Erie Truck Accident Lawyer

A big rig accident is something no one ever forgets.

Truck accidents are typically catastrophic and result in serious injuries or death. After a truck accident it is best you contact an experienced Erie truck accident attorney to handle the process of investigating the crash and handling your case.

Truck accidents are different than collisions between two cars or other smaller vehicles. Accidents with trucks can involve state and federal laws as well as multiple jurisdictions, different trucking companies, insurance companies, lawyers, truck manufacturers and mechanics, the truck driver, and other contractors. Determining responsibility in truck accidents is difficult. Often, if a personal injury lawsuit is filed, it names many defendants.

Data provided by PennDOT indicates that when truck accidents are fatal, only 2.1 percent of those killed are occupants of the truck.

Accident Causes

IN PENNSYLVANIA

A commercial truck can be a tractor-trailer, 18-wheeler, or semi, tanker trucks, freight trucks or delivery trucks. In Pennsylvania, in 2019 there were 7,036 accidents involving these large trucks. Those wrecks resulted in 128 deaths. Moreover, seriously injured accident victims had a long road to recovery. Most of the accidents, according to PennDOT, are the result of equipment malfunction, tire blowouts or driver error.

Other common causes of accidents are power train failure, insecure trailer, suspension failure, improper towing of cargo and steering system failure. Nationwide, there are about 2.3 million large trucks on the road that are employed by 500,000 companies. Roughly 80 percent of those firms have 20 or fewer trucks.

Data provided by PennDOT indicates that of the number of fatalities resulting from accidents with trucks, only 2.1 percent of those killed in 2019 were truck occupants. The other 97.9 percent were occupants of the passenger vehicle or pedestrians. Fatalities from Pennsylvania truck accidents accounted for 12.3 percent of all traffic deaths in the state.

2019 truck accident stats

Despite the law, trucking companies and the entire trucking industry encourage drivers to go faster and further and adhere to unrealistic work schedules. While companies do not voice these suggestions, driver deadlines frequently force drivers to skip breaks and mealtimes.

Pennsylvania Rules Governing Truck Companies

Pennsylvania has specific rules and laws that govern commercial trucks. Some of those rules and regulations include:

  • Drivers and trucking firms are responsible for monitoring driver traffic citations.
  • Those in the industry and on the road are required to follow hours of service regulations.
  • Licenses can be suspended as a result of certain statutory violations e.g., leaving the scene of an accident or DUI.
  • Post-accident, the driver, their experience, character and qualifications must be investigated. What role did the company play in supervision and training of the trucker.

Despite the law, trucking companies and the entire trucking industry encourage drivers to go faster and further and adhere to unrealistic work schedules. While companies do not voice these suggestions, driver deadlines frequently force drivers to skip breaks and mealtimes.

Collisions with big rigs are often more complicated than a crash between passenger vehicles. Truck accidents differ from car crashes because:

  • Truckers may only drive a limited number of hours a day.
  • Trucking companies are required to run a background check pre-hire. They are also required to evaluate driver over the course of their employment.
  • Truckers must meet higher standards of road safety than a passenger vehicle.
  • Commercial trucks are governed by multiple federal regulations because they carry commerce across state lines. Passenger vehicles have no federal regulations.Trucks must have more insurance coverage than passenger vehicles.
  • Load and equipment safety are issues that apply in truck accidents more often than crashes involving passenger vehicles.

The Erie truck accident lawyers from Melaragno, Placidi & Parini have your back. If you have been involved in a truck accident and wish to discuss filing a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit, Melaragno, Placidi & Parini stand ready to help you navigate the legal process and obtain the equitable compensation you deserve.

Truck Accident Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a lawyer to help me with a truck accident case?

Yes, in just about every accident that involves a large truck, you are going to need the services of an experienced Pennsylvania truck accident attorney.

One of the worst things that can happen while on the road is being involved in a crash with a large truck. The injuries are typically catastrophic, or the outcome is death. This is because a commercial truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, and a car may weigh about 5,000 pounds. 

After a truck accident, you may have many questions like Who will pay for your injuries? What does my insurance cover? Whose fault was it? Who is going to pay my medical bills? Do I need to speak to an attorney? Yes, you need legal representation because the trucking company has multiple lawyers working for it and the insurance company does as well. They are looking for ways to dismiss or diminish your claim. They do not want to pay out on a claim.

Big rig collisions are complex because it is not just one or two defendants involved. Multiple defendants could be named in a trucking accident, like the truck driver, the truck’s owner, manufacturer, etc.

Do not deal with insurance companies on your own or meet with insurance company representatives. You need to protect your legal rights at Melaragno, Placidi & Parini; we handle the insurance companies and get you the compensation you deserve while you heal.

How is fault determined in a truck accident?

Determining fault in a truck accident is extremely complicated. Not only are truck accident cases complex, but they also tend to involve very serious injuries or death. Most accident victims have a very long road to recovery, and many are left with permanent disabilities.

Truck accidents are not the same as two motor vehicles being involved in a crash. In truck accidents, multiple parties are involved, such as the truck owner, driver, trucking company, and more. The list of defendants can be quite extensive.

Numerous federal and state laws regulate the trucking industry by implementing standards. Among them are how goods are transported, how many hours drivers can operate a truck, maximum weight, etc. If these laws are broken, then they can show negligence and determine liability. A truck driver can be found at fault if they violate any laws relating to driving, like driving under the influence, speeding or driving recklessly.

To learn more about how fault is determined, speak to one of our attorneys.

What compensation can I get from a truck accident?

If you or someone you love has been in a truck accident and was injured or died, then you may be entitled to compensation. You can recover damages under two categories. These categories are punitive and compensatory damages.

Compensatory damages are meant to compensate the plaintiff for their damages and injuries. Punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant.

In a truck accident, you could be entitled to the following compensation:

• Special damages – Covers all monetary losses
• Future medical costs
• Medical expenses
• Lost earning capacity
• Lost wages
• Disfigurement – Scars or permanent effects on a plaintiff’s appearance
• Mental anguish
• Permanent disability
• Pain and suffering
• Loss of consortium

Pennsylvania Truck Accident Facts Infographic

truck accident lawyer

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Truckers Do Not Always Cause the Collision

Truck accidents are not always caused by the truck driver. Often drivers of other vehicles cause the accidents. Factors like distracted driving, tailgating, driving in the “no go zones,” stopping abruptly in front of a truck or slowing down unexpectedly, and improper lane changes can result in serious and often fatal crashes.

After a truck accident, it is best to contact the Erie truck accident lawyers at Melaragno, Placidi & Parini. The firm's attorneys can gather evidence which will help your case. The lawyers can check proper licensing, find available CCTV or security camera footage, interview and vet witnesses, locate the truck black box among other things.

If you have been involved in a truck accident and wish to discuss filing a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit, Melaragno, Placidi & Parini stand ready to help you navigate the legal process and obtain the equitable compensation you deserve.