Tag Archives: NH truck accident lawyers

nh truck crash lawyers

NH Truck Crash Lawyers: Collisions With Commercial Vehicles

According to the NH truck crash lawyers at Manning & Zimmerman, collisions can happen anywhere and at any time. More and more, these crashes involve distracted drivers. In New Hampshire, a comparatively small state, traffic fatalities have been rising higher than the national average. In some instances, crashes involve a commercial vehicle. Liability in these case may rest not just with the driver and their insurance company, but also with the company that owns the truck involved.

What is a Commercial Vehicle?

There are a number of different types of these vehicles. A commercial motor vehicle is one that is used on state and interstate roadways to transport people and property. The other requirements for a commercial motor vehicle are:

  • A gross vehicle rating or weight of more than 10,001 pounds
  • Transports more than eight people for compensation
  • Transports more than fifteen people not for compensation
  • Is used to transport material deemed hazardous by the Department of Transportation

There are a number of requirements in order for a vehicle to be classified a commercial motor vehicle. For the most part these are large vehicles that can cause a significant amount of personal and property damage.

Crashes Involving Commercial Vehicles

Because of the size and weight of these vehicles, collisions with commercial trucks often cause devastating injuries and, sometimes, have fatal results. If you or a loved one have been involved in a crash that involved a commercial motor vehicle, there are some important items to know. In cases involving commercial motor vehicles, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has listed a number of items that need to be recorded. These include

  • The date of the crash
  • The city or town nearest where the crash happened
  • The driver’s name
  • How many injuries occurred
  • If there were any fatalities and, if so, how many
  • Whether or not any hazardous materials were spilled as a result

These reports are used by the FMCSA to determine whether or not a company or organization needs to review its safety management in order to prevent further crashes. The question most people have in regards to crashes involving commercial motor vehicles is who is liable for any damages.

First, it is important that the names of those who were involved in the crash be recorded for proper identification. It is also important to record the business or organization that the driver is employed by and that owns the vehicle involved in the crash. This is critical information. If the names of people or businesses involved in the crash are left out of the reports and the court documents, then that unnamed party may not later be found liable even if the crash was their fault. While many assume that only the driver is at fault, that is not correct. The driver may be found liable, but the employer, the manufacturer of the vehicle, and the organization that owns the vehicle may be as well.

Contact the NH Truck Crash Lawyers at Manning & Zimmerman

Our civil justice system provides for victims of negligence to recover full, fair and adequate compensation for their injuries. The NH truck crash lawyers at the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman, PLLC handle cases in all areas of personal injury law. We work diligently to ensure that our clients receive compensation for their injuries. There are no up-front costs for our services. All personal injury cases are handled on a contingency basis, meaning that we are only paid for our services if we successfully recover damages from the responsible party. For a free consultation, call (603) 239-2315. You may also email us at info@manningzimmermanlaw.com, or contact us by using the “contact us” form or chat feature on our website.

To subscribe to our newsletter, click here. We are also on Facebook and you can follow us on Twitter.

NH trucking accident attorneys

NH Truck Accident Lawyers Discuss Trucking Accidents

If you have been injured in an accident with a truck, the experienced NH truck accident lawyers at the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman, PLLC will explain that a truck accident is different and more complicated than a typical motor vehicle crash. Initially, there are often multiple parties who have some involvement. Additionally, the trucking industry is heavily regulated by both federal and state rules and regulations. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, the sheer size and speed of trucks makes a collision between a truck and a passenger car a potentially lethal event.

Background

The first priority in investigating a truck accident is to get a clear understanding of the parties involved. Many people are surprised to learn that often the trucking company does not own the tractor, the trailer, or the equipment that is driven on the highways despite the fact that the truck company’s name is readily visible on each. It is also common practice for trucking companies to hire their drivers as independent contractors, rather than as employees. Consequently, the experienced NH truck accident lawyers at the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman, PLLC will need to determine what role each of the following played in the truck accident in which you were injured:

  • The driver
  • The truck company who operate the business
  • The owner of the truck
  • Any party that loaded the truck

Government Regulation

Primarily due to the fact that many trucks operate across state lines, the US Department of Transportation, operating primarily through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), has put numerous rules in place in an effort to keep the roadways safe for all users. Among the categories of regulation under the FMCSA are:

  • Driver qualification and training
  • Driver protocol for operation of vehicles
  • Operations by trucking companies
  • Size and weight of vehicles
  • Maintenance of vehicles

In addition, New Hampshire has its own state-specific laws regarding safe operation.

Causes of Truck Accidents

Each accident is unique and must be investigated on its own facts and circumstances, but among the more common reasons for truck accidents are:

  • Driver error
  • Inadequately maintained equipment
  • Improperly secure cargo loads
  • Inadequately maintained roads
  • Unsafe driving when there is bad weather/poor visibility

Driver Error

Although driver error is statistically the leading cause of truck accidents, all liability cannot necessarily be placed here. Proper training is a fundamental aspect of safe truck operation. Unless you have been behind the wheel of a large commercial truck, it’s hard to imagine the momentum created by driving such a large vehicle at freeway speeds. Braking, turning and simply maintaining lane presence are skills that need to be developed. It is each trucking company’s duty to be sure each driver who provides services is properly trained. Safe operation involves more than skill, which is why the FMSCA mandates certain maximum hours of time behind the wheel. Of course, the driver is clearly responsible for adhering to the appropriate hours, but realistically, the trucking companies often share complicity in driver fatigue issues. Companies often post “desired” or “optimal” schedule times that are unrealistic, and may also offer incentives for early arrivals. In essence, this encourages drivers to exceed driving times or posted and safe speed limits to get the job done quicker.

NH truck accident lawyersInadequately Maintained Equipment

Potentially there are multiple players in determining liability. Regulations require drivers to inspect their trucks before each trip, but such inspections have their limits. A driver may be able to observe a worn tire lacking adequate tread, but is unlikely to be aware of a pending brake line failure. Should the trucking company that owns the permits and operates the business be responsible for this, or is this a duty of the owner of the truck, or is it the responsibility of both?

Timely Investigation

The insurance carriers for the trucking industry understand the potential liability exposure attendant with a truck accident and get their investigators on the scene quickly, often within hours. It may come as no surprise that each insurer will seek to place blame on another party. For example, the driver blames the truck company, the company blames the truck owner, and the owner blames the driver. There are several entities looking out for the interests of those who caused the accident – you need the experienced NH truck accident lawyers at the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman, PLLC on your side to unravel the facts.

Contact experienced NH Truck Accident Lawyers for Legal Advice

If you have been injured in a truck accident, it is vital that you receive the compensation you deserve. Call the experienced NH truck accident lawyers at the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman, PLLC at (603) 624-7200.