Big-rigs, 18-wheelers, and other large commercial trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, so it's no surprise that when they collide with smaller, lighter passenger vehicles—which typically weigh between 3,000 and 6,000 pounds—the results can be devastating. Sadly, horrific truck-and-passenger-vehicle collisions are a regular occurrence in both North Carolina and across the country, despite regulatory attempts to curtail accidents.
If you were severely injured in a truck accident caused by a negligent commercial truck driver or trucking company, you may be entitled to compensation. Here's what you need to know before taking legal action.
Types of Truck Accidents
Large trucks can be involved in many types of motor vehicle accidents, including head-on collisions, T-bone crashes, rear-end accidents, rollovers, blind-spot wrecks, and tire blowouts. However, while some truck accidents can be categorized as common types of crashes made more horrifying by a truck's size and weight, others are unique to large trucks and belong in a nightmarish category all their own. Examples include:
- Jackknife accidents
- Wide “swinging turn” crashes
- Underride collisions
Common Truck Accident Causes
Truck accidents have a number of causes, the vast majority of which are preventable. The most common truck accident causes include:
- Driver fatigue
- Distracted driving
- Driving under the influence (DUI)
- Drugged driving
- Aggressive driving
- Negligent trucking company hiring practices
- Insufficient driver training
- Improperly loaded cargo
- Inadequate truck maintenance
Injuries Associated With Truck Accidents
Truck crash injuries can be catastrophic. If victims aren’t killed, they are often left with permanent, life-altering injuries. Following are some common types of truck accident injuries we see:
- Broken or crushed bones
- Internal injuries
- Spinal cord injuries, including paralysis of varying degrees
- Head and brain traumas, such as concussions and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
Potential Damages in Truck Accident Cases
The effects of a serious truck accident can last a lifetime. Victims may require extensive medical treatment, assistive care, and other support services—the cost of which can quickly mount. Fortunately, in North Carolina, you can seek compensation for economic and non-economic damages such as:
- Accident-related medical expenses, including future medical care and medical-related travel costs
- Property damage to your vehicle
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning potential, if applicable
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Scarring or disfigurement
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- And more.
Truck accident victims injured in crashes caused by intoxicated commercial drivers may also be eligible for a third type of compensation known as punitive damages.
Filing a Truck Accident Lawsuit in North Carolina
State statute of limitations laws determine just how long you have to file a personal injury truck accident lawsuit. In North Carolina, truck accident victims have three years from the date of the injury to file a personal injury lawsuit in civil court.
Waiting too long to file your lawsuit can seriously damage your case, even if you don't allow the statute of limitations to expire (which would result in the dismissal of the case). Evidence can get misplaced or destroyed, witnesses may become unreachable, and the defense attorney may claim that if your injuries were really serious, you would have acted faster.
Consult an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney
There's a lot at stake after a serious truck accident, which is why personal injury attorneys handle truck accident cases differently than a standard vehicle crash. The injuries and other losses in a truck crash are often more serious, leading to the potential for higher financial awards. While minor car accident cases can be handled without legal representation, truck accident cases require significant skill.
The Law Offices of Shane Smith have helped countless North Carolinians obtain the compensation they deserve after being injured in a truck accident. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a free initial consultation to discuss the details of your case.