• May 25, 2017

3 Injured in Goldsboro, NC, 18-wheeler Accident on US 13

Goldsboro, NC -- May 24, 2017, three people were injured, one critically, due to an accident in which their vehicle was hit by an 18-wheeler.

Investigators from the North Carolina Highway Patrol were called out to the accident scene, located at the intersection of West Hill Street and US Highway 13.

Police officials reported that a pickup was stopped at a stop sign at the intersection. An oncoming 18-wheel somehow lost control as it approached the intersection. It reportedly swerved off-road, then back on and into the back of the pickup. The 18-wheeler then went into oncoming traffic and hit a car head-on.

Three occupants of that car were taken to a local hospital for treatment. The driver of that vehicle was said to have serious injuries while the others' conditions were said to be stable. No additional injuries were reported.

No charges or citations were reported, and the cause of the accident is still unclear.

Map of the Area

Commentary

I don't want to seem like I'm making light of this situation in any way, but there's a recurring pattern in these kinds of accidents which has become sort of a cliche around our office, and that's the, "Phantom Brake Failure Defense." This refers to trucking companies trying to avoid liability for an accident by saying the truck suddenly experienced brake failure, meaning the driver couldn't have possible controlled the vehicle and the accident was unavoidable. I've litigated hundreds of truck accidents over the years, and I know from experience that there's always a good chance this defense will worm its way forward in any given truck accident.

This might just sound like an absurd argument that would never work, but for those who aren't expecting it, it can catch people off-guard and ultimately leave them at a disadvantage. While the trucking company may not avoid liability entirely using this method, they can at least avoid a portion of fault, cheating victims and their families out of the much needed compensation they deserve.

But how does this work, exactly? Trucking companies are betting on the fact that whoever was harmed in the accident is going to assume they'll automatically be compensated for the accident--after all, the truck driver appears to be completely at fault. All the sudden, the trucking company is saying the brakes failed and their driver couldn't possible have avoided the crash. By this time, it's been weeks or maybe months since the accident. When victims finally catch on and get a professional to look at the truck, the company says they've already fixed the truck and put it back into service, since they received no word to preserve the evidence for investigators.

By blaming a non-existent problem and then shifting things so that it's impossible to prove it ever existed in the first place, trucking companies hope they can convince victims--or a jury if need be--that they aren't entirely at fault for the accident. If victims don't have the evidence necessary to counter these arguments, no matter how obvious it may seem to them that the trucking company is liable, they could lose much or even all of their claim.

Now like I said, this is an absurd defense that really shouldn't be as effective as it sometimes ends up being. While things can be difficult for those not expecting such underhanded tactics, those who act quickly can overcome these obstacles and counter whatever blame-shifting strategies the trucking company employs. By gaining the aid of an experienced professional who is experienced with combative trucking companies, victims and their families can ensure that crucial evidence is collected and preserved so they can build a proper case upon tangible evidence. A trucking company might have tricks up its sleeves, but evidence speaks volumes when it comes to proving liability. An experienced attorney knows to let the facts do the talking so that those affected by these accidents can get the justice they deserve.

--Grossman Law Offices

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