Truck Accidents

Truck Accidents Attorney in Philadelphia, PA and Cherry Hill, NJ

A large truck – defined as any truck weighing in at 10,000 pounds or more – can do serious damage.  A joint study by the National Bureau of Economic Research and the University of California, Berkeley, reveals that being hit by any vehicle that is 1,000 pounds heavier than your own can nearly double your risk of fatal injury. Because a fully loaded commercial tractor trailer can weigh 80,000 pounds – or 20-to-30 times as much as a passenger car – ordinary motorists are at a decided disadvantage.

Personal injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Eric A. Shore note that commercial truck accidents result in thousands of deaths each year on American roadways.  The vast majority of these crashes will involve multiple vehicles, and more often than not, it is the occupants of these other, smaller vehicles who will perish in a truck accident, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA.)  Moreover, the NHTSA maintains that although large trucks account for just four percent of all registered vehicles, they are responsible for nine percent of all fatal traffic accidents.  The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says that almost one in ten of all highway deaths will occur in a large truck accident.

For those who are fortunate enough to survive a truck accident, life is rarely the same.  Catastrophic injuries are common, including brain injuries, broken bones, and damage to internal organs.  If you or a loved one has been injured in a trucking accident, think twice before attempting to negotiate with an insurer or accepting an initial offer of compensation. Our truck accident lawyers say you may be entitled to more.

Why do I need a Truck Accidents Attorney?

If you have injuries from an accident with a truck in Pennsylvania or New Jersey, a truck accidents attorney can help you figure out who is at fault, gather evidence, talk to witnesses, negotiate with the insurance company, and, if necessary, file a case in court.

A New Jersey or Pennsylvania truck accident lawyer can take over your personal injury case. At the same time, you focus your energy on healing or caring for a family member who has been injured in a truck accident in which you were not at fault.

What Services Can You Expect From a Lawyer Who Specializes in Truck Accidents?

Identifying Who is Liable in a Truck Accident

Truck accidents are unique in that various third parties – including a truck driver’s employer, the owner of the truck, the manufacturer of the truck, or even the loader of the truck’s cargo – can be held financially responsible in addition to the truck driver themselves.  

  • Truck driver
  • Trucking company
  • Manufacturer of a defective product
  • Shipping firm that did the loading of the cargo
  • Insurance companies
  • Governmental bodies

In other situations determining who is at fault in a truck accident is considerably more difficult. Problems such as lack of experience and underestimation of weather conditions can all increase the likelihood of a crash but are not as easily proven.  An experienced truck accident lawyer will also investigate the possibility of truck driver fatigue, which causes 18% of all large truck accidents, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

Building a Solid Case

An experienced truck accident attorney in Pennsylvania can accomplish all of the following while you focus on recovering:

  • Investigate and gather evidence for your case, such as police reports, accident site footage or pictures, information from the truck’s onboard electronic information system, expert testimony, eyewitness accounts, and more.
  • Collect and organize all your medical expenses and bills related to your catastrophic injury, as well as any documentation proving loss. Trucking accident injuries almost always need emergency medical treatment in a hospital, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported.
  • Determine all potentially liable parties as well as insurance providers.
  • Negotiate a fair settlement with the other party’s insurance company in your place.
  • In case the insurance company refuses to settle, file a lawsuit.

You or a family member may face major injuries that necessitate hospitalization, numerous surgeries, medical devices, as well as expensive rehabilitation.

You shouldn’t have to take on the insurance companies by yourself to be compensated for what you are due.

Proving Your Truck Accident Claim

You are aware that the trucking accident was not your fault. But you’ll need to provide evidence of this in a court of law or an insurance claim. In personal injury cases, there are four defining characteristics of negligence. A truck accident victim must prove the following:

  • The truck driver owes you a duty of care to drive safely and with reasonable care.
  • That duty of care was violated or breached by the truck driver.
  • Because of such a breach, you or a loved one were injured.
  • Because of the accident, you or a loved one incurred damages and losses.

Damages awarded in a personal injury case may be classified as either non-economic or economic damages. Medical bills, lost wages, and property damage are examples of economic damages. Non-economic damages can involve:

  • Mental anguish.
  • Pain and suffering.
  • Loss of pleasure from activities you can no longer participate in.
  • Loss of consortium.

What is Truck Accident Law?

Truck accident law covers personal injuries to people in passenger vehicles caused by an accident with commercial trucks, also called 18-wheelers or “big rigs.” In such cases, liability is based on the negligence doctrine. Multiple sources of law will apply since the responsible party is a professional truck driver. These include traffic and civil liability laws, along with Department of Transportation (DOT) and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations.

By law, large commercial truck drivers can work a total of no more than 14 hours per day, with just 11 of those hours spent on the road.  Drivers must also maintain a ten-hour period of non-work before starting any shift, and may not drive more than 60 hours in seven consecutive days, or 70 hours in eight consecutive days.

Trucks today are often equipped with event data recorders which enable investigators to track the performance of a vehicle up until the moment of a collision.  Additionally, because the trucking industry is closely regulated by both state and federal governments, trucking companies and their drivers must adhere to various laws and regulations. 

If a violation has occurred, such as a failure to routinely or adequately inspect a large truck’s mechanics, the task of assessing liability in a truck accident can be straightforward.

What Commonly Causes Heavy Truck Crashes in PA and NJ?

Drug Abuse and Truck Driver Fatigue

Drowsiness or fatigue can cause:

  • Significant decrease in the driver’s capacity to control the truck
  • Impaired judgment
  • Reduced reaction times, and
  • Decreased ability to make safe driving decisions

A fatigued driver may fall asleep, become distracted, or misjudge road conditions.

Controlled drugs can have the same effect. As a condition of employment, federal laws require trucking companies to test their drivers for drug and alcohol use. Carriers must also regularly conduct random tests on on-duty truck drivers and test any truck driver involved in a fatal accident.

Truck Driver Errors

Driving errors like speeding through a curve, breaking the speed limit, and forgetting to monitor blind spots can all lead to a truck crash.

Problems with Tractor Trailer Equipment

Equipment or mechanical failure is one other common cause of truck accidents. Crashes can be caused by manufacturing flaws (such as defective tires) or design flaws (like forgetting to include object detection systems or backup warnings).

Trucking accidents can also occur when equipment is not maintained correctly. Here are a few examples of common failures that commonly lead to mechanical issues:

  • Removing or reducing the power of the front brakes 
  • Failing to keep the brakes in good working condition
  • Improper cargo loading or securing 
  • Faulty steering
  • Failure to keep tires in good condition, and
  • Wrong trailer attachment

Other Common Causes of Truck Accidents in Pennsylvania and New Jersey

Traffic signal failures, weather conditions, as well as faulty road design are some of the other causes of big rig accidents.

What Should I Do If I Have an Accident With a Semi Truck in New Jersey or Philadelphia, Pennsylvania?

If you are involved in an accident with a large truck in Philadelphia or Southern New Jersey and do not need emergency medical attention, this is what you must do before leaving the accident scene:

  • Make sure your passengers and the other driver are safe.
  • Then, report the incident to the authorities.
  • Get the truck driver’s personal details, including insurance and contact information. Inquire if the driver is an employee of the trucking company or if he is an independent contractor driving an owned vehicle or a leased vehicle.
  • Take pictures of any damage, signage, and logos on the truck using your phone.
  • Take note of any weather, road, or other factors that may have contributed to the collision.
  • Collect any witnesses’ names and addresses.

Call our Philadelphia or Cherry Hill Truck Accident Law Firm Now!

If you or your loved one was injured in a truck accident in Philadelphia Pennsylvania or in New Jersey, and it was not your fault, you shouldn’t be expected to shoulder the emotional, financial, and physical burden on your own. While you and your family recover and heal, a truck accident lawyer can examine your truck accident case case, build a solid claim, and negotiate a fair compensation with the insurance company.

Contact the Law Office of Eric A. Shore today to discuss your truck accident case with one of our team members. The initial consultation is provided at no cost.

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