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Auto Accidents

How to File a Truck Accident Lawsuit

In this podcast, John Maher sits down with  Robert Hartigan and Rob Mazow from Mazow-McCullough to talk about truck accident lawsuits. They look at the causes of truck accidents, examine the possible defendants in a truck accident lawsuit, and talk about the steps in filing a lawsuit after a truck accident.

John Maher: Hi. I’m John Maher. I’m here today with Rob Mazow and Robert Hartigan of the law firm, Mazow McCullough, a personal injury law firm with offices in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Today, we’re going to be talking about how to file a truck accident lawsuit. Rob and Robert, welcome.

Robert Hartigan: Thanks, John.

Rob Mazow: Hey, John.

Types of Truck Accidents

Navigate a Truck AccidentJohn: So what are some different types of truck accidents that might happen out on the roads?

Robert: There’s a few that probably happen more often than not. You have your truck accident where the truck rear ends another car. There’s also times when a truck has pulled over on the road, but they’re not all the way over and so that’ll cause the driver to hit the truck. And there’s situations where there’s a tire blow out or wheel comes off the truck, causing the truck to lose control and hit another vehicle or multiple vehicles.

Rob: Yeah. We also sometimes see, and these are also equally terrifying, something coming off of a truck or something that’s not properly tied down. We’ve seen ladders fly off trucks. We’ve seen cars which were being towed go off. There’s really no limit to the kind of situations that can happen out on the road.

Do Trucks Jackknife?

John: Right. I know when I was younger, I used to hear a lot about trucks jackknifing. There’s 18 wheelers, when the sort of cab will end up turning half backwards but the momentum of the truck just keeps it going forward. That kind of … Does that still happen? I think trucks are maybe a little bit safer these days and it doesn’t happen as much.

Rob: Yeah. I think we see that less in these parts. What we see more in these parts and when I’m talking of these parts, I’m talking about Massachusetts and New Hampshire, are speeding or not using care in passing or not realizing that there might be a vehicle in a blind spot. And some of the incidents that Robert talked about, which was the tire blowout or what I’ve mentioned, which is the material coming off the vehicle.

Truck Accidents With Hazard Materials

John: With the materials too, sometimes trucks are carrying hazardous materials. Is that sometimes an issue, where the hazardous materials might actually affect the other cars or people around it?

Rob: So we see that a little bit less because those kinds of trucks can tend to be a little bit maybe more careful in the driving, but hazardous material can also be an oil spill. When a truck is in a crash, the EPA does have to come out and deal with the cleanup of what’s potentially a leaking oil or gas situation.

Causes of Truck Accidents

John: Right. So in addition to the types of truck accidents, what are some of the potential causes of truck accidents, things that actually cause the accident itself?

Robert: Yeah. The truck driver speeding, carrying too much weight, truck driver falling asleep, being under the influence of drugs or alcohol, texting, talking on the phone, eating while driving. So a lot of the same things that you see in regular car accidents. But again, there’s federal requirements for truck drivers that they need to follow. So there’s going to be times again, when the truck driver falls asleep or they’re distracted because they’re trying to rush to the next job.

Truck Drivers Not Following Regulations

John: Right. They’re supposed to pull over every so often and get rest and things like that. But sometimes the truck driver might not follow those regulations. Right?

Rob: Right. And it can be, if we dive deep enough, we can find out if a person has not properly stopped, they haven’t properly logged the material that they’re supposed to log. They haven’t stopped at way stations. I mean, all this stuff has to be, all the documentation has to be very rigid and very clear. So we are able to figure that out, if we need to, whether the truck driver hasn’t followed his or her company’s policies or the federal laws policies for that matter.

Steps in Filing a Truck Accident Lawsuit

John: Right. So what is the first step then in filing a truck accident lawsuit, if I’ve been involved in a truck accident?

Robert: Well, first right after the accident happens, you should reach out to an attorney as soon as possible. And the attorney will discuss with you whether the case should be filed in federal court or state court. There’s advantages to both. And then there could be a situation where you file in state court and then the defendant or defendants remove it to federal court because of the diversity of the parties and the violation of federal regulations. So that would be a conversation that you’d have with the attorney as far as strategy goes. But the first step would be to file the lawsuit, the complaint in court, and then discovery would ensue after that.

Identifying Negligent Parties

Rob: We also would need to figure out who’s coming into this lawsuit. Is it just an independent trucker? And so is it just that person that is involved? Is a trucker driving for a company? And if they’re an employee, do we bring the employer in? Of course, we do because they’re ultimately responsible for the actions of their employees.

Do we want to bring in where they were delivering to or where they were delivering from, for some reason? Would they get assistance from somebody at those companies? Let’s say, loading the truck and the truck wasn’t loaded properly. So there could be several defendants involved in this kind of case. We need to figure out who we want to bring in and why, and whether or not we’re going to be successful against any or all of these companies.

Robert: And as you do discovery and learn more about the case, there could be other defendants that are brought in after the fact. For example, if a wheel blew out or a tire blew out, going after the manufacturer, along with the truck driver and the trucking company.

Multiple Plaintiffs in Truck Accident Lawsuits

John: So you mentioned that there could be multiple defendants in a case. Can you have multiple plaintiffs as well? Where say there was a truck accident, but it involved half a dozen other vehicles. Did those vehicles all get together in sort of suing the trucking company or something like that? Or are those individual separate cases?

Rob: Yeah. Like many instances in our business, it depends. I mean, if we’re representing, let’s say, a family who was in a vehicle, God forbid, they all get hurt. They may all be named as plaintiffs in a case. Or let’s say a husband is hurt in an accident, but the wife is not in the accident per se. We may want to bring in the spouse for loss of consortium claim. It would be rare, well, not unheard of, if several different people in different cars consolidated into one case, but it’s possible. It depends on the severity of the case and what happens.

Damages in Truck Accident Lawsuits

John: And what are some of the damages that might be considered in a truck accident case?

Rob: Like any personal injury case, we’re going to be looking at general pain and suffering damages, repayment of medical bills. Depending upon the severity of the case, if there’s loss of limb or if there’s loss of life, we’re going to be looking at those kinds of damages. As I indicated before, a spouse can bring a loss of consortium claim or infliction of emotional distress claims. There’s scarring claims. The only limitation is based upon the facts of the accident. And of course, it’s case dependent as to what kind of claims we would bring.

Robert: Right. And also if it’s a wrongful death case, it could be conscious pain and suffering. There could be punitive damages because of gross negligence. So it does depend.

Contact an Attorney If You’ve Been in a Truck Accident

John: And that’s, like you said, that’s why you really want to have an attorney on your side to help you navigate all of those different areas to make sure that you’re potentially getting everything that’s due to you.

Rob: Yep. Exactly.

John: All right. Well, that’s really great information, Rob and Robert. Thanks again for speaking with me today.

Rob: Thanks, John.

Robert: Thank you.

John: And for more information, visit the firm’s website at helpinginjured.com or call (855) 693-9084.

Winter Driving Accidents

John Maher talks with Rob Mazow and Robert Hartigan from the personal injury law firm Mazow McCullough about winter driving accidents. They look at the importance of driving for road conditions and not just following the stated speed limit. Then, they assess liability and responsibility for winter driving accidents and explain what to do if you have been involved in a winter driving accident.

John Maher: Hi. I’m John Maher, and I’m here today with Rob Mazow and Robert Hartigan of the law firm Mazow McCullough, a personal injury law firm with offices in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. And today we’re talking about winter driving accidents. Rob and Robert, welcome.

Rob Mazow: Thanks, John.

Robert Hartigan: Hey, John.

How Winter Road Conditions Cause Accidents

Winter Driving AccidentsJohn: What conditions in the winter might play a role in causing car accidents?

Robert: You could have a number of issues. You could have snow, ice, sleet. If there’s a snowstorm and it’s blinding snow, the driver’s having an issue trying to navigate the roads. There’s a number of things that could come into play as far as the weather in a car accident.

John: Right. I know that sometimes you’re driving down the road and there’s signs to watch out for ice, especially if you’re going over a bridge where the bridge tends to get wet and freeze up in the winter. Even if the rest of the road seems like it’s fine, the bridge might be icy and you have to watch out for things like that.

Robert: Right. The biggest thing is really making sure that you’re driving at a safe speed. Safe speed meaning if it’s really bad conditions out, you want to be driving under the speed limit, because you want to be able to have enough time to stop in case you slide or lose control of your vehicle so you don’t cause an accident, get into a situation where you end up driving off the roadway and injuring yourself.

Can Driving the Speed Limit be Negligent in Winter?

John: Can you actually be held responsible for an accident if you were driving the speed limit, but in those conditions, really you should have been going slower? What are the rules there?

Rob: Yeah, yes. Even if there’s a speed limit, you have to monitor yourself in accordance with the conditions of the road. If it’s a blizzard and it’s blinding, and you’re still going 55 miles an hour and you hit somebody or you hit another vehicle, or even if a police officer wanted to stop you and cite you for that, I believe that they could, because you just have to temper yourself to drive within reason for the conditions.

Sometimes we see this in car accidents and bad winter driving. A person’s going to say, “Yeah, I know I caused the accident, but I was sliding. I couldn’t help myself.” Well, if you were going at a reasonable speed, then perhaps you could have. But if we can show that what you were doing was driving unreasonably under the conditions, then whether or not it was winter or not is not the point. The point is that you weren’t tempering the way you were driving to the conditions.

Can Drivers Be Responsible When Winter Conditions Cause the Accident?

John: So what happens if I’m involved in a car accident, but it wasn’t some other driver who was at fault? It was just an accident that was caused by these icy or snowy conditions. For example, could I be held at fault for the accident, even though it was really caused by the ice and snow?

Rob: Let me give you a real life example that happened to my daughter. She was a relatively new driver, and she was in her neighborhood and her car hit ice, and she slid out and caused property damage to the vehicle that she was in.

Now, she didn’t get into trouble legally. There was no police issue or anything like that, but the insurance company of the car that she was in absolutely found her to be at fault for that, because there was nobody else that they could turn to to find fault. So in that instance, while they paid for her property damage, they withheld the $500 deductible because they found her to be at fault for that accident. So the answer is yes, you can still be found at fault if there’s nobody else responsible other than the weather conditions.

John: Like you said before, they could say, “Well, you should have been driving slower. You should have been more careful,” that kind of thing.

Rob: And that’s what they will say. Now, to be continued, that case is under appeal, where we’re appealing the decision to the insurance company. We’re going to say exactly what you’re thinking, that if she was driving reasonably under the conditions and there was nothing she could do about it, well then, she shouldn’t be found at fault. I’m not sure how that’s going to turn out, but that’s certainly what we’re going to argue.

Compensation for Injuries in Accidents Caused by Road Conditions

John: Right. Can I get compensated for injuries that I sustained in an accident that’s due to the road conditions? Like if I crash into a tree or a telephone pole like you’re talking about, and nobody except me was hurt and my car was damaged.

Rob: The only thing you’d be entitled to in that instance is what’s called personal injury protection benefits, or PIP benefits. If you are in the car, and the conditions of the roadway were such that it was icy and caused you to slide into a tree and you got hurt, then the insurance company of the car that you’re in will pay up to $8,000 of personal injury protection regardless of who is at fault, even if it was your own fault. So yes, you can get compensated. You can’t get compensated for additional compensation, like pain and suffering damages and things like that, but you can get reimbursed for actual medical bills from medical treatment.

Government Liability for Poor Road Conditions

John: Okay. Robert, can a town or a city or state be held responsible for maybe not maintaining the roads properly? With snow or ice on the roads, they’re not out there plowing. They’re not putting down salt and sand, and that really kind of contributed to my accident. Could a town or city be held responsible?

Robert: I think that’s a tough avenue to pursue a claim against the town for not plowing or sanding the roadways if you lose control of your car or you get into an accident. And even if you were to make that claim, there are caps against cities and towns in the state when you’re trying to go after them. Again, it all comes down to how reasonable you’re operating your vehicle. So if you’re going the speed limit in a blizzard and you say, “Well, the roads weren’t sanded or they didn’t plow,” then, again, that’s on you for not driving at a reasonable speed.

John: Right. You have to know that if it’s still snowing out or it just finished snowing, there’s going to be snow on the roads and it’s going to be unsafe to drive, and that’s not really the town’s fault, that you have to give them time to get out there with the sand trucks and the plows and get that snow removed. So that wouldn’t be their fault because you decided to go out while it’s still snowing, that kind of thing.

Robert: Right.

Contact Us for Legal Help After a Winter Accident

John: All right. Well, that’s really great information. Rob and Robert, thanks again for speaking with me today.

Rob: Thanks, John.

Robert: Thank you, John.

John: And for more information, you can visit the firm’s website at helpinginjured.com or call (855) 693-9084.

Damages in Auto Accident Cases

John Maher sits down with Rob Mazow and Robert Hartigan from the law firm Mazow McCullough. They talk about damages in auto accident cases, and they explain the difference between compensatory and punitive damages. Then, they look at how these damages are assessed in lawsuits related to auto accidents.

John Maher: Hi, I’m John Maher. And I’m here today with Rob Mazow and Robert Hartigan of the law firm, Mazow McCullough, a personal injury law firm with offices in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Today, we’re going to be talking about damages in auto accident cases. Rob and Robert, welcome.

Rob Mazow: Thanks John.

Robert Hartigan: Hi, John.

Damages in Auto Accident Lawsuits

Intoxicated DrivingJohn: So what types of damages can be awarded in a car accident?

Rob: In Massachusetts and New Hampshire, you’re entitled to be made whole. So what does that mean? That means that you, if you’re injured or damaged in some way, then the person that’s responsible for your damages must make you whole.

And in order to prove that you’ve been damaged, in order to prove what you need to prove in order to remain whole, you need to actually show specific, not speculative damages. For instance, medical bills, scarring, pain and suffering and lost wages. Those are what you would be compensated for in order to be made whole. Those are the kind of damages we’re discussing.

What Are Compensatory Damages?

John: So I’ve heard of compensatory damages. Can you talk about that a little bit and what those are specifically?

Rob: And that’s exactly what I’m referring to. Compensatory damages are actual damage that you can point your finger to. That’s something that’s not speculative. It’s not some made up thing. It’s something that you can point to and say,”Here’s my loss. I couldn’t work for one year. I earned $50,000 a year. I want to be compensated for that $50,000 per year loss because you caused me those damage.”

That’s a compensatory damage. “Here’s the scar on my face that your dog caused me.” I can point to that. That is a compensatory damage that I want to be made whole. Now, obviously, you can’t take the scar from my face, so we have to put a number on that. What is that worth? That’s a compensatory damage that you owe me for causing that issue to my face.

Medical bills. Here’s the medical bills that my surgery costs. Here’s the $25,000 of medical bills. You caused me that surgery. You owe me $25,000 in compensatory damages. Those are the damages we’re talking about. We’re talking about compensatory.

What Are Punitive Damages?

John: Okay. And then what are punitive damages and how are those different?

Robert: So in Massachusetts, in wrongful death cases, if the court determines that the defendant or the defendant’s conduct, they were grossly negligent, they were reckless. And then the court can award punitive damages, which are damages that a jury comes back with to punish the defendants for their conduct. In a typical car accident where, let’s say, there’s a soft tissue injury, there is no claim and there cannot be a claim for punitive damages.

Rob: It’s very rare in Massachusetts for a court to allow a jury to consider awarding punitive damages because, as Robert said, it’s to punish the defendant. So in a regular negligence case, the defendant’s not going to be punished for their actions. They’re just required to make the plaintiff whole. When we’re talking about a punishment, you’re sending a message to the defendant that what they did was so beyond negligent. It rose to the level of recklessness or gross negligence that they need to be punished. And it’s a very, very high hurdle that it’s very rare to see in Massachusetts, a court allowing those kinds of damages to come in.

When Are Punitive Damages Awarded?

John: Can you think of some of the reasons why punitive damages might be awarded?

Robert: Sure. Let’s say, we have a company that hires a truck driver, and the truck driver has a long history of drunk driving and they’ve lost their license and they’re not supposed to be on the road. And the company turns a blind eye to that or in fact says, “We don’t care. Come aboard and go drive this 18-wheeler with your 10 OUIs and your bad license.” And then they go out, and they kill somebody.

In that case, a court is probably going to allow a discussion about punitive damages because they need to punish the company for putting this person on the road. Now take those same set of facts, but take away the fact that the truck driver had a long history of drunk driving, and they just were negligent. They were driving 90 miles an hour in a 60-mile-an-hour zone. Not because they were under the influence, but because they were being inattentive or something. Of course, less likely. And the same damages or cause of death to somebody, the court is less likely to give punitive damages award and something like that.

Punitive Damages in Drunk Driving Cases

John: So even in just the case of a regular sort of a drunk driving case, you wouldn’t usually see punitive damages being awarded?

Robert: Drunk driving with a wrongful death. You need to have the wrongful death part. With a drunk driving case that causes something less than wrongful death, you’re never going to see punitive damages because it’s not allowed. You need to have the death plus some history of drunk driving or some other grossly negligent act on the part of the driver or the company.

Contact Mazow McCullough After an Auto Accident

John: All right. Well, that’s really great information, Rob and Robert. Thanks again for speaking with me today.

Rob: Thanks John.

Robert: Thanks, John.

John: And for more information, you can visit the firm’s website at helpinginjured.com or call (855) 693-9084.

What to Do After a Truck Accident

John Maher sits down with Rob Mazow and Robert Hartigan of the law firm Mazow McCullough, and they talk about what to do after a truck accident. They give advice on what to do at the scene of a truck accident and how to document the accident. They also talk about the importance of seeking medical attention and contacting an attorney.

John Maher: Hey. I’m John Maher. And I’m here today with Rob Mazow and Robert Hartigan of the law firm Mazow McCullough, a personal injury law firm with offices in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. And today, we’re going to be talking about what to do after a truck accident. Rob and Robert, welcome.

Rob Mazow: Thanks, John.

Robert Hartigan: Hey, John.

What to Do First After a Truck Accident

Truck AccidentsJohn: So Robert, if you’re the driver of a car that has been involved in an accident with a truck, what are some of the first things that you should do?

Robert: The first thing you need to do is call 911. You definitely want to have the police arrive on the scene so everything can be documented. You’re going to want to get the license from the truck driver.

And one big, important piece of information you’re going to want to get is which trucking company that truck driver works for. It can be really difficult to find out where the company is located and who the company is. It could be a subcontractor. So you definitely want to get that information. And that’s why it’s also important to have the police show up on scene.

And if medical treatment is offered, that’s something that you should definitely consider, seeing that trucking accidents often result in catastrophic injuries.

Rob: Yeah. I couldn’t agree more. But it’s easy for us to talk about it in the abstract. But we’ve all passed by these truck accidents when we’re on the highway, and it is terrifying, it’s chaotic, there’s usually big injuries. So without question, 911 has to get onto that scene, because people who’ve been in a situation like that are in shock and there’s a lot going on. And they need to make sure that they get the proper information, because once the scene is cleared, you were perhaps taken to a hospital. You might not be able to get that information. So it’s critical that you’re able to get that information at the scene.

Why You Should Call the Police After a Truck Accident

John: Are there cases too, where, Robert, as you mentioned, you want to have the police there to help you get that information about what the name of the trucking company is and things like that? Are there cases where the truck driver may not be very forthcoming in terms of giving out that information, and then that’s why it’s really helpful to have the police there?

Robert: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, it could be a situation where the truck driver didn’t get enough sleep. He’s under the influence of drugs or alcohol. So that’s a reason why the truck driver is not going to give you the information that you’re looking for. Again, this is a heavily regulated industry, so they have a lot of rules that they need to follow. And if they break one or more of those rules, they’re going to be held liable.

Info to Collect After a Truck Accident

John: Right. So you’ve sought medical treatment, you’ve called 911, the police are there. You make sure that you get the name of the driver and the name of the trucking company. You’ve done all of that kind of thing, and then you leave the scene. Actually, what are some of the things that you should do before you leave the scene other than that to really make sure that you’ve done everything that you can and gotten all of the information that you possibly can before you leave?

Rob: Well, I think that, if the police are there, they’re hopefully going to get the kind of information that you need. They’re going to get witness statements. They’re going to get a video dash cam if there is any. They’re going to be able to get certainly the name of the truck driver, the name of the trucking company. So if everything’s done properly, you’re going to have enough information that you’re going to need later on if you’re going to be making a claim.

With truck accidents, though, let’s say Massachusetts, for instance, that truck driver could be coming from California, could be coming from Pennsylvania, coming from anywhere in the country. So trying to get a hold of that person’s insurance company or that person’s company later on is going to be a challenge.

What we see happen is when a person comes to us, they’ll hopefully have the police report. And then we can begin our investigation to find out what happened, to find out who that company was, who that driver was driving for, where they were coming from, where they were going to, did they have a load that they were carrying, was it an empty, had they picked it up at a grocery store, is the grocery store responsible somehow. So there is a lot that goes into these kinds of cases.

Taking Photographs After a Truck Accident

Robert: Yeah. And if you can, take photographs of where the vehicles are right after the collision happens, because often we show up, vehicles move to the side of the road, and you want to be able to capture where the vehicles were when the crash happened.

Why You Should Call a Lawyer After a Truck Accident

John: Right. Yeah. Good point. So then what happens then after you’ve left the scene of a truck accident? Are there any other things that you need to do and follow up with in order to maybe increase your chances of a favorable outcome if you end up going to a trial or in this case?

Robert: Yep. Again, because truck accidents often result in major injuries, you want to call a lawyer right away. You want that lawyer to reach out to the insurance companies, the truck driving company. You want to make sure that evidence is preserved, such as any logs, any sort of electronic data. And that is what’s going to help you strengthen your case and build the liability piece against any defendants that might be involved.

Establishing Negligence After a Truck Accident

Rob: Yeah. And as Robert has talked about, there are federal requirements for these truck drivers to follow. So if it turns out that they have not stopped at a weigh station or they have not slept and logged their sleeping, I think they can be on the road for eight hours before they have to rest. And this stuff all has to be documented.

And if it turns out that it’s not documented or it wasn’t done at all, this is going to add to the negligence claim that we’re eventually going to be able to bring against the trucker and the trucking company. So there’s just building blocks that need to be put into place for these cases. So that’s why it’s critical to talk to somebody with experience in these kinds of cases, so we can try to help them out.

Document Medical Bills After Truck Accidents

John: Right. You mentioned before getting medical treatment as well. How important is it to really follow up on that and to really document all of your medical treatments that you receive after the accident?

Rob: Well, it’s critical. Somebody who’s been hit in a truck accident is likely going to have some significant injuries that are going to require medical care. And you need to get the proper medical treatment in order to not only get yourself better, but in order for us to make a claim on your behalf to the insurance company or the trucking company that caused the accident.

So if you’re going to, let’s say, a physical therapist or a chiropractor or a massage therapist or an orthopedic doctor, they’re going to have proper documentation that we’re going to get from them to be able to use to build either a demand for settlement or to prepare for trial to use those documents, present them to a jury.

Contact Mazow McCullough If You’ve Been in a Truck Accident

John: All right. Well, that’s really great information, Rob and Robert. Thanks very much.

Rob: Thank you, John.

Robert: Thank you.

John: And for more information, visit the firm’s website at HelpingInjured.com or call 855-693-9084.

Car Accident Liability

John Maher talks with Rob Mazow and Robert Hartigan from the personal injury law firm Mazow McCullough about car accident liability. They explain how no-fault rules differ from the concepts of fault, liability, and negligence. Then, they look at how technology helps to assess liability, and they cover different types of compensation in car accident cases.

John Maher: Hi. I’m John Maher. I’m here today with Rob Mazow and Robert Hartigan of the law firm, Mazow McCullough, a personal injury law firm with offices in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. And today, we’re talking about car accident liability. Rob and Robert, welcome.

Robert Hartigan: Thanks, John.

Rob Mazow: Hey, John.

Difference Between Fault, Negligence, and Liability

Driver Crashes Someone Else’s CarJohn: So Rob, can you explain the differences or similarities between fault, negligence and liability in regards to car accidents?

Rob: Sure. In Massachusetts, particularly, we live in a no fault state when it comes to car accidents. People get confused about what that means, but let me try to explain it as best I can. When you’re in a car accident, regardless of who is at fault for the accident, the car that you’re in, the insurance company is going to pay for your medical bills. That’s what no fault means.

No-Fault Laws

Rob: Now, I was just explaining this to a new client recently, before we started this podcast, John, and I was explaining to her that her insurance company is going to get reimbursed by the at fault insurance company, because she was concerned. She said, “Why would my insurance company pay for this? I wasn’t at fault.”

And I explained to her that because we’re in a no fault state, the insurance company of the car that she was in, her auto insurance company, is going to make her life a little easier by paying her medical bills for her. Then, they’re going to get reimbursed in what’s called subrogation from the at fault insurance company.

Negligence, Fault, and Liability

Rob: Now, when we talk about fault, we’re talking about who was liable or who was negligent, who was the cause of the accident. The person who caused the accident is ultimately going to be responsible for making the person that they hit whole. You pay their medical bills, reimbursing for their medical bills, paying for their pain and suffering, paying for their property damage, paying for any scarring and things like that.

So when we talk about negligence and fault and liability, that’s one thing. When we talk about no fault and medical bills, that’s a whole separate issue.

Insurance Coverage in No-Fault States

John: Well, I guess in a way people are confused because they think, well, it’s a no fault state. That means nobody was at fault for this accident or we’re not determining who was at fault, but that’s not really entirely true. There is somebody who’s at fault for the accident. It’s just that my insurance company is going to pay for my bills, at least initially, and that’s all I have to be concerned about in terms of this.

Rob: Right. At least initially. Believe me, the insurance company is not doing anything benevolent here. They’re going to get paid back by the other insurance company, or are they going to do what they … They have intercompany arbitration if there’s a dispute as to who is ultimately at fault. But generally what happens is your insurance company pays for your medical bills, then turns around to the other insurance company and gets paid back for those.

Determining Liability in Car Accidents

John: So how is liability then determined in a car accident?

Rob: Well, there’s so many factors that come in. So first of all, it’s the rules of the road, the typical rules of the road. If somebody goes through a red light and somebody has a green light, well, the person who has a red light is going to be found to be at fault.

If there’s … well, It becomes more difficult when you get to a four way intersection where everybody has a stop sign and two people end up going into the intersection at the same time. Well, who’s at fault? We have to look at, see, a lot of factors. Best if we can find an independent witness who can say, “Well, the red car went through the stop sign first.” So the red car can be responsible and not the white car.

The other thing we can look at is the impact as to where these cars struck each other. Let’s say in a four way intersection, if a car is hit in the back right side, well, we’re going to say that that car probably got through into the intersection first, before it was struck by the other vehicle, because the other vehicle hit it in its rear.

We’re going to look at cameras, if there’s any cameras at the intersection. We’re going to look at video surveillance of houses. A lot of houses have these ring doorbells and we send an investigator out to find out whether we can get access to those.

So when you say to determine who’s at fault, it’s a whole stew of things that we need to filter through to find out.

Investigating Fault in Car Accidents

Robert: In some car accidents, especially in catastrophic injury accidents and wrongful death accidents. We’ll send an investigator. I mean, we’ll have an inspection done of the vehicles at some point. I mean, there’s electronic data that is contained in the vehicles, which can be helpful to us proving that the other driver was liable.

Rob: Robert brings up a good point and that is these vehicles these days can provide us with an awful lot of information as to what happened in an accident. The airbag modules can tell us how fast the vehicle was going within a few seconds before impact. So speed becomes an issue.

We can hire somebody with a great action reconstructionist who can go out and look at that car, look at what they call the black box and find out how fast these vehicles were going. And that can be critical in trying to find out who’s responsible for an accident. So as Robert mentions, depending upon the severity of the accident, will depend on how far and how deep we need to go into evaluating what happened.

Robert: And people are often using mobile applications on their phones when they’re driving. So there could be some data that we could use there to help with the case. So there’s really a lot that we can look at to help prove liability.

How Technology Helps Determine Liability

John: Right. That’s what’s really changed a lot from years ago, where, like you said, you have mobile phones, you have the cars internal computers that tell how fast you were going, how fast you stopped, things like that. And then the ring doorbells and things like that, that you were talking about, Rob. The technology must really be helping in terms of that investigation portion of the case where you can really find out a lot of the details that you might not have been able to find out years ago.

Rob: Well, the other resource we have is sometimes people will post on their Twitter or their Facebook or their Instagram account. “Hey, I just went barreling through an intersection. Here’s my car.” Well, we can also use that kind of information to help us investigate as well. Not necessarily the technical art of the situation, but there’s various ways we can try to piece these cases together.

John: Social media. Yeah.

Why You Should Contact an Attorney After an Auto Accident

Robert: And that’s why it’s so important to reach out to an attorney right away is because we want to be able to get our hands on that data and get that data preserved. Because a lot of times, it goes in this thing, it’s destroyed and it just puts us in a tougher spot to make our case. So that’s why we need to be able to jump on it right away.

Compensation for Victims of Car Accidents

John: So what types of compensation are available for victims of a car accident?

Rob: Well, first and foremost, property damage. We can get reimbursed for property damage or what happened to their vehicle or their property, maybe it got damaged in the accident. Medical bills. We can get compensation for a person’s medical bills as they are reasonably related to the treatment that they receive from the accident. And that could be done in several ways. The first way is through the personal injury protection portion of the insurance of the car that they’re in, which is called PIP. And then we can get the rest of the medical bills taken care of through the coordination with their health insurance benefits.

And then, ultimately, we can get compensation for the pain and suffering of going through the accident, the permanent scarring, maybe there’s some mental health issues that are involved, some PTSD, some anxiety. So we can get compensation if there’s a loss of limb or unfortunate situation or a loss of enjoyment of life. And we’ll be able to package that as a personal injury charge. And we are able to package that in such a way that we can present it to the insurance company or the at fault driver to try to maximize the amount of recovery for the victim.

Compensation for Serious Injuries and Disfigurement

Robert: And then there’s times where a serious accident will cause disfigurement. So maybe facial scarring. That’s another damage that we can get recovered for the client. If the client has been disabled, permanently disabled, there is loss of future earnings. So there’s a lot, depending on how serious the accident is, that we can look to get a recovery for the client.

Compensation for Loss of Future Earnings

John: Does the loss of future earnings get into issues where if I work specifically with my hands all day, and then my hands are injured in the accident, that I could maybe get more compensation because now I can’t work. Is that the way that that works?

Rob: Yeah, exactly. Depending on what you do for a living, if you use your hands and your injured your hands in an accident, well, of course that’s going to be a loss of earning capacity there. If you strictly use another part of your body, not your hands, but your hands are injured, then you’re going to have less of a problem because you still be able to work. So it depends on what you do for living, as well as what parts of your body are injured for us to get you compensation for that.

Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Benefits

John: You mentioned before PIP benefits. Can you go into a little bit more detail about what those are?

Rob: Sure. Massachusetts has what’s called personal injury protection on it’s automobile policies that are required to be on the road. What that does is it offers up to $8,000 of payment for medical bills for treatment that is reasonable, related and necessary for the car accident. So what happens is if you’re in a car accident and get hurt, let’s say it’s something straightforward like whiplash and you want to get chiropractic care. You go to the chiropractors and the PIP benefits will pay up to $8,000 for the chiropractic care. Of course, if you have private health insurance though, the PIP will pay the first $2,000 towards those benefits and then your private health insurance will pick up the rest. Whatever your private health insurance doesn’t pick up, goes back to the PIP carrier to be paid until that $8,000 has been what they say is exhausted or are fully spent.

Contact Mazow McCullough If You’ve Been in an Accident

John: All right. Well, that’s really great information, Rob and Robert, thanks again for speaking with me today.

Rob: Thanks, John.

Robert: Yeah. Thank you.

John: And for more information, visit the firm’s website at helpinginjured.com or call (855) 693-9084.

Teen Driving Accidents

John Maher talks with Rob Mazow and Robert Hartigan from the personal injury law firm Mazow McCullough about teen driving accidents. They look at the liability of teen drivers, talk about restrictions on teen drivers, and cover when parents may be liable for their teenager’s accidents.

John Maher: Hi, I’m John Maher and I’m here today with Rob Mazow and Robert Hartigan of the law firm Mazow McCullough, a personal injury law firm with offices in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Today, we’re going to be talking about teen driving accidents. Rob and Robert, welcome.

Rob Mazow: Thanks, John.

Robert Hartigan: Hey John, how are you?

Differences Between Teen and Adult Driving Accidents

Teens Injure Others in a Car AccidentJohn: Good. If a teen is involved in a driving accident, is the case handled in the same way as an adult driver? Or is it a little different?

Rob: Like anything, it depends on how old the teen is. If it’s a 13 year old or somebody who doesn’t have his driver’s license or her driver’s license, then yes, it’s going to be handled differently. There’s going to be insurance issues. There’s going to be criminal issues. It’s going to be all sorts of things.

But if we’re talking about a teenager who has had their license and is somebody who is driving without any other substances or there’s no criminal issues involved, then it’s generally going to be handled the same way. Clearly a teen isn’t going to have the same kind of driving experience than an adult who’s had a license for quite a lot longer. But for the most part, if we can establish that the teen was negligent, didn’t drive with due care, then it’s handled just like any other negligence case. If they’ve caused damages and caused injury to our client, then we’re going to seek compensation through the insurance company of the vehicle of the car that the teen was driving.

Accidents With Junior Operator Licenses

John: Are there any aspects of insurance requirements that might be different with a teen driver who is maybe on their junior operator license?

Rob: Well, I have three children who’ve all had their junior operator license and the moment that they got the license, I put them on my car insurance. They need to be put on the household policy and they need to be put on the driver’s insurance. And as again, speaking from experience, if you have the ability to increase your insurance limits, you should do so because statistically, because the teenagers have less experience driving, they might get involved in a car accident. It might be their fault. You’re going to want to make sure you’ve got insurance in the first part, but also enough insurance to cover just in case they cause some problems.

Restrictions on Teen Drivers

John: Anything else in terms of a junior operator license and the restrictions that a driver has if they’re involved in an accident? Maybe they were doing something that they weren’t supposed to be doing, like driving after midnight or driving with friends in their car or things like that.

Rob: There’s a reason in Massachusetts why they have these kinds of restrictions where it didn’t have the same requirements when we were younger. It’s because there’s a belief, and it’s probably true that a young driver is going to be more distracted than somebody with more experience. And that’s why for a period of time, they can’t have anybody but their parents in the car with them or their siblings. And after that, they can’t have more than a certain amount of kids in the car.

And the reason for that is because they get distracted. It’s not going to affect insurance coverage per se, but it’s certainly going to be a problem with the courts if somebody’s driving on their JOL on their junior operators license and they have somebody who’s not their sibling in the car and they cause an accident. Well, whether or not they’re negligent is one thing, but they’re going to end up in the court system on a criminal matter because of the violation of the JOL and that’s going to cause a problem for their future insurance coverage and their future insurance premiums are going to go up.

Passengers Injured in Teen Driving Accidents

John: What if my teenager was involved in a car accident, but they weren’t the ones who were at fault? Are there any issues there? Or anything different with the way that a case is handled?

Rob: Do you mean that if they’re injured if they’re a passenger in a vehicle?

John: Yeah. Let’s say that they were driving, but they weren’t at fault, but that yeah, they were injured in an accident.

Rob: Well, just like if they were an adult and if they came to see us and they had medical issues, we would be able to get them the same kind of compensation that we would be able to get an adult. We’d be able to get them compensation for their medical bills and their medical treatment, we’d be able to get them compensation for the pain and suffering of going through the accident.

If they have a job and they lose wages, we’d be able to get them compensated for their lost wages. If it’s been something much more serious where they’ve lost a limb or God forbid a loss of life, we’d be able to get compensation for their next of kin for the pain and suffering and the loss of that child.

Parental Liability for Teen Drivers

John: Robert, any final thoughts on accidents that are involving teenage drivers?

Robert: Sometimes we get cases where it was a teenage driver that caused the accident and there’s a claim against the teenage driver and their parents or a parent. That can present a number of issues for the parent or parents of the driver in situations like that.

John: Where the person might be coming after, not just the driver, but because you’re the parents, maybe you let that kid drive or something like that and so they’re coming after you as well.

Robert: Exactly. For example, if the teenage driver had a history of violations, accidents, maybe they had some medical issues, there still could be a claim against the parents for negligently allowing the teenage driver to operate the vehicle.

Contact Legal Help After an Accident With a Teen Driver

John: All right. Well, that’s really great information. Rob and Robert, thanks again for speaking with me today.

Rob: Thanks, John.

Robert: Thank you.

John: And for more information, you can visit the firm’s website at helpinginjured.com or call (855) 693-9084.

How to Determine Fault After a Truck Accident

In this podcast, John Maher chats with Robert Hartigan and Rob Mazow from Mazow McCullough. They cover liability, negligence, and fault in truck accidents, and they explain the importance of contacting an attorney as soon as possible after an accident. 

John Maher: Hi, I’m John Maher. And I’m here today with Rob Mazow and Robert Hartigan of the law firm, Mazow McCullough, a personal injury law firm with offices in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Today. We’re talking about how to determine fault after a truck accident. Rob and Robert, welcome.

Rob Mazow: Thanks, John.

Robert Hartigan: All right. Thanks, John.

Fault in Commercial Truck Accidents

Fault After a Truck AccidentJohn: So what does fault mean in terms of a truck accident and who can be at fault?

Robert: Well, John, so commercial trucking accidents are a lot more complex than your everyday car accidents. When you have a commercial truck that’s involved in an accident, you’re dealing with a vehicle that weighs around 70,000 to 80,000 pounds versus a sedan that might be about 3000 pounds. And these accidents often result in catastrophic injuries and death.

Given that commercial trucks travel all throughout the country, they are held to the regulations by the Federal Motor Carrier and Safety Administration. And with that, it really gets into not only state law, but federal law. So you’re dealing with cases that do go into federal court. And also there’s a number of different potential defendants that you can go after as a result of an accident.

Rob: Yeah. And a lot of times when we’re looking at faults, I mean, we want to make sure that this driver has been doing everything he or she is supposed to be doing, logging everything properly, has gotten enough sleep, has been stopping when they’re supposed to stop, has been following all the rules and regulations that are required by his employer, his or her employer, and has been doing proper inspections. I mean, there’s a lot that goes into it when we are looking to see who’s at fault here, but it’s key to make sure that we get all that proper documentation that’s supposed to be by the driver.

Truck Accident Lawsuits in New Hampshire Vs Massachusetts

John: Right. So now you guys work in both Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Are there any differences in terms of how those two states handle truck accidents and fault?

Rob: Go ahead, Robert.

Robert: Yeah. I would say they’re pretty much the same as far as how New Hampshire and Massachusetts would handle them. Again, I think you’re going to be looking at the federal regulations and in a lot of these cases, you’re going to have the victim from one state, the truck driver from another state and the company may be located somewhere else. So that’s why these cases do often end up in federal court. So I think Massachusetts and New Hampshire, it’s going to be negligence under state law, and it’s going to be throwing in the federal regulations and those violations

Difference Between Fault and Negligence

John: You brought up negligence. Is that the same thing as fault, and if not, how did they differ?

Rob: It’s the same thing. It’s whether or not the truck driver fell below the standard of care of reasonable truck drivers. So fault and negligence, we’re talking about the same thing. And what we have to determine is whether or not the truck driver fell below the standard of care or breached the standard of care required of a reasonable truck driver.

Is it reasonable for a truck driver to drive 65 miles an hour in a snowstorm? Maybe, maybe not, but if they cause an accident, we would argue that that would be negligent driving. Is it negligent for a truck driver to drive 65 miles an hour in a straightaway clear sunny day? Maybe not. So those are the things that we would be looking at, when we’re looking at determining whether or not a truck driver is at fault for a crash.

Assessing Liability in Truck Accident Cases

Robert: And then there’s also potential liability against any, for example, like a wheel manufacturer, if the wheel came off the truck, or the tire manufacturer. So this is why they’re a lot more complex cases than your everyday car accident.

John: Right. Because you could be going after the driver, if the driver was at fault. Maybe it’s the trucking company itself in the case where maybe they’re not doing their due diligence in terms of hiring the right people, or the way that they’re having their drivers be certified or something like that. It could be a parts manufacturer, like you said, whoever made the wheels, if there’s something faulty with that. So there’s a number of different areas or places where you could potentially be going after in terms of getting compensation for a truck accident, right?

Robert: Yeah. Exactly. And then the catastrophic injury and death cases, sometimes the NTSB will investigate to find out what went wrong. And also this is why it’s so important to contact a lawyer, right after a commercial trucking accident, because the law firm is going to want to also do their own independent investigation to the accident.

Get Legal Help After a Truck Accident

John: All right. Well, that’s really great information. Rob and Robert, thanks again for speaking with me today.

Rob: Thank you, John.

Robert: Thank you.

John: And for more information, visit the firm’s website at helpinginjured.com or call 855-693-9084.

Understanding Negligent Entrustment in Personal Injury Cases

Teens Injure Others in a Car AccidentIt’s not uncommon for people to let a family member or friend borrow your car for a quick errand or as a small favor. Most people assume that the other person driving can do so in a safe manner, and in most instances, the driver returns the vehicle with no issue. However, this isn’t always the case.

Drivers in borrowed cars can be just as careless or negligent as drivers in their own vehicles and are at equal risk of getting into a car accident. However, if the person borrowing their friend or family member’s vehicle is intoxicated, unlicensed, or otherwise cannot safely drive the vehicle, the risk is significantly higher.

Here’s what you should understand about negligent entrustment in personal injury cases, and how to get the experienced legal help you need in Massachusetts and New Hampshire after a devastating accident.

What Is Negligent Entrustment?

Motor vehicle owners are responsible for ensuring that the vehicle they own is only operated safely and legally. Negligent entrustment occurs when a vehicle owner allows another person to drive their car, knowing they are or are likely unable to operate the vehicle safely.

This means that if you were hurt by a careless driver operating someone else’s vehicle, you may not only be able to hold the driver responsible for any damages that result from that collision, but also potentially the vehicle owner as well. If you choose to pursue compensation, you may have multiple defendants involved in your case. If the vehicle was faulty in some way, it’s possible to even have a third defendant – the vehicle’s manufacturer.

How to Prove Negligent Entrustment

In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, there are three elements to negligent entrustment. Here’s what you’ll need to prove in order to successfully pursue compensation from the owner of the vehicle involved in the accident that injured you.

1. Evidence That Indicates the Person Who Drove the Car Was Unfit to Do So

First, you must establish that the at-fault driver of the borrowed vehicle was not fit to safely operate it. For example, in cases of drinking and driving, it may be relatively easy to show that the driver was inebriated and unfit to drive. In other cases, however, establishing the incompetence of the at fault driver may be more challenging.

You may be able to show a pattern of recklessness by presenting the at fault party‘s poor driving record if they have a history of traffic infractions. Or, if the vehicle operator has a medical condition or takes a medication that makes it dangerous for them to drive, you may be able to provide evidence of this.

Then, you must also be able to illustrate that the injuries caused in the accident were directly the result of the established incompetence. For example, if you suffered severe whiplash from the accident, you’ll need to be able to show that you had no preexisting conditions and that the injury was specifically caused by the negligent driver’s behavior.

2. Evidence That the Driver Lent the Vehicle to the Unfit Operator

Next, you’ll need to prove that the driver allowed the unfit operator to borrow the vehicle. The incompetent driver must not have stolen the vehicle or have taken it without the consent of the vehicle owner.

This can sometimes be done by obtaining a statement from the at-fault party that they were allowed to borrow the vehicle. Or, there may be text messages or voicemails that recorded the vehicle owner giving permission to the driver to use it. In some cases, the vehicle owner will have admitted to allowing the person who caused the accident to borrow their car.  

3. Evidence That the Driver Knew the Operator Would Not Be Able to Safely Drive the Vehicle

Arguably, the most important point to argue in a negligent entrustment case is that the owner of the vehicle knew or reasonably should have known that the person would not be able to safely drive the vehicle.

Some common examples of this include but are not limited to:

  • Allowing an unlicensed or teenage driver to borrow your car, even if it’s just for a quick errand a short distance away
  • Allowing an intoxicated or inebriated person to drive someone else’s car to pick up food or more alcohol for a party
  • Letting someone with a history of potentially problematic medical issues borrow someone else’s car, e.g., if they have epilepsy, seizures, blackouts, or uncorrected poor vision

If the person who lent their vehicle out was aware or should have been aware that the driver was unfit to drive and allowed it anyway, you may be able to successfully pursue damages from them for negligent entrustment.

How an Experienced Massachusetts Personal Injury Attorney Can Help

Being hurt in a motor vehicle accident through no fault of your own is a devastating and costly experience. Depending on the severity of the accident and your subsequent injuries, you may be facing lifelong disabilities, or you may have lost a loved one to wrongful death. You deserve full and fair compensation from all parties involved in the negligence that harmed you and your family.

At Mazow | McCullough, PC, we have extensive experience zealously representing accident victims and their families. Negligent entrustment cases can be challenging, because the evidence required to prove that the owner of a vehicle knowingly lent it to someone who they were fully aware could not operate it safely is often difficult to obtain. It’s critical that you work with an experienced personal injury lawyer who has successfully represented negligent entrustment cases before.

Contact our office today to schedule your consultation to discuss the incident, your legal rights, and what the next step should be. Call now at (978) 744-8000 or toll free at (855) 693-9084.

What Causes Truck Accidents?

What Causes Truck AccidentsTruck accidents are some of the most serious and deadly types of accidents. Often, their cause is preventable or easily avoidable. When truck drivers and trucking companies exhibit carelessness and negligence, however, collisions are guaranteed.

Here are the most common causes of truck accidents in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, and what you can do to get the legal help you need after you or someone you love were injured in a collision with a large commercial truck.

Driver Fatigue

Generally, truck drivers aren’t paid salary or even by the hour. Instead, they are paid per mile driven. This means that truck drivers are only earning money when they are driving; they don’t get paid when they are sleeping, eating, showering, or taking breaks.

Although there are laws that mandate a driver only operate their truck for a certain number of consecutive hours, many truck drivers encouraged or forced to ignore it. This may be the result of a trucking company pressuring their drivers to make deliveries by a certain time, or by drivers working as long as they can to earn as much as they can.

Fatigue impairs the senses and response time as much as alcohol does, and drowsy driving can result in serious and even deadly collisions. Many truck drivers involved in accidents have been found to have exceeded their driving limitations or were extremely fatigued at the time of the incident.

Speeding

Speeding is a major cause of all types of motor vehicle accidents, including truck collisions. However, because commercial trucks are so large and heavy, speeding is much more dangerous for them compared to passenger vehicles. Collisions that occur when a truck is going too fast tend to result in critical injury and death at a much higher rate than collisions that occur when a motor vehicle is speeding.

Inclement Weather

Large trucks take longer to slow down or come to a stop when the weather is bad and the roads are wet, snowy, or icy. Truck drivers have a responsibility to account for this and should be trained to allow extra time for braking. Cities and municipalities also have a responsibility to warn drivers when bridges will freeze faster than roads or when roads aren’t in good enough condition to accommodate a large truck.

Inadequate Driver Training

Driving a large commercial truck is nothing like driving a car, motorcycle, or even a light duty truck. Truck drivers require a Commercial Drivers License (CDL) and must be able to pass a written and road skills test. However, trucking companies are often too eager to get a new hire out on the road making deliveries and fail to provide them with adequate training.

When truck drivers don’t know how to maneuver a large truck in a wide variety of situations, they can easily cause an accident. This frequently occurs in towns, when commercial trucks have to take wide turns or have difficulty fitting into intersections.

Poor Truck Maintenance

A trucking company should keep their trucks in good working order. If the driver is an owner/operator, they have the same responsibility. Failure to maintain a truck’s critical systems can lead to entirely preventable accidents, which the driver and/or trucking company may be held legally and financially liable for.

For example, if a truck’s brakes begin to wear down, waiting to replace them could be detrimental if the brakes go out when hauling a particularly heavy load. The truck could collide with the vehicle in front of them at full speed, potentially even resulting in a multi-car pileup depending on how fast the truck was going.

Intoxication

Unfortunately, truck drivers are as susceptible to drinking and driving as the general population, if not more so. In many cases, truck drivers are intoxicated by drugs instead of alcohol at the time of an accident. For example, a driver may have taken illegal or over the counter “uppers” to keep them awake enough to drive long hours, resulting in them feeling jittery, having poor motor control, and overall being unsafe to operate their vehicle. Truck drivers in every accident case should submit to complete drug and alcohol testing to determine if they were under the influence of any type of altering substance at the time of the collision. This includes prescription drugs that may have affected their coordination or ability to operate heavy machinery.

Improper Cargo Placement

Trucks are designed to haul heavy cargo over long distances, but how that cargo is loaded and carried impacts how a truck handles on the road. Improperly placed cargo can affect how much time it takes for a driver to come to a stop and how quickly they are able to accelerate after stopping.

It can also cause the trailer or truck bed to become unstable and make the truck drift or sway when driving. If a truck is underloaded or overloaded, this can also impact how the driver is able to maneuver the vehicle, especially at high speeds or in inclement weather.

Hurt in a Truck Accident? We Can Help You Find Who Is Responsible

Were you or someone you love injured in a truck accident? At Mazow | McCullough, PC, we understand the challenges ahead. Identifying the at-fault party or parties is the first step to recovering the full and fair compensation you deserve for the losses you incurred as a result of the collision. We can help you identify whose negligence caused or contributed to the accident and help you pursue restitution.

Contact us today to book an initial personal injury consultation to discuss your case by calling (978) 744-8000 (Salem, MA) or toll free at (855) 693-9084.

Types of Truck Accidents

Truck AccidentsUnderstanding the types of truck accidents that can occur on Massachusetts and New Hampshire roadways and the damage they cause can help you stay on guard when you drive around different kinds of trucks. Here’s what you should know.

Head-On Collisions

A head-on collision occurs when a large truck hits another vehicle from the front. This can happen when drivers are paying poor attention to the road or fail to properly navigate a turn at an intersection. The driver and passenger absorb the majority of the accident’s force and may result in limb loss or crush injuries, if not a fatality.

Rear-End Collisions

A rear-end collision occurs when a large truck hits another vehicle from behind. This can be especially dangerous in situations where an 18-wheeler is coming downhill at a high speed and has difficulty slowing down when there is a stop light or traffic jam just ahead. A truck driver can use their jake brake in the event of an emergency, but it may not be successful.

In a rear-end crash, the backseat passengers are affected the most. If the collision results in a pileup, the front of the car may also slam into the rear end of the car ahead of them, causing injuries to the driver and front passenger.

Jackknife Accidents

A jackknife accident happens when an 18-wheel truck loses traction and the trailer goes into a skid. The cab may stay on the road, but the truck and trailer end at a 90-degree angle, similar to how the blade of a jackknife or pocketknife looks in relation to its handle.

Often, jackknife accidents occur when the road is wet or icy, or when the driver loses control of the vehicle briefly and overcorrects to try to bring the truck back onto the road. A jackknife accident can be particularly dangerous if the truck’s trailer swings out and hits another vehicle with its broad side.

T-Bone Accidents

A T-bone accident happens when a truck’s cab collides with the side of another vehicle. In cases where the truck hits the side of another large truck or trailer, the casualties may be mild to moderate.

However, if a truck T-bones a smaller passenger car, it’s very likely that the front and backseat passengers on the side closest to the truck will be severely injured or killed in the crash. If the truck is traveling at a high speed, the passenger car may be completely crushed.

Wide-Turn Accidents

Because of the way 18-wheel trucks are built, they need to make wide right turns. This means that if a truck is in the right-hand lane, they will briefly drive into the left-hand lane as their trailer makes the corner before settling back onto the right side of the road.

If a truck driver does not see a car coming up in the right-hand lane as they are getting ready to shift back into it after the turn, they may run that vehicle off the road.

Flatbed Truck Accidents

Flatbed trucks are designed to hold cargo of odd shapes and sizes that wouldn’t otherwise fit into a standard four-sided trailer. Logs, pipes, large equipment, and other awkwardly fitting items can be strapped to the open-bed trailer and transported by a traditional truck cab.

The most common type of accident that occurs with a flatbed truck is cargo slippage. If the cargo has not been properly secured, it can come loose as the truck travels over rough terrain or at high speeds. For example, a falling pipe could crush the roof or windshield of a car near the truck, potentially causing the wrongful death of the passengers inside.

Garbage Truck Accidents

Garbage trucks are smaller than 18-wheelers, however, they can still do a great deal of damage in an accident. Any collision with a passenger car is likely to be more serious due to the size and weight of a garbage truck, particularly if the accident occurs when the truck drivers have completed their route for the day and the back of the truck is full.

Another type of accident that can occur with a garbage truck is the misuse or malfunction of the lifting arm. If it comes down onto a vehicle parked on the side of the road, the damage can be costly.

Dump Truck Accidents

Like a garbage truck, a dump truck isn’t quite as formidable as an 18-wheeler. However, it has the potential to cause critical and even deadly accidents, particularly with pedestrians and bicyclists. If debris from the back of the dump truck falls out as the truck goes over a bump in the road, it could knock a bicyclist behind the truck down completely.

Cement Truck Accidents

Cement trucks are unique trucks designed with a large rotating barrel that constantly mixes cement where a trailer normally would be. Cement truck drivers are responsible not only for ensuring they get from point A to B safely without incident, but also that the product inside the tank remains usable.

An accident with a cement truck can be devastating simply due to its size and weight, but if the liquid concrete spills out onto the road and nearby vehicles, this can result in a very difficult-to-clean and potentially toxic mess.

Were You the Victim of a Truck Accident? Contact Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys Mazow | McCullough, PC Today

Have you or someone you care about been the victim of a truck accident of any kind? Our experienced lawyers understand what it takes to win complicated truck accident cases and are dedicated to helping our clients overcome the many challenges they’ll have to face after the collision. Contact Mazow | McCullough, PC today for a consultation at (978) 744-8000 or toll free at (855) 693-9084.

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