Accidents Involving 18-Wheelers, Other Large Commercial Vehicles
You have rights. Pennsylvania 18-wheeler accident attorneys Marcus & Mack can help.
Truck accidents involving larger commercial trucks, including 18-wheelers, tractor-trailers and buses, often result in serious injuries. A fully-loaded tractor-trailer can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. As a result, the force of such a large vehicle crashing into a smaller car or motorcycle can be devastating, especially if your accident occurs on highway like I-99 near Altoona, I-80 near State College or the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania refers to these vehicles as "heavy trucks" and they're involved in thousands of accidents every year. At Marcus & Mack, our experienced Pennsylvania tractor-trailer accident lawyers know how to investigate complicated cases involving 18-wheeler accidents, bus crashes and other large trucks. We know what evidence to look for, what questions to ask and how to compile that information into a strong legal case. We have worked hard to build a reputation in Johnstown and other communities throughout Western and Central Pennsylvania. Our job is to help injured people. This is all we do.
Accidents involving big rigs, including commercial buses, can happen for any number of reasons. Sometimes the driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol or driving recklessly. We have seen cases in which a commercial driver is fatigued and falls asleep behind the wheel, essentially transforming the 80,000 pound rig into a pilotless, dangerous missile.
What makes 18-wheeler, tractor-trailer accidents different?
Unlike accidents involving two cars, a truck accident may have multiple parties and insurance companies involved. They may be pointing fingers at each other, attempting to shift blame and minimize liability.
Liability may extend not only to the driver, but the driver's employer. An 18-wheeler accident investigation also would have to include the company that loaded the contents of the truck. Equipment defects also may be a contributing factor. If your truck accident involved a mechanical defect, you will likely need to take legal action against the truck manufacturer or those responsible for maintaining the truck. All potentially liable parties will likely have attorneys representing them.
Tracking down all these companies can be very difficult. Getting them to cooperate and fairly compensate you can be even harder.
These are just a few reasons why truck accident victims should contact a Pennsylvania attorney as soon as possible. Level the playing field. Talk to Marcus & Mack today.
Are the laws different for 18-wheeler accidents in Pennsylvania?
Yes. Specific state and federal laws exist governing commercial truck drivers and trucking companies. Some of the laws include:
- Background checks - Trucking companies are legally obligated to hire safe, licensed truck drivers. If a trucking company failed to conduct a thorough background check and hired an inexperienced truck driver or one with a history of reckless driving, that company might be liable for your accident.
- Keeping accurate records - Such records include when drivers operate trucks, exact contents of the truck and when the truck has been serviced or repaired. Failure to keep accurate logs violates state and federal regulations.
- Mandatory rest periods - Under federal law, truck drivers must take mandatory breaks in order to avoid falling asleep at the wheel. Under Hours of Service (HOS) rules created by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), truck drivers must take a 30 minute break every 8 hours, drive no more than 11 hours in a 24 hour period and be off duty 10 hours every day.
- Load limits - Tractor trailers have strict weight limits. These limits exist in order to prevent rollover accidents, jackknife accidents and other severe accidents often linked to overloaded trucks.
Can I negotiate directly with a trucking company after an accident?
Technically, yes. However, you will be at a disadvantage on your own. Trucking companies, their insurance carriers and the attorneys who represent them know exactly what to say and what questions to ask to keep the settlement as low as possible. The at-fault parties typically begin investigations hours after the accident. While victims are possibly being treated at hospitals, the trucking company's representatives may be at the scene of the accident, scouring the area for evidence to limit liability.
At Marcus & Mack, we will fight for you right away. Call us as soon as possible after your truck accident. We know all the tactics trucking companies and their lawyers often try to use to avoid accepting responsibility. If necessary, we're prepared to take these companies to court in Cambria County or wherever your accident took place in Pennsylvania.
Why should I hire Marcus & Mack to handle my tractor-trailer accident?
Accidents involving large commercial trucks can be extremely complicated. And in most cases, you only have one opportunity to take legal action in order to be fairly compensated. Don't take chances with your future. Take action. Contact Marcus & Mack.
When you have us on your side, you can take an aggressive approach right from the start. Large corporations don't intimidate us. That's because we're focused on what really matters - helping injury victims just like you. Call (800) 488-0338 to schedule an appointment today!