When a Pittsburgh truck driver acts carelessly or negligently behind the wheel of a commercial tractor-trailer or another large truck, people often end up injured, paying steep medical bills for life-changing injuries. Because the costs are so significant when these kinds of accidents happen, it is only natural to want to see them pay for their actions.
A Pittsburgh truck accident lawyer with Berger and Green can help you file a claim against the trucking company and work to get you the compensation you need to cover your injuries. We can meet with you and review the details of your accident and advise you on your legal options during a free consultation.
Here’s what you need to know about truck accident cases.
Damages You Recover After a Pittsburgh Truck Accident
Before determining what financial recovery could look like for you, we must determine what recoverable damages are available. Because of Pennsylvania’s choice no-fault auto insurance system, everyone in an accident has a certain amount of coverage based on their no-fault insurance. They also have the opportunity to recover certain types of damages from the at-fault party.
In a truck accident, the damages you can recover if the trucker caused the crash include:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages from the time you missed at work
- Property damage
- Other related out-of-pocket costs
Qualifying for Additional Non-Economic Damages
In addition, some people are eligible to file a claim for additional damages. If the trucker caused your accident, there are three ways you can qualify to file for non-economic damages, such as emotional distress or pain and suffering. You may qualify for this compensation if you:
- Carry full tort auto insurance
- Suffer injuries that meet the serious injury threshold
- Meet another exception to the limited tort laws
In order to see what you qualify for, we must gather evidence about your case. Such evidence can include:
- Police reports
- Medical records
- Photographs and/or videos of the accident scene, injuries
- Witness statements
- Video surveillance
- Expert witness statements
Our Pittsburgh truck accident lawyers will do their utmost to determine your full damages so we can talk with the insurance company about your true costs.
For a free legal consultation with a truck accident lawyer serving Pittsburgh, call 412-661-1400
Full Tort Coverage Expands Your Options for Recovering Damages
If you opted for full tort coverage, you can file a claim for your remaining damages. However, you will need to meet one of the limited tort exceptions to file a claim for pain and suffering. In truck accidents, the two most common exceptions include:
- The trucking company has the truck registered in a different state.
- You suffered an injury that meets the “serious injury threshold,” meaning you or a loved one suffered a serious bodily function impairment, permanent disfigurement, or death.
Berger and Green’s Pittsburgh truck accident attorney will help you determine which damages you qualify for and how much they might be. The sooner you contact us after your accident, the sooner we can get started building your case and show the trucking company is liable.
What If You Have Full Tort Insurance?
If you opted for full tort insurance or meet an exception to the limited tort law, we will also provide evidence of your pain and suffering and request these damages. Usually, the insurance company is willing to negotiate with us to settle at this point.
Most insurers know that if they do not offer a fair settlement, we will not hesitate to file a personal injury lawsuit against any trucking company. Our truck accident attorneys in Pittsburgh are no stranger to taking a case to trial if they won’t pay what you deserve.
Pittsburgh Truck Accident Lawyer Near Me 412-661-1400
Our Pittsburgh Truck Accident Attorneys Can Help You Navigate the Legal Process
When we help a client with one of these claims, the first thing we do is discuss the crash with the victim. This consultation is free. It allows us to understand what happened during your accident, who is liable, and the strength of the case against the trucking company.
Then we can explain your options for compensation and recommend a plan to get the maximum value possible for your claim. If we accept your case and you agree to enlist our help, we will launch a full investigation into your accident.
We Will Consult with Expert Witnesses Who Could Help Your Case
Besides identifying all evidence and interviewing witnesses, we will also work with accident reconstruction specialists, medical experts, and others who can offer us insight into your crash. We also collect your medical bills, receipts, estimates, and any other documentation of your damages.
Who Might Be Liable for the Truck Accident and the Resulting Injuries
After an accident, a question that often comes to mind is, “Who’s at fault in this accident?” Determining who’s responsible for causing and paying for the accident depends on what happened.
If the truck driver in your accident was driving on the clock for their employer, then their employers are responsible for the actions of employees while they are on the clock under the concept of respondeat superior or vicarious liability.
This means the trucker’s employer is financially liable for the truck accident injuries your own insurance does not cover. This doctrine applies if it can be shown that the truck driver’s actions were not intentional and that they happened while the driver was carrying out their duties within the scope of his job for the employer the driver works for.
Other Parties That Could Be Held Liable in a Truck Accident
Sometimes, a truck driver’s handling of a truck may not be their fault or something they could control. Trucking accidents happen for other reasons, too. Others that could be found liable in an accident include:
The cargo company. If it is found that the truck was carrying too much cargo or that the cargo wasn’t loaded properly onto the truck or distributed properly, the cargo company that handled the cargo could be held responsible.
The truck’s manufacturer. If it can be proven that the truck itself had operating problems or was defective in any way, the company that made the defective vehicle or the defective vehicle part may be found liable for your accident.
The truck’s maintenance company. If the trucking company has hired a maintenance company to take care of the truck’s upkeep, and it is found that the company failed to change the vehicle’s tires, brakes, vehicle lights, or other parts that caused the crash or played a role in its cause, you could pursue damages after this company as well.
A municipality in charge of maintaining the roads, road signage, etc. Sometimes, damaged or poorly maintained roads cause or contribute to truck accidents. If it is determined that a city, county, or township’s handling of road maintenance played a role in your accident, it could become a defendant in your case, as well.
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What Happens If More Than One Party Is at Fault for Your Trucking Accident?
If multiple parties share liability for your accident, Berger and Green attorneys will make sure each party that played a role is held accountable for their role in the crash. The more parties that are involved in the accident, the more complex the case for damages gets.
Trucking accidents involving 18-wheelers and commercial vehicles become complex because they involve state and federal regulations that apply to everyone involved—the truck’s driver, the company they drive for, and everyone involved with the truck in some way.
It is common for parties to blame one another to avoid paying you damages. We will do our due diligence to get to the bottom and find out the truth to help you get the financial recovery you deserve.
How Long You Have to Sue the Trucking Company
The statute of limitations gives most car and truck accident victims two years from the date of the crash to sue, per Pa. C.S.A. § 5524. Because it takes time to prepare this type of case, you should reach out to us far in advance of this deadline.
Most cases of this kind never go to court. However, that does not mean you should delay seeking prompt legal action. If we wait too long and do not have the option to file a lawsuit, the trucking company is unlikely to agree to a fair settlement. This is because we do not have any leverage to convince a company to do the right thing unless we can take your case to court.
What Types of Truck Accidents do our Pittsburgh Lawyers Represent?
When you are injured in a truck accident involving negligence, it’s important to work with Pittsburgh truck accident attorneys who have experience with your specific type of wreck and injuries.
Here are just a few of the types of crashes our lawyers represent:
- Failure to check blind spot accidents
- Tire blowout accidents
- Garbage truck accidents
- Delivery truck accidents
- Speeding accidents
- Truck driver errors
- Tow truck accidents
- Improper loading
- Employer liability
- Jackknife truck accidents
- Truck driver under the influence
- Underride truck accidents
- Trucking company liability
- Driver fatigue
Will the Trucking Company Destroy or Hide Evidence in the Case?
Early on, we send a spoliation letter to the trucking company demanding it to preserve any evidence in its possession. This evidence can prove vital in some accidents. It may include:
- Data from the truck’s onboard computer
- Electronic and written driver logs
- Dashcam video, if available
- Post-accident drug and alcohol test results
- Employment records for the driver
- Truck maintenance records
This kind of evidence helps us see if the driver was fatigued, if the truck was improperly loaded, or if the driver was breaking traffic laws before your crash. It can be vital to proving the trucking company made an error that caused your injury.
Once we have a complete understanding of the trucker’s role in causing your crash and the damages you suffered, we can file all of your insurance claims. This includes filing your medical benefits claim with your own insurance company, as well as the claim with the trucking company’s insurer.
What to Do After a Trucking Accident
If you haven’t done so, get prompt medical treatment for your injuries. It is important that you get treated for seen and unseen injuries. Not all injuries surface right away, which means you could be injured and not know that you are or the extent to which you are.
Prompt medical treatment also means you will have a record that you sought medical care for your injuries and ailments and that you have proof that your condition is directly related to the truck accident. Insurance companies have been known to reject claims, saying that parties suffered their injuries from another source and not their trucking accident.
Consider Hiring a Lawyer From Our Team to Represent You
Keeping in mind that you have only two years to file legal action in your trucking accident, you will want to consider hiring legal representation for your case. Your lawyer can manage your legal matters while you focus on recovering from your accident. Keep careful records so that when you meet with an attorney, you can review the evidence in your case together while going over the accident details.
Your lawyer should know state and federal laws that pertain to truck accident cases and be able to take your case to trial if needed.
Avoid Speaking with an Insurance Company if Possible
Sometimes, insurance companies offer injured truck accident victims compensation to settle their case before they have a chance to consider how much their case is worth. Some victims accept these offers because they have medical bills and other expenses to pay, but this can be a mistake. In many cases, these settlement offers are too low and do meet the needs of victims who find they need a bigger financial recovery.
Insurance companies also call accident victims and talk with them in the hopes that they say something that could jeopardize their case and be used against them later. This is why we advise that you avoid talking with them. They are looking out for their interests, not yours.
Berger and Green can handle the insurance company for you as soon as you become our client. We will handle talks from there and help you weigh any settlement offers that may come. We will also counsel you on those offers but leave the final decision up to you. If an insurance adjuster contacts you before you have had time to consider legal representation, you can decline to speak with them and then contact an attorney.
Start with a Free Consultation with Berger and Green Today
The Pittsburgh truck accident lawyers from Berger and Green offer free consultations and case reviews for truck accident victims in Pittsburgh. If a truck driver caused your crash and your injuries, we can help you seek damages that allow you to put your life back together. Call us today at (412) 661-1400.
We handle these cases on a contingency basis, so you pay no attorney’s fees unless we recover the compensation you deserve.