According to statistics maintained by the North Carolina Department of Transportation, approximately 1,500 fatalities occur on North Carolina roadways annually. In addition, over 100,000 people are injured in motor vehicle collisions each year. A significant amount of these accidents involve commercial trucks, such as 18-wheelers, tractor trailers, and semi-trucks.
As one might expect, one of the most common factors in truck accidents, car wrecks, and other crashes is excessive speed. In addition, drug and alcohol use and distracted driving are major causes of both serious injury accidents and fatal collisions. Rounding out the leading causes of truck and car accidents are disregard for stop signs and traffic lights, failures to yield the right of way, and inattention.
Large Truck Accident Data
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also maintains data concerning large truck accidents. According to this information, when a fatal large truck accident occurs, seven times out of 10, the person killed is the occupant of a vehicle other than the commercial vehicle. This is not surprising, given the relative size and weight of an average semi-truck (80,000 pounds in weight and 54 feet in length).
Nationally, about one in 50 fatal large truck accidents happen because the truck driver had a blood alcohol content above 0.08% (the “legal limit” in many states). Also of concern is the fact that, in about one out of six semi-truck wrecks, the driver had a previously recorded crash. A slightly higher number of tractor-trailer drivers involved in fatal collisions had been cited previously for speeding.
Litigation in Commercial Truck Wreck Cases
When a person is hurt due to the negligence of a truck driver, he or she may be able to recover money damages in a court of law. Recovery is certainly not automatic, however, and insurance companies that represent truckers and trucking companies will often take every opportunity to avoid or minimize liability. This includes attempting to blame the accident on the smaller vehicle’s driver or someone – anyone – other than the truck driver.
For this reason, it is best for an injured person (or the family of a person who was killed in a truck accident) to seek the services of an attorney as soon as possible after the accident. Truckers, trucking companies, and insurance companies are generally much more experienced in matters such as filing suit, proving or disproving liability, and evaluating the value of a case than is a person who has been hurt in a wreck. It is very difficult for an average person to deal with these professionals – not to mention law enforcement officers, doctors, and other professionals who may eventually be called to testify at trial in a truck wreck case – on his or her own, especially when recovering from an accident.
To Talk to an Experienced North Carolina Truck Accident Lawyer
If you or a family member has been involved in a motor vehicle accident involving a large truck, the knowledgeable North Carolina truck accident attorneys at Nagle & Associates will be glad to explain your legal rights, including the right to file suit against the truck driver and potentially the trucking company whose negligence caused the crash. To schedule an appointment, call us at (888) 841-7177. We accept most cases on a contingency fee basis, so no legal fees are required upfront to start your case.
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