Boston is a large, old city with many narrow roads, making driving a large truck even more dangerous here than in the newer cities constructed to accommodate trucks. Inexperienced drivers making tight turns on Morton street or Gallican boulevard could cause property damage or cause an accident injuring a passenger vehicle driver or even a pedestrian.
Additionally, several interstates, including I-90, go around and through Boston. The higher speed on interstates could lead to catastrophic injuries should a passenger vehicle tangle with a large commercial motor vehicle.
In Boston alone, 4,777 crashes were reported in 2019. Of those, 19 resulted in fatalities and 80 caused serious injury. Looking beyond these numbers, Bostonians should note that commercial motor vehicles tend to do more damage in wrecks and may have a higher likelihood of causing fatalities.
Additionally, a fully loaded truck could take up to 40 percent longer to stop than a passenger vehicle. The larger the vehicle, the higher the chance of someone suffering from catastrophic injuries or death, simply because of the weight of the vehicle.
Causes of Commercial Motor Vehicle Accidents
The causes of commercial motor vehicle accidents vary.
However, when a truck driver is at fault, common causes include:
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, including prescription medication;
- Distracted driving;
- Safety law violations;
- Speeding and excessive speeding;
- Fatigue and/or tiredness;
- Unsafe lane changes and other reckless driving behaviors;
- Maintenance issues;
- Cargo improperly loaded;
- Shifting cargo; and
- Issues with the roadway or poor construction site management.
Could Boston be Liable?
Commercial vehicle accident cases are often difficult for a plaintiff to handle because of the number of people who could share in the liability for the accident. When a truck driver is in an accident because of poor construction site management or issues with the roadway, the city of Boston could share in the liability for the truck accident.
If the trucking company hires outside parties to load cargo and/or perform maintenance and repairs, those companies could share in the liability if the investigation finds that improperly loaded cargo or a maintenance or repair issue caused the accident.
If a driver causes an accident because he or she violated the hours-of-service regulations, a dispatcher could be liable if the dispatcher encouraged the driver to get the load delivered by a certain time or risk losing his or her job.
Part of a truck accident case, whether you settle or litigate it, is to investigate to find out what caused the accident, and which parties other than the driver, if any, share in the liability for the wreck.
Types of Injuries Caused by Commercial Motor Vehicle Accidents
Injuries you might suffer in an accident with a commercial motor vehicle vary depending on the size of your vehicle and the vehicle that hits you, the speed at which you and the other driver are traveling, the location of the wreck, and other factors.
Because of the weight of many commercial vehicles, you could suffer catastrophic injuries or even death. Injuries include:
- Bruises, cuts, and scrapes.
- Road rash.
- Simple and compound fractures.
- Internal injuries.
- Head, neck, and shoulder injuries.
- Traumatic brain injuries.
- Back and spinal cord injuries.
- Soft tissue injuries, including pulled muscles, torn muscles, strains, and sprains.
Recoverable Damages in Commercial Motor Vehicle Accidents
When you are in a commercial motor vehicle accident, you can recover three types of damages. The court orders economic and non-economic damages in an attempt to make you whole again. While the money does not erase your injuries or bring back a loved one, it does significantly reduce financial stress.
Special damages, or economic damages, are those that cover anything for which you have to come out of pocket, including:
- Past medical expenses for those you incurred before a settlement or a trial award.
- Future medical expenses for those you incurred after a settlement or trial award.
- Past and future therapy expenses, including physical, cognitive, and psychological therapies.
- Past and future lost wages. Even if you can eventually go back to work, but your injuries result in a disability that prevents you from working in your previous job, you might recover future lost wages for the difference in your salary.
- Costs to upgrade your home or vehicle because of a disability caused by accident injuries.
- Live-in care.
- Funeral, burial, and/or cremation expenses.
General damages, or non-economic damages, are losses that do not have a monetary value. They include:
- Pain and suffering, including emotional distress.
- Loss of consortium.
- Loss of companionship.
- Loss of a body part or bodily function.
- Wrongful death.
The court only orders punitive damages if the defendant’s behavior was intentional—done with the intent to cause harm—or recklessly negligent. Instead of making you whole again, the court orders punitive damages as a punishment for the defendant in the hopes that he or she will not repeat the negligent or intentional behavior that caused you injury or the death of a loved one.
Since the rules for punitive damages are complex, ask your truck accident attorney if your case warrants punitive damages. You, as the plaintiff, will have to show that the defendant’s actions or inactions were intentional or egregious—such as that they drove distracted or under the influence.
If you suffered injuries in a commercial vehicle crash, seek the help of an experienced truck accident lawyer. A lawyer can help you navigate negotiations with insurance companies and help you fight for the compensation you deserve.