According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, there were roughly 8,000 accidents involving large trucks and commercial buses that year. With these large vehicles, truck accidents can cause horrific injuries that are permanent and life-altering. If you are a victim of a truck driver’s negligence and have suffered injuries, a truck accident lawyer can help you receive fair compensation for your damages.
Causes of Truck Accidents
Large trucks, also known as tractor-trailers, semi-trucks, 18-wheelers, and big rigs, are commonplace on the roadways today. These large vehicles provide a reliable mode of transportation of goods throughout our country. However, truck drivers are often incentivized to transport their goods faster to achieve more profitable results. When truck drivers hurry to gain more profit by speeding and rushing to their next destination, they violate the Hours of Service regulations imposed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The most common causes of truck accidents include:
- Driver fatigue
- Driver error (speeding, reckless driving, etc.)
- Unsecured or improperly loaded cargo
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Defective equipment, manufactured parts, or components
- Insufficient or inadequate truck maintenance
- Inadequate and insufficient driver training
- Unlicensed or unqualified drivers
The Liable Party in Your Truck Accident
While it may seem that the truck driver alone has liability for a truck accident, there are actually several parties that may have a responsibility in a trucking accident. Some of the most common parties responsible for a trucking accident include:
- Truck driver
- Truck manufacturer
- Trucking company
- Truck maintenance company
- Loading company
- The leaseholder of the truck and trailer
One or more of these entities could be responsible for your trucking accident. Many of the companies involved, such as the trucking company or the loading company, will likely argue over who has liability. These companies will also argue regarding which insurance company will ultimately pay for the victim’s injuries and damages. It is important to note that laws prevent trucking companies from simply shifting blame. Under the law, a trucking company is liable for any accident that involves a truck with their company name or placard displayed on the semi-truck.
To ensure that the right parties are held responsible, contact a Meadville truck accident lawyer at Berger and Green at (412) 661-1400 today to help you understand which parties are responsible for the compensation of your injuries.
Common Types of Injuries
The injuries from a trucking accident can be severe, catastrophic, and life-changing. Some of the most common types of trucking accident injuries include:
Due to the force of impact from a large truck accident, one of the most common injuries suffered is a traumatic brain injury (TBI). A traumatic brain injury can cause permanent damage leaving a victim with the inability to process information correctly, balance issues, personality changes, disorientation, and confusion. These injuries can last months, years, or even be permanent.
Spinal Cord Injuries
In addition to traumatic brain injuries, many victims may also suffer serious spinal cord injuries. These injuries can cause paralysis, and often are permanent.
Focused more on the soft tissue and muscles of the neck, whiplash is a very severe injury that can go unnoticed for some time after a trucking accident. However, the damage can include excruciating pain and take a very long time to resolve.
Trucking accident victims may also suffer from burns due to the large quantities of diesel carried in truck fuel tanks. Fuel tank ruptures, or simply the impact, can be enough to ignite the fuel, setting fires and burning victims. The recovery time for burn victims can be years, and often, victims are left with permanent damage, pain, and a lifetime of physical therapy and medical issues.
Typically, internal injuries occur in trucking accidents due to the massive impact the truck will have on any other vehicle. These internal injuries can range from minor to life-threatening and need to be evaluated by a medical professional immediately.
The statistics regarding trucking accidents are harrowing and, unfortunately, show that many of these accidents end with fatalities. If a trucking accident involves a fatal injury, this is called a “wrongful death.” If your loved one was a victim of a trucking accident due to someone else’s negligence, you have the right to compensation for the loss of your family member.
Pennsylvania Insurance Laws
Pennsylvania is known as a “choice no-fault” state. This means that as the victim of a trucking accident, you have the right to determine if you want to opt-in or out of the “no-fault” rules.
This choice is based on several factors, the first being your own insurance coverage. If you decided to choose “no-fault coverage” when you purchased your car insurance policy, you will likely need to file a personal injury claim after a trucking accident with your personal injury protection coverage to receive compensation for your damages. In this case, there are only certain conditions that will allow you to bring a claim against the truck driver if he/she was at fault.
This aspect of the law is rather complicated. Berger and Green can help you understand what your options are concerning insurance after a trucking accident. Call (412) 661-1400 today for a free case review.
Statute of Limitations in Pennsylvania
PA § 5524 states that you have approximately two years from the date of the trucking accident to file a lawsuit. If you fail to file during that time, you will likely lose the opportunity to receive compensation for your injuries, damages, and lost wages.
Contact a Meadville, PA Truck Accident Lawyer
If you were injured in a trucking accident, you may be facing severe injuries that could last months, years, or the rest of your life. Contacting a Meadville truck accident lawyer can help you build your case and receive compensation for your injuries that were due to someone else’s negligence. Contact Berger and Green at (412) 661-1400 today for a free consultation regarding your case.