Today’s modern tractor trailers are equipped with extensive technology that records and monitors many aspects of the vehicle, including drive cameras that monitor both the[…]
Truck Accident Attorneys Serving Clients in Connecticut and Massachusetts
Truck accidents involving big rigs, 18-wheelers, and other commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) can be devastating.
Occupants of smaller passenger vehicles frequently suffer debilitating and fatal injuries due to the sheer size and weight of the truck involved in the collision.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI), trucks can weigh anywhere from 20 to 30 times as much as a passenger vehicle, making collisions between a truck and a passenger vehicle often deadly. Large trucks also have a greater ground clearance than passenger vehicles, which means that passenger vehicles can easily underride trucks in an accident, resulting in devastating injuries in passenger vehicle occupants.
If you or someone you love suffered devastating injuries in a truck crash, you should speak with a trucking accident attorney as soon as possible.
At Stanger Stanfield Law, LLC, we serve clients throughout Connecticut and Massachusetts.
Getting the Facts About Large Truck Crashes
How often do large truck crashes happen? And are there certain risk factors that can help us to understand when and where collisions occur? What percentage of vehicles involve semi trucks?
The following facts and figures come from the IIHS and the HLDI:
- Nearly 4,000 people died in large truck accidents in 2016;
- Truck occupants account for about 17% of fatalities from trucking crashes;
- Pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists account for around 16% of all fatalities in large truck collisions;
- Occupants of passenger vehicles account for approximately 66% of all truck accident deaths;
- Trucking accident fatalities are on the rise, with a 27% increase in crash deaths between 2009 and 2016;
- Truck occupant fatalities have risen markedly since 2009, with a 47% increase in death rate;
- Tractor-trailers account for 73% of all trucks involved in trucking crashes;
- Single-unit trailers account for about 21% of all trucks involved in collisions;
- Smaller trucks and CMVs account for around 8% of all trucks involved in accidents;
- 7% of all deadly truck accidents in which truck occupants were killed were multiple-vehicle crashes, with a collision between at least two large trucks;
- 21% of all passenger vehicle accident fatalities occur in a collision with a large truck;
- 60% of trucking accident fatalities occurred on major roads that were not interstates or freeways;
- 32% of deadly truck crashes happened on interstates and freeways;
- 7% of large truck collisions occurred on minor roads; and
- About 50% of all large truck fatal accidents happened during daylight hours between 6:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.
Causes of Major Trucking Collisions in Connecticut and Massachusetts
Why do trucking accidents happen in Connecticut and Massachusetts?
As with all motor vehicle crashes, there are many different reasons that a dangerous trucking collision can occur.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) conducted a large truck crash causation study, which determined that any of the following are commonly responsible for trucking accidents:
- Reckless driving, such as speeding, weaving in between vehicles on the interstate, tailgating, or other dangerous and aggressive behaviors;
- Distracted driving, such as talking on a cell phone, texting while driving, or even eating behind the wheel;
- Drowsy driving or fatigued driving, which often happens to truck drivers who have been on the road for many hours at a time;
- Intoxicated driving, which includes driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, including certain prescription drugs;
- Improper loading of the truck;
- Failure to properly maintain the truck’s mechanical condition;
- Negligent mechanic work on the truck;
- Defective brakes or another defective motor vehicle part;
- Tire blowout; and
- Inclement weather.
While inclement weather can play a role in causing a truck crash, drivers also need to take precautions when it is snowing or the ground is icy, as well as when there are heavy rains. Failure to drive based on the weather conditions can be negligent even if a driver is within the legal speed limit.
Who is Liable for a Truck Crash?
Many trucking companies have deep pockets. These companies not only have the money to hire a team of attorneys, but they also have the funds to pay injured victims.
It is important to hold the responsible party accountable in a debilitating trucking crash, and you may be able to file a claim against more than one party.
Examples of parties that may be liable for a serious truck collision include but are not limited to the following:
- Trucking company that employs the truck driver;
- Owner of the truck;
- Truck driver;
- Company responsible for loading the truck;
- Designer of a motor vehicle part;
- Manufacturer of a motor vehicle part; and/or
- Another motorist on the road.
Truck accident injury victims and their families should speak with a Connecticut trucking accident attorney as soon as possible about filing a claim for compensation. At Stanger Stanfield Law, LLC, we have years of experience filing claims against large trucking companies, and we want to make sure that these companies with deep pockets do not get the advantage over an injured motorist.
Steps to Take After a Truck Accident
What should you do after a truck accident happens in Connecticut or Massachusetts? Many trucking crash victims are incapacitated after a collision and cannot immediately document the scene of the crash or make decisions about medical care.
However, if you are able to do so, you should always take the following steps after a trucking crash:
1. Photograph the scene of the crash
Use your cell phone to take photos from many different angles and distances of the scene.
2. Gather witness information
You should take down the names and contact information for anyone involved in the collision, as well as any potential witnesses at the scene. The sooner your lawyer is able to speak with witnesses, the fresher the information will be if you need to present it to an insurance company or a jury.
3. Seek medical attention
If involved in a crash, you should go to the hospital immediately for an evaluation, even if you aren’t sure about the severity of your injuries. It is important for a doctor to assess your injuries and to provide documentation. It can take hours and sometimes days for signs of serious and life-threatening injuries to appear after a crash. As such, you should always seek immediate medical attention.
4. Contact your insurance company
You will need to inform your insurance company that you were involved in a collision. Provide your insurance company with the facts, but do not offer any opinions about how the crash happened or who was at fault.
5. Seek help from a truck accident attorney
As soon as possible, you should seek help from a trucking accident attorney. Your lawyer will advocate for your right to compensation and can speak with the insurance company and negotiate on your behalf.
Types of Damages in a Trucking Accident Lawsuit
If you sustain injures from a trucking accident caused by another party’s harmful or careless actions, you may be able to receive two different types of compensatory damages:
- Economic damages: This is a form of compensatory damages that compensates a plaintiff for direct economic losses, including hospital bills, prescription medication costs, and lost wages.
- Non-economic damages: This is another form of compensatory damages that compensates a plaintiff for intangible losses, including, pain and suffering, emotional distress, or the loss of enjoyment of life.
You also may be able to obtain punitive damages, which punish a defendant for especially harmful behavior.
At Stanger Stanfield Law, LLC, we are committed to seeking punitive damages when cases warrant it.
Statute of Limitations in Trucking Accident Claims in Connecticut and Massachusetts
You must file your truck accident claims within a certain period of time after the crash occurs, or else an injured plaintiff can lose his or her right to seek compensation. This time window is known as the “statute of limitations.” Depending upon whether your accident happened in Connecticut or Massachusetts, there are two different statutes of limitations to be aware of:
- Connecticut personal injury statute of limitations (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 52-584): 2 years from the date of the accident.
- Massachusetts personal injury statute of limitations (MA Gen. L. Ch 106 § 2-318): 3 years from the date of the accident.
If you sustains injuries from an accident in Connecticut and are filing a claim in Connecticut, you have two years from the date of the crash to file your lawsuit.
If you were injured in Massachusetts and are filing a claim in Massachusetts, you have two years from the date of the accident to file your claim.
An experienced trucking accident attorney can speak with you today about your options.
Contact an Experienced Trucking Accident Attorney Serving Clients in Connecticut and Massachusetts
Were you injured in a truck accident? An experienced Connecticut trucking accident attorney can get started on your case today. Contact Stanger Stanfield Law, LLC for more information about how we serve injury victims in Connecticut and Massachusetts.