If you were hurt in an accident caused by a truck driver who was driving under the influence, you should immediately contact DeMayo Law Offices for legal representation by a truck accident attorney. You might be entitled to compensation from the truck driver or trucking company for the injuries you suffered. You could file an insurance claim or lawsuit to hold them liable for their negligent and careless actions.
Driving under the influence, or impaired driving, is dangerous and against the law. It puts other vehicle occupants at risk of physical injury and even death. The impaired driver doesn’t have the mental or physical capacity to react and maneuver their truck away from other vehicles to avoid an accident. It’s especially hazardous when the crash involves a commercial truck. A collision involving an 80,000-pound vehicle and a small 3,000-pound car can be catastrophic.
To learn more about your legal options, call DeMayo Law Offices at (877) 333-1000 for a free consultation.
Why You Should Hire DeMayo Law Offices After A Truck Accident
Many of our clients are focused on recovering physically and emotionally after an accident and don’t want to deal with the responsibility of an insurance claim. Insurance companies can be intimidating and might scare you into accepting a settlement offer much lower than you deserve. If you don’t understand your rights, you might not realize they’re taking advantage of you.
One of the first steps you should take after a truck accident is hiring a lawyer. At DeMayo Law Offices, we know North Carolina state laws forwards and backwards. When you hire us, we will take over and begin the legal process by investigating the crash. Evidence is essential in insurance claims. We will need to prove that the truck driver had alcohol or drugs in their system and that led to the accident.
Some of the evidence we might gather includes:
- Truck driver’s chemical test results and any receipts or credit card charges from alcohol purchases
- Police reports
- Accident scene photos
- Your medical records and associated documents
- Repair estimates for vehicle damage
- Truck driver’s driving history
- Video surveillance of the crash
- Statements from witnesses
- Trucking company’s drug and alcohol testing policies
Having a knowledgeable attorney from DeMayo Law Offices by your side from start to finish could improve your chances of receiving higher compensation opposed to handling your case on your own. We know the tactics insurance companies use and how to overcome any obstacles that come our way. We can also communicate directly with the insurance adjuster assigned to your claim on your behalf. That way, you don’t run the risk of saying something that negatively impacts your claim’s outcome.
Injuries Commonly Caused In Accidents With An Impaired Truck Driver
The likelihood of walking away from a truck accident with minimal injuries or none at all is slim. Collisions that involve large trucks typically result in severe injuries and fatalities. Tractor-trailers can crush a passenger vehicle with ease when the two collide with each other. Devastating injuries and property damage are more likely if an impaired truck driver is involved because the driver can’t foresee dangers or react appropriately to an impending accident.
The most common injuries in accidents like this are:
- Broken bones
- Crush injuries
- Traumatic brain injury
- Neck and back injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Soft tissue injuries
- Spinal cord damage
Lifelong complications can arise after an accident with a truck. Even if your injury seems minor, it could cause ongoing pain or certain limitations that affect your daily life. People who end up with a disability often can’t return to work and have to worry about how they will afford their treatment. The truck driver’s insurance company should be the one to pay for your expenses, so you don’t have to pay for anything out of pocket.
Compensation You Could Seek In An Insurance Claim
The fault system in North Carolina states that the person who causes an accident must be financially responsible for the injured victim’s losses. The insurance company often becomes the source of compensation. Federal regulations require all trucking companies to purchase liability policies for their truck drivers. If the driver is involved in a crash and the insurance company determines it was their fault, the injured party should receive a settlement.
Since large trucks tend to cause more significant damage and injuries than small cars, the insurance coverage is much higher than the standard auto insurance policy. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issues minimum limits depending on the weight of the truck and the type of cargo it’s transporting:
- Less than 10,001 pounds and non-hazardous freight: $300,000
- Over 10,000 pounds and non-hazardous cargo: $750,000
- Oil and hazardous materials: $1 million
- Other hazardous substances: $5 million
You may seek compensation, up to the coverage limit listed on the trucking company’s policy, for your past and future physical, emotional, and financial losses including:
- Physical impairment
- Car repair expenses
- Loss of income
- Lost future earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Medical bills
- Diminished quality of life
- Mental anguish
While the insurance adjuster reviews your losses, they might consider multiple factors associated with the accident to determine how much compensation they believe you should receive, if any at all. These factors might include:
- Type of injury you sustained and how serious it is
- The emotional or mental injuries suffered from the accident
- The truck driver’s chemical test results
- Time missed from work due to the injury
- Length of the recovery
- Impact of the crash on your daily life
- Amount of insurance coverage listed on the liability policy
- Availability of substantial evidence proving the truck driver was impaired
- Any pending DUI case against the truck driver
Insurance claims can take some time to resolve. Most insurance companies don’t want to accept that their policyholder was at fault for an accident. The insurance adjuster might try to find evidence that you somehow contributed to the crash, giving them a good reason to deny the claim.
DeMayo Law Offices believes our clients deserve the chance to hold truck drivers accountable for their actions and recover the monetary award they need to heal their injuries without worry about medical expenses and other matters. We can protect you from the unfair practice’s insurance companies use. If they end up denying your claim, we will file a lawsuit and aggressively pursue the maximum compensation available.
Handling A Lawsuit In North Carolina
DeMayo Law Offices might recommend that you begin with an insurance claim in an attempt to compensate for your total losses. If the insurance company refuses to pay a fair amount or denies the claim altogether, we would move forward with a lawsuit against them and the truck driver. After a truck accident, the legal options vary, and we would need to investigate what happened to determine which option would be best for your situation.
If you want to move forward with a lawsuit, there’s a strict deadline, called a statute of limitations, you must follow. The statute of limitations in North Carolina is three years. You have a three-year window from the accident date to file your lawsuit against the truck driver and their insurance company. You would lose your right to sue after three years pass.
Your future is at stake here, so it’s vital that you hire a lawyer and begin working on your case immediately after the crash occurs. Whether your injury is minor or severe, you deserve adequate compensation to pay for your medical treatment, vehicle repairs, and other costs resulting from the accident. You don’t want to wait too long to seek legal action and lose your opportunity once the three-year statute passes.
You might think you deserve the maximum financial award available from the truck driver because they chose to get behind the wheel with drugs or alcohol in their system. Under normal circumstances, you might be right. However, pure contributory negligence could prevent you from seeking any amount of compensation.
The North Carolina pure contributory negligence rule bars the recovery of a monetary award if a jury finds that you were partly responsible for the truck accident. Even if you’re only 1% at fault and the truck driver is 99% to blame, you still wouldn’t be entitled to compensation.
To clarify, let’s say you were texting while driving and cell phone record evidence confirms that fact. Even if the truck driver had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above the legal limit, a jury could decide that your actions were also partially to blame. If you weren’t texting behind the wheel, you might have been able to avoid a collision with the truck driver. If the jury makes that decision, you have lost your right to compensation.
Contact DeMayo Law Offices for Your Free Consultation
With over 25 years of experience representing clients throughout North Carolina, you can depend on the legal team at DeMayo Law Offices to fight for the justice you deserve. We can hold the truck driver or their employer liable for the injuries you suffered and seek compensation from the insurance company or go to trial on your behalf.
Our award-winning attorneys have received recognition from legal organizations, such as The National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Trial Lawyers and the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum. We also hold an AV® rating from Martindale-Hubbell, the highest possible rating a law firm can receive.
If a truck driver was driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol and caused your injuries in an accident, call DeMayo Law Offices at (877) 333-1000. We can meet you for a free consultation, discuss your legal options, and get you on the road to recovery.