Worcester Truck Accident Lawyer
From the truck accident victim’s perspective, the biggest difference concerns the severity of the injuries: permanent or disabling brain trauma, spinal cord damage or widespread orthopedic problems are the common results of a collision with a 40-ton semi rig. The financial recovery necessary to support an extended or permanent disability might approach or exceed seven figures.
How to Avoid a Truck Accident
Unfortunately, many truck accidents are impossible to anticipate in advance. A truck with poor tires, for example, might clearly have trouble staying in its own lane, but a truck with brakes about to fail doesn’t indicate it until it’s already started to skid. However, to avoid accidents with semis, it’s best to follow three basic safety precautions:
- Never tailgate. Give semis a wide berth.
- Pass quickly and efficiently, and stay as far away from the side of the semi as you can.
- Keep both hands on the wheel and be extra aware of your surroundings as you pass. If you suspect a truck may be overloaded and is swerving or having difficulty operating the truck due to overloading, avoid that truck.
These precautions can help you avoid a collision or minimize the damage if a collision is unavoidable.
Types of Truck Accidents
- Blown Tire Causing Semi-truck Accidents
- Truck Accidents caused by Mechanical Failure
- What to do if hit by debris from a Truck causing an accident or injury
- Accidents Caused by Overloading a Semi-Truck
- Truck Accidents caused by impaired driving
- Delivery Truck Accidents
- Truck Accidents on Construction Sites
Experienced personal injury lawyers understand that the availability of multimillion-dollar commercial liability coverage means that your personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit is likely to be complicated. A truck accident involving serious and permanent injuries requires specific proof of damages in detail. The defense will present its own experts to challenge your damages calculations and will have a great deal of incentive to minimize its exposure.
Mechanical Failure Accidents
If you’ve been in an accident with a semi, there’s a chance it was due to some kind of mechanical failure – which may have been prevented by the trucking company. Possible mechanical failures include:
- Brake failures,
- Steering mechanism failures,
- Engine problems,
- Transmission issues, or
- Electrical failures.
Any of these problems can interfere with the driver being able to steer and control the truck properly.
There are regulations that dictate how trucks ought to be maintained and what each system should be capable of doing. For example, brakes should be able to bring the semi to a full stop in a specific time frame that is usually dictated by the size of the semi. If the brakes failed, it is because either the trucking company was not maintaining their vehicle correctly or the manufacturer designed them poorly. In either event, you will have reason to pursue damages.
Overloaded Truck Accidents
Truckers get paid based on how quickly they can transport a certain amount of goods from one place to another. There are two ways to game this system: drive faster, and/or load your truck with more goods than it was designed to carry. There are laws against doing both of these things, but many truckers and trucking companies are willing to break them if they’re behind schedule or behind quota.
When a truck is overloaded, it is much harder for the driver to operate the semi or keep it under control in situations like high winds or tight turns. Overloading also shortens the life of the truck, since the engine is under more strain trying to haul a heavier load at a high speed. This can cause mechanical problems with the truck, making it, once again, harder for the trucker to control and operate.
Overloading increases the risk of tire failure, brake failure, and transmission problems. Overloaded trucks also need more time to come to a full stop, which means the driver may misgauge the distance at which he needs to start braking in order to maintain safety. Finally, when a driver makes a sudden turn, the load shifts in the back. The heavier the load, the more likely it is that the driver will lose control of the truck.
If you have any trouble getting damages for your accident, get a professional lawyer involved to look after your rights and investigate any possible negligence on the part of the trucker or the trucking company.
$100,000 Truck Accident Case: Peter Ventura filed a lawsuit relating to a collision that occurred on Route 20 in Charlton, MA. The client suffered a herniated and degenerated cervical disc and, after an aggressive approach to the case, the case was resolved for $100,000.
Flying Debris Car Accidents
We have all had a windshield dinged by a rock flung up by someone’s tires or dodged and avoided a blown semi tire. But sometimes we actually see the debris flying off the back of a truck – and it’s often damaging and could cause serious injuries in a collision.
If your vehicle is damaged by flying debris, use these helpful tips to resolve the situation:
- Write down the license plate number, truck company phone number, and any identifying features of the truck (the company name, if the truck appeared overloaded, etc.).
- Flag down the driver of the truck by getting in front of it, putting on your hazard lights, and putting your arm out of the window to signal the truck should follow you off the exit. If the truck driver does so, be polite as you explain why you asked him to pull over. Explain that some debris came off the back of his truck and that you’d like to file a claim with his company’s insurance. Ask for the company’s insurer and the appropriate person in charge. Make sure it’s clear to the driver that you are hoping to make this situation someone else’s problem, not his.
- Be aware if the driver appears drowsy, impaired or intoxicated as that could have played a contributing factor to the accident.
- If you’re not comfortable flagging down the driver, call the trucking company, tell them you’d like to file a claim, and ask for their insurance information.
Unfortunately, because many people try to get truck companies to pay for a cracked windshield that was already damaged, people with legitimate claims often are met with resistance as the trucking company may not give you their insurance information. The more claims they have filed against them, the higher the premium the company pays, so it’s in their best interest to withhold that information. In this case, follow these steps to resolve the situation:
- File an accident report with highway patrol or local law enforcement as soon as possible.
- Note the date, time, and any specific details you remember.
- Note what kind of debris came off the truck if you know it.
- Make a claim with your own insurance company, pay your deductible, and get the damage fixed. Your insurance would rather have the truck company’s insurance pay, so they’ll find out who insures the company in order to get the claim paid, in which case your deductible will be returned to you.
If all else fails, let the trucking company know you’re going to file a claim in small claims court if there were no serious injuries. The threat of litigation is often enough to get the insurance information. If the mere threat doesn’t work, get an experienced lawyer in your corner. Any actual litigation should be handled by a professional – because the trucking company most certainly will have a professional on their side. If you suffered serious injuries due to debris hitting your vehicle from a truck, contact a lawyer as soon as possible.
Impaired Truck Driver Accidents
A significant portion of semi-truck accidents can be attributed to driver error. Usually, these errors occur because the driver was impaired or intoxicated in some way – either because of fatigue, distraction, or impairing substances. Here’s what to do if you’re in an accident caused by truck driver error.
Accidents caused by driver error are more likely to occur at night, simply because there is a greater percentage of drivers who are on the road fatigued or under the influence. If you’re traveling at night, be very aware of the semi drivers around you, and drive extremely cautiously as you pass them.
If you notice a driver weaving or otherwise not in control of their truck, call 911 immediately and report the driver. Do not try to pass the truck; you are far more likely to get into an accident that way. Fall back and drive slower until you see a police car arrive to pull the truck over or get off the road for a while to stretch your legs and give the semi time to move ahead.
In the Event of an Accident: Report Your Suspicions to the Police
If you are in an accident and you suspect the driver was in error, do not mention this fact to the driver. If you see that the driver looks exhausted; if he appears to be impaired through the use of drugs or alcohol; or if you suspect he was using his cell phone or eating food while driving, report these observations to the police when they arrive, but do not engage the driver with your suspicions. Doing so can only lead to an altercation, and you will gain nothing by it.
Contact a Lawyer: Get Compensation for Your Injuries
If the driver was at fault in the accident, it could be because of his own poor choices – but it could also be that his company makes demands that force him into those choices, such as overworking the driver to exhaustion, neglecting maintenance of the truck, or making him pick up his cell phone even when he is driving.
Peter Ventura, Attorney at Law, provides knowledgeable and experienced legal representation for truck accident victims in Massachusetts. Peter has recovered millions of dollars for his clients and will fight vigorously to win the compensation you deserve. To schedule your free truck accident consultation, call 508-755-7535 or send Peter an email today.
If you need legal advice about personal injury or wrongful death claims involving a truck accident in central Massachusetts, contact the law office of Peter Ventura, Attorney at Law, for a free consultation.
Massachusetts Truck Accident FAQs:
1. Who’s Responsible if You’re in an Accident?
If you are in an accident, follow the same steps as you would a regular car accident:
- Get the driver’s name and insurance information, the name of the trucking company, and the license plate number of the truck.
- Call 911 and get highway patrol on the scene, especially if anyone has been injured.
- Take photos of your vehicle, the truck, the scene of the accident, and any other vehicles involved.
- Notify the police if you suspect that the truck driver might have been intoxicated or impaired while driving. If the truck driver says anything that indicates a mechanical failure was the cause of the collision, make sure to get as many details as you possibly can. Include details if you also suspect that the truck was overloaded.
- Give a full statement to the police and ask for a copy of the accident report.
- Call your insurance company and file a claim, and let them know that you filed the accident report with the police. Give them the insurance information of the trucking company which will help your own insurance company investigate which may be to your advantage. Notify the insurance company as well of any suspicions you may have about the truck.
2. Is overloading grounds to sue the trucking company?
Generally speaking, yes. While laws prohibit trucking companies from loading more weight than their trucks can handle, overloading is a common practice because it saves time and cuts down on expenses. However, overloading puts semi-trucks and tractor-trailers at greater risk of suffering mechanical malfunctions, and also makes them harder to stop. If overloading is to blame for your truck accident injuries, you may be entitled to significant financial compensation.
3. What are some other common causes of semi-truck and tractor trailer accidents?
Along with overloading, other common causes of truck accidents that can give rise to claims for financial compensation include:
- Distracted driving
- Driver fatigue and falling asleep behind the wheel
- Driving under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs, and prescription medications
- Following too closely
- Improper maintenance and inspections
- Improperly trained and unlicensed drivers
- Jackknifing due to driver error
- Mechanical failures such as faulty brakes, tire failures, and transmission problems
- Speeding and reckless driving
- Unsecured loads
4. Can I sue if I was partially at fault in the accident?
Yes. Massachusetts is among the plurality of states that follow a rule known as “modified comparative fault.” This means that you can recover damages for a truck accident claim as long as you were 50 percent or less at fault in causing the collision. However, the amount you can recover will be reduced by your percentage of fault.
As a side note, you should never assume that you are at fault in a collision. Determining liability requires a thorough assessment of the facts and extensive legal analysis. Even if you think you are at fault, the law may say otherwise. It is always best to speak with a lawyer before making any judgments about your potential claim.
5. Can I sue if I was driving in the truck’s blind spot?
While driving in a truck’s “no zones” can be dangerous, it does not automatically bar you from recovering financial compensation. Truck drivers still owe a duty not to collide with other vehicles on the roads. Depending on exactly what happened, the location of your vehicle might come into play under the “modified comparative fault” rule mentioned above. However, you should discuss the specific details of the accident with an attorney for a complete case evaluation.
7. When Should I Hire a Truck Accident Lawyer?
It is wise to contact a lawyer in any cases where the truck had a mechanical failure. This is because semi-trucks transporting goods are legally required to adhere to certain standards of mechanical maintenance, and if the trucking company (or the manufacturer of the truck) has fallen short, they can be liable for the resulting accident.
Before you sue the trucking company, it is important to make sure that you have a viable claim. While many truck accidents involve negligence or misconduct by the trucking company or one of its employees, this is not necessarily always the case. For example, if the accident was caused by defective brakes or tires, you may need to sue the manufacturer instead. Similarly, if unsafe road conditions are to blame, you may have a claim against a government agency instead of the trucking company.