Typically, a commercial vehicle such as an 18-wheeler or semi-truck weighs about 80,000 pounds and is between 65 and 75 feet long (depending on the type of connection between the truck and thetrailer).
By contrast, the average mid-size sedan is just a fraction of that size. Hence, collisions between big trucks and average-size vehicles tend to cause much more damage to the smaller vehicle and often result in serious injuries or death.
It would therefore seem that a “bobtail” truck – a common term for a truck tractor that does not have a trailer attached – would be relatively safe. Unfortunately, this is not the case.
Bobtailing Can Cause Serious Truck Accidents
Truckers “bobtail” for several reasons, including returning the tractor to the trucking company’s hub after dropping off a trailer. However, truckers are often cautioned to engage in this practice only if absolutely necessary and preferably when the weather is favorable and the tractor is in optimal condition. This is because, contrary to what would seem to be the case, a bobtail truck can be much more difficult to drive and much harder to stop than a traditional tractor-trailer unit.
This makes sense when you consider that the truck tractor is designed to have a trailer – and a heavy load – behind it, increasing the traction on the rear wheels for optimal braking. When a bobtail truck encounters a situation that calls for sudden braking or swift maneuvering, a truck driver is at a significant disadvantage. In some circumstances, this can cause the trucker to lose control, endangering motorists who may be traveling in close proximity to the truck.
A Negligence Lawsuit Can Hold an At-Fault Trucker Financially Accountable
If a bobtail truck causes an accident, it may be possible to hold the truck driver liable for damages such as medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and property damage. In order for this to happen, the injured person must be able to prove the four elements of negligence by a preponderance of the evidence. Those elements are duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages.
Truckers, trucking companies, and insurers fight hard, attempting to avoid liability when possible. An injured person needs an attorney on his or her side as early in the process as possible. An attorney can represent the injured person’s interest as the investigation of the accident takes place, hiring a professional accident reconstruction expert if necessary. The attorney can also work with treating physicians to provide appropriate evidence of the injuries and disabilities resulting from the accident.
Retaining an attorney also ensures that procedural deadlines, such as the filing of a complaint in court before the expiration of the North Carolina statute of limitations, will be met so that the injured person’s recovery will not be jeopardized by technicalities.
Talk to a North Carolina Truck Accident Lawyer
If you or someone in your family has been hurt by a negligent trucker or an irresponsible trucking company, you need dependable legal advice. To set up a free, confidential appointment with an experienced North Carolina truck accident attorney, call Nagle & Associates at 888-841-7177. We help truck accident victims throughout North Carolina, including in Asheville, Charlotte, Raleigh, and the surrounding areas.
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