Boston Truck Accident Lawyer
Companies in Massachusetts and around the country rely on large trucks to move their products wherever they need to go. Unfortunately, these trucks are highly prone to causing accidents that can severely injure the occupants of passenger vehicles. In fact, it is rare that a truck accident does not total the other cars involved and leave the people inside with serious injuries. Whenever drivers and trucking companies cause crashes, they can be held responsible for the victims’ losses.
The Boston truck accident lawyers at the Law Office of John J. Sheehan may be able to represent you in your truck accident case. We work to conduct independent investigations of the incident, analyze the actions of all people involved, and deal with the insurance companies so that you can get your life back on track. For a free truck accident case consultation, call us today at (617) 925-6407.
Suing Negligent Truck Drivers for Boston Truck Accident Cases
Truck drivers assume the duty of protecting other people they encounter on the road by following traffic laws and trucking regulations. Other drivers, their passengers, and even pedestrians are owed a duty under these rules. Any actions or inactions by the truck driver that breach this duty and cause injury could be considered negligence that can justify suing the driver.
Plaintiffs in truck accident cases can prove negligence in a number of ways, the simplest of which is to obtain a police report that cites the truck driver for breaking a rule of the road. If a truck driver breaks the law and this violation results in an accident, the law assumes that the truck driver was negligent. This concept of negligence per se can make some claims against negligent truck drivers relatively easy.
If the trucker is not cited for breaking a traffic law, a plaintiff may need to investigate how long the truck driver was on the road on the day of the accident and in the days leading up to the accident. They may also need to speak with witnesses about the positioning of the vehicles and actions taken by the trucker that led to the accident. Many of these things violate state and federal trucking regulations that drivers must follow in order to keep other people safe. They could also violate safe-driving principles that any reasonable truck driver should follow, even if they do not explicitly violate any laws.
Our Boston truck accident attorney can take the lead in investigating a truck accident in the Boston area to prove that a trucker’s poor driving caused the accident in question.
Suing the Trucking Company for Truck Accident Injuries in Boston
A truck driver who causes an accident is almost always a defendant in the resulting truck accident lawsuit, but that trucker’s employer may also be a defendant in the case. If the company took actions or failed to take actions that helped place the plaintiff at risk of injury, the company could share liability. As the driver’s employer, the company might also be held responsible in place of the individual employee, depending on the circumstances of the crash and the employment structure.
Trucking Company Liability
There are strict federal regulations that determine how the trucking industry must conduct business alongside the regulations that dictate what individual truckers must do. Among other requirements, vehicles cannot exceed specified maximum weight limits, drivers cannot exceed a certain number of hours per week on the road, and cargo must be properly secured. Many of these rules work to constrain trucking companies and stop them from practices that might injure drivers.
Failing to follow virtually any of these regulations puts others at a greater risk of injury. If an investigation reveals that this kind of violation led to the accident, both the truck driver and their parent company could be held responsible for the injuries that result. Other mistakes on the part of the trucking company could also allow you to hold them liable, such as negligent hiring or retention of a driver that they should have known was dangerous or mistakes in vehicle upkeep that caused the crash.
Trucking companies, as employers, can also be held liable when their drivers cause crashes simply because they are the driver’s employer. In the same way that a grocery store might be held liable for a spill that a specific employee did not clean up, a trucking company can be sued for the mistakes its specific drivers make behind the wheel.
To sue for this “vicarious liability” under a legal principle called “respondeat superior,” you have to show that the driver was working within the scope of their duties when the negligence occurred. Since truck drivers are hired to drive trucks, any mistakes they make behind the wheel of the truck are likely to be within the scope of their employment. If the trucker deviated from the assigned route or was driving the truck in their off-duty time, that could cause issues for this kind of accident case, but those issues are rare.
An issue that is common in trucking cases, however, is that you cannot sue a trucking company for a contractor’s mistakes. Many truck drivers are owner-operators or independent contractors that do jobs for trucking and transportation companies, but they are not employees. If the driver is not an employee, you cannot hold the trucking company liable as their employer. Instead, the mistakes end with the truck driver, but they will likely have liability insurance to cover negligence that occurs during their business operations on top of any auto insurance they carry.
Other At-Fault Parties
Our truck accident lawyer in Boston can help identify all possible defendants to maximize the potential compensation or a victim. In some cases involving multi-vehicle crashes or pileups, you may actually be able to sue other drivers alongside the truck driver as well.
Damages to Claim in a Boston Truck Accident Injury Case
Many Boston truck accident cases leave drivers in cars and SUVs with serious injuries while many of the truck drivers are able to walk away from the crash with minor or moderate injuries. Since the victim was hit by a vehicle that likely weighs around 20-times what their car weighs, they are likely to face serious, permanent, or even disabling injuries. These victims are often entitled to claim substantial financial compensation and damages after a crash.
First, victims could be entitled to compensation to cover their medical bills. These damages could pay for many different things, such as medical transportation to the hospital after the crash, emergency procedures to stabilize a victim, and ongoing physical therapy and rehabilitation after a severe injury. If the injury resulted in enhanced care needs, such as home nursing care, crutches, or a wheelchair, those costs should also be covered in a lawsuit.
Lost Wages and Earning Capacity
Second, victims can claim compensation for other economic harms they face because of the crash, such as lost wages. If it will take you a while to recover from your injuries and you will be unable to work in the meantime, a lawsuit may be able to cover lost wages. Additionally, if you cannot return to work or have to take a different job because of the disabilities your injuries caused, you may be entitled to claim the difference between your old wages and your new wages as damages to your earning capacity.
Pain and Suffering, Emotional Distress, Etc.
Lastly, one of the most important types of damages you can claim in your case is for pain and suffering. These damages are not available in most insurance claims and are only available in lawsuits in Massachusetts that have at least $2,000 in economic damages. These damages pay you directly for things like physical pain, mental suffering, emotional distress, and other intangible, non-economic damages. Talk to a lawyer about how to calculate these damages and determine what compensation you should be entitled to.
Determining how much your damages are worth can be difficult. In many cases, the bills themselves tell only part of the story; other financial statements and economic reports might be necessary to determine how much the damages actually cost you as compared to how much you were billed. Damages from lost wages could also need to be projected into the future, which could require calculations and testimony from expert witnesses and actuaries to determine how much those damages will cost you going forward. In any case, never accept the valuation that the defendant gives you. Large trucking companies work to keep settlements low to protect their bottom line. Work with a Boston truck accident lawyer who represents you and your best interests and can tell you what your case might actually be worth, both at settlement and if your case proceeds to a jury trial.
Talk to Our Boston Truck Accident Attorney Today for a Free Consultation
The Law Office of John J. Sheehan’s Boston truck accident lawyers are prepared to handle your truck accident case or a case involving a loved one killed in a truck accident.
Our Boston truck accident lawyer stands ready to fight for you. They work to investigate the cause of the accident, gather evidence, and help you make a settlement demand that outlines the defendant’s negligence and demands appropriate compensation. Contact our Boston personal injury attorney today at (617) 925-6407 to let them get to work for you.