It should come as no surprise that crashes involving large commercial trucks typically cause the most severe injuries and damages. We have all seen the size of trailer trucks and semis on the Massachusetts roads and highways. You don’t often travel the MassPike, Southeast Expressway (93) or Interstates 95 & 495 without sharing the roads with these huge commercial vehicles. These are the trucks that will make you grip your steering wheel hard.
That usual panic felt when driving next to trailer trucks or other commercial vehicles is because we can almost envision what a crash with them would be like. Those types of vehicles are the last ones anyone wants to be involved in a crash with. Unfortunately, recent statistics reveal an increase in serious injuries and fatalities from trucking accidents.
Alarming Statistics of Commercial Trucking Accidents and Their Aftermath
The Institute for Safer Trucking (IST) is a nonprofit organization committed to making trucking safer in the United States. They provide important information for motor carriers and truck drivers to learn about safety improvements that can reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities. As part of their goal to make the trucking industry safer, the IST compiles research data about trucking crashes.
Recent research published by the IST regarding accident statistics shows a 47% increase in truck crash fatalities over the last ten years (2012 to 2021) nationwide. This accounts for over 46,000 deaths from trucking accidents during this time period. Likewise, Massachusetts saw a 63% increase over the same period.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) research statistics revealed that in 2020, over 4,500 large trucks and buses were involved in fatal crashes. This was a reported 5-percent decrease from 2019, which may have been a result of the COVID pandemic. In 2021, however, the amount of truck accident fatalities increased to 5,788 across our nation. The 2021 statistics also uncovered an increase in truck crash injuries to 154,993 nationally.
Locally, the IST resources provide that in 2020 there were 28 fatal trucking crashes in Massachusetts. Of those 28 total deaths, most of the trucking crashes were two vehicle accidents. Also, the vast majority of the fatal accident victims were drivers of other vehicles – not the large commercial truck. Additionally, and unsurprisingly, the data indicated that many deaths occurred in truck crashes at speeds between 65 and 70 mph.
Truck Accidents are Unique Requiring Uniquely Experienced Injury Attorneys
In our normal daily routines, nobody ever thinks about being seriously injured in a trucking crash or needing to find the right lawyers for help. However, trucking crashes can happen for a wide variety of reasons and with the trend of increased fatalities and injuries from truck accidents, if it does happen to you or a loved one, you will need to right truck accident lawyers to help.
These types of crashes generally cause the worst injuries, which result in thousands of dollars in medical costs and expenses, countless dollars in lost earnings and wages, and significant pain and suffering. An experienced legal team will know how to get you the compensation you deserve for your injuries and financial losses.
Injury and wrongful death claims from trucking accidents present extremely unique and complicated legal issues. These legal aspects are unlike routine 2 passenger car vehicle accident, where it’s simply one party filing a bodily injury claim with an auto insurance carrier or simply suing the other driver.
These differences are important in understanding why you need a special legal team to handle Massachusetts truck crash cases. Our Framingham truck accident attorneys at Mahaney & Pappas, LLP are experienced and have an exceptional understanding of the law, trucking regulations, and trial and negotiation skills that differ from the typical car accident.
Distinctive Legal Aspects of Trucking Accident Cases
As with regular car accidents, in an injury claim or lawsuit from truck crashes, you need to prove that someone else’s negligence caused the crash and your injuries. There is generally no difficulty in proving negligence in the typical rear-end car crash. However, trucking crashes present a much more complex issue of proving negligence.
For example, a commercial truck may have a number of potentially responsible parties. The ubiquitous tractor trailer you see on the roadway may have a tractor owned by one company and the trailer owned by a completely different company. If the issue is one of improper maintenance on the tractor or trailer, additional parties, such as companies responsible for maintenance and upkeep of the equipment, could be potentially involved.
The accident could be the fault of the driver. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA), an agency within the U.S. Department of Transportation that regulates the commercial motor vehicle industry, has numerous regulations that commercial vehicle drivers must follow regarding, such as the number of hours of continuous driving, drug and alcohol testing, medical clearance, up to date driver logs and inspection reports, all to assist in compliance, safety and accountability of commercial drivers.
The Trucking Insurance Companies Fiercely Defend Truck Accident Cases
Understand that trucking companies and their insurance carriers have learned over decades how to defend accident cases. They know that truck crashes usually cause the most serious injuries, including death. Legally, the more severe the injuries, the more they may be forced to pay. The one thing these trucking insurance companies do not want to do is pay out large settlements or verdicts. They will do everything they can to not pay out huge money.
Trucking companies have individuals, experts, and equipment ready to go at a moment’s notice when an accident occurs. They take quick action to protect their insured and truck drivers. They will remove the tractor and trailer immediately from the scene. For instance, in many cases, and in our experience, the vehicle and trailer are sometimes towed out-of-state to a facility owned by the company. This makes it very difficult to have your own inspection of the tractor and trailer.
Recognizing the trucking insurance carrier’s motives and actions, our legal team offers truck accident victims an aggressive counter to the insurance companies. We have many experts that we work with on truck accidents, including medical experts, accident reconstruction experts, and engineering experts. Additionally, our experience and understanding of trucking regulations allow us to determine the responsible actors, investigate the crash, and obtain the necessary evidence to prove negligence on the part of truck drivers and the trucking companies.
These are only some of the aspects of a truck accident that must be investigated and thoroughly explored. It’s experience and knowledge that allow our Framingham injury lawyers to hold all responsible parties accountable for injuries and/or death that result from a truck accident.