Truck Accident Lawyer
Commercial trucking accidents are a reality on our busy roadways. Because of the immense size and weight of these vehicles, accidents involving large trucks often lead to significant damage and severe injuries, which can drastically affect the lives of those involved. The complexities of dealing with such accidents extend beyond immediate physical injuries to encompass emotional trauma and financial implications.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Understanding the root causes of commercial truck accidents can help to address these types of accidents and reduce their occurrence. Below are some common reasons why they happen:
- Speeding: In the trucking industry, time is money. Drivers may be tempted to speed to meet strict deadlines, but high-speed trucks are harder to control and stop, increasing the risk of accidents.
- Reckless Driving: Similar to speeding, reckless driving behaviors such as changing lanes without signaling, tailgating, and improper turning can lead to dangerous situations on the road.
- Distracted Driving: Truck drivers spend long hours on the road. Distractions, such as using a GPS or eating while driving, can lead to a lapse in focus, possibly resulting in an accident.
- Drowsy Driving: Truck drivers often work long shifts with little rest in between. This fatigue can lead to drowsy driving, which can be as dangerous as driving under the influence.
- Impaired Driving: The use of alcohol or drugs can significantly impair a truck driver’s ability to operate their vehicle safely, leading to potential accidents.
- Overloaded/Unevenly Loaded Trucks: An overloaded truck or one that is unevenly loaded can be difficult to maneuver and cause the driver to lose control, leading to accidents.
- Negligent Maintenance: Trucks require regular maintenance to ensure they function properly. Neglecting this essential task can lead to malfunctions while on the road, which can result in accidents.
- Product Defects: Defective parts can cause a truck to malfunction. For example, faulty brakes or tires can lead to a driver losing control of the vehicle.
A particularly troubling issue within the trucking industry is drowsy driving, often tied to the long hours and demanding deadlines imposed on truck drivers. These drivers are frequently under immense pressure to deliver their loads within tight timeframes, often necessitating extended periods of driving with little to no rest. This lack of proper rest increases the risk of drowsy driving, a dangerous state where drivers struggle to stay alert, have slower reaction times, and are at a higher risk of making errors on the road.
Compounding this problem is the prevalence of sleep apnea among truck drivers. Sleep apnea, a disorder where breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep, can lead to interrupted and poor-quality rest. Studies show that truck drivers with untreated sleep apnea have a higher rate of preventable accidents due to excessive sleepiness. This underlines the importance of comprehensive wellness programs and responsible scheduling within the trucking industry to ensure the safety of both truck drivers and other road users.
Who is Responsible for a Trucking Accident?
Pinpointing who is responsible for a truck accident isn’t always straightforward. Several parties may contribute to these incidents, and unraveling the web of responsibility is often complex. It’s crucial to understand each player’s role in the accident to ensure that all negligent parties are held accountable.
In addition to the truck driver, here are some of the other parties that could be held liable for a crash:
Truck Driver’s Employer
The company that employs the truck driver may bear some responsibility for an accident. Employers are often under intense pressure to meet delivery deadlines, which can lead to them imposing unrealistic schedules on their drivers. In addition, companies might skimp on providing proper training due to driver shortages, placing inadequately trained drivers on the road.
The company responsible for loading the truck’s cargo can also be a factor in truck accidents. In their haste to get the truck on the road, they might overload the truck or distribute the load unevenly. An improperly loaded truck is harder to control and more prone to tipping over, especially during maneuvers or in high winds.
The party who owns or leases the truck could bear some responsibility if the accident was due to poor vehicle condition. Truck owners are obligated to keep their vehicles in good working order. If they fail to conduct regular checks and maintenance, issues such as brake failure or tire blowouts could lead to accidents.
If a maintenance provider performed substandard work or neglected necessary repairs, they might be at fault. Poor maintenance can lead to the malfunctioning of critical systems, causing accidents.
If a defect in the truck or one of its components caused the accident, the manufacturer could be liable. Sometimes, even with the best maintenance practices, a defective part can fail and cause an accident. In such cases, the manufacturer may be held responsible for the damage caused.
Pursuing a Truck Accident Claim in Pennsylvania
Trucking accident cases in Pennsylvania are complex and often very difficult to pursue. Commercial trucking is governed by a detailed set of laws and regulations aimed at ensuring safety on the road. These include rules on driving hours, maintenance schedules, cargo loading, and more.
Violations of these rules and regulations often contribute to accidents, but identifying and proving these violations requires a thorough understanding of the regulatory landscape. Furthermore, these regulations are frequently updated, necessitating constant vigilance to stay informed.
Another layer of complexity stems from the fact that multiple parties may bear responsibility for a trucking accident as we talked about earlier. Each party will likely have its own insurance provider, all of whom may attempt to shift blame to limit their financial liability. Dealing with multiple insurance companies can be a complicated and frustrating experience in and of itself, requiring extensive negotiation skills.
Moreover, given the size and weight of commercial trucks, accidents involving them often result in severe injuries, adding to the stakes of the claim. Trucking companies and their insurers understand this, and they often dedicate substantial resources to fighting these claims and minimizing their losses.
Because of all this, managing a truck accident claim requires specialized knowledge and experience. It is not a task that an average person can easily undertake. Truck accident cases are distinctly challenging, requiring an attorney with specific experience in this field. Such an attorney should be well-versed in the nuances of trucking laws and regulations, skilled in negotiating with multiple parties, and adept at navigating the intricacies of truck crash claims.
Contact Our Skilled and Knowledgeable Truck Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one has been involved in a truck accident in Pennsylvania, Washington DC, or Maryland, it is important to consult with an attorney to understand your legal rights and options. Before too much time elapses, get in touch with Kingbird Legal to have your case thoroughly assessed, so you can make the most informed decision on your next steps. Call our office today or message us online for your free, no-obligation consultation.
We work on a contingent fee basis. We do not get paid unless you do.
Kingbird Legal specializes in representing personal injury victims in car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, catastrophic injury cases, wrongful death, premises liability (“slip and fall”) accidents, medical malpractice and defective product cases.