Manchester Truck Crash Lawyers Discuss Common Causes of Truck Crashes
Did you know that commercial trucks are six times the length of an average vehicle and nearly 20 times their weight? It seems like every day that we see a story about one of these trucks being involved in a collision. Passenger cars share the roadways with commercial trucks, and when a collision occurs, drivers and their passengers often sustain extensive damages and injuries, sometimes with tragic results.
Driving a truck for a living requires skill, patience, and the ability to react quickly. Commercial vehicles of all sizes need to be aware of their surroundings at all times. Passenger vehicles must also use caution when driving near these vehicles.
The following issues are the most common causes of truck-related collisions:
- The driver was inadequately trained to operate the vehicle
- The driver was operating the vehicle for more hours than allowable by law
- Unrealistic schedules caused the driver to operate the vehicle recklessly
- The trailer was packed incorrectly, causing the trailer to shift while moving
- Proper maintenance was not performed on the truck, causing mechanical failure
- Falling asleep while driving or using medications that make an operator drowsy
However, it should be noted that these are not the only truck driver related issues that cause serious collisions. The Truck Safety Coalition provides an abundance of information on trucking crashes and is a good resource. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration also provides helpful information.
Contact Experienced Manchester Truck Crash Lawyers for a Free Consultation
Have you or a loved one been injured in a truck-related collision? If so, it is essential that you have competent legal representation from the onset of your case through litigation. Big insurance companies have lawyers looking out for their interests and you should too!
For a free consultation, contact the Manchester truck crash lawyers at the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman PLLC. We may be reached at (603) 605-0547 or by email at info@MZLawNH.com. We may also be contacted by using the “contact us” or chat feature on our website.
Experienced. Knowledgeable. Personally Committed to Justice.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact us by using the “contact us” form or chat feature on our website.
What You Should Do – and Not Do -Following a New Hampshire Auto Accident
The New Hampshire auto accident attorneys at Manning & Zimmerman Law know that being involved in a motor vehicle crash is usually a stressful and painful time, as well as a major disruption to daily life, work, and social activities.
It can also be a confusing time. After being involved in a New Hampshire auto accident, most people don’t know how to deal with an insurance company. Consequently, they lose a considerable amount of time and money in the process. What follows are some suggestions for what you should and shouldn’t do in the days following a New Hampshire car crash.
The First Step to Take
DO – Get the Medical Treatment You Need and Focus on Getting Better
The first thing you should do if you have been injured in a car crash is seek immediate medical treatment. Preferably, you should seek initial treatment at a hospital emergency room or urgent care facility. You should also be mindful of what you tell paramedics and emergency room personnel about “what hurts” and how you’re feeling at that time as these statements will be recorded in your medical records. Be complete in your description of what hurts following a New Hampshire auto accident.
The longer you delay in seeking initial medical treatment after an accident, the more likely the insurance company will downplay the seriousness of your injuries. For example, if you’re claiming that at the scene of the accident you felt sharp back pains that continued for months, and an insurance adjuster finds out that you waited five days before you sought initial care at an emergency room or urgent care facility, the adjuster is going to be skeptical about the nature and severity of your claimed injuries.
Just because you don’t experience severe pain immediately following a New Hampshire auto accident doesn’t mean you haven’t been injured. Injuries oftentimes take days, and sometimes weeks, to fully manifest themselves. When in doubt, you should be examined by an emergency room or urgent care doctor. It’s also a good idea to follow up with your primary care physician soon after the accident. This is essential if an emergency room or urgent care doctor specifically recommends that you follow up in this manner.
In the weeks and months following your accident, follow through with all of your healthcare providers’ treatment recommendations: attend all physical therapy sessions and medical appointments, arrive at your appointments on time, refrain from “discharging yourself” from care at any facility, and continue treating until the healthcare provider recommends otherwise or discharges you. When it comes to medical treatment, continuity and consistency are the name of the game.
You should know that when an insurance adjuster evaluates your claim, he or she will have copies of all of your medical records and bills on hand. If the insurance adjuster notices that you did not complete all of your treatment, did not comply with treatment protocols, failed to show up for medical or physical therapy appointments – or if there are significant gaps in your medical treatment or physical therapy – the adjuster will make note of these deficiencies and will undervalue your claim. If your case does not settle and proceeds forward to trial, a savvy defense attorney will bring these weaknesses to the jury’s attention.
The Next Step to Take
DO – Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
In addition to focusing on getting well following your motor vehicle accident, you should contact a personal injury attorney at the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman, PLLC. Our attorneys can accomplish the preliminary legwork, allowing you to focus on your most important concern at that moment: getting better. Navigating the legal process and working with savvy insurance companies and their adjusters is difficult, and you need someone in your corner who is well-versed in the law and who can safeguard all of your legal rights following a New Hampshire auto accident
As you finish treating for your injuries, your New Hampshire injury lawyer at Manning & Zimmerman Law can gather all of your medical records and bills, allowing you time to focus on your recovery. Once you have finished treating for your injuries, your attorney can submit your medical bills and records to the insurance company and can negotiate a fair and reasonable settlement on your behalf. If you choose not to accept an inadequate settlement offer from the insurance company (as their initial offers are usually low), your attorney can file suit on your behalf, assist you with navigating the litigation process, and bring your case to a conclusion via settlement, trial, or some form of alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation or arbitration.
What to Not Do
DO NOT – Talk to the Insurance Company’s Adjuster
One thing that you should not be doing is speak with an insurance company. If you do, never give them a recorded statement. Insurance adjusters are not interested in safeguarding your rights, paying your claim, or compensating you for your injuries. They are, after all, representatives of the insurance company. As such, their true loyalty rests in ultimately saving the insurance company money. Instead of talking with the insurance company, contact our office. Let us deal with the insurance adjuster on your behalf.
DO NOT – Agree to Give a Recorded Statement to an Insurance Company’s Adjuster or Other Representative
A “recorded statement” is a statement that an insurance company representative takes from you. The insurance companies train their employees in asking questions in such a way that they will hopefully benefit. Such statements are sometimes recorded in a law office (no judge or jury present). The recording consists of a series of questions (asked by the insurance adjuster) about how your injury happened. It also covers the extent of your injuries and damages, time missed from work, and anything else they might dispute. Insurance companies often request these recorded statements when there is some question about fault in a car crash case. Recorded statements are never taken for the injured plaintiff’s benefit. Only the insurance company may potentially benefit from such a statement.
Never agree to provide a recorded statement to an insurance company. Answering just one tricky question could potentially result in a denial of liability by the insurance company. It can also have a disastrous impact on the outcome of your personal injury case. Anything that you say during a recorded statement could potentially be used against you later on in your case.
Contact our New Hampshire Auto Accident Attorneys
Have you been injured by someone else’s careless acts and would like more information on filing a personal injury lawsuit? If so, contact the New Hampshire auto accident attorneys at the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman. Insurance companies have lawyers and you should too! We may be reached at (603) 605-0547 or by email at info@MZLawNH.com.
Experienced. Knowledgeable. Personally Committed to Justice.
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 make a collision between a truck and a passenger car a potentially lethal event.
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
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
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.
Inadequately 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?
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.
If you were recently involved in an accident with a large tractor trailer, you are likely anxious and fearful about ever driving again. If you sustained significant injuries, you may be unable to return to work and face mounting medical bills.
Can I Sue the Trucking Company Employing the Truck Driver?
In most cases, you can and should name the driver’s employer in a personal injury lawsuit. Not only is a large trucking corporation in a better position to compensate you for your injuries, but the trucking company is actually responsible for hiring and supervising safe, cautious drivers. Under the doctrine of vicarious liability, employers may be responsible for the misdeeds of their employees. This doctrine applies if the employee was acting within the scope of their employment and performing job-related responsibilities. You may have a harder time recovering if the employee-driver was in violation of employment procedures or outside required protocol,
What If the Driver Was Violating Mandatory Federal Trucking Regulations at the Time of the Crash?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) maintains a number of regulations with regard to the number of consecutive hours a truck driver may be behind the wheel. The following regulations are in place for a commercial truck driver operating a vehicle weighing 10,001 pounds or more:
- The maximum average work week for truck drivers may not exceed 70 hours;
- Any driver reaching the 70 hours driving in a week may resume driving only after 34 consecutive hours of rest. This which must include two nights of rest between the hours of 1:00 AM and 5:00 AM; and
- Drivers must take a mandatory 30-minute break at some point within the first 8 hours of work.
Evidence showing a deviation from these requirements could make the employer liable if work policies mandate such a rigorous schedule. The truck driver may also be liable if they continued driving despite their employer’s direction to take a break.
Contact a Manchester Truck Accident Lawyer Today
A Manchester truck accident lawyer at Manning & Zimmerman Law will provide a free consultation for those injured in a trucking crash. It is essential that you have competent legal representation from the onset of your case through litigation. Big insurance companies have lawyers looking out for their interests and you should too!
For more information, please contact the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman, PLLC at (603) 624-7200
Experienced. Knowledgeable. Personally Committed to Justice.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the rate of truck crashes and fatalities has begun to creep up after several years of decline. In 2011, the most recent year for which data are available, 3,757 people died in collisions with trucks, an 11.2 percent increase over 2009’s record low. Nearly three times as many people die in truck crashes as die in aviation, boating, and railroad crashes combined. For more information, see this Truck Safety Alert published by the American Association for Justice.
Contact Experienced NH Truck Crashes Attorneys for a Free Consultation
Have you or a loved one been injured due to another person’s careless acts? If so, it is essential that you have competent legal representation from the onset of your case through litigation. Big insurance companies have lawyers looking out for their interests and you should too!
For a free consultation, contact the NH injury attorneys at the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman PLLC. We may be reached at (603) 605-0547 or by email at info@MZLawNH.com. We may also be contacted by using the “contact us” or chat feature on our website.
Experienced. Knowledgeable. Personally Committed to Justice.