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Are Truck Drivers Liable for Accidents?

An accident involving a large truck often leads to devastating personal injuries for the occupants of passenger vehicles. A commercial motor vehicle’s weight, size, and speed give it lethal potential when a driver fails to operate according to safety regulations. When driving on a roadway near a semi-truck, your life should not be at risk. Drivers can be held liable when their negligent actions or behaviors cause personal injury.

Liability can be a tricky issue to determine in a truck accident. Insurance companies for the other party may try to shift the burden of responsibility or limit the amount of damages you can recover. You need Jason Stone Injury Lawyers to protect your rights and get the compensation you deserve.

What Should You Know About Liability in a Truck Accident?

Trucking involves a number of people and entities working together to deliver services. After a truck accident, it is essential to determine why the accident occurred and whether it involved shared liability. Insurance companies will also want to know if you were bear some responsibility.

Massachusetts has a modified comparative negligence standard of law in personal injury lawsuits. If you are more than 51% at fault in an accident, you can’t recover damages. If you are less than 51% at fault, your compensation is reduced by the percentage of your fault allocation. For example, if you are awarded $50,000 in damages and are 20% at fault, your recovery is $40,000. Massachusetts law defines 18 circumstances where the more than 50% fault rule applies. Jason Stone’s team fights to get you fair compensation under the law.

Truck drivers have significant personal responsibility when it to comes to safe driving and protecting other motorists. Whether a trucker works for a company or is an independent contractor, individual actions matter when it comes to personal injury cases. Important factors determine if a driver holds liability after a crash.

What Factors Contribute to Truck Driver Liability?

Truck drivers have the legal responsibility to always operate their vehicles safely. Unsafe truck driving actions can cause catastrophic outcomes for accident victims. According to a recent federal study of large truck accident causation, these were major factors in trucking crashes.

Speed

Speed is an issue in many truck accidents. Driving too fast for conditions causes 23% of truck accidents and leaves other drivers vulnerable to permanent injury or death. Failure to drive at safe speeds is a clear violation of common traffic safety laws.

Distractions

Distracted driving is a liability factor in a personal injury case. A transport driver that loses control of a vehicle while distracted on a busy highway can do immense damage to persons and property. With mobile devices being popularized for trucking applications, drivers taking their eyes off the road to respond to text messages and other communications is risky behavior.

Fatigue

Tired driving causes 13% of truck accidents. It’s an ongoing problem in the industry and a problematic issue on roadways. If a driver crosses the centerline or fails to brake in time because of fatigue, the outcome is most often tragic. There are service hour regulations that govern driving periods that must be followed by law.

Substance Use

Truckers who want to maintain their commercial driver’s licenses must adhere to alcohol and drug use restrictions. Drunk and drugged driving are serious vehicle operation offenses and violate the CMV standards laid out by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Unsafe Vehicle Operation

Truck drivers who knowingly operate mechanically unsafe vehicles can be held liable for personal injuries from their negligent actions. Brake problems cause a stunning 29% of truck accidents. Unsafe CMV operation is forbidden by law.

Why Is Aggressive Driving a Serious Liability Issue for Truckers?

Aggressive driving is another critical issue for truckers, and incidents are rising. A trucker who uses their vehicle against other drivers to make a point or force an action could be held liable when accidents occur. These are examples of aggressive driving acts:

  • Engaging in right-of-way violations
  • Weaving in traffic
  • Driving at excessive speeds
  • Cutting in front of another vehicle and braking
  • Using a CMV to block passing motorists
  • Forcing another driver off the road

Following too closely is a serious issue for truckers. A truck that tailgates a passenger vehicle leaves little room for braking if traffic slows or comes to a sudden stop. The weight of a large vehicle causes it to lurch forward, ramming or overtaking the vehicle in front. If a victim can prove a trucker’s actions were the direct cause of the accident, it could result in a significant damage award.

Can Trucking Companies Be Liable?

It is important to know the key federal and state regulations that cover trucking services to ensure the safe operation of carriers. Violating these legal mandates leaves trucking companies exposed to liability and gives victims the right to file a claim for damages.

  • Hours of service infractions
  • Substance use issues
  • Inspection failures
  • Load limit problems
  • Licensing concerns (driving without a CDL)
  • Driver training issues

There are potentially a number of entities you can sue for truck accident injuries. In some situations, truck owners (if not the truck company) and truck manufacturers could have direct liability for the injuries you sustained. We investigate the facts of your case and determine the responsible parties to your claim.

How Does a Truck Accident Lawyer Help?

Truck accident lawyers aggressively work to settle your claim with an insurance company or win your case in court. We work to defend your rights and hold responsible parties accountable. If your case proceeds to trial, here are ways we help prepare your case:

  • Filing your claim or initiating a lawsuit
  • Handling communications
  • Collecting evidence and proving fault
  • Negotiating on your behalf with insurance companies
  • Keeping you updated on the progress of your case
  • Informing you of settlement offers
  • Providing you sound and trustworthy legal counsel

We provide you with the personal support you need throughout the legal process.

What Is the Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Cases in Massachusetts?

Massachusetts law provides under Chapter 260 section 2A that you have three years to file a personal injury lawsuit within three years of the accident. If you fail to file as directed, the defendant will likely ask to dismiss the case. There are three exceptions to this statute:

  1. A person is under the age of 18 at the time of an accident, or an injured person is incapacitated by mental illness. Persons who reach age 18 or individuals whose competence is restored have three years to file from the date of these occurrences.
  2. A defendant lives out of state after the accident. The absence most often does not count toward the three-year filing period. The clock starts when the defendant is within the jurisdiction.
  3. Fraud or concealment by a defendant regarding liability for a plaintiff’s injuries means the time this fraud or concealment existed will likely not count toward the three-year filing period.

We understand the complexities of personal injury law and help you navigate these critical legal issues in Massachusetts.

Get the Legal Help You Need After a Truck Accident

Jason Stone Injury Lawyers is the team you need when someone’s negligent actions cause you personal injury. We want you to know that we get paid when you get paid. That’s part of the Stone Cold Guarantee®: 10 promises we make to you. Find out more. There’s No Obligation, Just Information®.

Sources:

https://www.enjuris.com/massachusetts/accidents-crashes/

https://www.mass.gov/service-details/standards-of-fault-to-be-used-by-the-board-of-appeal-on-motor-vehicle-liability-policies-and-bonds-and-insurers-in-presuming-fault-when-making-at-fault-accident-determinations

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/research-and-analysis/large-truck-crash-causation-study-analysis-brief

https://www.justia.com/truck-accidents/causes-of-truck-accidents/aggressive-driving-by-truck-drivers/

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/passenger-safety/inspection-repair-and-maintenance-motor-carriers-passengers-part-396

https://www.ecfr.gov/current/title-49/subtitle-B/chapter-III/subchapter-B/part-392

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/passenger-safety/inspection-repair-and-maintenance-motor-carriers-passengers-part-396

https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartIII/TitleV/Chapter260/Section2A

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