Philadelphia Truck Accident Lawyers
When large trucks and commercial vehicles share the road with passenger cars, they must be very careful to avoid collisions. A tractor trailer is typically 20-30 times heavier than a standard size car, as well as significantly larger and more difficult to control. An accident involving a truck can have much more devastating consequences than one involving smaller vehicles, including deadly injuries. In 2013, there were 3,602 fatalities resulting from truck accidents, two-thirds of which were passenger car occupants.
Driver Error in Truck Accidents
Many of the causes of truck accidents are the result of driver error. Truck drivers are held to a higher standard than other drivers and must be certified to operate a commercial vehicle. They are subject to strict federal regulations, such as the Hours of Service rule, established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), to prevent unsafe driving behavior. The Hours of Service regulation mandates that drivers rest for 10 consecutive hours after a 14-hour shift, and spend no more than 60 hours on duty during a seven-day period. Ignoring this rule can result in drowsy drivers who are unable to focus or even fall asleep at the wheel. Drowsy driving is one of the most common causes of truck accidents.
There are other driver behaviors that may result in accidents. Aggressive driving behaviors such as speeding or tailgating can cause drivers to lose control and limit their ability to respond to hazards as they arise. Failure to pay attention to blind spots puts cars that are next to or behind the truck in danger, as they driver does not realize they are there. No driver should operate a vehicle while under the influence, but it is especially dangerous for large truck drivers. The same goes for driving while distracted, and drivers should never try to divide their attention between focusing on the road and using a cell phone, operating a navigational system or eating and drinking.
In some cases, the truck itself may be a hazard. A truck’s brakes, tires and other parts should be checked regularly and properly maintained to limit the risk of failure. All cargo must be properly secured and should not exceed weight limits. If a truck is carrying hazardous materials, a wreck can cause them to leak, exposing everyone in the vicinity to harmful chemicals.
Liability in Truck Accidents
A person injured in a truck accident may be able to pursue a personal injury case against one or multiple parties, including the driver, the owner/operator of the vehicle, the person or company who leased the vehicle, the vehicle’s manufacturer and the shipper who loaded the cargo. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the big rig crash, it can be difficult to determine who is at fault. In these cases, it is extremely important to have proper documentation of the accident, including accident photos, medical records, witness testimony, driver phone records, vehicle inspection reports, driver certification and driving history records, hours of service log and any onboard data from the vehicle.
Many trucking companies will try to avoid liability in a truck accident by claiming they are not responsible for the vehicle or the actions of the driver. While the trucking company must obtain a permit to operate the truck, the vehicle is actually owned by another company and leased to the trucking company. Drivers are hired as independent contractors rather than regular employees. Federal law has closed these loopholes, however, making trucking companies responsible for any accidents that happen involving a vehicle that displays its logo or placard.
Philadelphia Truck Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Patrick G. Geckle Advocate for Truck Accident Victims
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in an accident involving a truck, call the Law Offices of Patrick G. Geckle. We will thoroughly review the facts of your case to determine if negligent behavior was a factor in your accident, then prepare a sound legal strategy to hold the negligent parties accountable. Truck accidents can result in devastating injuries with lifelong consequences. Our team of Philadelphia truck accident lawyers are dedicated to getting you the compensation you need to cover costly medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering.
With offices conveniently located in Center City Philadelphia, we help accident victims throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania, including Philadelphia County, Delaware County, Chester County, Montgomery County, and Bucks County. Call us today at 215-735-3326 or toll-free at 800-555-7780 or contact us online to review your case with a qualified truck accident lawyer.