Chelmsford, MA Truck Accident Lawyer

Accidents on the road are common, but accidents with large trucks can be devastating. If you are hurt in a crash with a truck, an attorney can work to get you the compensation you deserve.

Liability for truck accidents often falls to the truck driver, and their employer might share liability in many cases. Sometimes, other drivers or third parties are also implicated. To start your lawsuit, you must meet the “serious injury” rule that allows you to step outside of no-fault insurance laws in Massachusetts. When we file your lawsuit, we can claim damages for economic losses like medical bills and property damage. We can also claim damages for your physical pain and psychological distress. Evidence to support your case might involve videos, photos, witnesses, and more. Many accidents stem from fatigued drivers, which violates numerous trucking regulations.

Contact our truck accident attorneys for a free, confidential case evaluation by calling the Law Office of John J. Sheehan at (617) 925-6407.

Who is Liable for a Chelmsford, MA Truck Accident?

Determining who is responsible for a truck accident can be difficult. Truck accidents are often very large, and numerous drivers, passengers, and other injured parties are involved. People are sometimes quick to blame truck drivers, but other parties should also be investigated for their part in the collision. Our truck accident lawyers can work to identify the party or parties at fault for the crash.

Truckers and Other Drivers

Truckers are often directly responsible for causing accidents. Some common examples of truck driver negligence include violating traffic codes (e.g., speeding, ignoring signs, failing to use signals), falling asleep behind the wheel, and driving while intoxicated.

It is also common for other drivers to contribute to truck accidents. Put another way, the trucker might be responsible, but so might other drivers on the road at the time of the crash. For example, maybe another driver blew through a red light at a high rate of speed into the path of an oncoming truck, but the truck driver was asleep at the wheel and unable to stop. In that case, both the trucker and the other driver can be named in your case and held responsible.

Truck Companies

Even though the truck company might not be directly involved in the accident, they may still bear some legal liability. According to the legal theory of respondeat superior, employers may be held vicariously liable for accidents and injuries caused by negligent employers. For this rule to apply, the employee’s negligent behavior must have been within their usual job duties or in furtherance of their work. Acts of negligence like traffic violations or just general careless or reckless driving often fall within this rule.

Third Parties

Sometimes, people who seemingly have nothing to do with an accident have everything to do with an accident. For example, maybe your truck accident happened because some gear or equipment on the truck was defective. Faulty brakes are not an uncommon concern. In such cases, the manufacturer of the faulty equipment can be sued for damages.

Typically, plaintiffs must show that the equipment or gear in question was defective or damaged when they left the manufacturer. Truck companies might not be completely off the hook. If the truck company had a duty to inspect the equipment but failed to do so, they might also be responsible.

How to Begin a Lawsuit for Damages After a Truck Crash in Chelmsford, MA

To start your lawsuit, you must first overcome some legal hurdles imposed by Massachusetts no-fault insurance laws. According to the serious injury rule under Mass. Gen. Laws Ch. 231 § 6D, you need to have incurred at least $2,000 in medical expenses from the accident or sustained a serious injury as defined by the law.

A serious injury may include severed limbs, serious disfigurement, death, loss of sight or hearing, or broken bones. In typical car accidents, meeting the serious injury rule might be challenging. Since truck accidents often leave victims very badly injured, meeting the serious injury rule might not be a big hurdle to jump. Even so, talk to your lawyer.

Once we know we can file a lawsuit, we must do so before the statute of limitations expires. Under Mass. Gen. Laws Ch. 260 § 2A, injured plaintiffs have 3 years from the day they are hurt to file their lawsuit with the courts.

Finding and Using Evidence in Your Truck Accident Case in Chelmsford, MA

Proving your claims requires strong evidence of the defendant’s negligence. Some important evidence might come from the area around the crash. For example, security cameras or traffic cameras nearby might have recorded video footage of the accident. Alternatively, other drivers might have had dashcams that recorded the collision.

Other evidence might include testimony from witnesses and your own testimony about what you saw and experienced during the accident.

We should also look into the truck company’s records. These records might shed light on negligent practices by employees and how the trucking company might enforce rules or regulations.

Permissible Hours of Service for Truck Drivers in Chelmsford, MA

A major concern in the trucking industry is driver fatigue. Truckers often drive for hours, leading to tired truckers who might doze off behind the wheel. To prevent accidents caused by sleeping drivers, there are federal regulations implementing requirements for break times and rest.

There is a maximum driving time for property-carrying vehicles under 49 C.F.R. § 395.3(a). First, drivers cannot start driving unless they have had at least 10 consecutive hours off duty. Second, drivers cannot drive for more than 14 consecutive hours after the required 10-hour rest period. On top of that, drivers cannot drive for more than 11 hours of the 14 consecutive hours they are on duty. Drivers must take at least one 30-minute break after 8 consecutive hours of driving.

Under 49 C.F.R. § 395.3(b), drivers are not permitted to drive if they have been on duty for a total of 60 hours during any 7 consecutive day period or 70 total hours during any 8 consecutive day period.

When we review business records kept by the trucking company, we might find that truck drivers are not getting enough rest as required under the law. These records may make for useful evidence in your case.

Get in Touch with Our Chelmsford, MA Truck Accident Attorneys for Help Immediately

Contact our truck accident lawyers to get a free, confidential case evaluation by calling the Law Office of John J. Sheehan at (617) 925-6407.