While any accident can be very serious, Pennsylvania truck accidents are among the most likely to result in severe injury or death. Large commercial trucks, including semi-trucks, tractor-trailers, 18-wheelers, and dump trucks, can weigh up to 80,000 pounds when fully loaded with cargo. These enormous vehicles are capable of causing unimaginable carnage, especially when an accident involves smaller passenger cars.
After a truck accident, you may wonder how to go about recovering financial compensation for your injuries. At the law firm of Console & Associates, we can help. For two decades, our dedicated team of Pennsylvania personal injury attorneys has been skillfully handling claims on behalf of accident victims and their families.
We understand that the recovery process is challenging, even for the strongest of people, and we make it our goal to cater our representation according to the individual needs of each client. Starting from the moment you bring us on to handle your case, you will feel a heavy burden lifted off your shoulders, knowing that you are in capable hands. Console & Associates is a nationally known personal injury law firm with a reputation for excellence.
Truck accidents are among the leading causes of traffic-related fatalities in Pennsylvania and across the country. According to the most recent statistics compiled by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), in 2018, there were nearly 5,100 fatal truck accidents in the United States. This figure represents a one percent increase from the year before, and a 45 percent increase from 2009 through 2018.
In addition, there were over 151,000 people injured in 112,000 accidents involving large trucks. This represents an increase of eight percent from the number of accidents in 2016.
Given the size of the trucks involved in these accidents, it is no surprise that the majority of those injured or killed in truck accidents are passengers of other vehicles.
Pennsylvania is a large state that sees a significant amount of truck traffic due to its location along the Eastern Seaboard. As a result, truck accidents occur in Pennsylvania with startling frequency.
Fortunately, the number of fatal truck accidents trended downward in recent years. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration keeps track of the number of fatal Pennsylvania truck accidents. Over the most recent few years, the data shows:
In 2018, the most recent year for which detailed statistics are available, the following counties reported the highest numbers of fatal truck accidents:
In the wake of a Pennsylvania truck accident, those injured in the collision can pursue a claim for compensation against the parties responsible for causing the accident by filing a personal injury lawsuit. To succeed in bringing a claim, an accident victim must be able to establish the four elements of a negligence claim:
All motorists owe others on the road a duty of care to drive in a safe and responsible manner. And in truck accidents, in particular, accident victims very frequently suffer physical or emotional injury. Thus, in the majority of truck accident cases, the first and fourth elements of the negligence analysis go uncontested.
However, truck drivers, their employers, and insurance companies frequently contest the remaining elements. Thus, accident victims must be prepared to prove that a truck driver breached a duty they owed to another motorist, and they must be able to show that this breach resulted in the accident victim’s injuries. An experienced Pennsylvania personal injury attorney can prove an invaluable resource to accident victims, in no small by establishing the truck driver’s liability.
Truck accidents involve massive vehicles that weigh tens of thousands of pounds. Because truck drivers spend most of their time on the highway, these accidents often occur at high speeds. Needless to say, Pennsylvania truck accidents frequently result in serious injuries and even death.
If an accident victim can establish that a truck driver was legally responsible for their injuries, they will be entitled to monetary damages for the injuries they sustained, as well as the impact the accident had on their life. Pennsylvania law provides for three types of damages in truck accident cases:
Also referred to as economic damages, special damages compensate an accident victim for the economic costs associated with the accident. The following are a few types of special damages that are available in a Pennsylvania truck accident case:
General damages, or non-economic damages, compensate an accident victim for the impact an accident had on their life. Due to their non-economic nature, these damages cannot be readily determined by presenting receipts or forecasting future costs. Instead, an experienced personal injury attorney will illustrate the toll that the accident took on the victim’s life by explaining what their life was like before the accident and what limitations they now must deal with due to the accident.
General damages may include compensation for any of the following:
While courts award general and special damages to compensate victims for their injuries, punitive damages are awarded to punish a defendant for the conduct that caused the accident. Punitive damages are not available in every case, as they require a plaintiff to prove that the defendant acted willfully or maliciously, or that they acted so carelessly that it displayed a “wanton disregard” for the safety of others. When appropriate, punitive damages awards tend to be substantial.
By working with a dedicated Pennsylvania truck accident lawyer, accident victims can be sure that they are pursuing the full extent of the damages they are entitled to receive.
One of the most critical issues in a truck accident case is determining which parties to name as defendants in the case. Of course, the truck driver responsible for causing the accident is the most obvious choice. However, the truck driver’s employer may also be liable for a negligent driver’s actions.
Pennsylvania follows a doctrine of law called vicarious liability. Vicarious liability allows an accident victim to hold a third party liable for another’s actions – even if the third party was not negligent. In the context of a Pennsylvania semi-truck accident, an employee-employer relationship can give rise to a trucking company being held vicariously liable for a truck driver’s negligence.
To establish vicarious liability against a trucking company, an accident victim must be able to show that the truck driver was acting within the “course and scope” of their employment at the time of the accident. Generally, this requires an accident victim to prove that the truck driver was engaging in the type of activity they were hired to perform and serving their employer’s interest when the crash occurred.
Establishing an employer’s liability can be crucial to ensuring an accident victim obtains full and fair compensation for their injuries. This is because, often, truck accidents cause tremendous damage and severe injuries. Frequently, the damages an accident victim sustains in an accident exceed the amount of insurance coverage available under the truck driver’s policy. If an accident victim can successfully hold a trucking company vicariously liable for the truck driver’s negligence, they can tap into the trucking company’s insurance coverage, as well. This can significantly increase the potential amount of compensation an accident victim receives.
Those who have been in a Pennsylvania truck accident know that the moments after the accident are a blur. Of course, the first thing an accident victim should do is to make sure they are safe. However, once safely out of the way of traffic, accident victims should be sure to take the following steps to address their physical injuries and help prepare for the filing of a personal injury lawsuit.
Working with a dedicated Pennsylvania personal injury attorney can significantly ease the burdens that accident victims face when pursuing a claim for compensation.
No two accidents are the same. Not only is every accident victim unique, but accidents affect peoples’ lives in different ways. Additionally, some Pennsylvania truck accident cases may present unique legal issues, requiring a skilled attorney who can tackle the unexpected.
When you choose Console and Associates P.C. to handle your truck crash claim, you’ll get the answers you’ve been looking for – and so much more. We have extensive hands-on experience with truck accidents and know how difficult life can be following a major PA truck accident. We will go above and beyond to make things easier for you.
Below are a few of the ways that we can help you through the recovery process:
Every truck accident is different, and each case must be evaluated based on the specific circumstances leading up to the accident, as well as the extent of the victim’s injuries. At Console & Associates, we have successfully handled many truck accident cases, recovering significant compensation on our clients’ behalf.
A few of our recent results include:
We approach each case with a fresh set of eyes, focusing on what our client tells us is important to them. While we have extensive knowledge of the law pertaining to these accidents, only you know the most important issues for your family.
At Console & Associates, we promise to listen to you when you tell us what is important to you and to cater our representation accordingly.
If you have been injured in a trucking accident, contact the dedicated injury advocates at Console & Associates. For more than 25 years, Attorney Richard P. Console, Jr., has provided accident victims with effective, aggressive representation in all types of truck accident claims. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation with one of our knowledgeable attorneys, call 866-778-5500 today.
Rick is an exceptional advocate for his clients. He is extremely talented in navigating legal matters and shows an empathy to his clients that is hard to find. Rick is a good guy and I highly recommend him.
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