Articles Posted in Truck Accidents

In a recent unpublished North Carolina appellate decision, the plaintiff appealed the dismissal of an insurer in his motorcycle accident case. The case arose while he was operating the motorcycle on a state road, and a large truck going too fast around a curve in the road swerved and dumped gravel around him. The spray of debris hit the plaintiff, who lost control of the vehicle and crashed it. The truck didn’t stop, and they couldn’t identify either the driver or the truck’s owner. The plaintiff was injured.

At the time of the accident, the motorcyclist was insured under an automobile policy with Progressive and another one with USAA General. He sued both insurers, seeking uninsured motorist coverage. The claims were denied. Progressive claimed that uninsured motorist coverage wasn’t triggered because there was no physical contact between the plaintiff and the uninsured vehicle or the dump truck and the plaintiff. The insurer claimed that the object that hit the plaintiff had to be part of the equipment on the hit and run vehicle in order for uninsured motorist coverage to be triggered.

The plaintiff sued Progressive and USAA General, asserting numerous claims, including breach of contract and bad faith. He submitted an eyewitness’ affidavit, stating that she saw the debris from the dump truck make direct contact with the plaintiff and his motorcycle, which would other wise not have crashed. She also stated that it appeared there was nothing the plaintiff could have done to avoid the accident.

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In February of 2017, a man was killed in an accident involving two tractor-trailers and a car on North Carolina 11 between Pink Hill and Deep Run. The accident happened just after 1:00 pm. Investigators determined that a tractor-trailer driver tried to enter the highway when he hit another tractor-trailer traveling north on 11. The trailer that was hit drove off the road and hit a passenger car that was stopped on a nearby road. The car spun out, and the trailer overturned onto it.

A 68-year-old man sitting as a passenger inside the car was killed while the car’s driver was injured and taken to a medical center. The drivers of the tractor-trailers were also taken to the hospital. The tractor-trailer driver who caused the accident was charged with misdemeanor death by vehicle.

The criminal charges brought against a tractor-trailer driver who causes an accident are independent of any civil charges that may be brought by the accident victim or his family if he dies. There is a higher burden of proof for criminal cases. Guilt must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt in criminal cases, while liability must be established by a preponderance of the evidence in a civil suit. Liability in the civil suit is expressed through money, whereas guilt in a criminal case can subject the defendant to imprisonment, fines, or other penalties.

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A fatal wreck happened recently on I-40. A 53-year-old man was driving a Nissan Altima when he ran into the back of a commercial box truck and was killed. At around the same time, the police were working on a different wreck in the same area on the interstate highway, resulting in backed up traffic. The box truck was probably slowing to a stop because of this traffic, and the decedent was unable to stop in time and ran under the truck. It is believed that speed and distractedness were factors in the truck accident.

Underride collisions happen when a passenger vehicle runs into the back of a truck or trailer and runs under the truck, which sometimes takes the roof off the car and kills the occupants. Sometimes the collision is the result of a car driver’s inattention. However, it could also be the result of a lack of a safety guard, a poorly designed safety guard, missing reflective tape, or obscured reflectors.

The FMCSA requires guards for trucks and trailers that were made after 1998, but those made before that date need not be fitted with a guard. When an underride collision doesn’t cause death, it may cause catastrophic injuries, such as traumatic brain injury.

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In North Carolina truck accident cases, a plaintiff may be able to hold the driver directly liable, and they may also have a claim for vicarious liability, which is an indirect form of liability, against the driver’s employer. However, vicarious liability is derivative, which means that the plaintiff can only recover damages from the employer if the employee driver is found negligent.

Harris Boling v. Greer is a North Carolina case that arose when the defendant was driving a tractor-trailer owned by his employer and crashed into the plaintiff’s truck on Interstate 40. The defendant died as a result of his injuries. However, three years afterward, the plaintiff sued him and his employer on the grounds that the decedent was negligent, that the plaintiff had suffered a head injury as a result, and that the decedent’s negligence was imputed to his employer.

The plaintiff served a summons and complaint addressed to the defendant, which reached his widow. It also served the employer by certified mail. The defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, to which they attached the DMV’s report of the accident and paperwork showing the decedent’s date of death. They also attached the widow’s affidavit, explaining that her husband had died as a result of the crash and that she was the administrator of his estate.

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Carrazana v. Western Express, Inc. concerned a trucking accident that happened in 2013 in North Carolina. Michael Carter, a truck driver employed by Western Express, stopped his tractor-trailer in the emergency lane of I-95. The plaintiff was driving in the right lane. Another truck driver (Tyndall) was driving a tractor-trailer northbound on I-95.

The plaintiff later alleged that Carter negligently pulled in front of him without yielding the right of way and that he crashed into Carter, and Tyndall was also negligent such that he couldn’t move into the left lane to avoid the collision. Carter was cited for an unsafe movement, but Tyndall wasn’t cited.

The plaintiff also alleged that the trucking companies that employed Carter and Tyndall were vicariously liable for their negligence. He also claimed that Western Express had negligently hired, trained, supervised, and retained Carter and that he’d suffered catastrophic injuries due to the accident.

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