Practice Areas

Causes of Truck Accidents

Our Charlotte attorneys are familiar with how truck accidents happen and understand how to build strong cases on behalf of clients.

While every truck accident will have unique factors, the causes of these crashes tend to fall into a few categories. As experienced truck accident attorneys in Charlotte, we are familiar with the top causes of crashes involving 18-wheelers, tankers, dump trucks and other large commercial vehicles. We know that whatever the cause of the truck accident may be, the accident usually results in serious injuries and substantial property damage.

As an important safety measure, the government heavily regulates the trucking industry. When trucking companies bend the rules and cut corners, they are being negligent and put everyone at risk. A truck wreck might be the outcome of a driver or company that is going around regulations or rules that are in place to protect the public. We work hard to hold the negligent parties responsible. Contact us today at 704-375-8488 for a free case evaluation.

What are some of the most common causes of truck accidents in Charlotte and across North Carolina? Click on the following links to learn more:

Overloaded Trailers

The government puts weight restrictions on trucks for a reason: An overloaded tractor-trailer can cause a number of mechanical issues and other problems that may endanger the safety of both the truck driver and others sharing the road. Unfortunately, trucking companies may choose to put their desire for profits ahead of safety and overload their trucks.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) limits trucks to 80,000-pound. When trucks exceed the DOT limits, the driver may run into a number of safety issues. The force of an accident between an overloaded truck and a smaller vehicle can be particularly devastating due to the added weight. Overloaded trucks present a danger to all other drivers on the road for a number of reasons.

  • An overweight truck or improperly loaded tractor-trailer can cause a truck’s tires to blow out on a highway, leading to a jackknife or rollover accident.
  • An overloaded truck’s brakes may fail while a truck driver tries to come to a stop, causing the truck to rear-end multiple vehicles at a traffic signal.
  • Drivers may have more difficulty steering an overloaded truck, causing an accident at a sharp turn or while on a highway.

In an investigation into an overloaded truck accident, Hull & Chandler, P.A., typically consults with experts in accident reconstruction and other specialists. We can determine who was responsible, including any possible third parties involved in the overloading of the truck. We can pore over records and find out if the truck driver failed to stop at a weigh station along the highway. We’ll leave no stone unturned in pursuit of the compensation you deserve.

Fatigued Truck Drivers

Federal Hours-of-Service regulations limit the amount of time truckers can spend on the road. At the same time, long-haul truckers are under pressure to deliver their cargo as quickly as possible. The longer they stay behind the wheel, the more they get paid. It’s common for truck drivers to push themselves to stay on the road for as long as possible. And to make matters worse, trucking companies may turn a blind eye to truckers who are driving while fatigued.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, truckers’ driving shifts are legally not supposed to exceed 14 hours of driving in one stretch. Most commercial truckers who work 60 hours through seven consecutive days are required to take at least 34 hours off in order to have two full nights of sleep, according to the FMCSA. These rules exist for a reason: driving while fatigued has the same effects as driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. The driver who is overtired will experience delayed reaction time and a loss of good judgment, among other dangerous behavior linked to a lack of sleep.

Fatigued drivers may exhibit the following behaviors:

  • Veering in and out of traffic lanes
  • Abruptly speeding up or slowing down
  • Ignoring traffic signals
  • Taking legal or illegal drugs to stay awake

Proving a driver was fatigued can be difficult and complicated. The trucker may deny that he or she was fatigued or fell asleep while driving. Hull & Chandler, P.A., is dedicated to finding the facts. We conduct a thorough investigation on truckers and trucking companies. We have access to investigators and experts in accident reconstruction who can help you build a strong case. Our goal is to help our clients obtain full and fair compensation. We understand how serious injuries from truck driver fatigue accidents can complicate your life. We work hard to get injury victims and families who lost loved ones back on track.

Impaired Truck Drivers

Truck drivers who get behind the wheel under the influence of alcohol or drugs have no business being on North Carolina roads and highways. Far too many accidents occur each year as a result of impaired truck drivers. The dangers of drunk driving are well known. Add to that the fact that trucks are often much larger than passenger vehicles and the possibility exists for these accidents to cause severe, potentially fatal injuries in a matter of seconds.

In North Carolina, non-commercial license drivers who are 21 and older can be arrested for DUI if they have a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of .08 or greater. Commercial truck drivers can be arrested if their BAC is .04 or greater. These drivers are held to higher standards for a reason. If they’re driving a tanker full of potentially explosive fuel or carrying children on a school bus, the stakes are much higher than they are for someone driving a small motor vehicle. Tractor-trailer accidents caused by impaired drivers can be devastating. Furthermore, trucking companies and their drivers are required to follow rules and regulations spelled out by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), including safe hiring practices and background checks.

Even if the driver who hit your vehicle was in no shape to operate his vehicle, your trucking accident case can be complex and difficult to prove. Insurance carriers for the driver and the trucking company typically launch an immediate investigation to limit liability. The insurance company may suggest some other individual or company was negligent.

To level the playing field, it’s important to consult with an experienced attorney for your impaired driver trucking accident as soon as possible. Your recovery is difficult enough. Let us help you get justice.

At Hull & Chandler, P.A., our attorneys are well-versed in state and federal law regulating the conduct of both truck drivers and trucking companies. We work tirelessly to bring negligent truck drivers and their employers to justice. From obtaining BAC results to examining driving records and hiring practices, we leave nothing unexamined in our accident investigation. We fight vigorously to get drunk driving accident victims get the compensation they need.

Reckless Truck Drivers

It’s not uncommon for truck drivers in North Carolina to make reckless decisions and place other drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists sharing the road in danger. While truckers may not mean to cause harm, their decision to text, drink and drive or exceed the Hours-of-Service rules and drive while fatigued can have dire consequences. Some forms of reckless driving we see playing a role in truck accidents include:

  • Ignoring speed limits
  • Tailgating other drivers
  • Failing to observe traffic signals
  • Driving while distracted
  • Weaving in and out of traffic lanes
  • Driving without the necessary training

You may have done nothing wrong when the accident happened, but the insurance company for the at-fault party may do everything possible to minimize your compensation. A claims adjuster may pressure you into making a written or recorded statement that could be used against you later. (Our advice is to never offer an insurance company a written or recorded statement). The insurance company might try to claim you – and not the truck driver – engaged in reckless behavior on the road. These are reasons why it’s so critical to contact a skilled attorney as soon as possible. Call 866-607-3620 right now. By getting legal counsel as soon as possible, you will have someone who can begin investigating on your behalf. Your decision to act now can mean the difference between no settlement and enough compensation to pay for every single accident-related expense.

At Hull & Chandler, P.A., we have the experience and resources needed to get results for clients who have been involved in serious truck accidents. We know how to obtain safety records and log books. We can uncover evidence of trucker’s alcohol or substance abuse problems and truck maintenance records. We can even obtain the truck black box and GPS-locator to determine the speed of the truck at the time of the crash. We will leave no stone unturned in pursuit of the compensation you deserve.


Distracted Truck Drivers

Truck drivers who get distracted behind the wheel can cause serious accidents on I-77, I-85 and other roadways across North Carolina. Distracted driving has been a problem for decades, but with the dramatic increase in the number of smartphones and other hand-held gadgets over the past few years, more distracted driving accidents are being reported. Drivers can access the internet, social media or even take photos while driving.

While it’s still legal in a few states for drivers of passenger vehicles to text, federal law prohibits texting while driving for truck and bus drivers. While we believe no driver should ever text behind the wheel, truck drivers especially should avoid this dangerous distraction. And they are held to high standards by the government for a reason. The stakes are much higher in a trucking accident as compared to a crash involving two passenger vehicles. A fully loaded 18-wheeler can weigh 20 times more than a passenger vehicle. Accidents involving trucks and smaller vehicles are rarely minor and often result in catastrophic injuries. Distracted truck drivers not only put other motorists at risk – they endanger pedestrians who may be using a crosswalk and bicyclists sharing the road.

What are common forms of truck driver distraction?

  • Texting and cell phone use
  • Programming a GPS
  • Configuring a radio
  • Talking to a passenger

Even when you’ve done nothing to cause your accident, you may face a complicated path to justice on your own. The person or company at fault may deny any wrongdoing. The truck driver’s insurance company may try to limit or deny your claim or even suggest you were negligent.

You can level the playing field by contact us right now. Hull & Chandler, P.A., is familiar with the tactics that truck companies and their insurance carriers use to limit their liability. If you have our firm on your side, you can be rest assured we will take an aggressive stand against the insurance companies and pursue the maximum compensation you deserve.

Truck Company Violations

Trucking companies are legally responsible for keeping their vehicles well-maintained and safe for use. This includes regular safety maintenance checks, truck repairs and making sure they hire trustworthy, responsible truck drivers. If they put unsafe vehicles on the road or allow unlicensed or dangerous drivers to operate big rigs, company owners may be liable for the accident. The company may be liable if one of its drivers falls asleep at the wheel. The driver may have been pressured by his or her boss to exceed the Hours-of-Service rules.

What is considered trucking company negligence in North Carolina? The following are some examples of factors that may support a negligence claim against the company:

  • Unsafe or inadequate truck maintenance procedures
  • Poor quality truck engine parts, truck equipment or trailer parts
  • Out-of-date or incomplete safety records
  • Hiding known evidence of trucker alcoholism or substance abuse problems
  • DUI trucking crash or distracted trucking collisions records
  • Improperly documented vehicle maintenance record
  • Lack of truck black box or GPS Locator on the truck, which could assist in determining the speed of the truck at time of collision, and how long the vehicle was on the road

Why You Need Our Law Firm on Your Side

Hull & Chandler, P.A., understands how complex a truck accident case can become, because we have experience with these types of serious claims. You may have done nothing to cause your accident, yet the trucking company and its insurance company are pointing the finger at you. They might argue they did nothing wrong or that the driver and company played a minimal role in the accident. They may even hide or try to destroy evidence of their wrongdoing. We’re ready to help. We are not afraid to launch investigations into big trucking companies to prove their negligence. We know how to aggressively deal with their insurance providers. We know how to find the right evidence. We leave no stone unturned in pursuit of justice. Call 704-375-8488 today for a free consultation or contact us online. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means you pay us only if we win.