Archive for the ‘Truck Accidents’ Category

How to Determine What Caused a Truck Accident

truck accidentIn the past two decades, the occurrence of truck-related accidents has increased by 20% with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reporting 4,897 individuals died and 130,000 individuals were injured in 2002 alone. In general, large trucks only account for 3% of injury-causing motor vehicle accidents. However, unlike other crashes, the effects can cause greater harm.

Also unlike other crashes, the driver may not be responsible for injuries even if they are clearly at fault. Instead, there is a “web of players” such as:

  • The truck driver.
  • The owner of the truck/trailer.
  • Either the person or the company that is leasing the truck or trailer from the owner.
  • The manufacturer of the vehicle, the tires, or the other parts if they may have led to or contributed to the crash or accident.
  • Either the shipper or the person who loaded the cargo if improper loading of the cargo contributed to the accident.

With so many hands on the wheel, so to speak, there are often internal arguments over whose insurance will cover the injuries and damages. Due to this, it’s imperative to know the cause of the accident, as it can help quicken the process for compensation.

Common Causes

While there are plenty of things that can go wrong on the road, especially given the lengths most truck drivers will travel during a trip, there are more common causes that most accidents will fall under. These include driver error both leading up to and during the trip, mechanical failures, traffic signal failures, inclement weather and road design or construction. The top two most common are driver error and equipment issues.

Driver Error

Drivers of large trucks are ten times more likely to be the cause of a truck accident compared to other factors, making it the most common cause of truck accidents. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration found both action and inaction by drivers was the critical cause for 88 percent of all truck accidents. With long hours on the road and other factors such as speeding, fatigue, inattention, work environment, unfamiliarity with roads and distractions, it is no surprise that this is the most common cause for crashes.

Equipment Problems and Failure

The second most common cause of truck accidents is when the equipment or parts of a large truck fail. This can include anything from defective tires to design errors. In other cases, mechanical errors are due to failure to maintain the equipment, such as removing or depowering brakes, leading a truck to jackknife, or tire blowouts from wear.

If you have been the victim of a larger truck accident, contact us today. At Jonathan Perkins Personal Injury Lawyers, we have worked with truck accident cases and understand the nuances and small details that come from these big cases.

Wrongful Death Claims in Connecticut: Important Questions Answered

There are few times in life more emotionally-charged than losing a loved one due to the negligence or wrongful act of another person. Despite the emotions, it’s important to have the right information and important questions answered before pursuing legal action. While many will want to immediately hold the person accountable, it can pay off to take a step back and full understand what comes with the territory of a wrongful death claim.

What is a wrongful death claim?

The compensation gained from a wrongful death claim is meant to help financial aid family members following a fatal accident. This is often when the family members had been financially and emotionally dependent on the deceased.

Who can seek damages?

A good rule of thumb is whether the person is part of the estate. Surviving spouses and children are the most common, but surviving parents and other family members may also be able to seek damages.

What damages can be covered?

Damages following a wrongful death fall into two categories: economic and noneconomic. Economic damages include monetary losses and the expenses that came as a result of the death such as funeral arrangements and medical bills. Noneconomic damages cover losses and injury that are harder to quantify, such as lingering effects of injuries.

Can I be compensated for pain and suffering?

In a wrongful death suit, pain and suffering may be sought when the victim did not die instantaneously. Collecting for your own pain and suffering is much more difficult to claim.

Can I claim emotional distress as a bystander?

In some circumstances, damages can be sought as a bystander. Family members who witnessed the death or saw their loved one at the scene of the accident may be able to collect compensation for their emotional distress. They might be compensated for emotional and psychological injuries that would be expected from the loss of a loved one.

Can I seek damages for loss of consortium?

When your spouse passes away and you have children, you are losing your parenting partner. In Connecticut, you can seek compensation for the loss of the ability to enjoy their companionship such as the spouse’s affections, companionship and sexual relations.

If you have lost a loved one suddenly due to the careless actions of another person, contact the Connecticut wrong death lawyers at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers to find out how we can help.

How does Adequate CDL Training Help Prevent Truck Accidents in Connecticut?

 

The state of Connecticut has strict rules regarding the need for professional drivers to maintain a current Commercial Driver’s License (CDL).  Many of these rules and requirements were created in order to cut down on the risk of truck accidents occurring on America’s roads.  One of the most valuable advantages that a driver can provide for themselves during this process is a CDL training course. Below you will find an overview of the application process, as well as information about how adequate CDL training can help prevent truck accidents in Connecticut.

CDL licenses are covered by national regulations established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. In Connecticut, a CDL is only available to drivers who are at least 18 years of age and who already possess a valid standard driver’s license. The process begins with obtaining a CDL learner’s permit, which can be difficult to obtain. In addition to providing all appropriate documentation and payments, applicants are asked to pass a written CDL Knowledge Test based upon the type of license they are seeking and, if they pass their permit, provides limited abilities until they become a full CDL holder. In order to get the full CDL, there is also a skills test that needs to be scheduled and passed, covering basic vehicle control, on-road testing, and vehicle inspection.

The American Transportation Research Institute conducted a study in 2008 analyzing the impact of driver training on safety and the incidence of truck accidents. Their review looked at three specific safety metrics, including:

  • Department of Transportation (DOT) reportable accidents
  • Traffic violation convictions
  • Property damage

What they found was that in the subset of drivers that they followed, there were 6,978 incidents, broken down into 416 DOT reportable accidents, 5,603 property damage incidents and 959 traffic convictions. They found a direct correlation between the driver’s age and length of employment and the number of accidents that they had been involved in. They also found that the more hours the drivers had spent in their overall training program and the more instructional environments they were exposed to, the fewer incidents the drivers were involved in, though age and work experience also played a significant role.

Preventing truck accidents is a matter of importance to drivers on the roads of Connecticut and across the nation. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has indicated that the driver-related causes of motor vehicle crashes fall into four categories: non-performance (driver falling asleep or suffering a medical condition); driver inattentiveness or distraction; poor decision making on the part of the driver; poor performance such as directional control or overcompensation. Though there were many associated factors, including mechanical problems or traffic flow, increased training can have a direct positive impact on the number of truck accidents on our roads.

If you have been injured in a truck accident and you believe that driver performance or negligence of some kind played a role, the attorneys at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers can help. Contact us today to set up a free consultation about your case.

Tips to Avoid Driver Fatigue

Truck Accident Attorney Jonathan Perkins Connecticut There are few things more frightening to a highway driver than the sight of a tractor trailer looming in the rear view window, or speeding by at an unnecessary and unsafe speed. But an even bigger concern is the driver that has not gotten enough sleep and falls asleep behind the wheel. Truck drivers work under unrealistic deadlines, and may choose a few more hours of driving over getting the sleep that they need. Tractor trailers can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, and when that much weight is not being properly controlled, catastrophic accidents can occur. The Connecticut truck accident attorneys at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers caution truck drivers and everybody who gets behind the wheel to get enough rest and to avoid driving while fatigued. The most important tips to avoid driver fatigue are the ones that prevent you from driving when you are impaired by exhaustion. Here are our top recommendations to help you recognize when you need more sleep.

People who look for tips to avoid driver fatigue are ignoring an important scientific fact – if your body is tired, there is nothing you can do to avoid falling asleep. Your brain manufacturers chemicals that tell your body to rest, and you can only ignore them or fight them for a short period of time. You will eventually fall asleep, and no amount of coffee or singing, or any other trick is going to keep you awake.  There are specific causes of driver fatigue, and these include not getting good quality sleep, not getting enough sleep, and driving when you would normally be asleep. In some cases, drivers may be suffering from a medical condition known as obstructive sleep apnea. This is an obstruction of the airway that causes them to wake up hundreds of times throughout the night, gasping for air, without ever being aware that it is going on.

One of the most important things that you can do to prevent yourself from driving while fatigued is to recognize the telltale signs. These can include:

  • Excessive yawning
  • Realizing that you have ‘lost time’ and are not aware of what has happened in the last few minutes
  • Tired or heavy eyes
  • Straying over the lane lines
  • Impatience with other drivers or passengers in your car

When you are tired, your driving is severely compromised. Researchers have found that driving while extremely fatigued is comparable to driving while intoxicated. In fact, drivers who operate a vehicle after having been awake for 17 hours have the same level of impairment as having a blood alcohol of 0.05, and those who have been up for 24 hours are impaired at the same level of those who are at twice the legal blood alcohol concentration.

Driving while fatigued slows reaction time and leads to nodding off behind the wheel. It impacts judgment and makes it nearly impossible to concentrate. If you have been harmed by a truck driver who you believe may have been driving while fatigued, contact the Connecticut truck accident attorneys at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers.

Here’s Why You Should Never Pass a Snow Plow on the Highway

Snow Plow Road Safety - Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers We’ve all had the experience of being stuck behind a snow plow on a snowy highway. Though it is tempting to go around this slow-moving piece of machinery – especially as it sprays rock salt onto your windshield – doing so is a dangerous and ill-advised. There are a number of winter safety tips that can help you stay safe and prevent truck accidents, whether they are with snow plows or any other large vehicle on the road.

When you are heading out onto winter roads, you need to take steps to keep yourself and all others around you safe. The first thing to remember is that you need to reduce your speed to what is most appropriate for road conditions. When visibility is hampered by snow, rain or ice and the roadways are slick, it is important that you lower your speed in order to provide you with greater control of your vehicle.

Even before you head out during the winter, make sure that your vehicle is winter-weather ready. Before the weather turns bitter, take your car in for a tune-up and check-up to make sure that all of its systems are ready for frigid temperatures. Switch out your old windshield wipers to make sure that you’ve given yourself a clear view of the road, and have your mechanic check the status of your tires, your batteries, and your vehicle’s heating system and defrosters. Never allow your gas tank to fall below half full and make sure that you have stocked your vehicle with winter essentials, including an ice scraper and brush for snow, a small shovel, road flares, jumper cables, and a bag of either rock salt, kitty litter or sand in case you need added traction on icy areas.

Your vehicle should always be emergency ready, but especially during the cold winter months. Make sure that you have water and food, a blanket and gloves, and a flashlight with fresh batteries. Finally make sure that before you leave for any trip, you have listened to the weather forecast and any updates on road conditions, and that you have directions to ensure that you know exactly where you are going.

Knowing that you are prepared for winter roads is a big help, but you also need to drive with appropriate levels of caution, particularly when the roadways are snow covered. If you do end up behind either a single snow plow or a plow train, remember that they are there as a service to you and other drivers, and that driving incautiously around them invites car accidents.  Driving too close behind a snow plow is not a good idea – always leave at least three or four car lengths between the back of a snow plow and your own vehicle. It is never a good idea to pass a plow at all, but especially not on the right, as that is the direction where the snow, rocks, and slush will be pushed to.

Truck accidents can happen any time of year, but especially during winter weather. Though many of these accidents are caused by the truck drivers, some are the fault of other drivers acting in haste. Make sure that you are not one of them! If you do end up in a truck accident and sustain an injury, be sure to call the attorneys at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers to learn more about your rights.

How Long Can Truck Drivers Drive Before Having to Take a Break?

One of the most frustrating and heartbreaking elements of truck crash accidents is that they are so frequently completely preventable. When tractor trailers and other commercial trucks are involved in accidents with passenger vehicles, it is the car passengers who most frequently get injured, or even killed. There are many reasons why truck accidents happen, including driver distraction, failure to adhere to driving regulations, poor maintenance of the truck or improper loading of the trailer, and careless driving. One of the most common reasons why truck accidents occur is that drivers operate their vehicles far beyond the time limits that the law imposes. All of these are examples of negligence, and can lead to the driver or the company that employs them being held legally responsible for the damage that is caused. At Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers, we are passionate about holding negligent trucking companies accountable.

There are very specific rules and regulations regarding the hours of service that a truck driven by a single driver is permitted to be on the road. The maximum number of continuous hours that a truck driver is allowed to drive is eleven continuous hours within a 14-hour work day. Once they have driven eleven hours, they are required to rest for a minimum of ten hours before they get behind the wheel again. Further, the regulations limit the amount of time that a truck driven by a single driver is allowed to be on the road within a seven-day period: that limit is between 60 and 77 hours depending upon a number of variations, or between 70 and 88 hours over an eight-day period.

One of the best ways for a driver to ensure that they do not exceed the driver hour limitations is to take a full two-and-a-half days off from driving: once they do this, they reset their driving clock to zero and are able to start driving again. That being said, there is good reason for drivers and the companies that employ them to go beyond the regulations and ensure that they are well rested so that they are able to drive their enormous, powerful vehicles responsibly.
Though the trucking industry has objected strenuously to these regulations, many drivers have acknowledged the need for them. More importantly, many families have suffered as a result of drivers and companies that have ignored them and gotten into accidents that have caused grievous injuries and death.

Victims of truck accidents that have resulted from drivers operating their vehicles beyond the established hours of service regulations need aggressive, knowledgeable legal representation. At Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers, we are committed to providing victims with compassionate, experienced legal counsel aimed at getting them the compensation that they need and deserve. Contact us today to set up a free consultation.

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