Trucking Accidents – Facts and Responses After Crash
The highways in the USA, as everyone knows, are crowded. For most individuals who commute daily, it is apparent that many vehicles on the roadways are “big rigs” or commercial trucking vehicles.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDot) does estimate that about 6000 vehicular crashes involving trucks occur each year in PA, and this figure has remained steady over the past decade.
(1) The majority are not fatal, but enough that every licensed driver should know facts about trucking accidents in PA.
Trucking accidents are more deadly many times than automobile accidents simply because trucks are larger and heavier. There is less visibility by a trucker regarding where a car is located near a truck.
(2) The old adage, “If an automobile driver cannot see their car in a truck’s rearview mirror, the trucker cannot see the automobile.”
Truck drivers also have schedules to keep and can be rushed with deliveries leading to some relatively quick and perhaps detrimental decisions while on the road. Truckers can be on the road for days with little sleep. OTR (Over The Road) truckers can be more sleep deprived.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has mandates in place that stipulate that after eleven hours of driving, a ten-hour break should occur.
(3) Non-driving activities are also factored into these equations for loading and unloading, and after fourteen hours of continuous work, drivers should not be driving.
However, who actually can oversee this? Audits are done on truckers and companies, but while on the road, there is no way to tell if compliance is regularly occurring. Until a tragedy strikes, most safety mandates that are not in place can go overlooked. There are both state and federal regulations.
The NTSB (National Traffic Safety Board) states that 31 percent of truck drivers die in crashes because the time off has to include showering and eating, leaving less time for sleep. There also is the fact that many carry deadly chemicals, which adds to the danger of the job. The NTSB is a Federal agency charged by Congress with investigating the causes of accidents in all modes of transportation.
Appropriate Responses After a Trucking Accident
A vehicular accident with a truck mirrors what should be done in any vehicular incident. Common sense must rule even when emotionally upset and perhaps injured.
Call 911 immediately
Even if injuries are not apparent at first, these can surface later, especially in whiplash and other spinal injuries. Getting checked out by paramedics and having the police at the scene ASAP is necessary. Police will make notes, take pictures and measurements, etc. Medical records by paramedics or hospitals are crucial in winning vehicular negligence cases, especially if a big rig or flatbed is involved.
Do not assume the blame.
A vehicular accident rattles individuals, who tend to talk and blame themselves. But unfortunately, this can hurt when a case goes to court to recover damages for physical or emotional injuries. The old saying “Loose lips sink ships” applies here. Unfortunately, guilt does drive individuals to start taking the blame upon themselves too many times.
Get in touch with an attorney
If not the same day, then ASAP. Memories fade, and a good negligence attorney needs to record everything that transpired. Since all citizens of the United States, especially in Pennsylvania, spend so much time on the highways, it will assist in having an attorney’s contact information on hand.
There is a Statute of Limitations on filing any negligence claim, and the clock starts ticking the minute the accident occurs. Trucking companies, of course, are insured by large carriers. They must be to be licensed. Damages can be recoverable for both a vehicle and any injuries or, sadly enough, death.
However, there is a mere two-year Statute of Limitations in Pennsylvania for filing a claim.
Damages in Pennsylvania are also subject to “Pure Fault” or “Modified Fault.” Modified Fault is also termed Comparative Fault. Pennsylvania is a no-fault state, meaning if a motorist is even 50 percent responsible for the damages, recovery will be difficult as some insurances are no-fault policies.
Comparative Fault is a form of tort law, and to be protected, especially in the case of major injuries, damages, or even death, an attorney versed in this needs to be contacted (6)
The limitations of no-fault can be mitigated by choosing full tort insurance coverage. This will cost more but can, of course, cover more in damages, especially in emotional damages, lingering physical disability, and mental anguish.
Conclusion—Trucking Accidents—Facts and Responses After Crash
The turmoil and emotional toll of any accident cannot be underestimated. When an accident involves a truck, it can be even more traumatic than an automobile, and the driver is at a disadvantage simply because of the difference in the size of a truck.
Hoey Legal, located in Paoli, has been practicing negligence and personal injury claim civil law for decades. Christian J. Hoey, Esquire, is the fierce leader of this remarkable team of “legal beagles” and fights relentlessly for the rights of all clients to be made whole after an accident.
Compassion, combined with medical and legal resources, brings cases to fruition with the primary goal of the best outcome for the client. Of course, initial consultations are free. Hoey Legal does specialize in tractor-trailer injuries, flatbed truck accidents, and wrongful death, and there is a form, email, and phone for quick contact. Hoey Legal has the medical experts and legal resources to ensure as much recovery in damages as possible.