State Trucking Regulations
The truck accident attorneys at the Law Offices of John C. Manoog III fight for the rights of people across Cape Cod and the surrounding areas who have been injured in big rig crashes. We have more than 146 years of combined experience representing accident victims and their families. While we recognize that money cannot completely undo the harm, we believe in helping our clients get back on their feet with a measure of peace of mind and financial stability.
Trucks can potentially pose a serious threat to others on the road. This is not only because of the size and speed with which they regularly operate on highways, but also because their drivers are often overworked and undertrained. Although state and federal laws are designed to cut down on the risk of accidents, trucking companies and their employees often bend these rules as far as possible in order to make timely shipments and meet exceedingly difficult goals. That puts everyone else who happens to be traveling in their paths at risk.Holding Trucking Companies Accountable for Violating State Safety Standards
Each year, Massachusetts issues roughly 50,000 permits allowing oversized vehicles to travel on the state’s highways and roads. Whether a big rig requires a permit depends on its height, width, weight, and number of axles. State law also sets limits on the size, dimensions, and weight of trucks, where they may be operated, and the basic equipment and insurance requirements. The law obligates certain types of big rigs to travel in the state with escort vehicles that accompany them to ensure safety.
A commercial driver in Massachusetts who operates across states must be at least 21 years old, while someone operating only within the state must be at least 18. These drivers must obtain a commercial driver’s license in order to be able to operate trucks in the state.
With respect to trucker safety, the state has adopted a number of federal regulations. That includes federal hours of service rules, which govern when truckers can be on the road. The rules, which have recently been in flux, allows truckers to drive a total of 11 consecutive hours following a 10-hour break and to log a total of 60 or 70 hours behind the wheel over a seven- or eight-day period.
A driver or trucking company that ignores or violates these and other rules is likely to be legally liable through a negligence claim for any accidents that result. The four elements that a crash victim must prove to establish the right to compensation are duty, breach, causation, and damages. In other words, the driver or company must have engaged in some careless or reckless conduct that fell short of its duty to use reasonable care to avoid foreseeable risks to others. This breach also must have led directly to the accident, and the victim must have sustained costs or losses. Damages may range from lost wages and vehicle repairs to hospital bills, the costs of future treatment, and pain and suffering.
If an individual driver’s carelessness was responsible for causing a crash, the trucking company may also be held accountable under a legal theory known as “respondeat superior.” This often makes an employer liable for negligence by a worker that occurs in the course of the job.Protect Your Rights after a Motor Vehicle Accident by Consulting a Massachusetts Attorney
If you or a loved one has been hurt in a truck or car accident, our injury lawyers can help. We are familiar with Massachusetts law as it applies in these cases. Our previous victories include several six- and seven-figure settlements for individuals hurt in motor vehicle collisions. We are pleased to offer free consultations from our offices in Hyannis and Plymouth. Our attorneys are also happy to travel to you if you cannot make it to us. We do not charge a fee in many cases unless we are successful. Call us at 888-262-6664 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation. Nós Falamos Português.