In 2020, there were 6,089 crashes in Pennsylvania involving large trucks. More than 130 people were killed and another 2,400 injured. The sheer size and weight of 18-wheelers cause devastating results when an operator fails to exercise the duty of care owed to others on the road.
If you have been injured in a truck accident, or if a loved one has been incapacitated or killed, you may be overwhelmed by medical bills, lost incomes, and funeral expenses. If a truck driver or any other party can be held accountable for your losses and damages, we may be able to help you recover compensation.
At Richard L. Vanderslice, P.C., we represent personal injury clients and their families in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and in Philadelphia, Montgomery, and Delaware counties who have been injured in truck accidents. For nearly 35 years, we have helped victims hold individuals and companies accountable when their negligence leads to tragic results.
Due to their size and weight, the operation of semi-trucks is subject to stricter federal and state laws designed to maintain safety while on the road. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) govern numerous aspects of semi-truck operations, including driver training and qualifications, inspection and operation of the vehicles and trailers, compliance reviews and audits, and minimum requirements for liability insurance coverage.
Pennsylvania Code adopts the FMCSR regulations. In addition, trucks must comply with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s vehicle equipment requirements.
There is a two-year statute of limitations to recover for injuries or death resulting from semi-truck accidents in Pennsylvania. That means you have two years from the date of the crash to settle your claim or file a lawsuit in the appropriate civil court.
Liability or “fault” for an 18-wheeler accident can lie with more than one individual or entity. Under the law, you can file a claim or lawsuit against any party whose negligence contributed to the crash, including:
The truck driver who failed to inspect the semi-truck properly, logged excessive hours on the road and was fatigued, or simply failed to pay attention.
The trucking company that failed to adequately train or supervise the driver, placed profit over safety, or put a driver with a poor safety record back on the road.
The manufacturer of the semi-truck or trailer, or of parts used on them, which provided faulty parts, like defective brakes, or a compromised coupling mechanism, which led to the crash.
Maintenance personnel who failed to inspect, repair, and maintain the vehicle.
The person who improperly loaded cargo if shifting or falling cargo contributed to the crash.
There are multiple factors considered when determining liability for a crash, including potential negligence or comparative fault on the part of the drivers of passenger vehicles involved. Road conditions and weather may also contribute to findings of fault.
If you have full-tort auto insurance, you are free to assert a claim against any party responsible for your damages. If you have limited-tort insurance, you can only assert a claim if your damages exceed a certain threshold. It’s vital that you be able to document such excessive damages. An experienced personal injury attorney can help.
If a loved one has been incapacitated or killed in a truck-related crash, you need to talk to a personal injury attorney right away to ensure the preservation of critical evidence. Your attorney will also be able to guide you through the legal process for conservatorship to enable you to file a personal injury claim on behalf of an incapacitated loved one. The personal representative of the decedent’s estate can file a wrongful death claim in Pennsylvania.
Commercial trucks are large and dangerous; therefore, trucking companies are required to carry high limits on liability insurance policies. With substantial sums of money at stake for them, trucking insurance companies retain aggressive attorneys to defend claims. You should as well.
The investigation of an 18-wheeler accident is critical to documenting evidence of negligence against any party who might have contributed to the crash. You need an experienced truck accident attorney who knows how to preserve evidence, investigate the circumstances of the crash, interview witnesses, research the history of the truck driver, and retain crash engineers, medical, and other experts if necessary. The personal injury attorney you hire should be able to negotiate aggressively with the insurer, and if the claim cannot be settled, litigate the case in court.
There is usually a substantial amount of damages at stake in a personal injury or wrongful death claim resulting from an 18-wheeler accident. You need representation by an attorney who knows the safety standards required in the operation of commercial motor vehicles and can investigate and document evidence of fault, often with more than one negligent party.
At Richard L. Vanderslice, P.C., we help clients and their families with personal injury and wrongful death claims following truck accidents and guide them through the legal process. We represent victims who live or were injured in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and in Philadelphia, Montgomery, and Delaware counties. If you have been injured in a truck accident due to the negligence of another party, there is no time to waste. Call our office now to schedule a consultation. Two years is not long, so don’t wait. Call or reach out today for help!