Personal Injury Law Firm
DEVASTATING LOSSES CALL FOR EXCEPTIONAL LITIGATORS
According to our team of New Hampshire truck accident lawyers, commercial trucks play a crucial role in the US economy by distributing goods throughout the country. Conversely, the tradeoff is that commercial trucks are inherently dangerous. Semi-trucks are more prone to being involved in crashes than cars. Therefore, New Hampshire truck accident lawyers have serious road ahead of them.
The additional factors at play when operating a semi-truck that causes crashes include blind spots, jack knifing, off-setting, increased stopping distances, height clearance, and driver fatigue. Truck operators need to obtain a special license, known as a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), to operate their vehicle.
One of the biggest factors that contribute to truck accidents is increased stopping distance due to their massive size and weight of the vehicle. Evidently, this is simple physics. For example, at a speed of 40 mph, a car requires 1 second of braking time while traveling one car length (10 feet) behind another vehicle. Whereas a truck requires 4 seconds of braking time while traveling within one truck length (40 feet) behind another vehicle. Also, at 55 mph, it takes a truck 196 feet to come to a full stop versus 133 feet for a car. CMV Driving Tips – Following Too Closely | FMCSA (dot.gov)
The problem is that the trucking industry contributes to driver fatigue which delays reaction time say our truck accident lawyers. Sometimes, truck drivers will even fall asleep at the wheel. Unfortunately for other drivers, the longer drivers are on the road, the more money the trucking company makes. To counteract this problem, the federal government has implemented laws pertaining to trucker driving times. That being said, truck driver is only permitted to drive 11 total hours per shift. There must be at least 10 hours of off-duty time between shifts. 30-minute breaks must be taken after 8 hours of cumulative driving. 60 hours of driving maximum within each seven-day work period. Summary of Hours of Service Regulations | FMCSA (dot.gov) CMV Driving Tips – Driver Fatigue | FMCSA (dot.gov)
There are several different federal agencies which enforce safety requirements to prevent truck accidents. In summary, these include the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), and the Department of Transportation (DOT). Since 2012, these agencies have collected a vast amount of data pertaining to truck accidents. The following links provides charts that allow you visualize the data. Data Visualization – Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) (dot.gov) Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts | FMCSA (dot.gov)
In 2021 there were 523,796 large truck accidents nationwide. That amount represents a 26% increase from 2020. Many analysists suspect the uptick is a product of more motorists on the road after the Covid-19 lock downs.
In 2021 there were 5,788 fatalities in large truck accidents nationwide. That amount rose from 4,444 fatal truck accidents in 2020. Notably, semi-trucks represent 53% of fatal crashes. These trucks are more prone to jack knifing.
Evidently, the available data is also broken down by state. In 2021, the state with the most truck fatalities was far and away Texas (568). California (364) and Florida (322) round out the top three. Some of the New England states are as follows: Massachusetts (27), Maine (18 deaths), New Hampshire (11 deaths). The state with the least fatalities in the nation was Vermont (4). Per capita, New Hampshire had 8 fatalities to Massachusetts’ 3.9.
Between 2012-2021, New Hampshire had a total of 752 truck accident related fatalities. While this number is low compared to other states, many of the factors that contributed to death were preventable. 68% of NH fatalities involved unrestrained drivers (no seatbelt) and 45% of NH fatalities involved speeding. State Traffic Safety Information (STSI) (dot.gov)
Insurance companies appreciate the serious nature of truck accidents because they frequently lead to exorbitantly high verdicts. Given the high financial risk, insurance companies take a proactive role with truck accident investigations. Truck Accident Lawyers and AI | Nashua Personal Injury Blog | (granite-law-group.com). Notably, truck drivers are instructed to call their insurance companies on the spot after a crash. If the crash is serious enough, they will fly in their own truck accident reconstructionist to the scene to coordinate with police investigators.
These types of semi-truck crash cases require a unique type of attorney who is familiar with semi-trailers and commercial trucks. It is crucial that the client hires a truck accident lawyer who is experienced with these types of cases. Also, it is important that the attorney is one that is capable of aggressively pursuing the case. All things considered, a considerable amount of capital reserves must be used to work up one of these cases.
It goes without saying, that the use of accident reconstruction experts plays a large role in truck accident cases. These experts are able to re-create how the collision occurred by scientific means. Some testing includes measuring skid marks to calculate speed. Other testing includes analyzing metadata stored in the truck’s on-board black box system. Time is of the essence in these semi-truck crash cases. If you wait too long, sometimes the evidence is lost forever. In one case, we had the truck taken out of service and flew in a renowned accident reconstructionist from Texas to inspect the company vehicle. Actions like these make all the difference in the world. The case was resolved for $5,500,000.
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