Head on Truck Accidents
Trucks are the largest vehicles on the roadways and present the most significant danger to motorists in trucking accidents. An ordinary passenger vehicle is about 12 or 13 feet long and weighs around 5,000 pounds. Contrast that with a typical semi-tractor trailer that is 70 feet long and weighs up to 80,000 pounds and consider which driver or occupant is more likely to escape without an injury in any type of collision between these two classes of vehicles.
Head-on collisions with a truck are probably more devastating than a rear-end collision even with air bag deployment because of the sheer weight and size differential. If you were injured in a head-on collision with a truck, or lost a loved one in a truck accident, consult a truck crash lawyer to discuss your legal options.
What are the Causes of a Head-on Collision?
The sight of large truck bearing down on you is a frightening scene and often there is little a motorist can do to avoid the inevitable collision. Motorists should take particular caution, if possible, when trucks are present on the road or freeway. Knowing the causes of truck accidents including head-on collisions might help a motorist avoid one. These include:
- A truck suddenly crossing the center line
- A wide turn from a truck that can strike a car in another lane
- A truck going through a stop sign or red traffic light
- The truck attempting to pass a car with an oncoming car too close to avoid a collision
- The driver losing control and the truck jackknifing onto the roadway
Truck drivers who lose control of their vehicles or who violate traffic laws may be distracted by a cell phone or are fatigued from driving too many hours, often in violation of strict laws regarding service hours and time between shifts. Others may be intoxicated or on drugs that impair their judgment.
In some cases, an inadequately secured load may cause loss of control or faulty brakes can lead to a catastrophic accident.
Obligations and Duties of a Truck Driver
Truck drivers and trucking companies are commercial carriers since they transport loads, some of which are hazardous, for a fee and are subject to federal and state regulations regarding hiring, testing, maintenance of vehicles, reporting, cargo weight and hours of operation, among others. The law imposes a higher duty of care on truck drivers and common carriers to exercise due care when operating a truck.
A truck driver who is negligent in any manner, such as speeding or making an illegal turn, will be held responsible for an accident that occurs, regardless of any justification for that action, and is considered prima facie evidence of negligence.
In addition, a driver is obligated to keep a detailed log of all driving activities including destination, stops, rest breaks, mileage, load description and other data. On-board electronic monitoring devices can also provide valuable data to be used if there was an accident.
What a Truck Accident Lawyer Can Do
Truck accidents involve more issues regarding liability than ordinary passenger vehicle accidents. A truck accident attorney can do the following for a truck accident victim:
- Hire truck accident reconstruction experts
- Inspect the truck and other vehicles involved
- Inform the trucking company to retain certain documents for inspection
- Examine and analyze the accident scene
- Interview all witnesses
- Obtain the driver’s log and other trucking company documents regarding the driver’s record, drug testing results, truck service record and hours the driver was on the road
- Handle all insurance issues
- Ensure that your medical treatment and other issues are handled so that maximum damages can be obtained
It is vital that truck accident victims promptly contact a truck accident lawyer so that valuable evidence can be preserved.
Damages in a Trucking Accident
Injuries in a trucking accident can be catastrophic. Many victims suffer traumatic brain injuries, broken limbs, internal injuries, paralysis or death from truck accidents. If you were injured, you may be compensated for the following:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Past and future wage loss
- Loss of employment benefits
- Loss of earning capacity
- Emotional trauma
- Loss of consortium (brought by your spouse)
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages in some cases (fatalities in Massachusetts)
Consult Neil Burns
Neil Burns is a Boston truck crash lawyer who has successfully handled numerous truck accident cases, including head-on collisions, with results that have compensated and satisfied truck accident clients. You need an attorney with the knowledge and resources necessary to prosecute these difficult claims. Contact his office today to schedule a free consultation about your truck accident case.