Philadelphia Truck Accident Lawyer
Truck accidents can be catastrophic due to the size and weight of the vehicles involved. This can result in severe injuries or fatalities and can cause significant damage to vehicles and other property.
Philadelphia truck accident lawyers regularly play a critical role in helping truck accident victims receive full and fair compensation for their losses. These attorneys have broad knowledge about the extent and types of losses and damages 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, filing a personal injury claim can offer a way to recover their damages and losses.
What should you do after a truck accident?
Truck accidents can cause debilitating injuries, and the consequences that follow can also be life-changing. After an accident, it may be important to take certain steps. Among these steps may include.
- Reporting the accident to the police.
- Calling an ambulance or seeking medical treatment if you or a passenger are injured, especially if it may involve a brain injury, spinal cord injuries, or other serious injuries.
- Remaining at the scene of the accident until law enforcement or emergency medical services arrive.
- Taking pictures and videos of the accident site, if possible, including people who were injured, witnesses, damage to your vehicle, and others involved in the crash, as well as other surroundings.
- Documenting your recollection of how the accident occurred in writing or a video, if possible. This can help you remember important details that may be needed for an injury claim.
- Speaking carefully and avoiding posting details of the accident on social media. You may also want to avoid offering statements to the other parties involved in the accident, including their insurance company lawyers representing them.
Because of their size, trucks can cause significantly more damage in an accident than other vehicles. If you’ve been involved in an accident involving a truck, you may want to contact experienced Philadelphia Truck Accident Lawyers to discuss your options.
How To Hire Experienced Philadelphia Truck Accident Lawyers
After a truck accident, it is essential to find an attorney who has experience with personal injury law who can help you and or your loved ones with the legal aspects of your case. Here are some tips on how to choose a reliable truck accident lawyer:
- Look for lawyers with experience in truck accident cases : Search for someone with experience litigating cases involving truck accidents and who has handled cases similar to yours in the past.
- Check their track record: Checking public court records can be one way to see how a lawyer has handled previous cases.
- Check their reviews: Read online reviews and testimonials from previous clients to get an idea of their reputation and how they work with clients.
- Schedule a consultation: Schedule a consultation with them to discuss your case. Ask questions about their experience, fees, and how they plan to handle your case. Many lawyers offer no-obligation consultations and assessments.
It is also important to hire an attorney you feel comfortable speaking to and potentially sharing potentially painful memories with, especially if you were involved in a serious accident.
What Are The Common Causes Of Truck Accidents?
Many causes can come into play when determining the cause of a truck accident, such as driver fatigue, improperly handled equipment, and other forms of negligence. Some other causes may include:
- Weather Conditions: Hazardous driving conditions that can lead to truck accidents can include rain, hail, fog, and sleet. These potential dangers are enhanced when someone is driving a commercial truck that’s carrying a heavy load.
- Equipment Malfunction: Most states require drivers to maintain their vehicles, and commercial vehicles are held to even stricter safety standards. However, when certain issues are neglected or go unnoticed, the chances of accidents caused by faulty equipment can increase.
- Overloading: Commercial trucks are limited to the weight of their cargo, as well as the distribution of their cargo’s weight. Trucks that carry too much weight or have improperly distributed cargo can increase the risk of accidents by impacting how a truck turns and brakes.
- Driver’s error: Motorists, including truck drivers, are often required to adjust their driving according to road and weather conditions. They also are required to stay alert to ensure that they follow traffic rules. Errant driving may include failing to pay attention to road conditions or violating other traffic laws.
- Lack of training– Truck drivers are typically required to complete training courses and receive certain certifications. Despite these rules, some drivers may operate a truck without proper training and adequate experience. This is inherently dangerous and can lead to serious accidents.
In other situations, drivers and truck operators may 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 certain rules and regulations that limit the number of hours and distance a commercial driver may complete in a certain time. This can be especially dangerous if it leads to inattentive or careless driving.
How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Philadelphia Truck Accident Attorney?
The cost factor may fluctuate based on your lawyer. Our experienced Truck Accident Lawyers, however, work on a contingency fee basis. That means:
- No upfront fees
- No fees until you win
- They will take a percentage of your settlement, verdict, or award.
In addition, free consultations can help you decide whether you want to hire a particular attorney. Some lawyers may also charge hourly or flat fees in some cases. Therefore, it’s important to decide in those cases if their fees are within your budget before making a decision.
Commercial Truck Accidents Can Cause Significant Damage
A commercial motor vehicle (CMV) is generally defined as a vehicle used for commercial or business purposes. These vehicles also meet certain size or weight criteria.
The specific weight threshold for a CMV varies depending on the type of vehicle and the regulations that apply. According to federal regulations (Title 49) and the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle code (Title 75), a CMV is defined as a vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more, or that is designed or used to transport more than eight occupants for compensation, or more than 15 occupants for non-compensation 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, delivery trucks, tanker trucks, and flatbed trucks, such as moving trucks.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), nearly 7,000 heavy truck crashes led to some 140 fatalities in 2017. If you are an accident victim and you were injured in a collision with a CMV, you may want to discuss your legal options with a commercial truck accident lawyer.
Large trucks and 18-wheelers can be extremely dangerous in crashes, as they can weigh up to 80,000 lbs. Moreover, these big rigs require more time and distance 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. A Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) report suggests that fundamental causes of fatal accidents with 18-wheelers include failure to obey traffic laws, obstructions on the road, inexperienced operators, and poor road conditions.
Garbage trucks, which may also be managed by a municipality, carry garbage and other refuse. Because of this, there are potential risks for drivers who share the road with these trucks. Garbage trucks make frequent stops in residential areas, which can sometimes make it difficult for pedestrians, cyclists, and other motorists. The drivers of garbage trucks may also violate traffic laws or be operated by inattentive drivers. Additionally, overloaded garbage trucks can negatively impact how the truck handles, which can increase the chance of accidents occurring.
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, the weight of tractor-trailers is nearly 20 times more than the average passenger vehicle.
Sadly, no matter how careful you drive, you cannot control how other people drive. Therefore, if you become injured in a truck accident, it’s important to know how to protect your rights and file a truck accident claim.
What Are Jackknife Accidents?
A jackknife can be a potentially serious accident that can happen when a truck’s trailer skids out of control and swings around to the side of the truck’s cab. This can sometimes form a V-shape that resembles a folding pocket knife.
A jackknife is often caused by a loss of traction in the truck’s wheels, which can happen if a driver applies the brakes heavily or suddenly. Wet or snow-covered roads can increase the chances of the wheels losing traction. When this happens, the wheels lock up and skid, which can lead to the trailer swinging around.
Dangerous And Deadly Truck Wrecks in Philadelphia
The Five-Year Trend Of Light Truck Crashes In Pennsylvania
5 Year Trends Heavy Trucks
How Can You Prove Negligence In A Semi-Truck Accident Case?
When you determine fault in an accident involving a truck accident case, you will likely need to prove the following 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, you are required to follow a duty of care, which means you have a legal obligation to act responsibly. If you are involved in an accident, it may be important to gather evidence showing that another party’s driving errors caused the accident. In such cases, you may be able to hold the negligent parties liable for the damages.
Which Parties Are Liable For A Trucking Collision?
Accidents involving a commercial truck can sometimes be tricky because other parties beyond the operator may be held liable for damages and losses caused by an accident. Some potentially liable parties may include:
- The Trucking Company: They may be liable for ensuring drivers are trained and adhere to rules and regulations. They may also be responsible for the upkeep and safety of vehicles.
- Those responsible for maintaining the vehicle: This may include the company or the driver if they are an independent contractor.
- Other motor vehicle drivers: It may be possible that another driver’s negligent accident caused an accident.
- Manufacturing company: If parts for a truck are defective or malfunction and lead to a crash, then the manufacturer may be potentially liable.
Analyzing and evaluating all these details after a truck wreck can be essential to building a thorough case. A Philadelphia truck accident attorney may help you determine the liable parties in a truck wreck and can offer guidance on how you may want to proceed with filing a claim.
How Do Trucking Companies Avoid Liability?
After a severe truck wreck, trucking and insurance companies may try certain tactics to avoid liability. One common argument they may use to avoid any responsibility is by disputing evidence, claiming no responsibility if a driver is a contractor, or blaming the victim for the crash. It’s important to note that these tactics are not always successful.
That is why hiring an experienced Philadelphia truck accident attorney can help with some of these scenarios. Let’s take a closer look at some of these tactics companies may use when disputing responsibility.
- Denying the scope of employment: Sometimes, companies or insurers will argue that a driver was not acting within the scope of their employment at the time of an accident. For example, if a truck driver caused an accident while running a personal errand, the trucking company may argue that the driver was not acting within the scope of their employment and therefore the company should not be held responsible.
- Independent contractor: A trucking company or insurance company may claim that they are not liable for the accident because the driver was an independent contractor rather than an employee. They may also argue that since the driver is an independent contractor, they are not directly responsible for the driver’s actions.
- Switching the blame: Trucking companies may even try to find ways to blame you for causing the collision. They may argue that you violated certain traffic laws or were driving carelessly.
However, as per Pennsylvania’s modified comparative negligence laws, you can still receive compensation if your fault was less than 51%. However, the percentage may be reduced by some level.
Why Are Truck Accidents More Dangerous?
Truck accidents can potentially cause severe and fatal injuries when they strike passenger vehicles. Along with simply being larger than commuter vehicles, some of the realities that lead to crashes with commercial trucks can include:
- Stopping distance: When a truck is loaded, it takes more time to stop than when it is unloaded. Therefore, drivers are taught and required to maintain safe distances from other vehicles. This distance it takes for a commercial truck to stop also increases with their speed and if the roads are wet or covered with snow.
- Wide turns: As trucks are larger and sometimes carry a trailer, they need much more space than other motorists when taking turns. Wider turns can increase the risk of an accident if a truck driver requires additional space in an adjacent lane.
- High center of gravity: Commercial trucks often have a higher center of gravity, which makes them more prone to roll over than a regular vehicle.
A victim of a truck accident can file a personal injury claim if they suffered an injury in an accident caused by someone else or a wrongful death claim when the victim has died.
What Damages Can You Recover After A Truck Accident?
It is every victim’s right to seek compensation and justice for the injuries caused to them due to the carelessness of another party. An experienced Philadelphia auto accident lawyer can help you or a loved one file a claim for damages and losses. Generally, there are two types of damages that you may seek to recoup: economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are the damages in which costs can be estimated easily. This can include past and future medical expenses, past and future lost wages, household services, vocational rehabilitation, and property damages.
Non-economic damages can be tricky to put a dollar amount to. That’s because these damages can include pain and suffering, emotional distress, or despair.
In some cases, punitive damages may also be awarded if a judge or jury deems that a person’s actions were so egregious or malicious that they warrant additional payment as punishment. Though punitive damages may not be available in every case, they exist to prevent such behavior or actions.
Contact Philadelphia Big Rig Accident Lawyers For Legal Help
If you have been involved in a truck accident, it may be challenging to negotiate with insurance companies and navigate the complexities of a personal injury claim on your own.
The legal path to recovering your losses following a truck accident is complex. That’s where we can help. Call us at (267) 744-4689 to discuss your truck accident case today!