18-wheeler Accident Attorney in North Carolina
LEGAL HELP FOR NORTH CAROLINA TRUCKING ACCIDENT INJURY VICTIMS
North Carolina, the Old North State, is home to approximately 10 million residents and a diverse geography. From the foothills and forests of the Appalachian Mountains in the west to the sandy beaches of the Outer Banks in the east, North Carolina is home to a vast network of interstate highways and state routes. North Carolina businesses and industries utilize the trucking industry to ship and move their products through the state and across the nation.
Some North Carolinians are served exclusively through the trucking industry. However useful for the state’s economy, North Carolina ranked ninth in total trucking accident-related fatalities in the United States in 2014. In that year, 121 people were killed in accidents involving a large truck. Thousands of additional North Carolinians sustained injuries in crashes involving semi-trucks.
In 2014, there were 3,903 deaths in trucking accidents in the United States. Many lives could have been spared if truck drivers and trucking companies followed the regulations and guidelines set forth to keep drivers safe on the nation’s roadways. When these laws are ignored, you and your loved ones’ lives are put in danger.
We understand how difficult trucking accident injuries can be to handle, both physically and financially. That is why we can advance your court costs and litigation expenses and advance you money for living and medical expenses (interest free). You won’t be charged at all unless we win your case. Thomas J. Henry does this for clients because of the confidence in our team of experienced North Carolina trucking accident lawyers to achieve the verdict or settlement you deserve. We believe you deserve to be taken care of and made comfortable during the duration of the legal process.
Your choice matters, and hiring a trucking injury attorney with the financial resources and experience necessary to pursue every avenue and exhaust every legal option for you is the difference you need when taking on the largest trucking companies in the world.
LEGAL RESOURCES TO WIN YOUR NORTH CAROLINA TRUCKING ACCIDENT CASE
- At Thomas J. Henry, we are constantly applying innovative solutions to case management, client interaction, and information security. We will take every opportunity and explore every avenue to ensure that our clients are receiving the most up-to-date information possible regarding their case. With the click of a mouse, our attorneys can access your case files from anywhere in the country remotely, helping to facilitate a strong client/attorney relationship throughout the process of the case. At the same time, we maintain stringent security standards and ensure your information remains confidential and protected.
- With jet services, satellite technology, and advance mobile technology, our experienced trucking attorneys are available at a moment’s notice from anywhere in the world. No matter where you live in North Carolina, you can contact our lawyers at any time. It is this kind of dynamic representation that we believe leads to building a strong case and ultimately achieving the compensation you or your loved one deserves.
- Expert witnesses
- Expert witnesses, or judicial experts, bring specialized knowledge in a particular subject that an average person may not have. Expert opinions can shed light on factors from your trucking accident case, such as any injuries sustained in the crash, how the crash occurred, or even the behavior of the truck driver. Thomas J. Henry has spent years selecting only the best experts from across the nation for clients. Each witness is intensively examined and questioned before every participating in a case. We continuously look for new and inventive ways to use experts in trucking injury cases and will continue to bring in the most qualified experts to assist with your case.
- Examples of North Carolina trucking accident experts may include:
- Forensic engineers and scientists
- General equipment technical experts
- Medical professionals, such as doctors, surgeons, and psychologists
- Accident reconstructionists
- Hazmat experts
- FMCSA compliance consultants
WHO CAN BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR TRUCKING ACCIDENTS?
In the case of a trucking accident, several parties could potentially be negligent, making trucking accident cases more complex than other vehicle accidents. Our team of North Carolina truck accident lawyers have the knowledge and expertise to find out who the negligent party is. The negligent party can include:
- The truck driver
- The trucking company
- The manufacturer of the commercial motor vehicle
Understanding how trucking companies operate helps give us an advantage when pursuing actual and punitive damages for our clients. We have consistently demonstrated how trucking companies and drivers have caused not only severe injuries but also deaths that were avoidable and unnecessary.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU HAVE BEEN IN A TRUCKING ACCIDENT
Trucking accidents can be overwhelming, especially if you were injured in the crash. Your physical well-being is paramount — seek medical attention as soon as possible if you or a passenger were injured. There are other steps you can take following a semi-truck accident that will help build your case in the future. You have rights as a trucking accident victim, and we want to make sure that those rights are protected.
- Stop immediately after the accident. Check for injuries and be sure the area outside your vehicle is safe before you exit.
- Notify the police. Filing a police report is an important step in filing insurance claims. Be sure a paramedic is sent if there are injuries from the trucking accident.
- Record the facts accurately with the police. Try not to speculate about facts surrounding the crash or any injuries you may have.
- Take pictures of the scene, including your vehicle, the semi-truck, any injuries, and any other factors relating to the accident.
- Gather names and contact information of everyone involved in the crash and any witnesses. Get the insurance information as well from every person involved in the accident.
- Seek medical attention and be alert for injuries or pain that may not appear until days following the accident. If you are uncertain if you have been injured, it is smart to err on the side of caution and get checked out by a physician.
- Report the accident to your insurance company. Do not talk to other insurance companies or representatives from the trucking company. If possible, forward them to your lawyer.
- Contact an experienced North Carolina truck accident attorney
Our lawyers understand that the immediate acquisition of evidence is extremely important to understanding how the trucking accident occurred. We will take immediate action on your behalf and get to work for you. Thomas J. Henry has handled a multitude of semi-truck accidents over the past two decades, achieving massive results for injured clients across the country. Our experienced trucking accident lawyers will take every measure possible to keep you comfortable, informed, and in the best situation to receive the compensation you deserve.
WHAT CAUSES TRUCKING ACCIDENTS TO HAPPEN IN NORTH CAROLINA?
Trucking accidents can cause catastrophic, life-altering injuries due to their massive size and large loads. Even the most common traffic violations can turn into fatal accidents because of the size differential between commercial motor vehicles and passenger vehicles. In the United States, large trucks can weigh up to 40 tons, or 20 times heavier than an average car.
Some common trucking violations that cause accidents in North Carolina include:
- Improper loading
- When large trucks fail to secure their loads properly, motorists are put at an extreme danger. Contents from these trucks, including hazardous materials, could spill onto the roadways, causing serious accidents.
- Following too closely
- Improper lane changing
- Driving while fatigued
- Perhaps the most common traffic violation, speeding was a contributing factor in at least 30 percent of annual fatal crash totals between 2003 and 2012.
- Parking on the shoulder
- Failure to maintain vehicle
FEDERAL GUIDELINES HELP PREVENT NORTH CAROLINA TRUCKING ACCIDENTS
Various regulations have been put in place to keep motorists safe from semi-truck accidents on the highways and roads across the nation. When these laws are broken or ignored by truck drivers and trucking companies, the lives of North Carolina drivers are put in jeopardy. Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations contains all laws pertaining to commercial motor vehicle operation.
All commercial motor vehicle drivers must obtain and hold a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Drivers with a CDL are held to higher standards and can lose certification by committing serious traffic offenses.
Here are a few important regulations that truck drivers must abide by in the United States:
- Drivers must be 21 years of age or older to drive across state lines or operate a vehicle containing hazardous materials.
- To be eligible for a CDL, drivers must have no prior disqualifying criminal offenses.
- Prior to obtaining a CDL, drivers must test for and obtain a commercial learner’s permit (CLP) and hold it for 14 days.
- In order to obtain a commercial learner’s permit, drivers must be cleared by a qualified medical examiner that they are physically able to operate a commercial vehicle.
- For commercial motor vehicle operators, the blood alcohol content (BAC) limit is .04, compared to .08 for regular drivers.
- Truck drivers are banned from using handheld mobile phones while driving. Trucking companies are prohibited from allowing or requiring drivers to use handheld devices while driving.
- In North Carolina, texting and driving is banned for all drivers.
- Drivers are prohibited from holding a CDL issued by more than one state or jurisdiction.
HOURS OF SERVICE (HOS) REGULATIONS
A study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that drowsiness was involved in one in five fatal traffic crashes in the United States. Drowsy driving is one of the leading causes of commercial motor vehicle accidents, and the Hours of Service (HOS) regulations are in place to combat irresponsible and risky driving behaviors by truck drivers.
The following guidelines apply to property-carrying commercial motor vehicle drivers:
- 11-Hour Driving Limit: May drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty.
- 14-Hour Limit: May not drive beyond the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty, following 10 consecutive hours off duty. Off-duty time does not extend the 14-hour period.
- 60/70-Hour On-Duty Limit: May not drive after 60/70 hours on duty in 7/8 consecutive days. A driver may restart a 7/8 consecutive day period after taking 34 or more consecutive hours off duty.
- Sleeper Berth Provision: Drivers using the sleeper berth provision must take at least 8 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth, plus a separate 2 consecutive hours either in the sleeper berth, off duty, or any combination of the two.
Passenger-carrying commercial motor vehicle drivers,
- may drive a maximum of 10 hours after eight consecutive hours off duty.
- may not drive after having been on duty for 15 hours, following eight consecutive hours off duty. Off-duty time is not included in the 15-hour period.
- may not drive after 60/70 hours on duty in 7/8 consecutive days.
- Drivers using a sleeper berth provision must take at least eight hours in the sleeper berth, and may split the sleeper-berth time into two periods provided neither is less than 2 hours.
ECM AND GPS DEVICES: WHY THEY ARE IMPORTANT TO YOUR TRUCKING ACCIDENT CASE
Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and Electronic Control Modules (ECM) are present in many commercial motor vehicles in the United States. These devices record important information about the truck and the behaviors of the truck driver — data that can be invaluable to your trucking injury case. ECM and GPS devices record and track the movement of the truck, including the speed at which the truck was traveling prior to a collision, the driving habits of the operator, and which routes were taken before an accident.
Our experienced North Carolina injury attorneys will immediately file a lawsuit and restraining order to secure and obtain the data found on the ECM and GPS devices. In addition, we will obtain the truck driver’s required Federal Motor Carrier documents, which can also play a huge role in determining fault and negligence in your potential case.
CONTACT AN EXPERIENCED NORTH CAROLINA TRUCKING ACCIDENT AND INJURY ATTORNEY
Thomas J. Henry has advocated for trucking injury victims throughout the nation for decades. When you hire a personal injury firm, you need a firm that has experienced attorneys, financial and technological resources, and the reputation for achieving record-breaking verdicts for clients. We are dedicated to providing dynamic, personal representation for each and every client, ensuring each case is handled efficiently and effectively. If you or a loved one have been injured in a North Carolina trucking accident, contact Thomas J. Henry. Our injury attorneys are available 24/7, nights and weekends.
Disclaimer: Any summary, description, or paraphrase of a regulatory requirement on this site is intended to provide general guidance only. Please consult the text of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations for a full account of the applicable requirements.