a truck driver locks the drive axle when trying to brake, it will cause a jackknife accident. The trailer swings out of control to a 90-degree angle with the cab, resembling the folding blades of a pocket knife. Jackknife accidents are more likely to cause multi-vehicle accidents.

Rollover Accident

raleigh truck rollover crashTanker trucks have a higher center of gravity and are more prone to rollover. A sudden shift of liquid in a cargo tanker as a truck rounds a banked curve can cause the truck to overturn. Rollover accidents involving tanker trucks pose a serious hazard because they often are carrying flammable liquids. The loading lines of tanker trucks are often filled with a flammable liquid and can be easily ruptured during a crash, spilling gasoline or other flammable fuels.

Failing Cargo Accident

Falling cargo from large trucks can injure drivers.Tractor trailers and flatbed trucks must comply with regulations that dictate how cargo is tied down or secured to prevent it from shifting or creating an unbalanced load. Unsecured loads can shift and cause a truck to roll over or fall onto the road and strike another vehicle, causing a crash. A freight shipper responsible for failing to properly load and secure the cargo may be responsible for the accident as well as the truck company.

Truck Accidents Frequently Asked Questions

Trucking Accidents

What are some of the most common tractor trailer accidents?

The most common types of tractor trailer accidents are:

  • Head on collisions
  • Rear end collisions
  • Broadside collisions
  • Center lane crossover
  • Lane change collisions
  • Jack-knifed trucks
  • Loss of control of vehicle
  • Hit and Run

Is there a difference between a tractor trailer accident and a car accident?

Trucking accidents are different from auto accidents in many ways, one of the most serious being the extent of damages and injuries when a truck and an automobile collide. Because big rigs, 18 wheelers and tractor-trailers can weigh in excess of 80,000 pounds, a trucking collision can have deadly consequences.

Are there additional laws that apply to truckers to keep the roads safer?

There are unique laws and regulations that are designed specifically to protect motorists from the negligent actions of truck drivers and trucking companies. Federal and state regulations require truckers to have adequate rest to prevent driver fatigue on the highway. There are also other specific rules for trucks including proper loading of the materials the truck is carrying and safety rules on traveling speeds and when passing other vehicles.

Are there any federal regulations governing truck drivers?

Trucking companies are required to follow the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s regulations concerning equipment and hours of service. Truck drivers are also required to maintain a driver’s log; however the timeframe is limited. Federal regulations require commercial trucks to carry certain levels of insurance coverage, depending on the nature of materials hauled. These regulations protect victims of large truck crashes from truck owners who may not have the financial resources to pay damages out-of-pocket.

How do I recover compensation for damages in a tractor trailer case?

In order to get compensation, an attorney will need to show the truck driver failed to use due care in the operation of the truck. Typically, in cases where serious injury has resulted, a plaintiff will have claims for pain and suffering, negligent and/or intentional infliction of emotional distress, and loss of consortium.

How soon do I need to bring a case in a tractor trailer collision?

You need to contact an attorney at Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks, P.A., as soon as possible. In truck collisions, federal regulations require that certain essential evidence only be maintained for a limited amount of time. For instance, the truck driver’s log may be destroyed after six months if an attorney does not obtain a court order or take other immediate action.

Who will pay my medical bills in a tractor trailer accident?

The truck company may not pay your medical bills immediately. However, your own insurance will often contain medical payment provisions to pay for bills ranging from funeral costs to x-rays. It is usually not your best interest to sign a medical release/authorization or to give a statement to the trucking company or any insurance company before contacting an attorney. Contact an attorney at Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks, P.A., today to discuss your situation and injuries.

What are the common causes of truck accidents?

Some of the most common causes of trucking accidents include:

  • Lack of training
  • Overloaded trucks
  • Oversized trucks
  • Brake failure/defect
  • Poor driving conditions
  • Driver inexperience
  • Fatigue
  • Speeding
  • Running off the road
  • Failure to yield the right of way
  • Aggressive driving behavior
  • Driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol
  • Dangerous or reckless driving
  • Mechanical failure

Who can sue in a personal injury case involving a truck accident injury?

Anyone who is injured or has had a loved one killed in a truck accident can sue as long as some other person or entity, besides the person suing, is at fault for the accident. This includes adults and children (who can sue through guardians or parents); and even truck drivers if another person or entity was at fault for the accident.

What are the “hours of service” rules?

Under federal “hours of service” regulations, which took effect January 2004, interstate commercial drivers are not allowed to drive more than 11 consecutive hours or drive after 14 hours on duty until they have had a 10-hour break. In addition, according to federal regulations, commercial truck drivers cannot drive after accruing 60 work hours during a 7-day period or 70 work hours during an 8-day period.

Do I need an attorney to litigate my truck accident case?

Unless you have a very minor injury, which is rare in truck accident cases, you should retain an attorney at Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks, P.A. An experienced truck accident attorney can secure vital evidence before it is destroyed, and can establish liability against any potential defendants to help maximize your damage recovery.

Younce Vtipil Baznik & Banks personal injury law team

Contact Our Raleigh Truck Accident Lawyers

A truck accident can cause serious injuries and leave you unable to work with mounting medical bills. If you or your loved one has been seriously injured in a truck accident in Raleigh, NC, you need a dedicated attorney who cares about your recovery and your future. The legal team at Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks, P.A., offers a free consultation to review your legal options and discuss whether you have a valid truck accident claim.


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