What to Do If You Have Been in a Traffic Accident with a Commercial Vehicle in Wilmington
Professional drivers—delivery van drivers, truckers, taxi drivers, and other people who operate motor vehicles for a living—tend to be safer on the road than the average. They have far fewer accidents per mile—and that’s not just because they drive lots of miles. Training and experience make such drivers very conscious of traffic safety.
Nevertheless, accidents happen. Any driver can have a moment of distracted concentration, or make an error in judgment. There have been incidents of long-distance truck drivers falling asleep at the wheel after driving all night. We also should not forget that some trucks carry flammable materials or hazardous cargo, increasing the risk of injury when an accident occurs.
But even in slower city traffic, a collision with a commercial vehicle in North Carolina can happen unexpectedly at any time. While a crash with a taxi or delivery van in town may not seem as risky as a high-speed highway crash with a tractor-trailer truck, there is still plenty of energy and momentum available to inflict serious or even fatal injuries.
If you have sustained injuries during an accident with a commercial vehicle driver—and by that, we mean a vehicle that is being operated for business reasons—then you may face a few additional challenges over the usual difficulties after a North Carolina traffic accident. Even finding out what insurance coverage applies can be a puzzle, because the driver, his vehicle, and the business he works for may all be covered under separate policies.
Under federal law, long-distance truckers are required to carry more insurance than other drivers. Similarly, it’s common for local business regulation to require some companies operating only in a limited area—notably taxis and some delivery workers—also to have higher insurance requirements.
But the mere fact that the vehicle that struck yours is insured is no guarantee you will receive a generous or prompt payout. Insurance companies tend to be aggressive at limiting payments for commercial vehicle accidents. The adjuster assigned to your case may deny your claim or offer only a token settlement at first.
How deep do the pockets go?
If the driver who struck you was actively working on behalf of his employer when the accident occurred, you may have a valid legal claim for compensation against both the driver and his company. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, you might also be able to file a lawsuit against one or more of the following:
- The company that owns the cargo
- The company that manufactured the cargo
- The company that loaded the truck with cargo
- The contractor that performs maintenance and upkeep on the vehicle
- The trucking school that trained the driver in safe driving procedures
With so many people who may be partially responsible for your North Carolina motor vehicle accident, the odds are improved that you will be able to secure compensation for your medical bills, disability, damaged property, pain, and other losses. Yet the complexity of the case means that you will need a skilled Wilmington traffic accident lawyer to undertake a thorough investigation to determine who is liable for the accident.
At Speaks Law Firm, we can conduct that investigation to get you the best compensation available for your injuries. Call our office today at 910-341-7570 (or 877-593-4233 toll-free outside New Hanover County) to schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation by a Wilmington personal injury attorney. As an introduction to our firm, we’d like to send you a FREE copy of our book—The North Carolina Auto Injury Book—by our founder, R. Clarke Speaks.