NHTSA: fatal truck accidents happening more frequently
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the nation’s roads have become more deadly in recent years. The agency recently announced that fatal truck accidents have increased by 3.7 percent nationwide during 2012 (the most recent year with data available). Although this percentage alone does not seem like much, it marks the third consecutive year of increases. If you have ever witnessed a truck accident, you know that it can cause catastrophic damage, particularly when the other vehicle involved is a car or SUV. Aside from property damage, those involved are at a much greater likelihood of suffering from severe injuries such as spinal cord injuries, head or neck injuries or broken bones. Due to the superior size and weight of the truck, there is also a much greater chance of someone being killed than there would be in a typical car accident. Although truck accidents happen for many reasons, in many cases accidents are caused by the negligence of the driver or trucking company. Common examples of negligence are drug or alcohol use by the driver, driver fatigue, poor maintenance of the truck, speeding, or distracted driving (e.g. texting or cellphone use while driving).
Remedies in North Carolina
If a loved one has been killed in a truck accident where negligence was the cause, the family may suffer sudden financial losses as well as emotional pain. Fortunately, North Carolina law allows certain close family members to recover their losses from the responsible driver by filing a wrongful death lawsuit. In North Carolina, this type of lawsuit may be filed when a person’s death is caused by the neglect, wrongful act or carelessness of another person, whom the decedent could have sued for damages, had he or she survived the accident. The main purpose of this type of lawsuit is to restore the family to the same financial position that they would have been in had the death not occurred. Under the law, wrongful death must be filed by a personal representative of the decedent’s estate. Any damages collected in the lawsuit are used to compensate the estate and the decedent’s eligible heirs (spouse, children and parents) for the loss. The law allows the recovery of many types of damages such as:
- Medical treatment needed by the decedent before he or she died
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of decedent’s income
- Loss of services, care and assistance provided by the decedent
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of decedent’s companionship, guidance and comfort
- Punitive damages, if the death was caused by malice or willful conduct
Speak to an attorney
If you have lost a loved one in a truck or car accident because of someone’s careless conduct, it is important to contact an experienced personal injury attorney. An attorney can advise you on your right to compensation and work to recover the compensation needed during your time of loss.