Philadelphia Truck Accident Lawyer
Truck accidents can be catastrophic due to the size and weight of the vehicles involved. They often result in severe injuries or fatalities, and can cause significant damage to property.
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 should you do after a truck accident?
Truck accidents may cause debilitating injuries and the consequences that follow may change your life completely. After an accident, it is vital to know what must be your first steps.
- Report the accident to the police.
- Call an ambulance if you 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 common, 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 than other vehicles on the road. Contact experienced Philadelphia Truck Accident Lawyers if you’ve been involved in one of these accidents.
How To Hire Experienced Philadelphia Truck Accident Lawyers
After a truck accident, it is essential to find an attorney who has experience with truck laws and accountability who can help you and your family with the legal aspect of the case. Some tips on how to choose a reliable truck accident lawyer include:
- Look for lawyers with experience in truck accident cases : Search for someone who specializes in truck accidents and has handled cases similar to yours in the past.
- Check their track record: Check their track record in handling truck accident cases and in securing settlements or verdicts for their clients.
- Check their reviews: Read 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.
Make sure to do your research and find someone whose goal is to get you a favourable settlement in your case.
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 negligence. Other causes are:
- 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 increase.
- 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.
- Driver’s error– Truck drivers must adjust their driving according to road and weather conditions. They must stay alert to ensure that they follow traffic rules. Driver’s error is the behavior that will risk the lives of oneself and others on the road.
- Lack of training– To drive commercial vehicles, truck drivers are required to complete their training course. However, many times they drive large trucks without proper training and adequate experience. This behavior may cause deadly 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.
How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Philadelphia Truck Accident Attorney?
The cost factor may fluctuate based on your lawyer. Our Truck Accident Lawyers work on a contingency fee basis.
- No upfront fees
- No fees until you win
- They will take a percentage of your settlement, verdict, or award.
In addition, free consultations will give you a clear idea of the working of the lawyer you choose. Lawyers may also prefer to charge hourly or flat fees in some cases. Therefore, raise your doubts before making a decision.
Commercial Truck Accidents Can Cause Significant Damage
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 truck accident lawyers.
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.
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.
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.
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 know how to protect your rights and file a truck accident claim.
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 in Philadelphia
Before further analyzing traffic fatalities due to truck accidents, let’s have a look at the jobs that truck transportation provides. 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
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 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.
Which Parties Are Liable For A Trucking Collision?
In truck accidents, it may be challenging to discover the liable parties. However, knowing who are parties responsible for the injuries, it may be beneficial for the injured victim in the injury claim process. Some of the liable 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 Philadelphia truck accident attorney may help you determine the liable parties in a truck wreck and 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 the insurance carrier of the trucking company can raise. 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?
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 truck accident lawyer.
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 the injured victim file a claim for economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are the damages in which costs can be estimated easily and may include past and future medical expenses, past and future lost wages, household services, vocational rehabilitation, and property damages.
Non-economic damages can be challenging to calculate and may include pain and suffering, inconvenience, emotional distress, loss of society and companionship, and loss of consortium.
In some cases, punitive damages are also awarded when the negligent party needs to be punished for their reckless actions. However, whether this punishment is given depends on the jury.
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 procedures and regulations involved in seeking recovery following a truck accident are complex. Call us at (267) 744-4689 to discuss your truck accident case today!