Common Causes of Commercial Vehicle Accidents
Experienced Car Crash Attorney Advising Boston Victims and Families
Motor vehicle accidents almost always cause the victim to experience pain, inconvenience, and hardship. When a commercial vehicle is involved in the crash, the situation may be more complex. Whether you are dealing with a complex insurance policy or a discrepancy over whether the driver of the commercial vehicle was acting in the course and scope of employment at the time of the crash, having an experienced Boston car accident lawyer on your side can make a substantial difference in navigating your injury claim. At The Law Offices of Barry Feinstein & Affiliates P.C., we have assisted countless Massachusetts families in protecting their legal rights in the aftermath of commercial vehicle accidents. If you believe that you are entitled to compensation following a personal injury accident, consult a Boston car accident lawyer at our office now to learn more about your rights.
Common Causes of Commercial Vehicle Accidents
A commercial vehicle accident can take place in almost any location for a variety of reasons. Crowded city centers or busy highways may be places where these cumbersome vehicles could cause crashes to occur. They are not always easy to maneuver or to stop suddenly, especially if the vehicle is overweight or not loaded properly. A driver should undergo sufficient training to learn how to navigate the vehicle through different scenarios. Many of the same causes that lead to regular crashes are also causes that lead to commercial vehicle crashes. If a driver is engaged in distracted driving activities like talking on the phone, checking email, or texting, it will be more difficult for him or her to react to a sudden change in driving conditions. Driver fatigue is one of the more common causes of commercial vehicle accidents, particularly where the driver has a demanding delivery or work schedule.
Many commercial vehicles are used to make deliveries. If a driver is running late or has a busy schedule, he or she may be tempted to speed or to drive aggressively in order to stay on schedule. A driver may also shirk some traffic laws like yielding the right-of-way or use safe merging practices on the freeway. Improper vehicle maintenance is another common cause of commercial vehicle accidents. If the owner or the vehicle does not perform routine inspections and address any necessary repairs such as ensuring the brakes are in good working order, a crash may take place leading to devastating injuries or even death.
Understanding Liability in a Commercial Vehicle Accident
Although commercial vehicles are subject to the same driving rules and regulations as other motorists, there are additional rules that apply to commercial vehicle operations to help ensure everyone’s safety. These vehicles are often large, complicated to operate, and carrying heavy loads of cargo. If a driver does not undergo appropriate training to navigate a massive commercial vehicle safely through traffic, then other motorists and pedestrians are facing serious risks of injury or even death. In addition to federal laws, Massachusetts has imposed additional requirements for commercial drivers in the state. For example, trucks that exceed a certain weight and height must obtain a permit before operating in the state. There are also restrictions on which roadways particularly tall vehicles are allowed to use.
At the federal level, drivers and trucking companies are subject to many different regulations, including requirements regarding the number of driver training hours an operator must complete before driving solo. There are also strict rules regarding the number of hours that a driver can operate a vehicle without taking a break, and strict limits regarding intoxicated driving, setting the legal BAC limit at 0.04%. Finally, federal laws prohibit commercial drivers from using cell phones in any manner behind the wheel and Massachusetts strictly enforces this prohibition.
Seeking Compensation Following a Commercial Vehicle Accident
Massachusetts laws allow injury victims to seek compensation from commercial drivers who have operated their vehicles negligently. It is important to understand whether or not the driver involved in the accident was working for an employer at the time of the crash. Under state law, employers can be held vicariously liable for the negligent acts of their employees that occur during the course and scope of employment. Not all commercial drivers are classified as employees. Some are designated as independent contractors, which means that they are solely liable. Understanding the nature of the driver’s employment will help identify any insurance policies that may provide coverage for your injuries and property damage. An experienced injury lawyer can help you navigate this process.
You can also bring a civil claim against the driver and any involved employers. In this lawsuit, you will need to prove that the driver acted negligently at the time of the crash, and that this negligence caused your injuries. Commercial drivers are required to operate their vehicles with the same reasonable care and skill that a prudent commercial driver would use behind the wheel. This includes obeying applicable traffic rules and adjusting one’s driving to accommodate any dangerous roadway conditions like heavy traffic or severe weather.
Causation is the next critical step in the lawsuit. This element requires showing that you would not have suffered injuries but for the driver’s lack of appropriate care behind the wheel. Because accidents happen quickly and it can be difficult to understand the sequence of events, it is often necessary to consult with an expert witness to explain how the accident happened. The last phase of the litigation is called damages. When it comes to compensation, there are several categories of damages that a plaintiff can claim, including past and future medical bills and lost earning capacity. It is important to save any and all documents that may show the amount of damages you have incurred or will incur as a result of the crash.
Speak With a Tenacious Commercial Vehicle Accident Lawyer in Boston
Commercial vehicle accidents can involve a wide range of vehicles, from large trucks to vans. Regardless of the severity of your injuries, you deserve representation from a skilled attorney to help you understand your rights and options. At The Law Offices of Barry Feinstein & Affiliates P.C., we are well-versed in the common causes of commercial vehicle accidents. We have fought for the rights of injured Boston residents for several decades, which means we understand firsthand how stressful this situation is for you and your loved ones. Our team of legal professionals can serve clients in areas around Cambridge, Waltham, Lowell, Somerville, Newton, Dedham, Quincy, Norwood, Brookline, and Peabody. To schedule your free consultation call us at (800) 262-9200 or contact us online.