Have you for your family member been injured in an trucking accident?
Some of the most dangerous vehicles on the roads today are commercial vehicles like big rigs, semi-tractor trailers, and other box trucks. These heavy vehicles have large blind spots and require increased stopping distance, turning radius, and room to change lanes. While most truck drivers are safe, unfortunately, our truck accident lawyers in Philadelphia, PA knows that many truck drivers are not. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), heavy trucks are involved in over 7,000 crashes each year, accounting for 5.6% of all crashes. Heavy trucks disproportionally account for over 12% of all traffic fatalities. This is because of their sheer size, weight, and force generated in a collision, which can cause serious harm to occupants of smaller, passenger vehicles.
If you or a loved one were seriously injured in a Pennsylvania trucking accident, ask our experienced truck accident lawyers in Philadelphia, PA at the Law Offices Bernard M. Gross, P.C. for help. Our firm is dedicated to representing victims harmed in personal injury accidents, especially trucking accidents. Our compassionate team will work with your treating medical providers to prove the full extent of your injuries, while our lawyers will work with the leading liability experts to prove your case.
Three Reasons Why Trucking Accidents Are Different
While there are many reasons why trucking accidents are different from collisions with passenger vehicles, three main reasons make these types of cases unique. This means that you need to retain not just any personal injury or car accident lawyer, but a trucking accident lawyer who knows these differences and how to wield them against a defendant.
The main differences are the following:
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Regulations (FMCSA)
Trucking is an interstate business. This means that truck drivers and trucking companies must comply with many different state laws as they make their deliveries. States have varying vehicle and traffic laws, and some have no regulations governing large trucks. This is why the FMCSA was created. It is a federal agency with regulations governing many safety aspects of operating a commercial vehicle like a tractor-trailer. Some of the most important FMCSA regulations include the following:
- Alcohol and drug prohibition (even within four hours of starting work)
- Inclement weather restrictions
- Hours of service rules (the maximum amount of time a trucker can operate in 24 hours, 7 days, and 8 days)
- Strapping down and securing cargo rules
- Wheel maintenance, inspection, and installation
- Overall truck inspections and maintenance rules for brakes, steering columns, and other connections
- Mandatory testing
- Delivery schedules and control of scheduling
- Prohibited texting while driving
- Disabled truck warning rules, and
- Other obligations imposed by the FMCSA.
Having an experienced truck accident attorney who knows how to use FMCSA regulatory violations can make a huge difference in proving your case under Pennsylvania law.
Different Mechanical Components
It goes without saying that commercial trucks like semi-tractor trailers have a lot more parts than smaller passenger vehicles. Equipment is very different on trucks, especially the braking system which is air braking as opposed to disc braking. The air brakes on trucks require specialized training on how to use, connect, maintain, and inspect. The failure to perform any of these tasks could result in a defect and serious personal injuries.
Trucks also have specialized wheels which are meant to distribute the weight of cargo. These wheels begin to wear down quickly. The failure to properly maintain and inspect these wheels could result in serious personal injuries or the wrongful death of an innocent person.
Something more unique to commercial vehicles is logbooks and electronic control modules, also known as ECMs. These devices function as a “black box” like in an airplane. They monitor and record speed, driver input, direction, and other important aspects of the truck. This can be used to help prove a case against a defendant. But it could also be quickly manipulated or deleted by a defendant’s expert or insurance carrier. Having an experienced truck accident lawyer in Philly can help protect your rights by gathering and securing these devices immediately.
Catastrophic Injuries Caused by Trucking Wrecks in PA
Even at low speeds, commercial trucks can cause catastrophic personal injuries which are debilitating and permanent. This requires a victim’s lawyer to understand not just the law regarding the crash, but also the anatomy and medicine needed to be taught to a jury. Some of the most catastrophic personal injuries from a trucking accident include the following:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Loss of a limb or amputations
- Broken bones or fractured bones
- Organ injuries
- Partial or total blindness
- Nerve injuries or damage
- Neck injuries or back injuries, including herniations or annular tears
- Burn injuries
- Significant disfigurement and scarring
- Wrongful death, and
- Many other types of bodily harm caused in a trucking wreck.