Tips for Truck Accident Injury Victims in Philadelphia

Truck on a highway in PhiladelphiaThe situation is nearly intolerable throughout Pennsylvania – nearly 7,000 heavy truck accidents occur every year, and the number increases annually. Although this number may raise your eyebrows, keep in mind that since “heavy trucks” comprise only a portion of the total commercial trucks on the road, the true truck accident count is considerably higher than this. The injury count is in the thousands.

Many legal issues arise in truck accident cases that distinguish them from ordinary traffic accidents. For instance, most commercial trucks carry “black boxes,” similar to what you would find on a commercial jet, that records crucial data that can be used to support a truck accident claim. Truckers are also subject to detailed regulations, violations of which can support liability if they caused the accident. It is to your benefit to discuss your case with a very experienced Philadelphia Truck Accident Lawyer.

Truck Accident Claims Don’t Enforce Themselves

Pennsylvania law provides you with a personal injury claim if you were injured in a truck accident caused by someone else.  Without more, however, a claim is nothing more than an abstract legal right. The trick is knowing how to work the system well enough to turn a claim into cash. That is where I can help since that is exactly what I do for a living. In fact, I have done nothing else for over two decades now.

In my 22 years of practicing personal injury law, I have handled more truck accident claims that I can count. While they involve certain issues that keep coming up over and over, I have never seen two cases that were exactly alike. A top-notch personal injury law firm will know how to effectively exploit these nuances. Nobody, absolutely nobody, is going to take advantage of you – not on my watch anyway.

My Clients Speak Out

Comments about Jeffrey H. Penneys, Esq.

“Jeffrey’s work is without question superior, and his attention to detail is spectacular. I would absolutely recommend him.” – Thaddeus

“I was hit from behind. The Ins. Company was giving me a hard time. I called Jeffrey and he figured the problem out in an hour. The police officer gave me the wrong numbers for the police report. Awesome job!!!!” – Jamie

Other Types of Personal Injury Cases I Handle

I also handle the following types of personal injury cases:

Bus Accidents: A typical serious public bus accident in which many people are injured involves two complications – red tape due to the need to file a claim against the government, and a limited pool of compensation funds due to the multiplicity of victims combined with limits on available damages. Many bus accidents, however, involve only one or two victims.

Car Accidents: Now and then, a car accident will occur that is truly nobody’s fault. Most of the time, however, an accident can be attributed to driver error (or something even worse, such as “road rage”). Surprisingly, more Pennsylvania car accidents are caused by speeding in broad daylight (particularly along the interstate highways) than by drunken driving at night.

Motorcycle Accidents: Motorcyclists place themselves at risk every time they enter traffic, because of the lack of frame protection available to a driver in a car. Motorcycle accidents sadly tend to be even more serious than bicycle accidents because they typically occur at much higher rates of speed.

Bicycle Accidents: Bicycle accidents are not significantly more frequent than other types of motor vehicle accidents. When they do occur, however, they commonly result in serious injuries that require long-term medical care. In most cases, bicycle accidents happen when a motorist fails to notice the bicycle.

Medical Malpractice: Despite the trust most of us place in doctors, the statistics on medical malpractice are horrifying. According to the American Medical Association itself, medical malpractice is the third leading cause of death in the U.S., without even taking into account serious but non-fatal injuries. When this happens, justice demands a response.

SEPTA Accidents: In many ways, Philadelphians are lucky to be served by SEPTA, despite its frequent inconveniences. SEPTA’s buses, trains, and trolleys are all statistically safer means of travel than private automobiles. With over 100 million vehicle miles a year, however, accidents are bound to happen. Injury claims must be handled carefully because claims against the government involve special considerations.

Slip and Fall Accidents: Most slip and fall claims arise when a customer is injured at a business establishment. Since owners and occupiers of premises are obliged to ensure the reasonable safety of their premises, however, even a guest in a private home can file a claim for a slip and fall accident.

Dog Bites: Pennsylvania holds dog owners liable for the aggressive behavior of their dogs, even when they did not act negligently. Kennel owners and dog-sitters can also be held liable for dog bites. Typically, a dog bite claim is paid by homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policies, although other options are sometimes available.

Wrongful Death: A wrongful death lawsuit is not a criminal prosecution – it is a civil remedy (a lawsuit) that is designed to compensate the close relatives of a victim who would have had a personal injury claim if he or she had not died from the injuries. A defendant does not have to commit a criminal act to be liable for wrongful death.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is the trucking company automatically liable for the negligence of its driver?

If the driver is a company employee, the trucking company is automatically liable, as long as the driver was acting within the scope of work duties at the time of the accident. If the driver is an independent contractor, the trucking company is liable only for its own negligence.

Can I sue the trucking company for negligence?

Yes, potentially. The trucking company might have overloaded the truck, for example, or violated some other regulation. If the violation caused the accident, the trucking company could be held liable. The trucking company might also have negligently hired a driver with a bad driving record.

What are some of the major differences between truck accidents and a car accident?

In a truck accident:

  • There may be multiple defendants (the driver, the shipping company, etc.)
  • Insurance claim limits are typically higher
  • The claim may be brought in federal court
  • The truck driver has a Commercial Driver’s License
  • Truck accidents are typically more complex

Should I begin negotiating with the insurance company before I retain an attorney?

No, you shouldn’t. It is likely that you will make an error that will reduce the value of your claim or even eliminate your claim altogether. If this happens, it is uncertain whether your truck accident attorney will be able to undo the damage.

Is my personal injury verdict or settlement taxable?

The taxability of verdicts and settlements is determined by what they are designed to compensate for. Amounts designed to compensate you for personal injury are not taxable. The IRS can tax judgment interest and punitive damages, however – be careful to have these clearly distinguished in your verdict or settlement.

Why do I need an attorney to help me settle out of court with an insurance company?

Insurance company adjusters are professional negotiators, some with thousands of negotiations under their belt.  What’s more, their interests are directly adverse to yours – the less they pay you, the more they get to keep. You need a professional on your side, too.

Can I obtain punitive damages?

Punitive damages are awarded in addition to compensatory damages, for the purpose of punishing the defendant for, particularly culpable behavior. In Pennsylvania, this means malicious or grossly negligent behavior. A DUI accident or a “road rage” incident might justify punitive damages, for example, although there are no guarantees.

What is the deadline for filing a civil lawsuit in Pennsylvania?

You have two years from:

  • The date of the accident, in most cases;
  • The date that you discovered your injury, if the injury was latent;
  • The date that the victim died (wrongful death lawsuits); or
  • Your 20th birthday (minors).

Can I file a claim against an establishment that sold alcohol to the truck driver prior to the accident?

Under Pennsylvania’s dram shop law, you can sue an establishment that served the truck driver alcohol if:

  • The truck driver was visibly intoxicated at the time when served; and
  • The decision to serve the driver alcohol led directly to the accident.

You Owe Me Nothing Until You Actually Receive Compensation

Many of my clients call me because their injury is causing them financial distress. It is not very comforting for a lawyer to charge clients exorbitant up-front fees for the privilege of relieving financial distress, is it? With me, you will never have to come up with money for legal fees out of your own pocket. There are no upfront fees – you only pay if you win, out of the compensation you receive.

Contact A Philadelphia Truck Accident Attorney Today

All personal injury and truck accident lawyers are not created equal – different lawyers deliver dramatically different results. A “buffet” style lawyer, who practices in a variety of different fields, is far less likely to have obtained the strong command of personal injury law that is necessary to maximize the value of your claim. Your choice of a attorney is likely to be the most important decision you make in your case.

If you have been injured in a Philadelphia truck accident that you believe may have been someone else’s fault, it is time to take decisive action. Schedule a free case evaluation with a Philadelphia truck accident lawyer by calling 800-465-8795 (office), 215-771-0430 (cell), or by filling out my online contact form with your questions.