Injured in a Pennsylvania Truck Accident?
Our Local Philadelphia Truck Accident Lawyer Fights for Victims
According to a report released in 2017 by PennDOT, there were “355 reportable car accidents” that occurred in Pennsylvania every day in 2016. Out of those 355 accidents, “3 persons were fatally injured” and “227 persons were injured” every day.
Often, of all the possible types of vehicle accidents, crashes involving semi-trucks cause the most damage and the most serious injuries. Tragically, truck accidents are often fatal for motorists and pedestrians who are involved.
Therefore, these cases are often the most difficult to investigate. If you were hurt or lost a loved one in this type of wreck, then you should contact a qualified truck accident attorney for help.
Our Philadelphia truck accident lawyer has seen firsthand what a truck accident injury can do to a person and his or her family. He has made a career out of representing wrongfully injured victims, ensuring that they have someone on their side who not only genuinely cares about their best interests, but who will fight for them. For over 10 years, our personal injury firm has successfully litigated many cases for fellow Philadelphians who have been injured in trucking accidents.
What Are Common Causes of Truck Accidents?
Accidents involving 18-wheelers and other large trucks are often more catastrophic than other motor vehicle accidents. This is because of the size and weight difference between the vehicles involved in the crash.
Five of the most reported trucking accidents and their causes include:
- Broadside Collisions. A broadside collision is also referred to as a “T-bone” accident. This occurs when the side of one vehicle is hit by the front end of another vehicle. Causes of broadside collisions include failure to stop at a stop sign, failure to yield and aggressive or distracted driving. Bad weather and mechanical malfunctions can also contribute to T-bone collisions.
- Cargo. Cargo needs to be loaded with care. Otherwise, it is at risk of coming loose and falling into the road. Improperly loaded or unbalanced cargo can also put the truck at higher risk of rolling over or jackknifing.
- Jackknifes. A “jackknife” occurs when the trailer part of a semi-truck comes out of position. This makes the truck and trailer face each other at a 90-degree angle. Jackknives can occur for many reasons, with brakes and/or tires locking being the most common. Heavy winds, downhill inclines and curvy roads also increase the risk for large trucks to jackknife.
- Driver Error. While driver error can be the result of a malfunction (such as faulty brakes or the driver not reacting properly), many trucking accidents are caused by aggressive or distracted driving. Unfortunately, although many states have instituted the “hands-free” rule to help combat distracted driving — and can force people who have been ticketed for aggressive driving to take anger management — this has proven to not deter accidents caused by driver error. It is imperative to always practice safe driving no matter what type of motor vehicle you are operating.
- Irresponsible Lane Changing. Irresponsible lane changing can be due to aggressive driving or because truck drivers cannot see another driver in their mirrors. Whether you are the truck driver or another driver on the road, always be aware of your surroundings, heed warnings on the back of large trucks if they are any and never change lanes when it is dangerous to do so.
These are only some common causes of trucking accidents. Every situation is different and unique. A professional Philadelphia truck accident lawyer will know best how to help you if you have suffered an injury in an accident involving a large truck.
Do Truckers and Trucking Companies Have to Follow Different Laws?
Yes. Truck drivers and the companies they work for have a legal responsibility to protect other drivers on the road. Since many parties are responsible for the safety of other drivers, determining who is at fault in a truck accident can be difficult.
Both trucking companies and drivers must follow certain rules. These rules are determined by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Three rules that both truckers and companies must follow include:
- Appropriate Resting Periods. Both federal and state laws determine the amount of time a truck driver must rest between shifts. These laws exist to help prevent driver fatigue and promote safe driving.
- Proper Loading of Cargo. As improper handling of cargo is one of the main causes of trucking accidents above, obviously not all drivers and/or companies are following the laws regarding the proper loading of cargo. Regardless of the cargo, even if it does not seem that dangerous, accidents caused by improperly loaded or unbalanced cargo can still be detrimental and potentially involve several other drivers.
- Insurance. By law, a truck driver may need many different types of insurance. It depends on the type of cargo being transported. It is up to both the driver and the company they work for to ensure that all trucks have the proper insurance.
In addition to the rules listed above, truck drivers are also required to follow the rules of the road. These rules include going the speed limit and properly maintaining their vehicle. You can report a dangerous driver on the FCMSA website.
If you have been injured in a trucking accident due to the negligence of the driver and/or the trucking company that employs them, then you may have a viable personal injury claim.
Our Truck Accident Attorney Helps Victims Recover Damages
If you have been injured or have suffered the wrongful death of a loved one due to the negligence of a truck driver, then you have the right to file a personal injury claim. Further, the company the trucker works for can potentially be held liable as well. If this is the case, it is highly recommended that you seek legal counsel, especially if the trucking company is a larger corporation. Larger companies usually have a retainer of powerful lawyers on their side whose sole job is to ensure the company pays little to nothing to an injured victim.
If you are unsure how to proceed with your personal injury case or have questions, then contact Grutzmacher Law Firm today at (215) 261-7975 to schedule a free consultation.