Newton Truck Accident Lawyers – Serving Clients in Newton, Cambridge, Wellesley, throughout the Greater Boston Area, and Massachusetts
If you have been the victim of a semi, 18-wheeler, or tractor-trailer truck crash, you may have sustained a serious or catastrophic injury. Because of the size and weight of these very large trucks, many truck collision victims suffer from:
- Head & brain injuries
- Back & spinal cord injuries
- Broken or fractured bones
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Crushed limbs and organs
- Permanent disability
- Psychological distress
Additionally, each year many victims are killed in large truck crashes.
Truck crash victims are entitled to full compensation for their injuries and damages from those responsible for their injuries. In addition to negligent truck drivers, typically trucking companies will also be legally liable for crashes, injuries, and damages.
Common Causes of Semi-Truck Collisions
Semi-truck and 18-wheeler crashes are commonly caused by:
- Falling asleep at the wheel
- Driving under the influence (DWI/DUI)
- Reckless driving
- Failure to yield
- Failure to properly maintain the truck
- Improper loading or unloading
- Failure to follow traffic signs/signals
- Failure to repair or fix broken equipment
The Difference Between Semi-Truck and Car Accidents
Commercial “big-rig” truck drivers must comply with extensive truck regulations that are not applicable to regular drivers. At the federal level, truck drivers and companies must comply with what are known as the Federal Motor Carrier Act (FMCA) and the rules and regulations enacted there-under. These regulations are designed to promote safe driving through:
- Driver training
- Load and vehicle inspections
- Prohibitions on any alcohol consumption in the hours before trips
- Bans on certain types of “pep” pills
One key aspect of safe driving concerns efforts to stop driver fatigue. Federal regulations prohibit truck drivers from driving more than a specified number of hours during certain time periods, and require drivers to get a certain amount of rest over the course of a number of days. These regulations were enacted to make sure that truck drivers were not driving for extended periods in a day, and that they are fully rested when they are driving.
These regulations also require interstate truck drivers to keep meticulous log books of their trips to document the number of hours that they drove and their hours of rest. However, for a long time, only paper log books were used, which could be falsified so that drivers could driver more hours than are allowed under the regulations (so that they would earn more money). Now, log books are normally kept electronically, making falsification harder.
When a truck crash occurs, we will want to carefully investigate not only the electronic log book, but also event records (truck black boxes), load inspection records, truck maintenance records, safety training records, and many other records and documents. This will help us to determine the possible causes for a semi crash.
Punitive Damages in Trucking Cases
In addition to pain and suffering, medical bills, lost wages, and similar types of compensation, in some cases, truck accident victims (and the families of those who lost a loved one in a truck crash) may be entitled to punitive damages. Punitive damages are meant solely to promote a wrongdoer for extreme and outrageous conduct causing injuries or loss of life. For an example, punitive damages may be warranted in cases such as:
- A truck company hiring a driver who does not have a valid license after the driver’s license was permanently revoked for multiple DUI convictions
- A driver who was told that their brakes were bad, but who nonetheless chose to drive anyway
- A driver who has been driving for 20 consecutive hours with stops only for bathroom and gas breaks.
Punitive damages are up to the jury to determine. If we believe that there is sufficient evidence to seek punitive damages, then we will do so against whatever driver or company may have engaged in outrageous conduct.
Learn About the Options for Your Semi-Truck Crash
There are no fees if your case is accepted unless and until you recover compensation. We offer a free, no-obligation call so that you can learn about your options and how we can help.