It goes without saying that injuries from commercial trucking accidents are generally more severe than injuries from regular motor vehicle accidents. Speed and the sheer size of tractor trailers or eighteen wheelers often result in devastating damages and consequences of a trucking crash. Serious and permanent injuries are very common when a large commercial truck crashes into a much smaller passenger vehicle. Fatalities, unfortunately, are also a common result of tractor trailer crashes.
When someone is severely injured in a trucking accident, it is crucial that they or their family take immediate legal action when seeking compensation for the damages and losses caused by the crash. This is because trucking companies aggressively defend trucking crashes and their defense starts immediately. To even the playing field and increase the likelihood of success in a trucking accident case in Massachusetts, the accident victim should likewise begin their prosecution right away.
An Overview of Trucking Accident Cases
In a commercial trucking accident case in Massachusetts, you must prove the truck driver or trucking company was negligent and that negligence was the cause of the accident and your injuries. If you are injured by a negligent truck driver, you are entitled to financial compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering that were incurred as a result of the truck accident.
Negligence is the failure by someone to perform a task with the reasonable care that a reasonably prudent person would have. The common types of negligent acts include, speeding, falling asleep, distracted driving, and improper driving technique. Establishing negligence, however, is not that easy, especially in commercial trucking accident cases. In order to increase the likelihood of success in a trucking accident case, the accident victim should take immediate investigatory action.
Trucking Companies Vigorously Defend Trucking Accident Cases – And They Take Immediate Action to Defend
The insurance industry anticipates tractor trailers will be involved in collisions due to the number of trucks on the roads and highways as well as the number of miles driven annually. They also anticipate that the accidents, when occurring, will result in severe, traumatic injuries. That’s why commercial truck policies have much higher limits than do passenger vehicles. But, the concomitant to that is where there is higher exposure to an insurance carrier the harder they work to defend these accidents.
Nationwide trucking companies often have investigators that can be dispatched to an accident scene almost immediately with a focus on speaking to available witnesses, their drivers, assess the crash scene, all with the goal of building a defense to the case. Our office has seen time and again the considerable assets and tools that national trucking companies have and use to begin investigating and creating a defense to an anticipated personal injury case. Most times, the trucking companies take action long before the injured client has even made a decision on which law firm to represent them. This can give the trucking company the upper hand in an injury claim or lawsuit.
An Accident Victim Should Take Action Immediately After a Trucking Crash
Just as the trucking companies begin defending immediately after a crash, anyone injured in a trucking action should, likewise, begin prosecuting their claim right away. There are certain aspects of a trucking accident case that some people and even other lawyers are not familiar with that are critical to recovering compensation. This is why it is important to hire personal injury lawyers that are experienced and knowledgeable in trucking accident cases.
Realize that commercial truck carriers have strict regulations regarding record keeping and preservation of evidence. Don’t rely on the good heart of the company to provide these for your inspection. In most cases the carrier will tell you they don’t exist or they don’t have them. This is information that is critical to the presentation of your accident case. Log books, onboard data recorders, daily receipts for fuel and lodging, GPS data, email communications, cell phone communications are all critical pieces of evidence that must be gathered before time has passed.
The onboard data recorder, or as it is better known, the black box, can provide critical information with regards to driver fatigue, vehicle maintenance, speed prior to the accident, braking, vehicle location prior to the collision and a list of other possible relevant information. A commercial trucking company could even repair and put back into service the vehicle involved in the collision thereby making it nearly impossible to determine how the accident occurred. The experienced attorneys at Mahaney Pappas, LLP understand this and that delays in preserving evidence can have a detrimental impact on the outcome of a commercial truck case. There are many steps that can be taken and must be taken in serious truck accidents.
In addition the trucking industry is operated through a complex regulatory framework which, depending on the accident, can be the basis of imposing liability on the carrier. Interstate trucking is regulated by the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA). Intrastate trucking is primarily regulated by state law. Both interstate and intrastate trucking look at significant regulations that cover for example:
- Hours of Service (HOS) rules designed to avoid driver fatigue
- Drug and alcohol testing and restrictions
- Distracted driving (texting and handheld use of a cell phone)
- Vehicle inspection and maintenance
- Discipline of drivers who violate regulations
- Truck length and weight
- Improperly loaded or overloaded trucks
As you can see, truck accident cases present unusual and complex legal and investigatory issues. This is why anyone injured in a trucking accident in Massachusetts should consult with a personal injury law firm that has knowledge of the trucking industry and the federal and state trucking regulations, as well as experience handling trucking accident cases.
Speak With an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer Today
Commercial trucking litigation is sophisticated and as such it is essential that you have experienced lawyers on your side that have the experience and knowledge to properly represent your interests. Mahaney & Pappas, LLP is dedicated to representing accident victims, including those injured in trucking accidents, to recover the maximum financial compensation for their injuries, damages and losses. If you or someone you know has been injured in a truck accident, please contact us online or call (508) 879-3500 for a complimentary meeting to discuss your claim.