Articles Posted in Tractor-trailer Truck Accidents

A debate is raging about big trucks. Specifically, will longer large trucks improve efficiency and reduce the number of trucks on the road, or will they cause greater wear-and-tear on the road and be so difficult to drive they cause more serious crashes?trucking

At issue is the proposed twin 33-foot trailer. It’s been a highly divisive issue in the trucking industry for years, though mostly for economic reasons. Smaller carriers say if the government opens the door to these larger vehicles, they will have no choice but to update their fleet if they want to stay competitive. Most of these smaller companies say it would be impossible to do so in a manner that would be expedient and cost effective. Larger companies, meanwhile, argue that fewer trucks on the road means heightened safety on several fronts. Drivers could carry more in one haul, so they would be less pressed traveling to-and-from destinations. The need for fewer trips would mean lesser need for more trucks, which would mean fewer trucks on the road. That helps cut down on the wear-and-tear of our aging transportation infrastructure. They argue a shift to these larger trucks would help save $2.6 billion in transportation costs. One finding released by Americans for Modern Transportation indicated national adoption of twin 33 truckers would reduce truck miles driven by 3.1 billion, resulting in 4,500 fewer truck accidents annually.

Last year, a transportation funding bill would have permitted twin 33-ft. trailers on interstate highways passed the House, but the Senate ultimately backed away from that allowance. Now, trucking companies have promised they will fight for it again this year.  Continue reading

A tractor-trailer crash in North Carolina recently killed a 19-year-old girl on N.C. Highway 258 in Onslow County, after officials say the young woman crossed the center lane and struck the trailer head-on. teen boy

According to WNCT CBS North Carolina, the teen was traveling south on the highway in her Jeep Cherokee at around 3:30 in the afternoon. After crossing the center line, she struck the northbound trailer head-on. Troopers with the North Carolina Highway Patrol say neither speed nor alcohol was a likely factor in the crash, and they do not expect charges to be filed against the truck driver.

So where does this leave the heartbroken family of this young girl? From a civil liability standpoint, there may be few options, but it’s always worth at least speaking to an attorney. It does not appear, simply based on the cursory facts we know, that the trucker was negligent. It’s plausible distraction was a factor, given that we know speed and impairment were not factors and that teens have a higher propensity to be distracted by cell phones than their older cohorts. As injury attorneys, we might examine the design of the highway to determine whether there are any defects or dangerous conditions that might have played a role, although no source has suggested that as a possibility at this point. We might also look at the make and model of the vehicle and determine whether there were any defects or dangerous conditions there that could have been a factor.

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A truck accident on one February morning in 2015 caused serious injuries to a Virginia-based trucker, who is now suing a North Carolina truck company and its driver for negligence. truck

The West Virginia Record reports the personal injury lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia, alleges the North Carolina driver was careless in the operation of his logging truck, causing several logs to eject from the trailer and spill onto the travel lanes. One of those logs was struck by the plaintiff, who says the logging trucker was speeding. He further alleges the trucking company that employed him was negligent in its failure to educate, train, audit, and supervise the driver operating its truck.

Large truck accidents are a problem everywhere in this country, and North Carolina is no exception. Recently, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released a report detailing crash statistics from coast-to-coast involving large trucks weighing 10,000 pounds or more. In looking at 2015 figures (the latest final numbers available), federal officials say there was a four percent uptick in large truck crashes that year as compared to 2014.

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In an injury lawsuit, a default judgment may be issued when there is some failure to take action by one party or another. Most often, we see default judgments issued in favor of plaintiffs when a defendant fails to respond to a summons or has failed to appear before the court. tractor trailer

Although it can seem like good fortune, plaintiffs should be forewarned that default judgments are not favored by the courts and can often be reversed upon an appeal by the defendant if a case can be made for the previous failure to act.

This was the situation in the recent case of Hilyer v. Fortier, before the Alabama Supreme Court. According to court records, this case involved a teenage driver who was injured after crashing into a tractor-trailer loaded with heavy logs that was being backed into a private driveway from a public road. The crash happened in 2013. At the time of the incident, the defendant was blocking both lanes of traffic on the public road. In the vehicle with the teen driver were her brother, her fiance, and a friend.

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A trucking accident lawsuit in South Carolina against a North Carolina manufacturer was recently settled for $3.75 million. That money will be partially payable to a couple who were seriously injured when one of the company trucks rear-ended their vehicle as they slowed to turn into their own driveway. trucks

The conclusion of the case was good news for the couple, looking for closure after an arduous ordeal after a crash that nearly killed them. And there is more good news. The settlement could result in the rest of us enjoying safer roads. Specifically, some believe it may result in fewer trucking accidents, owing to the fact that more trucking firms are going to start adopting bans on driver use of mobile phones.

According to The Post and Courier, the trucker involved in this collision was talking on his cell phone at the time of the crash. Part of the settlement agreement made by his employer was that it would from now on agree to ban drivers from using their phones – or other electronic devices – while operating commercial vehicles on the road. That alone may be a significant contribution to our safety, given that on any given day in South Carolina, this firm has 60 trucks on our roads. Until this settlement was announced, all of those drivers were permitted by company policy to operate 80,000 pounds of steel while talking on the phone.

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The scene on I-77 in Chester County made it clear something awful had just happened. As news footage and photographs reveal, huge masses of mangled metal littered the highway. Smoke billowed from the tractor-trailer. Police and fire crews raced to get there as fast as they could. In the end, they couldn’t save two of those involved in the six-vehicle South Carolina highway accident. tractortrailer1

One of those who died was the driver of a tractor-trailer, while the other was an 82-year-old passenger in one of the other vehicles. Others injured included a 2-year-old, a 13-year-old and a 16-year-old. The children were each taken by helicopter to a trauma center, some with injuries that were characterized as life-threatening.

Authorities told reporters with that the driver of the tractor-trailer was responsible for a chain-reaction collision, which occurred amidst congested traffic, where vehicles were moving very slowly around 3:30 one afternoon. It appears the driver of the truck did not slow down as he approached the congestion. He slammed into the back of a vehicle, and this rear-end collision ended up causing a chain-reaction. The trucker apparently crossed into the median, striking another tractor-trailer vehicle traveling the other direction head on.  Continue reading

A school teacher was killed in March when her minivan was crushed by a dump truck that struck from behind on U.S. 1 in Raleigh as she was stopped for traffic. trucksontheroad1

Now, authorities say that North Carolina truck accident may well have been precipitated by the fact that the truck itself lacked properly working brakes, among other problems. The driver has been charged with two misdemeanors – death by motor vehicle and failure to reduce speed.

Investigators say the dump truck in question was pulling a load of logs and pulling a trailer with a nearly 10,000-pound Bobcat loader.  Continue reading

A truck driver traveling on I-77 in North Carolina reportedly dozed off at the wheel around 2 a.m., overturning his rig and causing some 50,000 pounds of potatoes to splatter across the roadway. The truck reportedly crashed against the guardrail with such heavy force that the engine went flying out of the rig. The crash occurred in Charlotte.  potatoes

Cue the mashed potato jokes. Or the one about the “flash spudding.” And don’t forget the Twitter hashtag, #mashdestruction.

But the truth of the matter is, trucking accidents caused by lack of sleep are no laughing matter. It’s a serious issue, although it usually only makes headlines when it results in a crash that’s noteworthy or tragic. It’s also a surprisingly common one. A survey conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety revealed some 88 percent of responding police officers had at least once pulled over a driver they thought was drunk, but who in fact turned out to be fatigued. Another 97 percent of police felt that drowsy driving was a huge problem for commercial drivers.  Continue reading

A commercial driver licensed in South Carolina has been placed out-of-service by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) following a fatal hit-and-run crash on I-77 in Chester County, S.C. in February.

trucksontheroad1A shutdown order for the South Carolina driver was issued in March.

An investigation by both the FMCSA and the South Carolina Highway Patrol revealed not only was the driver involved in the fatal truck crash, he allegedly falsified his logs to make it appear as if he was in Charleston, when in fact he was in Chester County. It wasn’t until three days after the truck accident that state authorities were able to track down the driver. What’s more, the driver reportedly had been involved in two other collisions in the eight months prior to this one. Continue reading

In some truck accident lawsuits, it’s very clear that one specific driver was wholly to blame for the collision. However, in other cases, the issue of fault may be more nuanced. truck1

If a plaintiff is partially to blame for the accident in which he or she was injured, the question of whether compensation is still available will depend on:

  • The state where the accident occurred, as state law varies dramatically on this issue;
  • The percentage of fault assigned to the plaintiff.

For example, in North Carolina, the state follows a pure contributory negligence standard, which means if a plaintiff shares any amount of blame, damage recovery is not possible. However, South Carolina follows a model of modified comparative fault with a 51 percent bar. What that means is plaintiff can collect damages – so long as his or her negligence does not exceed that of defendant.  Continue reading

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