The commercial transportation industry in the United States is indeed one of the most regulated components of the economy. And the importance of the shipping industry cannot be overstated. Without the delivery of products to the marketplace, the country does not operate. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration sets the standard for the states to follow by issuing general guidelines and overall industry requirements while the states also evaluate the safety needs in their particular jurisdiction. The shipping industry is governed within North Carolina by the Department of Transportation, which enforces all rules and regulations regarding movement. The state highway patrol officers and state police are also trained in laws that apply to trucks and commercial vehicles of all types, that use the North Carolina highways – when accidents happen in North Carolina involving commercial vehicles, their reports can be very significant when personal injury lawyers are prosecuting cases through the legal system.
Application of Rules and Regulations
Enforcement of highway transportation rules and regulations in North Carolina is primarily assigned to the state Department of Transportation. All commercial drivers are required to know the rules of the road in the state just as in any other states that they travel through. Weight limits and other standards are typically uniform across the nation, but some states like North Carolina also have some unique laws. One is the pure contributory negligence standard that is applied in truck accident injury claim cases. Pure contributory negligence means that any injured driver who is even 1% at fault for causing a collision cannot be compensated for any personal injuries. This clearly gives the advantage to the commercial driver when they are involved in an accident even when they are violating laws, which often requires investigation from a truck accident lawyer to uncover. Local police departments also have the authority to cite commercial drivers when violations are found, and they commonly investigate accidents within city jurisdiction. Many such accidents occur in and around the city limits of New Bern, NC, due to the city’s own need for supplying commerce and its proximity to major highway systems. One such accident involving several trucks and other passenger vehicles was reported on by WITN, and you can read the truck accident report here. In the linked article, the accident was one of many experienced within the city of New Bern, NC [Craven County] overs the years, with this particular crash involving a log truck, propane truck, transit van, and two non-commercial passenger vehicles. In all cases of this nature, each party will generally require the skills of an experienced truck accident lawyer to help determine fault and liability and to determine if a case for compensating their client exists.
Types of Commercial Vehicles
Manufacturers and other companies across the nation regularly use interstate trucking to transport their wares, and differing types of container trucks and assorted carrier vehicles have different weight standards. Being overloaded is a very common component of a commercial truck accident, and it is not always noticed immediately after an accident occurs. Hauling equipment such as flatbed trailers can also carry cargo that has not been properly secured at the point of origin just to come loose and shift during transport. And failure to properly secure cargo often results in serious accidents. Even though most people associate commercial accidents with oversized loads, occupations utilizing transportation modes that do not require a first-class commercial license are also governed by commercial highway laws that can affect the outcome of a personal injury claim when they are involved.
Division of Motor Vehicles
Another state agency in North Carolina with oversight authority is the DMV. Not only do they require specific drivers licensing for operating commercial vehicles, but they also set the standards on the amount of liability insurance commercial trucks are required to maintain. The current requirement is $750,000 for big-rigs and other commercial vehicles of a similar size and weight, which means that injured victims who are not at fault can be wholly compensated in most accident cases. Liability and fault are central to all accident cases in North Carolina, and truck accident cases are always defended vigorously because of the high standard for proving an accident injury claim.
Always remember, truck accidents in North Carolina are not always investigated thoroughly by the oversight authorities because of manpower restrictions, and many times being compensated for your injuries requires retaining an experienced and aggressive truck accident attorney who can conduct an independent investigation on behalf of the client and pinpoint issues that could indicate complete fault for the truck operator. These are always difficult cases, and the truck accident attorney you choose should have a strong working knowledge of the rules and regulations for commercial operators.
Kellum Law Firm’s attorneys have extensive experience handling all manner of auto / truck / motorcycle accident claims and can help you determine liability and proceed with a claim against the insurance company.
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