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Common Causes of Truck Accidents in North Carolina

Common Causes of Truck Accidents

A crash involving a large truck is often a complex matter due to the damage and serious injuries a heavy truck can inflict. There are also numerous federal regulations governing the operation of the truck, the activities of the truck driver and the cargo it may have been carrying. Getting to the root of what caused a truck accident and who should be held liable for the injuries and damage requires an investigation by individuals who have experience with truck accidents.

A proper investigation must be independent of the company whose truck was involved in the wreck and the insurance companies representing the trucker, his or her employer and other potential defendants. This independent investigation can help determine if the driver was negligent, or if the truck company is at fault, or both.

If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a truck accident anywhere in Western North Carolina, you should seek the assistance of an experienced truck accident lawyer who has your best interests in mind. The Elmore and Smith Law Firm, PC truck accident attorney is skilled at recognizing the contributing causes in truck accidents and has decades of experience dealing with insurance companies on behalf of injured people like you.

Tractor-Trailer Accidents are different than car accidents and should be treated as such. Click to learn more about how Tractor-Trailer accidents differ from car accidents.

The Elmore and Smith Law Firm, PC can advise you about your legal rights to seek compensation from the at-fault truck driver, the trucking company and other potentially liable parties involved in your accident, as well as their insurers. For a free analysis of your claim, call us now or fill out our online contact form.

Factors In Accidents With Tractor-Trailers And Heavy Trucks

A study of large truck crashes by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) identified the factors that most often contribute to accidents involving tractor-trailers and other large trucks. The Large Truck Crash Causation Study cited 19 factors commonly associated with truck accidents:

  • Brake problems.
  • Traveling too fast for conditions (speeding).
  • Unfamiliarity with the roadway.
  • Roadway problems.
  • Over-the-counter drug use.
  • Inadequate surveillance (not looking both ways or not recognizing a potential hazard, for example).
  • Fatigue.
  • Work pressure from the trucking company.
  • Illegal maneuvers.
  • Inattention.
  • External distractions.
  • Tire problems.
  • Following too closely (tailgating).
  • Jackknifing.
  • Cargo shifts.
  • Illness.
  • Internal distractions.
  • Illegal drugs.
  • Alcohol.

Note that 14 of the factors are driver actions, while three are related to the truck itself (brake problems, tire problems, cargo shift) and one is environmental (roadway problems). One –work pressure from the carrier – directly refers to the trucker’s employer, a third party potentially liable in a truck crash.

Three driver-related factors refer to distracted driving. The FMCSA study also said that 35 percent of truck accidents could be attributed to inattention on the part of the truck driver. This in part led to the adoption of federal laws that prohibit the use of handheld cellphones or texting while driving a commercial motor vehicle.

Five additional driver-related factors cited by the FMCSA refer to careless or reckless driving, including speeding, following too closely (or tailgating), making an illegal maneuver, not checking traffic flow adequately before proceeding (inadequate surveillance) and not being familiar with the route they were traveling.

Driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs is a factor among truck drivers just as it is among the general population, but we can be thankful that strict regulations and penalties make them less prevalent. Still, it happens, and quick testing of truckers after a crash may supply evidence of impaired driving when it exists.

Failure of the truck or truck components (brakes, tires) and cargo shifts are other frequent causes of truck accidents cited by the FMCSA. These may be the responsibility of the trucking company, or carrier, which is responsible for maintaining its trucks and for the employees who load cargo. In some cases, a commercial motor vehicle or its parts fail because of design or manufacturing flaws, and the manufacturer or distributor may be held liable.

Finally, roadway problems that contribute to a truck accident may be the responsibility of a government agency and its highway contractors. Problems with the road might stem from lack of maintenance or problems with the maintenance process, such as if a work zone was set up in a way that did not provide a trucker enough warning to slow down or stop to avoid an accident.

Investigating Truck Accident Causes

Any of these truck accident causes could result in a legal claim against the trucker, the carrier or another third party. But only a thorough investigation can determine how and why the accident happened and who should be held accountable for it. Such an investigation must usually go beyond police reports and be conducted independently of the carrier, which will work quickly to protect itself against legal claims.

The Elmore and Smith Law Firm, PC investigates truck accidents in Western North Carolina on behalf of individuals who have been injured or lost family members – not the trucking companies. Our lawyer, investigating consultants, crash reconstruction experts and others we work with regularly are knowledgeable about tractor-trailer accidents, including the FMCSA safety regulations that truckers and trucking companies must follow. We work diligently to identify each contributing cause in a truck accident and to identify all parties that may be held liable for the harm they have caused.

Get Help From A Western North Carolina Truck Accident Lawyer

If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a commercial truck accident, you may be eligible to obtain compensation to assist you with your medical bills, property damage, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses. The Elmore and Smith Law Firm, PC in Asheville can investigate the circumstances of the truck accident to see to it that the careless truck driver, negligent commercial carrier and/or third parties that caused your wreck are held accountable.

The Elmore and Smith Law Firm, PC can provide you with a free initial consultation about your rights and legal options after a truck accident. To get started, call us now or fill out our online contact form.