Trucking accidents cause some of the more horrific accidents on our highways. A loaded truck can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds and if it is out of control or rear-ends a passenger vehicle, massive injuries and fatalities are almost certain to occur. In other cases, an unsecured load or cargo or an equipment malfunction can lead to road debris, dangerously scattering on the highway and wreaking havoc on motorists who fail to see or to avoid the debris in time.
Duty of a Trucker
Truck drivers and trucking companies are held to a high standard of care as commercial carriers. They carry heavy loads, some of which are hazardous materials, and must be diligent in securing their cargo and ensuring their safe transport. Consequently, strict state and federal laws regulate hiring, training and testing of truck drivers, their work and driving hours, vehicle and equipment inspections and record keeping and reporting requirements.
An experienced truck accident lawyer will be very familiar with the regulations in play in an accident involving a truck. The truck accident evidence, in many cases, can be gathered from the required logs kept by the driver, which should detail the pre-trip inspection, type of cargo, miles travelled, stops made, breaks taken and hours driven, among other information.
Increasingly, commercial motor carriers are installing on-board monitors, similar to the black boxes on airplanes, which can be dispositive of the cause of an accident or at least portray an accurate account of the truck’s movement and other data in the moments preceding an accident. Collecting evidence of a trucker or trucking company’s negligence is essential to successfully resolving any injury claim with the maximum compensation possible to the victim under the facts of the case.
Road Debris as Hazard
In a number of trucking accidents, a retreaded tire may shred, which may cause the truck driver to lose control. A muffler may come loose and fall to the roadway or the cargo, if not adequately secured, may suddenly plummet to the road creating hazardous road debris.
A state or political subdivision such as county or city government is generally responsible for road maintenance and has a duty like any other entity or individual to exercise due care in road service and repair. Huge potholes can be dangerous but so can road debris such as mattresses or furniture that is not tied down or truck cargo that loosens and becomes a formidable danger to motorists. Reports of shredded tires or debris from a truckload launching into a motorist’s windshield can cause a momentary distraction causing the driver to lose control, or may even penetrate the windshield with equally disastrous results. Unfortunately, it may be difficult if not impossible to identify the negligent trucker unless another witness observed the incident and was able to identify the truck. In such a case, your attorney would file an underinsurance claim.
The government entity should be aware of any potholes, especially if accidents are happening as a result, and usually other motorists will call law enforcement if significant road debris is on the roadway. In these cases, the agency responsible has to act quickly to fix the hole or to remove the hazard or face possible liability. Governmental entities, though, do have certain protections including limits on recovery and in shorter notice and lawsuit filing rules.
If you were injured from road debris or from an accident involving a truck, contact Neil Burns, a truck accident lawyer with experience since 1985 and success in investigating and collecting evidence in truck accidents so that the proper defendants are found responsible and you have the best opportunity to obtaining the most compensation to which you are entitled.
If you or a loved one was injured in an accident caused by a truck, call Neil Burns, a Massachusetts truck crash lawyer to discuss your potential claim.