When a truck is involved in an accident, odds are that its driver won’t be shouldering the consequences — 86 percent of fatalities and 77 percent of injuries happen to the drivers and passengers of the smaller vehicles involved in the crash.
While a passenger car needs about 306 feet to stop after braking, a tractor-trailer needs 525 feet. That’s almost two football fields!
It is important to consider your options in seeking compensation for property damage, medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and permanent injury or disability. The best way to defend yourself from the variety of complex difficulties that truck accidents present is to hire a skilled lawyer who will work with you to get the compensation you deserve.
At McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt, we understand the complexities that are associated with these catastrophic accidents, and we provide comprehensive counsel to those who have suffered injury in accidents involving speeding, driver error, aggressive driving, negligent maintenance, design defects and issues of corporate responsibility in commercial vehicle accidents of all types. We take care of all types of serious and catastrophic injury claims including brain and spinal cord injury, broken bones, burns, paralysis, and amputations or loss of limbs. We also handle wrongful death claims.
If you or a loved one has suffered a serious injury as a result of a truck accident, contact our team of experienced truck accident lawyers to properly investigate and prosecute your truck accident claim.
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Truck Accident Cases We Specialize In
Every year nearly 5,000 Americans are involved in fatal truck accidents, and unfortunately, a disproportionately high number of these deaths occur in Pennsylvania. The sheer magnitude of a tractor-trailer or an 18-wheeler makes these collisions particularly serious. Much of the time a collision between a large truck and passenger vehicle will result in catastrophic injuries for the driver or passengers of the smaller vehicle.
Speed can also make a crucial difference when applying the brakes. The faster a vehicle is traveling — as well as the bigger and heavier it is — the longer it takes to stop. This is one of the reasons that one in eight traffic deaths involve large trucks such as big rigs, tractor-trailers, and other commercial vehicles.
We have handled the following truck accident cases in the past:
- Rear-end accidents
- Head-on collisions
- Speed-related accidents
- Insufficient vehicle inspection and maintenance
- Unsafe lane changes
- Tire blowouts
- Unstable weight loads
- Wrongful death
The Reasons That Truck Accidents Happen
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration publishes accident statistics on large truck and bus accidents, as well as their causes. The following are the top causes associated with truck accidents — a list dominated by driver and vehicle error:
- 27 percent of trucks were found to have brake problems
- 19 percent of truck drivers were unfamiliar with the route
- 10 percent of truck drivers felt under pressure
- 7 percent were overly tired
- 3 percent experienced tire problems
- 5 percent were driving in an aggressive manner
- 1 percent were ill
- 0.4 percent were under the influence of illegal substances
- 0.3 percent had been drinking
The scene of a traffic accident on Highway 9 near New Britain, Connecticut. Source: Wikipedia
How to Protect Yourself After a Truck Accident
If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident with a truck, it has likely been a traumatic ordeal. It’s important to stay aware of the next steps to take to secure just compensation for yourself — which is often not in the truck’s insurance company’s best interests.
To safeguard any potential claims, do the following:
- File a police report at the time of the accident. It’s important that an objective description of the accident be available for any future claims.
- Take photos at the accident scene. Make sure your photos cover multiple angles and include shots of your vehicle, the truck and your injuries. The police can even take photos for you if you request them.
- Be examined by a doctor. This is important even if your injuries don’t seem serious upon initial inspection — injuries to your back or organs can worsen later on. In addition, a doctor’s report will help you to properly document your claims.
- Don’t repair your vehicle until it is appraised. A mechanic should also be looking for any design defect in your car which may have contributed to the accident — for example, your steering wheel may have locked up while driving. In such a case, the car’s manufacturer may be at fault.
- Contact an attorney. The trucking company will have specialized attorneys working on their side, and so should you. A good attorney should conduct an investigation, gather evidence and witnesses, and handle communications with all parties involved.
Our Track Record Winning Truck Accident Cases
McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt has won over $200 million for our clients in various personal injury cases. Below are a sample of recent cases we have taken on related to truck accidents:
- $4.5 million settlement on behalf of a young mother who was killed after a trucking company driver failed to stop at a stop sign. The driver and his company were found to be in violation of the hours of service laws, which are statutes governing the number of consecutive hours that drivers can be behind the wheel.
- $2.9 million settlement for a young woman’s survivors when a truck wheel came off the vehicle and struck the woman’s car, killing her. The truck driver had failed to properly perform a pre-trip certification and inspection of wheels.
- $1.8 million settlement for a 43-year-old woman whose vehicle was struck by a tractor-trailer that crossed the road’s center line, causing her multiple traumatic injuries and permanent disability.
- $925,000 settlement (the policy’s limits) for a 19-year-old passenger in a vehicle which was hit by a truck that illegally went through a stop sign. Both drivers tested positive for drugs.
- $650,000 settlement for a 56-year-old school teacher who sustained head injuries and cognitive deficits after a truck accident.
- $250,000 settlement for a woman who sustained a knee injury resulting in multiple surgeries and the inability to play sports after a truck accident.
- $1.35 million settlement for the estate of a 58-year-old man whose car was hit by a truck while waiting in traffic.
No Cost Unless We Win
At McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt, we take a vested interest in your case. You never pay a dime unless we win. In many cases, we can also advance the expenses necessary to work with experts. We like to view ourselves as partners in your case, and in the challenge of maximizing your claim.
With 30 years of experience litigating truck accident cases, McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt welcomes clients from New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania communities near and far. To schedule a meeting for a free consultation, fill out our form or call us directly at (866) 721-8431