West Chester Truck Accident Attorney
Commercial truck accidents can be devastating and leave victims with lifelong injuries, overwhelming medical bills, and property damages. Some truck accidents are fatal, and families must face the loss of a loved one. If you suffered truck accident injuries or lost someone you love to a truck accident, call Wilk Law for a complimentary claim consultation.
The attorneys at Wilk Law help victims of truck accidents seek compensation and justice for their losses. Our truck accident attorneys are compassionate and understand the challenges presented by truck accidents and the injuries they cause.
Wilk Law offers truck accident victims:
- Personalized strategies for recovery;
- Referrals to specialized medical care and other injury services; and
- Prompt and honest legal advice.
Contact Wilk Law today at (855) 946-3678, or contact us online, to meet with one of our truck accident attorneys. We will gladly meet you in our office or another location where you are comfortable. There are no upfront fees for representation, and we only get paid when we collect compensation for you.
The Pennsylvania Trucking Industry
The trucking industry is a significant part of Pennsylvania’s economy and transportation infrastructure, with several major highways running through the state. Pennsylvania is home to a significant portion of the I-76, I-78, I-79, and I-81 highways, which are crucial trucking routes connecting the Northeast and Midwest regions of the United States.
In and around West Chester, the trucking industry primarily utilizes the Route 202 corridor, a major north-south highway in the region. Route 30, also known as the Lincoln Highway, is another important route for trucking traffic, connecting West Chester to nearby cities like Lancaster and Philadelphia.
The trucking industry in Pennsylvania moves a wide range of products, including food and agricultural products, consumer goods, construction materials, and industrial equipment. With its central location and access to major ports, Pennsylvania is also a hub for international trade, and many trucks transport goods to and from ports in New York and New Jersey.
However, the significant presence of trucks on the highways also increases the likelihood of accidents. Large trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds and require more time and distance to stop than smaller vehicles. In addition, driver fatigue, distracted driving, and other factors can increase the risk of truck accidents.
West Chester Truck Accident Resources & FAQs
- How Often Do Crashes Involving Trucks and 18-Wheelers Occur?
- How Can a West Chester Truck Accident Attorney Help?
- The Trucking Company Keeps Calling Me, What Do I Do?
- Mistakes Which Could Ruin Your Truck Accident Case
- Rules and Regulations Governing the Trucking Industry
- What Are “Hours On Duty Rules”?
- What Exactly is a Commercial Truck?
- What Are Some of the Causes of Semi-Truck Crashes?
- What Are Some of the Injuries Associated with Truck Wrecks?
- Who Are Some of the Liable Parties in an Accident Involving a Truck?
- Compensation and Claim Amounts in Truck Crash Cases
- Is There a Time Limit to File a Truck Accident Claim?
- Steps to Take Following a Truck Accident in West Chester
How Often Do Crashes Involving Trucks and 18-Wheelers Occur?
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s Crash Facts and Statistics Report (page 56), there were 7,244 crashes involving large trucks in Pennsylvania in 2021. These crashes resulted in 144 fatalities, the second-highest number in five years. Additionally, all of these collisions happened on a variety of roads, including:
- State Highways: 4,020 crashes and 13 deaths
- Interstates: 1,942 crashes and 9 fatalities
- Local Roads: 768 crashes and 0 fatalities
- Turnpike: 514 crashes and 5 deaths
It’s important to note that crashes involving large trucks can have severe consequences due to the size and weight of these vehicles. Therefore, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and other organizations continue to work to improve safety on the roads and reduce the number of crashes involving large trucks. This includes improving infrastructure, increasing driver training and education, and enforcing safety regulations.
How Can a West Chester Truck Accident Attorney Help?
Commercial truck accidents are not simple cases to research, negotiate, or litigate. Pursuing a truck accident claim takes a great deal of legal knowledge, resources, and workforce. Wilk Law’s West Chester truck accident attorneys have the skills and experience needed to build, settle, and litigate a truck accident claim in court.
When you retain Wilk Law, our attorneys handle every aspect of your truck accident claim. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Handling all insurance company correspondence;
- Investigating and collecting evidence from your accident;
- Reviewing truck driver and company records like the truck’s black box, driver cell phone records, truck maintenance and safety records, driver logs, and company training records;
- Determining liability for the accident;
- Hiring expert witnesses in the accident and medical fields;
- Interviewing witnesses;
- Assessing your total medical and financial losses;
- Calculating an appropriate settlement amount for your current and future accident-related needs; and
- Settling your claim in negotiations or proceeding with a lawsuit.
Let the truck accident attorneys at Wilk Law build your truck accident claim so you can focus on healing. Contact our Chester County office to learn more about the truck accident claims process and have your questions answered by a professional.
Why Choose Wilk Law for a Truck Accident Claim?
- At Wilk Law, we provide attorneys who are passionate about what they do, and we have no problem standing up to aggressive insurance carriers to ensure you are fairly compensated.
- We do not believe that a person’s wealth or intelligence should ever dictate their right to justice after sustaining an injury caused by someone else.
- We are dedicated to handling only personal injury cases on behalf of those who have been harmed by others, and we will stand by your side throughout the entirety of your case.
The Trucking Company Keeps Calling Me, What Do I Do?
It’s not uncommon for trucking company representatives or their insurance adjusters to contact you after you had a trucking accident via phone, email, or text message, often shortly after the incident.
While it may seem like these representatives are trying to be helpful or sympathetic to your situation, it’s essential to understand that their primary goal is to protect their company’s interests and minimize any potential liability or financial responsibility. This is why it’s important to exercise caution and avoid speaking with them, and a few reasons why include:
- Delaying the Claims Process: Representatives may delay the claims process by requesting excessive documentation or dragging their feet in responding to requests for information. This can be frustrating and further hinder your ability to recover compensation for your damages.
- Liability Disputes: Trucking companies may dispute liability or argue that you were partially or fully responsible for the accident. This can be a complex legal issue that requires the expertise of an experienced West Chester truck accident lawyer to navigate.
- Low-Ball Settlement Offers: Representatives may offer a low-ball settlement that fails to account for the full extent of your injuries and damages. They may pressure you to settle quickly without giving you time to consider your options or seek legal advice.
- Poor Communication: Trucking company representatives may not communicate the full extent of your rights or the damages you can claim. They may also use complex legal jargon or industry-specific terms that can be difficult to understand.
- Refusal to Negotiate: Trucking companies may refuse to negotiate or engage in settlement talks. This can delay the resolution of your case and prolong the claims process.
Ideally, avoiding speaking with trucking company representatives or their insurance adjusters is best. Instead, consult a truck wreck lawyer who can protect your legal rights and ensure you receive fair compensation for your injuries and damages.
Mistakes Which Could Ruin Your Truck Accident Case
When you’re involved in a personal injury claim, there are a few mistakes you want to avoid at all costs, and they include:
- Discussing your case specifics with friends, coworkers, insurance adjusters, or on your social media pages.
- Failing to go to the doctor to get a comprehensive diagnosis or being noncompliant with your treatment plan.
- Resuming your normal physical activities or going back to work too soon.
- Accepting an offer from the insurance company before your truck accident lawyer helps you determine how much you can claim.
Setting up your free consultation with Wilk Law Firm allows you to sit down with our qualified West Chester Truck accident attorneys and have them explain everything you need to know going forward on protecting your rights.
Rules and Regulations Governing the Trucking Industry
Both the state and federal governments regulate the trucking industry. The federal agency that establishes commercial truck rules and regulations is the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
The FMCSA sets guidelines that include, but are not limited to:
- Driver breaks and overnights;
- Routine vehicle maintenance;
- Cargo loading and safety rules; and
- Driver training and standards.
When companies and drivers neglect to follow these rules, they place everyone on the road at risk of preventable accidents, injuries, and fatalities.
What Are “Hours On Duty Rules”?
Truck drivers must follow the Hours on Duty Rules when working. These rules include but are not limited to:
Drivers Carrying Property
- 11-Hour Limit: You can drive up to 11 hours if you’ve been off duty for 10 hours straight.
- 14-Hour Limit: You can’t drive more than 14 hours in a row after taking a 10-hour break, even if you take breaks during those 14 hours.
- 30-Minute Break: If you drive for 8 hours straight, you must take a 30-minute break before you can continue operating. You can take any rest period for 30 minutes to fulfill this requirement.
- 60/70 Hour Limit: As a driver, you cannot drive after being on duty for 60 or 70 hours in 7 out of 8 days in a row. You must be off duty for 34 hours to restart a new period.
- Sleeper Berth Provision: You can divide it into two parts if you need to take 10 hours off driving. One of the parts should be at least 2 hours long, while the second period should include at least 7 hours in a row in your sleeper berth. The total off-duty time should add up to 10 hours. This option doesn’t count towards the 14-hour driving limit.
- Adverse Driving Conditions: You can add up to 2 hours to the maximum 11-hour driving limit and 14-hour driving window if you encounter bad conditions.
- Short-Haul Exception: As a driver, if your route stays within 150 miles of your regular work location and doesn’t go over 14 on-duty hours, you’re exempt from §395.8 and § 395.11’s requirements. If you’re using §395.1(e)(1)’s short-haul exception, you must check in and get back to your work location within a 14-hour time limit. You also have to stay 150 miles or less from your work location.
Drivers Carrying Passengers
- 10-Hour Limit: You can drive up to 10 hours if you’ve been off duty for 8 hours straight.
- 15-Hour Limit: You cannot drive more than 15 hours in total after taking 8 hours in a row off duty. The 15-hour limit doesn’t include your off-duty time
- 60/70 Hour Limit: You, as a driver, can’t drive after being on duty for 60 or 70 hours in 7 or 8 days in a row.
- Sleeper Berth Provision: If you have a sleeper berth, you must spend 8 hours in it at a minimum. You can split the 8 hours into two sections, but neither period can be shorter than two hours. However you split it, it has to reach eight hours.
- Adverse Driving Conditions: If you encounter adverse driving conditions, you can add up to 2 hours to the maximum 15-hour on-duty and 10-hour driving time limit.
- Short-Haul Exception: If you’re a driver and you operate within 150 air miles of your reporting location for work and your duty period doesn’t exceed 14 hours, you’re exempt from the requirements of §395.8 and §395.11. Using §395.1(e)(1)’s short-haul exception outlines that you have to check in and get back to your reporting location before 14 hours are up. You also can’t go 150 miles away from the reporting location.
What Exactly is a Commercial Truck?
A commercial truck is any truck with a gross vehicle weight greater than 10,000 pounds. A fully loaded commercial truck can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. In contrast, the average weight of a passenger car is 3,000 pounds.
Common commercial trucks include:
- Construction vehicles;
- Tanker trucks;
- Garbage trucks;
- Flatbed trucks;
- Larger delivery trucks; and
- Box trucks.
What Are Some of the Causes of Semi-Truck Crashes?
Causes of semi-truck and 18 wheeler accidents vary in the West Chester area. Trucking companies and drivers must maintain tight schedules to stay profitable. This pressures drivers to the point where they may neglect necessary stops for rest and maintenance.
Other reasons for truck accidents are:
- Driver fatigue;
- Distracted driving;
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol;
- Failure to follow traffic signs and signals;
- Failure to check blind spots;
- Improper cargo loading;
- Overweight cargo;
- Inadequate truck maintenance;
- Defective trucks or truck parts; and
- Poor driver training.
What Are Some of the Injuries Associated with Truck Wrecks?
The size, weight, and cargo of a commercial truck significantly increase the risk of accident fatalities and severe injuries.
Truck accident injuries may include any of the following:
- Head injuries and traumatic brain injury (TBI);
- Neck and spinal cord injuries, including paralysis;
- Broken bones and fractures;
- Internal organ damage;
- Serious burns;
- Disfigurement and scarring; and
Who Are Some of the Liable Parties in an Accident Involving a Truck?
Putting a commercial truck on the road takes the cooperation of many parties. While truck drivers and their companies are obvious choices for liability, other parties may play a part in a truck accident.
Liability for a truck accident may rest with one or more of the following:
- The driver;
- The trucking company;
- The truck owner;
- The trailer owner;
- The cargo loader;
- The maintenance provider;
- The truck manufacturer; and
- The truck parts manufacturer.
Any truck accident needs a thorough investigation to determine the at-fault parties. A skilled truck accident attorney will pursue accident claims against all liable parties and their insurance companies.
Compensation and Claim Amounts in Truck Crash Cases
When multiple parties are liable for a truck accident, they often blame the accident on one another to avoid responsibility and a large claim payout. Claim amounts for a truck accident depend on the type and severity of the victim’s injuries, the accident’s overall impact on the victim’s life, and the victim’s prognosis for recovery.
Generally, truck accident claim compensation is composed of:
- Current and future medical expenses;
- Lost wages;
- Loss of earning capacity;
- Accessibility modifications to a home or vehicle;
- Physical therapy;
- Pain and suffering;
- Mental and emotional trauma;
- Loss of consortium; and
- Wrongful death.
Additional types of damages may be available to truck accident victims. To receive damages for a truck accident in Pennsylvania, the victim must file their claim within two years of the accident.
Is There a Time Limit to File a Truck Accident Claim?
The vast majority of commercial truck accidents in West Chester will be resolved through settlements with insurance carriers. However, it is important to understand that insurance carriers have a very strict reporting deadline for these claims. Failing to report a truck accident within a day or two after the incident occurs could result in the insurance carrier delaying or denying the claim altogether.
Additionally, the Pennsylvania personal injury statute of limitations is two years from the date an injury occurs. This means that a West Chester truck accident victim has a two-year window with which to file a lawsuit against the alleged and negligent truck driver or trucking company. Failing to do so within this time frame will result in the victim being unable to recover any compensation at all.
Steps to Take Following a Truck Accident in West Chester
There are various steps that truck accident victims can take to help ensure that they recover maximum compensation for their losses. Some of these steps begin immediately following a crash, while others take place in the days and weeks that follow the incident:
- Seek medical care. The number one priority after a truck accident is seeking medical care. The signs and symptoms of some truck accident injuries do not appear until hours or even days following an incident. Delaying medical care could result in the insurance carrier delaying or denying the claim. It is crucial to seek medical care immediately following a truck accident.
- Involve the police. Anytime an accident involving a commercial truck occurs, the police need to come to the scene and conduct an investigation. The accident report provided by the West Chester police department is going to be needed by the insurance carriers involved in these cases. The police will conduct a preliminary investigation, and this could include determining who caused the crash.
- Gather evidence. If it is safe to do so at the scene of a truck crash in West Chester, those involved can begin gathering evidence. This can include using a phone to take photographs of vehicle damage, debris, skid marks, traffic and weather conditions, injuries, and more. The names and contact information of any eyewitnesses need to be written down so these individuals can be contacted later.
- Contact an attorney. It is crucial to work with a skilled West Chester truck accident lawyer as soon as possible. When an attorney gets involved early, they can handle every aspect of the claim on behalf of an injury victim. This will include gathering additional evidence, handling all communication with other parties, and vigorously negotiating to recover maximum compensation for their client.
Continue all medical care. It is important for a truck crash victim to continue all medical care until their doctor says they have reached maximum medical improvement. If a person discontinues their care before their doctor advises them to do so, this could be used as evidence by the insurance carriers involved that they did not sustain a severe injury and they do not need compensation.
Serving West Chester, Pennsylvania
West Chester, PA, is a unique town in Chester County, known for its picturesque downtown area and historical landmarks. One such landmark is the Brandywine Battlefield Park, commemorating the 1777 Revolutionary War battle fought on its grounds. The Chester County History Center is also a notable attraction for those interested in local history and culture.
For those looking for outdoor adventure, Treehouse World offers a unique experience with its treehouses and ziplines. The town also offers a vibrant food and drink scene, with various restaurants and breweries. West Chester is also home to a thriving arts community, with numerous galleries and theaters showcasing local talent. In addition, the town hosts several annual events, including the West Chester Restaurant Festival and the Turks Head Music Festival.
Contact a Wilk Law Today
If you would like to know the approximate value of your truck accident claim, consult an experienced attorney like ours at Wilk Law. Our truck accident attorneys will meet with you and go over your case’s facts at no cost.
Do not face your truck accident claim alone. The attorneys at Wilk Law can answer your most pressing legal questions and tailor a legal plan to fit your needs. Contact us in West Chester at (855) 946-3678, or contact us online.