Collisions between big rigs and passenger vehicles are all too common in North Carolina, and their causes can be divided roughly into five categories. The first and most widespread is, of course, driver error. Both truckers and passenger vehicle drivers can cause a crash by being drowsy, drunk, drugged or distracted behind the wheel. However, 81% of truck crashes involving driver error are caused by passenger vehicle drivers.
The second most common factor is bad weather as inexperienced truckers can hydroplane or jackknife when braking on icy, wet or snowy roads. Trucks already have long stopping distances as it is, so truckers must know proper braking techniques.
A third common factor is equipment failure while driving. In many cases, this is the result of negligence not on the trucker’s part but on the part of equipment manufacturers or the companies that sell trucks with such defective or dangerous equipment. Next, many crashes occur because truckers neglected to maintain their rigs. Federal law requires them to inspect their rig and fill out a vehicle maintenance report before each shift.
Lastly, there are rules regarding the loading and securing of cargo, and neglecting these can lead to incidents where cargo falls out of the truck. Trucks should not be overloaded or underloaded. There are weight and height limits.
Truck accidents can form the basis for a personal injury case, and in this state, plaintiffs can recover damages by pursuing such a case as long as they did not contribute in any way to the accident. The rule is a strict one, so victims may want a lawyer to evaluate their case. If it can be pursued, then the lawyer may build up the case with the help of crash investigators, medical experts and other third parties.