Articles Posted in Truck Accident

New Hampshire logging accidents can pose complex questions of law. In particular, the issue of causation is not always clear-cut. In a negligence case, a judge or jury often must sort through multiple possible causes of an accident to establish fault.

For example, a recent news article reported that two people suffered injuries in a New Hampshire logging accident. The accident occurred when a driver was riding in the westbound lane on the highway when her car crashed into a tractor-trailer. When the tractor-trailer hit the driver’s car, it was pulling into a logging site. The tractor-trailer driver was unharmed. However, the car’s driver and passenger were transported to the hospital after suffering serious injuries.

How Can You Establish Fault in New Hampshire Logging Accidents?

When a logging accident involves a tractor-trailer and a small car, proving fault for the accident may be complicated. For example, the car may crash into the tractor-trailer, but the tractor-trailer driver may have carelessly parked it near a traffic lane. These issues of fault often arise in negligence lawsuits, where the plaintiff must prove both cause in fact and proximate cause. Cause in fact refers to the actual case of the accident, such as a car striking a tractor-trailer. The proximate cause is the legal cause of an injury. More precisely, if the proximate cause did not occur, the plaintiff’s harm would not have occurred. For example, even if a car crashed into a tractor-trailer, the proximate cause of the driver’s injuries may not be the cause in fact. For example, the proximate cause could stem from the logging site manager’s failure to erect barriers or warning signs for oncoming traffic. To prevail on a negligence claim, the plaintiff must prove both cause-in-fact and proximate cause. Ultimately, recovering damages depends on proving a duty of care, a breach of duty, causation, and harm resulting from the accident.

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Large trucks have a history of being involved in some of the most deadly crashes across the country. Large trucks may include any medium or heavy truck with a gross vehicle weight rating greater than 10,000 pounds. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2019 there were 5,005 people killed in crashes involving large trucks. NHSTA also reported that seventy-one percent of people killed in large-truck crashes in 2019 were occupants of other vehicles.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration conducted a large truck crash causation study that involved examining the reasons for serious crashes involving large trucks. Motor vehicle crashes are complex and various elements may influence the occurrence of a crash. These elements may include fatigue, alcohol or drug consumption, speeding, and distracted driving, to name a few. There may also be environmental factors that lead to a crash, as well as driver miscalculation and human error. The causation study found 10 top factors for large trucks and passenger vehicles (a car, pickup truck, van, or sport utility vehicle), which included: interruption of traffic flow, unfamiliarity with the roadway, inadequate surveillance, driving too fast for conditions, illegal maneuver, inattention, fatigue, illness, false assumption of other road user’s actions, and distraction by object or person inside the vehicle.

In a recent news report, one person died after a car accident involving a sedan and tractor-trailer on a highway in New Hampshire. The crash was reported around 11:30 pm on Interstate 95 in Greenland, New Hampshire. According to the news report, the sedan was parked along the right travel lane with its lights on when it was struck by the tractor-trailer. The driver of the tractor-trailer, a 25-year-old male, did not sustain any injuries as a result of the crash. The driver of the sedan had been declared dead upon arrival at the scene. No charges have been filed against the driver of the tractor-trailer, and it is not suspected that the crash was a result of speeding or alcohol.

Throughout the country, there have been efforts to restrict older trucks and enhance the safety measures of all large trucks on the road. In addition to environmental benefits, newer trucks can decrease the likelihood of a serious New Hampshire truck accident. There have been few studies to explore the impact of trucks’ age on their crash occurrence. However, a recent study by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association revealed that mechanical defects, new routes, and fatigue are the most common cause of truck accidents in the country.

Mechanical defects can occur from and of the hundreds of complex parts of a large truck. However, some defects can lead to more severe accidents and subsequent injuries. Older trucks are more likely to experience a mechanical failure, although some newer electronic systems and steering wheel defects can pose significant risks. Some states require trucks to have 2010 model year engines or newer within the following year.

The most common mechanical defects that lead to accidents involve a truck’s tires, wheels, and braking systems. Tire defects frequently involve tread separation, steel belt separation, improper puncture repair, retread failure, manufacturing defects, and damage during the mounting process. These severe defects can lead to the tire dislodging or blowing out. A tire blow can create a dangerous road obstruction.

Many parties may be responsible for a victim’s injuries and damages after a New Hampshire trucking accident. Injury victims often seek compensation through an insurance company or a personal injury lawsuit. Accidents involving trucks are complicated because injuries are usually more severe, and there is typically more than one responsible party. These accidents are more complex than collisions involving two cars and require an in-depth investigation.

In cases involving two vehicles, injury victims can pursue a claim against the driver, the car owner, or the driver’s employer if they were operating the vehicle as part of their employment. After a trucking accident, the victim may file a claim against the negligent truck driver, their employer, the trucking company, or the truck’s manufacturer. A driver may be directly responsible for their negligent actions, such as speeding, impairment, or distraction. A driver’s employer may be liable under vicarious liability or their direct negligence. Similarly, a truck’s manufacturer may be responsible for a truck’s defects that contributed to the accident.

Vicarious liability is a theory that holds employers responsible for their employees’ actions. Vicarious liability is only applicable if a plaintiff can establish certain elements that prove that the negligent driver was an employee acting within their employment scope when the accident occurred. Trucking companies often find loopholes to avoid potential liability by classifying their workers as independent contractors instead of employees. Further, there are many affirmative defenses that truck companies purport to avoid liability. However, vicarious liability claims against a trucking company can significantly impact a victim’s recovery because most companies maintain sizeable commercial insurance policies.

In light of COVID-19 and social distancing requirements, many people have picked up new hobbies to keep themselves busy. Some of these hobbies involve being outdoors more often, especially as indoor restrictions continue across the country. With more people out walking, biking, running, and road-tripping instead of flying, New Hampshire car accidents are occurring more than ever. Some of the most dangerous accidents, however, involve large trucks and pedestrians.

According to a recent news report, a severe accident took place involving bicyclists being struck by a large truck from behind. Twenty cyclists were taking their annual 130-mile ride when, 40 miles in, a box truck crashed into the group from behind. Following the accident, five cyclists were pronounced dead, and four were injured. According to local authorities investigating the accident, the truck crashed into the cyclists, then crashed into another vehicle that was accompanying the cyclists. The truck then plowed into a separate group of cyclists that was ahead of the vehicle. Investigators have cited the crash as one of the most devastating they’ve seen.

After a truck or vehicle accident in New Hampshire or anywhere else, it may be time to consider your legal options—especially if you have suffered serious injury or the death of a loved one. Although bringing a claim against the at-fault party may be the furthest thing from your mind as you recover, time is of the essence. Accident victims must bring a New Hampshire car accident case within three years. In almost all cases, the statute of limitations begins counting from the day of the accident.

Throughout late summer and into early fall, the United States regularly sees a steady increase in U-Haul accidents. This increase typically coincides with students transitioning back onto college campuses. U-Haul accidents can result in serious injuries, death, and property damage. As such, New Hampshire motorists must understand their rights and responsibilities in these types of cases. Injury victims may be able to recover from various parties if they are involved in an accident with a U-Haul driver.

Despite their size and similarity to other trucks, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), does not recognize U-Hauls as commercial trucks. As a result, these trucks are not subject to the various safety rules, regulations, and oversight as other similar trucks. These companies typically invest a significant amount of time and money to ensure that their trucks are distinguished from commercial trucking vehicles. Even though these vehicles are involved in many fatal crashes every year, the major rental truck companies continue to successfully lobby against changing the classification of their vehicles.

Unlike commercial vehicles, the law does not require U-Haul drivers to obtain a commercial drivers’ license (CDL). Rental trucks benefit significantly from this exception, because their customers can easily rent a truck without jumping through various hoops. Further, since the law does not categorize these vehicles like commercial trucks, the companies can avoid thorough and costly inspections. As a result, many of their trucks have a substantial number of miles, and may not be in good working condition.

Whether it be for business or helping a loved one move, towing a trailer is something that most people have to do at least a few times in their life. For those who do not routinely drive with a trailer, the experience can be a bit nerve-wracking, and for a good reason. Trailers can be unwieldy, especially when they are fully loaded or during periods of inclement weather. Thus, all motorists who tow a trailer must understand the New Hampshire trailer laws.

Under New Hampshire Revised Statutes section 266.30, many motorists who choose to tow a trailer must install brakes on the trailer. Specifically, section 266.30 is clear that auto trailers and semi-trailers must have brakes installed to legally operate on any public highway. Additionally, horse trailers weighing more than 1,500 pounds must also have braking systems installed.

The situation gets a little more complicated when it comes to smaller trailers. For example, small trailers weighing less than 3,000 pounds (other than horse trailers) are not covered by the statute. Additionally, trailers designed to carry small equipment, such as wood-sawing machines, log splitters, and cement mixers, do not need to have brakes installed, as long as they are not being driven out of state.

In 2015, New Hampshire passed a “hands-free” law to combat the rising rate of distracted driving accidents. However, despite the passage of this law, inattentive drivers continue to cause a significant number of serious car accidents in the state. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) examines crash data throughout the United States and provides detailed information regarding the causes of car accidents. The NHTSA separates accident causation into five broad categories: recognition error, decision error, performance error, nonperformance error, and unknown driver error.

Recognition error includes behaviors such as, inadequate observation, internal and external distractions, and daydreaming. Decision errors include drivers who cause accidents because of speeding, illegal maneuvers, misjudgment, and aggressive driving. Performance errors consist of actions such as panic, poor direction control, and overcompensation. Finally, nonperformance errors encompass situations where the driver falls asleep or has a medical condition that causes an accident.

According to the NHTSA, recognition errors are the leading cause of accidents in the United States. It may not come as a surprise to learn that inattentive or distracted drivers are among the leading causes of New Hampshire motor vehicle accidents. The most common types of distracted driving are talking and texting. Despite New Hampshire’s “hands-free” law, this type of driving continues to cause serious accidents.

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