Charlotte Truck Accident Lawyers
Representing those injured by commercial trucks throughout North Carolina
A crash with a tractor-trailer or other large truck is every driver’s worst nightmare. Especially if you are in a smaller vehicle, the result of an accident with an 18-wheeler may be catastrophic. Truck accidents occur all too frequently in Charlotte and the Carolinas. Mecklenburg County is a hub for transportation companies with I-77 and I-85 serving as major trucking routes. When trucks and tractor-trailers operate at high speeds on congested roadways alongside commuters, accidents happen.
If you or someone you love has been hurt in a truck accident, turn to the attorneys at Warren & Kallianos, PLLC. We have obtained numerous, significant verdicts and settlements for our clients, including:
- $4.5 Million Settlement for client whose wife and unborn child died when their vehicle was hit head on by a dump truck that negligently crossed the centerline of the roadway.
- $2.2 Million Settlement for clients injured in a collision with a dump truck that turned in front of clients’ vehicle. The trucking company was sued for, among other things, negligent hiring and retention of the dump truck driver.
- $1.6 Million Settlement for client who sustained a severe hip injury in a head-on collision with a tractor-trailer.
Causes of Truck Accidents
Truck accidents occur for a variety of reasons, but the cases we handle have one thing in common: negligence. In legal terms, a negligent act is any behavior that is careless or reckless and results in injury or damages to another person. Truck drivers must drive safely and stay focused when they are on the road. When they fail to do so, they should be held accountable for their actions. Some of the most common causes of trucking accidents include the following:
- Inadequate licensing and training of the driver.
- Lack of oversight and supervision of the driver.
- Failure to ensure that cargo is properly loaded and secured.
- Improper maintenance and repair of the commercial motor vehicle.
- Drunk driving. The FMCSA reports that there were 4,152 people killed in alcohol-related traffic fatalities in 2016.
- Distracted driving. About 6% of large truck crashes involved driver distraction as a factor, of which 16% was related to cell phone use.
All these issues are preventable. Unfortunately, many trucking companies skip important safety training and vehicle inspections simply to save time or money. Maintaining vehicle maintenance and drivers’ certifications is the responsibility of the trucking company. Those companies that fall short in safety standards or training may be legally liable for accidents that occur. An experienced trucking accident lawyer at Warren & Kallianos can help you hold them accountable.
Truck Accidents Caused by Defective Equipment
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration conducted a Large Truck Crash Causation Study (LTCCS), which was published almost a dozen years ago, and is updated every few years. The LTCCS looks at the various factors that contribute to causing commercial truck accidents. One of the categories was the vehicle itself which accounted for about 10% of the crashes in the study. Of the 10% of crashes caused by some factor related to the vehicle, brake problems were the most common factor. Other factors related to the vehicle and defective equipment that could contribute to a truck crash include defective:
- Steering systems
- Hydraulic systems
- Engine failure
Violations of Safety Regulations Often Play a Role in Truck Accidents
Because of the danger of operating commercial motor vehicles, both state and federal laws set standards and requirements relating to their operation. In many instances, accidents can be linked to the failure of the driver and/or the trucking company to comply with applicable laws and regulations.
It is important to select a law firm that is familiar with the applicable laws and regulations, such as:
- Hours of service regulations that limit the number of hours a commercial motor vehicle driver can drive without a break
- Licensing, training, and qualifications of the driver
- Oversight and supervision of the driver
- Ensuring that cargo is properly loaded and secured
- Maintenance and repair of the commercial motor vehicle
Most truckers are under extreme pressure from their employers and shippers to deliver loads on time. They also face economic pressure to get in as many miles as possible, because most drivers are paid by the mile not by the hour. This can lead to many dangerous practices such as speeding, reckless driving, driving while overly tired, and abuse of legal or illicit drugs to stay awake.
How Do Drowsy Truck Drivers Affect Highway Safety?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has Hours of Service (HOS) regulations which govern how many hours commercial truck drivers can drive a truck before they must stop and take a break and stop to sleep. The hours of service regulations were enacted to help protect the public from the hazards of truck accidents caused by drowsy truck drivers. In the past, commercial truck drivers kept paper logs, which put them on the honor system. Now the FMCSA has mandated electronic logging devices (ELDs) which connect to the truck’s engine to automatically log how long they have been driving and how long they rested. Your Charlotte trucking accident attorney will check to make sure that the truck driver who caused your accident was not violating the HOS regulations at the time of the crash.
Compensation Available in Truck Accident Claims
Interstate trucking companies and commercial truck drivers are required to carry higher amounts of insurance than automobile owners because of the significant harm large trucks can cause. The settlements may be larger because of the severity of the injuries. A few of the factors that can influence the value of your case are the severity of your injuries, who was at fault, and the amount of insurance available to provide compensation. We can offer an assessment of what your case might be worth after a free review of the details of your accident. If you feel like you have a valid injury claim, do not hesitate to contact our trucking accident lawyers.
While each case is unique, and the total amount of compensation is affected by several factors, some of the kinds of compensation that a truck accident victim may recover include payment for:
- Medical costs related to the accident, including the cost of rehabilitation and future medical care.
- Lost earnings due to injuries sustained in the crash.
- Reduced future earnings due to ongoing impairments or an inability to return to work.
- Pain and suffering.
- Vehicle repair or replacement, including the cost of a rental car while your vehicle is being repaired.
- Punitive damages in exceptional cases.
Fatalities are a tragic result of many truck accidents. In these situations, the surviving relatives may be entitled to bring a wrongful death action to recover money to pay for funeral and burial costs, medical bills, lost earnings of the love one, pain and suffering, loss of companionship, and other losses.
Truck Accidents Are Different
Over our decades of helping truck accident victims, the attorneys at Warren & Kallianos have often seen how much more complex truck accidents can be when compared to most crashes that involve only passenger cars. There are many reasons for this, such as:
Higher Stakes: Crashes that involve an 18-wheeler or other heavy commercial vehicle frequently cause more serious injuries than those that involve only cars. Because of this, trucks typically carry insurance coverage with higher limits. This means that more money is on the line, and insurance companies want to pay out as little as possible.
More parties involved: Truck accident claims often involve more than just the drivers who were in the crash. Examples of other potential defendants include the trucking company, the shipper, the company that owns the cargo, and the company responsible for repairing and maintaining the truck, among others. The tractor and the trailer may be owned or leased by different companies or individuals, each with their own insurance. The cargo may also be separately insured.
Regulations: Truck drivers and the companies that employ them are more heavily regulated than other motorists. This makes it critical to work with a personal injury lawyer who understands trucking regulations and can look for violations that could establish liability.
More data available: In many cases, there is more relevant data about trucking accidents that may be useful when bringing a claim – if the attorneys and investigators know where to look and what to do with the information. For example, many heavy trucks are equipped with data recorders like the “black boxes” that are so critical in airline crash investigations. These data recorders may contain important information about how the truck was being driven at the time of the crash. How fast was it going? Did the driver apply the brakes? Another potentially important source of information is the driver’s log. Truckers are required to log their time on the road to comply with hours of service regulations. The logs – and any discrepancies they may contain – could be evidence of driver fatigue, for example.
As with other cases, accidents involving commercial motor vehicles require immediate investigation into the facts and circumstances of the accident as well as expert testimony to demonstrate how the accident occurred and the nature and extent of the injuries caused by the accident. The trucking company and its insurance carrier will have its investigators and attorneys working the case as soon as possible. Don’t wait to contact Warren & Kallianos.
While you are recovering from your injuries, you may feel worried about paying your medical bills and taking care of your family. You need reliable guidance about your legal options.
The Charlotte truck accident lawyers at Warren & Kallianos have the knowledge and resources to handle complex truck accident claims. With 58 years of combined legal experience, we have earned a reputation for securing large verdicts and truck accident settlements for victims in the Charlotte area and throughout North Carolina and South Carolina. You pay us nothing unless we win your case, so contact us today, or reach us through our website’s online contact form to get started.
Contact Our Truck Accident Lawyers in Charlotte
The Charlotte truck accident lawyers at Warren & Kallianos know the severe damage that a truck or tractor trailer accident can cause. As you struggle to recover from serious injuries, you may be feeling stressed, overwhelmed, and frustrated. That is why we want to assist you. We have handled many commercial motor vehicle cases and want to answer every question and concern you have about your case. If you have a claim, we have the resources and knowledge to fight for maximum compensation.
Warren & Kallianos has the experience and resources to properly investigate and handle all types of commercial motor vehicle claims. If you have been injured in a trucking accident you may call 704-275-5593 or contact us to schedule a free and confidential consultation.