About Pursuing an Claim for Injuries Caused by Commercial Trucking Accidents
Boston Commercial Truck Accident Attorneys
Most people don’t realize the number of accidents that occur every year involving eighteen-wheelers, semi-tractor trailers, and other large commercial transportation trucks. Although planes, boats, and trains are used to transport goods throughout the United States, the highways and commercial trucking are what drive the national economy. These large commercial trucks are the lifeblood of the U.S. commerce. Trucking transportation is 620 billion dollar a year industry. Given the large number of eighteen-wheelers and semi-tractor trailers on the roads, accidents occur more frequently than most people realize.
A fully loaded tractor-trailer truck weighs 10, 20 or even 40 times as much as a single car, making accidents involving these trucks especially deadly. The maximum legal operating weight of an eighteen-wheeler is 80,000 pounds. Contrast these 40 tons on eighteen wheels with the average motor vehicle weighing 5,000 pounds and it’s no wonder that catastrophic or fatal injuries usually result from a collision with a tractor-trailer.
Why You Need to Hire an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney Immediately After an Accident
Large trucking and transportation companies have thousands of trucks in their fleet and on the roads all across America on a daily basis. These companies are so large they have trucks that are involved in accidents caused by their drivers on a daily basis. As a result, most of these companies have teams they deploy to accident scenes as soon as possible in order to protect the companies best interests.
One of the teams first priories is to secure the truck in order to prevent the victim’s attorney’s from finding and documenting evidence. The truck contains crucial evidence. Defective, worn or blown-out tires can be transported to junk yards and lost forever and black box data can be erased.
The Importance of Preserving Evidence
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations requires trucking companies to maintain certain company documents:
- driver drug and alcohol use and testing records, 49 C.F.R. § 382;
- financial responsibility (insurance), 49 C.F.R. § 387;
- records and information related to all accidents, 49 C.F.R. § 390;
- driver qualifications, 49 C.F.R. § 391;
- hours of service (logs), 49 C.F.R. § 395 (§395.8(k) must keep for 6 months);
- vehicle maintenance, 49 C.F.R. § 396 (§396.11 (c) driver’s daily inspection reports—must keep for 90 days; § 396.3(c), entire maintenance record— one year); and
- transportation of hazardous materials, 49 C.F.R. § 397.
It is important for you to hire an attorney that knows the trucking companies only need to preserve these critical documents for a short period of time. For instance, the federal regulations only require trucking companies to keep the driver’s logbooks for only six months. The trucking company only needs to keep the driver’s daily vehicle inspection reports for ninety days. The entire vehicle maintenance recordings for the truck needs to be saved for one full year.
Now if the tractor-trailer is totaled in the accident and the trucking company disposes of the truck it only needs to maintain the truck’s maintenance records for six months. If the truck company sells the truck, they only need to preserve the records for 6 months.
Because of these specific federal regulations, you cannot wait a year or two for your attorney to take steps to preserve or obtain these important documents. In most cases, suit should be filed soon after the crash. Once this is done your attorney can file a motion with the court requiring the trucking company to keep all records.
If your attorney does not file suit immediately, they should know to send a spoliation letter to the trucking company via certified mail right after the accident. This letter puts the trucking company on notice that they must preserve all their records. If the trucking company fails to preserve these records after receiving a spoliation letter than the jury will be instructed that the company destroyed or altered evidence in the case. The court may also sanction the company.
Additionally, your attorney should know to immediately demand the trucking company to remove and preserve the electronic control module (ECM aka The Black Box). The information on the ECM can be erased once the truck is repaired and put back on the road. Most ECM’s only preserve recorded data for 30 days. The ECM data can be vital to proving the truck company or truck driver’s liability. The ECM, or Black Box, records vehicle data including: the truck’s average speed, fastest speed, the amount of time the truck was traveling over the speed limit, the change in speed at the moment of impact. The ECM also records brake pedal application, quick stop data and hard braking in addition to throttle position and the status of the clutch.
ECM data can also be compared to truck driver log books and other company records. Federal law limits the amount of driving time/on duty time a driver can have over an 8 day period. These regulations were put in place to limit accidents caused by driver fatigue.
What Are Some Causes of Commercial Trucking Accidents?
Many times drivers violate drive time/on-duty time limits and as a result will resort to falsifying their driver logbooks to show they followed the federal drive time limits. However, the ECM data does not lie and will show the driver was actually operating his truck when his written logs show he was not.
Truck Driver Error and Negligence
- Fatigued Truck Drivers
- Distracted Truck Drivers
- Jackknifed Trucks (Overturned trucks)
- Truck Rollover Accidents
- Fatal Truck Accidents
- Unsafe Lane Change
- Wide Turn Truck Accident
- Truck Merging Accident
- Blind Spot Truck Crash
- Falling Debris
- Truck Driver Responsibilities
Trucking Company and Employer Negligence
- Negligent Hiring
- Failure to Adequate Train
- Failure to Adequately Supervise
- Failure to Inspect Trucks
- Failure to Maintain Trucks
- Overweight Load
Mechanical Error or Defect
- Brake Malfunction
- Underride Accidents
- Worn/Defective Tires & Tire Blowout
- Detached/Runaway Trailer
Were you seriously injured in a truck accident? Our lawyers can help you get the compensation you deserve.
The following is a list of some of the largest trucking and transportation companies in the United States. If you have been injured in an accident caused by a driver of any of these, or another trucking company, call our personal injury attorneys today to schedule a free no-obligation case review and consultation at (508) 588-0422 and you will have taken your first step towards getting fair compensation for your injuries or for the loss of a loved one. You can also click here to use our Free Case Evaluation Form.
- Duie Pyle
- J.B. Hunt
- J.P. Noonan Transportation
- Lowe’s Companies
- North American Van Lines
- Republic Services waste disposal
- Ryder Systems, Inc.
- Reyes Holdings
- Sysco Corp.
- Tyson Foods
- United Rentals
- United Van Lines
- US Foods
- Waste Management
- W.B. Mason
- Yellow Roadway Corporation
Free Consultation, No Fee if No Recovery
If you’ve been injured in an accident involving a tractor-trailer truck, 18-wheeler, or other type of commercial truck, either as a pedestrian, driver, or a property owner you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, or for the loss of a loved on killed in a fatal truck accident.
Our truck accident personal injury and wrongful death attorneys may be able to hold the trucking company, as well as the driver of the truck, or other third parties liable for medial expenses, lost income, as well as for damages.
We offer a free, no-obligation legal consultation to help you understand your rights and the value of your case.
Our adult and child personal injury trial lawyers assist motor vehicle accident victims throughout all of Southeast Massachusetts including, but not limited to, those in the following counties, cities and towns: Plymouth County including Brockton, Plymouth, Bridgewater, Marshfield, Hingham, Duxbury, Wareham, Abington, Rockland, Whitman, Hanson, Middleborough; Norfolk County including Quincy, Stoughton, Dedham, Weymouth, Braintree, Avon, Holbrook, Randolph, Canton, Sharon, Brookline, Franklin; Bristol County including New Bedford, Fall River, Taunton, Attleboro, Mansfield, Easton, Raynham, Norton; and the Greater Boston area including Cambridge, Dorchester, Lynn, Revere, Everett, Roxbury and Somerville.
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