Aggressive Attorney Helps with Trucking Accident Claims in PA
Somerset trial lawyer fights to maximize your compensation
For more than 15 years, Matthew R. Zatko, Attorney at Law has fought to recover full compensation for victims of motor vehicle accidents, including devastating commercial truck accidents. If you have been severely injured by a large truck, you can trust me to fight aggressively to recover the maximum damage award you are entitled to.
A statistical look at commercial truck crashes in Pennsylvania
Although the number of heavy truck crashes in Pennsylvania has been trending upward in recent years, fatalities from such crashes are on the decline. Still, about 150 people die in heavy-truck–related crashes annually in Pennsylvania, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. Although heavy trucks are only involved in about five percent of all motor vehicle accidents in the commonwealth, they account for about 12 percent of all traffic fatalities. This is not at all surprising when we consider the size, mass, and speed at which commercial trucks travel on Pennsylvania highways. Almost 90 percent of fatal large truck crashes occur on interstates, state highways and turnpikes.
The danger in a commercial truck crash is not limited to the impact of the collision. In 2015, hazardous materials were released in 22 of 155 crashes in Pennsylvania involving trucks hauling hazardous materials, posing dangers to motorists and residents in the vicinity of the release. Since commercial vehicle liability extends to all reasonably foreseeable results of a trucking accident, trucking companies can be held liable for toxic injuries and illnesses.
Who can be held responsible for a trucking accident?
Trucking companies must adhere to federal regulations put forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, a division of the U.S. Department of Transportation. These rules cover safety-related issues such as:
- Training requirements and other qualifications for drivers
- Drivers’ hours of service
- Insurance coverage requirements
- Inspection, repair and maintenance of equipment
If a company is found to have violated any of these regulations prior to a crash (as is far too often the case) and the violation is related to the cause of the accident, the company can be found directly liable for the damage.
However, many truck crashes involve driver error, including:
- Aggressive driving
- Excessive speed
- Driver distraction
- Drowsy driving
- Following too closely
- Failure to yield
- Unsafe maneuvers
If a driver is found to have made an error that caused the accident, he or she can be held personally liable, but liability also attaches to the company due to the old legal theory of respondeat superior, Latin for “the master must answer.”
Other causes of truck accidents include:
- Motorist interference — A negligent driver of a passenger car can make an unsafe maneuver that causes the truck to lose control.
- Road conditions — Weather (rain, snow, fog, wet road surfaces) is a factor in about 20 percent of Pennsylvania truck crashes. Poor road design or maintenance can also contribute to crashes.
- Unbalanced cargo — Poorly loaded cargo can cause a truck to roll over, especially on tight turns in high winds.
- Faulty maintenance — Trucking companies contract with maintenance companies that could be held liable for brake failures and other mechanical problems that were not properly addressed.
- Defective equipment — Equipment manufacturers are often liable for defects in commercial trucks.
Determining the cause of a truck accident can be difficult, but it is essential to proving liability and recovering a fair damage award in a personal injury claim. You should trust this task only to an experienced and determined accident attorney.
Contact me now for a free consultation for your trucking accident
Trucking accidents can leave victims with serious, life-changing injuries. For aggressive and knowledgeable representation, call Matthew R. Zatko, Attorney at Law at 814-483-7075 or contact me online. I serve clients throughout Somerset County, Bedford County, Cambria County, and Indiana County.