Most drivers have probably noticed that the number of large trucks being driven every day on our nation’s highways has increased over the years. And none of us is unaware of the seriousness of accidents between trucks and other motor vehicles. Given the relative size of even smaller trucks in comparison to the size of the average car, catastrophic injuries are often sustained by drivers and other occupants of cars who have been involved in crashes with trucks. Traumatic brain injuries, paralysis, limb loss, and death may occur, and all may have been prevented if greater care had been taken by the drivers of trucks and the companies that employ them. As a leading truck accident lawyer Philadelphia firm, we have been able to get verdicts on behalf of our clients in the millions.
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in an accident between a truck and one or more other motor vehicles, you may be entitled to compensation for the damages you have suffered as a result of your injuries or loved one’s death. If you suspect that your injuries or loved one’s death was due to someone’s negligence or a defect in a vehicle involved in the accident, The Killino Firm’s Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, trucking accident lawyers can assist you in obtaining the compensation to which you are entitled. Contact The Killino Firm at (215) 569-1299 for a free evaluation of your case and more information about your legal options.
Legal Liability for Truck Accident Injuries or Deaths
Though many traffic accidents are caused by poor road conditions or bad weather rather than a vehicle defect or the negligence of any of the drivers involved, others may result from the negligence of one or more drivers, the negligence of the employers of one or more drivers, or a defect in one or more of the vehicles involved in the accident. Multi-vehicle crashes can lead to litigation of great complexity, as several of these causes can combine to lead to an accident victim’s injury or death, resulting in potential liability on the part of multiple individuals and/or entities.
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Liability of Negligent Truck Drivers
In many accidents or crashes between trucks and other motor vehicles, the negligence of the truck driver may be determined to have been a cause of an accident victim’s injury or death. Any person who drives a truck or other motor vehicle has a duty to exercise due care for the safety of other drivers and pedestrians while that person is driving. The duty to obey all traffic laws and rules of the road, including those specifically applicable to trucks, is included in a truck driver’s duty of care. Under most states’ laws, the violation of any traffic law or rule of the road may be found to constitute negligence per se on the part of the driver who violated the rule or law. This means that the driver may be found to have been negligent without the necessity on the part of the plaintiff of proving the existence of the truck driver’s duty of care and breach of that duty of care. In other words, the proof of the driver’s traffic law or rule violation will be considered to satisfy the plaintiff’s burden of proving these two elements of a negligence action.
Truck drivers may be found negligent in other ways, as well. One of the most common causes of crashes between large commercial trucks and other vehicles is the fatigue of truck drivers who have been driving for too many hours without breaks or rests. In many cases, this can be the fault of both a driver and the driver’s employer.
Liability of Truck Drivers’ Employers
The employer of a truck driver may be found liable for an accident victim’s injuries or death caused by the negligence of its employee driver. When an employee negligently causes someone’s injury or death, the employer may be held vicariously, or indirectly, liable for the injuries or deaths caused by its negligent employee while the employee was working for the employer.
In some cases, an employer may be held directly liable, as well, for such injuries or deaths. If, for example, an employer truck company was negligent in screening, hiring, training, and/or retaining a truck driver whose negligence subsequently caused a truck crash victim’s injury or death, the employer may be held directly liable for the victim’s injury or death under most states’ negligence and wrongful death laws. A truck company employer may also be held directly liable if it has required its employee to work too many hours in a row without rests or other breaks, or if it requires the employee to travel certain distances in too short a time.
Liability for Defective Vehicles
If a truck crash or the injuries or deaths sustained in a truck crash are found to have been caused by a defect in the truck involved in the crash, the manufacturer and others in the chain of the truck’s distribution may be found liable for the victim’s injury or death through a product liability action, under most states’ laws. These actions are generally brought as strict liability claims, which relieve the plaintiff of the burden of establishing negligence or other fault on the part of the defendants.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck crash and you believe your injuries or loved one’s death was due to driver negligence or a defect in the truck, The Killino Firm Philadelphia Pennsylvania trucking accident attorneys can help you seek justice for the suffering you and your family have endured. Contact us at (215) 569-1299 for expert and aggressive assistance with your case.