Truck Accident Law in MA | Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
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Truck Accident Injury FAQ

What makes truck accidents so different from other types of vehicle accidents?

Here are just a few reasons why truck accidents are so different from motor vehicle accidents:

  • The massive size and maneuverability of trucks require that drivers meet higher licensing standards.
  • The insurance coverage for trucks is higher than for other vehicles.
  • Interstate drivers are subject to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations.
  • Truck drivers are subject to frequent drug testing.
  • Limitations exist on the number of hours driven in a day.

Can I sue the truck driver’s trucking company for my injuries?

It depends on whether an employment relationship is established between the truck driver and the trucking company. If such a relationship is shown, the company can be held legally liable for the driver’s negligence under a legal theory known as “respondeat superior.” Establishing the liability of a company can become problematic when a truck driver is an independent contractor of the company. In such a situation, the key issue becomes the amount of supervision exercised by the company.

What are the most common factors in collisions between commercial trucks and automobiles?

Generally speaking, these types of truck accidents are caused by a combination of a typical commercial truck’s characteristics and performance capabilities (including limits associated with acceleration, braking, and visibility) and a passenger car driver’s ignorance of characteristics. Also, big rigs tend to have much larger blind spots and are thus unable to respond to certain hazards.

Who is responsible for a truck accident?

Responsibility for a trucking accident can only be determined on a case-by-case basis. However, if a truck driver is found to be negligent in the operation of the vehicle, and this negligence contributed to the accident, he or she may be held liable for damages. If a truck accident is determined to be the result of improper hiring, inadequate driver training, or maintenance issues, then the trucking company may be liable for damages.

Are commercial truck drivers required to have a special driver’s license?

Yes. Drivers must have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) if they drive a vehicle that weighs more than 26,000 pounds, transports themselves and 16 or more passengers, or transports hazardous materials. To obtain a CDL, an individual must pass a knowledge and driving skills test taken in a truck that is similar to the type of truck that he or she will be driving.

What is an “underride” accident?

An underride accident happens when a passenger car collides with a truck or the trailer of a truck or semi-trailer and runs underneath the truck. This type of collision can result in the roof of the passenger car being sliced off. If the impact occurs near one of the truck axles, it is likely that the vehicle will be prevented from going completely under the truck. There are two types of underride collisions: side underride and rear underride.