The biggest difference between a car accident and a truck accident is the severity of the injuries. Permanent or disabling brain trauma, spinal cord damage or widespread orthopedic problems are common results of a collision with a semi rig.
How to Avoid a Truck Accident
To avoid accidents with semis, follow basic safety precautions:
- Never tailgate.
- Pass quickly and stay clear of the side of the semi.
- Keep your distance if a truck driver is swerving or having difficulty operating the truck due to overloading.
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
Mechanical Failure Truck Accidents
Truck maintenance is highly regulated, and accidents due to mechanical failure are often preventable. Failure could be due to poor maintenance or poor manufacturing. Possible mechanical failures include:
- Brake failures,
- Steering failures,
- Engine problems,
- Transmission issues, or
- Electrical failures.
Overloaded Truck Accidents
A trucker’s pay is based on how quickly he can transport goods. Truckers who are behind schedule or under quota may drive faster or overload trucks to get back on track.
The Issue with Overloaded Trucks
An overloaded truck is difficult to control. Overloading also strains the engine and can cause tire failure, brake failure, and transmission problems.
Flying Debris Truck Accidents
What to Do If Your Vehicle Is Damaged by Flying Debris
If your vehicle is damaged by debris, use these tips to resolve the situation:
- Write down the license plate number, company name and phone number, and if the truck appeared overloaded.
- Flag down the driver. Politely explain that debris came off the back of his truck and you’d like to file a claim with his company’s insurance. Ask for the company’s insurer and the person in charge. Be clear that you want to make this someone else’s problem, not his.
- Note if the driver appears drowsy, impaired, or intoxicated.
- 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.
What to Do If Your Claim Is Met with Resistance
If the trucking company won’t help you, follow these steps:
- File an accident report with the police.
- Note the date, time, and any details you remember.
- Note what kind of debris came off the truck.
- Make a claim with your own insurance company, pay your deductible, and get the damage fixed. Your insurance will try to get the claim paid by the trucker’s insurer, in which case your deductible will be refunded.
Impaired Truck Driver Accidents
Many semi-truck accidents are caused by fatigue, impairment, and intoxication. If you’re in a motor vehicle accident caused by truck driver error or notice a driver is out of control, call 911.
Contact a Lawyer: Get Compensation for Your Injuries
Personal injury attorney Peter Ventura provides knowledgeable and experienced legal representation for truck accident victims in Worcester, Massachusetts. Peter has recovered millions of dollars for his clients and will fight vigorously to win the compensation you deserve.
If you or a loved one need legal advice about personal injury or wrongful death claims involving a truck accident case 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 for 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, 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. Note if you suspect that the truck was overloaded.
- Give your 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 trucking company’s insurance information of the trucking company. Tell the insurance company if you have any suspicions about the truck.
2. Is overloading grounds to sue the trucking company?
Generally speaking, yes. Although illegal, overloading is a common practice because it saves time and cuts expenses. However, overloading increases the risk that tractor-trailers will suffer mechanical malfunctions. If overloading is to blame for your injuries, you may be entitled to significant financial compensation.
3. What are other common causes of semi-truck and tractor-trailer accidents?
Other causes of truck accidents that can warrant legal claims include:
- Distracted driving
- Driver fatigue and falling asleep behind the wheel
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- 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. In Massachusetts, “modified comparative fault” law means that you can recover damages for a truck accident claim as long as you were 50 percent or less at fault. However, the amount you can recover will be reduced by your percentage of fault.
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 have a duty not to collide with other vehicles. Under the modified comparative fault, your position could limit your financial damages. For a complete case evaluation, you should discuss the details of the accident with an attorney.
7. When Should I Hire a Truck Accident Lawyer?
Contact a law firm if the truck had a mechanical failure. Semi-trucks are legally held to certain standards of mechanical maintenance, and if the trucking company has fallen short, they can be liable for the resulting accident.
Before you sue the trucking company, consult with an injury lawyer. Not all truck accidents involve negligence or misconduct by the trucking company or its employees. In the case of an accident caused by defective brakes or tires, you may need to sue the manufacturer instead. If unsafe road conditions are to blame, you may have a claim against a government agency.