Although truck drivers are in general more attentive on the road than passenger car drivers, in a traffic accident the sheer size of the vehicles they drive can contribute to catastrophic injury and death. A fully loaded commercial truck can weigh many times more than a passenger car, and when it is carrying hazardous materials like gasoline or industrial waste, exposure to toxic chemical inhalation or fire can cause secondary catastrophic injuries as well.
Because trucks are prone to jackknife under slippery road conditions or when they are forced to brake suddenly, the risk of serious injury goes up when they are driving in heavy traffic under adverse road conditions. In addition, the stress that truckers face when they must meet deadlines, as well as fatigue from long hours on the road, can contribute to potential drowsy or distracted driving that put other drivers at risk.
Truck wrecks cause thousands of deaths each year and millions of dollars in catastrophic injury claims. According to the FMCSA, of the 37,133 lives lost in motor vehicle crashes in 2017, large trucks and buses accounted for 13% of those traffic fatalities.
How do I collect damages if there was driver negligence?
Collecting damages after such a serious accident will depend on establishing fault and identifying as many parties as possible that may share liability. The plaintiff must show that the other driver had a duty to the exercise of reasonable care to his fellow drivers on the road, that he failed to exercise that duty and that this failure resulted in injury to the plaintiff. North Carolina follows the doctrine of contributory negligence, which bars recovery by the plaintiff if they are partially to blame for the accident.
It is important to be aware that the courts may not fault the truck driver in some circumstances. Because trucks are prone to jackknifing under slippery road conditions or when forced to stop suddenly, the truck driver will likely not be found negligent if he loses control of the vehicle.
If the driver works for a shipping or trucking company, then the employer may share liability for the accident. If the driver is an independent contractor, then the degree of liability of the hiring company will depend on the level of supervision that the company exercised over the driver.
For North Carolina residents who have been seriously injured in a wreck that was caused by another driver, it is essential to get caring and committed legal counsel serving Mooresville and surrounding areas that will assist in establishing liability and pursuing compensation.