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Fatal Truck Accidents

18-wheelers and box trucks are massive vehicles. Even the smallest accident with one can result in severe injury, and in some cases, death. Losing a loved one in a truck accident is a life-altering event.

No amount of monetary compensation can ease the pain of losing a loved one, but it can help with the expenses associated with the accident. If the negligence of another person caused the death of your loved one, that individual should be brought to justice.

Chester County, PA Attorney for Fatal Truck Accidents

Ciccarelli Law Offices has decades of experience helping families with wrongful death cases in southeastern Pennsylvania. We understand what you are going through and we will be with you every step of the way.

Ciccarelli Law Offices will make sure the responsible party is held accountable for your loved one’s death. We know the last thing you want to deal with is a lawsuit. But the person responsible for your loved one’s death needs to be brought to justice. 

To schedule a free case consultation with Ciccarelli Law Offices, call (610) 719-3190 or submit your information in the online contact form. We assist clients with wrongful death claims in counties that include Chester County, Lancaster County, Delaware County, Philadelphia County and Montgomery County.

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Who is Liable in a Fatal Truck Accident?

Determining who is liable is the biggest issue in a fatal truck accident. The commercial trucking business is a large and complex operation. This makes it confusing to determine who is responsible for the cause of your loved one’s death. Some of the parties that could be held liable for the fatal accident include:

  • The truck driver
  • Trucking company
  • Truck owner
  • The company leasing the truck
  • Owner of the trailer
  • The company that manufactured parts for the truck

It’s not uncommon for the parties listed above and their insurance company to make the process more complicated. They will often point fingers and cast blame on the victim of the accident. We understand how troubling this can be. This is why it’s best to contact an attorney experienced with fatal truck accidents.

There are numerous sources of evidence that can be used to determine who is liable for the death of your loved one. Some of this evidence can be gathered from the following:

  • Trucking Company Records: The trucking industry is heavily regulated. Such companies are legally obligated to follow all state and federal regulations. An attorney can request records regarding reports of the truck and the record of the driver. If it’s found the trucking company had been violating safety regulations, they could be held liable for the accident.
  • Witness Statements: Anyone who witnessed the accident is useful in proving who’s negligence led to the accident. A witness can sometimes provide new facts and back up the story.
  • Black Box: Just about every commercial trucks is equipped with an electronic data recorder. This is referred to as a black box, and it can include information like when the truck began a sudden break, the speed of the truck and tire pressure. 

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Pennsylvania’s Wrongful Death Laws

The state’s wrongful death laws are used to shift the blame from the victim of the accident to the wrongdoer. For a wrongful death claim to be valid, the action that resulted in your loved one’s death has to be an action that could support a personal injury claim. In this instance, yes, the death of your loved one in a commercial truck accident is enough to file a wrongful death claim in Pennsylvania.

Ultimately, a wrongful death suit is the same as a personal injury claim except the injured individual is not able to file suit. Instead, someone else must file the claim and seek compensation for the loses related to the death.

A wrongful death suit can be filed by the personal representative of the victim’s estate or will. The claim is brought to court on behalf of the beneficiaries. Only certain people are able to benefit from a wrongful death claim. These people include a spouse, children of parents of the victim.

Wrongful death suits are awarded only in terms of monetary damages. If your claim is successful, you could receive compensation for the following damages: 

  • Burial and funeral expenses
  • Medical bills
  • Loss of wages and benefits
  • Loss of comfort and service
  • Pain and suffering

There is a statue of limitation on the amount of time you have to file a wrongful death claim in court. In Pennsylvania, the claim must be filed within two years from the date of the victim’s death. If you fail to file within two years, your case will not be heard. 

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Commercial Trucking Laws in Pennsylvania

The commercial trucking industry is a heavily regulated business. To ensure the safety of those on the road, Pennsylvania law requires commercial truckers and commercial trucking companies to abide by countless laws. 

Laws that govern commercial trucks can be found in chapter 16 of the Pennsylvania Statutes. Some of the laws and regulations found in this chapter include the following:

  • 1605: All commercial vehicle employers are prohibited from allowing a driver to operate a commercial vehicle if:
    • Their license was suspended, revoked or canceled by the state
    • The driver is not licensed to drive a commercial vehicle
    • The driver lost their privilege to drive a commercial vehicle
  • 1612: All commercial and school vehicle drivers are prohibited from operating a vehicle while under the influence of any alcohol in their system. This includes being in physical control of the vehicle.
  • 1620: A program shall be established for unlimited annual electronic driver record checks for employers of commercial drivers.
  • 1621: Texting while driving is prohibited from all commercial truck drivers. An employer may not allow or require a driver to engage in texting while driving a commercial truck.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration also sets performance requirements and standards for commercial trucks in the United States. Some of the regulations set by the FMCSA include break requirements, cargo regulations and emergency equipment.

Under section 393.40 of FMCSA code, all commercial motor vehicles are required to have breaks adequate enough to stop and hold the vehicle. They are also expected to meet certain service, parking and emergency brake system requirements under this section. 

Commercial trucks are required to meet minimum performance criteria for cargo in their vehicles. To ensure all cargo is secure, the FMCSA requires tie down assemblies such as chains, wire rope or steel strapping to be designed, installed and maintained to ensure the forces acting on the assemblies do not exceed breaking strength.

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Additional Resources for Fatal Truck Accidents in Chester County, PA    

FMCSA Commercial Truck Regulations- View a complete list of the parts and accessories necessary for a commercial truck to operate safely. You can learn more about fuel system requirements, protection against shifting and falling cargo and brake requirements.

Wrongful Death | Pennsylvania Statutes- Visit the Pennsylvania General Assembly website to read the full text of the statute that governs wrongful death claims in the state. You can learn about the states general rule for such cases, who can benefit from a wrongful death case and special damages. 

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Chester County, PA Lawyer for Fatal Truck Accidents

Ciccarelli Law Offices knows that no amount of monetary compensation can bring back your loved one, but the individual who cased their death should be held responsible for their actions. You are not alone. Ciccarelli Law Offices will guide you through the process and ensure that you receive adequate compensation. 

Schedule a time to speak with us about your case. We can be reached at (610) 719-3190 or by submitting your information in the online contact form. We assist clients with wrongful death cases in areas that include West Chester, Philadelphia, Kennett Square, Springfield, Malvern, King of Prussia, Radnor, Plymouth Meeting and many more.

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