Truck Accidents and TBI Claims in North Carolina
One of the most devastating types of injuries that someone can sustain in a truck accident is a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Traumatic brain injuries can cause victims to suffer physical disabilities, seizures, memory loss, cognitive problems, and behavioral changes. A catastrophic traumatic brain injury can also leave an accident victim in a comatose or vegetative state.
North Carolina law allows TBI victims to seek compensation for their injuries if someone else was at fault for the truck accident. If you or a loved one has been hurt, turn to Stewart Law Offices. For over two decades, our legal team has represented the rights and interests of accident victims across North Carolina. We understand that a traumatic brain injury can completely change your life. You can count on us to treat your case with the care and consideration it deserves.
Our truck accident lawyers will take the time to get a full understanding of your needs and goals. Then we’ll craft a legal claim that works towards the results you want. Our mission is to make you feel empowered and confident that we’re working for your best interests at all times. You will always receive honest, transparent advice from us.
Let’s talk today in a free consultation. Call or contact Stewart Law Offices now.
Understanding Traumatic Brain Injury Cases
Truck accident cases involving traumatic brain injury can lead to difficult negotiations and long, drawn-out litigation. One reason is because TBIs are often “hidden injuries,” without the dramatic visual impact that accompany other types of catastrophic trauma, such as burns or amputations. Someone who has suffered a traumatic brain injury may not look very different, yet have severe physical and cognitive abilities that completely alter the course of their lives.
In many cases, a truck accident victim who has suffered a TBI will need extensive medical records and testimony from treating physicians and medical experts to establish the severity of the TBI and to explain the impact it will have on the victim’s life, including physical limitations or the inability to work in gainful employment.
When the signs and symptoms of a TBI may take weeks, months, or years to begin manifesting themselves, the opposing side in a truck accident case may argue that the TBI symptoms were not caused by the wreck but were suffered afterward or resulted from a preexisting condition. Insurance companies may point to aspects of a truck accident victim’s medical history, such as prior head injuries, drug or alcohol use, or other mental disease, to claim that the victim’s TBI was not caused by the crash.
Because serious traumatic brain injuries can lead to significant financial and personal losses over the course of an accident victim’s life, at-fault parties and insurers often fight hard to minimize their liability for those losses. Having an experienced lawyer to defend you from baseless claims can protect your claim to compensation if you’re living with a TBI in North Carolina.
Liability for a Traumatic Brain Injury
When someone sustains a traumatic brain injury in a truck accident, the victim may be entitled to hold several parties liable for the accident. The key point will be determining who is at fault.
With so many individuals and companies involved in the trucking industry, there can be several parties to blame for a truck accident and a resulting traumatic brain injury, including:
- The truck driver, who can be held responsible if their negligent operation of their rig leads to a crash.
- The trucking company, who might be held vicariously liable if it employs a driver whose negligence causes an accident. A carrier may be directly liable for other unsafe actions, such as negligently hiring, training, or retaining an unsafe driver or for directing drivers to violate the federal hours-of-service regulations to make deliveries quickly.
- The truck’s owner (if different from the truck driver or trucking company), who might be held liable if an accident is caused by deferred maintenance on the truck.
- The freight company, who might be held responsible if an unsafe truckload, such as an unbalanced or unsecured load, causes the truck to lose control and slam into another motorist.
- The repair shop or garage that maintains the truck, who might be to blame when negligent maintenance of the truck leads to an accident.
- The truck’s manufacturer or a part manufacturer, who can be held liable for a collision caused by a design or manufacturing defect.
You will also need to present strong evidence showing that your traumatic brain injury was caused by the truck collision and was not caused by a preexisting condition or from a separate incident following the truck accident.
How Contributory Negligence Can Affect Your Claim
Once your truck accident lawyer has determined who should be held liable for the truck accident, it’s time to collect evidence to prove it.
Evidence is critical to every personal injury claim. It’s especially important in North Carolina. That’s because North Carolina remains one of the few states that still uses a harsh method to apportion fault in an accident. It’s called contributory negligence.
Under the contributory negligence rule, an injured accident victim may not recover compensation from another party if he or she bears any fault for the accident or injury. Being assigned just one percent of the fault means zero compensation for the victim.
Because compensation hangs so precariously in the balance, opposing parties in a truck accident case push hard to find anything that might tip the scales in their favor. Stewart Law Offices highly recommends that you consult with a truck accident attorney before entering any negotiations with an insurance company.
Factors That Determine the Value of an Insurance Claim Involving a Head Injury
The value of a claim for compensation for a head injury and other injuries arising from a truck accident can be affected by many different factors, such as:
- Clear liability for the accident: If no one disputes that the trucking parties bear fault for the crash, their insurers may offer a higher settlement to avoid the risk and expense of a trial. However, if they dispute liability, they might offer less in a settlement, being more comfortable with the risk of going to trial.
- Multiple parties at fault: If multiple companies, such as the trucking company and freight company, each bear some portion of fault for an accident, they may dispute each other’s share of liability, potentially affecting the total recovery you obtain from all the at-fault parties.
- Your personal circumstances: Your age, prior medical history, occupation, and other personal factors can influence the value of your claim.
- Whether punitive damages are justified: If the at-fault parties committed wanton or reckless conduct in causing the accident and your injuries, the possibility that you could be awarded punitive damages if you took your claim to trial can also be calculated into the value of your insurance claim.
- Whether you mitigated your losses: Even though you may have been injured through no fault of your own, the law still requires you to take reasonable steps to reduce the extent of your losses. For example, if you fail to seek prompt treatment for your traumatic brain injury, the insurance company may refuse to compensate you for more extensive and expensive treatment needed if your TBI was made worse by not seeing a doctor sooner.
Truck Accident Verdicts and Settlements After a Head Injury
The costs of treating a serious traumatic brain injury over the course of a lifetime can reach into the millions of dollars. As a result, verdicts and settlements for a truck accident TBI have the potential for being quite large*.
At Stewart Law Offices, our attorneys have secured several multimillion-dollar recoveries for our clients who have been involved in truck accidents through no fault of their own*. View our case results here to see how we have helped other clients*.
Let Our Skilled Attorneys Help You Get the Compensation You Deserve
If you’ve suffered a traumatic brain injury in a North Carolina truck accident caused by a third party, you deserve full and fair compensation for your treatment, rehabilitation, and other losses resulting from the collision. Let Stewart Law Offices be your partner on the path to justice.
When you talk with one of our North Carolina truck accident attorneys, you’ll get straightforward advice from lawyers who truly care. We’ll work toward a strong and solid claim for compensation for you, and we’ll do it while treating you with the compassion you deserve.
We’re just a phone call or a mouse click away. Call or contact us today for a free consultation.