While sharing the road with commercial semi-trucks might be nerve-wracking, we usually manage without incident. However, when a truck driver fails to operate his rig safely, the consequences can be deadly for drivers of much smaller passenger cars. To make matters worse, the trucker is often backed by a powerful trucking company with a team of lawyers who will fight your claim for compensation, regardless of the seriousness of your injuries or the truck driver’s fault. If you were injured or a loved one was killed in a Massachusetts truck crash that was not your fault, you need to consult an experienced truck accident attorney before you talk to the insurance company for the truck driver.
Types of Truck Accident Cases Our Experienced Dedham, Massachusetts Attorneys Handle
The key to holding the other driver responsible when you are seriously injured in a car accident is proving that they were more than 50 percent at fault. Most car accidents are caused by some kind of driver error, including the following:
When a driver is texting or talking on a cellphone, their attention is taken from the road long enough to miss seeing another car or potential hazard. Drivers are also distracted by eating, adjusting the radio, programming a GPS device, talking to passengers, dealing with young children or pets in the car, and daydreaming. When a distracted or inattentive driver causes an accident, they should be held accountable.
Excessive speed, weaving in and out of traffic, exhibiting road rage, tailgating, and other dangerous actions are considered to be reckless driving. Reckless drivers are responsible for a number of serious car accidents, especially on the highway. Traffic cameras and eyewitnesses are key to proving a reckless driver’s fault in an accident.
Drivers who are drunk or impaired by street drugs or prescription medications lack the judgment and response time necessary to avoid accidents. If a driver is arrested for OUI/DUI at the scene of your crash, your case for fault will be that much stronger. Impaired drivers should be charged with a crime, but they can also be held financially accountable.
A driver who breaks any traffic law—speeding, failing to signal, failing to yield the right-of-way, following too closely, or ignoring a traffic sign or signal, for example—should be ticketed and held responsible for a resulting crash. Even the simplest driving mistake can lead to a deadly serious collision.
If the other driver committed one of these—or any other—driving offense, they should be made to pay for the harm they have caused you and your family.
Crashes with commercial trucks can, of course, be caused by reckless or careless passenger car drivers as easily as they can be caused by the truck driver. If you were determined to be 50 percent or more at fault in the crash that left you injured, you would not be able to file a claim against the truck driver or their employer. However, you can hold them accountable if the truck driver or trucking company made one of the following common mistakes:
Truckers have a lot going on while operating their rigs and can be distracted by tasks such as checking driving logs, programming a GPS, eating a meal, dealing with a pet, interacting with a co-driver or companion, talking on a cellphone, and even watching television. One of these distractions can easily cause a catastrophic crash with an innocent driver.
While truckers are just as likely as any other driver to get behind the wheel after drinking alcohol, they are more likely to be impaired by prescription or over-the-counter drugs. Because they drive for a living, they might feel pressure to drive after taking a medication that causes drowsiness, dizziness, or inattention.
Although they are supposed to adhere to federal hours of service regulations, truckers may push the limit and drive more hours than they are supposed to. A drowsy driver behind the wheel of a big rig is a ticking time bomb.
Speeding, following too closely, failing to yield, and other common traffic violations become infinitely more dangerous when they are committed by a semi-truck driver. These actions can cause fatal, multi-car crashes on Massachusetts highways.
Improperly maintained vehicle
It is the responsibility of both the driver and his employer to inspect and maintain the truck and trailer. If a worn tire, malfunctioning light, faulty trailer hitch, bad brakes, or another mechanical problem is found to be the cause of the crash, the driver and trucking company may both be liable.
Hiring an unqualified driver
Commercial truck drivers must meet federal standards for operating a semi-truck. If a driver’s qualifications have lapsed—or he was never qualified to begin with—his employer can be held liable for the damage he causes.
When a trailer is not loaded properly or cargo is not properly secured, the truck driver could lose control of the vehicle or lose his load all over the highway—creating a deadly hazard for other vehicles.
An experienced truck accident attorney will secure the evidence necessary to prove that the truck driver and his employer were at fault. This evidence might include the truck’s data recorder, employment and inspection records, and the driver’s cellphone records. It would be very difficult for an accident victim to get ahold of this evidence alone.
More Reasons to Hire a Skilled Attorney
It is likely that you will be contacted by the insurance company for the trucking company soon after the accident. They might make you an offer and ask you to sign a waiver. We strongly discourage accident victims from working directly with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, as it is unlikely that they will make you a fair offer.
The truck accident attorneys at Brooks & Crowley LLP would be happy to take a look at your case and provide a free evaluation of your claim. If we think we can get more out of the trucking company than you have been offered, we will take your case and fight for what you deserve—and you won’t owe us a dime until we resolve your case. Contact us to learn more about what we can do for you and your family after a catastrophic truck accident in eastern Massachusetts.
We'll provide a free consultation in one of our three Boston-area offices or a location more convenient for you. We will be direct and honest about your case so that you can make the best decisions for you and your family. Our service area in eastern Massachusetts includes Brookline, Weston, Wellesey, Newton, Dover and South Boston, along with their surrounding areas.