North Carolina Truck Accident Laws 2023 Explained

North Carolina Truck Accident Laws 2023 Explained
Nov 18 2023

Truck accidents can be severely impactful and life-changing for those in passenger vehicles. Claims against commercial trucking companies are complicated for many reasons, including the severity of injuries, the resources of a company’s insurance provider, and the complex state and federal regulations that apply to a case. If you or a loved one was involved in a truck accident that was not your fault, you need a North Carolina truck accident lawyer to protect your rights.

Interstate and Intrastate Truck Regulation

Interstate trucking traffic refers to trucks that move between different states, carrying goods across state lines, while intrastate trucking traffic refers to trucks that carry all cargo within one state’s border.

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), specifically the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which is a branch of the DOT, is the primary federal agency responsible for trucking regulation. Federal rules apply to interstate trucking traffic and all other vehicles operating in the country. These regulations cover a vast number of requirements, including:

  • The size and weight restrictions of each unique type of commercial vehicle
  • How long a truck driver is allowed to operate their vehicle on the road
  • How many hours of rest a truck driver must take between shifts
  • How to label hazardous material
  • The conditions and maintenance of commercial vehicles
  • How trucks must be inspected
  • A commercial driver’s qualifications

In North Carolina, both the state’s DOT and the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) are responsible for regulating trucking oversight and accidents. When commercial trucks keep all their travel within North Carolina, these are the regulations that apply. Certain federal laws may take precedence over state laws, depending on the situation.

Trucking Hours of Service Regulations

Many of the laws and regulations in North Carolina are the same as the FMCSA laws, but there are some differences. North Carolina observes FMCSA hours of service laws, which rely on whether a driver is carrying property or passengers. These laws state that:

  • A driver carrying property can only work a 14-hour total shift and drive their vehicle for 11 hours of that time after having ten consecutive hours off duty.
  • A driver carrying property cannot continue driving after meeting 70 hours on duty in 8 consecutive days.
  • A driver carrying passengers can only work a 15-hour shift and drive their vehicle for 10 hours of that time after having eight consecutive hours off duty.

There are some exceptions to these laws and regulations.

North Carolina Truck Accident Reporting Rules

State guidelines for reporting truck accidents are the same as federal rules. They include:

  1. Commercial truck drivers must report significant accidents to law enforcement.
  2. Any truck accident that results in any fatality must be reported to the Public Service Commission within 24 hours.
  3. Any truck accident with no fatalities must be reported to the Public Service Commission within 15 days.
  4. A truck accident cannot be reported later than 30 days.

After a truck accident, it is important to also contact a Fayetteville, NC, Truck Accident Attorney to effectively protect your rights.

Pure Contributory Negligence Laws

In North Carolina, any motor vehicle accident could be subject to the state’s pure contributory negligence laws, including truck accidents. An injured party has the right to recover damages through a car insurance claim with the at-fault party’s insurance. However, under these laws, if the injured party is at all responsible or liable for the accident, they are unable to gain any compensation for damages.

If the insurance company can prove that an injured party is even 1% at fault for an accident, the injured party cannot recover any medical bills, lost income, or other damages. This makes it much harder for injured parties to get the coverage they deserve. It also makes it much easier for trucking companies to avoid being held accountable for negligence.


Q: What Are the Accident Laws in North Carolina?

A: In motor vehicle accidents in North Carolina, the driver at fault for the accident is responsible for the damages. Injured parties in the accident can file against the driver’s insurance, or they can file a civil claim. However, if the filing party is determined to be even 1% responsible for the accident, they are barred from recovering compensation. This is because North Carolina has contributory negligence laws for claims. These laws make it difficult for victims of accidents to get the compensation they deserve.

Q: Is North Carolina a No-Fault State for Auto Accidents?

A: No, North Carolina is not a no-fault state. North Carolina is an at-fault state for auto accidents, meaning that insurance claims are filed with the car insurance provider of the at-fault driver. Knowing who was at fault for the accident is incredibly important.

An injured party can file an insurance claim to cover property damage, medical bills, and even lost income. If insurance will not cover the total cost of their damages, they can file with their own insurance provider or file a civil personal injury claim. This is often necessary in serious accidents with a large amount of damage, such as trucking accidents.

Q: How Is Fault Determined in a Car Accident in North Carolina?

A: A thorough investigation of an accident and a review of the evidence present is important for determining who was at fault. Fault is typically based on negligence, where one or more drivers failed to uphold the expected duty of care to others, and this failure led to the accident. A driver may be negligent by:

  • Operating their car recklessly
  • Ignoring stoplights
  • Failing to check before crossing lanes
  • Driving under the influence

Useful evidence may include photos of the accident site, CCTV and traffic cam footage of the accident, and medical records of the injuries.

Q: Can You Sue Someone for a Truck Accident in North Carolina?

A: If someone else was at fault for your trucking accident in North Carolina, you may be able to file a claim against them. The first step is typically to file an insurance claim with a trucking company’s insurance provider. However, if your injuries and other damages have a higher value than even maximum coverage will recover, a civil personal injury claim may be the next option.

If the accident was caused by the malfunction or defect of a car component, you could file a product liability claim against the manufacturer or designer of the component. If poor road upkeep by a government agency is responsible for the accident, you can also file a claim against the agency.

Contact the Law Offices of Wade E. Byrd P.A.

When you need experienced legal representation for a trucking accident in Fayetteville, contact the Law Offices of Wade E. Byrd P.A.

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