PHILADELPHIA TRUCK ACCIDENT LAWYER
Why a Philadelphia truck accident needs a Philadelphia truck accident lawyer
Accidents involving tractor-trailers are often catastrophic multi-vehicle accidents. They almost always involve multiple victims, serious injury and complicated litigation, and are best handled by an experienced truck accident lawyer.
Fox Law has a unique advantage recovering insurance claims from truck accidents, and multi-vehicle accidents involving trucks, cars, bicycles, motorcycles, and pedestrians. With over 20 years of experience as top rated trucking industry defense lawyer representing truck drivers throughout the country, John Fox knows how car and truck multi-vehicle accidents are defended. And he knows how they are won. This is a distinct advantage for our clients.
John Fox is an expert in semi truck and tractor-trailer accidents, involving serious injury and death, driver fatigue, accident scene reconstruction, highway pile-ups, and PennDOT. His experience, specialized knowledge, and expertise in this often complicated area of litigation sets him apart as one of the best truck accident lawyers in Philadelphia and throughout the country.
John Fox speaks about his career as a top rated truck accident lawyer in Philadelphia and throughout the United States.
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What a Philadelphia truck accident lawyer knows that other lawyers don’t know
Rules and Regulations in the Operation of Trucks
There is a vast body of rules and regulations unique to the operation of trucks. Truck accident lawyers are familiar with these rules and regulations, which do not apply to car drivers. The rules cover a wide spectrum, from mandated hiring practices to safety training.
Experienced trucking accident lawyers know that in most cases it will be necessary to retain accident reconstruction experts with a specialty in trucking accidents. Experienced trucking accident lawyers know experienced trucking accident experts that can develop theories of liability with respect to the cause of the accident. Expert reports and testimony are critical to the success of the trucking accident case.
Trucking accident lawyers know exactly what documents to request. Examples are ECM data, driver logs, truck video/driver camera video, GPS data, commercial driver qualification file, and commercial driver personnel file, to name a few.
3 Common Truck Driver Mistakes Causing Truck Accidents
Let’s first address the elephant in the room… the mass and size of tractor-trailers or big-rigs. Regardless of the training of a professional truck driver, the mass and size of tractor-trailers does not allow for the truck to slow down quickly. Legally, a commercial tractor-trailer or big-rig is permitted to have a weight limit of up to 80,000 pounds. In comparison, the average car weighs between 3,000 to 4,000 pounds. If both are traveling at 65 miles per hour, the car will take approximately 316 feet to come to a complete stop, whereas the tractor trailer will not be able to come to a complete stop for 525 feet. It is the responsibility of the professional truck driver to maintain control of these massive vehicles at all time, in all weather conditions, which obligates them to keep a clear distance from the vehicles in front of them in the event of sudden stopping.
Driver Negligence or Careless Driving
As trained professionals, truck drivers are expected to drive safely. This means that if road conditions are poor, truck drivers are expected to drive at a speed where they can control their truck. In certain conditions, traveling at or below the speed limit may be considered negligent if the truck driver fails to maintain control of his vehicle under the road conditions at the time.
Exceeding regulated driving hours
Truck drivers are under strict regulations regarding the number of hours they are permitted to drive and the length of time they rest between driving stretches. They are required to keep log books documenting their hours on the road, miles traveled, and time at rest. The truck driver’s data log can be cross-checked in the computer data system found on all trucks. Most companies now have electronic logs.
A truck driver may not initially be involved in an accident, however, may be liable if they are unable to stop should an accident occur ahead of them. Driving speed is scrutinized in determining negligence when a tractor-trailer impacts another vehicle. A small accident may quickly escalate to a tragic multi-vehicle pile-up with multiple injuries and fatalities should a tractor-trailer be unable to stop in time to avoid an accident ahead of him. So how do you know how fast the truck was going or if it was going too fast for conditions? The answer is in the electronic control module of the tractor. The electronic control module (ECM) measures hard break events which triggers speed and engine RPM’s. In most serious trucking accident cases, trucking companies will download and preserve the ECM data. In many cases, the ECM data will provide an excellent defense for the trucking company. It may also expose the trucking company to liability.
Accidents can occur when truck drivers change lanes without taking note of a vehicle that is traveling beside him. The vehicle could be in his blind spot, which is not a defense to the trucking company.
3 Common Truck Company Mistakes Causing Truck Accidents
Although trucking company mistakes may be contributory factors, truck accidents almost always turn on the facts of how the accident occurred.
Any truck company that encourages unsafe practices can be held liable for negligence should their truck be involved in an accident. Some of these practices include lack of supervision of compliance with safety regulations, unrealistic schedules for their drivers and compensation that encourages exceeding safe driving practices.
Trucking companies should adequately ensure that their drivers are licensed to drive their commercial vehicle and have a safe driving record. If a company knows about a driver’s unsafe driving history and ignores it, the company may be held liable for negligence. The trucking company has a driver qualification file for each employee which includes the application, motor vehicle violation search report, employment history, reasons for termination from other jobs, and accident history. A trucking company can be separately liable if they negligently hire a driver who was involved in an accident and had a poor driving record.
Negligent Maintenance Resulting in Mechanical Failure
Failing to maintain a tractor-trailer can result in drivers’ losing control resulting in serious accidents. For this reason, tractor-trailers are under strict safety regulations and must undergo regular inspections, including tire treads, wheels, brakes, and steering mechanisms. Trucking companies retain maintenance records for their tractors and trailers.
3 Common Motorists Mistakes Causing Truck Accidents
Motorists Changing Lanes Too Quickly
Motorists should be aware that if they quickly move into the trucks lane of travel and cut the truck driver off, requiring the truck driver to stop suddenly, there is a very strong possibility that their vehicle will be rear-ended by the truck. In this case, the driver of the car could be found to be comparatively negligent. The truck driver was maintaining a safe clear distance from the vehicle in front of him. The safe clear distance was compromised by the other driver when he quickly moved into the lane of the truck driver.
Motorists Merging Too Slowly into Traffic
Motorists merging too slowly into flowing traffic may not be aware of the extended distance truck drivers need to slow down and may be found comparatively negligent if it is determined that they cut the truck driver off, reducing his safe stopping distance.
Right Hand Turn Squeeze Accidents
Very often trucks are required to make right hand turns at a tight intersection or corner. In order to make the right-hand turn, the tractor needs to swing out to the left before it comes back to the right so that the trailer can clear the corner. In most cases, the operator of the truck will engage his right-hand turn signal to notify the car behind him that he intends to turn right. The problem occurs when the truck appears to be swinging out left suggesting to the car behind it that it is going straight. If the operator of the car attempts to squeeze into the right lane as the truck driver is swing out to the left in preparation for his intended right-hand turn, the operator of the car will be found negligent for failing to take note of the truck driver’s right-hand turn signal. In most situations that this occurs, the rear of the trailer is still in a portion of the right-hand lane. Once the truck starts to make his hard right-hand turn, his mirrors are pointed into the side of his trailer and he is no longer able to see vehicles approaching on his right.
Philadelphia Truck Accident Lawyers who know how to handle awards with multiple defendants
Since trucks are often on the highway, accidents involving trucks often involve multiple injuries. Fox Law Philadelphia truck accident lawyers know how to handle these type of claims. In Pennsylvania if there are multiple defendants, there is a rule that the plaintiff has the right to collect the entire amount from the trucking company if the trucking company is found to be 60% or more negligent. If two co-defendant’s are each found to be less than 60% negligent, each co-defendant is only required to pay the percentage to which they are deemed negligent. This is important because if trucking companies are required to carry one million dollars in coverage, while a motor vehicle is only required to carry a minimum of fifteen thousand dollars in coverage.
Truck companies retain truck accident attorneys. You should, too.
After reading this article, you should be convinced that if you have been involved in an accident with a truck, you need an experienced truck accident attorney. And if you do not retain an experienced truck accident attorney, you are at a distinct disadvantage. Not only for the reasons stated above, but because the trucking companies retain experienced, well trained attorneys that do nothing but handle trucking accident cases. They are hoping you don't.
Jake's Story: How Fox Law made a difference
Pennsylvania highway accidents involving tractor-trailers, 18-wheeler semi-trucks, or big rig trucks often involve complicated litigation.
Proving fault in a truck accident can be complicated. A chess-match of litigation often results from truck accidents, especially when a tractor-trailer, 18-wheeler semi-truck, or a big rig truck is involved. When there are multiple injured parties, numerous lawyers and insurance companies are involved. Each party is represented by his/her own lawyer, both defense and plaintiff’s. Some lawyers will align themselves with others. Trucking industry defense lawyers, who are highly experienced and skilled trial lawyers, will also enter the arena of lawyers. Therefore, if you are involved in a truck accident, it is important for you to retain an attorney who is skilled in the often complicated arena of truck accident litigation.
Truck accident attorneys must be knowledgeable in truck driver rules and regulations.
Truck drivers must comply with a strict set of rules and regulations. When a truck driver is involved in an accident, truck accident attorneys retain the ECM (electronic control motule) or black box located on all trucks. The ECM will provide investigators with important information, such as truck speed and break length. It also provides investigators with information such as how long the truck driver has been on the road. This is important information for attorneys in determining if a truck driver violated any of the driver rules and regulations at the time of the accident. This is another reason truck accidents are best handled by specialized truck accident lawyers who are knowledgeable in the rules and regulations of truck drivers as well as the investigative process.
Chain pile-up truck accident reconstruction can be a daunting task.
Truck accident liability the the most important question a skilled truck accident attorney will investigate. Liability is not easily determined in truck accidents involving multi-vehicles and accident reconstruction can be a daunting task. Chain pile-up truck accidents always begin with an investigation to determine who started the chain reaction pile-up and why. After the determination is made with respect to how the pile-up first started, the car accidents and truck accidents are each separately analyzed and considered sub-accidents of the initial cause. Although the car in front is still the main cause of the accident, every individual car and truck involved in the accident is analyzed for its’ own actions and contribution to the pile-up. Truck accident lawyers will carefully evaluate this information as it relates to their clients involvement in the accident. It is important to choose a skilled truck accident lawyer who is has experience in chain pile-up reconstruction.
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