According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), most deaths in large truck crashes are passengers. Why? The main problem is the vulnerability of people traveling in smaller vehicles. Trucks often weigh 20-30 times as much as passenger cars and are higher with greater ground clearance, which can result in smaller vehicles underriding trucks in crashes.

The IIHS further notes that truck braking capability can often be a factor in truck crashes. For example, loaded tractor-trailers travel 20-40 percent farther after braking, and the discrepancy is greater on wet and slippery roads or with poorly maintained brakes. Truck driver fatigue also is a known crash risk. Drivers of large trucks are allowed by federal hours-of-service regulations to drive up to 11 hours at a time. Unfortunately, information gathered by the IIHS indicates that many drivers violate the regulations and work longer than what’s allowed.

Now, let’s look at where truck crashes are occurring. Fifty-one percent of deaths in large truck crashes in 2019 occurred on major roads other than interstates and freeways, 34 percent occurred on interstates and freeways, and 15 percent occurred on minor roads. This doesn’t mean that you should avoid all major roads in your community, but it does mean you should be extra cautious if you’re driving next to a massive dump truck on Main Street.

Onto the big question – who is liable after a truck accident? The trucking company? Or the driver of the truck? The answer is not so simple, but as with all personal injury claims, the answer depends on the underlying facts and establishing negligence.

Fifty-one percent of deaths in large truck crashes in 2019 occurred on major roads other than interstates and freeways…

People who work in the trucking industry (drivers, motor carriers, logistics companies, manufacturers) and ancillary companies (i.e., truck maintenance companies) owe the public a duty of enhanced care when it comes to ensuring drivers, vehicle and cargo are all safe as possible given the destruction that can be caused when a truck accident occurs.

All the key players in the trucking industry, as mentioned above, can be named a defendant in a personal injury case, if their actions caused or contributed to a truck accident or exacerbated the resulting injuries. However, you should be aware that truck accident claims tend to be especially complex compared to the average car accident claim for the following reasons:

  1. Operation of commercial trucks is overseen by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which sets standards and holds owners and operators to higher road safety standards.
  2. Truck accident injuries are typically more severe as we discussed above, and therefore the personal and financial stakes are higher.
  3. Corporate structures of trucking companies can be complex, resulting in numerous named defendants in lawsuits arising from personal injury claims.

If you or someone you love has been hurt, injured or killed as a result of an accident with a truck, don’t go it alone. Our team of specialized truck accident attorneys are here to help and support you. Give our experienced personal injury attorneys a call today. We are here to answer your questions and protect your legal rights. Call our Boston, Massachusetts office at (617) 742-1900, or toll-free at 1-800-545-3732.

Mr. Angueira is an accomplished senior trial lawyer at Swartz & Swartz, P.C., who has obtained record breaking results for his clients. He was admitted to the Massachusetts Bar in 1982 and the New York Bar in 1983. He specializes Employment Litigation, Medical Malpractice, Product Liability, Discrimination, Whistle Blower and False Claims.

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