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October 13, 2017

What Causes Truck Drivers to Lose Control and Crash?

Truck driver accident attorney in pa

While semi-trucks are big, fast, and dangerous, we all have to share the road. Our economy and our ever-growing demand for consumer goods ensure that the number of big rigs on the road continues to rise. When you drive in Pennsylvania, you share the road with tractor-trailers. As such, it’s in your best interest to educate yourself about how to stay safe out there.

Stopping Short

The cars we drive are agile and easy to maneuver. In fact, technology related to the powerful braking systems in cars continues to advance. When you’re behind the wheel of your car, you can practically stop on a dime. Semi-trucks, on the other hand, are far too heavy and cumbersome to stop short. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports several important stopping statistics:

  • The stopping times and distances for 18-wheelers are much greater than they are for cars.
  • The stopping distance increases when semis are loaded down or when they are driving under adverse weather conditions, such as rain, sleet, or snow.
  • A fully-loaded big rig traveling at about 55 miles per hour on clear roads requires nearly the length of two full football fields to come to a complete stop.

In other words, you should provide semis with plenty of space on the road.

Steer Clear

Semis pay for their massive size and weight with reduced maneuverability. They simply can’t make the sharp turns or instant lane changes that a car can easily manage. When space is at a premium, such as in construction zones or when pulling in and out of smaller areas, things can become even more restrictive and dangerous. In the final analysis, tractor-trailers need room to maneuver safely, and it’s in your best interest to give them that room. Yield to 18-wheelers, refrain from speeding around them as they prepare to make turns, and give them the space and time they need to change lanes (rather than rushing ahead of them).

Big rigs that make right turns are especially prone to creating a right turn squeeze in which cars can become ensnared. Because tractor-trailers are too large to easily take a right turn from the right-most lane, they typically move into the left lane to allow themselves enough room to make a safe right. For this reason, it is exceedingly dangerous to pass a semi on the right.

Seeing Blind Spots

Large commercial trucks experience large blind spots, or “no zones.” In fact, truck drivers experience limited visibility on all four sides of their trucks. When you’re behind the wheel, pay careful attention to truckers’ huge no zones—if you’re in one, a truck driver simply may not see you. When a big rig is turning, changing lanes, or backing up, those blind spots can become even more dangerous. Remember that an 18-wheeler’s right side blind spot is significantly larger than the blind spot on its left.

Stay safe by spending as little time as possible in a commercial trucker’s no zones. When you do pass a big rig on the road, allow yourself enough space that you can see the entire truck in your rear-view mirror before you move back into its lane. In addition, allow plenty of space between you and the semi ahead of you—otherwise, the trucker won’t see you.

Trucking Regulations

Trucking, by any standards, is a tough gig, and drivers are often faced with tight deadlines and long hauls. Truckers are held to strict regulations regarding driving times and duty periods, but drivers sometimes push the limits of these restrictions. Drivers sometimes drive tired, distracted, and even impaired. All these elements can contribute to big rig accidents.

Big Rigs: Big Accidents

Big rigs do everything big—and that includes accidents. Accidents involving semi-trucks are some of the deadliest on the road, and you share the road with these metal behemoths. Take the time to understand exactly what makes 18-wheelers so dangerous and how you can keep yourself safe by steering clear of them.

If You’ve Been Injured in a Semi Accident, Contact a Skilled Truck Accident Attorney

If you’ve been injured in an accident with a commercial truck, you know how devastating that can be. Because semi-accident claims can be especially complicated, you need an experienced Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, truck accident lawyerThe Levin Firm is here to help. We have the knowledge, dedication, and skill to fight for your claim’s most beneficial outcome. Please contact or call us at (215) 825-5183 today.

October 6, 2017

Are Most Philadelphia Car Accidents the Fault Of Truck Drivers?

Truck Accident Lawyers in PA

Commercial trucks are a highly common sight on the roads and highways in and around Philadelphia. Regularly driving in close proximity to these large, heavy vehicles may cause you to wonder what would happen if you were in a crash with a semi-truck. In addition, news headlines are regularly reporting that truck drivers who were overly fatigued, distracted, or otherwise negligent caused a serious crash. This can lead to the question: Do truck drivers cause most Philadelphia accidents?

The following is some brief information regarding the connection between truck driver error and traffic accidents in Philly and throughout the United States. If you have questions regarding your specific crash and injuries, please do not hesitate to call our car accident law firm today.

Trucks Are Involved in Many Crashes Across the U.S.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reported statistics that indicate that 12,092,091 commercial vehicles were registered in the U.S. in recent years, which makes up about 4.5 percent of the total number of registered motor vehicles. However, there were more than 6.2 million traffic-related accidents reported in one year and about 476,000 of those accidents involved at least one commercial vehicle. This means that about 7.6 percent of traffic accidents involved a tractor-trailer or another type of large truck. This also means that proportionally, commercial vehicles are involved in a greater number of accidents per registered vehicles than smaller personal vehicles.

Commercial truck accidents caused about 97,000 injuries in 2015, and that number has steadily been on the rise. Trucks may not cause the majority of traffic accidents, however, they do cause a substantial number of injuries, and truck accidents tend to be severe. For this reason, it is important to understand the main causes of truck accidents and the role the truck driver plays in these crashes.

Truck Driver Negligence Is the Top Cause of Accidents in Which the Truck Is Found at Fault

The FMCSA has published the results of a study the agency conducted seeking insight into the major causes of truck accidents. The study revealed what many people may have already suspected—that of the accidents in which the truck was assigned the reason for the crash, the significant majority were caused by errors committed by the commercial driver.

Specifically, the following are the most common driver errors cited as causes of crashes, in order of prevalence:

  • Use of prescription drugs
  • Speeding
  • Being unfamiliar with a particular road
  • Use of over-the-counter drugs
  • Inadequate surveillance
  • Fatigued driving
  • Unlawful driving maneuvers
  • Not paying attention
  • Being distracted by something outside the truck
  • Failing to execute a sufficient evasive action to avoid a crash
  • Aggressive driving
  • Being unfamiliar with a particular truck
  • Tailgating
  • Making wrong assumptions about the actions of other drivers
  • Accepting too many loads
  • Having a conversation
  • Feeling pressured to drive while fatigued
  • Misjudging distance between vehicles
  • Being in a hurry
  • Illness
  • Being distracted by something inside the truck
  • Use of illegal drugs
  • Being upset about something
  • Use of alcohol
  • Poor judgment or decision-making
  • Physical factors regarding vision or movement limitations
  • Emotional factors, including depression

As you can see, truck drivers can cause accidents for many reasons, and the above are only some of the most common. In these instances, a truck driver who negligently caused you harm should be held liable for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses.

When a truck driver is negligent, it is important to realize that their employer may also be held liable for errors the driver made on the job. Seeking compensation from both the trucking company and the driver can often result in a high payout since the trucking company may have more substantial insurance coverage. However, these cases can also be challenging as companies will seek to avoid any liability whenever they can. Taking on a corporation in court can be intimidating. Yet, with the right resources, it is possible for injured truck accident victims to receive the full amount they deserve.

Contact a Philadelphia Truck Accident Attorney for Assistance

Truck accident cases can be complex, even when it is clear that the driver made an error on the road. At The Levin Firm, we understand how to thoroughly investigate the cause of a truck accident and stand up for the rights of victims to financially recover from negligent drivers and their employers. Following a crash, you should never hesitate to discuss what happened with an experienced Philadelphia truck accident lawyer. Call us today at 215-825-5183 for a free consultation.

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.

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

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.

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

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/

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

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

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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