Semi Truck Accident FAQ
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FAQs About 18-Wheeler Accidents in Shelby, North Carolina

I was injured in a wreck with a semi-truck. What should I do first?

Your health is the priority. Seek medical attention immediately, even if your injuries seem minor. Next, contact a Shelby personal injury lawyer experienced in 18-wheeler accidents. We can help guide you through the legal process and advocate for a full and fair settlement. The Teddy, Meekins & Talbert Law Firm in Shelby NC, provides a free case evaluation to victims of trucking accidents.  

What Are the Different Types of Damages in a North Carolina Trucking Accident Claim?

After a serious trucking accident in Shelby, NC, the physical, emotional, and financial impact can be overwhelming. North Carolina law allows victims to recover compensation for various damages caused by the accident. Here's a breakdown of some common types of recoverable damages:

  • Medical Expenses: This includes all past, present, and future medical costs associated with your injuries. It covers doctor visits, hospital stays, surgery, medication, rehabilitation, and therapy.
  • Lost Wages: If you're unable to work due to your injuries, you can recover compensation for lost wages and benefits. This may also include future lost income if your earning capacity is permanently diminished.
  • Pain and Suffering: This category compensates you for the physical and emotional pain you've endured due to the accident. It considers the severity and duration of your pain, emotional distress, anxiety, and loss of enjoyment of life.
  • Property Damage: If your vehicle or other personal property was damaged in the accident, you can seek compensation for repairs or replacement costs.
  • Wrongful Death Damages: In the tragic event of a loved one's death due to a trucking accident, surviving family members may be entitled to compensation for funeral and burial expenses, lost future income of the deceased, and emotional distress.

Additional Potential Damages:

Depending on the specific circumstances of your case, you may also be eligible for other damages, such as:

  • Loss of Consortium: This compensates a spouse for the loss of companionship, intimacy, and support due to their injured partner's condition.
  • Scarring and Disfigurement: If the accident left you with permanent scarring or disfigurement, you can seek compensation for the physical and emotional impact.

It's important to remember that every case is unique. An experienced Shelby trucking accident lawyer can assess the full scope of your damages and advocate for the compensation you deserve.


 

How Long Will It Take to Resolve My Trucking Accident Claim in Shelby, North Carolina?

Unfortunately, there's no one-size-fits-all answer to how long it will take to resolve your trucking accident claim in Shelby. The timeframe can vary considerably depending on several factors:

  • Severity of Your Injuries: More complex injuries requiring extensive medical treatment and rehabilitation will likely take longer to resolve. The insurance company will need to determine the full extent of your injuries and future medical needs, which can add time to the process.
  • Liability Disputes: If there's disagreement about who caused the accident (e.g., the truck driver, another motorist, or a mechanical issue with the truck), it can significantly extend the negotiation process. In such cases, gathering evidence, witness statements, and potentially involving accident reconstruction experts can take time.
  • Insurance Company Involvement: Dealing with multiple insurance companies and their adjusters can add time to the process. Each insurance company will have its own investigation procedures and deadlines. Your lawyer will manage communication with all insurance companies on your behalf to keep things moving forward.
  • Settlement Negotiations: Most trucking accident claims settle out of court. However, reaching a fair settlement with the insurance company can involve extensive back-and-forth negotiations. An experienced lawyer will fight for the compensation you deserve and knows when to push back on lowball offers.
  • Going to Court: If a fair settlement isn't reached and a lawsuit becomes necessary, the process can take significantly longer. Court proceedings can take months or even years to resolve, depending on the court docket and the complexity of your case.

Here's what you can do to expedite the process:

  • Seek Medical Attention Promptly: Following the accident, getting the medical care you need establishes a clear connection between your injuries and the accident. Maintain all medical records and bills associated with your treatment.
  • Gather Evidence: If possible, take photos of the accident scene, your vehicle damage, and any visible injuries. Collect witness statements if available.
  • Contact a Shelby Trucking Accident Lawyer: An experienced lawyer can navigate the complexities of your case, handle communication with insurance companies, and work towards a swifter resolution.

By understanding the factors at play and taking proactive steps, you can help move your trucking accident claim forward as efficiently as possible. Remember, an experienced Shelby trucking accident lawyer can provide a more accurate estimate of the timeline specific to your case after reviewing the details of your accident and injuries.

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What does Contributory Negligence mean?

North Carolina follows a strict contributory negligence system. This means if you're found even 1% at fault for the accident, you are barred from recovering any compensation.

How Can Contributory Negligence Affect My Case?

Because of North Carolina's contributory negligence law, the insurance company may try to shift some blame to you, even if minimal, to avoid paying compensation. This highlights the importance of retaining a trucking accident lawyer in Shelby, NC. 

It's important to remember:

  • Free Consultation: Schedule a free consultation with a Shelby trucking accident lawyer to discuss your case details, determine the cause(s) of the accident, and understand your options for recovering compensation.

By working with an experienced legal professional, you can navigate the complexities of North Carolina's contributory negligence law and fight for the compensation you deserve after a serious trucking accident in North Carolina.

How Much Compensation Can I Expect for a Serious Trucking Accident Injury?

The aftermath of a serious trucking accident can be devastating, leaving you with physical injuries, emotional trauma, and financial burdens. While it's impossible to predict the exact amount of compensation you'll receive, understanding the factors that influence claim value can help you set realistic expectations. Here's a breakdown of key considerations impacting the compensation you might receive:

Severity of Your Injuries: Generally, the more severe your injuries, the higher the potential compensation. This includes:

  • Extent of Medical Treatment: Costs associated with hospitalization, surgery, rehabilitation, medication, and future medical needs all play a significant role.
  • Long-Term Impact: Permanent disabilities, chronic pain, or limitations on your ability to work can significantly increase the value of your claim.
  • Emotional Distress: Anxiety, depression, PTSD, and other emotional consequences of the accident can be compensated for.

Economic Damages: These are quantifiable losses you've incurred due to the accident, such as:

  • Lost Wages: Compensation for wages lost while recovering from injuries or for a permanent reduction in earning capacity.
  • Medical Bills: Reimbursement for past and future medical expenses related to your injuries.
  • Property Damage: Repair or replacement costs for your vehicle or other damaged property.

Insurance Coverage: 18-wheeler accidents often result in some of the largest settlements and judgments of any type of motor vehicle negligence claim in North Carolina. The at-fault party's insurance coverage limits could impact the maximum compensation available. An experienced lawyer can investigate all potentially liable parties and their insurance coverage to maximize your recovery.

Strength of Your Case: A well-documented case with clear evidence of liability, the extent of your injuries, and the damages incurred will lead to a stronger claim for fair compensation.

It's important to remember:

  • Settlement vs. Lawsuit: Most trucking accident claims settle out of court. However, if a fair settlement isn't offered, your lawyer may recommend pursuing a lawsuit. This can significantly impact the timeline and potential compensation.
  • Free Consultation: Shelby trucking accident lawyers normally offer a free consultation to evaluate your specific case and provide a more accurate estimate of your potential compensation.

Understanding these factors and seeking legal guidance are important first step in recovering damages you've suffered due to a serious trucking accident injury.

Can I still get damages if I wasn't wearing a seatbelt?

North Carolina has seatbelt laws, but not wearing one does not disqualify you from compensation. In fact, evidence of the failure to wear a seatbelt is not admissible in any civil action or lawsuit for negligence, personal or property damage, and injuries. Insurance companies occasionally try to deny such claims or reduce the settlement amount for failure to wear a seatbelt.  That’s one reason it’s advisable to retain legal counsel to hold the trucking company and/or its insurance company accountable for negligence.

After a trucking accident, should I talk to the Insurance Company Adjuster?

Absolutely not. North Carolina law doesn't require you to provide a recorded statement to the at-fault party's insurance company. In fact, you don't even have to speak with them directly. That's where a Shelby trucking accident lawyer comes in. We advocate for you and handle all communication with the insurance company, ensuring your rights are protected throughout the process. We'll shoulder the burden of dealing with them so you can focus on your recovery.

Tractor trailers are huge. Aren't my injuries automatically serious?

While the size disparity can cause severe injuries, the extent of your damages will depend on the specific details of the accident. A lawyer can assess the full scope of your injuries and fight for the compensation you deserve. The Teddy, Meekins & Talbert Law Firm provides a free case evaluation for trucking accidents in Shelby, North Carolina.  

What kind of compensation can I expect?

Recoverable damages can include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and vehicle repair or replacement. In wrongful death cases, compensation may include lost future income of the deceased, funeral costs, and emotional distress for surviving family members.

What are some common causes of 18-wheeler accidents?

Driver fatigue, distracted driving, speeding, improper lane changes, and driving under the influence are all frequent causes of trucking accidents. Additionally, faulty truck maintenance and overloaded trailers can contribute to accidents and their severity.  

How are semi-truck accidents different from car accidents?

Due to their size and weight, 18-wheeler accidents often cause more catastrophic injuries. The process of negotiating with and litigating against trucking companies and their insurers tends to be a complicated, sometimes overwhelming process. Your attorney can shoulder the burden of dealing with the insurance adjusters and the claims process, allowing you to focus on your recovery.  

Are there special laws that apply to truck drivers?

Truck drivers are subject to stricter regulations than car drivers regarding vehicle maintenance, driver qualifications, and limitations on driving hours. Violations of these regulations can be relevant to determining negligence in a personal injury claim.

Do I have to go to court?

Most 18-wheeler accident cases settle out of court. Your lawyer will negotiate with the insurance company and advocate for a full and fair settlement. However, if the insurance adjuster refuses to accept liability, negotiate in good faith and/or make a reasonable offer, litigation may be an option. That’s one reason we believe it’s smart to retain an attorney with substantial experience litigating trucking accidents in Shelby NC. 

How much will a lawyer cost?

Most personal injury lawyers in Shelby, North Carolina who handle trucking accident cases, work on a contingency fee basis. This means you won't pay legal fees upfront – you only pay legal fees if we win your case. Our fee is a percentage of the settlement you receive.

There's no financial risk involved in getting a professional evaluation of your case. We offer a free consultation at our Shelby office to discuss your situation. Everything you tell us during this confidential meeting stays between us. We'll explain your legal options, provide helpful information, and guide you in the most appropriate course of action. .

Who Will Be Responsible for Compensation After a Shelby 18-Wheeler Accident?

Unlike car accidents, determining who's responsible for compensation after an 18-wheeler accident in North Carolina can be more intricate. Here's why:

  • Multiple Insurance Policies: Many trucking companies are self-insured for some aspects of their operations but may still carry liability insurance for the truck itself. Additionally, the trailer the truck is hauling might have separate insurance coverage.
  • Varying Coverage Limits: The amount of coverage available for compensation can vary depending on the specific policies involved. This can include coverage for the truck cab, the trailer, and the cargo it carries.

An experienced Shelby trucking accident lawyer can navigate these complexities. We'll investigate the accident, identify all potentially liable parties and their insurance coverage, and advocate for the maximum compensation you deserve. Each case is different.  Consult with legal counsel.  

How long do I have to file a personal injury claim in North Carolina?

The statute of limitations in North Carolina is generally three years from the date of the accident. This means you have three years to file a lawsuit. The statute of limitations for wrongful death claims is two years from the date of death. There are important exceptions to the general rules.  That’s one reason it's important to consult with a lawyer as soon as possible to ensure you meet all deadlines.

Is there anything I can do to prepare for a consultation with a lawyer?

Gather any documentation you have related to the accident, such as the police report, medical bills, and witness statements. Be prepared to discuss the details of the accident to the best of your ability.

What Mistakes Should I Avoid After a Shelby 18-Wheeler Accident?

Following a serious accident with a semi-truck, confusion and stress are natural. Here are some critical mistakes to avoid to protect your rights and potential compensation:

  • Talking to the Truck Driver's Insurance Company: North Carolina law doesn't require you to speak with the at-fault party's insurance company. In fact, it's best to avoid them entirely. They may try to downplay your injuries or obtain statements that could weaken your claim. Let your Shelby trucking accident lawyer handle all communication with the insurance company.
  • Delaying Medical Attention: Even if your injuries seem minor, seeking immediate medical care is crucial. This establishes a clear connection between your accident and any injuries sustained.
  • Not Reporting the Accident: Report the accident to the police as soon as possible. Obtain a copy of the police report for your records.
  • Posting About the Accident on Social Media: Avoid posting details or photos about the accident on social media. Insurance companies may use these posts against you.
  • Accepting a Quick Settlement: Trucking accident claims can be complex, and the initial settlement offer from the insurance company is likely to be low. Don't accept anything without consulting with a lawyer who can assess the full value of your claim.

By following these steps and securing legal representation from a Shelby trucking accident lawyer, you can navigate the legal process effectively and fight for the compensation you deserve.

Interested in more information about semi-truck accidents in Shelby, North Carolina? 

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