Nearly everything consumers use is transported by commercial trucks, traveling on America’s highways. In fact, the trucking industry collects and delivers over $650 billion worth of goods and products every year.
Unfortunately, this huge demand for hauling and transportation crowds the nation’s roadways, increasing the potential of being involved in a commercial truck accident. According to records maintained by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), large commercial vehicle accidents with fatalities are on the rise.
The size and weight of the large commercial truck increases the likelihood of catastrophic injuries or death when involved in a RI or MA collision with a passenger vehicle. Professional truckers spend long hours behind the wheel every day carrying loads weighing up to 80,000 pounds or more, which can be disastrous when colliding with a passenger vehicle weighing just over 3000 pounds.
The high majority of Rhode island and Massachusetts truck accidents involve driver error, mistakes or negligence. Many claims and lawsuits filed in a Mass or RI truck accident cases involve a violation of federal or state regulations.
Truck Accident Causes of action in Massachusetts (Mass.) or Rhode Island
A commercial vehicle accident typically involves an array of issues not usually dealt with in most Mass. motor vehicle collisions. RI truck accident Attorneys and Massachusetts Big Rig lawyers working for victims injured or the estate of a deceased killed in a truck crashes will often reconstruct the accident to determine liability. Many times, the Rhode Island accident or Massachusetts collision is caused by a variety of factors including:
• Shifting cargo loads
• Lack of vehicle maintenance
• Failing tires or braking systems
• Heavy loads that exceed the allowable gross vehicle weight
• Hazardous materials
• Poor visibility
• Inadequate training and supervision
• Driver impairment due to fatigue, drugs, alcohol or distraction such as texting or talking on the phone
• Truck driving negligence including not allowing adequate stopping distance
Additional Parties at Fault
In many incidences, a skilled Massachusetts Semi Truck attorney will file a claim against additional parties responsible for causing the accident with injuries or fatalities. Rhode Island Tractor Trailer Accident Lawyers working on behalf of the victim can sometimes establish an employment relationship between the trucking company and the trucker. As a result, both parties can be held legally liable for the negligence of the driver under the legal theory “respondeat superior.”
The trucking company may be held liable for the RI accident if it can be shown the driver was improperly hired due to lack of training and experience. The company may also be found at fault if they improperly maintained the vehicle, installed faulty tires on the tractor or trailer, or other factors.
Building a Case
In addition to proving fault of the accident, the Rhode Island personal injury attorney will gather evidence, speak to eyewitnesses, and build the case on a variety of factors. Some of these factors include:
• Info in the driver’s logs
• The condition of the roadway
• The trucker’s training and credentials
• Test results for drug or alcohol use
Building the case often involves witness statements, police reports and communication records including cell phone use, along with the driving record of the trucker and safety record of the trucking company.
A skilled RI personal injury attorney or Providence truck accident attorney that specializes in truck accidents will often hire expert witnesses to prove the case by establishing liability. These experts can include:
• Forensic specialists
• Vehicle accident reconstructionists
• Trucking safety specialists
• Technicians specializing in computer graphics
• Medical doctors
It is best to hire a reputable RI truck accident attorney as soon as possible following the accident. Adequate time will allow the Rhode Island Big Rig attorney to consider filing a truck accident lawsuit and/or a product liability claim for financial compensation.
Legal Notice per Rules of Professional Responsibility: The Rhode Island Supreme Court licenses all lawyers and attorneys in the general practice of law, but does not license or certify any lawyer / attorney as an expert or specialist in any field of practice. While this firm maintains joint responsibility, most personal injury cases are referred to other attorneys for principle responsibility.