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Rising number of fatal truck accidents poses a threat to CT drivers


Fatal accidents involving large trucks are increasing as the economy rebounds; sadly, many of these accidents may occur due to preventable factors.

Many people in Stamford have seen recent headlines about large truck accidents involving mechanical errors, intoxication, distraction, fatigue or similar factors. These accidents occur frequently; CNBC News reports that large truck accidents claim 11 lives each day. Annually, 4,000 fatalities and 100,000 injuries occur in accidents involving large trucks. Sadly, data indicates these deadly accidents are on the rise.

From 2009 to 2012, fatalities resulting from passenger car accidents declined; so did the number of trucks on the roadways and the number of highway miles that those trucks traveled. Still, fatal truck accidents grew 18 percent during the same time. This growth in truck accidents presents a substantial threat to other motorists who share the roads with these vehicles.

Accident causes, contributors

Increased economic activity is one frequently cited reason for the increase in accidents; trucks are making more deliveries, and drivers are facing greater pressure to meet strict deadlines. However, a number of more direct and preventable factors may contribute to many of these accidents. These factors include:

  • Roadworthiness – many trucks or drivers may simply not be fit to share the roads with others. In 2012, for example, 171,150 drivers and 2,145,733 trucks were taken out of service for accumulating too many violations of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration policies.
  • Congestion – new hours-of-service regulations designed to reduce truck driver fatigue also result in more trucks sharing the roadways when traffic peaks during rush hours. Limitations to total truck driver hours may also result in more truck drivers sharing the road.
  • Turnover – the demanding nature of a trucking schedule and the relatively low occupational pay may lead to high turnover rates, and inexperienced drivers may be at a greater risk for accidents.

Additionally, some accidents may involve outright negligence on the part of trucking companies or drivers. Driver distraction is one significant problem that may still occur in Connecticut, despite state laws banning the most dangerous distractions.

According to NBC News, one recent observational investigation conducted in Connecticut found that some truck drivers text or use handheld cellphones despite the state’s legal bans. Connecticut authorities note that catching these drivers can be difficult, since a high vantage point is necessary to see into a truck cab. This means that many truck drivers may get away with reckless behaviors.

An ongoing threat

According to CNBC, experts are working to develop technology that can help prevent large trucks accidents. However, until this technology is operational, these accidents may only become more common. One trucking industry group projects that the industry will need to continue hiring roughly 100,000 new drivers each year until 2025 to keep up with demand. Given current driver shortages and turnover rates, many of the new drivers may be dangerously inexperienced.

When people are injured in accidents that occur because of a company or driver’s actions, they may be able to seek compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and more. However, the statute of limitations for pursuing compensation in Connecticut is only two years. Given this timeframe and the devastating consequences that truck accidents can have, anyone who has been hurt in one should consider meeting with an attorney to discuss the available options.

Keywords: truck, accident, injury

Verdicts & Settlements

36-year-old laborer for landscaping company fractured wrist when fellow employee hit him with truck. Claimant received in excess of $30,000 in workers’ compensation benefits for total disability and medical expenses and settled with automobile insurance company for fellow employee for $95,000.

1989 workers’ compensation claim settled for $125,000. Claimant originally sustained a low back injury when she slipped and fell at local grocery store resulting in low back surgery in 1989. Several years later, claimant exacerbated her low back injury. Claim was reopened and settled with carrier for $125,000 in 2006.

47-year-old deli clerk sustained low back injuries at work for local supermarket. Carrier originally denied claim on the grounds that the injury was pre-existing. After formal workers’ compensation hearing carrier accepted claim and paid all total disability benefits and medical expenses in excess of $100,000. Case then settled for an additional $100,000 after injured person received a permanent disability rating.

34-year-old male roofer sustained multiple injuries to his shoulder, neck, back and hip when he fell from roof during work. Claimant was provided workers’ compensation benefits in excess of $100,000 and settled remaining claims for an additional $55,000.

40-year-old male working for cleaning company sustained neck and low back injuries when he fell on defective staircase while cleaning local museum. Claimant recovered over $95,000 in workers’ compensation benefits and resolved claim against museum for $85,000.

26-year-old laborer sustained fractured foot when a cast iron pipe was dropped on his foot. Employer and workers’ compensation carrier denied claim on basis that injured worker was an independent contractor. After a series of informal and formal workers’ compensation hearings, carrier conceded that claimant was an employee and settled case for $85,000.

24-year-old waitress sustained back injury while working at Outback Steak House. Workers’ compensation insurance company initially denied the claim. After a series of informal hearings, carrier accepted claim paying medical expenses and total disability benefits. In addition to those benefits paid, claim settled for an additional $75,000.

Delivery truck driver sustained right wrist fracture in rear-end motor vehicle accident while in the course of his employment. Claimant recovered in excess of $40,000 in workers’ compensation benefits for medical expenses and total disability benefits. Claimant settled case against at-fault driver for $105,000.

22-year-old male working as stocking clerk at “big box” retailer sustained herniated disc in low back. Workers’ compensation carrier refused to accept the claim. After formal workers’ compensation, hearing commissioner ordered carrier to pay over $35,000 in past total disability benefits and pay for surgery and all related medical expenses. Case settled for an additional $35,000 for a total recovery in excess of $100,000.

Rear-end collision on entrance ramp to Merritt Parkway resulting in 49-year-old woman sustaining mid-back injury. Case settled at mediation after filing suit for $300,000.

28-year-old passenger sustained multiple herniated discs in automobile accident in New York state. New York no-fault carrier paid for extended period of disability from work and medical expenses, including expenses for surgery. Case settled against driver of vehicle for $300,000 policy limits shortly after filing suit.

54-year-old man sustains shoulder injury when hit from behind by uninsured motorist on New Jersey Turnpike. Case settled for $135,000 prior to trial.

CT Transit bus driver sustained torn meniscus in collision with another vehicle. Claims made against at-fault driver, workers’ compensation carrier and client’s underinsured motorist policy. All claims settle for a recovery in excess of $100,000.

68-year-old woman sustained neck and back injuries in rear-end collision and required extended course physical therapy, but was not a surgical candidate. Case settled for $100,000 prior to filing suit.

34-year-old woman sustained concussion and neck and back injuries in hit-and-run accident on a New York highway. Claimant settled uninsured motorist claim for her $100,000 policy limits.

80-year-old woman sustained right foot fracture when her foot was run over in a parking lot. Case settled for at-fault driver’s policy limit of $100,000 prior to filing suit.

38-year-old nanny sustained right femur fracture when she fell down defective stairs in home of her employer’s neighbor. All medical expenses and lost wages reimbursed and case settled for an additional $150,000.

Claim against landlord for defective staircase in multi-family rental house. Claimant sustained a right femur fracture. Case settled for $125,000 prior to filing suit.

$95,000 judgment obtained against bar and nightclub for assault by one of its patrons against another patron.

47-year-old woman sustained a broken left wrist when she fell from porch stairs at house she was renting. Case settled for $95,000 shortly before trial.

26-year-old male bitten on leg by German shepherd. Claim against dog owner settled for $65,000 plus payment of all medical expenses.