Every year, thousands of Pennsylvania residents are injured or killed in truck accidents. These types of crashes can have especially devastating consequences because of the much larger size of most commercial trucks. Treating catastrophic injuries sustained in truck accidents can quickly overwhelm a victim’s finances. Fortunately, negligent drivers and trucking companies can and should be held responsible for their negligent actions, so if you were injured in a crash involving a truck, it is critical to speak to an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you obtain the compensation you deserve.
Truck Accident Causes and Injuries
Most truck crashes are caused by one of the following negligent actions or behaviors:
- Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol;
- Driver fatigue;
- Mechanical failure;
- Reckless driving;
- Improperly loaded cargo; and
- Distracted driving.
Injuries sustained in accidents involving commercial trucks are usually more severe than those suffered in other types of car crashes. This is in large part due to the fact that big rigs are so much larger than standard cars and often carry dangerous cargo. Some of the most common injuries sustained in truck crashes include:
- Severe lacerations;
- Crushed bones;
- Traumatic brain injury;
- Burns; and
- Organ damage.
Many of these types of injuries leave victims permanently scarred or disfigured. Treatment may require multiple surgeries, long-term physical therapy, and years of taking expensive prescription medications. Some injuries leave injured parties more susceptible to contracting additional dangerous illnesses and infections.
While medical expenses may be one of the most expensive costs associated with being involved in a truck accident, victims may also be required to pay for additional services, such as nursing assistance or help with childcare. Many truck accident victims are required to take months off from work as a result of their injuries, which can make it very difficult to pay necessary expenses. Fortunately, victims who can demonstrate that a truck driver’s negligence caused an accident, may be able to collect compensation for their losses. This may include compensation for:
- Medical costs;
- Lost wages;
- Loss of future income;
- Property damage; and
- Pain and suffering.
Federal and State Regulation
Both state and federal regulations require drivers to adhere to certain standards. For this reason, truck drivers are required to refrain from driving over certain limits and to keep their trucks in good condition. Commercial truck drivers must also adhere to specific instructions regarding:
- Loading procedures and cargo weight limits;
- How often safety inspections should be conducted; and
- How trucks should be operated.
Truck drivers are also barred from driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.04 or more, while the legal limit for the average driver is 0.08. or greater.
To establish that a truck driver should be held legally responsible for an accident, the injured party must demonstrate that:
- The defendant owed the injured party the duty to exercise reasonable care;
- The defendant breached that duty; and
- The plaintiff sustained an injury as a result of the breach.
However, truck drivers are not the only people who can be held liable for causing an accident. For example, trucking companies that hire negligent drivers can be held financially responsible for an accident if it failed to adequately train its employees or enforce regulations. Manufacturers of hazardous materials can also be held legally responsible for injuries sustained in a truck crash if they failed to warn the driver of the dangers involved in transporting a particular product.
Contact a Dedicated Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyer Today
If you live in Pennsylvania and were recently injured in an accident involving a commercial truck, please contact van der Veen, Hartshorn and Levin by calling (215) 486-0123 and a member of our legal team will help you set-up a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help explain your legal options.