Because semi-trucks have so much more clearance under them than most vehicles, cars and trucks can easily underride the trailer. When this happens, the force of the accident can lead to devastating injuries and even death. Often, the accident shears off the roof of the car or crushes a vehicle’s passenger compartment.
If a negligent trucker caused your crash, an underride truck accident lawyer in Pittsburgh, PA, can help you file a claim for compensation. Depending on the circumstances of your accident and injuries, you may also qualify for additional damages. The truck accident team at Berger and Green fight to recover the full value of your claim. We offer free consultations and case reviews. Call our office today at 412-661-1400 to find out how we can help you.
What Type of Damages Can I Get After a Pittsburgh Underride Truck Accident?
Choice no-fault auto insurance laws in Pennsylvania mean you have some coverage for your medical care if you suffer injuries in this type of crash. Chances are, however, you will still have substantial treatment costs, lost wages, and other related expenses that your Medical Benefits policy will not cover.
If we can prove the truck driver caused the crash, we can try to recover your remaining financial losses and expenses from the trucking company. This may include compensation for:
- Any remaining medical care costs;
- Lost wages and future lost income;
- The repair or replacement of your vehicle; and
- Some out-of-pocket expenses.
If you have full tort auto insurance or you meet an exception to the limited tort laws, you may also be able to recover non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering or emotional distress. We can help you understand if you are eligible to file for these damages. The most common exceptions in this type of accident occur when:
- The trucking company has the truck registered in another state;
- The accident occurred because of an intoxicated trucker; or
- The victim suffered fatal injuries, a serious impairment of bodily function, or permanent disfigurement from the crash.
Who Is at Fault and Liable for a Pennsylvania Underride Truck Accident?
While the driver of a passenger vehicle can be responsible for an underride truck crash, negligent truckers also cause this type of wreck. This most commonly occurs because the trucker:
- Is missing safety equipment, such as brake lights or an underride guard;
- Makes an improper lane change without checking blind spots or signaling;
- Stops on the shoulder without taking the proper precautions; or
- Fails to check behind the trailer before backing up.
If the truck driver causes the underride accident, they are not necessarily the only liable party. Pennsylvania law follows a legal construct known as respondeat superior, or vicarious liability. Under this doctrine, employers are responsible for any acts of negligence employees commit during work.
Anything truckers do behind the wheel of their tractor trailer is work. In most truck accident cases where the trucker is at fault, the trucking company or corporation that employs the truck driver is the primary liable party. This employer liability makes these claims different than a typical car crash.
How Can a Lawyer Help Me Through the Claims Process?
We offer free case evaluations that allow us to understand the circumstances of your accident, and identify who is liable. We can explain the strength of your case, and outline your legal options for compensation. If we believe you have a viable claim against the trucking company, we will offer to handle your case based on contingency. If you agree, we can immediately launch our investigation to help us understand exactly what happened before, during, and after your crash.
During this investigation, we will:
- Identify and analyze all available evidence;
- Interview any eyewitnesses;
- Utilize a survey team to document the accident site;
- Work with accident reconstruction specialists;
- Meet with medical experts to understand your injuries; and
- Collect medical bills, receipts, estimates, and other documents to prove the full extent of your damages.
In addition, we understand the importance of the evidence the trucking company holds in this type of case. As soon as possible, we issue a spoliation letter, directing the company to preserve and protect the evidence in its possession. This often includes:
- Data from the truck’s computer;
- The driver’s rest logs;
- Dash cam or other video from the truck;
- Drug and alcohol test results from mandatory post-accident testing;
- The driver’s employment records;
- Truck maintenance records; and
- The truck and trailer, in unaltered condition.
After our investigation gives us the proof we need to show the truck driver acted negligently and caused your underride to occur, we will pursue compensation by filing the necessary insurance claims in your case. We can file:
- Your Medical Benefits claim with your insurer;
- A claim for your remaining financial losses from the trucking company’s insurer; and
- A claim for pain and suffering losses from the trucking company’s insurance company, if you are eligible.
In most cases, we can negotiate a fair settlement with the trucking company’s insurer or legal team at this point. Only occasionally will a company refuse to negotiate or fail to offer a fair amount. When this occurs, we are not afraid to file a personal injury lawsuit and fight for compensation in court.
How Can I Talk to an Underride Truck Accident Lawyer in Pittsburgh?
Under the statute of limitations, you only have two years to file a personal injury lawsuit against a trucking company after an underride accident. For this reason, it pays to act quickly after a crash.
The truck accident team from Berger and Green is ready to go to work for you. We can evaluate your case and help you understand your options for compensation. Call us today at 412-661-1400 for a free case review.