North Dakota Truck Accident Attorneys
Semi-trucks, tankers, cargo trucks, tractor haulers, and other commercial trucks in North Dakota can cause catastrophic injuries when they collide with a passenger vehicle. Dangerous conditions, improper loading, and negligent drivers can all increase the risk of a truck accident which is why it’s critical that everybody do their part to keep our roads safe.
The truck accident attorneys at Sand Law are experienced in negotiating with insurance companies and litigating claims to get you the compensation you deserve. We handle commercial truck accidents that happen on North Dakotans highways and roads, in the oil fields, and those caused by farming equipment and harvest season.
Causes of North Dakota Truck Accidents
The unfortunate fact is that semi-trucks are a major cause of motor vehicle accidents in North Dakota. In fact, North Dakota has one of the highest fatality rates in the nation when it comes to trucking accidents. In 2018 (the most recent year there is data for), trucks were involved in 23% of all fatal crashes in North Dakota.
This is mostly due to the fact that North Dakota has a lot of industries that require trucking. In 2016, the trucking industry in North Dakota provided 1 out of 11 jobs in the state. This directly translates to North Dakota being one of the most fatal states in the country when it comes to truck accident deaths. Data from the NDOT reports 6.5 fatal accidents per 100,000 residents in ND, which is more than 5 times higher than the national average.
There are currently about 10.5 million large trucks moving all kinds of goods in the US. And as US consumerism grows, so will trucking. It’s estimated the need for trucking will grow by about 29 percent in the next decade.
North Dakota faces the same challenges that all 50 states experience when it comes to truck accidents, but we also have some unique risk factors. Some of the most common causes of truck accidents in North Dakota include the following:
Texting, eating, talking on the phone, or talking to a passenger are just a few examples of ways that drivers are distracted. Looking away from the road for even a second can cause an accident to occur.
Severe weather conditions
Severe weather conditions such as rain, snow, sleet, black ice, and hail can make driving much harder. Truck drivers must be properly trained in driving in these weather conditions to prevent an accident from occurring.
Commercial trucks already require more time to stop than passenger vehicles, making speeding especially dangerous. If someone were to slam on their brakes or pull out in front of a speeding truck, the truck might not be able to stop in time.
Truck equipment should be maintained properly by the truck owner (either the trucking company or a rental company). If the owner fails to properly maintain the equipment, it could cause an accident.
Drivers who are inexperienced with North Dakota roads
North Dakota roads can be dangerous. With the changes in the season, drivers need to have experience with not only rainy and icy conditions but also the harvest season.
Drivers who aren’t fully trained shouldn’t be on the roads at all. Under-trained drivers can cause accidents with their ignorance, and both they and their employer could be liable.
Truck drivers are required to follow strict rules that tell them when and for how long they’re allowed to drive. Breaking these laws can result in driver fatigue and exhaustion.
Driving while under the influence of alcohol can limit one’s ability to drive properly. Being drunk can cause drivers to speed, not pay attention, swerve, drive aggressively, and more. A drunk driver behind the wheel of a commercial vehicle could cause serious damage to themselves and others.
Driving under the influence of drugs
Driving under the influence of drugs can cause impaired vision, hearing, and critical thinking. Truck drivers may take drugs to help keep themselves awake, but it does more harm than good.
Improper loading, like not tying cargo down correctly, can cause a shift in weight while driving, causing a rollover accident.
Overloading a truck can be just as bad, which is why there are often weigh stations on highways to ensure that trucks aren’t overloaded. Overloading a truck places a strain on the axles and other mechanical components of the truck, making it harder to control.
Common North Dakota Truck Accident Injuries
Now that we can clearly see that truck accidents are a problem in North Dakota, we can address what type of injuries they cause.
Smaller passenger vehicles are no match for heavy commercial trucks when they collide. This is directly due to the size and weight difference. This means that it’s mostly the passengers in the smaller vehicle that are injured during these collisions. Some common injuries that victims of truck accidents suffer from include:
Traumatic brain injuries
Traumatic brain injuries (or TBIs) are caused by a great force or penetration to the skull. They can result in injuries that range from mild to severe. Victims of severe traumatic brain injuries can expect long-term treatment and high medical bills.
Neck and back injuries
Whiplash is one of the most common neck injuries associated with motor vehicle accidents. Other neck and back injuries include soft tissue damage, herniated discs, and spinal cord injuries. Neck and back injuries often cause chronic pain.
Crushing injuries are common in truck accidents because of the sheer impact a commercial vehicle can cause. Crushing injuries can cause various injuries at the same time, most often severely broken bones in multiple places.
Spinal cord injuries
Spinal cord injuries can range in severity and are often more severe the higher up on the spine the injury occurs. Spinal cord injuries may result in complete or incomplete paralysis. Spinal cord injuries are known for being incredibly expensive, as there’s no known cure. That means that they often require life-long treatment for pain management.
Internal injuries include damage to the organs and internal bleeding. These injuries require immediate treatment and can cause one to bleed out. Internal injuries may be unseen, which is why it’s important to receive medical treatment after an accident, even if you don’t believe that you’ve been injured.
Burn injuries may occur because of an explosion or fire. While they’re not common in truck accidents, they do occur. Trucks that carry hazardous materials are more likely to cause fires and burn injuries. Severe burns may require a skin graft and may leave the victim with visible scarring.
Severe soft tissue injuries
Soft tissues are usually minor, but more severe injuries are possible. Soft tissue injuries include torn ligaments and tendons, as well as sprains and strains. More severe injuries can cause chronic pain that flares up when the area is overused.
Unfortunately, wrongful death can occur because of truck accidents. Because commercial trucks are so large, fatalities can occur on impact. Death may also occur later on because of complications with injuries sustained in the accident.
North Dakota Truck Accident Consequences
These injuries can have long-lasting consequences and cost injury victims hundreds of thousands of dollars. Victims of extremely severe truck accidents often need surgery, rehabilitation, extensive assistive and rehabilitative care, and expensive medications.
Even less severe North Dakota truck accidents can cause injuries such as lacerations, concussions, sprains, lacerations, and more. All these injuries are debilitating and can be costly to treat.
These physical injuries are devastating. What is often just as devastating is the pain and suffering that commercial truck accident victims endure. These injuries can be just as difficult to overcome.
Proving Negligence in a North Dakota Truck Accident Case
To receive compensation for your truck crash injuries, negligence must be proved. This may be the truck driver’s negligence, the company’s negligence, or the truck manufacturer’s negligence. These third parties may be liable for injuries caused in a truck accident. Proving negligence is a multi-step process that starts with establishing the following:
- Duty of care: Duty of care refers to the duty that drivers owe to each other to protect other drivers on the road by driving carefully and safely.
- Breach of duty: There must be a breach of duty of care that must then be proven. Basically, you must be able to prove that the way that they were acting broke the duty they owe to other drivers, i.e., they put you in danger with their behavior.
- Causation: You must be able to prove that your injuries occurred because of their breach of duty. For example, the way that the driver was driving directly caused your injuries. This could be because of distracted driving, texting while driving, or intoxicated driving.
- Damages: Finally, you must have monetary damages that you can be compensated for. These damages must have been accumulated because of the accident and your injuries.
Third-Party Truck Accident Liability
In a truck accident case, parties other than the driver may be liable for your injuries and damages. Potential third parties include the trucking company, the loading company, the truck rental company, or the manufacturer of the vehicle or a specific part. In some cases, multiple parties may share liability. Here are some examples:
- If your accident was caused by a fatigued driver, both the driver and the trucking company could share liability. The driver is liable for driving while overly exhausted, but the trucking company may be liable for failing to properly track the driver’s hours or pressuring them to drive too much. This is true for many circumstances, including driving under the influence or inexperienced drivers. While it’s the driver committing the act, it’s the employer’s responsibility to keep tabs on employees to prevent these things from happening.
- If your accident was caused because of a defective part, both the manufacturer and the trucking company could be liable. Of course, the manufacturer would be liable for failing to warn about the associated dangers. The trucking company could also be liable if the part was recalled and they didn’t replace it in a timely manner.
Compensation for Physical Injuries from Truck Accidents
Unfortunately, physical injuries are extremely common after North Dakota tractor-trailer accidents. A thorough review of a victim’s medical records by an auto accident attorney is essential for any personal injury case, especially one involving a large truck. Fortunately, it is possible to recover compensation for the damages caused by these injuries, like:
- Medical bills
- Future medical bills
- Lost wages
- Lost future wages
- Rehab and in-home care
- Medical equipment
- Changes to home
- Pain and suffering
- Lost earning capacity
- Loss of consortium
- Emotional anguish
- Funeral costs
- Burial costs
Types of Evidence Used to Build a Truck Accident Case
Having solid evidence is crucial when building a truck accident case. Most denied claims are rejected because of insufficient evidence. Types of evidence we’ll use to build your truck accident case include:
- Photos and videos (personal, from witnesses, from dash cameras, security cameras, and more)
- Recorded statements (personal and from eyewitnesses)
- Black box data
- Log books and other records kept by the trucking company
- Expert witness testimonies
- Police reports
- Medical records and bills
- Employment confirmation letters and past paystubs
Speak with a Truck Accident Lawyer in North Dakota
The North Dakota Truck Accident Law Firm of Sand Law PLLC handles cases in Bismarck, Fargo, Minot, Watford City, Williston, and throughout North Dakota. Our injury attorneys have the resources and experience to handle your truck accident case in a compassionate, personal, and effective manner.