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December 21, 2017

Hit by a Delivery Driver? You Might Hold the Employer Liable

Truck Accident attorney in pa

When accidents take place between two or more people, the parties can, more often than not, resolve the matters among themselves and their insurance companies. In the event that accident expenses exceed what an insurance company is willing to pay, victims can sue the at-fault drivers to recover further compensation. And accidents involving delivery vehicles may provide victims with additional alternatives for compensation.

When Are Delivery Drivers Liable?

The driver of a delivery vehicle who causes an accident remains liable. However, other parties may also face liability.

Pennsylvania law may permit a car accident victim to bring forth a claim against a delivery driver’s employer under the theory of vicarious liability. To recover compensation under this theory, the victim must demonstrate that the driver acted within the scope of employment at the time of the accident.

An employee acts within the scope of employment whenever meeting the following conditions:

  • The employer hired the employee to perform a specific task
  • Within authorized time and space limits
  • At least in part to serve the employer

Liability may extend to a driver’s employer in the following example:

A delivery driver, delivering to a customer, drives a company vehicle at high speeds, swerving in and out of traffic despite wet weather conditions. The delivery driver loses control of the vehicle and crashes into another vehicle in oncoming traffic, injuring that driver and that car’s passengers.

Here, the driver acts within the scope of employment because the driver is making a delivery on behalf of the employer (and in a company vehicle). The driver’s negligence causes the accident and injures the other vehicle’s passengers. Because of these factors, the injured parties may recover compensation from both the driver and employer.

Victims cannot always hold a delivery driver’s employer liable. For example, if the driver in the above scenario was not making a delivery and was instead making a detour to visit a friend, then the employer may avoid liability—visiting a friend is not within the driver’s scope of employment.

The facts of a case are not always as cut and dry as the above examples. To determine whether you can hold a delivery driver’s employer liable for injuries the driver caused you, seek experienced legal counsel.

Recovering Damages

An automobile accident victim must demonstrate injuries and expenses to recover compensation. Victims must keep detailed records and receipts for all accident-related medical expenses, doctor visits, and repairs. Good record-keeping will help a skilled attorney put together a strong, well-written claim on your behalf.

For What Kinds of Damages Can I Recover Compensation?

In the event of an automobile accident, you can recover damages for:

  • Medical expenses (including current and future medical costs for accident-related injuries, as well as for rehabilitation and physical therapy).
  • Non-monetary losses (particularly pain and suffering).

Lost wages. Injuries may preclude a victim may from returning to work, whether temporarily or permanently, after the accident. The victim may recover compensation for lost wages—based on earning capacity—incurred during the recovery period.

Punitive damages, although awarded to victims, do not compensate victims for their losses— they punish defendants while discouraging others from acting in similar ways.

Automobile accidents can also—sometimes, all too often—involve the loss of life. In fact, statistics indicate that one in 10 fatal highway accidents involve large trucks—which can include some delivery vehicles. When fatal accidents involving large trucks took place, 70 percent of those who died in 2015 occupied passenger vehicles. Family members may recover compensation for loss of companionship because they can no longer enjoy the presence of the deceased.

Extending Punitive Damages to Employers

Punitive damages can extend to an employer. This helps victims because employers tend to have deeper pockets and can, therefore, pay these damages, which can add up to significant sums.

A victim will need to demonstrate specific facts to receive punitive damages. Given the complex arguments required to receive punitive damages, victims should seek experienced legal counsel to help with their claims.

Contact a Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorney Today

As the victim of an automobile accident, you deserve to recover compensation for your injuries and accident-related expenses. Whenever the driver of a commercial vehicle causes an accident, Pennsylvania law may entitle you to recover damages from both the driver and the driver’s employer. The personal injury attorneys at The Levin Firm have the experience and determination to help you recover the compensation you deserve. Schedule your free initial consultation today by calling our offices at (215) 825-5183 or visit our website.

December 20, 2017

Managing an Accident Involving Commercial Trucks

Truck Accident Lawyer in PA

Traffic accidents involving commercial trucks, including tractor-trailer rigs, cause thousands of injuries each year. If you were in a traffic accident in the Philadelphia area that involved a commercial truck, seek professional assistance to deal with the complicated liability issues that will arise. Protect your rights and explore your compensation options. The Levin Firm can help. Take advantage of a free consultation. Contact us at (215) 825-5183 or through our online contact form.

Accidents Involving Commercial Trucks Present Complicated Liability Issues

According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics, crashes involving large trucks in 2014 killed 3,903 persons and injured about 111,000. Almost three-fourths of those killed or injured in those accidents were the occupants of passenger vehicles involved in the crashes.

Unfortunately, statistics from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration indicate after years of decline, accidents involving large trucks and buses started to increase again.

Because of the complicated ownership issues and hiring practices involved in the motor shipping industry, accidents involving tractor-trailers pose interesting liability questions.

Truckers may work under shipping companies’ permits and even company logos, colors, and brands. Relatively few drivers are actual employees of a shipping company, however. They generally work as independent contractors who own their rigs and pay for their own fuel, repairs, and licensing fees. They contract with shipping companies to haul loads but choose the routes and schedules on which they operate. If they don’t want to carry cargo on a motor carrier shipping company’s desired schedules or routes, they decline the contracts and find ones more to their liking.

Complicating things further, the trailers pulled by the tractor-trailers generally are owned by another entity separate from both the shipper and the trucker. The cargo is usually owned by yet another entity. In all likelihood, each these entities have different insurance companies.

Until relatively recently, then, the shipping company—also known as the motor carrier—would argue that because the driver was an independent contractor, the motor carrier did not bear liability for any accident that might arise out of a driver’s negligence or fault. This would force an accident victim to file a claim against a truck driver—usually through the truck driver’s insurance company—and attempt to get compensation that way. The disadvantage of suing an individual, even one with insurance, versus the shipping company, is obvious.

Suing all of the entities involved in shipping the load carried by the truck involved in your accident can yield a larger amount of compensation, but can prove complicated and expensive, and involve complex legal issues.

The Independent Contractor Exception for Motor Carrier Liability No Longer Applies

Fortunately, at least from the perspective of people involved in traffic accidents where truck drivers are at fault, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations eliminated the distinction between independent contractors and employees with respect to motor carriers and liability. All drivers for a motor carrier company, including independent contractors, are now deemed statutory employees of the motor carriers. The motor carriers now bear the ultimate liability for any accident in which their drivers are at fault.

Accidents Involving Commercial Trucks Still Present Complicated Liability Issues

The very size of tractor-trailers also creates one of their most dangerous characteristics: blind spots. Every car has blind spots, but passenger vehicles are smaller, and so are their blind spots. Passenger vehicle drivers can easily check their blind spots.

This is not the case with tractor-trailer drivers. In fact, it is impossible. Tractor-trailer blind spots, depending on the size of the truck, can extend as much as 200 feet behind the rig. Blind spots on either side of the rig extend well beyond the end of the trailer, and depending upon the make and model of the semi hauling the trailer, as far as 20 feet in front of the semi. Liability issues become complicated when it is literally impossible for a truck driver to know whether a passenger vehicle is there.

Avoid Truck Blind-Spot Accidents

Passenger vehicle drivers must take defensive measures to avoid accidents that might occur because a truck driver can’t see them. These measures include:

  • Do not cut closely in front of a tractor-trailer. This might put you in a blind spot where the truck driver cannot see if you are there.
  • Avoid holding a position next to a tractor-trailer. If you find yourself driving next to a truck, either pass the truck or fall back to a position where the truck driver can see you. Where possible, pass on the left, where the truck driver’s blind spot is smaller. The blind spot on the right is much larger. If you can’t see the driver’s face in his side mirror, he can’t see you.
  • Keep a safe distance when driving behind a tractor-trailer. If you can’t see the truck’s side mirrors, the driver can’t see you.

If a Commercial Truck Injured You in the Philadelphia Area, Contact The Levin Firm

If you suffered a personal injury in a traffic accident involving a commercial truck in the Philadelphia area, protect your rights and explore your compensation options. The Levin Firm can help. Contact us at (215) 825-5183 or through our online contact form.

November 27, 2017

The Unique Risks Associated with Semi-Truck Accidents

Semi Truck Accident Lawyer in PA

When negligent truck drivers cause accidents on Pennsylvania roadways, these drivers and their employer trucking companies may be on the line for negligence—and for the injuries and damages sustained by innocent accident victims. Semi-trucks and tractor-trailers are unique in that they have the potential to cause serious jackknife accidents. These vehicles may also cause accidents due to coupling device failures and rollover accidents caused by unbalanced cargo.

If you have sustained injuries as a result of a truck driver or trucking company’s negligence, Pennsylvania law may entitle you to monetary compensation. The knowledgeable Philadelphia truck accident lawyers at The Levin Firm can discuss the facts and circumstances of your case, evaluate your claim, negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf, and, if necessary, litigate your case through the Pennsylvania court system all the way through trial and judgment.

Large Vehicles Can Easily Roll Over

Trucks, tractor-trailers, big rigs, and semis weigh many tons and smaller vehicles are no match for them. In addition to state laws, large trucks and tractor-trailers must comply with Federal Motor Carrier
Safety Administration regulations
. These rules place restrictions on the following:

  • Vehicle weights
  • Load limits
  • Oversized loads
  • Trailer cargo

When cargo is not properly secured to a trailer, or when it is not properly balanced, the truck or trailer can overturn—or roll over—causing one or more of the following:

  • Multi-vehicle chain reaction collisions
  • Chemical or hazardous waste spills in roadways
  • Trailer cargo dislodging from the trailer and onto roadways (or into smaller vehicles)

Moreover, when tractors and trailers are not properly secured together, they can come apart in the middle of the roadway and cause serious accidents.

Trucks Are Fast Vehicles

Drivers of large trucks and tractor-trailers have a tendency to switch travel lanes often and quickly maneuver themselves around smaller vehicles, all with the goal of arriving at their destinations sooner. Truck drivers usually have a financial incentive to drive fast. However, under state law, they still have a duty to drive reasonably and safely under the circumstances. When they fail to do so, they may be responsible for the accidents and personal injuries they cause.

When truck drivers drive too quickly around curves, for example, they may jackknife—the tractor and trailer may fold in a way that resembles the folding of a pocket knife—potentially causing accidents or massive pile-ups of vehicles.

Negligent Pennsylvania Truck Drivers

Trucks and tractor-trailers are large, fast, and heavy. When drivers ignore or violate Pennsylvania Rules of the Road to arrive at their final destinations sooner—for which they may have financial incentives—serious accidents and personal injuries can result. Examples of truck driver negligence that can lead to jackknifing, coupler device failures, and rollovers include:

  • Speeding
  • Reckless, careless, or distracted driving
  • Cellular phone use while driving
  • Texting while driving
  • Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI)
  • Disobeying traffic control devices (including running red lights, stop signs, or yield signs)
  • Failing to yield the right-of-way to other vehicles
  • Cutting curves too sharply
  • Fatigued driving
  • Failing to use turn signals
  • Poor brake maintenance
  • Abrupt lane changes
  • Driving too fast for hazardous road conditions
  • Failing to abide by Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations (for example, regarding trailer load sizes, overhang, escort vehicles, warning lights, and warning signs)

Catastrophic Injuries Sustained in Pennsylvania Truck Accidents

Truck accidents usually occur at highway speeds and may involve jackknifing, uncoupling, or rollovers. As a result of a semi-truck or tractor trailer’s large size and high rate of speed, any impact with a smaller vehicle is likely to result in serious—and potentially catastrophic—injuries and damages. The most common catastrophic injuries sustained in Pennsylvania truck accidents include traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), fractures, broken bones, spinal cord injuries, paralysis, cuts, abrasions, permanent facial scarring, and in the worst cases, death.

These catastrophic injuries can result in lengthy hospital stays, long courses of medical treatments or physical therapy, future medical procedures, and long-term care at nursing homes or other assisted living facilities.

Proving Liability and Medical Damages

For an injured truck accident victim to recover compensation for serious injuries and damages—including eye injuries—the injured plaintiff must ordinarily prove negligence on the part of the at-fault truck driver.

Specifically, the injured plaintiff must demonstrate that the at-fault truck driver had a duty to act as a reasonably prudent and careful driver under the circumstances; that the at-fault driver breached this duty of care, such as by speeding, failing to yield the right-of-way, or otherwise driving in a careless or reckless manner; and that this breach resulted in the accident victim’s injuries and damages.

Potential Liability of the Driver’s Trucking Company

When a truck driver works for a trucking company, the injured motor vehicle driver may also have a legal cause of action against that company under what is called the vicarious liability theory of recovery. If, in other words, the truck driver was driving negligently while in the scope of employment, then the trucking company could also face accountability for the accident victim’s injuries and damages.

A trucking company may also face liability for negligently entrusting a truck driver to operate a motor vehicle while on the roadway, for negligently supervising the truck driver, or for negligently hiring the truck driver. If the truck driver was previously fined for—or charged with—negligent or reckless driving and is a repeat offender, the trucking company may be on the line for negligently retaining the offending truck driver.

Contact a Philadelphia Truck Accident Lawyer Today for a Free Initial Consultation and Case Evaluation

If you have sustained injuries in a trucking accident that directly resulted from someone else’s negligence, the experienced Philadelphia truck accident attorneys at The Levin Firm may help prove your injuries and damages.

To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with a Philadelphia truck accident lawyer, please call us at (215) 825-5183 or contact us online.

November 22, 2017

Was Your Truck Accident Caused by Poor Driver Training?

Truck Accident Lawyers in PA

To operate a tractor-trailer on Pennsylvania roadways, a driver must first undergo the necessary training and obtain a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). Once a driver has obtained a CDL, the driver must re-certify and take part in continuing education classes on a regular basis.

A variety of circumstances may cause Philadelphia truck accidents. In some cases, these accidents come about as a result of poor driver training. In those cases, both the truck driver and the trucking company can face liability for the accident, injuries, and resulting damages.

If you or someone you love has sustained injuries in a Philadelphia truck accident that resulted from someone else’s negligence, Pennsylvania law may entitle you to recover monetary compensation. The knowledgeable truck accident lawyers at The Levin Firm have the legal knowledge and expertise to fully investigate your truck accident claim, negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf, litigate your case, and take it to trial if necessary.

Ways in Which Truck Drivers Drive Negligently

Big rigs and tractor-trailers are large, heavy vehicles, and serious accidents can result when their drivers ignore or violate traffic laws and established rules of the road. In some cases, these accidents occur as a result of poor or insufficient driver training, potentially causing drivers to lack awareness about the following:

  • Speed limits
  • Attentive and responsible driving
  • Cellular phone use while driving
  • Proper emergency procedures
  • Proper protocols for activating lights and other safety equipment
  • Laws regarding driving while under the influence of drugs (DUID) or alcohol (DUI)
  • Proper right-of-way rules for trucks and tractor-trailers
  • Rules for measuring turning distances (especially around curves and at traffic intersections)
  • Rules for measuring proper stopping distances
  • Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations (for example, regarding load size, overhang, escort vehicles, safety features, etc.)

What Happens When Truck Drivers Are Poorly Trained?

Serious accidents with other motor vehicles can result when truckers are poorly trained and engage in careless, negligent, or distracted driving. Risks associated with careless, negligent, and distracted driving by truckers include:

  • Multi-vehicle, chain reaction collisions
  • Tractors and trailers overturning in the middle of roadways
  • Chemical or hazardous waste spills in roadways
  • Trailer cargo dislodging from trailers and onto roadways (or into other vehicles)

Common Defendants in Truck Accident Cases

For an injured plaintiff to prove negligence against a truck driver, the plaintiff must show that the trucker failed to act as a reasonably prudent trucker would have acted (or driven) under the same or similar circumstances. This usually means that the truck driver must have violated some traffic law or Pennsylvania rule of the road, such as by speeding, driving too fast for the road or weather conditions, or engaging in distracted driving.

In addition to proving that the trucker breached the applicable standard of care, the injured plaintiff must also show that this breach resulted in certain injuries and damages.

The injured motor vehicle driver may also have a legal cause of action against the trucking company on a theory of vicarious liability or agency liability. For example, if the trucking company failed to provide the proper education and training for its employee truck drivers—or failed to ensure that all employee truck drivers renewed their CDLs or fulfilled their continuing education requirements—then the trucking company could face full or partial responsibility for the accident victim’s injuries and damages.

A trucking company could also face liability for negligently entrusting the truck driver to be on the roadway, negligently supervising the truck driver, or negligently hiring or retaining the truck driver. If the truck driver was previously fined for—or even charged with—negligent or reckless driving and is a repeat offender, the trucking company could be on the line for negligently retaining the truck driver.

Damage Awards in Truck Accident Cases

In addition to proving liability (or fault) in a truck accident case, the injured plaintiff must also show that the truck driver’s negligence caused foreseeable, sustained damages in the accident. An injured Philadelphia motor vehicle driver may recover some or all of the following types of economic and non-economic damages from a negligent truck driver and possibly from the trucking company:

  • Payment of all related medical bills, including bills for hospital stays, medical treatment, and physical therapy
  • Compensation for future medical procedures or surgeries
  • Compensation for lost wages
  • Pain and suffering damages
  • Mental anguish and emotional distress damages
  • Loss of earning capacity (in cases of permanent damage or disability)
  • Loss of companionship or spousal support

Contact a Philadelphia Truck Accident Lawyer Today for a Free Initial Case Evaluation and Consultation

Truck accidents can result in serious injuries and damages. The experienced truck accident lawyers at The Levin Firm can meet with you to discuss the facts and circumstances of your case and can perform a case evaluation for you.

Under Pennsylvania law, Philadelphia truck drivers and trucking companies are required to maintain insurance coverage on their vehicles, including the tractors and the trailers. As a result, insurance companies hold the purse strings when it comes to paying out damages in personal injury cases.

Truck accident plaintiffs must understand that insurance companies are not interested in fully or fairly compensating them for the injuries and damages they sustained in their accidents. The attorneys at The Levin Firm are ready and willing to take on the insurance company and help you obtain the monetary compensation that you need and deserve under the law. In addition to being skilled negotiators, our attorneys are also skilled litigators and welcome the opportunity to litigate your case through the Pennsylvania court system, even taking it to trial if necessary.

To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with a Philadelphia truck accident lawyer, please call us at (215) 825-5183 or contact us online today.

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.



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