Philadelphia Truck Accident Attorney
Large trucks are present throughout the roadways, helping to transport a vast amount of products and byproducts across the country. The increase in the use of the trucking industry in the United States has led to commercial motor vehicles (CMV) sharing the roadways with much smaller vehicles, sometimes with devastating effects. While most of the time CMV and their drivers are able to co-exist with motorists, truck accidents are still very prevalent, often resulting in serious long-lasting physical injuries and fatalities for the motorist involved.
If you or a loved one have suffered injury resulting from a truck accident, our Philadelphia truck accident attorneys can help recover what was lost. Contact our firm to learn more about your options.
Why Choose Us?
At Rosenbaum & Associates, our Philadelphia truck accident attorneys are well-versed in tractor-trailer regulations, relevant to Pennsylvania and New Jersey state laws, and trucking insurance loopholes. If you have been involved in an accident with a large truck or have lost a loved one as a result of a trucking company’s negligence, finding the best Philadelphia truck accident lawyer to represent your case is vital to ensure that you receive the just compensation for your injuries and medical expenses. When you hire our firm, you will have the resources and experience you need on your side, including:
- Free Consultations Available Now
- Hablamos Español
- Have Won Millions For our Clients – Read More About Past Case Results
- Jeff Rosenbaum has helped over 20,000 clients
- Our Philadelphia truck accident attorneys give personal attention to our clients
Contact a Philadelphia T ruck Accident Lawyer
If you or someone you love has suffered a personal injury or was wrongfully killed in a large trucking accident, the Philadelphia truck accident lawyers at Rosenbaum & Associates can help your case. For questions or a free case evaluation, call our Philadelphia office today at (215) 569-0200. You shouldn’t have to suffer due to the negligence or recklessness of someone else – a dedicated Philadelphia truck accident attorney will fight for the compensation you deserve.
Why You Need a Truck Accident Lawyer
Truck accident cases can be considerably complex and often require knowledge of federal and state laws that commercial vehicles are subject to. Additionally, multiple parties can potentially be liable, such as the truck driver, their employer, or a third party, which means several insurance companies can be involved. Navigating a claim against one insurance company is challenging, let alone dealing with several. Each insurer will be working to preserve their bottom line and shifting the blame on the other. This is why a truck accident lawyer’s knowledge and experience will be invaluable. Hiring a lawyer will protect your rights and ensure you have a solid case for compensation. That includes:
- Gathering evidence from the scene, such as photographs, videos, skid mark measurements, positions of the vehicles, police reports, video surveillance from traffic cams or businesses, eyewitness statements, an inspection of the truck’s brake pads, and other vehicle components, and more.
- Helping you get evaluated by a trusted medical professional who can accurately assess the severity and extent of your injuries.
- Obtaining all records and the necessary documentation to determine liability for the crash, such as information on the truck driver and trucking company, the truck driver’s logbook, truck’s black box, maintenance logs, driver’s training history, results from alcohol or drug tests, etc.
- Negotiating with the insurance companies to recover fair compensation that will pay for all your accident-related expenses.
Your attorney will initiate an accident investigation immediately to preserve critical evidence of fault that can disappear quickly. Once a trucking company hears of an accident, they will likely send an investigator to the scene to cover up or get rid of evidence to minimize their liability.
Who Can Be Held Liable for a Truck Accident?
Several parties may be responsible for damages after a truck accident, including:
- The Truck Driver: If the truck driver’s negligence led to an accident, they might be responsible for your losses. Examples of trucker negligence are driving while distracted or under the influence of alcohol or drugs, intentionally violating federal hours-of-service regulations limiting how long truck drivers can work without a break, reckless or aggressive driving.
- The Trucking Company: A trucking company can be vicariously liable for the negligent actions of its truck drivers. The company can also face liability if they also engaged in negligent acts, such as hiring an inexperienced driver or one with multiple driving infractions, failing to train drivers, or failing to schedule regular vehicle inspections.
- Loading Companies: In some cases, cargo loading companies can be held responsible for an accident if they failed to ensure a truck was loaded correctly. When cargo isn’t loaded evenly or properly secured, a cargo shift while driving can lead to a severe accident.
Other potentially liable parties could be the manufacturer of the truck and its parts if they were defectively designed or manufactured, a mechanic who worked on the vehicle and didn’t perform the job properly, or a local government or contractors responsible for highway design or maintenance.
How Truck Companies Attempt to Avoid Liability
Trucking companies will do everything in their power to avoid responsibility and having to pay damages for a truck accident. Common arguments used to avoid liability are denying that the truck driver is an employee, that the truck driver was not acting within the scope of their employment, or that you were at fault.
Employee vs. Independent Contractor
Under the legal doctrine “Respondeat superior,” a company can be held accountable for the negligent actions of its employees. As a result, trucking companies will claim their drivers are independent contractors rather than employees. While that may be the case for some truckers, a company cannot incorrectly classify its driver as an independent contractor to avoid liability for an accident claim.
Scope of Employment
If the trucking company cannot deny the truck driver’s employment status, a trucking company’s insurance company may try to raise a “scope of employment” defense. Employers are only liable for an employee’s negligent actions if they were carried out while the employee was working or performing tasks “within the scope of employment.”
For example, if a truck driver causes an accident while on a break or when returning a leased truck to its owner, their employer may try to deny liability since the driver was not working at the time. However, these are examples of work-related duties, and the driver could legally be considered working. In contrast, a trucker would be regarded as acting outside of the scope of their employment if they were using the truck for a personal errand or activity. Then liability will fall on the truck driver.
Shifting the Blame
Lastly, some trucking companies will place blame on you and other parties. In extreme cases, they will destroy evidence of liability, such as driver’s logs (records of duty) or the data from the EDR (“black box”). Action must be taken quickly by either sending an evidence preservation letter to the trucking company or obtaining a court order to preserve potentially relevant evidence. If the trucking company can successfully argue that you were at fault, your compensation can significantly be reduced.
Under Pennsylvania’s modified comparative negligence laws, individuals can still recover compensation if they are less than 51% at fault, but their percentage of the blame reduces it. For instance, if you are found 40% at fault and awarded $100,000, you will only recover 60% or $60,000. However, if you are 51% or more at fault, you will not receive any compensation.
Types of Truck Accidents in Philadelphia
Despite the trucking industry’s regulations, fatal car crashes on major roadways are still very common. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Analysis Division cites the following driver-related factors that contribute to trucking fatalities:
- Excessive speeding
- Distraction and or inattention while driving
- Failure to stay in the proper lane
- Vision obstruction
- Failure to yield right-of-way
- Driver fatigue
Despite changes and improvements within the industry, there is no accounting for adverse weather conditions being the cause of an accident. Nearly 14% of all fatal and nonfatal crashes involving large trucks occurred during inclement weather, particularly rain. Trucking-related injuries to accident victims may include internal bleeding, broken bones, head and neck injuries, scars and disfigurement, and many more.
The compounding medical bills from a tractor-trailer accident alone can be overwhelming. That is why finding a Philadelphia truck accident lawyer experienced in tractor-trailer and truck crashes is vital to help get you and your family back to where you were before the injury occurred. Contact Rosenbaum & Associates today for a free consultation.
Blind Spot Accidents
According to the United States Department of Transportation, approximately 500,000 accidents are caused by truck blind spot accidents each year, with nearly 160,000 truck-related fatalities.
Since 1994, the U.S. Department of Transportation has been warning about the dangers of driving with trucks on the road through two of the Federal Motor Safety Administration programs, the “Teens and Trucks,” program, and the program “Don’t Hang out in the No-Zone.” These two programs strive to educate all drivers about the specific hazards of driving alongside trucks and the driving requirements needed to safely coexist on the roads. A commercial truck has four known blind spots or “no-zones”: the area immediately behind the truck, directly in front of the truck, the area surrounding the passenger’s side cabin, and a small portion adjacent to the driver’s side of the truck’s cabin. Generally speaking, if you cannot see the truck driver’s face in his or her side mirror, then he or she cannot see you. When a passenger car does get into an accident with a large truck, the sheer size of the truck tends to lessen the injuries of the truck driver and exacerbate the injuries of the passenger vehicle.
The following tips and tricks for driving with trucks in Philadelphia can help drivers navigate the roads safely:
- Keep in mind that a fully loaded tractor-trailer requires approximately twice the distance to stop than that of a passenger vehicle and trucks with overloaded cargo could pose a further threat.
- When it comes to trucks and tractor-trailers, the bigger the truck the bigger the blind spot.
- The longer the vehicle, the greater the difference in the turning path required for a wide turn.
- You diminish your own cushion of safety when you tailgate a truck, or cut in front of one abruptly, as 1) the truck driver may very well not see you as you are in their “no-zone” and 2) trucks are not as maneuverable as passenger vehicles, when a hazard pops up on the road you want to ensure your safety, and those of your loved ones, by factoring in the likelihood that large trucks may need to make a quick correction that takes both time and space.
- Always pass a large truck on their left side, and do not linger in the process. The quicker you can get out of the truck’s “no-zone” in a controlled manner, the better.
- Lastly, truck driver’s cannot see everyone on the road simply because they sit higher off the ground. Instead, they are blanketed by a blind spot where a driver loses sight of the vehicles on the road.
Brake Failure Accidents
A recent study by The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), found that 29 percent of all large truck accidents involved some form of brake failure.
Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations requires truck drivers prior to departure to perform a detailed pre-trip inspection noting the status of the truck’s brakes in the daily log. Truck owners also have a duty under federal trucking laws to properly maintain, repair, and inspect a truck’s brakes on a regular basis and to keep an up-to-date maintenance record. When the driver or company, negligently fails to maintain their trucks or purposefully compromises the efficiency of the truck’s braking power, that results in a traffic accident which causes serious bodily harm, the injured party has a legal right to hire a Philadelphia truck accident attorney and seek compensation for the harm caused.
When a big-rig, tractor-trailer, tanker, flatbed, or commercial truck’s brakes malfunction or fail, devastating injury can occur. Under Pennsylvania law, a valid claim for negligence will be made when accident victims and plaintiffs establish duty, breach, causation, and damages in Philadelphia. When commercial truck brakes fail or malfunction, there are several different parties that may individually or together be held responsible for the injury caused. The four most common parties are the driver, owner, truck mechanic, and or the brake manufacturer. These parties may be found liable if their failure of care resulted in an accident and subsequent harm. As defined by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Regulation § 350.105, a large truck is a vehicle with a gross vehicle rating greater than 10,000 pounds. Therefore, when a large truck experiences brake failure or the inability to stop, a 10,000-pound juggernaut is unleashed.
Overloaded Trucking Accidents
By overloading a tractor-trailer, it requires the driver to compensate both in stopping distance as well as in speed. Other dangers of overloaded trucks are a heightened risk for a potential tire blowout that can cause a driver to lose control of their vehicle and potentially jackknife, dramatically changing driving conditions for all motorists on the roads. A chain-reaction car accident often follows a truck jackknife as a truck can quickly block lane access and create unpredictable driving conditions. If a truck driver with an overloaded truck does not leave ample distance, it increases the likelihood that the truck will be involved in a collision as it may not be able to stop in time to avoid striking a passenger vehicle or another truck. Each Philadelphia truck accident lawyer at Rosenbaum & Associates has vast experience in representing their client’s best interests. If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident with an overloaded truck, you may be eligible to pursue legal compensation for current and future medical expenses associated with the accident, including lost wages, pain and suffering from the liable party.
Large commercial trucks have a federal gross weight limit of 80,000 pounds, which includes the combined weight of the truck, trailer, and additional cargo. In order to ensure that the trucks are transporting cargo within their legal limit, truck operators are responsible for checking their own vehicle’s weight. Normally for a small fee, trucks can be weighed at truck stop scale. Large trucks are especially lethal in accidents involving smaller passenger vehicles. The NHTSA’s recent truck study found that when a fatal truck accident does occur, 74 percent of the time, occupants of the vehicle were the ones fatally injured as opposed to the 16 percent of occupants in the large truck who were severely injured.
What Are Leading Causes of Truck Accidents in Philadelphia?
Many factors can contribute to truck accidents, but the most common are:
A truck driver’s inattention while driving can be catastrophic. Typical forms of distractions include texting or talking on a cell phone, drinking, and eating.
Truck drivers work long hours and don’t have a reliable sleep schedule. Although federal laws dictate how many hours a trucker can be on the road, it doesn’t guarantee they will be adhered to, especially since truck drivers are trying to meet deadlines.
Impatience or Road Rage
The enormous pressure to meet deadlines can lead to impatience or anger when a truck driver is on the road or stuck in traffic.
Reckless behaviors such as speeding, sudden lane changes, failing to signal, failing to account for traffic, or braking abruptly can leave little time for a truck driver or other drivers to react and increases the risk of an accident.
Driving Under the Influence
Many truck drivers resort to alcohol or drugs out of boredom or stimulants to stay awake. Driving under the influence clouds judgment, slows reaction time and can compel a driver to take unnecessary risks.
Poor Maintenance or Manufacturing Defects
Many truck owners or trucking companies don’t spend the time or money to maintain their vehicles properly. Manufacturing defects, on the other hand, originate from the manufacturer, and if a part fails, the truck driver may lose control.
Poor Weather Conditions
Dangerous weather can significantly reduce a truck driver’s ability to control the vehicle if they fail to adjust to the climate and road conditions.
Contact a Philadelphia Truck Accident Lawyer
Rosenbaum & Associates offers free consultations to victims of trucking accidents. We have offices all across Pennsylvania; give us a call and schedule a consultation with our experienced truck accident attorneys in Philly. You can also reach our Philadelphia injury lawyers by filling out an online contact form.
RECENT CLIENT REVIEW:
“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the staff at Rosenbaum and Associates for their exceptional customer service, their caring nature, and their follow-through in getting my case resolved. They’ve come to be my new friends for the past 3 years, and hopefully my new business colleagues.”