TOP CAUSES OF COMMERCIAL TRUCK ACCIDENTS
Tractor-trailers are among the largest vehicles on the road. Operating them safely demands special training and skill. To keep all motorists safe, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires commercial carriers and drivers to comply with regulations regarding maintenance, hours of service, record-keeping, and other important matters. Unfortunately, commercial truck companies sometimes place profits before safety. When carriers and drivers cut corners, people get hurt.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that tractor-trailers are involved in one in 10 highway deaths. Although many commercial truck drivers are hard-working, responsible professionals who adhere to regulations, a single negligent driver can cause a serious or fatal accident.
Anyone who has undertaken a road trip knows that driving can lead to exhaustion. FMCSA hours-of-service rules allow commercial truck drivers to operate their vehicles for up to 11 hours at a time. Although semi-truck operators obviously spend more time behind the wheel than an average motorist, prolonged hours on the road without a break for sleep can lead to accidents. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety favors the installation of electronic logbooks as replacements for handwritten logs that can be easily falsified.
High Speeds and Slow Braking
Trucks weigh 20 to 30 times more than a standard vehicle. Due to their massive size, tractor-trailers take much longer to accelerate and decelerate. Commercial vehicle speed limits vary by state, with most states requiring commercial vehicles to travel at least 10 miles per hour slower than passenger vehicles on highways. Interstate pileups are often caused by semi-trucks that could not stop in time to avoid a collision with another vehicle. Unfortunately, because trucks have a harder time coming to a stop, it is also the responsibility of the motor vehicle to stay a safe distance from commercial trucks.
A study conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reveals that commercial truck drivers who text and drive are 23.2 times more likely to be involved in a “safety-critical event”. According to the Administration, safety-critical events include crashes, near-crashes, and accidental lane changes. The Administration now prohibits commercial motor vehicle drivers who transport hazardous materials from using handheld devices while driving. Safety experts support instituting a more comprehensive ban for all commercial truck operators across the country.
Negligence in a Commercial Truck Accident
When negligence occurs, it often leads to a disastrous truck accident. Truck drivers who drive when fatigued, at higher speeds than the law allows, or who engage in distractions, may be found to be negligent if an accident occurs.
Negligence is one important element in a truck accident case. In order to collect compensation following a truck accident, your lawyer will need to demonstrate a legal duty of care. They will also need to demonstrate that negligence occurred. Then, they will need to connect the negligent activity with the accident. Finally, there must be damages involved that can be compensated, like medical bills or property damages.
Identifying these four important elements is just one of the many things that your personal injury lawyer may do when representing you. They will also collect important evidence to prove each of these points, including your medical records, income statements, witness reports, and any photo or video evidence from the scene of the accident.
Stay Within the State’s Time Limits
While you are likely focusing on your recovery following the accident, it is important to keep in mind that there is a time limit on how long you have to collect compensation following a truck accident. The exact time limit varies, depending on the details of the accident, but it is usually somewhere around three years in the state of Massachusetts. Not meeting this time limit can deem your case to be ineligible, even if you have enough evidence to identify wrongdoing.
Boston Semi-Truck Accident Lawyer
If you have been injured in a collision involving a tractor-trailer, or you have lost a loved one to wrongful death due to a semi-truck accident, you have important legal rights. The personal injury attorneys at Joel H. Schwartz, P.C. offer experienced, compassionate legal counsel to individuals and families who have been involved in these serious accidents. Call us today at (617) 742-1170 to speak to an attorney about your case.
This website has been prepared by Joel H. Schwartz, P.C. for informational purposes only and does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. The information is not provided in the course of an attorney-client relationship and is not intended to substitute for legal advice from an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.