Articles Posted in Semi Truck Accidents

The new year began in Maine with a series of tractor-trailer accidents along icy roads throughout the state.

According to state troopers, crashes on Route 9 and on Interstate 95 shut down traffic for many hours – and in one case, until the next day – while crews worked to clear the wreckage. Amazingly, no serious injuries were reported, though one driver had minor cuts and bruises and 20 other passenger vehicles sustained damage. Additionally, a 30-foot section of guardrail attached to a bridge on Bond Brook overpass was decimated.

While icy, snow conditions are nothing new for Maine drivers, tractor-trailers are known to be less maneuverable. They start more slowly, they take more time to stop and they are especially susceptible to adverse road conditions. Considering the average 18-wheeler commercial truck weighs about 25 times that of a regular car (in some cases, up to 40 times more), the risk of serious injuries and death in tractor-trailer collisions is high. In fact, crashes involving large trucks account for one-eighth of all traffic fatalities.

A large truck crash that critically injured comedian Tracy Morgan and killed one of his colleagues recently spotlighted the ongoing problem with truck driver fatigue. The trucker had reportedly been awake for 24 hours prior to the wreck. Just days before that crash, U.S. Senators – spearheaded by Sent. Susan Collins of Maine –  moved to weaken laws intended to curb accidents caused by tired truckers, which is the root cause in roughly 1 in 7 large trucking accidents.

Add to that the fact that one in every 10 fatal crashes involves a large truck, and this is reason for serious alarm.

In Maine, our Bangor truck accident lawyers understand there have been a series of major crashes involving large trucks just in the last few weeks.

Distracted driving car accidents in Portland and elsewhere are becoming a top concern for officials as more drivers than ever are taking their eyes off the road. To help combat the problem and to save some lives along the way, the National Safety Council (NSC) has released a new video series, “Understanding Distracted Driving,” to help drivers to fully understand the dangers and the consequences of the dangerous driving behavior.Our Maine car accident attorneys understand that state officials have yet to enact a ban on cell phone use by drivers. Currently, novice drivers in Maine are the only ones who are covered under a ban of cell phone use for both hand-held and hands-free devices. As of September 28th, no driver in our state is allowed to text while operating a motor vehicle. Unfortunately, not all motorists will abide by these laws and will continue to put other driver’s lives in danger.

Throughout the NSC’s new video series, the Senior Director of Transportation Initiatives at the NSC, David Teater, addresses a dozen popular questions regarding the dangerous habit, including just how severe distractions can be, why cell phones prove to be such a dangerous distraction and how employers can create an effective and beneficial cell phone policy for all employees.

Teater has chosen to conduct these videos because he and the NSC saw him as a good fit. Teater lost his 12-year-old son in a motor-vehicle accident that involved a distracted driver in 2004.

“Cell phone use and driving are a dangerous, and oftentimes deadly, combination,” Teater said.

The NSC isn’t the only one targeting distracted drivers. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is at it, too. The NTSB recently made a proposal to ban all commercial truck drivers from using a cell phone and texting while driving.

The most recent proposal comes after a hearing that addressed a driver that was involved in a fatal accident just seconds after hanging up his cell phone. The accident took the lives of 11 people and sent local shops crumbling to the ground, according to FOX News.

According to the U. . Department of Transportation, there is a rule in place that bans truck drivers in Maine and nationwide from using texting while driving. The NTSB is trying to build on this rule by asking that the ban cover both truck and bus drivers and to prohibit both cell phone use and texting by these drivers.

“This is the most comprehensive recommendation we’ve made,” said the NTSB chairman Deborah Hersman.

The NTSB doesn’t have the authority to make something like this a federal law, so the proposal has been sent to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and each of the 50 states. This ban could potentially regulate the driving habits of nearly 3 million truck drivers in the United States and help to save thousands of lives on our roadways.

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In Maine, there is a potential intersection of the workers’ compensation and personal injury systems when the injury is caused by a third party.

Generally, if you are injured at work, regardless of the cause, you are compensated for that injury entirely through the workers’ compensation system. However, did you know that if a party other than your employer is responsible for the injury, you may also have a separate claim against that party?

For example, if you were driving a vehicle as part of your job and were injured in an accident caused by another driver, you have both a workers’ compensation claim and a claim against the other driver.

Reported in the Sun Journal, October 16, 2010

PARIS — Two people were injured late Friday morning when a car delivering mail was struck from behind by an 18-wheel tractor-trailer on a rainy, windswept stretch of Route 26 near the West Paris town line.

According to Lt. Michael Dailey of the Paris police, a 1998 Buick Century driven by 31-year-old Katie Brett of Paris was traveling south at 11:30 a.m. and had stopped to let a northbound car pass before she attempted to turn into Doe’s Variety. Her car was hit by a Freightliner fuel truck driven by 53-year-old William LeTarte of Dummer, N.H. The truck was lettered with “Bill LeTarte Trucking” of Dummer.

What happens if someone else’s negligence behind the wheel causes you injury and they don’t have enough insurance?sIn Maine, every auto insurance policy is required to have several components. In a previous post, we discussed uninsured motorist (UM) coverage, or the coverage that exists when the other party is not insured. The partner component of UM coverage is underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage. Like with UM coverage, every auto insurance policy in Maine must have a minimum of $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident of UIM coverage (See Maine Revised Statutes Annotated Chapter 29-A Section 1605 (1)(C)(2) & (3) and Maine Revised Statutes Annotated Chapter 24-A Section 2902). This means, if you have insurance, you automatically have this coverage as part of your policy.

UIM coverage is used when someone causes you injury and their insurance policy is not sufficient to cover your damages. For example, although Maine requires $50,000 minimum of insurance, Massachusetts only requires $20,000 minimum. With the rising costs of medical expenses, even a moderate injury can easily use up this amount. This must also cover any lost wages, pain and suffering, attorney’s fees, and all other damages you may have. (The only exception is your vehicle damage, which is usually covered separately.)

So, if you are injured by someone who has $20,000 of insurance and you have $50,000, then there is a total of $70,000 of coverage right?sUnfortunately, no. In Maine, your UIM carrier receives a credit for the amount paid by the insurance company for the at fault driver. Therefore, in this example there is only a total of $50,000 of coverage. $20,000 paid by the at fault driver and $30,000 paid by your UIM carrier. Therefore, if you only have the minimum required insurance coverage of $50,000 of UIM, and someone else with the minimum causes you an injury, there is no additional coverage for your injuries.

What happens if someone else’s negligence behind the wheel causes you injury and they don’t have insurance?sIn Maine, every auto insurance policy is required to have several components. One of those components is uninsured motorist coverage (UM). Every auto insurance policy must have a minimum of $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident of UM coverage. (See Maine Revised Statutes Annotated Chapter 29-A Section 1605 (1)(C)(2) & (3) and Maine Revised Statutes Annotated Chapter 24-A Section 2902). This means, if you have insurance, you automatically have this coverage as part of your policy.

UM coverage is used when someone with no insurance at all causes you injury. In that case, you can use up to the amount of your policy. Therefore, if you have only purchased the state minimum of insurance, the maximum amount available tosyou from an accident will be $50,000. This is true even if the accident was not your fault. With the rising costs of medical expenses, even a moderate injury can easily use up this amount. This must also cover any lost wages, pain and suffering, attorney’s fees, and all other damages you may have. (The only exception is your vehicle damage, which is usually covered separately.)

Note that the limit is further split, depending on how many people are injured in the accident. For example, if a family of three are traveling in the same car and all three are injured, the maximum amount available for the whole accident is capped at $100,000. No one person can recover more than $50,000 and the total amount the insurance company will have to pay will not exceed $100,000. Again, if all three have even moderate injuries, there will likely not be enough money to properly compensate everyone.

Christopher Breingan of Norridgewock was seriously injured Wednesday in an early morning collision with a tractor-trailer, the Morning Sentinel reported on September 10th. Mr. Breingan, 25, suffered head and hip injuries after being pinned inside his 1987 Chevrolet pickup truck.

The accident happened at around 3:30 a.m. at the intersection of Main Street, Perkins Street and Bridge Street, on U. . Route 2. A Kenworth tractor-trailer owned by Tremblay & Levesque Inc., driven by William Spencer, 67, of Howland, slammed into Mr. Breingan’s pickup truck on the driver’s side as the truck was proceeding through the intersection toward Perkins Street. Breingan was trapped inside the truck, and was rescued by members of the Norridgewock Fire Department using hydraulic cutting tools.

The pickup truck was totaled and tractor-trailer had approximately $10,000 in damage, according to police. Breingan was taken by helicopter to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston. There is still no word on his condition.

Andrew St. Laurent was driving with Randall Black when Black’s truck plunged off a one-lane bridge in Monmouth and into an Annabessacook Lake tributary, the Kennebec Journal reported on September 2nd.

The crash occurred around 3:30 p.m. when Black’s Pat Jackson Inc. septic truck hit a flatbed truck being driven by 74 year-old Perry Malcolm. Black says he was unable to stop, and drove his truck to the right, through the guard rail and off the bridge to avoid a head-on collision. St. Laurent, whose son will marry Black’s daughter in a few weeks, reached across the top of the cab to hold Black’s head above water until rescuers could free both men.

St. Laurent was checked at the scene, but Black was rushed by ambulance to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston. He suffered no broken bones, but his kidneys may have been damaged when he was crushed between the truck and guard rail. He is scheduled for medical tests to see how badly he was hurt.

One person is dead in Franklin County after a serious accident involving a tractor-trailer, a sedan and a pickup truck.

It happened on U. . Route 2 Thursday afternoon. Route 2 is shut down from the Route 17 intersection in Dixfield to Morrison Hill Road in Carthage.

Investigators say a person in the sedan was dead at the scene. Four people in the pickup truck were taken to the hospital with serious injuries. The driver of the tractor-trailer was not injured.

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