Pittsburgh 18-Wheeler Accident Attorneys
Because of their weight and inability to maneuver as quickly as cars, large trucks are more likely to cause serious injuries when involved in crashes. These injuries can create life-changing setbacks, requiring months to years for healing and therapies, and often costing families more than they can afford. Contact our experienced Chaffin Luhana Pittsburgh, PA 18-Wheeler truck accident attorneys for a free legal consultation if you or someone you love have been the victim of an 18-Wheeler truck accident caused by the negligence of someone else.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that in 2012, a total of 3,921 people were killed and 104,000 were injured in crashes involving large trucks. That was a four percent increase from the number of people killed in 2011.
The Ohio Department of Public Safety reports that in 2013, heavy trucks were involved in over 18,000 crashes in Ohio, resulting in 140 deaths and over 3,600 injuries. In an earlier report by the NHTSA, Ohio was fourth highest when considering the number of large trucks involved in fatal crashes by state, while Pennsylvania was ninth.
Sometimes accidents just happen, but most of the time, they occur because someone acted in a negligent way. In those instances, victims may be able to recover damages. The Pittsburgh truck accident attorneys understand the unique nature of 18-wheeler accidents, and what it takes to establish a strong case in a personal injury lawsuit.
Types and Causes of 18-Wheeler Accidents
An 18-wheeler or large truck is usually classified because of its weight—over 10,000 pounds. A smaller car or pickup truck can cause an accident with a large truck, but sometimes the driver of the large truck makes an error that results in disaster.
Examples of potential truck driver error include the following:
- Driver fatigue: the driver may be forced by his company to drive longer than he or she should, or he or she failed to take legally required breaks.
- Drugs: the driver may have taken medications or illegal drugs that affected his or her judgment.
- Alcohol: the driver may have been under the influence of alcohol.
- Distraction: the driver was talking or texting on his cell phone, updating social media sites, browsing the internet, watching videos, or otherwise distracted at the time of the accident.
- Inexperienced: the driver lacked the appropriate training or experience for the job/load/route he was engaged in.
- Aggressive: the driver was driving recklessly or aggressively.
The NHTSA notes that while truck drivers are much less likely than passenger car drivers to be intoxicated at the time of a crash, nearly 18 percent of them involved in fatal crashes in 2012 had at least one prior speeding conviction, compared to nearly 17 percent of passenger cars involved in fatal crashes.
Potential Liable Parties in an 18-Wheeler Accident
In addition to driver error, there are other factors that may be involved in an accident with a large truck:
- Cargo: If the truck was improperly loaded or the cargo was somehow mishandled, the loading company or other party may be at fault.
- Mechanical problems: If something malfunctioned in the truck itself, the transportation company may be held responsible for failing to keep up with maintenance.
- Defective parts: If something went wrong with the truck that can be traced back to the manufacturer, that manufacturer may be held liable for defective design. Examples include defective tires, brakes, and computer systems.
- Too many hours: Some companies turn a blind eye to how many hours their drivers are actually on the road. If the driver’s logs reflect a lack of appropriate rest periods, the company she works for may be held liable for failing to properly monitor driving time. A company may also be held liable for establishing unreasonable deadlines for drivers, which encourages them to take unsafe risks.
- Faulty hiring decisions: If it is discovered that the driver was inexperienced, had prior citations for speeding or other driving problems, or was otherwise unfit for the job, the transportation company may be held liable for failing to properly research its employees.
- Poorly designed construction site: If the construction company failed to properly design or equip the work area with appropriate signage and warnings, they may share blame in the accident.
Types of Injuries from an 18-Wheeler Accident
Because large trucks weigh so much, when they collide with passenger cars or pickup trucks, the injuries can be extremely serious. They may include:
- Burn injuries
- Broken bones
- Severe disfigurement
- Spinal cord injuries; paralysis
- Permanent disability
- Head trauma and brain injury
- Wrongful death
Victims of severe injuries often face multiple surgeries and therapies, and require long-term medications. An 18-wheeler accident lawyer can help determine the cost of extended care, and help you prepare your best case in an effort to recover that amount.
How an 18-Wheeler Accident Lawyer Can Help
When an accident occurs with an 18-wheeler, the insurance companies are expected to pay damages, but often they take steps to limit the amount of money they have to pay. Victims may be shortchanged before they realize what’s happening.
Sometimes insurance companies may also delay settlement, or deny certain parts of the claim. An experienced professional can help prevent these types of setbacks.
If you or a loved one suffered a serious injury or even death because of an 18-wheeler accident, contact the Pittsburgh personal injury lawyers at Chaffin Luhana for help. We have the experience necessary to help gather all the evidence, including any documentation (police reports and others), photographs, witness statements, medical records, and more.
Through thorough investigation, we uncover every possibility to help you recover the damages you deserve. To find out how we can help you, contact us today.