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Tractor Trailer Accidents

Pennsylvania and New Jersey Truck and Tractor-Trailer Accident Lawyers Representing Innocent Accident Victims

When a tractor-trailer collides with a smaller vehicle, the results can be catastrophic and deadly. In many cases, these truck accidents result from reckless and careless driving on the part of truck drivers on many of the multi-lane, high-speed superhighways and other roadways in the greater Philadelphia areaincluding in New Jersey.

At The Levin Firm, our injury attorneys understand that representing tractortrailer and truck accident victims requires particular skills and knowledge. The Pennsylvania and New Jersey accident lawyers at The Levin Firm fight to recover the many types of damages and compensation to which our clients are entitled, including medical expenses, hospital bills, rehabilitation expenses, lost earnings, future wage losses, lost earnings capacity, physical disabilities, scars, losses of limbs, brain and head injuries, emotional distress, depression, anxiety, grief, and pain and suffering. The Philadelphia tractortrailer 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 othersto ensure that our clients receive not only the finest legal representation but also the finest support and medical care.

Tractor-Trailer Accident Statistics

Every day, companies across the United States, and across the world, rely on tractortrailers to get their products where they need to go. However, these large, heavy trucks have the potential to cause serious injuries in accidents on Pennsylvania and New Jersey roadways. According to the U.S. Department of Transportations National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, 385,000 large trucks were involved in traffic accidents in 2006. As a result of these crashes, 106,000 people were injured and 4,995 were killed. Of those injured in accidents involving large trucks, only 22 percent were occupants of the truck76 percent were occupants of another vehicle and 2 percent were nonoccupants (such as pedestrians or cyclists). Of those killed, only 16 percent were truck occupants, 75 percent occupied other vehicles, and 8 percent were nonoccupants.

Someone involved in an accident with a tractortrailer is twice as likely to die than if the crash had been between passenger vehicles. The large size and heavy weight of tractortrailers make accidents involving them especially seriousoften including life-threatening injuries and death. Numerous complicated legal issues surround them.

What Constitutes Truck Driver Negligence?

Trucks and tractor-trailers are large, fast, heavy vehicles, and truck drivers often speed and disregard the rules of the road to try to arrive at their final destinations sooner. When they do this, they compromise everyones safety on the road. Truck driver negligence usually takes one or more of the following forms:

  • Careless or reckless driving
  • Exceeding the posted speed limit for trucks
  • Distracted driving, including texting and cell phone use while driving
  • Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI or DUID)
  • Failing to yield the right-of-way to smaller, slower-moving vehicles
  • Cutting curves too sharply
  • Fatigued driving
  • Failing to use turn signalsespecially on busy roadways
  • Poor maintenance (including poorly maintained brakes, warning lights, and undercarriage lights)
  • Changing lanes too quickly
  • Driving too fast for existing weather conditions
  • Failing to abide by Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations regarding truck and trailer load sizes, weight limits, overhang, warning signs, and escort vehicles

Where a truck driver is concerned, negligence usually means a failure to act the same way that a hypotheticalreasonably prudent truck driveroperating a truck under the same or similar circumstances would have acted.

Truck driver carelessness and negligence can produce serious consequences, such as chain reaction collisions (especially in wet weather), multi-vehicle pile-ups, trailer overturns, and hazardous waste spills. A serious truck accident can also cause a trailers cargo to dislodge into the roadway, resulting in a massive accident or pile-up.

Making a Claim Against a Trucking Company

In addition to filing a claim or lawsuit against a truck driver who behaved in a negligent manner, an injured motorist may also have a claim against the drivers employer, which is usually the trucking company. In other words, the trucking company may often bear responsibility for the truck drivers negligence, assuming the driver acted in the scope of employment at the time of the accident. If the trucking company is also at fault for the accident, it can share in the responsibility for all of the accident victims injuries and damages.

If the negligent truck driver is a repeat offender and has a bad track record for causing accidents or receiving citations, the trucking company may face liability for negligently hiring, retaining, or supervising the at-fault truck driver.

In some cases, a trucking company will allege that it had no control over the negligent truck driver—meaning that the negligent truck driver was an independent contractor, not an employee. Because employers are only typically liable for the negligent conduct of employees, a trucking company that successfully categorizes a truck driver as an independent contractor can avoid liability for an accident. The Pennsylvania and New Jersey truck accident lawyers at The Levin Firm can review the facts of your case and may help you challenge any liability defenses raised by the trucking company in your case.

Catastrophic Truck Accident Injuries

Since truck accidents most often occur on busy highwaysand at highway speeds—the severe injuries they cause can even kill people. Many truck accidents involve rear-end, side-impact, or head-on collisions. Common examples of catastrophic injuries sustained in Pennsylvania and New Jersey truck accidents include traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)such as concussions, long-term memory losses, and comasalong with fractures, broken bones, spinal cord injuries, paralysis, permanent facial scarring, and even death.

Catastrophic injuries sustained in Pennsylvania and New Jersey truck and tractor-trailer crashes can often result in:

  • Long hospital stays
  • Extensive periods of medical treatment or physical therapy
  • Future medical procedures and surgeries
  • Long-term care and treatments at a nursing home or assisted living facility

Proving Damages in Serious Truck Accident Cases

Proving catastrophic injuries and damages in a truck or tractor-trailer accident case can sometimes prove an uphill battle, because the trucking companys insurer is likely to downplay the significance of your injuries, likely claiming that your injuries were not serious or that they predated the truck accident. When that happens, you will usually need to introduce the testimony of an expert medical provider, such as a surgeon or specialist.

A medical provider must connect all of your injuries to the truck accident. If you had previous injuries to the same body part(s) or preexisting medical conditions (such as arthritis or other degenerative disorders), an expert may testify that the truck or tractor-trailer accident worsened them. For example, if you suffered from back pain before your accident, and your back pain significantly worsened after the accident, a medical expert may testify that the truck accident aggravated your condition.

Also, depending upon the circumstances, an expert may testify that you suffered a permanent or debilitating injury as a result of the truck accident. The expert may offer insights about the limitations in your work or personal life that the truck accident caused.

Finally, an expert may offer a prognosis as to future medical care and treatments, including the potential likelihood and cost of future medical procedures, such as surgeries. The skilled truck and tractor-trailer accidents at The Levin Firm can assist you with proving these damages in your case.

Contact a Pennsylvania or New Jersey Truck Accident Lawyer Today for a Free Initial Consultation and Case Evaluation

Tractortrailer accident victims require a team of aggressive investigators and lawyers to devote their maximum time and efforts to their cases. At The Levin Firm, our Pennsylvania and New Jersey personal injury attorneys investigate every claim so that we may aggressively and zealously represent our clients and obtain the best possible results for them.

When you need a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, or New Jersey personal injury attorney to represent you, a family member, or friend who has suffered an injury in a tractortrailer accident, call The Levin Firm at (215) 825-5183 or contact us online.

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