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Philadelphia Truck Accident Lawyer

How Can A Philadelphia Truck Accident Lawyer Help You?

best accident lawyersIf you have been involved in a truck accident in Philadelphia, Philadelphia truck accident lawyers regularly play a critical role in helping truck accident victims get the compensation they deserve for their losses.

They have broad knowledge about the extent and types of losses that can result from truck accidents, allowing them to tailor their approach to each victim’s unique circumstances. 

When people suffer injuries in a truck accident due to no fault of their own, filing a personal injury claim offers a way to recover their damages.

What are the common reasons behind truck wrecks?

Philadelphia Truck Accident LawyerMany different factors can come into play when determining the cause of a truck accident, such as driver fatigue, improperly handled equipment, and negligence.

For example, commercial trucks carry hundreds of thousands of hazardous materials shipments every day. In some cases, the truckloads exceed the maximum weight allowance, or the loads are improperly secured and come loose.

When this occurs, the truck can potentially spill extremely toxic chemicals onto Philadelphia roadways, which can make a serious motor vehicle accident even more dangerous.

  • Weather Conditions: Some of the bad driving conditions that can lead to truck accidents are rain, hail, fog, and sleet. The dangers are enhanced exponentially when someone is driving a commercial truck with a heavy load.
  • Malfunction of equipment: Every vehicle must have safety precautions. It can be achieved by regular maintenance of the vehicles. However, when some issues are neglected and go unnoticed, the chances of accidents increases.
  • Overloading: When trucks are carrying heavy loads, they must be loaded properly. Otherwise, there are chances of issues during wide turns that can cause major accidents.

In other situations, some drivers and trucking operators look to maximize profits at the expense of protecting the safety of other drivers on the road. 

For example, a long-haul trucker may flout the rules and regulations in place that limit the number of hours and the distance a commercial driver may complete in one trip, driving for far longer than they should. Behaviors like these put the truck driver and innocent people on the road at risk.

Commercial Motor Vehicle Accidents Can Cause Significant Damage

In Pennsylvania, a commercial motor vehicle, or CMV, refers to a vehicle that weighs more than 17,000 lbs. These vehicles are subject to Title 49 under federal regulations and Title 75 of the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle code. A CMV may operate for commercial or business purposes.

Commercial truck accidents may bring to mind big rigs, 18-wheelers, semi-trucks, and tractor trailers. Some of the other commercial trucks that cause accidents in Pennsylvania include delivery trucks, garbage trucks, FedEx trucks, tankers, and flatbed trucks. 

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), nearly 7,000 heavy truck crashes caused about 140 fatalities in 2017. If you’re an accident victim and you were injured in a collision with a CMV, discuss your case with commercial vehicle accident lawyers. 

  • 18-wheelers 

Large trucks and 18-wheelers can be extremely dangerous in crashes, as they can weigh more than 80,000 lbs. Moreover, these big rigs require 20% to 40% more time to stop compared to any other vehicle.

Accidents can still happen even when commercial truck drivers strive to operate their vehicles as safely as possible. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reports suggest that fundamental causes of fatal accidents with 18-wheelers include failure to obey traffic laws, obstructions on the road, inexperienced 18-wheeler operators, and poor road conditions.

  • Garbage trucks

Commercial garbage trucks carry debris and are similar to dump trucks. However, there is an additional risk for those who share the road with these trucks. They may stop at various places in residential areas, making it difficult for people to walk, drive, and bicycle. The drivers of garbage trucks may violate traffic laws by taking shorter routes or by stopping virtually anywhere unpredictably. Furthermore, overloaded trucks can potentially cause severe accidents.

  • FedEx trucks

Federal Express Corporation (FedEx) is responsible for operating more than 35,000 vehicles in the United States. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA),  FedEx vehicles traveled more than one billion miles in 2018. Every year, FedEx trucks cause severe traffic fatalities all across the United States.

  • Tractor trailers

Commercial tractor-trailer accidents are the most dangerous of all truck accidents. Thus, they can pose great risks to other drivers on the road. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), the weight of tractor trailers is nearly 20 times more than the average passenger vehicle. When fully loaded, they can even weigh more than 30 times that of a small passenger vehicle. 

Sadly, no matter how careful you drive, you cannot control how other people drive. Therefore, if you become hurt in a truck accident, you must be aware of how to protect your rights and file a truck accident claim. To do this, you’ll need to critically analyze what caused your accident. It’s ideal to have an experienced attorney help you with this task.

What should you do immediately after a truck accident?

At any given moment, millions of commercial trucks traverse America’s roads and highways. In the Philadelphia area alone, you are likely to share the road with hundreds of trucks every time you drive. If you are involved in a truck accident, you should follow certain steps:

  • Report the accident to the police.
  • Call an ambulance if you even suspect any injuries, including brain injury, spinal cord injuries, and other serious injuries.
  • Do not leave the scene of the accident until law enforcement or an ambulance arrives.
  • Take pictures and videos of the accident site, including injured people, eyewitnesses, damaged vehicles, and other surroundings. It will help you later when you file a truck accident claim and need to produce evidence.
  • Board the ambulance to seek medical treatment. Going to the hospital in an ambulance is always preferred because sometimes injuries incurred in an accident are not immediately apparent.
  • Document your recollection of how the accident occurred in writing or a video, if possible so that you can remember every detail when needed for your injury claim.
  • Speak carefully and avoid posting details on social media. Do not offer any statements to the opposing party, their insurance company, or any other person representing them.

Truck accidents are a common occurrence, often due to poor training, inclement weather conditions, faulty equipment, and negligent drivers. 

Because of their massive size, trucks can cause exponentially more damage in an accident in comparison to other vehicles on the road. Contact an experienced Philadelphia Truck Accident Lawyer if you’ve been involved in one of these accidents.

What are the different types of Philadelphia truck accidents?

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), commercial trucks form 5% of vehicles across the U.S.  Truck rollovers are generally the most catastrophic type of Philadelphia commercial truck accidents. Truck drivers must take care on the road, as commercial vehicles have a higher center of gravity and can roll over more easily. Some more types of dangerous truck accidents include:

  • Fatal truck accidents
  • Unsecured cargo truck accidents
  • Overloaded truck accidents
  • Tractor-trailer accidents
  • Fracking truck accidents
  • Dump truck accidents
  • 18-wheeler accidents
  • Garbage truck accidents
  • Tanker truck accidents
  • Jackknife truck accidents

In order to prevent accidents, the FMCSA recommends truck drivers maintain a safe distance between vehicles while driving. 

If you have been involved in a commercial truck accident, you can discuss your legal options with an experienced 18-wheeler accident lawyer. They know how to deal with the complications involved in truck wrecks and will suggest to you the right course of action. 

What are jackknife accidents?

Jackknife accidents happen when large trucks with articulated joints make improper turns. The resulting action is the uncontrollable force that makes the truck swing across the pivot point, creating a jackknife shape. Generally, the trucks fold at a 90-degree angle.

Some of the most common causes of jackknife accidents are when truck drivers apply the brakes when speeding or when the vehicle goes out of control. When the truck driver applies the brakes rapidly, the tractor will slow down. However, it takes time for these vehicles to reduce speed. This leads to a fishtailing motion that causes a truck to skid.

Dangerous And Deadly Truck Wrecks: Will You Be A Statistic?

Before further analyzing traffic fatalities due to truck accidents, let’s have a look at the jobs that truck transportation provides. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, commercial truck transportation employed approximately 862,700 people across the US in 2021. 

In Pennsylvania, heavy trucks and tractor trailers employ nearly 87,000 people. These numbers suggest the importance of the trucking industry. Due to the staggering numbers, however, more fatalities can occur.  

According to the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, 63 traffic fatalities were recorded in the first six months of 2022. The number already shows an increase in comparison to the last three years:

2021: 46 deaths

2020: 56 deaths

2019: 58 deaths

Philadelphia Traffic Fatalities

The Five-Year Trend Of Light Truck Crashes In Pennsylvania

Truck-Crashes-PA

2020: 52,911

5 Year Trends Heavy Trucks

Heavy_trucks

How can you prove negligence in a semi-truck accident case?

When you determine fault in a semi-truck accident case, you must prove the following four elements:

  • A duty of care was owed by the negligent party
  • The at-fault party breached the standard duty of care
  • The negligent act of the party led to a severe accident
  • You faced damages due to the accident

When you are driving on the road, you need to follow a duty of care. You also need to gather necessary evidence if dangerous driving errors caused the accident. In such cases, you will be able to hold the negligent parties liable for the damages.

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Apart from the truck driver, who shares liability in a truck collision?

Philadelphia Truck Accident LawyerEvery accident may involve different factors such as who was involved, the severity of the injuries, and others. You must check out all the information about how the accident occurred and who is involved by taking help from a Philadelphia truck accident attorney. Some of the other parties that may get involved in the truck wreck are:

  • Trucking Company: They are liable for keeping checks on the truck driver, their driving history, and whether they are properly trained or not. The trucking firm is responsible for the truck driver. 
  • Shipping Firm: They are responsible for not only the insurance of the company but also analyzing the history of the driver. The shipper will also be responsible for loading the cargo.
  • Those responsible for maintaining the vehicle
  • Other motor vehicle drivers: It may be possible that the other driver’s negligence caused the accident. 
  • Manufacturing company: If parts of the truck are defective or malfunctioning, then the manufacturer may be held liable for the damage.

Analyzing and evaluating all these details after a truck wreck is essential. A competent legal professional can come to your rescue by guiding you in the right manner on how to proceed with the case.

How do trucking companies avoid liability?

After a severe truck wreck, trucking companies will try every tactic to avoid liability. Some of the common arguments they use to avoid any responsibility are denying the truck driver’s behavior, saying the truck driver was not their employee, and in other situations, they will say that it was your fault.

A Philadelphia truck accident attorney can guide you in a better way. Let’s take a glimpse at every situation:

  • Denying the scope of employment: There is a scope of employment defense that can be raised by the insurance carrier of the trucking company. It can be raised when they are unable to prove the employment status of the truck driver. In such cases, they will be held liable for the negligent actions of their employee. If the truck driver was not in the scope of employment when they were driving for their work when the accident occurred, the trucking company is not held liable.
  • Independent contractor: This comes under employee vs independent contractor. In cases when the trucking companies are claiming their drivers for being independent contractors rather than their employees, they can avoid any liability of the accident lawsuit.
  • Switching the blame: Trucking companies can blame you for causing the collision. Sometimes, they will even destroy any evidence that can prove the liability, including hours of service of the truck driver or any data that can help prove any liability. The compensation can be reduced if the trucking company can prove that you were at fault. 

However, as per Pennsylvania’s modified comparative negligence laws, you can still receive compensation if your fault was less than 51%. However, the percentage will be reduced by some level.

Why are truck accidents more dangerous?

On the road, a standard passenger vehicle is no match for a large commercial truck. Truck accidents often severely injure or kill drivers and passengers in other motor vehicles. Some of the reasons why truck wrecks are so fatal are:

  • Stopping distance: When the truck is loaded, it takes more time to stop than when it is unloaded. Therefore, the safe distance must be maintained. This distance also increases with the speed and when the roads are wet or covered with snow.
  • Wide turns: As trucks are big in size and length, they need a lot of space to take turns. It involves a lot of risks when trucks are changing lanes.
  • High center of gravity: As the truck has a higher center of gravity, it is more likely to roll over than a regular vehicle. Therefore, it must be maintained when trucks are at high speeds. 

Many victims of these accidents are well-positioned to receive compensation for the injuries that they have sustained. A victim may file a personal injury claim if they suffered an injury in an accident caused by someone else or wrongful death claim when the victim has died.

Philadelphia victims are more likely to receive fair settlements for the injuries they incurred when they retain an experienced Philadelphia truck accident lawyer.

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How can you get financial compensation after a truck accident?

A legal settlement may be reached when all parties involved in the accident agree to meet outside of court to mutually agree. 

An experienced Philadelphia auto accident lawyer can help to settle your truck accident case before ever stepping into a courtroom. Some of the potential methods are:

  • Arbitration
  • Mediation
  • Negotiation

Truck accident claims are often settled outside of court, and a competent Philadelphia truck accident lawyer can play a crucial role in this process. 

An injured victim can file a claim for economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages include:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Past and future lost wages
  • Household services
  • Vocational rehabilitation
  • Property damages
  • Out-of-pocket expenses
  • Lost earning capacity

Non-economic damages include the following:

  • Pain and suffering 
  • Inconvenience
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of society and companionship
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

In some cases, punitive damages are also awarded when the negligent party needs to be punished for their reckless actions. However, it depends on the jury whether this punishment is given or not.

Contact Philadelphia truck accident attorneys at The Law Offices of Samuel Fishman

If you have been involved in a truck accident, it may be difficult to negotiate with insurance companies and navigate the complexities of a personal injury claim on your own.

The procedures and regulations that are involved in seeking recovery following a truck accident are complex. Call us at (215) 464-4600 to discuss your truck accident case today!

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