Truck Accidents

As shown in crash statistics provided by PennDOT, most car accidents involve passenger cars, followed by a combination of light trucks, vans, and SUVs. Next on the list are "heavy trucks" such as 18-wheelers and tractor-trailers, which cause more than 6,000 accidents each year. Truck accidents can be catastrophic in nature due to the size and weight of commercial trucks, which can weigh up to 40 tons when loaded to capacity. If you have been hit by a negligent truck driver, Balzarini & Watson can provide a skilled Pittsburgh personal injury attorney to help.

Trucking Regulations And Driver Negligence

Truck accidents can be caused by the truck driver, their trucking company, a manufacturer, or a combination of these parties. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) required truck drivers to follow strict trucking regulations to ensure that they operate and maintain their vehicles properly. These regulations include:

  • Compliance with drug and alcohol testing;
  • Limitations on the number of hours driving;
  • Taking mandated rest breaks; and
  • Pre-trip inspection of mechanical systems, including braking systems.

Truck driver negligence in any of these areas could result in distraction, intoxicated driving, fatigued driving, or a dangerous malfunction that causes a serious truck accident.

Employer Liability

Trucking companies can be liable for an accident, as well. They must also follow the FMCSA's regulations by ensuring that their drivers are properly trained and tested for intoxication, and that their vehicles are properly equipped and maintained for safety. Sometimes, they are jointly responsible for an accident along with the driver. Speak with a truck accident lawyer from our firm today to discuss your case and find out how we can help.

Common Causes Of Trucking/Big Rig Accidents

When liability falls on the side of the trucker or their employer, the accident is usually caused by a failure to adhere to federal or state regulations. This could be a violation of FMCSA regulations or a violation of the state's traffic laws. Some of the most common causes of big rig accidents are:

  1. Trucker fatigue – When truckers drive at night or during the early morning hours, they are more prone to fatigue and falling asleep at the wheel, especially if they have not adhered to Hours of Service resting breaks or off-duty time.
  2. Improper loading – Commercial trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds when fully loaded with cargo. If that cargo is not loaded properly, it can shift during the drive and either fall off the back (on open-trailers) or throw the truck off-balance resulting in jackknife.
  3. Driver distraction – Commercial truckers have been banned from texting and talking on the phone while driving, but some still do.
  4. Drug or alcohol use – Truckers can be heavily fined and even suspended from driving if they test positive for drugs or alcohol. To stay awake during long, overnight trips, some truckers abuse drugs.
  5. Improper maintenance – Commercial trucks are gargantuan vehicles. As such, they have to be maintained even more frequently than the average motor vehicle. Routine maintenance should include tire and break checks, among other things.

Retain An Experienced Lawyer From Balzarini & Watson

Our firm is experienced in handling all types of trucking collision and accident cases. We have successfully represented truck accident victims in a wide variety of cases including:

  • Truck rollovers due to improper loading or handling;
  • Construction zone collisions;
  • Braking failures from overloading or component failure;
  • Inadequate training or testing of drivers;
  • Speeding and reckless operation;
  • Improper route selection

Your choice of an attorney will have a direct effect on the outcome of your case, so make sure to hire a personal injury lawyer with experience and a history of successful case results. Our firm has recovered more than $300 million in compensation and has been named in the Best Lawyers in America®. We are also AV® Rated* by Martindale-Hubbell® and have been for more than 25 years. Contact us today to set up your case evaluation and find out how we can recover your damages after a serious truck accident.

*AV Preeminent and BV Distinguished are certification marks of Reed Elsevier Properties Inc., used in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies. Martindale-Hubbell is the facilitator of a peer review rating process. Ratings reflect the confidential opinions of members of the Bar and the judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell ratings fall into two categories - legal ability and general ethical standards.