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Truck accident: What are the causes and who can be held liable?

These blogs are posted on behalf of Seidel, Cohen, Hof & Reid, LLC, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the firm or its attorneys. The information presented in this blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice.

Motorists in Pennsylvania share the roadways with all kinds of big rigs. Due to the sheer size of these vehicles, occupants of any car that is involved in a truck accident have little chance of escaping unscathed. Malfunctioning equipment causes some accidents, and the slightest equipment error can cause devastating crashes. When such a collision results in a civil lawsuit, possible liable parties can include the vehicle manufacturer, the mechanic who repaired the truck or installed the defective part, the trucking company responsible for refurbishing the part and the sales entity.

While most truckers recognize the need for safe operation of their vehicles, a small percentage fail to take due care. Crashes are often caused by fatigued drivers and those who disregard safety guidelines. Overloading, improper loading, unbalanced cargo and the failure to secure loads can cause accidents, and the use of drugs or alcohol while driving is grossly negligent.

Truck operators must undergo specialized training to obtain the required special license, but additional training to learn defensive driving and how to handle safety concerns is essential. Economic pressures might move truckers to exceed the number of hours they may drive without mandated rest periods, causing exhaustion that puts themselves and other road users at risk. Their employers might force violations of the laws concerning maximum driving hours by enforcing unrealistic expectations and schedules with tight deadlines that can only be met by exceeding allowed driving hours.

Any victim of a truck accident in Pennsylvania will likely have to cope with severe injuries that could have long-term consequences. If negligence can be established, recovery of damages might be possible. An experienced personal injury attorney could assess the circumstances and determine which of the parties can be named as defendants. With claims adequately documented, and skillful presentation of the lawsuit in court, a monetary judgment might be entered to cover economic and noneconomic damages.

Source: unsafetrucks.org, "Common Causes of Truck Accidents", Accessed on May 30, 2018

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