Fargo Truck Accident Injury Attorneys
When an 80,000-pound commercial truck barreling down an interstate highway slams into a passenger vehicle, it doesn’t take much of an imagination to predict the type of devastation that will result. Not only will this kind of accident almost guarantee horrible injuries, it will also result in tragic fatalities.
At Sand Law, our truck accident attorneys have a long track record of success helping injury victims, as well as the family members of lost loved ones, obtain the compensation they deserve. These kinds of cases can be incredibly complex, so if you’ve been injured or lost someone you love because of a truck driver or trucking company’s negligence, you’ll need expert legal help.
North Dakota Truck Accident Statistics
The good news is that the number of truck accidents has actually dipped in North Dakota since 2016. The bad news is that they still occur on a far too common basis.
There were 1,060 so-called “heavy vehicle-related crashes (including large commercial trucks) in 2016, resulting in 13 fatalities and 288 injuries. While the number of crashes dipped to 772 in 2020, the number of deaths actually increased to 15. The worst year in this five-year period was 2018 when 1,176 heavy vehicle crashes cost 26 lives and injured 318 people.
A large portion – 46% — of these wrecks were actually single-vehicle accidents. However, 17% of them involved the larger vehicle rear-ending another vehicle. Nearly 30% occurred at intersections, while 15% involved rollovers – 10% were attributed to large vehicles traveling at excessive speeds.
Nearly 70% of heavy vehicle crashes occurred in rural areas, and most of them took place between October and January.
Understanding Trucking Regulations in North Dakota
Both federal and state regulations govern the trucking industry in North Dakota. These rules, set by agencies like the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), dictate hours-of-service limits, regular maintenance checks, and mandatory rest periods for drivers.
Trucking companies are also required to conduct background checks on drivers and ensure they undergo proper training. Violations of these regulations can be pivotal in determining negligence in a truck accident case.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
There are many different reasons truck accidents take place. These are just a few of the more common causes.
- Distracted driving. Taking your focus off of the road for even a couple of seconds can result in an accident. When you consider the sheer size of a large commercial truck, this lack of focus can have terrible consequences.
- Hazardous weather. Winter storms often result in black ice, which can easily cause a truck driver to lose control.
- Speeding. Truck drivers will often speed in an effort to make a delivery deadline. But this is even more dangerous because trucks need more time to stop than a passenger car.
- Improper loading. If the loading team doesn’t properly secure the load, it could cause a rollover accident.
- Driver fatigue. If a driver is exhausted, driving becomes much more difficult. They have slower reaction times, and they may not be able to keep their eyes open.
- Driving under the influence. Truck drivers may drive while impaired and cause accidents because of their lack of impulse control, decision-making ability, and blurred vision.
- Defective parts. Parts like brakes, tires, fuel tanks, and airbags can all cause accidents if they are defective. For example, if an airbag goes off unexpectantly, the driver could lose control of their vehicle.
Catastrophic Injuries as a Result of Truck Collisions
When a huge truck hits the average passenger car, the truck wins – each and every time. Motorists and their passengers often suffer debilitating, permanent injuries because of the forces they’re subjected to in this kind of accident. Here are some examples.
- Traumatic brain injuries. A TBI occurs when the skull is either exposed to a great deal of force or is penetrated by an object flying at a high speed. This kind of injury will, in severe instances, require a lifetime of medical attention and lead to incredibly high medical expenses.
- Back and neck injuries. As you read earlier, a large percentage of truck accidents involve rear-ending other vehicles. When that other vehicle is a car, the driver and passengers can suffer severe whiplash and spinal cord injuries. If a spinal cord injury is bad enough, the victim may be completely paralyzed for life.
- Internal injuries. Organ damage and potentially fatal internal bleeding can also occur due to a truck accident. Some victims aren’t even aware they’ve been hurt. As a result, their bleeding can be so severe that they don’t survive.
Third-Party Liability in Truck Accident Cases
Most people assume the truck driver is typically responsible for a truck accident. While that’s true in many cases, in many others the fault lies with another party. For example, a tire could have blown out because it was defective, or the truck’s brakes might have failed due to negligent manufacturing. If that’s the case, then an accident victim might be able to file a lawsuit against that liable third party.
There are other third parties that could face lawsuits as well. The trucking company may have failed to properly inspect the truck before sending it out. If a part fails due to a lack of maintenance, an accident victim could sue that company. Sometimes a completely different company will be hired to load the truck. They could load it in a way that leads to a shift in the load while the truck is on the road, and that could result in the truck rolling over. In this case, the loading company could be sued.
Damages in a Truck Accident Case
In a truck accident case, there are two categories of damages that you can recover, economic and non-economic. Economic damages include any monetary losses, while non-economic damages do not. To determine how much your case is worth, we’ll add up your total economic and non-economic damages. While economic damages can be calculated by totaling up your bills, non-economic damages are more abstract. To calculate your non-economic damages, we’ll take a look at your quality of life and how it’s changed since the accident.
For example, if you’re a marathon runner who gets into a paralyzing accident, your quality of life will have experienced a great change. If you’re a marathon runner who breaks a few bones and is able to heal within a few months, your quality of life will likely not experience a huge change overall. However, in this case, both marathon runners deserve to be compensated for their damages—and so do you.
The Importance of Evidence Preservation in Truck Accidents
After a truck accident, preserving evidence is crucial. This includes the truck’s electronic logging device (ELD) data, which records driving hours, maintenance records, and any communication between the driver and trucking company.
Swift action is necessary, as some evidence can be lost or deliberately destroyed. Engaging an attorney early ensures that a spoliation letter is sent to the trucking company, mandating them to retain vital records that can be instrumental in proving negligence.
Navigating Comparative Fault in Truck Accident Claims
In North Dakota, the concept of comparative fault plays a role in truck accident claims. If a victim is found partially at fault, their compensation may be reduced proportionally. For instance, if you’re deemed 20% responsible, your compensation might be reduced by that percentage.
Especially in truck accidents, where multiple parties can be involved, understanding and proving the degree of fault is paramount. An experienced attorney can help dissect the events leading to the accident and ensure fair attribution of blame.
Will Hiring an Attorney Improve Your Chances of Winning Your Case?
The answer to this is simple – yes. Trucking accidents are typically high-stakes cases – millions of dollars can be on the line. As a result, the trucking company, as well as its insurance company, will do everything possible to win. They will have high-priced lawyers on their side to do just that.
As a result, you’ll simply have to have the help of a skilled legal representative to have any chance of obtaining fair compensation. An attorney will immediately launch an investigation into the accident, gathering the evidence needed to prove your case. If needed, your attorney can bring in expert witnesses to convince a jury that that accident was someone else’s fault.
It is by no means an exaggeration to say that if you don’t have a strong attorney by your side, you’ll stand very little chance of winning your case. There’s even a chance you could receive nothing for the suffering you’ve been forced to endure.
Contact an Experienced Fargo Truck Accident Attorney Today
Please don’t try to go it alone when pursuing compensation for injuries you’ve suffered in a truck accident – or compensation for the tragic loss of a loved one. Let Sand Law take care of your case so that we can put our experience and knowledge to work on your behalf. Schedule a free case review by calling 701-609-1510 or using our online contact form.