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Truck Accident Attorney in Wilmington, North Carolina

In 2021, trucks accounted for 3,894 injury crashes in North Carolina, according to data put out by the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles. Injuries that stem from a semi-truck accident can be incredibly devastating and can even result in death. If you or someone you love has been involved in a trucking accident, it’s entirely natural to feel unsure of your next steps. 
That’s where an experienced attorney comes in. A personal injury lawyer can help you and your family pursue the compensation you deserve—whether that’s through negotiations with your insurance company or through a wrongful death or personal injury claim. To schedule a consultation with a truck accident attorney in the Wilmington area, reach out to me, Robert Louis Armstrong Personal Injury Attorney. I’m able to help clients throughout the area, including New Hanover County, Pender County, Brunswick County, Onslow County, and the rest of North Carolina.  

Laws Affecting Truck Accidents

Anytime you begin the claims process for an 18-wheeler accident, it’s essential to understand both the state and federal laws that govern how and when these trucks and their drivers can operate. With a detailed knowledge of how these laws interact and how they influence determining fault in a truck accident, your personal injury attorney can help you mount a strong case. 

  • Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is the federal agency most responsible for setting safety standards for trucking companies. Some of the most important of these regulations include restrictions on how many hours truck drivers can legally operate their vehicles in a day. For instance, the FMCSA limits drivers to shifts of no more than 14 hours and within this time they can’t actually drive for more than 11 hours in a row.  

  • North Carolina Regulations: North Carolina adheres to all the FMCSA regulations as well as setting out its own state-specific rules through the state Department of Transportation. This includes laws on licensing, insurance standards, maximum weights of semi-trucks, what kind of goods trucks can carry, and routing restrictions (such as what roads and lanes certain trucks can drive in). 

  • Statute of Limitations: Lastly, you’ll need to be aware of the statute of limitations for filing a claim related to a commercial truck accident in North Carolina. In most cases, the state allows you three years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury claim, but only two years to file a wrongful death claim.

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Assessing Liability

Assessing liability in an accident like this can be incredibly complicated. This is due in large part to the fact that most truck drivers are employees of another company and do not own the truck they operate.

Furthermore, there are several parties involved in trucking and each one of them has the potential to hold fault in a crash. Working with a skilled Wilmington truck accident lawyer can make this process infinitely easier so you can focus on your recovery. Possible liable parties can include:  

  • The truck driver.  

  • The trucking company. 

  • The truck manufacturer or parts manufacturer. 

  • The person who loaded the cargo. 

  • Any maintenance personnel. 

Factors in Determining Liability

Once you’ve figured out who can be held liable for the accident, your lawyer can then help you sort through and analyze evidence to decide who was most at fault. Again, this is often more complicated than a standard crash involving two passenger vehicles.  

  • Truck Driver: If a truck driver is overly fatigued, is distracted, or has had inadequate training, they could be held responsible for the crash. However, if the lack of training can be traced back to inadequate instruction by the trucking company they work for, it may then be the fault of their employer.  

  • Vehicle Driver: In other cases, the truck itself is not to blame but instead it is the driver of the passenger vehicle who is to blame. If the driver fails to signal a turn or doesn’t leave enough space for a truck to pass or turn, they could be held legally at fault for causing the accident.  

  • Road Conditions: Still in other cases, it may be neither the fault of the truck driver nor the driver of the passenger vehicle. In cases where there are poor road conditions or adverse weather, liability may not fall with either party. 

Filing a Personal Injury Claim

If you were the victim of the truck accident, you’ll need to file a personal injury claim which can compensate you for expenses like medical bills, current and future lost wages, as well as pain and suffering. If you’re representing a loved one who was incapacitated or lost their life in the accident, a wrongful death suit may also be able to cover these damages as well as loss of consortium and funeral/burial costs.  

Truck Accident Attorney in Wilmington, North Carolina

Any kind of accident on the road can change your life in the blink of an eye. If you’re in the Wilmington, North Carolina area and would like to learn more about filing a claim after a semi-truck accident, reach out to me, Robert Louis Armstrong Personal Injury Attorney. I’ll do everything I can to advocate for you and defend your interests.