In tractor trailer truck accidents, a staggering 98% of fatalities occur to the individuals in the passenger vehicles. Economic forecasters predict steady growth in commercial trucking revenue, believed to be $1.2 trillion by 2015; certainly good news for the US economy and for the trucking companies, it is bad news for the cars, vans and SUVs that share the road with these potentially lethal monsters. While truck accidents do happen in big cities like Philadelphia, many times the most sever of these accidents occur on highways in more rural areas throughout the States. Truck accident cases are often very complex, the Philadelphia Truck Accident Lawyers offer these 4 important tips to help truck accident victims:
1.) Understand Your Rights
If you were injured in a truck accident that was not your fault, you have the right to pursue the responsible parties and get money for your injuries. Here is where it gets complicated – depending on the cause of the accident, a party(ies) may be the trucking company, truck driver, loading company, the manufacturer of the truck, a company that performed maintenance on the truck, the government entity responsible for maintaining the road where the accident occurred, or, as is often the case, multiple parties.
2.) Investigation of the Accident
As detailed above, when a big rig gets into an accident with a passenger car, the consequences can be disastrous. If you are injured in a truck accident the importance of preserving evidence to support your case is vital. Often times within a short period of time following a truck accident, the police want to clear the scene as soon as possible, the truck can be transported hundreds of miles away from the scene of a crash, weather conditions can deteriorate skid marks and fluid marks. For these reasons a truck accident investigators, often sent out by a diligent law firm, will look at every aspect of the accident, including skid marks, location of impact, debris, fluid stains, and damaged vehicle parts. Having this account will help immeasurably, remember the trucking companies and their insurance carriers will have their own investigators and experts out to the scene, and will try to compensate victims little as possible.
3.) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Regulations Apply
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration or FMCSA is a separate agency within the U.S. Department of Transportation. The FMCSA was established pursuant to the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999; its stated goals: reducing crashes, injuries and fatalities by improving the safety of large trucks and buses. The agency sets forth rules and regulations regarding required maintenance, driver resting periods, vehicle inspection, use of prescription medication and other substances. Trucking companies and operators are required by law to maintain maintenance records, hourly logs and other records. Further, trucking companies must carry higher levels of liability insurance.
The reality, not every trucking company is in compliance with FMCSA regulations; investigation into compliance with the mandatory FMCSA regulations is an important factor to your case.
4.) The Truck Accident Settlement Offer
Insurance companies are not in business to pay out money; in fact it’s common for a trucking company’s insurer to offer a low lump-sum settlement in exchange for you granting a release to all involved parties and waiving all future rights to compensation. Valuation of your case hinges on many factors including, but not limited to, medical bills, lost wages, disability, pain and suffering and other accident related expenses. Before you accept any settlement offer, have the Philadelphia Truck Accident Lawyers at KaplunMarx, PLLC review your case (free of charge) and explain your available legal options.
UPDATE: Breaking News: Traffic Alert. Really bad accident on the NJ Turnpike. Details and Pictures here: http://www.myfoxphilly.com/story/24573260/horrible-accident-on-turnpike-involving-two-tractor-trailers