Trucking companies go to great lengths to protect themselves from court costs and liability. They have sophisticated legal defense teams, rapid accident response teams, and refuse to take legal responsibility for the injuries they cause. They might even try to blame their drivers and take none of the blame themselves. Even when insurance companies offer payments and settlements, they are usually low offers to try and kill cases early for the lowest value possible. They are not looking out for you – only themselves. It is so important, especially if your injuries are severe, to have a legal team that can and will stand up to those of big trucking companies. The Reiff Law Firm’s truck accident lawyers is the kind of sophisticated legal team that fights for victims – not big trucking.
When you or a family member has been injured in an accident with a truck, or if you have lost a loved one, we are here to help. We fight across the country to get victims the compensation they deserve for their injuries. To schedule a free legal consultation to discuss your potential truck accident lawsuit with our national truck accident lawyers, contact the Reiff Law Firm at (215) 709-6940. You can also contact the firm online.
How Our Pennsylvania Truck Accident Attorneys Can Help
Other lawyers generally cover personal injury cases or focus on car crashes, but our truck accident lawyers know practically all there is to know about truck accident cases, in particular. There are rules and regulations that specifically cover truck drivers and trucking companies, and our team has the experience of using these regulations against trucking companies on behalf of our clients.
Trucks are huge, dangerous machines – and our attorneys appreciate that fact. We know that truck accidents can cause considerable injuries, and often have tragic results for our victims, and we work with that knowledge to get our clients compensation for their truck accident injuries and justice for the harm that was done to them.
Our Pennsylvania truck accident attorneys have decades of experience fighting trucking accident cases against negligent drivers and the trucking companies that hired them. We can investigate how the accident happened, building evidence to help with your claim. We will investigate factors like truck maintenance, driver health qualifications, hours of service logs, and cargo records to judge what kinds of mistakes the driver and trucking company made.
Our attorneys can fight your case toward settlement, but if there were serious issues and negligence involved, we can fight your case in court instead. A lawsuit for truck accident injuries in Pennsylvania can often result in substantial damage awards from juries, and our lawyers will fight your case at trial to get this kind of compensation for you. Call us today to set up a free legal consultation where we can start understanding the details of your case and help you understand what your claim might be worth.
Whom to Sue for Truck Accidents in Pennsylvania: the Driver or the Trucking Company?
When you are injured in a car accident, your car accident lawyer will usually only have a few people on the list of potential targets for a lawsuit: any other drivers involved in the crash. If there were multiple drivers or truck drivers involved in your crash, any of them could be potential targets for a truck accident injury lawsuit. However, you could also be entitled to sue the trucking company whose driver injured you.
If the driver who hit you was working for a trucking company at the time of the crash, then that company could be responsible for the accident. Many truck drivers are independent contractors or owner-operators, which means that they are not “employees” at a trucking company, and the law does not allow you to sue their company. However, when truckers are employees, the trucking company they drive for can be held liable for any mistakes its driver commits during the scope of their employment.
This kind of “vicarious liability” can get you damages from the trucking company even if the driver was responsible and the company did nothing wrong. However, you can also sue the trucking company directly for its own mistakes. This commonly allows truck accident victims in Pennsylvania to seek compensation from trucking companies who commit any of the following errors or mistakes:
- Negligent hiring or retention of dangerous drivers
- Failing to screen drivers for CDL qualifications and health conditions
- Negligent maintenance of trucks
- Negligent retreading of worn-down tires
- Negligent loading of cargo
- Negligent handling of hazardous materials (HAZMAT) cargo
- Overloading of trucks
- Pressuring drivers to exceed hours of service limitations
Talk to a lawyer about how to claim damages against the individual driver and the trucking company in your Pennsylvania truck accident injury case.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents in Pennsylvania
Our team of truck accident lawyers knows exactly where to look for the kind of evidence that wins complicated truck accident cases. Furthermore, we work to create a convincing case that is backed up by hard facts. Confusing puzzle pieces are scattered everywhere, and we know how to find them and put the whole picture together for a jury.
Accident Investigations to Discover the Cause
The important evidence often lays buried in driver’s logs, police reports, cell phone records, maintenance records, onboard video and navigation systems, and the truck’s event data recorders – devices similar to an airplane’s “black box.” We also hire experts that can examine crash scenes and reconstruct the accident based on scientific and engineering tools. With this evidence, we hope to make the most persuasive case we can for our clients.
Hours of Service Violations
One common cause of truck accidents is the failure of a company to regulate working hours for a truck driver. The reason for this is to increase the amount of profits that a truck driver may earn for exceeding the maximum work hours. As a result, a truck driver might operate their vehicle while severely fatigued. A drowsy driver is prone to veer from their lane or may fall asleep at the wheel, which can cause a severe truck accident.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) writes regulations for truck drivers and trucking companies that dictate how many hours the drivers can stay on the road before taking breaks. These limitations put caps on how much they can drive in one run, how much they can drive per day, and how much they can drive per week. Violations of these rules can cause accidents, and these regulatory violations can help prove that the truck driver or the trucking company was at fault.
In some cases, these violations have been intentional, with trucking companies facing accusations that they had systems in place to falsify logs and pressure drivers to drive beyond their limitations to make extra money.
Cargo Loading and Weight Violations
Another common cause of truck accidents is the overloading of the trailer of a truck. As trucks already weigh a substantial number of pounds, it is important to avoid overloading a trailer that is being hauled. However, a trucking company may overload a trailer in an attempt to ship more items. This may cause additional stress on the tires and could cause a tire blowout. Tire blowouts are especially dangerous because they have the potential to cause a truck driver to lose control and may result in the truck being flipped over.
Failing to properly load a truck can also increase the risk that the trailer will sway or fishtail, potentially resulting in a jackknife accident. In these crashes, the trailer folds against the body of the truck cab, causing it to crash, even if no other vehicles were involved. This could cause cars to the rear to crash into the truck. Other loading issues could also result in improperly loaded hazardous materials leaking and causing injury, or they could increase the risk that the truck will roll over during a crash.
As with most auto accidents, the driver’s mistakes and errors behind the wheel could also be to blame. Truck drivers should be experts at operating a vehicle since they spend so much time behind the wheel. However, long work shifts can leave drivers tired and distracted. They also might make lazy errors, such as failing to signal, that can put others at risk. Many accidents are caused by traffic violations like speeding, distracted driving, drunk driving, tired driving, failing to check their blind spot, and other simple errors.
Damages Available for Injured Truck Accident Victims in Pennsylvania
Whether you were fortunate enough to survive an accident with a truck accident with injuries or you lost a loved one to a fatal truck accident, we are here to get you the compensation you deserve. When you are injured, it can be so frustrating to see the person who caused your injuries try and avoid blame. We work to hold the people who hurt our clients responsible for their actions. When a wrongful death occurs in a fatal accident, you need experienced truck accident lawyers to protect the interests of your family and hold those responsible financially accountable. That means we go after every penny we can.
If you have medical bills stacking up, we will fight to get them paid. Expensive medical bills are common after truck accidents, as victims often face serious injuries like back and spine injuries, head injuries, broken bones, and more. The injuries can be expensive to treat in the moment, and they could result in additional expenses going forward, such as rehabilitation, physical therapy, and follow-up care costs. These damages could all be claimed at their full value in a lawsuit against the negligent driver and trucking company.
If you are out of work, we will see that you and your family are provided-for. Paying for medical bills after an injury can be all the more difficult if you are not able to work. Serious truck accident injuries can keep you in the hospital or leave you with physical disabilities that make it difficult to return to work or require a long healing and recovery period. During this time, you might be unable to afford to support yourself and your family. Claiming lost wages in your injury case can help cover the cost of groceries, rent, and other necessary expenses to keep your family going.
Pain and Suffering
If you are experiencing physical pain or suffering mentally and emotionally from your injuries, we will work to get you compensation. These damages are sometimes the hardest to understand if you are not familiar with injury cases. Our Pennsylvania I-79 truck accident injury lawyers fight to get damages for intangible harms like physical pain and mental suffering. The jury might not be able to see a record of how much pain you felt or what kind of suffering you experienced, but your testimony can help explain to them how the accident affected your life. Judges and juries can then take this information, evaluate what compensation you deserve, and order the trucking company to pay you for these non-economic damages.
Wrongful Death Damages
If you lost a loved one in a truck accident, we will do what we can to help you recover. If the deceased was a spouse or parent, we will see that your family continues to be provided for in their absence. We fight to get our clients the financial compensation to cover funeral costs and burial expenses as well as any other costs they experience because of their loss. That includes things like grief counseling, lost inheritances, lost benefits (such as healthcare), and the loss of companionship. Money can never fill the hole that a lost family member leaves in your life, but it can help take care of your family after their loss.
Calculating Compensation in a Pennsylvania Truck Accident Lawsuit
To determine what your case is worth, it is important to speak to a Pennsylvania I-83 truck accident lawyer. Our attorneys can evaluate all of the damages you incurred and calculate what this will cost you now and going forward. Many times, injury victims miss out on future damages that they can claim for medical care and lost wages, leaving them short of the full compensation they deserve. Our lawyers have decades of experience handling truck accident injury lawsuits, and we can use that experience along with information from financial experts to calculate your damages.
Keep in mind that damages from a lawsuit are often higher than the damages you can receive in an insurance claim against the trucking company or driver. This happens because insurance claims are limited by the terms of the insurance policy and often pay only a portion of the damages that you suffered. Lawsuit damages are also higher than settlements in many cases, as trucking companies make low settlement offers to end cases swiftly and cheaply. A settlement with the trucking company could also be lower if it fails to pay full damages to account for the money you save by skipping the time and expense of a trial.
In many cases, trucking companies that are responsible for serious violations, repeat negligence, or serious dangers to the public could also be made to pay punitive damages to their victims. Talk to a truck accident lawyer about whether punitive damages might be available in your truck accident injury case.
You should always have an experienced Pennsylvania trucking accident injury lawyer review your case and help you calculate damages individually before accepting any money. Our lawyers can take your claim to trial if you are not being offered fair damages for your injuries or for your loved one’s death.
Statute of Limitations for Truck Accident Lawsuits in Pennsylvania
No matter what state you reside in, you should be aware that civil lawsuits are subject to the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations governs the amount of time that a plaintiff has to file a lawsuit with a court of law. This means that your truck accident lawsuit must be filed within a certain amount of time if you wish to pursue compensation for your injuries.
You should be aware that deadlines set by statutes of limitations laws may vary depending on the circumstances of the plaintiff’s case. Our firm can help you determine when your truck accident injury accrued and when you must file your lawsuit.
The statute of limitations in Pennsylvania is set in terms of years. If you wish to file a personal injury lawsuit in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the law gives you two years from the injury to pursue your claim in court. In comparison to many other states, Pennsylvania has a relatively short statute of limitations deadline, giving injury victims a short window in which to file their claims.
It is important to avoid making assumptions about the status of the statute of limitations for your case. If you are incorrect about how long you have to file your case, it could mean that you will be unable to file your case with the court. Specifically, the court will have the authority to bar your claim due to a violation of the statute of limitations. As a result, a plaintiff could miss their opportunity to seek compensation against a truck driver or the employer of a truck driver that was responsible for their injuries.
When to Contact a Lawyer After a Truck Accident in Pennsylvania
There are various reasons to pursue a claim well before the statute of limitations has expired. For example, if you wait years to pursue your case, this could make an attorney hesitant to accept your claim as the filing deadline quickly approaches. Additionally, valuable evidence you may need to prove your case could become lost or misplaced if you wait too long to file your suit. If you are concerned about the statute of limitations for your truck accident case, you should waste no time in speaking with an experienced national truck accident attorney.
When you start working with a Pennsylvania truck accident lawyer early on in your case, our lawyers can begin professional investigations into your case immediately. This can often help us find evidence that would have been destroyed or discarded if you waited even weeks or months after the crash to call a lawyer. For instance, the truck’s logs can help provide evidence of speed and other information to help prove your case. Additionally, dashcam footage from drivers who witnessed the crash or from the truck involved in the crash can be seized as evidence, as can security footage from nearby stores, ATMs, or homes that might have caught the accident on camera.
It is also important to get statements from witnesses, the at-fault driver, and any representatives from the trucking company as soon as you can. Peoples’ memories fade quickly, and they may be unable to recount facts months later. Having statements and depositions from soon after the crash can give strong evidence to help with your case and to bolster later testimony at trial.
What to Do After a Truck Accident in Pennsylvania
If you were injured in a trucking accident, there are some steps you should take to protect yourself and start gathering evidence after a crash. First, you should call emergency services. You should accept treatment by EMTs if you suffered injuries in the crash, and you should go with them to the hospital if they recommend it. Additionally, you should report the accident to the police, who can respond to the scene, fill out an accident report, and gather information about who was involved.
If you are too injured to stay at the scene of the crash, the police report will be essential in helping you find out what vehicles were involved in the crash, who was driving, and how to get in touch with them. If you can stay at the scene and collect this information yourself, that is good, too.
If you can stay at the scene, collect additional information about the crash as well. Note where the accident happened, including cross-streets or mile markers. Also take note of what the road conditions, lighting conditions, and weather conditions were like. If you can get a description of each car and truck involved in the crash (make, model, year, color, etc.) and the contact information for every driver and witness, you will have an excellent start to your case.
Whether you received emergency medical treatment or not, you should follow up with a doctor soon after the crash. The emergency care could have treated obvious injuries like cuts, scrapes, and broken bones, but many truck accident injuries appear in the days after a crash. Whiplash and back injuries are both very common in auto accidents, but these injuries might not be apparent until you have had a good night’s rest and given your body a chance to come down off the adrenaline and let your muscles and tendons relax in those areas. Other injuries might also become apparent as you try to return to your normal everyday activities.
As mentioned, you should talk to a lawyer as soon as you can after a crash to get the case moving.
Filing an Injury Lawsuit for a Truck Accident in Pennsylvania
As mentioned, your truck accident injury claim can often be filed against the individual driver who hit you as well as the trucking company they worked for. Our Pennsylvania truck accident lawyers can track these individuals and companies down and file the proper paperwork to start a case against them. It is important to remember that your case must be filed within the statute of limitations deadline to get your claim heard.
In many cases, injured drivers are concerned with Pennsylvania’s auto insurance rules and are not sure they can sue in their case. Pennsylvania uses a “choice no-fault” system, where drivers choose “limited tort” or “full tort” insurance policies. With a full tort policy, you can always sue for auto accident injuries. With a limited tort policy, you might be limited to suing only when the damages in your case exceed your insurance coverage or if your injuries meet certain definitions of “serious.”
Talk to our Pennsylvania trucking accident lawyers today to help determine whether you can sue and how to progress with your claim.
Contact Our Experienced Pennsylvania Truck Accident Lawyers Today About Your Case
The national truck accident lawyers at the Reiff Law Firm help those who have been hurt by the trucking industry. We take cases from all over the country and fight to get our clients the help they seek. On top of that, our attorneys are paid only if they win. We do not receive any money until our lawyers get you your compensation first. That means it will never be too expensive to hire us to take your case. We also offer free consultations with our experienced truck accident lawyers to answer your questions and share our experience in similar cases. There is no obligation to hire us – it is just a chance to talk about your case with a lawyer who will listen to see if you think we are an excellent fit to take your case.
If you are considering hiring an attorney to help with the injuries you received in a crash with a truck, call the Reiff Law Firm’s truck accident lawyers. We help clients around the country get representation so they can get compensation for their injuries. To set up a free, no-obligation consultation, call (215) 709-6940, or use the contact form on our website. Plus, if you hire us, know that you pay nothing until we win your case.