Reasons for this include:
- More severe damages. The value of damages in these claims tends to be very high because injuries are often very severe. People involved may have suffered major medical expenses, lost income, property damage and other losses. Fortunately, higher insurance limits are often available in truck accident cases. However, with so much money at stake, you can count on insurance companies to put up a strong fight.
- More difficult to determine fault. Car accidents typically occur because of the negligence of one of the driver’s involved. Truck accidents tend to be a little bit more complicated. While there is no doubt that driver negligence can be, and often is, the cause of a crash, there are numerous other potential causes that must be fully investigated and explored, including:
- Improper loading
- Defectively secured cargo
- Trucking company negligence
- Defective vehicle part
- Insufficient vehicle maintenance
- More potentially liable parties. Just as it may be more difficult to determine fault in a truck accident claim, there are also more parties involved in a truck accident whose role must be considered. Examples of potentially liable parties include:
- The truck driver
- Drivers of other vehicles
- The trucking company
- The owner of the truck and trailer
- Leasing companies
- The shipper or loader of the cargo
- The owner of the cargo
- The manufacturer of the truck or truck part
- Those responsible for road maintenance, such as a government entity
- Dealing with a trucking company. Another reason that truck accident claims tend to be more complex than claims involving two smaller vehicles is that a large trucking company has plenty of resources to fight a claim. This can make it more difficult for an individual to recover the compensation they truly deserve.
Fortunately, even if you have a very complex truck accident case, you do not have to go through the process alone. Our Massachusetts truck accident lawyers are prepared to stand by your side throughout the entire process.
Who Can Be Held Liable for a Truck Crash?
There may be multiple parties that could potentially be held liable in a truck accident claim. These parties include:
- The truck driver. Truck driver negligence, which refers to the driver’s failure to exercise the required degree of care for the situation, is often the cause of a truck accident. Examples of truck driver negligence include:
- Driving while overly tired or fatigued
- Operating the truck while intoxicated or impaired
- Operating the vehicle recklessly
- Distracted driving
Note that even if the truck driver’s actions were the proximate cause of the crash, the trucking company could still be held liable for the truck driver’s actions under the theory of vicarious liability. This holds that an employer is liable for its employee’s actions, so long as those actions occur during the course of the employee’s employment. Some trucking companies may misclassify their drivers as “independent contractors” instead of employees, which adds a layer of complexity to many truck crash cases.
- Another driver. It is not always the actions of a truck driver that cause a crash. The actions of another driver of a passenger car could be to blame. Following too closely, driving in a truck’s blind spots, cutting off a large truck, attempting to pass on the right-hand side, and other actions can all cause or contribute to a truck accident.
- The trucking company. Not only may a trucking company be held liable for the actions of its employee truck drivers, but it could be held independently liable based on its own negligence, too. For example, failing to properly train drivers, failing to conduct thorough background checks on drivers, failing to properly maintain trucks, pushing drivers to meet deadlines that breach hours of service regulations, and more, could all amount to negligence that could result in liability on the part of the trucking company.
- The shipper or loader of cargo. When cargo is loaded into a truck, the party responsible for loading it must ensure that the cargo is safe, properly loaded, and properly secured. If not, the cargo could shift or experience another issue in transit, leading to a crash.
- The manufacturer of the truck or truck part. One of the scariest types of truck accidents is one that occurs due to a vehicle defect, not the actions of one of the drivers involved. Brakes that won’t work properly to bring a vehicle to a halt, a tire that undergoes tread separation leading to a tire blowout, and other defects can all lead to serious accidents and harm. When a vehicle product manufacturer or distributor is to blame, they could be held liable for any harm that results.
- A government entity. State agencies and municipalities are generally responsible for providing reasonable road maintenance, including repairing potholes and other dangerous road conditions, removing debris and dead animals from roadways, and more. If an accident is the result of a dangerous road condition, the party responsible for that condition – or the failure to remedy the condition – may be liable.
Damages in a Truck Accident Claim
When a truck accident occurs, a passenger car may be completely destroyed in a matter of seconds, especially if the accident is an underride or override crash. For anyone who is riding in the passenger vehicle at the time of the crash, the consequences could be severe.
It is not uncommon for truck accidents to be deadly. In the event that the accident is not fatal, the damages that a person suffers might include:
- Medical expenses. A person who is involved in a truck accident will likely suffer severe, debilitating injuries that require emergency care in a hospital and ongoing treatment for weeks, months, or even years.
- Property damage. A vehicle involved in a crash with a large truck will likely be seriously damage or even totaled. The vehicle owner may be entitled to the cost to repair or replace the damaged vehicle.
- Lost wages. A crash that results in serious injuries typically means that people involved in the crash will be unable to return to work immediately, if not indefinitely. The value of a person’s lost wages, loss of earning capacity, and loss of benefits and potential benefits can be a major financial hit to a family that’s already struggling to pay high medical expenses.
- Pain and suffering. The damages that a person incurs in a truck accident are not just economic in nature, but noneconomic, too. At Brooks Law, we believe that you deserve to be compensated for the value of your pain, suffering, emotional distress, and various other noneconomic damages, too.
Tips for Protecting Your Rights After a Truck Crash
If you are involved in a truck accident and you are seriously injured, the most important thing that you can do after the crash is to seek medical care. Doing so may be life-saving. When you seek medical care, follow your doctor’s orders, keep thorough documentation of all treatments received, and keep track of medical expenses.
In addition to seeking medical care, there are a handful of other things that you can do – or have a loved one or lawyer do on your behalf – to protect your rights after a crash. These include:
- Collect evidence. You may be too severely injured to collect evidence at the scene of the accident and in the days following the crash. However, evidence can be critical for your personal injury claim. Photos of the crash, witness statements, truck black box data, and more could all be used to build your claim and prove negligence and causation.
- Take notes. Keeping a journal that details everything from how the accident happened to your experience living with your injuries can be important. Not only may this be beneficial for your own psychological health, but a journal may also be used to help prove the extent of pain and suffering damages you have suffered.
- Be careful. After a crash, there may be a number of different things that you are tempted to do, ranging from giving a recorded statement to an insurance adjuster to posting about your crash on social media and more. Note that anything you do after an accident will not only be watched by an insurance company, but could be potentially used against you, too. Our lawyers strongly advise consulting with an attorney immediately following an accident for more information about what to do and not to do after a crash.
Time Limit for Filing a Truck Accident Lawsuit in Massachusetts
In Massachusetts, the time limit for filing a truck accident lawsuit is three years from the date of the crash. Failing to bring your claim within three years’ time will almost certainly bar your claim. We advise filing your insurance claim as soon as possible to get the ball rolling.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents in Massachusetts
The potential causes of truck accidents are almost endless. Some of the most common causes of truck accidents include:
- Driver negligence
- Shifting cargo
- Defective vehicle parts
- Trucking company negligence
- Dangerous road conditions
While these may be the most common causes of truck accidents, the list is not all-inclusive.
Catastrophic Injuries Caused By Truck Accidents
Truck accidents can cause catastrophic, life-changing, and permanently disabling injuries. Some of the most catastrophic of injuries that a person can suffer include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries, including paralysis
- Internal injuries
- Back and neck injuries
- Joint damage
- Broken bones
How Our Massachusetts Truck Accident Lawyers Can Help
At Brooks Law, our Medford and Framingham truck accident lawyers are passionate about representing clients who have been injured and truly need justice. We will build your claim, handle the investigative process, consult experts, and manage all legal elements of your case, including negotiating a settlement or filing a lawsuit in court if necessary.
We work on a contingency fee basis, and never charge you for our services if you don’t recover a settlement. To schedule your free consultation, please call our law office today or send us an online message requesting more information.