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North Carolina Truck Accident Lawyer

Every 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, 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, trust our experienced attorneys at Younce, Vtipil, & Baznik, P.A.

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Why Are Truck Collisions Different?

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 increase 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 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 Can a Truck Crash
Attorney Help?

An experienced Raleigh truck crash 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, 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, 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.

How 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, tires coupling devices, tie down bolsters, locking pins, king pin upper coupling device, and rear vision mirrors.

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 roll over. 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 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 rollover or fall into 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.

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Contact North Carolina Truck Accident Attorney

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, you need a dedicated attorney who cares about your recovery and your future. The legal team at Younce, Vtipil, & Baznik, 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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