A lot of attorneys say they handle truck accident cases. But the truth is that most attorneys will only litigate a handful of these cases in their entire careers. Car accident cases, however, are quite common.
They have many similarities to one another. Both are personal injury or wrongful death matters, and both accidents may cause the same injuries. But they are not the same, and an attorney who fails to delve into the nuances of trucking law does a disservice to his or her client.
At Fried Rogers Goldberg, LLC, about 75% of our clients are victims of an accident caused by a semi truck or other large commercial vehicle. We want to share a recent case we read about in the Boston area that highlights the sort of nuances we find in trucking litigation.
A New Hampshire-based trucking company has been hit with a lawsuit from the family of a young bicyclist killed when a truck struck him in suburban Boston almost a year ago.
The lawsuit alleges that the trucking company did not properly train the driver to understand and anticipate the type of crash that occurred, which is known as a “right hook.” This type of collision occurs when a truck makes a right turn and strikes a bicycle going straight through the intersection.
Among the bicycle community, these accidents have long been a cause for concern.
This was the type of accident that killed 23-year-old Christopher Weigl last December. Weigl, a graduate student, was riding in a bike lane, following all laws and exercising due care, according to authorities. His family told the Boston Globe in a statement that there was no way Weigl could have anticipated the truck’s right turn.
In a statement to the Boston Globe, his family said:
“We hope that by bringing this suit, we can bring this dangerous practice by truck drivers under scrutiny, so that trucking companies will train their drivers not to make unsafe turns in congested areas known to have heavy bicycle traffic.”
We devoted a section of Understanding Motor Carrier Claims, our book on trucking litigation, to the types of crashes we commonly see and the legal angles surrounding them.
The Boston lawsuit claims the driver should have known that such a turn at a busy intersection like the one in question would present a danger to cyclists. Most importantly, it falls upon the trucking company – in this case, Ross Express – to train the driver on safety procedures.
Understanding the legal responsibilities of a trucking company is also a pivotal factor of success in a trucking case, and it doesn’t apply to a typical car accident. Victims rarely get compensated by filing a suit against a truck driver alone. The most successful suits are those filed against the trucking company, and those cases call for attorneys who know each and every responsibility the company bears.
By targeting the company instead of the driver exclusively, it also sends a message that unsafe driving practices will not go unchecked. When a trucking company’s vehicles harm innocent people, it will cost the company.
We hope this motivates them to put a higher priority on safety.
The Truck Accident Attorneys at Fried Rogers Goldberg LLC are an Atlanta-based law firm consulted nationwide on trucking cases. We have a proven history of success representing the victims of truck collisions.
Contact us today for a free consultation if you or someone you care about has been the victim of one.