Pittsburgh Truck Accident Lawyers
Experienced Injury Lawyers Tenaciously Seek Justice for Truck Accident Victims in Allegheny County and Throughout Western Pennsylvania
Large trucks, including semi-trucks, 18-wheelers, and tractor-trailers, are tasked with transporting goods throughout the country on a daily basis. Unfortunately, trucking companies are under high pressure to deliver their goods in a timely manner, which often translates to truck drivers who are pressured to bend safety regulations and cut corners to meet unrealistic deadlines—putting everyone else on the roads at risk of suffering the potentially catastrophic damage caused by large truck accidents.
At Goodrich & Geist, P.C., our experienced Pittsburgh truck accident lawyers know how intimidating it can be to face a large trucking company’s team of lawyers and commercial insurance agents. We are here to level the playing field and provide similarly aggressive advocacy as we fight to get a full and fair compensation award in your case. We are qualified to handle even the most complex truck accident cases in Western Pennsylvania, so whether your accident seems relatively straightforward or involves multiple defendants and complex evidentiary issues, we are ready to go to work in your case today.
Identifying the Primary Causes of Pittsburgh Truck Accidents
Many of the leading causes of truck accidents are similar to those that come into play in auto accidents, although most are magnified by the fact that large semi-trucks and tractor-trailers are operated for profit—so that certain unethical or even illegal practices may come into play to exacerbate those factors. We conduct a meticulous investigation to determine the cause of your truck accident, and these investigations commonly lead to a finding that one or more of the following leading causes was involved:
- Driver fatigue. Safety regulations limit the number of hours a truck driver can be on the roads, but in some cases, truck drivers may alter their log of hours driven in response to pressure from the trucking company to deliver their cargo more quickly.
- Distracted driving. Similarly, because drivers are often on the road for excessive periods of time, they may become distracted by attempting to eat meals and communicate with family while behind the wheel.
- Load errors. Improperly loaded cargo can come loose while on the road and loads that are improperly weighed can also create hazardous conditions.
- Qualification problems. In some cases, the driver is simply not qualified to operate the truck, either because of a failure to obtain the required commercial driver’s license (CDL) or because the trucking company failed to properly train or screen the driver in the first place.
- Issues with the truck. Large trucks are subject to inspection and maintenance requirements, and failure to comply can lead to failures in the truck’s brakes, lights and other safety mechanisms.
- Defective components. Similarly, an inherent defect in the manufacture or design of a truck component can cause the truck to malfunction and cause an accident.
- Driver aggression. Because truck drivers are pressured to meet strict deadlines, they may be more likely to drive aggressively and at excessive speeds, or to disobey traffic laws in order to shave time off their route.
Expert Truck Accident Lawyers Goodrich & Geist Guide Clients Through Complications that Can Arise in Allegheny County Truck Accident Cases
Of course, the first and central issue that often arises after determining the cause of the truck accident involves identifying the party or parties that can be held financially accountable. At Goodrich & Geist, P.C., our lawyers will take care of analyzing the evidence to determine all potentially responsible parties to ensure you receive the maximum compensation possible for your injuries. Responsible parties may include:
- The truck driver
- The truck’s owner or the trucking company
- A company that leased the truck
- The company that manufactured or designed a defective truck part
- The loading company responsible for loading and securing the truck’s cargo
- An organization charged with inspecting or maintaining the truck
- A third-party driver who caused a multi-vehicle truck accident
One additional complication that can arise in Pittsburgh area truck accidents involves the options given by Pennsylvania’s auto insurance laws. Essentially, you have two choices when selecting your car insurance plan and can opt-in or out of the “no-fault” rule. If you opt-out and choose the “limited tort” insurance option, you may be unable to obtain compensation for pain and suffering. Despite this technical rule, our skilled lawyers may be able to argue that your claim qualifies for an exception because your injuries qualify as “severe” under your insurance contract.
Call Today to Schedule a Free Initial Consultation with Our Knowledgeable Pittsburgh Truck Accident Lawyers
Importantly, when you are negotiating with a trucking company, you will face a much more aggressive adversary than you would in a typical auto accident case because these companies purchase commercial insurance and have significantly more to lose. At Goodrich & Geist, P.C., we are not intimidated by these large companies and their deep pockets. To schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your case with our experienced truck accident lawyers, call or contact our office today.
Frequently Asked Questions About Truck Accident Claims
FAQ: What special evidentiary concerns arise in Pennsylvania truck accident cases?
Because large pose such a large risk to smaller vehicles on the roads, strict safety regulations require that both the driver and the trucking company maintain certain records with respect to hours driven, and dates when both inspections and maintenance occurred. However, trucking companies are not required to maintain these records forever, making it important that we jump into action quickly to notify the trucking company that they must be preserved. Additionally, many trucks contain a black box recording device—similar to those found in airplanes—that can be critical to gathering valuable evidence to determine the cause of a truck accident. The trucking company must similarly be notified quickly to preserve the black box data.
FAQ: What are some examples of the limitations on the number of hours truck drivers can work?
To prevent truck accidents, truck drivers are only permitted to be behind the wheel for 11 hours in any 24-hour period. 14 hours is the maximum amount of time that a truck driver can be on duty in a 24-hour period (meaning while driving or performing any other work-related task). A further limitation specifies that truck drivers must have at least 10 consecutive hours off work per 24-hour period. The driver is also required to stop for at least 30 minutes of rest after driving for 8 hours.