Who is at Fault in a Lane-Change Accident?

Sharing the road with tractor-trailers is often an intimidating experience. Blind spots surround a large semi-truck, making it difficult for them to see the drivers around them.

Commercial truck drivers must rely upon their mirrors to make safe lane changes. Failure to make a safe lane change can injure or kill others. It can also lead to the loss of a commercial driver’s license (CDL).

Determining fault in a lane change accident is crucial for proving negligence. If you or someone you love suffered damages from a reckless truck driver, you may be entitled to compensation.

North Carolina Truck Accidents Involving Unsafe Lane Changes

The average tractor-trailer is 14 feet high, 8.5 feet wide, and can weigh up to 80,000 pounds fully loaded. These stats are no comparison to a car that is 4 to 6 feet tall and 5 to 6 feet wide, weighing 3,000 to 4,000 pounds.

With side mirrors but no rearview mirrors, tractor-trailer drivers use their training to travel North Carolina highways. Unfortunately, it takes one dangerous truck driver to disregard their training and put other drivers at risk for severe harm.

Long hours behind the wheel, pressure to make prompt deliveries, and time away from family can cause drivers to take risks. The following types of risks can cause a commercial truck driver to make an unsafe lane change:

  • Not resting: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) mandates the hours of service for truck drivers. A driver who ignores the rules or who fails to rest is a danger to others.
  • Drunk or drugged driving: The use of alcohol or drugs to stay awake or to relax impairs judgment and reaction times. Commercial truck drivers have a lower blood alcohol concentration (BAC) threshold than other drivers, at .04 percent.
  • Aggressive driving: Speeding and purposely tailgating are two examples of aggressive driving. In addition, trucks need extra time to come to a complete stop, making both examples dangerous and sometimes deadly.
  • Distracted driving: According to the FMCSA, distractions occur inside and outside the cab of a tractor-trailer. Scenery and smartphones can lead to an improper lane change and a traumatic accident.

Commercial truck drivers rely on their CDL for their livelihood. Yet, at the same time, many drivers are paid per mile. Deadlines, mileage goals, and other factors can push drivers to disregard federal regulations to make up miles.

Who is liable in a lane-change accident?

An improper lane change is an avoidable crash. However, a truck driver who fails to maintain control of their truck is generally liable for the damage. For accident victims, this damage can severely affect their lives forever.

Commercial truck drivers spend hours on North Carolina highways. One dangerous lane change can forever change your life. A North Carolina truck accident attorney at Sumwalt Anderson can help you fight for justice.


Your North Carolina Truck Accident Injuries

A truck accident can leave you with severe injuries that require a long recovery. Permanent injuries are also possible, leaving you unable to return to your job.

The violent impact between a car and a truck can result in such devastating injuries as:

  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Internal injuries
  • Broken bones.

An accident involving a tanker truck may result in a fire, causing victims severe burns. Your care or that of a loved one may involve weeks or months in a hospital or rehabilitation center.

The emotional and psychological impact of your accident can cause you restless nights. Unfortunately, post-traumatic stress disorder following a tragic accident is real, and patients must receive the help they need.

Paying for such care is the responsibility of the negligent truck driver. A truck accident civil case is a complex matter. If you or a loved one suffered severe or catastrophic injuries due to a reckless truck driver, you may want to contact a North Carolina truck accident lawyer today.

How a North Carolina Lawyer Can Help You

Avoiding a truck’s no-zones is vital for passing a truck safely. However, no amount of defensive driving can protect you from a sudden lane change by a reckless truck driver.

A North Carolina lawyer can help you pursue justice and compensation for your damages in the following ways:

  • Interview witnesses
  • Review police reports
  • Examine accident photographs
  • Review any local media coverage.

Your lawyer can negotiate with the truck insurance company for a fair settlement. The negotiation process is standard in civil cases, as most insurance companies want to avoid a trial.

If your car accident lawyer feels a trial is necessary, they must have courtroom experience. Therefore, hiring the right North Carolina truck accident lawyer for your case is essential for securing the best outcome possible.

Typical damages covered in a personal injury claim and lawsuit are:

  • Medical expenses
  • Future medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Future earnings
  • Pain and suffering.

North Carolina Statute of Limitations

Personal injury victims have three years to pursue a civil lawsuit. North Carolina law allows those seeking a wrongful death lawsuit two years.

North Carolina wrongful death laws are specific as to who may pursue compensation. A lawyer can help determine if your relationship with the victim qualifies you for legal action. If so, you may seek compensation for damages, such as final medical expenses and funeral costs.

A traumatic truck accident leaves you in no condition to manage a civil case alone. Protecting your best interests by hiring a lawyer can allow you to rest easier.

Get Help From a North Carolina Truck Accident Lawyer

When a truck suddenly changes lanes, there is nothing a driver can do to avoid a crash. However, you have legal options if you suffered severe injuries, must care for a loved one, or lost a close loved one.

At Sumwalt Anderson, we aggressively fight for the compensation our clients deserve. We also deliver quality customer service by treating each client with respect and compassion.

Proving negligence is key to each personal injury and wrongful death case. Compensation is never promised. However, no one should settle for less than they deserve. A free case consultation can help you learn if you have a case and, if so, how to move forward.

Call Sumwalt Anderson today for more information at (704) 377-3770.

Attorney Mark Sumwalt

Mark Sumwalt is a native of Rock Hill, South Carolina who has practiced law in Charlotte since 1981, primarily in the field of worker’s compensation. He has litigated hundreds of cases to decision all over the state and handled many significant appeals to the North Carolina Court of Appeals and the North Carolina Supreme Court, particularly in the area of attendant care. [ Attorney Bio ]


How to File a Truck Accident claim in North Carolina

A truck accident can be a terrifying event, and it can have severe repercussions on your life. Whether you are hit by a commercial truck, a big rig, or a semi-trailer, it is certain to knock your life off course.

The strain of medical bills, repair costs, or the cost to replace your vehicle entirely, is overwhelming enough. If you are dealing with the loss of a loved one or a permanent disability, it can seem insurmountable. That is why you need a dedicated support team at your back[...]