Driving in the Philadelphia area means sharing the road with commercial trucks and tractor-trailers, which is inherently dangerous. Given that a typical commercial truck outweighs a passenger vehicle by several thousand pounds, a collision can be devastating for the occupants of the smaller vehicle. If you have been injured in a truck accident, you may be entitled to significant compensation.
Cooper Schall and Levy has extensive experience handling truck accidents throughout the Philadelphia area, including Delaware, Montgomery, Chester, Lancaster, and Philadelphia Counties, as well as New Jersey. Well-versed in the applicable truck safety and negligence laws, we have a proven history of helping truck accident victims obtain meaningful compensation. We believe that negligent trucking companies and truck drivers must be held accountable for accidents that lead to injuries. When you become our client, we will offer knowledgeable and compassionate service and fight for every dollar you deserve. Please contact our personal injury lawyers for a free evaluation of your case.
Common causes of a truck accident in Philadelphia
Some factors involved in truck accidents include:
- Driver fatigue — Truckers often face strict delivery deadlines and cover vast distances, which can cause a truck driver to become fatigued.
- Distracted driving — Because truck drivers typically rely on GPS devices to map their routes and now use smartphones to communicate with other drivers and dispatchers, distracted truck driving is not uncommon.
- Driving under the influence — Truckers who consume drugs or alcohol or who may rely on illegal or legal substances to stay alert can be held civilly and criminally liable for causing a truck accident.
- Improper loading — Trucks that are overweight or improperly loaded can become difficult to maneuver, increasing the risk of an accident.
- Improper maintenance — Federal laws require commercial trucks to be maintained and inspected on a regular basis so a trucking company can be held liable for an accident that arises from a poorly maintained truck.
- Inexperienced drivers — Trucking companies that put poorly trained truck drivers on the road can be held liable for accident.
- Reckless driving — Truck drivers who speed, make improper lane changes, or take curves too quickly frequently cause truck accidents.
- Poor weather and road conditions — Heavy rains and wind, and wet and icy roads make trucking more difficult, placing truck drivers and other motorists at risk of injury.
Safety Law Violations
A wide variety of state and federal truck safety laws govern trucking companies and truck drivers. First, trucking companies must properly maintain all vehicles: braking systems, steering mechanisms, lights, engines and other mechanical parts must operate properly at all times. Truckers are also required to conduct background checks on new drivers to ensure that they are duly licensed and properly trained. Trucking companies that fail to abide by maintenance and inspection requirements or that put inexperienced drivers on the road too quickly can be held liable for truck accident injuries and fatalities.
Given the inherent risks trucks pose to public safety, truck drivers are held to a higher standard than other motorists to avoid causing injuries to others. Truckers must have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) along with special skills. Truck drivers must also abide by federal safety rules that limit the number of hours they can drive and are required to take regular rest breaks. Both the truck driver and the trucking company can be held liable if violations of these requirements result in a truck accident.
Philadelphia Truck Accident Types
Truck accidents occur in a number of different ways, such as:
- Rollovers — Speeding, improper loading, steep inclines and declines, taking curves to quickly, swerving to avoid objects or other vehicles can all cause a truck rollover accident.
- Jackknifes — This type of truck accident occurs when the axle brakes on a tractor-trailer lock, causing the trailer to skid, tip over, and then come to rest at a 90-degree angle.
- Brake failures — If brakes are Improperly installed or poorly maintained, or the truck driver uses improper braking techniques, the brakes can overheat, particularly in heavy commercial trucks and tractor-trailers.
- Runaway trucks — Skilled truck drivers know how to apply brakes in a way that gradually reduces the truck’s speed. A truck driver that fails to use the proper techniques can cause the brakes to fail, causing a runaway truck accident.
- Blind spots — Trucks and tractor-trailers have large blind spots along the sides and rear of the truck that are referred to as No-Zone areas. Motorists that fail to avoid
- No Zone areas can easily be injured in an accident when a truck turns or changes lanes.
- Rear-end — A truck that rear-ends another vehicle can cause catastrophic injuries to its occupants.
- Under-ride — This type of accident occurs when a tractor-trailer stops without warning and a vehicle traveling behind becomes pinned under the rear trailer.
- Wide turn — If a truck driver underestimates the amount of space needed to complete a turn or fails to notice a smaller vehicle in the path of a trailer, the vehicle can be pinned against guardrails, medians, vehicles and other obstacles.
Contact Our Pennsylvania Truck Accident Attorney
At Cooper Schall and Levy, we have a proven history of holding negligent trucking companies and truck drivers accountable and fighting for the rights of our clients. If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, we believe that you deserve just compensation. If a loved one has been killed as the result of a trucker or trucking company’s negligence, there may be a basis to file a wrongful death lawsuit. No amount of money can replace a life, but it can help you find justice and heal emotionally. Above all, we are committed to helping you obtain the maximum recovery possible. Please contact our office for a free evaluation of your case.