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Harrisburg is a crossroads city, where Interstates 81, 83, and 76 intersect, and the incidence of semi-truck accidents is high. Harrisburg is a vital part of the United States supply chain, and semi-trucks crisscross the city and surrounding areas. Semi-truck accidents are very dangerous and can cause severe physical injuries and even death. These accidents have serious legal implications, so securing an experienced Harrisburg truck accident lawyer in the aftermath of a semi-truck accident is crucial. Understanding your rights and legal options can mean the difference between just compensation and unnecessary hardship.

If you or a loved one was injured in a truck accident in Harrisburg, our experienced team of professionals can help guide you through the litigation process. The lawyers at Munley Law have the experience and the resources to handle your case. With Munley, you can rest assured that your case is in good hands.

$32 Million Wrongful Death

$26 Million Truck Accident

$17.5 Million Car Accident

$12 Million Product Liability

$9 Million Truck Accident

$8 Million Truck Accident

$8 Million Truck Accident

$7.5 Million Auto Accident

$6.9 Million Garbage Truck Accident

$6.5 Million Traumatic Brain Injury

$5 Million Medical Malpractice

$5 Million Bus Accidents

What Sets Truck Accidents Apart From Car Accidents?Harrisburg, PA, Truck Accident Lawyers

Truck accidents are different from car accidents in several ways, including the severity of the damage, the complexity of legal issues, and the number of potential parties involved. Here are a few key differences: 

  • Severity of Damage and Injuries: Given their massive size and weight, commercial trucks can cause significantly more damage in a collision than a typical passenger car. Injuries sustained in truck accidents are often more severe, and fatalities are more common.
  • Complexity of Legal Issues: Truck accidents often involve a variety of complex legal issues. These include federal and state regulations on trucking, which cover driver hours, maintenance standards, weight limits, and cargo securement rules. Breach of any of these regulations can be a significant factor in an injury claim. 
  • Multiple Parties Involved: In a typical car accident, the parties involved are usually just the drivers of the vehicles. In contrast, a semi-truck accident can involve numerous parties, including the truck driver, the trucking company, the owner of the truck, the shipper or loader of the truck’s cargo, and the manufacturer of the truck or its parts. Each of these parties can potentially share in the liability, making the process of filing a claim more complicated.
  • Insurance Coverage: The insurance policies for commercial trucks are more expensive than those for passenger vehicles because the potential for loss is so much greater. Trucking companies often carry policies with millions of dollars in coverage. This means that, although there is more potential compensation available for accident victims, these cases are fiercely defended by teams of lawyers from the insurance companies. An experienced truck accident attorney can help you negotiate with commercial truck insurance carriers and get the compensation you deserve.

These factors together mean that truck accident cases are often more complex and require a deeper level of expertise to navigate successfully. 

How Common Are Truck Accidents in Harrisburg?

Harrisburg is a hub of commerce, industry, and transportation in the heart of Pennsylvania. As the state capital, Harrisburg has grown to support a population nearing 50,000 and has continued to flourish with its strategic location along the Susquehanna River. Harrisburg’s high volume of commercial transportation and its extensive network of highways bring legal challenges, especially in the realm of highway accidents.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Dauphin County is one of the top counties in the Commonwealth that sees a high level of truck crashes each year. In 2022 alone, accidents involving heavy trucks accounted were the highest they’ve been in 5 years, with 7,522 total crashes across the state and 145 fatalities. Most of these crashes occurred on state highways.

What Are the Most Common Causes of Trucking Accidents?

Truck accidents can happen for a variety of reasons, many of which are similar to the factors contributing to passenger car accidents; however, because of the size and weight of trucks, some causes are specific to trucks. Some common causes of truck accidents are:

  • Driver Fatigue: Truck drivers often work long hours and cover long distances, which can lead to fatigue. Federal regulations limit the number of hours a truck driver can be on duty and drive each day and week, but fatigue can still be a factor, especially if a driver is not adhering to these regulations.
  • Distracted Driving: Like any other drivers, truck drivers can be distracted by using their mobile phones, eating, using in-cab technologies, or other activities that take their attention away from the road.
  • Impaired Driving: This includes driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs (including certain prescription medications), or any other substance that impairs the ability to drive.
  • Speeding and Reckless Driving: Speeding reduces a driver’s ability to steer safely around curves or objects in the roadway. For large trucks, which take longer to stop than passenger vehicles, speeding is particularly dangerous.
  • Inadequate Training or Experience: Driving a large truck safely requires specific skills and knowledge. If a driver lacks proper training or experience, they might not respond correctly to certain situations, leading to accidents.
  • Improper Loading: Trucks carrying loads that are not properly distributed or that are too heavy are more likely to be involved in accidents, as they can be harder to control.
  • Equipment Failure: This can include issues like brake failure, tire blowouts, steering failure, and other mechanical problems. Some of these may be due to manufacturing defects, but many are the result of poor maintenance.
  • Poor Weather Conditions: Rain, snow, fog, and other weather conditions can make roads slippery or reduce visibility, increasing the likelihood of accidents.
  • Negligent Hiring Practices: Trucking companies can be at fault for an accident if they neglect to properly vet and train their drivers, or if they knowingly hire drivers with a history of reckless behavior.

These are not exhaustive, and many truck accidents result from a combination of factors, but understanding these common causes can be helpful in both prevention and in determining liability when accidents do occur. 

What Are the Most Common Types of Truck Accidents in Harrisburg, PA?Harrisburg, PA, Truck Accident Lawyers

Operating a big truck safely requires a significant amount of training and experience. Maneuvering such large vehicles requires skill and quick thinking. Due to the size and maneuverability of big trucks, some of the most common types of trucking accidents are:

  • Jackknife truck accidents. When the trailer of a semi-truck pushes the attached cab of the truck to one side, it is called a jackknife. These types of accidents are normally preventable and result from driver error or driving during bad conditions. This type of accident does not generally occur with well-trained drivers because these drivers have been trained to handle the truck in poor conditions.
  • Underride truck accidents. This type of accident occurs when a smaller vehicle gets trapped or crushed under the trailer of a semi and is often due to a negligent truck driver.
  • Right turn squeeze truck accidents. Often when big trucks need to make tight turns to the right, they will swing left first to make additional space for the right turn maneuver. Vehicles on the left side of the truck can be at risk of side impact collision with the truck. This can also create risks for cars to the right of the truck who may mistakenly believe that the truck is moving to the left lane. Drivers on the right may believe the right lane is clear to pass the truck when the truck driver actually intends to turn to the right. 
  • Blind spot truck accidents. Big trucks, like all vehicles, have blind spots. However, the blind spots on a large truck are much larger than in cars and create significant risks. Directly behind the trailer, some of the area to the left of the cab, most of the area to the right of the cab, and the space immediately in front of the cab are all blind spots that truck drivers have to acknowledge and use mirrors and backup cameras to cover. Truck drivers have the responsibility of checking blind spots and monitoring the vehicles around them.
  • Rollover or tip-over truck accidents. Some of the most catastrophic trucking accidents involve truck rollovers or tip-overs. There are several ways that this can happen and some of these accidents involve a truck tipping over directly onto vehicles or pedestrians. In 2017, the FMCSA reported that truck rollovers were the most harmful event in more than 17,000 truck rollovers in the United States.
  • Rear-end collisions. Because of their heavy weight, trucks require more time and distance to stop compared to smaller vehicles. If a truck driver fails to maintain a safe distance or doesn’t react quickly enough to stopped traffic, a rear-end collision can occur.
  • Tire blowout accidents. Tire blowouts can cause a truck driver to lose control, leading to severe accidents. This can occur due to poor maintenance or overloading.
  • Lost load accidents. If a truck’s cargo is not properly secured, it can fall onto the roadway, creating hazards for other vehicles and leading to accidents.

Understanding these types of accidents can help in determining the cause of a truck accident and establishing liability in legal proceedings. Always consult with a knowledgeable attorney if you’re involved in a truck accident.

What Injuries Are Most Common in Truck Crashes?

Trucks are large and heavy, which causes more severe injuries than are often associated with smaller vehicle accidents. Some of the most common injuries associated with truck accidents are:

  • Head injuries and traumatic brain injuries. These are serious injuries that can occur if a person’s head violently hits an object or if an object pierces the skull and enters the brain tissue. Symptoms can be mild to severe, impacting cognitive and physical abilities. In severe cases, TBIs can lead to permanent brain damage or death. TBIs can cause lifelong personality changes and permanently impaired cognitive function.
  • Back and spine injuries. Trucking accidents can cause many types of back and spine injuries, such as slipped discs or other damage to the spinal cord. The most devastating spinal cord injuries (SCI) can cause paralysis and require lifetime care. Other injuries are slipped or herniated discs. Slipped discs happen when spinal fluid presses into the outer ring of a spinal disc, which causes the disc to extend. A herniated disc happens when spinal fluid leaks into the spinal canal. Truck accidents can also injure the spinal vertebrae, discs, and nerves in the spine. All of these back and spine injuries can cause severe neck and back pain.
  • Neck injuries. Whiplash occurs when the head and neck are jerked forward and backward with impact. This jerking motion can cause damage to the nerves, tissue, and even the vertebrae and upper spine.
  • Broken bones. Due to the force involved in truck collisions, occupants of smaller vehicles may suffer from broken or fractured bones. These can range from relatively minor fractures that heal with time, to serious breaks that require surgery and can lead to long-term complications.
  • Burns. If a truck accident results in a fire or explosion, victims may suffer from severe burns, which can lead to significant pain, potential infections, and extensive scarring.
  • Lacerations and Abrasions. Broken glass, metal shards, and debris can cause deep cuts or scrapes. While these injuries may seem less severe, they can still lead to significant blood loss, potential infections, or scarring.
  • Mental distress. There can be serious emotional trauma and distress associated with any accident. Mental distress is often an overlooked trucking accident traumatic injury but can be debilitating and cause mood swings, anxiety, and depression.

Given the severity of these injuries, medical treatment can be extensive and costly. Therefore, it’s crucial for victims of truck accidents to consult with an experienced attorney to explore their options for compensation.

Who Can Be Held Liable for a Trucking Accident?

Liability for a truck accident can be complicated to determine, but your lawyer will be able to review all the relevant evidence and determine who was responsible for the accident. Some of the most common parties responsible for truck accidents are: 

  • The truck driver. Driver error is the leading cause of truck accidents. It is the driver’s responsibility not only to drive safely but also to inspect the truck and trailer before and after each trip or leg of the trip and ensure that all safety measures are met and that cargo is properly loaded.
  • The trucking company. The trucking company is responsible for its drivers and for training and managing them properly. It is common for liability to fall on the trucking company for attempting to cut corners and save costs by making drivers drive too many hours or by skipping maintenance and inspection requirements.
  • The truck manufacturer or parts manufacturer. Defective automotive parts and equipment cause many accidents. When these defects exist in the manufacturing process, the manufacturer or distributor can be responsible for any harm caused.
  • The government agency or contractor. The local, state or federal government entity responsible for maintaining the roadway can be responsible for accidents caused by poor maintenance or negligence in attending to road hazards. 

What Kind of Damages Are Available in a Truck Accident Claim?

It is impossible to predict how much a trucking accident claim is worth without a thorough consultation because each accident is different. Your lawyer will be able to calculate an approximate amount of damages after speaking with you and gathering evidence.

If you’ve been involved in a truck accident, you may be entitled to several different types of damages, depending on the specific circumstances of your case. The legal term “damages” refers to the financial compensation you can recover in a personal injury lawsuit. Here are some of the common types of damages available in truck accident claims:

  • Medical Expenses. These damages cover the cost of medical care related to the accident. They can include expenses for hospital stays, surgeries, doctor visits, medication, rehabilitation, and any future medical care you might need.
  • Lost Wages. If your injuries caused you to miss work or reduced your ability to work, you might be compensated for lost wages. If you’re permanently disabled and can’t work at all, you could be awarded damages for lost future earning capacity.
  • Pain and Suffering. These are non-economic damages awarded for the physical pain and emotional distress caused by the accident and your injuries. This can also include compensation for loss of enjoyment of life if your injuries prevent you from enjoying activities and hobbies you previously participated in.

Is There a Time Limit to File a Claim?

In Pennsylvania, there is a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury cases. That means that if you were injured in an accident, you have two years from the date of the incident to file your lawsuit. If you have a question about the statute of limitations for your claim, it is crucial that you contact a lawyer or seek advice to ensure that you do not miss the time frame.

Why Should I Choose Munley Law?

If you are considering filing a legal claim for truck accident injuries, one of the many experienced lawyers on our team can help. Hiring an experienced trucking accident attorney will take the burden of proving your case off your shoulders. Our team of lawyers will build your case and gather all the evidence necessary to win your claim and secure the compensation you are entitled to receive.

We are confident that we can reach the settlement you deserve. Our lawyers often operate on a contingency fee basis, meaning that they are compensated for their services only after you win, and the amount owed is based on the amount you win at trial. Call Munley Law today or contact us online for a free case evaluation.

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