Connecticut’s trucking industry is thriving, which presents many hazards for motorists. Our state’s roads and highways are congested with semi trucks, tractor-trailers, 18-wheelers and other large commercial trucks. Due to the volume of heavy-vehicle traffic, it is common for these large vehicles to be involved in catastrophic – and often fatal – accidents.
At Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers, we have the knowledge and resources to handle your injury lawsuit and can help guide you through the personal injury litigation process. Our attorneys have years of experience in truck accident litigation. We are prepared to take on your case today and work tirelessly to seek justice for you. With offices in Hartford, Bridgeport, New London, Waterbury and New Haven, we serve truck accident victims throughout Connecticut.
Common Causes Of Truck Accidents
In our many years of handling auto collision lawsuits, we have witnessed a variety of causes and conditions that contribute to prime-mover traffic fatalities and injuries. Some common factors in these crashes include:
- Fatigued, aggressive or inexperienced drivers
- Distracted driving
- Hazardous cargo
- Drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Mechanical defects
- Poor blind spot visibility
- Poor maintenance
- Runaway trailers
- Unbalanced loads
- Inadequate commercial level driver training
- Trailer loads that exceed their maximum weight limits
Tractor-trailers and other large commercial vehicles clearly present a great danger to the motorists on the roads of Connecticut. It is critical to be aware of the potential hazards of larger vehicles.
Common Injuries From Truck Crashes
Ordinarily, a large commercial truck weighs 20 to 30 times more than the typical passenger vehicle. Due to the force of most big-rig crashes, the resulting injuries are usually life-changing. More than three-quarters of the people injured in truck accidents are occupants of other vehicles. Some common injuries sustained in semi-trailer collisions are:
- Cuts and lacerations
- Back and spine injuries
- Traumatic brain damage
- Dental injuries
- Bruises and contusions
- Internal injuries
- Facial damage
- Wrongful death
To be a safe driver, it’s important to practice defensive driving skills. It is also essential to remain aware of the hazards that exist on the road every day, including the dangers of large trucks.
Truck Accident Facts That You Should Know
Each year, the United States sustains about 5,000 truck accident fatalities and 150,000 truck accident injuries, according to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The greater the driver’s education in terms of truck facts is, the greater the likelihood is that they will avoid a crash.
- Any large vehicle weighing over 10,000 pounds is considered a large truck. These include semi trucks, tractor-trailers, cargo vans, buses and any other vehicle that falls into the category based upon weight and size.
- The engine of a semi truck is six times larger than that of a car engine and has 400 horsepower to 600 horsepower.
- Semi trucks cannot legally weigh more than 80,000 pounds.
- Large trucks are typically between 70 feet and 80 feet long and 13 feet tall.
- An 18-wheeler has five total axles.
- Jackknife accidents and rollover collisions are amongst the most dangerous of truck accidents.
- Trucks require about 40% greater stoppage time than that of a standard vehicle.
Understanding the most relevant truck facts will help put driving activities into perspective for Connecticut motorists.
Trucks Vs. Automobiles – A Dangerous Size Difference
When traveling along Connecticut roadways, especially during highway travel, motorists will recognize the constant presence of larger commercial vehicles. One of the greatest disadvantages of driving next to 18-wheeler trucks is the many variances that exist between this type of vehicle and a standard automobile. When put in perspective, it is clear why 18-wheeler trucks frighten many drivers on the roads and highways.
While nothing can be done to change the variation in size, weight and stoppage time between a tractor-trailer vehicle and a standard automobile, understanding the vast differences helps drivers relate to just how dangerous these trucks may become. While some accidents with commercial vehicles are certainly unavoidable, being aware of the many differences between standard cars and large trucks will help drivers adjust their driving habits accordingly.
What Are The Regulations For Semi Trucks?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) oversees and outlines the rules and regulations for all commercial trucks in the country. In compliance with FMCSA standards, all truckers and trucking companies have a set of principles to follow that can increase safety and reduce the frequency of motor vehicle collisions. When they adhere to these standards, they are in a much better position to avoid a crash.
The following are some of the standards outlined by the FMCSA:
- Proper training
- Equipment safety
- Employee safety and health standards
- Liability insurance requirements
- Rest periods
- Drugs and alcohol use
- Loading techniques
The failure to adhere to these standards can result in serious penalties. Due to the strict rules and regulations specific to trucks and commercial vehicles, it is essential to hire a professional legal team that is well-versed in trucking law in the event of an accident.
Truck Accident Do’s And Don’ts
You may not know what to do following an accident. These are some steps that you should follow – and avoid – after a truck crash:
- Collect Information: Along with the driver’s name and insurance details, get information about their employer, the type of truck involved in the collision, the location of the incident and more.
- Recall the events: It is important to try to recall the details of the incident before they are forgotten.
- Get witness information: Getting details from eyewitnesses along with their personal information can help you in the future.
- Keep all your records: Be sure to keep all vital information handy, including medical expenses paid out, injuries diagnosed, property damage evaluations and more.
- Take photographs: Take photos of the scene, vehicles involved, skid marks on the road and any other notable situational support.
- Leave the scene of an accident
- Sign any paperwork you do not understand: The police report should be the only initial paperwork signed until you speak with an experienced attorney.
- Agree to any initial settlement offers: Insurance companies and truck company representatives may attempt to reach out to you to make a settlement. However, they may offer adequate compensation.
- Wait to file a claim: In Connecticut, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury or property damage claim is two years.
- Try to blame anyone: It is crucial that all parties provide accurate and honest details about the accident.
After the accident, one of the most important issues all motorists should take care of is ensuring their own safety and that of the other motorists involved. Be sure to call the authorities in order to file a proper collision report and request emergency services if anyone believes they have been injured.
Truck Accident FAQ
What is the difference between an auto accident and a truck accident?
Due to the sheer size discrepancy, the main difference is the severity of damages incurred. Car accident injury claims and truck accident injury claims are handled very differently as well. In a truck accident, many different parties can be held liable, including the truck driver and the trucking company that employs the driver. There are regulations that truck drivers must follow, which is taken into consideration when investigating a claim.
How long do I have to file a truck accident injury lawsuit?
In Connecticut, personal injury and wrongful death claims have a two-year statute of limitations. In no event can a lawsuit be filed three years from the date of injury or discovery of injury. Do not wait file a claim. The sooner you file your claim, the better the likelihood is of obtaining a favorable outcome.
If I may have been partially at fault for the truck accident, can I still win the lawsuit?
In Connecticut, the amount of another party’s liability for the accident is determined by comparing that driver’s negligence with your own. This is known as comparative negligence. If you were 50% or more at fault for the truck accident, you are unable to recover any compensation for your losses.
I was injured in a crash where the truck driver was at fault. Can I receive money for time I missed from work?
Part of your recovery may include payment for lost income due to missed time from work. Additionally, you may be able to collect compensation for loss of earning capacity if your injuries leave you unable to perform job functions with the same ability that you had prior to the collision.
Why is it important to get a copy of the driver’s log after being involved in a truck accident?
According to federal regulations, truck drivers may only drive a certain number of hours each day before they must stop for sleep. Often, truck drivers are under unrealistic pressure to make their delivery at a certain time and may not keep accurate driving logs. Establishing how the log was maintained is critical in the evaluation if violation of federal regulations contributed to the accident.
I’ve heard that it’s dangerous to drive in a truck’s “no-zone.” What does that mean?
A truck’s “no-zone” refers to the truck drivers’ blind spots. These are the areas next to or behind the truck where the driver has limited or no visibility. A majority of truck accidents occur when a car is riding in the truck’s no-zone.
If I am involved in a truck jackknife accident, is it automatically the truck driver’s fault?
If a truck jackknifes, it does not necessarily mean that this was due to negligence or driver error. A truck driver may not always be liable for this type of accident. For example, if driving conditions did not allow the trucker to stop the jackknifing truck or if the truck had to jackknife to avoid another catastrophe, chances are that the driver will not be found at fault.
If I feel fine after being in a truck accident, should I still see a doctor?
It can take a few days for the symptoms of serious injuries to appear, so you should seek medical attention immediately. It is also important to have documentation of your injuries from a physician.
Who can I sue if I am injured in a truck accident?
There are several people or entities that you can hold responsible for a truck accident. You may be able to sue the truck driver, the truck company that employs the driver, the owner of the trailer, the company whose goods were being shipped or any other entity that could have contributed to the accident.
Do Not Speak With Insurance Companies – Speak With Us
It is very important for any injury victim to seek a reputable attorney as soon as possible. Shortly after the collision, an insurance adjuster from the truck driver’s insurance company will try to persuade you to settle your claim quickly. They are not your friends. They are highly skilled workers trained to obtain information to use against you in court. Their job is to pay the minimum amount possible.
Before you sign any paperwork, consult a lawyer from Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers. You may be entitled to more compensation than the insurance company offers you. We know how to deal with these adjusters and can protect you against their best efforts. We will fight for the maximum compensation, and we have your best interests in mind.
Let The Power Of Perkins Work For You
At Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers, we have a truck department within our personal injury firm. We understand exactly what it takes to litigate a truck accident case successfully. We have offices in New Haven, Bridgeport, Hartford, Waterbury and New London and serve clients throughout Connecticut. We work on a contingency fee basis, so you pay nothing unless we recover compensation.