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May 18, 2017

Truck Accidents Are Dangerous, Says Philadelphia Auto Accident Attorney Gabriel Levin

Philadelphia Truck Accident Attorney

If you have driven anywhere in the Philadelphia area, you have certainly seen large commercial trucks like semis, tankers, big-rigs, and flatbeds traveling from place to place. While the majority of trips undertaken by commercial vehicles go smoothly and without incident, it is important to remember that the vehicles are capable of causing serious injury when they are involved in accidents and pose a risk to everyone who shares the road with them.

At The Levin Firm, we are committed to representing the rights of individuals who have been injured in truck accidents in and around Philadelphia and throughout the state. Below is some information about truck accidents and truck accident litigation that may be helpful to motorists generally and people who have been hurt in a wreck with a commercial truck in particular.

Truck Accidents Are Often the Result of Truck Driver Negligence

The rules of the road are there to keep us all safe. Hypothetically, if everyone followed all traffic laws at all times, accidents would almost never happen. Unfortunately, as we all know, motor vehicle accidents occur on a daily basis, and they are often attributable to the negligence of a single driver. There are many ways that a truck driver’s negligence can result in a serious accident. Some of the more common examples of such negligence include:

  • Speeding
  • Distracted driving
  • Hours of service violations
  • Following too closely
  • Ignoring adverse weather conditions
  • Failure to yield the right of way
  • Drunk or drugged driving
  • Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation (FMCSR) violations

Truck Crashes Can Cause Extremely Serious Injuries

Trucks often weigh 20-30 times as much as the passenger vehicles with which they share the road. When they are involved in collisions, they can literally crush other vehicles and cause extremely serious injuries to the people inside. Examples of injuries that are commonly sustained in truck accidents include the following:

In many cases, victims who sustain injuries like those listed above or others are unable to work for an extended period of time and incur medical bills well into the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars. In particularly serious cases, victims will need ongoing care for the rest of their lives and may be unable to earn a living.
The fact that these injuries can be so serious and have such devastating consequences means that truck accident victims can often recover significant compensation for their current and future losses.

Truck Accident Victims Should ALWAYS Retain an Attorney

Many truck accident victims question whether they need to retain a lawyer to represent them, especially if the trucking company’s or truck driver’s insurance company is making a settlement offer. It is important to understand that determining the value of a truck accident case is a complicated matter, and you need to have an idea of what your case is worth before accepting a settlement offer. In addition, insurance companies have been known to engage in tactics that are designed to get victims to accidentally admit liability for their accident, so it is best to allow your lawyer to communicate with the insurance company on your behalf.

You Will Not Pay Legal Fees Unless You Recover Compensation

As a truck accident victim, you may be worried about how much it will cost you to retain an attorney. Because we take all our injury cases on a contingency fee basis, you can rest assured that you will be able to afford legal representation. Our fees are contingent upon recovering money on your behalf, which means that we do not get paid unless you do.

Call a Philadelphia Auto Accident Lawyer Today to Schedule a Free Consultation

If you have been injured in an accident with a commercial truck, you should enlist the help of an experienced lawyer as soon as you can. To schedule a free consultation with one of our lawyers, call The Levin Firm today at 215-825-5183 or contact us online.

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April 27, 2017

Philadelphia Semi-truck Accident Attorneys Offer Accident Tips

Semi Accident Attorneys in PA

Accidents involving large trucks injure thousands of people every year. In many cases, these wrecks are the result of negligence1 on the part of the truck driver or another party responsible for the truck or its cargo, meaning that victims are often entitled to compensation. A check does not get put in the mail automatically after an accident, however, and there are certain things that victims can do in order to maximize their chances of recovery, some of which are detailed below.

Do Not Apologize

While apologizing after an accident may seem like good manners, it is not a good idea to say you’re sorry after a car crash, as doing so can be interpreted as an admission of fault. After an accident, you should be polite, exchange information with the other drivers involved, and answer any questions that the police ask, but be sure not to say anything that could be taken as an apology.

Be Careful with Your Social Media Use

While involvement in a truck accident may seem social media-worthy, it is important to keep in mind that social media posts can have an effect on the way that your case is resolved. For example, if you post pictures of yourself exercising, traveling, or engaging in other activities that could be seen as indicating that your injuries are not as severe as you are claiming, it could affect your settlement or award. Likewise, things you post about the way your accident occurred could inadvertently indicate that you were at fault for your accident.

See Your Doctor as Soon as You Can

You should always see your doctor as soon as possible after an accident. Waiting to do so may allow the insurance company to argue that your injuries were the result of an intervening cause rather than the accident itself.

Additionally, you should undergo a medical evaluation, even if you do not believe that your injuries warrant seeing a doctor. Doing so will ensure that your injuries are evaluated and that you start any necessary treatment as soon as possible. In addition, it will result in the generation of a medical record that may be useful when it comes to establishing causation2 and damages, both of which are essential parts of a truck accident case.

Call a Lawyer

Truck accident litigation is complicated, and victims who do not retain legal counsel run the risk of accepting a settlement far below what their case is actually worth. They also might say or do something that could jeopardize their ability to recover at all. For this reason, anyone hurt in a truck accident should call a personal injury attorney soon as possible.

Call a Philadelphia Semi Truck Accident Lawyer Today to Schedule a Free Consultation

If you have been hurt in an accident involving a semi-trucks or another large commercial vehicle, you should contact a lawyer as soon as you can. The Philadelphia truck accident lawyers at The Levin Firm are committed to providing victims with aggressive and effective legal representation. To schedule a free case evaluation with one of our lawyers, call our office today at 215-825-5183 or contact us online.

1 https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/negligence

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April 20, 2017

Tractor Trailer Accident Dangers: What to Look Out For

Truck Accident Lawyers in PA

It should be no surprise that crashes involving large commercial trucks can cause severe injuries. Some truck accident victims have their lives completely changed, as they may suffer permanent disabilities or impairments because of their injuries. These injuries can keep people from earning a living. Some people might even require assistance with everyday activities and personal care. Truck accident victims also commonly incur significant medical expenses and other financial losses.

Because of the substantial dangers associated with tractor trailer crashes, it is important to be aware of what to watch for on the highway and how to react. The following are some signs that there may be risks of a truck crashing.

  • Erratic driving – Truck drivers can make driving errors or engage in dangerous behavior just like any other driver. Sometimes, you can see signs that a truck driver may be impaired, distracted, or falling asleep at the wheel before an accident happens. If a trailer is swaying or swerving or if the truck is unnecessarily fluctuating in speed, you should stay as far away from the truck as possible. In addition, if you see a truck that is speeding or making dangerous lane changes, these are signs that the truck driver may be aggressive and may cause harm.
  • High winds or other dangerous conditions – Trucks are more difficult to operate and maneuver than smaller passenger vehicles are. Because of the height and length of trucks, certain conditions can cause a driver to lose control and crash. For example, heavy gusts of wind can throw a trailer off balance, leading to a crash. Other conditions that may be dangerous include icy conditions and steep road inclines. Additionally, heavy fog may make it difficult for other drivers to see the trailer of a truck.
  • Tanker or HAZMAT trucks – Tanker trucks and hazardous material (HAZMAT) trucks often carry toxic, corrosive, or flammable materials. In the event of a crash, the trailer could leak. Such chemicals can spill into the surrounding area or be released into the air, which can lead to widespread injury for anyone in the area. There is also a risk that flammable cargo will catch fire or explode after a crash. If you see a tanker or HAZMAT truck that has crashed, get as far away from the accident as you can to avoid any injuries.
  • Flatbed trucks – The trailers of traditional semitrucks have walls and a ceiling that holds the cargo inside. However, some cargo is too large or heavy or awkwardly shaped to fit into a traditional trailer. In such situations, a flatbed trailer may be used. When a flatbed trailer crashes, there are no walls to contain the cargo. Large, heavy objects may spill into the road and cause additional injuries and damage. Such cargo can include large logs, heavy machinery, other vehicles, and other dangerous items.

If you believe you witness any potential signs of dangerous truck driving or a possible crash, get as far ahead of the truck as possible or stay far enough behind the truck to avoid being involved in a collision. In addition, if a truck crashes in front of you, make sure you are focused so that you can react in time and avoid a chain reaction crash.

In the event you are in a truck accident, determining what caused the accident is critical to seeking compensation for your financial losses as well as pain and suffering. Investigating the cause of a crash can require many resources, so you want to seek assistance from an attorney who has the knowledge and ability to identify the cause of a crash.

All circumstances can be considered during a truck accident investigation, including any signs you witnessed of erratic driving, dangerous conditions, or other potential indications of a truck crash prior to the accident occurring. You should always write down what you witnessed, as even the slightest details can help lead to a determination of what caused the accident so that you can hold the responsible party liable for your losses.

Contact a Philadelphia Truck Accident Attorney for More Information

It is important to be safe and avoid a truck accident whenever possible. However, if you were injured in a truck crash, you should not wait to call a skilled truck accident lawyer at The Levin Firm in Philadelphia. Please contact us today at 215-825-5183 for a free consultation.

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March 8, 2017

Protecting Yourself From Highway Truck Accidents

Truck Accident lawyer in PA

Whether you are driving a long distance on a highway road trip with your family or are simply commuting to work in the morning, chances are likely you will encounter a large commercial truck on your drive. While these trucks are necessary to keep the economy running in the U.S., they are also involved in more than 100,000 crashes per year, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).1

Because of the inherent risks of injury that exist when driving on the highway near tractor-trailers, it is essential that every driver knows how to protect themselves and avoid a crash whenever possible. The following are only some ways you can protect yourself from a highway truck accident.

Know the Common Causes of Truck Accidents

If you know the most common reasons for truck crashes, you may be able to recognize the signs that an accident may be about to occur. Some of these common causes include:

  • Distracted, impaired, or fatigued driving
  • Malfunctioning truck parts or mechanical failures
  • Speeding in poor weather conditions
  • Lack of proper reflectors or other conspicuity requirements on trailers
  • Coupling failures or other factors that can lead to jackknife accidents

For example, if you see a trailer suddenly start swinging from side to side on the back of a truck, it may be an indication that the coupling is failing or the trailer is off balance and that a jackknife may occur. This should be a sign to slow down and stay out of the path of the truck or on the side of the truck at all costs.

Steer Clear of Dangerous Drivers

We have all likely seen a car swerving, departing its lane, over-correcting, or making other sudden and unusual maneuvers. These are generally signs that the driver is engaging in distracted driving, is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or may even be falling asleep at the wheel. The same is true for truck drivers and you should stay as far away as possible from trucks that are moving in an unusual manner.

In addition, many truck drivers may engage in aggressive driving if they are impatient or encounter slower traffic and this can be especially dangerous. Signs that a truck driver is aggressive include:

  • Following you too closely (tailgating)
  • Cutting you off by changing lanes
  • Making offensive or threatening gestures or comments
  • Excessive speeding
  • Unnecessary horn honking or flashing headlights
  • Following you off the highway

If a truck driver seems aggressive, give them plenty of room on the road. You should never try to engage in a confrontation or stand your ground against a large semi truck. Instead, it is a good idea to diffuse the situation by refraining from returning any comments or gestures and by moving out of their way. If a truck driver follows you on an exit and you believe you may be at risk, call the police.

Avoid No-Zones

“No-zones” are the blind spots on a large truck and they can be substantial. No-zones exist behind the trailer, alongside both sides of the trailer, directly in front of the trailer, and next to the passenger side door of the tractor. If you need to pass a truck or drive in a no-zone, do so quickly and try to get out of the no-zone as soon as possible. Always remember that you should be able to see the truck driver – either directly or in the rear view mirror – or else the truck driver likely cannot see you.

Move Over for Stopped Trucks

When a truck driver has an issue on the road, they may not be able to make it to a truck stop and they may pull over on the shoulder of the highway or of an exit ramp. While truck drivers have a particular protocol they should follow when pulled over,2 they do not always take all necessary steps. You can increase your safety by trying to never pass directly by a pulled over truck and instead move over to an outer lane, which can help avoid a collision with the trailer.

In the Event of a Crash, Call Our Philadelphia Truck Accident Lawyer for Help

Even if you are as careful as possible, you may still be injured in a crash with a commercial driver. At The Levin Firm, we know how serious such injuries can be and how complex truck cases can get. We regularly represent truck accident victims and help them recover financially. Call a Philadelphia truck accident attorney at (215) 825-5183 for help today.

1https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/sites/fmcsa.dot.gov/files/docs/LTCF2015%20Early%20Release.pdf

2https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/49/392.22

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March 1, 2017

Should All Trucks Be Required To Have Cameras As A Safety Measure?

Truck Accident Lawyers in Philadelphia

Every time commercial truck drivers head out onto the highway, they have the lives of hundreds of other motorists in their hands. These large vehicles dwarf passenger cars and SUVs and can easily cause severe if not fatal injuries if the truck driver crashes. For this reason, truck drivers are held to a higher standard of safety on the roads than other drivers.

Unfortunately, it is important to realize that, despite this higher standard, truck drivers are only human. They can make honest mistakes and can also make errors in judgment that lead them to engage in potentially dangerous behaviors, and 102,000 commercial drivers were involved in crashes in 2015 alone.1 If an accident occurs due to negligence,2 a truck driver and their employer should be held liable for all of the losses incurred by accident victims, including medical bills, pain and suffering, income lost, and more.

In order to seek compensation, however, a victim must prove that the driver was negligent. This can be difficult if no one witnessed the driver’s behavior and if there is no concrete evidence of what the driver did. One solution in recent years to both protect victims and hold truck drivers accountable for unsafe behaviors is for companies to install cameras in commercial vehicles.

How the Cameras Work

There are two main types of cameras that are being installed in trucks – forward-facing and driver-facing. Cameras that face forward toward the road will record the traffic, road, and weather conditions that the driver sees in front of them. If a crash occurs, footage can reveal whether a driver reacted to those conditions in a proper manner. Delays in reaction time can indicate distraction, fatigue, or other negligent issues.

Cameras facing the driver focus on the actual behaviors of the truck driver. For example:

  • Did the driver look away from the road to reach behind the passenger seat?
  • Was the driver texting or using a cell phone in violation of the law?
  • Was there a passenger that caused unsafe distractions?
  • Did the driver’s behavior seem impaired for any reason?
  • Did the driver fall asleep at the wheel?
  • Did the driver drink an alcoholic beverage or take drugs while driving?

All of these questions could be answered by watching the video footage from the driver-facing camera. These cameras can make it much easier for truck accident victims to prove negligence and recover for all of their injuries and losses.

How Cameras Increase Safety

Not only do commercial truck cameras help in the wake of a crash, they can also help to prevent crashes, to begin with. For instance, a truck driver may be tempted to take a swig of an alcoholic beverage if he thinks no one is looking or that no one will ever find out. The same goes for a driver who is alone in the cab sending a quick text message, assuming no harm or consequences will result.

However, if a commercial driver knows there is a camera focused on either them or the road in front of the truck, they may simply avoid any behaviors that may get them into trouble. This, in turn, can work to improve safety on the roads and decrease the number of crashes that occur due to preventable negligence.

Some trucking industry experts and drivers state that the cameras are an invasion of privacy and that no one wants to be constantly monitored while behind the wheel. However, individuals in other workplaces have their behavior regularly monitored by supervisors and cameras while they are on the job. Truck drivers should not expect differently, especially in exchange for safety risks.

While there is no current requirement for all trucks to have safety cameras, many large companies have caught onto the trend3 and there may be a regulation passed in the coming years mandating cameras on every commercial vehicle.

Discuss Your Rights with a Philadelphia Truck Accident Attorney Today

While safety measures may be improving in the trucking industry, crashes still occur each and every day across the United States. At The Levin Firm, we know how devastating the injuries and damage from a truck accident can be. We represent the rights of victims against truck drivers and trucking companies to ensure you obtain the compensation you need and deserve. Call for a free consultation today at 215-825-5183.

1https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/sites/fmcsa.dot.gov/files/docs/LTCF2015%20Early%20Release.pdf

2https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/negligence

3http://fortune.com/2015/05/26/driver-facing-truck-cameras/

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February 17, 2017

How Negligent Trucking Companies Cause Accidents

Truck Accident Lawyers in PA

While truck driver mistakes are the main cause of commercial truck collisions, there are many ways that trucking companies can be negligent and lead to a crash and serious injuries. The following are only some examples of negligence for which trucking companies may be held responsible.

Hiring Practices

Every trucking company should have a careful hiring system to ensure that they do not allow anyone who is unsafe or unqualified to operate their commercial trucks. Truck companies should always review a potential driver’s health records, driving record, criminal record, and qualifications such as a valid commercial driver’s license and any necessary endorsements for the job.

In many cases, a company may not thoroughly vet an applicant or may hire friends or family members despite negative facts. A company may be deemed negligent if they hire an unlicensed commercial driver, someone with a history of driving under the influence or other serious traffic violations, someone with a serious and untreated health issues, or any other red flags that should indicate to a company that the driver will put motorists at risk of harm.

Insufficient Supervision or Discipline

As an employer, a trucking company should always stay aware of the actions of its employees. If a truck driver violates a regulation or law, the company should know through careful supervision and should take necessary disciplinary measures to prevent further danger in the future. For example, if a driver fails a drug or alcohol test or has been driving while impaired, a company should take immediate action to suspend the employee until they are sure the employee has received proper treatment.

If a driver is found to be violating hours of service regulations set out by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA),1 a trucking company should keep close track of their time records to ensure that they do not continue to commit such violations. If a company failed to properly supervise or discipline drivers, it could be help liable for any accidents that result from dangerous employees.

Neglecting Trucks in the Fleet

Whether a trucking company has one truck or an entire fleet of trucks, the company has the duty to keep those trucks in safe and working condition. All trucks should be regularly inspected for any possible defects that may need to be repaired. If any defects exist, they should be fixed before the truck goes back out onto the road. In addition to repairs, regular maintenance must be performed to prevent any issues on the road.

If a truck has been poorly maintained and brake failure or a tire blowout causes a crash, many people can be seriously injured. The injured accident victims would be able to hold the trucking company liable for their losses.

Failing to Perform Required Alcohol or Drug Tests

Because driving a large commercial truck while impaired by drugs and alcohol is extraordinarily dangerous, the FMCSA strictly regulates all types of impaired commercial driving. One requirement2 is that trucking companies must regularly perform random alcohol and drug testing on drivers, either before or after their shifts. In addition, if a driver is in an accident that causes serious injury or damage, an alcohol and drug screening must be performed.

When trucking companies do not perform the necessary chemical tests, it can allow drivers with alcohol or drug issues continue to drive while impaired and go undetected. If drivers know that their employers do not test, they may even be encouraged to push the envelope and drive while intoxicated.

Pushing Drivers to Violate FMCSA Regulations

In some circumstances, trucking companies have even encouraged drivers to violate certain regulations set out by the FMCSA. One common example is requesting that drivers make deliveries faster than they can while adhering to the hours of service regulations. If drivers are pushed to do so, they can become fatigued and can crash. In addition, companies may also create false records to make it appear as if their drivers are in compliance when they truly are violating the law.

Call to Speak with an Experienced Philadelphia Truck Accident Attorney

At The Levin Firm, we are committed to holding negligent trucking companies liable for the harm they cause in truck collisions. If you have been injured in a truck crash, you need an attorney who can identify all possible liable parties so you can obtain the most compensation possible. Please contact our truck accident lawyers for a free consultation at (215) 825-5183 today.

1https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/hours-of-service

2https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/drug-alcohol-testing-program

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July 8, 2016

Truck Accidents can Require Complicated Evidence

Truck Accidents can Require Complicated Evidence

If you are injured in a truck accident, it is not enough to simply claim the truck driver or trucking company was at fault. Instead, you must present enough evidence to sufficiently prove that one of these parties acted in a negligent manner. Evidence in truck accident cases can be more complicated than in a regular car accident case, and the following are some of many types of evidence that may help in your case.

The “Black Box”

After a plane crash, authorities are often focused on recovering the “black box” to help determine the cause of the accident. Commercial trucks also have black boxes and these can be very helpful following a truck accident. “Black box” refers to the event data recorder, which records data regarding speed, braking, and other operational functions of the truck. The black box can show whether a truck driver failed to brake or was speeding just before the collision. These can all be signs that the driver was acting in a careless or negligent manner that led to the crash.

Dashboard Cameras

Many–but not all–trucking companies have begun installing dashboard cameras in the trucks in their fleet. Some of these cameras face out toward the road in front of the truck and the footage can show whether a driver was tailgating, making unsafe lane changes, swerving, or slammed on the brakes, which can indicate distracted driving. Some trucks also have cameras that record the actions of the driver and, after a crash, the footage will reveal whether the driver was engaging in distracted driving, falling asleep, or even drinking alcohol behind the wheel. For these reasons, camera footage can be very useful to prove negligence on the part of the truck driver.

Citations

Truck drivers are expected to follow all traffic laws as well as numerous additional rules and regulations enacted and enforced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).1 Some of these regulations involve:

Driving under the influence Commercial drivers have a lower legal limit of 0.04% blood alcohol content (BAC).

Handheld device ban — Regulations prohibit commercial drivers from using a handheld device2 to text, talk, or for any other purpose. There are also limits on hands-free cell phone use.

Inspections — Drivers are required to perform thorough safety inspections of the rig before every driving shift.

Hours of service3 These regulations require drivers to take rest breaks after a certain number of hours or days on the road to prevent fatigued driving.

If a driver is cited by local law enforcement or by the FMCSA for violating a law, that citation can be used as evidence of negligence in your legal claim.

Alcohol and Drug Testing

According to the FMCSA, truck drivers must be tested for alcohol and/or drugs following certain accidents. For example, if a crash resulted in a fatality, the driver must always be tested. Testing must also occur if the driver was cited for a moving violation and the crash caused injury or serious damage. Some companies have policies to test drivers after every accident. If the results of post-accident testing indicate the driver was over the legal limit or had illegal drugs in their system, you can use this important evidence to hold the driver liable.

Accidents Investigations

After serious truck accidents, the federal National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) may send investigators to determine the cause of the accident. Even if the NTSB does not involve itself in the crash, private accident reconstruction specialists can evaluate the circumstances of the accident and provide expert analysis and conclusions about what caused the accident. Finding of either the NTSB or private experts can be helpful evidence in your case.

Logbooks and Records

Both FMCSA regulations and trucking company policies require that drivers and other company employees keep careful records regarding a variety of issues. Some records that may be helpful in your truck accident case can include:

  • Logbooks showing hours and days a driver worked;
  • Delivery schedules;
  • Records from dispatchers;
  • Driving records and accident history of truck drivers;
  • Maintenance and inspection records.

Call a Philadelphia Truck Accident Attorney for a Free Consultation

You may not know where to begin in gathering the types of evidence you need to prove negligence in your truck accident case. At The Levin Firm, we have the resources to obtain and present complex evidence in your case so that you can recover for your losses. Please call a Philadelphia truck accident lawyer today at 215-825-5183 for help.

1https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations

2https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/title49/section/392.82

3https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/hours-of-service

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January 26, 2016

Should I settle my truck accident claim?

The Levin Firm at (215) 825-5183.

 

Whether you should settle your truck accident claim will depend on a number of factors. Individuals involved in auto accidents tend to sustain much more serious and devastating injuries when trucks are involved in those accidents. More often than not, small passenger vehicles hardly stand a chance against large trucks and as a result, sustain more damage. If you or a loved one were involved in a truck accident, you are entitled to compensation for your injuries.

What is a settlement?

There are generally two types of settlements:

  • Lump-sum settlement – A lump sum settlement is one that is paid in full, all at once.
  • Structured settlement – A structured settlement is paid in regular, recurring payments spread over a period of time.

An experienced truck accident attorney will understand your needs and be able to evaluate which settlement is right for you. Your attorney will also help you determine whether settling is the best option for your unique case.

How do I get a settlement?

A legal settlement is usually reached when the parties are able to arrive at an agreement outside of court. There are several methods that can be used by an attorney to settle your truck accident case. These methods include:

  • Arbitration
  • Mediation
  • Negotiation

Often, claims for damages that arise from a trucking accident can be settled. And in the event that a settlement is reached in your case, it is important to have an understanding of the types of settlements usually available to individuals involved in truck accidents. Below are some of the pros and cons of settling your truck accident claim:

Pros

  • Settling a claim is generally less expensive than going to court.
  • Settling a claim allows the parties to confidentially present their positions without admitting fault.
  • The parties are generally able to reach an amicable settlement agreement because they are able to discuss difficult issues calmly and rationally.

Cons

  • The injured party may end up settling their claim for much less than they would have been awarded if successful in court.
  • Usually, the injured party gives up their right to pursue any other legal claim in connection with the accident.

How much will I get from my settlement?

Determining the compensation you may be entitled after a truck accident is more difficult than most people imagine. This is because you may be entitled to more damages than simply physical injuries and property damage. Being in a truck accident can be devastating enough, and when you are the injured party in a passenger vehicle, the resulting injuries can be severe, which is why it is critical that an experienced personal injury attorney helps you navigate your legal options.

Calculating damages can be challenging, and the amount of your settlement will depend on many factors such as complexity of your case, the nature and severity of your injuries, and the amount of the claim. Other factors that can help determine the amount of the pain and suffering damages you may be entitled to include:

  • Any aggravating circumstances.
  • The length of time it took you to recover from your injuries.
  • Whether you were able to recover completely from your injuries.

When trying to determine the extent of the damages you are entitled to, it is important to also think about the following:

Lost income/wages
Present and future quality of life
Whether you have suffered permanent injuries
The extent of your property damage
Emotional stress
Potential to be gainfully employed

The Philadelphia tractor trailer and truck accident lawyers at The Levin Firm understand these issues, and work with our clients, their friends, and family, as well as their doctors, psychologists, long-term care planners, and others – to assure that our clients receive not only the finest legal representation but also the finest support and medical care.

When you need a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania or New Jersey personal injury attorney to represent you, a family member or friend who has suffered a tractor trailer accident injury, contact The Levin Firm at (215) 825-5183. We represent every client zealously in order to obtain the best results possible in each case.

Sources

1. http://www.levininjuryfirm.com/practice-areas/automobile-accidents/tractor-trailer-accidents/

2. http://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/how-to-calculate-a-truck-accident-settlement

3. http://injury.findlaw.com/car-accidents/trucking-accident-settlements-what-to-expect.html

4. http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/trucking-accident

5. http://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/how-to-calculate-a-truck-accident-settlement

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December 22, 2015

Increased Danger for Truck Accidents During Winter

philadelphia trucking accident attorney

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA),[1] about 95,000 individuals sustained injuries in about 342,000 crashes involving large commercial trucks in 2013 alone. While truck accidents can occur at any time, there is often an increased risk of these collisions during the winter months and holiday season. The following are only a few examples of reasons why there may be a higher number of commercial truck accidents during this time.

Winter weather conditions – Snow, ice, and sleet are, unfortunately, a huge part of the winter in and around Philadelphia. Every driver should know that these types of adverse weather can cause dangerous road conditions and that they should slow down and be more careful when they get behind the wheel. Commercial truck drivers also have a duty to drive in a reasonably safe manner in winter weather conditions. However, because their vehicles are so large and heavy, they often feel they have more control than drivers of smaller, lighter passenger vehicles. Additionally, because truck drivers drive for a living, they may believe they have greater skill to maneuver their trucks in winter weather. This may result in the failure to slow down, keep a safe following distance, pass other vehicles cautiously, and other necessary behaviors to avoid crashing in winter weather.

Increased number of trucks on the roads – Many people do their holiday shopping online or have packages shipped to friends and family across the country. In additions, retail stores know that shopping increases significantly over the holidays and, therefore, increases their inventory during this time. All of this can result in a larger amount of goods being transported from place to place, requiring a greater number of commercial semi-trucks and tractor trailers on the highways. Just the increase of trucks can naturally result in an increased risks of collisions involving these trucks.

Drivers want to get home for the holidays – Just like anyone else, commercial truck drivers often cannot wait to get off work and return home to their families for holiday celebrations, gatherings, or simply for quality time. Truck drivers often spend many consecutive days away from home, so it is no surprise that they may be in a rush to get back home during this time. The sooner they finish their deliveries, the sooner they can be finished with their trip and take a few days off. This may lead to truck drivers speeding or engaging in other unsafe behaviors. Additionally, truck drivers may violate the hours of service regulations set out by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) [2] in order to drive longer shifts, which may result in fatigued driving or even falling asleep behind the wheel.

More traffic on the highways – In addition to more trucks on the roads, the holidays often means more traffic in general. Many people take time off work, are out and about in their vehicles, or even take road trips to see family or friends for the holidays. Many people may be driving in unfamiliar areas or on unfamiliar highways, which can lead to potentially negligent driving behaviors. Additionally, just an increased volume of traffic can make it more difficult to maneuver a large commercial truck.

When the increased number of trucks is combined with the increased number of passenger vehicles and possibly some winter weather, it should not be a surprise that there may be a higher chance of being involved in a truck accident and suffering serious injuries. Many of these accidents are caused by the negligence of truck drivers, trucking companies, or another third party.

Discuss a possible case with a Philadelphia truck accident attorney as soon as possible

 

If your winter and holiday season was marred by injuries caused in a commercial truck accident, your first call should be to The Levin Firm in Philadelphia. Victims of truck accidents caused by negligence deserve to be fully compensated for all of their losses by any negligent parties, including the truck driver or the trucking company. Truck accident cases can be complex since the trucking company will work to avoid liability at all costs, which means a significant amount of evidence is often necessary especially when fault in the collision is disputed. You need to make sure you have a truck accident lawyer on your side with the skill and resources to successfully handle this type of case. Call our office today at 215-825-5183 for a free consultation.

[1] http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/812150.pdf

[2] https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/hours-of-service

 

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October 19, 2015

Investigating a Philadelphia truck accident claim requires significant resources

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Motorists who regularly drive on Pennsylvania roads or highways have undoubtedly come across large commercial vehicles such as semi-trucks or tanker trucks driving from place to place. When these vehicles are involved in collisions with passenger vehicles, the damage and injuries that are sustained can be tremendous. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports [1] that there were approximately 95,000 people injured in accidents involving large trucks during 2013, and that of this 95,000, 72 percent were the occupants of vehicles which were not large trucks.

When one considers the fact that large commercial trucks can weigh 20 to 30 times as much as smaller passenger cars, this statistic is not surprising. Thankfully for victims, people who are hurt in accidents involving commercial trucks are often legally entitled to compensation under Pennsylvania law.

Litigating a truck accident case can require significant resources, both in terms of time and money. The reality of the situation is that many truck accident victims simply do not have access to these resources and may not be able to obtain the full value of their claim as a result. Furthermore, trucking companies understand that they operate in a high-risk area, meaning that they often have legal teams at the ready to defend against accident claims. For these reasons, it is extremely important for truck accident victims to retain a law firm with the resources required to adequately represent their interests. Some of the ways in which a Philadelphia truck accident attorney can help are detailed below.

An attorney will thoroughly investigate your claim

Truck accident cases are often contested, meaning that a plaintiff must produce evidence in support of his or her assertion that an accident was the result of negligence. In many instances, obtaining this type of evidence requires significant investigation. An attorney will be able to use the discovery process in order to compel the production of this type of evidence and present in such a way that a court or jury will understand and be responsive. The kinds of evidence that may be relevant to a truck accident case include hours-of-service logbooks, police reports, witness statements, photographic evidence, and any surveillance footage that may have captured the accident taking place.

An attorney will cover any up-front costs associated with litigation

In many truck accident cases, there are significant costs associated with litigating a case. Often, the process of gathering and analyzing evidence takes a significant amount of assistance from support staff. In addition, it may be necessary to consult with trucking industry experts in order to establish to a judge or jury that negligence occurred and caused the accident in which you were involved. Often, these experts can charge hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars per hour. When you retain a lawyer, he or she will pay for these costs and will not pass them through to you unless you recover compensation for your injuries.

The Levin Firm takes all of its personal injury cases on a contingent fee basis

Individuals who are hurt in truck accidents often are worried that they will not be able to retain an attorney because they cannot afford one. At the Levin Firm, we use a contingent fee [2] arrangement with all of our personal injury clients, meaning that they will not be required to pay any legal fees unless we successfully recover on their behalf. If we do recover, any fees owed for legal representation will come directly out of the recovery received, meaning that clients never have to pay out of pocket for legal services. By using this type of arrangement, we can ensure that anyone who needs legal representation is able to obtain it, regardless of their financial circumstances.

Contact a Philadelphia motor vehicle accident lawyer today to retain legal representation

The most effective way for an individual who has been hurt in an accident involving a commercial truck to ensure that they receive compensation for their injuries is to retain an experienced attorney as soon as possible. The kinds of losses that victims can recover for include medical expenses, lost income, loss of quality of life, property damage, and physical and emotional pain and suffering. In serious cases, the recovery that truck accident victims can obtain can be well into the hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars, so it is extremely important for victims to retain an attorney that will aggressively pursue their claim.

Since 2005, the Levin Firm has been helping people injured in truck crashes and other preventable accidents. To schedule a free consultation with Philadelphia car accident lawyer Gabriel Levin, call our office today at 877-825-8542 or send us an email through our online contact form.

[1]  http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/812150.pdf

[2] http://www.americanbar.org/groups/public_education/resources/law_issues_for_consumers/lawyerfees_contingent.html

 

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