On average, over 510,000 truck collisions are reported each year – an extremely alarming statistic, given the size and weight of large commercial vehicles.
If you're injured after a truck accident, you might be feeling anxious about where to turn. Before you contact an experienced Philadelphia truck accident attorney for help, here's what you should know about commercial trucking collisions.
Types of Commercial Truck Accidents
No two commercial truck wrecks are the same. However, here are some of the most common types of crashes we see.
- Dropped cargo: Cargo can topple from the truck and hit nearby vehicles.
- Head-on collision: The truck may slam into an oncoming vehicle such as a car or, even worse, a motorcycle.
- Jackknife: If a driver loses control of the truck, it might “jackknife,” meaning the trailer swings out and hits adjacent vehicles.
- Rollover: Sometimes, a heavy vehicle can roll over and hit surrounding vehicles.
Common Reasons for Truck Accidents
When it comes to truck crashes, there's often someone to blame for the incident – whether it's down to negligence, carelessness, or reckless driving. The most common reasons for truck or tractor-trailer wrecks include:
- Aggressive driving: Commercial drivers often work to tight schedules, which could cause speeding, aggressive lane changes, and careless maneuvering.
- Defective vehicle: A failure to perform regular tire and brake inspections could cause serious – if not fatal – collisions.
- Driver fatigue: Driving while exhausted causes problems, including impaired judgment and slower reaction times. Statistics show that driver fatigue accounts for at least 13% of commercial vehicle crashes.
- Excess loads: If there's too much weight placed on the truck, the load could shift or detach in transit.
- Inadequate driver training: Without sufficient training, a commercial driver may lack the skills to operate a heavy commercial vehicle safely.
- Improperly secured cargo: If drivers fail to inspect the cargo is secured properly, the load could detach and cause a serious collision.
- Substance abuse: According to data from the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, a worrying number of truckers may be driving under the influence of substances such as marijuana and amphetamines.
Heavy Vehicle Collision Injuries
When we think about the nature of commercial vehicles, injuries sustained in a truck wreck can be particularly severe. Examples of truck wreck injuries include:
- broken bones
- cuts and lacerations
- head trauma
- internal organ damage
- limb loss
- nerve damage
- spinal cord injuries
Depending on the circumstances, truck crash injuries may have serious long-term consequences. Always seek medical attention if you're in a truck crash of any kind.
Determining Fault in a Truck or Tractor-Trailer Crash
To make a personal injury claim after a truck crash, you must determine who is to blame for the incident, as this is the party responsible for any compensation you're owed.
- Truck driver: If the trucker fails to exercise due care and attention while driving, they could be at fault for the collision.
- Truck company: If, for example, the truck company fails to train their drivers properly, they may be at least partly responsible for the wreck.
- Truck manufacturer: Manufacturing defects, e.g., faulty parts, could cause a vehicle malfunction and, subsequently, a collision.
It may be possible to sue more than one party in complex cases.
Compensation After Truck Collisions
If you have a personal injury claim, the compensation available depends on, for example, the injuries sustained and who is at fault. However, compensation may be payable for:
- lost income, e.g., time off work
- medical bills, e.g., prescription charges
- ongoing care, e.g., home help, rehab
You may also receive compensation for emotional distress if the injuries are particularly severe.
Fatal Commercial Truck Accidents
No amount of money can compensate for losing a family member in a truck accident. However, personal injury law allows you to hold the other party responsible for the fatality by filing a wrongful death lawsuit.
Depending on the circumstances, you might claim compensation for:
- burial and funeral expenses
- lost future income or earning potential
- medical bills
- pain and suffering
Only certain individuals can file wrongful death lawsuits on behalf of victims. An experienced truck accident attorney can explain what's involved in the process.
What To Do if You're in a Truck Crash
Once you've established there's no immediate threat to life (in which case, dial 911 right away), there are a few steps you should take.
- Report the accident by calling the police – there's a legal responsibility to do so. The police report can also help you prove liability during a personal injury claim.
- Talk to witnesses and exchange contact details, if possible.
- Take pictures of the crash scene and any injuries you have. Photographic evidence will help you build your case.
- See your doctor. Even if you feel okay, some injuries can take a while to manifest. You can also use evidence of your doctor's visit to support your personal injury claim.
- Call an experienced truck accident attorney. These cases can be highly complex, so you need a lawyer like Jon D'Intino who can thoroughly evaluate the evidence and help you secure a fair amount of compensation.
Unless there's a wrongful death, you normally only have two years from the truck accident date to file a claim. Contact D'Intino Law Firm, LLC as soon as possible to start the process.
Discuss Your Case With an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney in Pennsylvania
Given the potential for serious injury, truck and tractor collisions are frightening and overwhelming experiences. If you're in a crash with a heavy commercial vehicle, you need help from a personal injury attorney who understands how challenging these cases can be.
To learn more about our services and our approach to personal injury claims, contact D'Intino Law Firm, LLC today for a free case evaluation— online or by phone at (267) 491-9111.