According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, a majority of 18-wheelers on the roads weigh at least 10,000 pounds. The incredible weight of these vehicles make them significantly more dangerous and injury-inducing when involved in automobile accidents.
The massive size of these vehicles make them subject to certain state and federal laws, designed to ensure the safety of truckers and the drivers around them on the North Carolina roadways. The state uses the following qualifications to classify commercial vehicles:
- has a gross vehicle weight of 10,001 pounds or more;
- is designed to transport 11 or more passengers (including the driver); or
- is used in transporting hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placarding.
The Charlotte personal injury lawyers at 1Charlotte have years of experience handling cases involving trucking accidents. We know how to fight back against the trucking companies and their insurance companies so that you can get the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Contact our office today for a risk-free consultation.
18-Wheeler Accidents Attorney For Charlotte NC
Vehicles that fall under this classification must carry a minimum insurance liability of $750,000, as established by the state of North Carolina. However, these trucks may also be governed by federal laws if making interstate trips between two or more separate states. You may have seen truck inspection stations along the highway, which represent another resource for ensuring the safety of trucks on the streets. These roadside inspections may entail a review of the following aspects:
- A commercial driver’s license;
- An up-to-date medical certificate;
- Valid shipping papers if transporting hazardous materials;
- An up-to-date logbook;
- Compliance with truck safety requirements and features, such as:
- Hazardous materials safety supplies;
- Brakes, steering, suspension, frame, body components;
- Lights and horn;
- Fuel and exhaust systems;
- Tires and wheels; and
- Emergency equipment.
If a truck driver is found to be in violation of any rules or regulations, the truck can be taken out of service. The driver may receive penalties to include fines and citations.
Tractor Trailer Accident Attorney – Regulations
All of these regulations demonstrate how serious and potentially dangerous commercial trucks can become when involved in an accident. If you find yourself as the victim in one of the incidents, the first priority is your personal health. Seek medical assistance immediately by accepting help at the accident scene or visiting a doctor as as soon as possible following the accident. Some common injuries in truck accidents include:
- Spinal injuries;
- Serious burns;
- Brain injuries; and
- Internal wounds.
Once you are able, it is advisable that you contact an attorney to assist with your claim. This is especially true in a trucking accident, where there may be multiple responsible entities. Unlike a car accident, where you are generally up against one other driver, in a truck accident, you may have to state your claim against the driver, the driver’s employer and the owner of the truck. It is important to consider the possible liability of each party to determine who carries the greatest level of liability.
When considering the possible liability of the driver, review how fast he was traveling and whether the rate of speed was reasonable for the driving conditions. Compliance with the rules of the road is also an important factor, as are the amount of time that the driver has been on the road and the amount of rest time taken. What you learn about the driver may lead you to the discovery of breaches by his employer as well. The employer has a duty to ensure that all travel logs are completed and turned in. He must also pull the driver off of the road if adequate rest time has not been reached. The employer also cannot burden the driver with dangerous expectations to deliver in an unreasonable amount of time. If you find that any of these circumstances are present, you may choose to file a claim against the driver’s employer in addition to the driver.
Contact A Trucking Accident Lawyer In Charlotte
One other possibility is a finding that the accident was caused by a malfunction with the truck. In this situation, the owner of the truck may prove to be liable. Tractor-trailer owners are responsible for keeping up all maintenance on their truck, including any safety measures mandated by the state and/or federal regulations. If the owner fails to follow these rules and the malfunction results in an accident, you can seek compensation from the owner for your injuries and costs. It can prove extremely challenging to gather the documents necessary to prove this liability, so consider securing the services of an experienced Charlotte accident attorney.