Earlier this month a tractor-trailer carrying orange juice crashed along North Carolina’s Interstate 95. The driver fell asleep at the wheel and the truck traveled into the median and hit the guardrail. The passenger was killed and the driver suffered injuries. The driver was charged with careless and reckless driving and misdemeanor death by motor vehicle. Similarly, a truck driver in New England has been criminally charged following a fatal accident with a motorcyclist. The driver was operating a fuel truck for his employer and struck the motorcyclist after failing to yield. Due to previous license suspensions for a prior DUI, the driver was required to only drive vehicles with an ignition interlock device installed. The fuel truck did not have an ignition interlock device, and it is unclear whether the employer was aware that the driver was legally not allowed to drive without one.
The consequences of a large truck collision are often dire. Large trucks are more unwieldy and take longer to decelerate. Commercial driver inexperience, exhaustion, and impairment are a few of the other factors that can lead to tragic accidents. Liability for injuries can extend past the commercial driver to the trucking company for poorly maintained vehicles, inadequate inspections, and improperly loaded trucks. Manufacturers of the truck or instruments used by the truck may also contribute to an injury-causing accident.
At the end of last year, the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals issued an unpublished opinion that looked at whether or not the manufacturers of a texting system installed in the cab of the truck should be held liable to the family who suffered injuries and the death of their child following an accident by a truck driver who was texting using the system. The family appealed a lower court ruling, asserting that the texting product required the driver to look at the texts from the dispatcher instead of the road while the vehicle was moving. The manufacturer denied that they owed a duty of care to the family. The lower court and appellate court both held that the manufacturer was not responsible for the driver’s misuse of the texting system.
All personal injury and product liability actions require the following to be shown: 1) that a duty of care was owed to the injured, 2) that there was a failure in that duty, 3) that an injury occurred as a result of that failure, and 4) the amount of damages that resulted from the injury, otherwise known as the monetary compensation that would be needed to be in the same position prior to the accident. Immediate documentation and investigation following an accident can help preserve evidence of negligence on the part of the commercial driver, trucking company, or truck manufacturer.
The North Carolina truck accident attorneys at Auger and Auger, aggressively pursue every avenue of legal relief available to provide you and your family with the compensation that is needed. They have several years of experience dealing with auto and commercial vehicle insurance companies, and understand what is needed to successfully litigate a personal injury claim. If you or a family member has been injured in a commercial truck accident, call our office for a free, confidential consultation at (704) 364-3361 or (800) 559-5741.
MORE BLOG POSTS:
North Carolina Teens Injured in Highway Car Accident, North Carolina Car Accident Attorney Blog, June 19, 2013
North Carolina Texters May Need to Refrain From Texting Friends On the Road, North Carolina Car Accident Attorney Blog, May 20, 2013