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Best Truck Accident Lawyers in Pittsburgh
According to the American Trucking Association, the trucking industry transported nearly 11.5 billion tons of cargo in 2018. The industry employs about 7.8 million people that includes 3.5 million truck drivers. Without truck drivers, the American economy would take a huge hit.
Large commercial trucks, which include semis, big rigs, and tractor-trailers, represent 12.8 percent of all motor vehicles traveling on American roads and highways. Because of their enormous size and the long time it takes for a big rig to come to a standstill, it is not surprising to learn why the driver of a standard motor vehicle would suffer serious injuries when involved in a truck accident.
The reasons for truck accidents mirror those of other types of motor vehicle accidents. The difference is not the cause of truck accidents, but the devastation left behind when a four-wheel automobile collides with an 18-wheel semi. Even at slower speeds, an accident with a tractor-trailer can produce injuries that require lifelong treatment and rehabilitation.
If you were involved in a truck accident, you should contact a Pittsburgh truck accident lawyer. Since 1988, the personal injury attorneys at Morgan & Morgan have helped clients recover more than $7 billion in compensation. We will schedule a free case evaluation to review the evidence and medical records you have gathered, as well as ask several questions that shine a brighter light on your case.
Because you have a limited amount of time to file a truck accident lawsuit, you should be proactive by contacting one of our Pittsburgh truck accident lawyers today.
What Are the Most Common Types of Truck Accidents?
The type of truck accident typically determines the extent of the property damage, as well as the seriousness of your injuries.
Considered the deadliest type of truck accident, running head-on into the truck can cause catastrophic injuries. Crushed ribs, severe head trauma, and debilitating damage to the spine are three examples of life-threatening injuries that result from a head-on collision with a big rig.
Rear-end truck accidents frequently happen at traffic signals. A distracted truck driver rams into the motor vehicle in front of the semi. Severe whiplash and strong back spasms can result from a rear-end accident with a truck.
As an accident that often unfolds during severe weather, a truck jackknifes when the driver applies too much pressure on the brakes. The truck rolls over and skids hundreds of yards on a road or highway. A jackknife accident puts every driver of a motor vehicle in the range of a truck in danger.
As with other types of motor vehicles, trucks are equipped with advanced safety technology that includes blind-spot monitoring. However, some truck accidents occur because truck drivers do not check for every possible blind spot. A blind spot accident with a truck can happen anywhere, from at a gas station to on a freeway.
As another potentially deadly truck accident, an underride accident involves a passenger car running under a tractor-trailer. Either the driver of the truck is at fault for making a sudden attempt to stop or the driver of the passenger car is legally liable for moving too close to the big rig.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Truck Accidents?
When one of our Pittsburgh truck accident lawyers investigates your case, the first item on the to-do list is to determine the cause of the collision. Understanding what caused your accident goes a long way towards determining which party should assume legal liability for the collision
Truck drivers are most susceptible to succumbing to distraction because, in addition to personal electronic communication devices, they constantly refer to other technological components to get updates on the weather, road conditions, and traffic congestion reports.
Truck drivers operate on tight schedules made even tighter by federal government regulations that limit the amount of time a semi can operate within a certain period. Speeding semis are more likely to fall victim to slick roads and highways, as well as to poor road conditions.
Despite federal regulations that establish maximum driving time per day, some drivers skirt the regulations by staying on the road too long. A fatigued truck driver can make poor decisions, such as trying to blow through a yellow light and changing lanes without first signaling.
Driving Under the Influence
To combat fatigue, some truck drivers resort to popping pills to stay awake. Driving under the influence also includes alcohol, which some drivers consume by putting it in their coffee. The consumption of drugs and alcohol often leads to mistakes while operating a big rig.
The failure to secure a load of cargo properly can lead to a deadly truck accident. Items from lumber to appliances come crashing into a passenger car to leave behind a trail of carnage. Truck drivers must follow standards when securing loads, but some drivers cut corners to save time.
What Does a Truck Accident Attorney Do?
If you suffered injuries that were the result of an accident with a semi, you should speak with a Pittsburgh truck accident lawyer to determine the best course of legal action. Your attorney conducts a thorough investigation that reveals the key facts of the case.
Determination of Fault
Determining fault gives your lawyer the first piece of the investigative puzzle. Although truck drivers receive most of the publicity for causing vehicle collisions, your lawyer might uncover evidence that demonstrates another party, such as the trucking company or manufacturer, should assume some of the blame for causing the accident.
Pennsylvania implements the modified comparative negligence rule for assigning fault after a truck accident. This means you might have to accept monetary damages that are less than what the judge or jury awarded for your case. For example, a jury awards $200,000 in monetary damages, but blames you for 20 percent of the cause of the accident. This means you receive just $160,000 of the financial award.
Follow the Evidence
After determining fault, your lawyer will collect and organize as much evidence as possible to build the strongest case. Physical evidence in the form of photographs and video footage shot at the accident scene provides persuasive evidence for your case. Your Pittsburgh truck accident lawyer will also interview witnesses, preferably as soon as possible after the accident. Witness accounts tend to be more accurate the closer they are made to a personal injury incident.
The most important piece of evidence is the official police report. Although law enforcement completes a detailed report of a truck accident to determine if there is a need to file criminal charges, a copy of the report goes to each of the attorneys representing clients that are involved in the case. The official police report is the most convincing document for a judge or jury to review.
Calculating Monetary Damages
Your Pittsburgh truck accident lawyer calculates what you deserve in just compensation. Calculating economic damages is easy because your lawyer refers to receipts and copies of bills. However, calculating non-economic damages is much more difficult to do. General compensatory damages like pain and suffering do not come with a price tag. Your lawyer wants to submit a reasonable request for general compensatory damages that a judge or jury approves.
If a truck accident killed a loved one, you have the right to file a civil lawsuit that seeks wrongful death damages. Losing a loved one because of the acts of negligence committed by a truck driver can cause considerable mental anguish and emotional distress. Your attorney makes sure you receive compensation for your pain and suffering.
How Do I Choose the Right Pittsburgh Truck Accident Lawyer?
Before you schedule a free case evaluation with one of our Pittsburgh truck accident lawyers, organize the documents you need to build a strong claim. This includes medical bills, lost wages information, and a copy of the official police report.
Let’s review a few factors that should help you decide which Pittsburgh truck accident lawyer to hire.
Yes, years of experience matter, but more importantly, the experience should be litigating truck accident cases. Ask every attorney on your shortlist about what percentage of their caseloads are devoted to personal injury cases. You want to know if the lawyer mostly represents plaintiffs or defendants. Finally, does the attorney have any experience with the defendant’s insurance company?
Who Handles Your Case?
Because of their complexity, truck accident lawsuits require an experienced litigator who has successfully litigated lawsuits. This means you should not hire a truck accident lawyer in Pittsburgh who hands off personal injury cases to a less experienced member of a law firm. If you are considering an attorney who runs a private practice, make sure the lawyer handles every phase of your truck accident case.
Open Line of Communication
You should be able to get responses to questions and concerns within a reasonable amount of time. This is especially true when you consider hiring a law firm that employs professionals to interact with current and prospective clients. At Morgan & Morgan, we promptly return emails, phone calls, and text messages
What Is Your Settlement Goal?
Towards the end of a free case evaluation, the attorney sitting across from you will provide you with an estimate for how much your case is worth. Although your lawyer calculates a reasonable figure for monetary damages, it is what you feel is fair that matters. Remember a Pittsburgh truck accident lawyer works for you, which means your legal counsel must agree to a settlement amount with your insurance company, as well as the amount of monetary damages that you request during a civil lawsuit.
Contact a Trust Truck Accident Attorney
Pennsylvania personal injury law states plaintiffs have two years from the date of a truck accident to file a civil lawsuit. If you fail to meet the deadline for filing a truck accident lawsuit, the court will dismiss your case. One of the most important responsibilities of a Pittsburgh truck accident lawyer is to ensure clients file lawsuits before the expiration of the statute of limitations.
Act with a sense of urgency by contacting Morgan & Morgan to schedule a free case evaluation.