The aftermath of a collision between a commercial truck and passenger vehicle can be devastating, resulting in serious injuries and even fatalities. Due to the large size of commercial trucks, they require a longer stopping distance than normal passenger vehicles. A truck driver’s failure to maintain an appropriate stopping distance can lead to a crash. At Nagle & Associates, Raleigh truck accident lawyer Carl Nagle represents North Carolina victims in personal injury claims and lawsuits against truck drivers and trucking companies who cause roadway collisions. While most of these cases settle privately with no court involvement, we have successfully litigated many truck and tractor trailer accidents in both state and federal courts. Our transportation lawyers have recovered over $290 million in compensation for individuals and families throughout the state, including in Asheville, Wilmington, and Winston-Salem.Holding a Truck Driver Accountable for Inadequate Stopping Distance
There are multiple factors that may contribute to a trucking accident, including the driver’s failure to maintain an appropriate stopping distance. Operating a commercial truck is different from driving an ordinary motor vehicle, and strict federal regulations are in place to ensure that truck drivers receive adequate rest and operate their vehicles carefully. Nevertheless, driver error occurs and may be evidence of a failure to drive reasonably under the circumstances.
Stopping distance cases are entirely avoidable. Truck drivers are professional drivers and they are required to undergo extensive training about how to inspect and maintain brakes and all other mechanical systems, how to measure safe following distances, and to understand exactly how long it takes to stop under all road and weather conditions. Because trucks and tractor trailers have high cabs and driver chairs, the sight perspective for a truck driver is much longer than that of private vehicle drivers. They have greater opportunity to see traffic dangers ahead, and there is simply no reason for a stopping distance collision caused by a commercial truck driver to ever occur.
Truck drivers should be held directly liable for accidents caused by failing to maintain an appropriate stopping distance. In certain circumstances, the trucking company also may be found directly liable if it did not provide the driver with appropriate training or supervision. Moreover, it may be vicariously liable if the driver’s failure to maintain the appropriate stopping distance occurred while the driver was on the job.
If a victim can prove that a stopping distance collision was caused by a careless truck driver, they can collect money damages through a personal injury claim or lawsuit. A typical negligence claim would require showing that the driver owed a duty of care, breached that duty, and caused the resulting injuries and damages that the victim suffered.
Proving fault is critical in order to prevail in a personal injury lawsuit, and in some situations, it may be challenging for the plaintiff to prove that fault lies entirely with the defendant truck driver. Insurance companies may try to allege that the truck driver was not solely responsible for the collision. Under the doctrine of contributory negligence, a plaintiff found to be even slightly at fault for an accident likely will be barred from recovery in North Carolina. This strict rule may be challenging to overcome unless you have a knowledgeable attorney on your side.
Victims of truck accidents can potentially recover medical costs as well as other expenses stemming from the long-term consequences of their injuries. The accident-related costs of hospital bills, physical therapy, and lost wages from work can add up, creating stress for the victim and their family. In addition, due to the catastrophic nature of many truck accidents, medical needs can extend into the future and affect the victim’s future earning capacity.
Speaking with an attorney as soon as possible after a collision is advisable, since the statute of limitations governs the timeline for filing a trucking accident claim. Our skilled lawyers can gather evidence and advise you on your options. We understand how traumatic injuries affect a victim’s future health and aggressively pursue compensation for future expenses and costs.Consult an Experienced Raleigh Lawyer for Your Truck Accident Case
At Nagle & Associates, we request a reduced legal fee from our clients compared to what most firms charge, at 25% or 1/4 of any settlement that we secure and that our client accepts. This is less than the 33% or 1/3 share that most firms charge against clients’ settlements. We have a team of collision reconstruction engineers and trucking experts who stand ready to investigate the crash, secure inspections and black box downloads of the truck or tractor trailer involved, and we know all of the state and federal laws that govern truck drivers and trucking companies. Raleigh truck accident attorney Carl Nagle can provide you with client-focused attention, access to medical and vocational experts, and insights gained from his previous career in the insurance industry. Call (800) 411-1583 or complete our online form to set up a free consultation with a motor vehicle collision attorney. With offices throughout the state, we have assisted people in Raleigh, Asheville, Wilmington, Winston-Salem, Greensboro, Hickory, and other communities throughout Guilford, Mecklenburg, Wake, Forsyth, Durham, Catawba, and New Hanover Counties.