Were you injured in a Pennsylvania truck accident?
You can try to be as safe as possible when sharing the road with a huge semi-truck. But as careful as you might be, you have no control over what’s going on inside the cab or the trailer of the truck, of course. It’s always risky to be near huge commercial vehicles, because of how dangerous they are. The slightest mistake on the part of the truck driver can have devastating consequences. Please talk to a Penn Kestner & McEwen Pennsylvania truck accident lawyer to learn more about how we may be able to help if you’ve suffered a severe injury due to someone else’s negligence. We’ll fight relentlessly to help you obtain every penny you have coming to you. Schedule a free case evaluation by giving us a call at (800) 732-3070 or using our convenient online form.
Pennsylvania Truck Accident Statistics
Truck accidents continue to be a huge problem, not only in Pennsylvania but also the entire United States. Here’s a look at the number of overall truck crashes that occurred between 2016-2020, as well as the number of fatal crashes and fatalities during that same time frame.
- 2016 – 6,740
- 2017 – 6,807
- 2018 – 7,336
- 2019 – 7,036
- 2020 – 6,344
Fatal Crashes (Fatalities)
- 2016 – 139 (169)
- 2017 – 145 (168)
- 2018 – 118 (142)
- 2019 – 122 (135)
- 2020 – 110 (133)
Trucking Regulations in Pennsylvania
There are many different trucking regulations governing Pennsylvania truck drivers and companies. Two of the most significant involve hours of service (HOS) for drivers, as well as weight requirements.
Truck drivers in Pennsylvania have to follow the HOS rules set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration(FMCSA). Here’s a quick look at some of the more important ones.
- Drivers can’t be behind the wheel more than 11 hours during a 14-hour period. This period cannot begin until the driver has not been driving for 10 straight hours.
- If a driver has driven for eight straight hours, they have to take a break for at least 30 minutes.
- Drivers can’t work more than 60 hours over seven straight days, or 70 hours over eight consecutive days. They must be off at least 34 hours before their workweek resets.
Also, trucks in Pennsylvania must not carry a gross weight of more than 80,000 pounds. This includes not only the weight of the truck and the trailer, but all cargo as well.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
There are many reasons truck accidents happen. Here are just some of the more common causes.
- Trucking companies will sometimes fail to properly maintain their trucks. They may ignore issues with components such as tires or brakes, greatly increasing the chances that an accident will occur.
- Poor road conditions can affect huge trucks just as easily as passenger vehicles. This is especially true when roads are snowy or icy.
- Truck drivers are under a great deal of pressure to meet deadlines. They will often be more prone to speeding as a result.
- A sudden shift in poorly loaded cargo could cause the trailer to tip over, resulting in a jackknife accident or a rollover.
- Poorly lighted roads, potholes, or other road conditions can also contribute to an accident.
Truck Accident Injuries and How Much They Cost
The injuries associated with a truck accident can result in a lifetime of pain and debilitation. These include the following:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Broken bones
- And many others
The more severe the injury, of course, the more it will cost to treat. It’s not at all unusual for a particularly serious injury to cost tens of thousands – or even hundreds of thousands – of dollars over the victim’s lifetime.
Possible Liable Parties in a Pennsylvania Truck Accident
A truck accident case is extremely complex, mainly because there can be so many parties that are liable. The driver of the truck, for instance, may have lost control due to falling asleep because of fatigue, or even operating the rig under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If that’s the case, then the driver could be sued for causing an accident.
Trucking companies will sometimes outsource the loading of their rigs to companies that specialize in this service. But if that company does a negligent job of loading, that cargo could come completely loose from the trailer. This could cause the driver to lose control, and that cargo could also strike vehicles behind the truck and cause even more accidents.
The accident that led to your injury may have been caused by several different parties. A truck tire could have blown out due to negligent manufacturing, while, at the same time, the driver couldn’t react fast enough due to being drunk. But if the brakes hadn’t failed, there’s a chance the accident still could have been avoided.
In a scenario like this, the victim could sue not only the driver, but also the tire manufacturer and the trucking company. A skilled attorney can conduct an investigation to determine exactly what happened, and who is to blame.
Types of Damages in Truck Accident Cases
The legal term for accident-related expenses in a personal injury case such as a truck accident is “damages.” When you take legal action, you’re doing so in an effort to recover your damages.
There are two main types of damages – economic and non-economic. Economic damages include medical bills, property damage, lost wages and others. Non-economic damages include pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, and more.
Steps to Take After a Pennsylvania Truck Accident
You have to first summon medical help after a truck accident – not only for yourself, but also for anyone else who may have been hurt. The next thing to do, if your physical condition allows and you can do so safely, is to take pictures and videos of the accident scene. Then, get the contact information of any witnesses who may have seen what happened.
After you’ve received medical attention, contact an attorney so they can start an investigation to gather the evidence you’ll need to obtain maximum compensation.
Contact Penn Kestner & McEwen if You Were Involved in a Truck Accident in Pennsylvania
Penn Kestner & McEwen attorneys have an extensive track record of success in truck accident cases. Find out more about what we may be able to do for you by using our convenient online form, or by calling (800) 732-3070.