Moving trucks are large vehicles that have the potential to get into serious, sometimes fatal accidents with pedestrians, bicyclists, and other motorists. Unlike other truck accidents, however, liability is usually not clear cut. That can make it difficult for a victim to know exactly who is responsible – and who should therefore be held accountable in court. If you or a loved one were injured because of another party’s negligence, winning the compensation you deserve is no easy task. That’s why Philadelphia moving truck accident victims turn to the dedicated attorneys of Cooper Schall & Levy.
Causes Of Moving Truck Accidents
There are many reasons that moving truck accidents happen, and most point to negligence. After any sort of accident, one of the first things you will need to do is determine what caused it. Some of the most common causes include:
- Driving while distracted. There are more things than ever which can command a driver’s attention. Texting, GPS systems, or even fiddling with the radio can pull a driver’s focus from the road.
- Speeding. It’s never safe to speed, but it’s especially dangerous with a large and heavy vehicle. If a driver is speeding in traffic, at night, or during inclement weather, the risk is compounded.
- Other traffic violations. Running red lights, not signaling lane changes, and illegal or unsafe turns are all bad enough with an automobile. Now consider the effect these violations have on a moving truck.
- Truck defects. Not all causes are necessarily attributable to the driver. Mechanical problems with the moving truck can also make i54et dangerous. These may further be because of a missed safety inspection or a defective part.
What Makes These Accidents More Serious?
Getting into an automobile accident is dangerous enough. But large trucks can cause catastrophic and sometimes life-changing injuries. Moving truck accidents are also more likely to be fatal. These are a few of the reasons they are so disastrous:
- Significant weight and size differences. The average passenger vehicle weighs about 3,000 pounds and is around 15 feet long. Compare this to, for example, U-Haul’s largest moving truck. The truck weighs just under 13,000 pounds – with nothing in it – and is 26 feet long. A truck this big has the potential to mow down an unsuspecting motorist, pedestrian, or bicyclist.
- More care is needed to drive. The size and weight of the truck demand certain precautions like allowing more room to turn. Stopping and changing lanes also take more time and deliberation. How many drivers are really prepared to handle these duties?
- Inexperienced drivers. Although a moving truck is much larger than a vehicle, all you need is a valid driver’s license to rent and drive one. Add significant weight to the truck and that inexperienced driver is much more dangerous.
Who Is Liable?
In a typical automobile accident, the negligent driver and/or the driver’s insurance company will be liable for the victim’s injuries. While proving negligence is always a challenge, identifying the defendant (or defendants) is generally a straightforward matter. Not so with moving truck accidents.
Here are some factors that make this determination more complicated:
Moving truck company versus the driver. Generally, it’s the driver operating the moving truck who will be held liable instead of the moving truck company. But this rule does not always apply.
For example, if the truck company rented the vehicle to an unlicensed driver, it will likely be considered negligent. The same is true if the company had a reason to know the driver was not safe, like if they showed up intoxicated to pick up the vehicle. Another example where the moving truck company could be held liable is where the company didn’t inspect the truck and a defect like brake failure caused the wreck.
Whose insurance is responsible? In almost all moving truck accidents, an insurance policy will ultimately be on the hook for damages. But the key questions are which insurance, and for how much?
Some moving truck companies offer a supplemental insurance policy to drivers, who may or may not purchase it. Drivers also have personal insurance policies that can be tapped to pay for damages. Additionally, the moving truck company could have a policy that, under certain conditions, might apply. The coverage amounts of these respective policies may vary wildly, and it’s critical to figure out which one will be responsible for covering your injuries.
Mechanical problems may complicate things. The moving truck company could be responsible for the accident if it failed to inspect the truck and a mechanical defect later proved responsible. However, even this is not necessarily clear cut.
While the moving truck company has an obligation to take precautions before renting out its vehicles, not all mechanical defects are readily identifiable. There could be a faulty engine part that a reasonable inspection would not uncover. In cases like this, you could have the moving truck company and the parts manufacturer blaming each other.
What To Do After A Moving Truck Accident
These are not simple scenarios, no matter how bad the moving truck accident was. What may start out as an obvious case of company liability could end up with numerous parties pointing fingers at one another. As defendants and potential defendants argue over who is responsible, the victim may be left in limbo.
You simply can’t afford to handle a case like this without a skilled and aggressive moving truck accident attorney in your corner. That’s why you need Cooper Schall & Levy. We understand the unique issues raised by these cases, and we’re ready to fight for you. Call to schedule your consultation with us today and put our experience to the test.