With about 70% of the supply chain supported by the trucking industry, it is no wonder that trucking accidents in the US are on the rise. Since 2009, there has been a 52% increase in the number of trucking accidents, and 68% of trucking accident fatalities are occupants of the passenger vehicle—not the truck driver. In fact, the number of incidences has increased so dramatically, that it is estimated that by 2030, the fifth leading cause of death in the US will be by trucking accidents. Unfortunately, while much of the reason amounts to drivers taking on longer hours, carelessness, and poor training, trucking companies try to spin the cause of such accidents around onto you, the victim of a tractor trailer accident. That is why you need a Philadelphia truck accident lawyer to represent you or a loved one when seeking compensation for a truck-related incident.
When you need an 18-wheeler accident lawyer in Philadelphia who knows what to do and look for at the beginning of the investigation, trust in Raynes & Lawn.
Trucks are 20-30 times heavier than a typical car, which is why such vehicles need to be operated with the utmost care. Thus, truck accidents are far more complicated and devastating than car accidents. Sometimes, you may not even know what caused the accident in the first place.
To uncover what happened, it is critical that you call a Philadelphia truck accident lawyer immediately. The accident scene, the truck itself, video, key records and witnesses all can change, be altered, or disappear quickly. Truckers and trucking companies and their insurers swiftly send agents to the scene who represent their interests. You should too. Otherwise, the damages sustained to your vehicle, as well as the injuries you and your passengers sustained, could be overlooked.
That is why you need a tractor trailer accident lawyer like those from Raynes & Lawn. We do not merely represent you in court. Our team will send out investigators who immediately photograph the accident scene, secure physical evidence and obtain witness statements to protect you. We also send preservation of evidence letters to the motor carrier and the truck driver. We will be sure that the carrier maintains the tractor’s engine control module and other in-cab electronics, including data on the tractor’s speed, the governor, lights, video, and GPS tracking.
Ultimately, our accident reconstruction expert will take the facts and materials we gather and work with an animator to create a video simulation of exactly what happened. All this is done to ensure that your representation is thorough and irrefutable, so you can get the compensation you deserve. Those who are responsible for the truck accident will be held accountable for their actions when Raynes & Lawn is on the case.
When an truck accident happens in or around the suburbs of Philadelphia, time is of the essence. At the scene of a wreck, first, be sure that everyone is safe. This means that 911 is called, all persons are out of the way of traffic, and anyone needing medical attention has it.
Second, write down the names, phone numbers, and addresses of the parties and all witnesses.
Third, if you can do so safely, photograph or video everything. Pictures taken immediately after the accident typically are the most accurate and valuable. You can obtain critical evidence by photographing or shooting video of all vehicles (from every side), the scene, sight lines, signage, the weather and lighting, and any injuries you sustained.
Do not admit fault and do not make a statement to anyone other than a police officer.
It is not unusual for an agent from the trucker’s insurance company to call or even visit you after the accident. They do not represent your interests. Do not agree to make a video statement, and do not sign anything the insurance company presents. Call a Philadelphia truck accident lawyer immediately.
When investigating the cause of a trucking accident, here are some of the things that the Philadelphia truck accident lawyers at Raynes & Lawn look for:
Let’s look at these in further detail.
Was the driver qualified at the time of hiring to be driving the truck and fit to be on the road? The Philadelphia truck accident lawyers at Raynes & Lawn scrutinize the truck driver’s personnel file, criminal record and employment/driving history. This includes drug screens and evaluations from the driver’s probationary period with the current company.
Truckers must comply with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations and state CDL requirements. In fact, a key component of Federal law governs how many hours an operator may drive. Furthermore, drivers of so-called “longer combination vehicles” (typically two or even three trailers) must receive extra training.
Carriers also should conduct ongoing operator training and be able to provide evidence of completion for all drivers, including nighttime safety programs (midnight to 6:00 a.m. is known as the “danger zone” in the trucking safety world).
Should an 18-wheeler accident lawyer in Philadelphia discover that the carrier safety policies were neglected in some way, your case will move forward.
Driving tired is one of the main reasons for trucking accidents in the United States. As mentioned above, nighttime is a dangerous time to drive a truck, particularly when that driver is sleep deprived. If drowsy driving is suspected as the cause, the operator’s log and other records for hours of service are all thoroughly examined. It is also important to see if the trucking company required dispatcher clearance of the driver’s recent activities to assure that all drivers are rested and fit to drive.
For the tri-state area, most truck drivers have a 14-hour driving window, in which only 11 hours can be spent driving the truck. The driver must also take 30-minute breaks for every 8 hours that they drive consecutively. Failure to comply with these rules or to record these hours of rest and drive adequately could result in fines for both the driver and the trucking company.
It is an open question whether courts can now hold truck manufacturers liable for not installing collision avoidance systems in newer trucks, when this technology is found in almost all new cars.
Here is a video showing how effective and potentially life-saving truck collision avoidance technology is:
Tragically, companies like Volvo and Daimler provide collision avoidance in new trucks sold in Europe, but they do not in the U.S. because the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) does not require it.
Those residing in Philadelphia are familiar with truck accidents involving overturned trailers. There are clear standards how loads are to be placed on tractor-trailers. Violations of these standards due to laziness, inexperience, or attempting to beat the clock sadly cause tragedies every day on US roadways.
Did the accident occur while the truck was parked on the shoulder or performing a U-turn? These actions generally prohibited for large tractor trailers since they are very dangerous. This is particularly true at night.
Side guards, rear guards, and reflective tape play a critical role in promoting safety on the roadways. The trucking industry has known for many years about the danger of “side underride,” which occurs when a car is jammed under a tractor-trailer. Often times, those in the passenger vehicle suffer from severe head injuries and sometimes even death.
Trailer side guards are very effective at preventing this type of tragedy but are too seldom used.
Fortunately, reflective tape is now mandatory on tractor-trailers to avoid cars failing to see a turning trailer at night and during periods of poor visibility. Raynes & Lawn carefully investigates the condition of the truck that caused the accident to see if these preventative measures had been used.
One of the ways trucking companies attempt to reduce the cost of operation is to cut back on tire and brake inspection and maintenance. Since these things cost both time and money, truckers often leave the yard with poorly maintained trucks and trailers. When this kind of inexcusable behavior devastates a family, however, the trucking company must be held accountable.
The experienced team of tractor-trailer accident lawyers at Raynes & Lawn know exactly which signs of negligence to look for when putting together your case.
When you are the victim of a truck accident in Philadelphia, there are many damages you could receive, depending on the circumstances. Some of the compensation you receive can be gained easily, while other cases are far more difficult. However, the experienced Philadelphia truck accident lawyers at Raynes & Lawn know exactly how to get you what you and your family deserve.
Damaged owed to truck accident victims usually include:
In some cases, the trucking company may also have to pay punitive damages. Such damages are meant as punishment for reckless or negligent behavior.
Unfortunately, every trucking accident in Philadelphia is different, and so estimating the damages you may receive can be difficult. That is why Raynes & Lawn offers a free consultation. Sit down with a compassionate and knowledgeable Philadelphia truck accident lawyer today to go over your case, the expenses, and what may be owed to you.
If you or a loved one has been severely injured by a trucking incident in Philadelphia, then you may be entitled to compensation. The tractor-trailer accident lawyers at Raynes & Lawn will happily walk you through the entire process about collecting your damages and moving on with your life. You will receive a no-cost evaluation to see if our team can help. Remember, we never charge a fee unless we collect for you. Do not wait! All states impose statues of limitations, setting a deadline for when a claim may be filed. Contact Raynes & Lawn by calling 1-800-535-1797 as soon as possible to avoid forfeiting your valuable compensation. You can also fill out the contact form.
For the general public: This Blog/Website is made available by the law firm publisher, Raynes & Lawn, for educational purposes. It provides general information and a general understanding of the law but does not provide specific legal advice. By using this site, commenting on posts, or sending inquiries through the site or contact email, you confirm that there is no attorney-client relationship between you and the Blog/Website publisher. The Blog/Website should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction.
For attorneys: This Blog/Website is informational in nature and is not a substitute for legal research or a consultation on specific matters pertaining to your clients. Due to the dynamic nature of legal doctrines, what might be accurate one day may be inaccurate the next. As such, the contents of this blog must not be relied upon as a basis for arguments to a court or for your advice to clients without, again, further research or a consultation with our professionals.