Protecting the Rights of Injured Clients

Durham Truck Accident Attorneys 

Semi-Truck, Big Rig & 18-Wheeler Accidents in Durham County

While any motor vehicle accident can lead to serious injuries or death, those involving large trucks tend to be particularly catastrophic. Because of their immense size and weight, semi-trucks, big rigs, and 18-wheelers often cause massive damage when they collide with other, smaller vehicles. Sadly, the occupants of those smaller vehicles are the ones who tend to suffer the greatest amount of harm.

If you or someone you love was involved in an accident with a large commercial truck, reach out to Hyland, Padilla & Fowler, PLLC right away. You could be entitled to financial compensation for your resulting medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and other damages—and we can help. Our Durham truck accident attorneys have successfully represented numerous victims of catastrophic truck accidents, holding negligent truck drivers, trucking companies, and other parties accountable while also obtaining fair recoveries for the injured and the families of those wrongfully killed. 

Learn how we can help you, too. Call (919) 891-8361 or contact us online for a free consultation. Hablamos español.

Common Types of Truck Accidents

A truck accident refers to any collision or incident involving a large commercial truck, such as tractor-trailers, semi-trucks, or big rigs. These accidents can result in serious injuries, fatalities, and significant property damage due to the size and weight of the trucks involved.

Common types of truck accidents include:

  • Jackknife Accidents: This occurs when the truck's trailer swings out to form a 90-degree angle with the cab, resembling a folding jackknife.
  • Rollover Accidents: Trucks are prone to tipping over, especially when taking sharp turns at high speeds or due to imbalances in cargo weight.
  • Underride Accidents: In these accidents, a smaller vehicle can become lodged beneath the rear or side of a truck, leading to severe damage and injuries.
  • Override Accidents: This happens when a truck runs over a smaller vehicle, often resulting in catastrophic damage.
  • Blind Spot Accidents: Trucks have large blind spots, and accidents can occur when other vehicles are not visible to the truck driver.
  • Tire Blowouts: Malfunctioning or blown-out tires can lead to loss of control, causing accidents.
  • Brake Failure Accidents: Brake issues can result in difficulty stopping or slowing down, leading to collisions.
  • Wide Turn Accidents: Trucks require more space to make turns, and accidents can happen when other vehicles don't give them enough room.
  • Fatigue-Related Accidents: Truck drivers may experience fatigue, leading to impaired judgment and slower reaction times.
  • Mechanical Failure Accidents: Breakdowns or malfunctions in the truck's mechanical components can contribute to accidents.

What Are the Leading Causes of Large Truck Accidents? 

Like regular car accidents, most truck accidents are caused by negligence. However, in large truck accident cases, this negligence tends to take more nuanced and varied forms. 

Some specific causes of large truck accidents that can be attributed to negligence include: 

  • Truck Driver Error: Although truck drivers typically receive extensive training and have hours of driving experience, they are still human. Like any other motorist, they can—and do—make mistakes, act negligently, or engage in reckless or aggressive driving behaviors. Examples include driving while distracted, speeding, violating traffic laws, fatigued driving, and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. 
  • Hours-of-Service Violations: Truck drivers are subject to federal and state hours-of-service laws. These laws restrict the number of consecutive hours they are allowed to drive, as well as specify when and for how long they must take breaks. However, many trucking companies pressure their drivers to meet strict deadlines and unrealistic quotas, often leading to truck drivers driving beyond the permitted hours. 
  • Improper Cargo Loading: Large trucks often carry thousands of pounds of weight in cargo, including certain hazardous materials. This cargo must be carefully and evenly loaded to avoid shifting during transit, freight falling from open trucks, and other serious problems. Additionally, federal and state laws dictate maximum weight capacity for different types of trucks, as overloading can lead to an array of issues, such as tire blowouts and overheating. 
  • Inadequate Truck Maintenance: Truck drivers, trucking companies, and other parties are responsible for conducting routine inspections and vehicle maintenance. This allows for the discovery and repair of a variety of issues, such as worn-out tires, broken taillights, missing reflective strips, and even defective parts. Without proper truck maintenance, these and other issues will not be detected or repaired and could indirectly cause a crash. 
  • Trucking Company Negligence: Trucking company negligence occurs when a trucking company fails to uphold various standards of care as required and expected by the industry. Some examples of trucking company negligence include failing to conduct background checks on new drivers, failing to provide adequate training for truck drivers, and failing to properly discipline drivers who violate company policy and/or federal or state law. 
  • Truck Defects: Defective trucks or truck parts can lead to serious accidents, as they can cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle. Common truck defects include truck tires that explode while the vehicle is moving, braking systems that “lock up” when applied, electrical issues that lead to overheating and other problems, engine problems, and steering defects. All of these can lead to serious accidents, devastating injuries, and deaths. 

At Hyland, Padilla & Fowler, PLLC, we often work with accident reconstruction experts to analyze how a specific crash occurred. This allows us to not only identify the cause of the collision but also the potentially liable party or parties. 

Common Truck Accident Injuries 

Truck accidents are often more devastating than car accidents due to several factors related to the size, weight, and characteristics of commercial trucks. Here are some reasons why truck accidents tend to have more severe consequences:

  • Size and Weight: Trucks, especially tractor-trailers and large commercial vehicles, are significantly larger and heavier than passenger cars. In a collision, the sheer mass of a truck can cause extensive damage to smaller vehicles and result in more severe injuries.
  • Momentum and Kinetic Energy: The momentum and kinetic energy generated by a moving truck are much higher than that of a typical passenger car. When a truck collides with a smaller vehicle, the force of impact is substantially greater, leading to more significant damage and potential injuries.
  • Stopping Distance: Due to their size and weight, trucks have longer stopping distances compared to cars. This can result in rear-end collisions or accidents when a truck is unable to stop in time to avoid a collision.
  • Limited Maneuverability: Trucks have limitations in terms of maneuverability, especially when making turns. This can result in accidents, especially when other drivers are unaware of a truck's turning radius.

Some of the most common injuries associated with semi-truck, tractor-trailer, and other large truck accidents include: 

  • Head, neck, and back injuries 
  • Traumatic brain injuries 
  • Spinal cord injuries, including paralysis
  • Broken bones/fractures 
  • Accidental/traumatic amputation
  • Severe burn injuries, including friction burns (“road rash”)
  • Organ damage 
  • Serious soft tissue injuries 
  • Facial injuries 
  • Disfigurement 

These and other truck accident injuries can lead to a wide range of physical, financial, and emotional hardships for victims and their loved ones, including exorbitant medical bills, lost income due to time taken off work to recover, loss of future earnings as a result of a new or worsened impairment, and extensive pain and suffering. Filing a truck accident claim can help you seek fair compensation for these and other damages. 

Determining Liability in Your Truck Accident Case

To file a truck accident claim, you must be able to prove liability. To prove liability, you must first determine who was responsible for the crash. This often involves investigating the accident to uncover what caused it, working with experts to identify possible contributing factors, and obtaining critical evidence—such as police reports, medical records, and eyewitness statements—to support your claim. 

Liability tends to be a complex issue in truck accident cases. Unlike in standard car accident claims, the person directly responsible for the crash (i.e., the driver) may not be legally responsible for your damages. This is because truck drivers are often on the job when these accidents occur. As a result, their employer—whether the trucking company or another party—could be liable. 

Additionally, there could be a wide variety of factors that contributed to the crash. For example, if the truck driver lost control of the vehicle because a defective tire blew out while they were traveling on the highway, the tire manufacturer could be liable. If the truck driver or trucking company failed to conduct routine inspections that would have likely revealed the presence of the defective tire, they could also be partially liable. 

If you're considering a legal action after a truck accident, you may need to establish the following elements:

  1. Duty of Care: You must demonstrate that the truck driver owed you a duty of care. In the context of a truck accident, this is generally established as the duty to operate the vehicle safely and in accordance with traffic laws.
  2. Breach of Duty: You need to show that the truck driver breached their duty of care. This could involve proving negligence, such as reckless driving, speeding, failure to signal, or violating traffic rules.
  3. Causation: It must be established that the breach of duty directly caused the accident and resulting injuries. This involves demonstrating a direct link between the truck driver's actions and the harm suffered.
  4. Damages: You need to prove that you suffered actual damages as a result of the truck accident. This can include medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses.

You must gather and preserve evidence related to the accident. This includes witness statements, police reports, photographs, medical records, and any other documentation that can support your claim.

How Our Truck Accident Lawyers Can Help 

Truck accident cases are usually far more complex than standard motor vehicle accident claims. If you were injured or if someone you love tragically died due to a large truck accident, we strongly advise you to reach out to a knowledgeable attorney with experience handling these types of claims. At Hyland, Padilla & Fowler, PLLC, we can help you file a strong personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit in the wake of a devastating truck accident. 

We have handled more than 7,000 cases and have recovered over $40 million for our clients. Our Durham truck accident lawyers are prepared to handle every detail of your case, from investigating the accident and determining liability to gathering evidence and negotiating with the liable party. We understand the unique challenges truck accident victims face, which is why we fight tirelessly to maximize their settlements and, whenever necessary, seek fair compensation at trial. 

To schedule a free consultation with our team, call (919) 891-8361 or submit a free and secure case evaluation form here on our website. 

Nuestros Resultados

Ayuda Legal Con Experiencia De Hyland, Padilla & Fowler, PLLC Desde 1999
  • Over $40,000,000 Recovered We have won over 40 million dollars for our clients since 2012 and counting.
  • Over 7000 Cases Handled We have represented thousands of personal injury clients since 1999.
  • “Llegué a Hyland, Padilla & Fowler, PLLC después de un accidente automovilístico. El Sr. Padilla trabajó muy duro en mi caso. Su principal preocupación es el bienestar de sus clientes. Fue cariñoso, profesional,” - Toni B.
  • “Muy contenta y genial con los resultados. Gracias por ayudar a la comunidad hispana muy feliz con los resultados bendiciones. Andrea y Stefani hicieron un gran trabajo.” - Jazmin B.

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