Hartford Truck Accident Attorney
Crash statistics for semi-trucks prove how devastating truck accidents can be for everyone involved. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reported 5,096 fatal crashes involving buses and large trucks in the nation in a single year and 121,000 crashes involving non-fatal injuries.
Since Connecticut has such thriving infrastructure and businesses require semi-trucks to carry freight to and from their stores, statistics involving accidents with these larger vehicles are especially concerning. These accidents often lead to devastating damage for everyone involved. If you have been injured in an accident with a big rig, reach out to our Hartford truck accident lawyers today for a free consultation.
The Trucking Industry in Connecticut
The exporting industry is another big reason there are so many semi-trucks on the roads around Connecticut. Whether the goods are heading out of the state, out of the country, or somewhere inside, semi-trucks are the favored way to move them. Common cargo for these larger vehicles includes:
- Aircraft parts and engines
- Cocks, taps, valves, and similar appliances
- Disodium carbonate
- Gas turbine parts
- Physical or chemical instruments
- Refrigerating and freezing equipment
- Semiconductor machinery parts and accessories
- Turbo-jet parts
Connecticut is also home to several deepwater ports, including Bridgeport and New Haven, along the western end of the state. There are 15 operating ports spread around Connecticut that import and export freight for semi-trucks to transport to their desired location. You’ll find these ports along the eastern border, and even Hartford has direct connections to the Atlantic Ocean by the Connecticut River. This abundance of ports and the extensive highway system running through the state make it a booming trucking industry hub.
The highway system makes it easy for truckers to get to and from their destinations while making good time. These highways converge in Hartford before spreading out to the coastline, and routes running through inland New York and New York City provide truckers direct access to states in the north and south. Today, this state features three primary interstates with seven auxiliary interstates packed into one area, including:
- I-82 to the Rhode Island state line
- I-84 starting at the New York state line and going to Massachusetts
- I-86 starting in Connecticut and going to the Massachusetts state line
- I-91 going from New Haven to Massachusetts state line
- I-95 from New York City into Rhode Island
These convenient highways mean that the number of trucks on the road hauling freight can be higher than in other parts of the country, and this can increase the likelihood of an accident. Moreover, if the truckers are rushing to meet deadlines, this makes accidents even more likely to happen. If you were part of a semi-truck accident in Connecticut and are looking for an experienced truck accident lawyer, reach out to the professionals at Hassett & George for a consultation.
Where, When, and Why Are Truck Wrecks Occurring?
According to the National Safety Council, 4,965 people died in 2020 in large truck accidents. While this is a 1 percent decrease from 2019, it’s still up 31 percent since 2011. In addition, 71 percent of the fatalities in these accidents were occupants in the other vehicle, 17 percent were truck occupants, and bicyclists and pedestrians made up 12 percent of the fatalities.
The National Safety Council also found that 54.65 percent of accidents happened on rural roadways, and 45.35 percent occurred on urban roads. Roughly 26.71 percent happened on interstates during the daytime. Additionally, October saw the highest number of large fatal truck accidents, with 483, and June was the second most fatal month, with 430 deadly collisions.
Also, the Connecticut Transportation Safety Research Center showed that 15,139 medium or heavy trucks were involved in accidents from July 2020 to December 2022. Although this ranked fourth for the vehicle type most often involved in an accident in Connecticut, tractor-trailer accidents have a much higher risk of causing death or severe injuries than smaller vehicles due to the freight loads they carry. Passenger vehicles made up 55.23 percent of the crashes, followed by SUVs and pickups.
Connecticut is also home to several very deadly and busy roads that these tractor-trailers frequent. The top deadliest routes in Connecticut, according to the last 10,000 accidents, include:
Interstate 95 – 14,573 Crashes
Running the entire length of the state’s east coast and linking New York City to Boston, this interstate forms a major highway with a reputation for traffic congestion and speeding. There is a higher risk of distracted drivers during the summer months, and winter brings sheets of snow and ice that make it easy to lose control as you drive along.
Route 1 – 11,908 Crashes
This road is hazardous for pedestrians as there are no sidewalks, and the highway features crosswalks with no essential crossing lights or signals. Additionally, winter brings large snowbanks that make it difficult for motorists to see around when they drive through. This could have contributed to Connecticut’s 48 percent increase in pedestrian fatalities from 2019 to 2020.
Interstate 91 – 8,361 Crashes
This road divides Connecticut into two, and it’s one of the most traveled north-south highways in the state. It starts in New Haven and follows the Connecticut River to Vermont to the Derby Line. The scenery makes it a popular route during the summer, but the increased traffic and poor road conditions result in serious accidents all along the interstate.
Route 6 – 3,744 Crashes
Route 6 is widely considered one of the deadliest country roads in the nation for several reasons. First, this road is littered with sharp turns, unexpected curves, and poor road conditions. When you combine this with distracted driving and speeding, it’s easy to see why there are so many crashes on this stretch of highway. The month and time of day also dictate when accidents happen. Data showed that in Connecticut in 2022, October was the deadliest month, with 9,205 accidents. Friday was the deadliest day of the week, with 16.81 percent of accidents happening here, and Wednesday was the second deadliest day, with 14.89 percent. Additionally, between 2 and 5 p.m. each day were the worst times to be on the road in Connecticut in 2022.
There were several contributing factors or causes for these large truck accidents too. They include:
- Prescription drug use – 26.3%
- Traveling too fast – 22.9%
- Unfamiliar with the roadway – 21.6%
- Over-the-counter drug use – 17.3%
- Being unaware of surroundings – 13.2%
- Fatigue – 13.0%
- Work-related pressure – 9.2%
- Illegal maneuver – 9.1%
- Inattention – 8.5%
- External distractions – 8.0%
- Inadequate evasive actions – 6.6%
- Aggressive driving behaviors like tailgating or weaving – 6.6%
Hartford Truck Accident Lawyers Holding Negligent Drivers Responsible
Trucking accidents typically involve many individuals and an agency or company, depending on the trucker. For large commercial trucks, the driver can be an independent contractor without an agency connection or hired through a company that ships and transfers items or equipment. In this instance, the trucker may be the only liable party. Knowing the driver’s connection is vital for helping you seek compensation, and your Hartford truck accident lawyer can help find the link and guide you through the legal process.
Potentially Responsible Parties
If the truck manufacturer had created a defective vehicle, this could have led to the accident. A second company could have made the pulleys or ropes that keep the items secure on the truck. The agency that hired the trucker may not have performed the annual inspections correctly. Also, the company or employer may be liable if the agency decides to cut corners. Then, there are third parties that could be involved in the accident. The last person is the trucker themselves, and they can share the responsibility or take on full responsibility for the accident. The following are the parties that are usually at fault for an accident:
Cargo Loaders or Manufacturer
Some collisions involve a loaded cargo truck. If the loader didn’t inspect the cargo and make sure it was secured correctly, the cargo loader could be liable when the equipment or boxes come loose and cause injuries or damages. In addition, the manufacturer of the parts might be responsible if the accident was due to a defect. For example, the parts batch could suffer a malfunction and lead to a mechanical failure, tire blowout, or faulty brakes.
The trucker may be liable for an accident. They could break the law, become distracted, or have an operational issue with the truck. If they consume alcohol or drugs, they may be solely responsible for the accident. Driving at night or for long hours and health conditions may also factor in. Typically, the truck driver gets held liable for property damage or an injury without any other company or person at fault.
The company responsible for hiring the trucker is usually accountable for the accident. However, proving this can be challenging unless your truck injury attorney or an investigator can expose specific matters. These issues include a company cutting corners around safety, incomplete inspections, or setting unrealistic deadlines on the truckers. Many investigations prove that the manufacturer and trucking company share liability due to cutting corners and faulty equipment.
If the company doesn’t own the truck but chooses to use it to give the trucker a vehicle, the owner can be liable for an accident. The owner is responsible for checking the engine, inspecting the machine, and any upkeep with the internal workings or tires. In addition, the owner has to maintain the truck’s parts, including fluids, brakes, electronic systems, and tires.
Compensation & Settlements: What You Can Expect
What is the average truck accident settlement amount? Since there are so many variables and no two cases are identical, there’s no set number. Instead, your damage extent will depend on how much the truck driver was found to be at fault and how bad the injuries are. If you combine these two things, you can get damages ranging from nothing to $100 million.
Additionally, Connecticut determines fault by looking at what extent both parties were responsible for the accident. If you are more than 50% responsible for the accident, the truck driver won’t be found liable. However, the trucker will be accountable if you’re below this 50% threshold.
This is an example of the modified comparative negligence rule. So, if you’re over 50% responsible for the accident, you’re entitled to no damages. However, if you’re only 20% responsible for the accident, your damage amount will drop by this percentage. So, if your truck accident injury lawyer managed to get a $100,000 settlement but you were 20% responsible, you’d be able to recover $80,000.
Several factors determine damages in a large truck accident. If you sustained injuries, the types of damages your truck injury attorney can fight for include:
- Future income. If your injuries caused you to lose future earnings, you could get compensation for this lost potential. Even if you go back to work but can’t perform at your old level, you may be eligible for damages under this loss of income.
- Lost income. If you missed work because of your injuries, your Hartford truck accident attorney could factor these lost wages into your damages. This encompasses missed work from medical treatments and appointments and recovery time.
- Medical costs. Your truck wreck lawyer will include your medical expenses and bills into damages. However, these must be medically necessary expenses to get added in, as the courts won’t pay for medically unnecessary treatments or procedures.
- Pain and suffering. In some states, compensation for pain and suffering has a cap. However, Connecticut has no such cap, and you can pursue damages for mental anguish, disfigurement, physical activity limitations, loss of a loved one, and loss of consortium.
- Physical injuries. How bad your physical injuries are from the truck accident can help determine your damages. A medical expert can confirm these injuries, but some require an independent medical examination by a third party to determine the extent of your injuries.
Hartford County has a thriving infrastructure as a water, rail, and highway transportation hub. It has several deepwater ports that allow for domestic and international shipments, and it all features several major highways and interstates, including I-84, I-90, and Route 2. Unfortunately, a large suburban population also increases congestion on the interstates. In addition, a large-scale project plans to rebuild I-84 that crosses through Hartford and move I-91 further from the Connecticut River.
Airports such as the Bradley International Airport, and the Hartford-Brainard Airport see multiple departures each day, and an extensive bus line shares the roads with passenger cars, trucks, and tractor-trailers. Finally, a significant bicycle route runs through Hartford’s city center, which puts bicyclists and pedestrians at higher risk of being involved in an accident.
Contact Hassett & George, P.C. Today
At Hassett & George, we’ve built a reputation around Connecticut as a dependable law firm specializing in truck accidents. Our team of truck wreck lawyers fight for our client’s rights to ensure they get the compensation they deserve for their injuries. Contact us by filling out our secure online form to schedule a meeting with our injury law firm today.
In addition to Hartford our lawyers serve a number of locations in and around Hartford County including: Simsbury, Glastonbury, New Britain, Bridgeport, Waterbury, Danbury, Norwalk, Manchester, Windsor, Farmington, Windsor Locks, Wethersfield, Rocky Hill, Avon, Bloomfield, Bristol, Enfield, Newington, South Windsor, Southington, Plainville and more.