Stark & Stark’s Pennsylvania and New Jersey semi-truck accident attorneys represent the victims of trucking accidents involving 18-wheeler tractor trailers and other large commercial vehicles. Our experience with the laws governing the trucking industry can successfully assist you when taking on commercial trucking companies after someone is seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident.
All too often, big rig truck drivers are pressured to work extra long shifts and drive when they are far too fatigued to do so. Even worse, many trucking drivers in this heavily regulated industry will falsify their log records, suggesting that they work fewer hours than they actually have. Crowded highways, overtired drivers, and massive commercial tractor-trailers are a recipe for disaster, endangering the safety and welfare for safe drivers across this country.
Since 2009, there have been over 325 crash fatalities in New Jersey and over 650 crash fatalities in Pennsylvania involving large commercial trucks. 18- wheeler trucking and commercial truck accidents represent one of the most significant dangers to the safety of drivers on the road today.
PA & NJ Trucking Accident Lawyer Services That We Provide
Our NJ and PA truck accident lawyers will fight to recover all the benefits you deserve. As a result of our experience in representing clients in semi-trucking and commercial vehicle accident matters, and through careful assessment and preparation, our big truck accident lawyers help victim’s families obtain cash settlements for injury, medical expenses, and pain and suffering. Sometimes these positive outcomes are achieved only by going to trial. However, in many cases our Pennsylvania and New Jersey trucking accident lawyers are able to obtain favorable settlements outside of the courtroom, making the experience less stressful for our clients who have been involved in a big truck crash.
Commercial trucking accident cases are very complex and are a critical area of litigation. The truck accident law firm of Stark & Stark, serving both New Jersey and Pennsylvania has certified civil trial attorneys highly experienced to help you if you are involved in a trucking accident. For additional information, visit the Truck and Bus Accident Lawyers Blog.
Why Big Rig Tractor Trailers Can Be Dangerous
Negligently operated 18-wheel tractor-trailers are an extreme hazard on the road, and crashes involving these colossal vehicles often lead to serious injury or death. The increased danger of 18-wheel tractor-trailers, also known as semi-trucks, is due to several factors, including:
- Size – An 18-wheeler tractor-trailer can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, which is 16 times more than the average passenger car. The impact of a collision with a commercial truck of this size is can be catastrophic.
- Poor Braking Ability – The average 18-wheeler tractor-trailer needs approximately 350 feet to come to a stop from traveling at 60 miles per hour. This is more than the length of a football field.
- Lack of Maneuverability – Truckers have a harder time avoiding hazards on the road such as accidents, debris, and out-of-control vehicles because a semi-truck needs more time and space to alter its course.
- Dangerous Cargo – Many commercial trucks and 18-wheeler tractor-trailers on the road transport flammable, explosive or otherwise hazardous cargo, which can turn a minor accident into a tragic event.
- Full Loads – Many commercial trucks and 18-wheeler tractor-trailers are filled with heavy full loads, making the vehicle hard to maneuver and even harder to slow in inclement weather.
Important Crash Avoidance & Safety Tips for Automobile Drivers
- Pay attention and treat big rig semi-trucks differently than cars.
- Keep a safe distance and change lanes carefully.
- Pass a semi-truck quickly and pay full attention to reentering lanes.
- Stay visible and anticipate low visibility of the commercial truck driver.
- Avoid driving in the semi-truck’s blind spots.
- Watch for the trucks turn signals as a driver may not see you and may turn in front of you.
- Exercise additional caution in inclement weather and at night.
- Use caution on entrance ramps and allow for plenty of space.
- Avoid “road rage” against a commercial truck and report dangerous semi-truck driver behavior.
- Try to expect the unexpected.
Frequently Asked Questions About PA and NJ Truck Accident Cases
Here are some questions and answers to help you better understand what’s involved in commercial tractor trailer accident matters and important steps to follow to safeguard your safety and rights.
If I Get Into an Accident With a Tractor Trailer in New Jersey or Pennsylvania, Should I Call My Insurance Company?
If you or a loved one is involved in an accident with a tractor trailer, you should always notify your insurance company that there was a crash. We also recommend that you consult with one of our experienced New Jersey or Pennsylvania truck accident attorneys experienced in handling tractor trailer accidents. Negotiating directly with the trucking company or insurance company can lead to issues later on in the event a claim is made against the trucking company. Also, the trucking company may use something you said during negotiations against you later in the case. An experienced truck accident attorney, in handling tractor trailer accident cases, can help you with communications with the trucking and insurance companies, and also help you get the right medical treatment.
What Should I Do If a Truck Wreck Happens?
The most important thing is to document everything you can think of. Date, time of day, road conditions, amount of traffic, speed traveling, other vehicle behaviors, weather conditions, photographs of the crash scene, and any other information you can remember. Also, be sure to record any personal injuries, such as head and back pain, scratches, bruises, or fractures. Depending on the severity of the crash, medical records the day of and weeks following the event are very important.
Once the police and trucking accident attorneys are involved, thorough investigation of a truck accident is vital to the success of any litigation which may follow. The crash investigation will be conducted quickly to insure that evidence such as skid markings, points of impact, and the tractor trailer are captured in their unaltered states. The crash investigation will also include obtaining important documents such as logbooks, maintenance records, driver history, and any records of improper driving or over driving fatigue from being on the road longer than recommended.
Are There Special Regulations That Govern Truckers and Trucking Companies?
There are both state and federal regulations which govern trucking companies and their truck drivers in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Failure to follow these regulations when there is an accident can lead to a finding that the driver and trucking company were negligent or reckless in causing the truck accident. While many states have their own regulations concerning cabs, trucks, trailers, and commercial vehicles, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) applies to interstate traffic. The federal regulations cover various aspects of the trucking industry including hiring and supervising drivers, and vehicle maintenance.
When Should I Contact a Pennsylvania or New Jersey Truck Accident Lawyer?
After an accident or a truck wreck, figuring out your next steps to take can be overwhelming. In this time, though, it is important to reach out and contact an experienced PA or NJ truck accident lawyer who will be able to assist with navigating your insurance company and medical bills and get you a quick response. Our New Jersey and Pennsylvania truck accident lawyers understand that you are under physical emotional pain after being involved in a truck wreck, and those serious injuries often require extensive surgeries and often lengthy recoveries.
Finding the right Pennsylvania or New Jersey truck accident lawyers, along with the right trucking accident law firm, is no simple task. Most trucking accident law firms offer free consultation, which it is strongly recommended that you take advantage of to find exactly the right experienced trucking accident attorney to meet your specific needs. You will need an NJ or PA truck accident attorney who knows how to work with insurance companies and get you the best coverage after your serious injury, as well as cover any past and future medical bills.
An 18-wheeler, big rig, or any other large truck can do a tragic amount of damage to a much smaller passenger vehicle. If the accident was a result of driver error or driver fatigue, you need legal representation that will protect your rights and get compensation for your medical bills and lost wages. Unfortunately, the trucking industry often operates beyond the scope of safety for their drivers as well as the public who must share the road with their commercial vehicles. This is a recipe for unsafe driving, and this can end in tragedy.
Dealing with a trucking company can be a metaphorical minefield, and it’s important to have the right PA & New Jersey truck accident attorneys on your side who will fight for all of you and your loved ones’ benefits.