Scranton Truck Accident Lawyer
Accidents involving large trucks can be devastating in nature. The Scranton truck accident lawyers at our firm are here to help injured victims recover what was lost from an accident.
According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 11 people die on average every day in trucking accidents, and an additional 100,000 sustain injuries. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which regulates the trucking industry, reports that these numbers have been increasing steadily since 2009. What’s the reason for this disturbing trend?
One problem seems to be the lack of dedication to safety amongst truckers and their employers. Consider these statistics:
- In 2014, the last year the FMCSA published data, 175,000 drivers were ordered off the road because they had too many violations on their record.
- In the same year, 2.1 million trucks were ordered off the road because they failed to meet safety standards.
Truck accidents can involve any large vehicle, including 18 wheelers, semis, and delivery trucks. These accidents tend to be severe, and injuries can require extensive treatment. Schedule your free consultation today with Rosenbaum & Associates’ experienced Scranton truck accident attorneys at (215) 569-0200.
Scranton, PA Legal Resources
- Why Choose Our Scranton Truck Accident Lawyers?
- What Rules & Regulations Do Truck Drivers Have to Follow in Pennsylvania?
- What Vehicles Qualify as Commercial Trucks?
- What are Common Causes of Truck Accidents?
- What Damages Can Be Recovered After a Truck Accident?
- What are Pennsylvania’s Comparative Negligence Laws?
- What Are Dangers of Overloading a Truck?
- How Much is My Truck Accident Claim Worth?
- What To Do After a Truck Accident?
- Contact Us
Why Choose Our Scranton Truck Accident Lawyers?
An experienced and well-reputed personal injury attorney can be the difference between receiving compensation for the damages suffered in a truck accident. Large trucking organizations have experienced attorneys in their corner. With the experienced lawyers at Rosenbaum Injury Law, truck accident victims can help even the playing field to maximize the damages available for the pain and suffering caused by the accident.
- Rosenbaum & Associates offers free consultations
- We are available to take your call 24/7
- We have successfully recovered money for thousands of clients over the last 25 years
- Our law firm has been selected as Top 10 Best Law Firms for Client Satisfaction
- There are no attorney’s fees until we make a recovery.
What Rules & Regulations Do Truck Drivers Have to Follow in Pennsylvania?
If you’re in a car accident in Pennsylvania, you have the option to sue the driver at fault under Pennsylvania’s “choice no-fault” rules. For accidents involving trucks, the rules are a little different. If you want to pursue a claim above and beyond what the insurance companies offer, you’ll need to prove that the trucker was at fault for the accident. In these types of accidents, one of several parties might be to blame: the driver themselves, their employer, and/or the manufacturer of the truck that hit you. Here are some examples of things we consider when determining fault in truck accident cases:
- Truck drivers are required to follow strict rules and regulations established by the federal government. They may not, for example, drive too much over a 24-hour period and must get a certain amount of rest. Failing to adhere to these regulations is negligence.
- If truck drivers have a poor history or a record of substance abuse, the employer of the driver may have been negligent in hiring them.
- If the truck isn’t maintained properly or misses safety checks, the employer may be negligent in its upkeep.
- If an accident occurs as the result of an automotive defect, the manufacturer of the truck may be to blame.
What Vehicles Qualify as Commercial Trucks?
Any vehicle that requires a commercial driver’s license to operate is considered a commercial vehicle. Semi-trucks, 18-wheelers, construction vehicles, delivery trucks, tractor-trailers, and tanker trucks are all included.
What are Common Causes of Truck Accidents?
Many factors can contribute to truck accidents, but the most common are caused by driver negligence. For example:
Truck drivers work long hours without reliable sleep schedules. Although federal laws dictate how many hours a trucker can be on the road, truck drivers do not always adhere to them, especially if they are trying to meet a deadline.
When a truck driver gets distracted while driving, an accident can be catastrophic. Forms of distractions include texting or talking on a cell phone, drinking, eating, adjusting the radio, reaching for an item, using GPS, etc.
Impatience or Road Rage
An angry truck driver in traffic can be incredibly dangerous, and it is often due to the enormous pressure to meet deadlines.
Any reckless behavior can easily cause a collision, such as speeding, an abrupt lane change, failure to signal, or braking suddenly; all can leave little time for other drivers on the road or the truck driver to react.
Driving Under the Influence
Some truck drivers turn to drugs like amphetamines and cocaine to stay awake and drive longer hours. However, these drugs can compel truckers to take more risks. Alcohol consumption is also a significant issue that contributes to highway fatalities each year.
Poor Maintenance or Manufacturing Defects
If a truck owner or trucking company fails to regularly inspect and maintain their vehicles, an accident can occur due to failing parts, steering equipment malfunctions, tire failure, amongst other things. Manufacturing defects, on the other hand, originate from the manufacturer, and if a part fails due to a defect, the truck driver may lose control.
Poor Weather Conditions
Dangerous weather can significantly reduce a truck driver’s ability to maintain control of the vehicle, especially if they fail to adjust to the road conditions.
What Damages Can Be Recovered After a Truck Accident?
If your accident results in severe injuries, you may be able to pursue a claim against the trucking company or manufacturer, even if you carry no-fault insurance. Your settlement, while it cannot erase the memory of the accident, will help you pay for things like:
- Medical expenses, including hospital bills, tests, and the ongoing costs of physical rehabilitation and therapy
- Lost wages, including missed work days and any loss in earning capacity
These are referred to as economic, or special damages. We can also recover damages from intangible losses, which are also referred to as general damages. These include:
- Pain and suffering, which includes mental, physical, or emotional distress you suffered as a direct result of the accident
- Loss of consortium, companionship, or partnership, in the case of a wrongful death suit
Additional damages that can be recovered in a civil case can include:
This includes hospital bills, tests, and the ongoing costs of physical rehabilitation and therapy, as well as any future care or treatment you require.
Lost wages, including missed workdays while recovering, and any loss in earning capacity if you cannot make the same amount of income you did before the accident.
For repairs or the replacement of your vehicle if it is a total loss, as well as any other property damage.
These above damages are referred to as economic, or special damages. We can also recover damages from intangible losses, which are also referred to as general damages. These include:
Pain and Suffering
Which includes mental, physical, or emotional distress you suffered as a direct result of the accident. Loss of consortium, companionship, or partnership, in the case of a wrongful death suit
Pennsylvania courts may award punitive damages in cases that involve egregious or malicious conduct.
What are Pennsylvania’s Comparative Negligence Laws?
Truck drivers, and especially trucking companies, will not admit liability. To minimize your payment, they will likely shift the blame on you for causing the accident. This is due to Pennsylvania’s comparative negligence laws, which reduce your compensation based on your percentage of fault. For example, if you are awarded $100,000 and found 30 percent at fault, you will only receive 70 percent of your award or $70,000. If the at-fault party can successfully argue that you are 51 percent or more to blame, you cannot recover any compensation. This is where hiring an attorney can be critical, so they can help you make sure liability falls on the correct party, and you obtain a fair settlement or award.
What Are Dangers of Overloading a Truck?
Due to the costs of purchasing additional trucks or making multiple deliveries, trucking companies often push the limits of how much cargo each vehicle transports. However, trucks overloaded with cargo can be extremely dangerous and difficult to control, which can lead to catastrophic and possibly fatal accidents.
Trucks with excessive loads increase the likelihood of an accident and the severity for a variety of reasons. Some of those include:
- It is more difficult for the driver to stop the truck.
- It is harder to make turns.
- The truck’s center of gravity is altered, making a rollover more likely.
- The truck will go faster downhill.
- Excessive pressure is put on the tires, increasing the likelihood of a blowout.
- The extra weight can significantly increase the force of impact in a crash.
- Any shift in cargo can cause the driver to lose control.
- If too much weight is on the back axles, the front of the truck may lose contact with the road.
If the excessive cargo spills onto the roadway in an accident, it can cause multiple crashes. That is why the U.S. Department of Transportation has rules and regulations governing truckload weights, sizes, and other factors. Some of the most relevant laws are:
- Trucks cannot weigh more than 80,000 pounds
- There is a 20,000-pound single axle weight limit
- There is a 32,000-pound tandem axle weight limit
- Axle spacing must meet a complicated formula
How Much is My Truck Accident Claim Worth?
After a severe truck accident, it is normal to wonder how much your claim is worth. Since each case has a unique set of circumstances, there is no exact formula to calculate a figure. However, an attorney can give you an estimate of your case’s value after considering the following factors:
- The severity of your injuries.
- How your injury and pain impacts all aspects of your life.
- How much income you will lose from being unable to work.
- How much money you will lose in the future due to your injury.
- Your age and length of your recovery.
- Whether you will need ongoing medical care and adaptive medical equipment.
- Whether there were aggravating factors present, for instance, if the truck driver was operating the truck while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
An experienced Scranton truck accident attorney can evaluate your particular case to give you an idea of your claim’s worth and the minimum amount you should settle for.
What To Do After a Truck Accident?
Although the aftermath of a truck accident can be overwhelming, try to remain calm. The steps you take next can significantly impact your claim for compensation.
- Self-Check and Call 9-1-1. The highest priority is your well-being. Ensure you are not in any immediate danger, then call 9-1-1 and stay in your vehicle until emergency responders arrive. If you are in a dangerous situation, try to move to the side of the road. Check on your passengers and if they are injured, try not to move them.
- Get medical treatment. Many truck accident victims are transported by emergency services to the hospital. However, if your injuries are not as severe, it is still necessary to be thoroughly evaluated by a medical professional. Medical records linking your injuries to the crash are vital, and some severe injuries may have delayed symptoms.
- Preserve any evidence. If possible, collect any potential evidence from the accident scene, including photos and video of the location, items from inside your vehicle, and contact information for every party involved and any witnesses. This evidence can be critical to support your claim and prove liability.
- Notify the Insurance Companies. Notify your insurer of the accident, and they will walk you through the next steps for filing a claim. The truck driver’s or their trucking company’s insurance company may attempt to contact you for your side of the story but do not give a recorded statement. If you accidentally offer up information that can be used against you, your compensation can be compromised. If your injuries are severe and there is evidence their truck driver was at fault, the company’s insurer may also attempt to offer you a quick settlement to resolve your case for as little money as possible. Although it may be tempting, it is in your best interests to refrain from accepting, as your claim is likely worth much more.
- Speak to an attorney. Hire a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible. They will immediately secure vital evidence before it disappears and contact any witnesses for statements. They will also write a spoliation letter to the trucking company to request that certain pieces of evidence be preserved. For example:
- Pictures of the scene
- The truck driver’s service hours log
- Black box data (event data records (EDRs) contains information on the truck’s speed, acceleration, braking steering, and air-bag deployment before, during, and after a crash.
- Dash Cam video if available.
- The actual vehicle
- Vehicle load information
- Maintenance and inspection records
- Results of the driver’s alcohol or drug testing
- The qualifications of the driver and their permit or license number.
- Personnel records
- Voicemails, emails, text messages
Without a lawyer involved, the crucial proof needed to build a solid case can be lost, misplaced, or purposely destroyed.
Contact an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer in Scranton
At the law offices of Rosenbaum & Associates, we adhere to the premise that you shouldn’t have to pay for the negligence of another. We’re committed to helping Wilkes-Barre area families collect compensation for their injuries. If you believe you have grounds for a personal injury claim, contact our Scranton truck accident attorneys and request a free initial consultation. Our contingency fee agreements offer legal services at no risk to you. Let us put our 25 years of experience to work – for more information or to schedule your case evaluation, contact us.