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  • George Miller

All You Need to Know about Commercial Truck Accidents

Road accidents involving privately owned vehicles are not the same as those involving commercial trucks. These accidents are often far more severe. They may even cause catastrophic events. For example, you probably heard the news about the collapse of a section of Interstate 95 due to a tanker fire.

Keep reading to learn all the legal implications of a truck accident in Pennsylvania.

Who Is at Fault?

It’s not easy to find out who is at fault in the event of a commercial truck accident—but why?

What if the driver tried to stop but the brakes malfunctioned? What if the truck had defective tires? Then the driver wouldn’t be responsible for what happened. The truck manufacturer could be sued.

Frequently, commercial trucks are loaded by a company different from the vehicle's owner, which must adhere to strict guidelines defining proper loading procedures. An improperly loaded truck significantly increases the risk of rollovers or jackknifing incidents.

Trucking accidents are frequently caused by human error, particularly when drivers disregard the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA) requirements. Drivers must take breaks after long periods of driving to avoid drowsiness, slowed reactions, and decreased attention while operating the vehicle. Following these guidelines is critical for maintaining road safety.

Course of Action

Have you been in a commercial trucking accident? You should do the following before contacting a lawyer who is well-versed in federal and state laws that apply to commercial trucks and drivers in Pennsylvania:

In case of serious injuries, you should immediately call an ambulance. Even if you don’t have visible injuries, you should still seek medical attention at the scene and afterward. Some injuries, such as concussions and whiplash, have delayed symptoms. It’s always best to check in with your doctor to be safe.

Your next step is to call the police. Remember to get the investigating police officer’s name, badge number, and contact information.

If at all possible, we also recommend that you take photos of the accident scene. This evidence might be helpful later on in building a defense strategy.

After the accident, an experienced lawyer will help you build your legal case by evaluating the following evidence: repair and maintenance records for the truck; truck driver’s Hours of Service (HOS) logs, which show how many hours the truck driver was driving before the collision; and the truck’s event data recorder (EDR), which stores information about the truck’s location and speed, as well as whether the driver was wearing a seatbelt or applying breaks before the collision.

Even though you have two years after the truck accident to file a lawsuit in Pennsylvania, we highly encourage you not to wait, as postponement translates into valuable evidence loss. For example, trucking companies destroy Hours of Service logs every six months. At Goldleaf Law PLLC, we want to help you get the fair compensation you deserve. The value of your case depends on who you hire. Contact us today to preserve your rights.

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