In North Carolina, to establish a case of negligence, the plaintiff must prove:
- Causation (cause-in-fact and proximate cause)
First, a defendant owes a duty to conform to a specific standard of conduct for the protection of foreseeable plaintiffs. Breach occurs when the defendant fails to conform to that standard of conduct. Moreover, the defendant's breach must be the cause-in-fact and proximate cause of the plaintiff's harm. To prove cause-in-fact, the plaintiff must show that harm would not have occurred but for the defendant's actions. To establish the defendant's breach was the proximate cause of the plaintiff's harm, the plaintiff must show the result of the defendant's conduct was foreseeable. Finally, damages include the plaintiff's past and future medical expenses, lost income, property damages and pain and suffering.
For example, negligence in truck accidents can include various aspects like speeding, following too closely, failure to stop, failure to yield, inattentiveness, running through a red light, texting and driving, failing to yield to a right of way, failing to stop at a stop sign, aggressive driving, reckless driving or simple carelessness at any given moment.
Lastly, a violation of a statute can be regarded as Negligence Per Se. Under this doctrine, an act is automatically considered to be negligent because it violates a statute (or regulation). However, these situations are limited to those when the statute in question creates a specific duty and prescribes a course of conduct for the protection of others.
Next, while you may be able to prove that the other party was negligent and caused you to suffer numerous injuries, you may still be barred from recovery, because of Contributory Negligence. North Carolina, unfortunately, is one of the few remaining states that still follows this rule. Under North Carolina Contributory Negligence Doctrine, if you were found to be even 1% at fault in an accident, you may be completely barred from any recovery whatsoever.
The responsibility in commercial vehicle accidents is not limited to recovery from the insurance company of the at-fault party. In addition to a third-party insurance claim, in North Carolina, you may also be able to recover from the driver's employer under the doctrine of Respondeat Superior. The idea behind Respondeat Superior, which translated from Latin literally means "let the master respond," is that someone who tasks another with a job or other duty shares some responsibility for the outcome of that specific task, particularly if someone ends up being hurt. In other words, employers end up being vicariously liable for the injuries of their employees. However, an employee who is driving a commercial vehicle must be doing so within the scope of his employment and must not have deviated from the scope of his on-job responsibility.
Being able to prove both of the above-stated theories of recovery requires professional and competent legal counsel at the outset of your injury. Our truck accident attorneys can evaluate your case for free and let you know what your options are. Attempting to handle this matter by yourself can only hurt your chances of obtaining the maximum compensation that you rightfully deserve. Even in cases in which the truck driver was clearly at-fault, insurance carriers always vigorously defend injury claims by seeking to minimize the injury or by asserting that the injury was not caused by the truck accident because of some pre-existing condition.
Whether you sustained light, soft-tissue injuries or injuries of catastrophic nature, we want to stand up and fight to get what you rightfully deserve. At Panchenko Law Firm, through zealous advocacy and unparalleled commitment, our truck accident attorneys will walk you through each step of the process and ensure that you get fair and adequate compensation for your losses.
Please do not wait, call 704-859-2136 now for a free consultation with a truck accident attorney.