Gary P. Heslin
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Experienced Pennsylvania Personal Injury and Car Accident Attorney serving Northeast Philadelphia


A collision involving a commercial vehicle is not only traumatic when it happens, but also in the weeks and months to follow. Understanding what to do—especially how to handle legalities, mounting medical bills, and other critical issues—can be confusing. What to Do After a Commercial Vehicle Accident in PA

Navigating the aftermath of a commercial vehicle accident requires taking certain steps to protect your right to a fair recovery. Your first one should be to secure legal assistance from a skilled Philadelphia car accident lawyer

Reasons for Devastating Commercial Vehicle Accidents

Large commercial vehicles include: 

  • Trucks
  • Buses
  • Delivery vans
  • Semi-trailers
  • Tanker trucks

They often pose a higher accident risk due to their size, weight, and operational characteristics. In addition, commercial vehicles have limited maneuverability and require longer braking distances, which increase the likelihood of collisions. Other factors that can lead to accidents include: 

  • Driver fatigue
  • Inexperienced drivers
  • Inadequate vehicle maintenance
  • Improperly secured cargo
  • Speeding or reckless driving

Steps to Take After a Commercial Vehicle Accident

Your immediate actions and decisions after a car accident with a commercial vehicle play a crucial role in ensuring a fair recovery for your damages. Here are some of the most important steps to take to protect your rights and compensation. 

Contact Emergency Services

Call 911 so law enforcement and an emergency medical team are dispatched to the scene right away. Keep in mind that before you file a claim, you’ll want to obtain a copy of the accident police report. It will be valuable evidence when pursuing your claim.

Get Prompt Medical Attention 

Regardless of the severity of your injuries, it's essential to seek medical attention immediately. Some injury symptoms may be delayed and might not appear right away, so a medical examination ensures you receive the care you need. This also documents your injuries for potential legal claims.

Gather Evidence

If you’re able, collect as much evidence as possible. Take photos of the accident scene and your injuries, get contact information for the commercial vehicle's driver and any witnesses to the accident, and other information relevant to your case.

Limit Communication

Be cautious about what you say to the commercial vehicle’s driver or their insurance company. You’re not required to give a recorded statement. Also, avoid discussing the accident in detail, as anything you say could be used against you later. Regardless of what an adjuster might tell you, you’re responsible for notifying your insurance company of the accident, and don’t need them to do it for you.

Consult a Car Accident Attorney

Given the complexity of commercial vehicle accidents, we highly recommend consulting a Philadelphia car accident attorney who specializes in handling these cases. A knowledgeable legal team will guide you through the entire process and protect your rights.

Why You Need an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer

Passenger vehicle collisions with commercial trucks are complicated to resolve because of numerous factors including, but not limited to:  

  • Regulations and compliance. Large vehicles, such as trucks, delivery vans, and buses, are subject to various federal and state regulations. A car accident attorney understands these regulations and will determine if they were violated.
  • Multiple parties. Commercial vehicle accidents can involve not only the truck operator but also the vehicle's owner, the company that employs the driver, maintenance contractors, and more. A dedicated legal team can help identify the responsible parties to ensure a fair recovery.
  • Higher damages. Commercial vehicles are typically larger and heavier than standard passenger cars, resulting in more severe damages and injuries. Calculating these damages accurately is vital to ensure you receive adequate compensation.
  • Negotiations with corporations. Fleet companies have extensive legal teams working to minimize their liability, making it important to have your own legal representation. Your lawyer will negotiate on your behalf and fight for a fair settlement.
  • Proving negligence. Establishing negligence is vital to winning a car accident injury case. A skilled lawyer will present all necessary evidence to prove your claim, reconstruct the accident if needed, and build a solid case to prove the commercial driver or company’s negligence.

Types of Car Accident Damages 

If you were injured in a Philadelphia car accident involving a commercial vehicle and another party is found liable, various types of damages may be recoverable, such as:

  • Medical expenses
  • Property damage 
  • Lost wages
  • Future loss of income
  • Pain and suffering