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.