Commercial Truck Accident Litigation
Among vehicle accidents, Truck accident injuries are frequently fatal. Contact Monheit Law if a family member has been involved in a fatal traffic accident. Fatal traffic accidents kill thousands of people each year.
Every year thousands of trucking fatalities occur – people are killed and hundreds of thousands more are injured as the result of truck accidents.
In 2003, 457,000 large trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating greater than 10,000 pounds were involved in traffic crashes in the United States; 4,669 trucks were involved in fatal traffic accidents.
The costs for fatal traffic accidents exceed $20 billion, including $8.7 billion in productivity losses, $2.5 billion in resource costs, and quality of life losses valued at $13.1 billion. A truck is considered large if its gross vehicle weight rating exceeds 10,000 pounds.
Do You Have A Truck Accident Case? »
The most common causes for fatal traffic accidents are:
- Lack of training or experience on the part of the truck driver
- Overloaded or oversized trucks
- Poorly maintained truck brakes
- Fatigued or tired driver; driving too long and too many hours without rest
- Failure to yield the right of way
- Truck drivers driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol
- Unsafe safety systems, reflectors, lights, and other warning devices
- Running off the road
- Speeding over the limit or driving at high speeds beyond the road and weather conditions
- Driving in conditions of poor visibility due to fog, snow, rain, or smoke (e.g. Truck rain accident)
- Dangerous or reckless truck driver with a long record of wrecks and fatal traffic accidents
- Aggressive driving behavior
- Failure of truck to install an under-ride protection under-guard.
One out of every nine traffic fatalities involves a trucking accident. Truck driver fatalities are all too common. In 2002, large trucks accounted for 4 percent of all registered vehicles and 8 percent of total vehicle miles traveled. In 2003, large trucks accounted for 8 percent of all vehicles involved in fatal truck crashes and 4 percent of all vehicles involved in injury and property damage only crashes.
Of the fatalities that resulted from truck accidents involving large trucks, 78 percent were occupants in another vehicle, 8 percent were non-occupants, and only 15 percent were occupants of a large truck. Consequently, the majority who suffers as a result of fatal traffic accidents are insured drivers and passengers just like you. However, truck driver fatalities are also a great concern.
Truck Accidents: What to Expect
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) establishes rules and regulations which govern commercial motor vehicles and the trucking companies who operate these vehicles. Their mission is to make the interstate highways safer.
Federal regulations require that a commercial carrier maintain evidence for a limited amount of time. A carrier may destroy a truck driver’s log after six months unless a potential plaintiff obtains a court order or takes immediate action.
Federal regulations also require commercial trucks to carry some levels of insurance coverage, depending on materials hauled. These regulations protect victims of large truck accidents from truck owners who may not have the financial resources to pay out-of-pocket damages. Minimum insurance levels ensure that an innocent victim need not cope with the burden of paying for property damage as well as damages resulting from truck injuries or deaths.
In order to successfully collect compensation for property damage, medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, or for the wrongful death of a family member, a plaintiff must establish that the driver or commercial carrier operated or maintained the truck in a negligent manner.
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Pretend that the trucking companies are Goliath and you and your truck accident attorney are David.
Truck accident negligence: The critical question for negligence is whether the truck driver failed to act as a reasonable person would in similar circumstances. If a truck driver acted in the same way that a reasonable person would consider unsafe – then negligence exists. Another way to show a presumption of negligence is to show that the driver or carrier failed to adhere to safety regulations.
When a plaintiff (or most likely his or her truck accident attorneys) establishes the negligence of the defendant (the truck driver or carrier); the plaintiff must show that the defendant’s negligence caused the accident that resulted in injury. Causation can be a complex issue. However, if negligence resulted in the injury to person or property, for which the plaintiff has sued, causation exists.
In order to have a negligence suit, a plaintiff must prove that he or she has suffered damages. Damages include economic injury such as loss of income or wages, medical and funeral expenses, lost support and services, and replacement value or repair costs of personal property damaged in the accident. Damages may also include non-economic injuries such pain, suffering, mental anguish, and inconvenience as a result of bodily injury that resulted from the accident. Punitive damages may be awarded because of the defendant’s reckless indifference to the rights of others.
Sometimes a trucking company may not pay medical bills immediately. In these cases, the (plaintiff) driver’s insurance will contain medical payment provisions to pay for bills ranging from funeral costs to medical expenses. While many people do not wish to involve their own insurance company in any medical claims, most policies require the car owner to notify the insurance company of any collisions.
Do You Have A Truck Accident Case?
After a serious truck accident, a trucking company’s claims adjuster begins to protect the trucking company’s interests immediately. An investigator for the company may begin to collect evidence to defend or minimize the claim. It is usually in the victim’s best interest not to sign a medical release or give a statement to the trucking company or any insurance company before contacting an expert truck accident attorney. The trucking company may try to advise a victim against legal counsel, because they know that with an expert truck accident attorney at your side – you will most likely receive a greater settlement.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a truck accident injury or fatality, contact an expert truck accident lawyer, for a NO-OBLIGATION, free consultation.
Pennsylvania Truck Accidents
2001 Pennsylvania heavy truck accident statistics
6,536 total crashes involving heavy trucks. Of those 6,536 crashes, 154 were fatal.
Total crashes were down from 8,145 in 2000. Fatalities were also down from 161 in 2000. Defects contribute to the majority of heavy truck accidents. Some of these defects include: Tires or wheels: 80 crashes, Brake-related: 76 crashes, Engine/Transmission: 52 crashes, Steering Wheel: 13 crashes.
Pennsylvania Truck Accident Fatalities Source: Center for National Truck Statistics University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute
- PA 1996: 196
- PA 1997: 181
- PA 1998: 187
- PA 1999: 217
- PA 2000: 188
- PA TOTAL: 969
State Laws Related to Trucking Accidents in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes: THE VEHICLE CODE (TITLE 75)
Pennsylvania Local and State Police Departments
Commonwealth of PA – Pennsylvania State Police
Pennsylvania State Police Station Listings by Troop Designation
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Innocent people suffer the most from truck accidents.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a truck accident injury or fatality, contact an expert truck accident injuries lawyer, for a no obligation, free consultation.