Our Hazleton Tractor Trailer Accident Attorneys Can Get You Justice
Accidents that involve tractor trailers, semi trucks, or any kind of commercial truck can be absolutely devastating to all involved. A fully loaded tractor trailer can weigh up to 80,000 pounds; when a vehicle of this weight collides with anything or anyone else, a huge amount of damage is likely to occur.
These kinds of accidents can result in extensive injuries, and in turn, those injuries can put a huge financial and emotional burden on the accident victim. This is not a burden that the victims should have to carry alone. At Munley Law, our Hazleton tractor trailer accident lawyers believe that all victims deserve to see justice served and to receive fair compensation for the trauma they have experienced. These are complicated cases, and generally, working with an experienced Hazleton truck accident lawyer allows you the best chance of receiving the compensation you deserve.
Munley Law has an impeccable track record of securing justice and compensation for victims of Hazleton tractor trailer accidents. We approach all of our cases with compassion and dedication and have a history of securing highly satisfactory settlements for our clients. If you or a loved one has experienced a tractor trailer accident in Hazleton, the attorneys at Munley Law are here to help. Don’t hesitate to contact us for a free case evaluation, and to learn how we can help protect your rights.
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What Causes a Hazleton Tractor Trailer Accident?
What precisely is meant by the term “tractor trailer”? Is it different from a semi truck? A semi truck is comprised of two separate parts: a trailer, where the cargo is stored, and a tractor, which contains the engine. This means that the tractor element of a semi truck can travel on its own without the trailer; the trailer, on the other hand, has no engine and must be attached to a trailer. A tractor-trailer simply refers to a semi truck that is traveling with its trailer component. This is used interchangeably with the term 18-wheeler.
As with all road accidents, any number of things can cause a tractor trailer accident — in some cases, it may be the unfortunate combination of multiple factors, like bad weather alongside mechanical failure. That being said, there are some common threads among many tractor trailer accidents. In most serious accidents, some element of human error or negligence is present. Examples of this include:
- Drowsy driving: Research has shown that drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving. In fact, drowsy driving is reportedly a factor in 20% of fatal car accidents nationwide, and drivers who have slept for less than four hours were more than 11 times more likely than a well-rested driver to get into an accident. This is of particular concern for tractor trailer drivers, who are often expected to drive for long stretches of time alone, with rest.
- Distracted driving: Distracted driving is anything that takes a driver’s eyes or mind off the road or their hands off the wheel. This could be sending a text or email, eating, or even just daydreaming. Again, truck drivers are particularly prone to distraction behind the wheel, as they often drive for hours on end without companionship or a break.
- Drunk driving: Of course, driving while intoxicated is both illegal and incredibly dangerous. Driving under the influence of alcohol — or any other substance — greatly increases the chance of an accident occurring.
- Reckless or aggressive driving: Reckless driving encompasses a wide range of behaviors, such as speeding, tailing, unsafe lane changing, and more. All of these behaviors increase the chance of an accident occurring.
- Overloading and improper loading: There are strict federal regulations for how trucks are to be loaded, including instructions for how to secure all varieties of materials. If a truck is overloaded or improperly loaded, this can lead to disaster. An overloaded truck can tip over, particularly if they’re rounding a corner at a high speed. When a truck is improperly loaded, materials can fly out of the truck and land on the road, or even hit another vehicle, or they can move within the truck which makes the balance of the truck uneven.
- Poor training: Trucking companies are responsible for adequately training all of their drivers; failure to do so could have major consequences. Trucking has one of the highest turnover rates of all professions, which means that trucking companies are constantly in a crunch trying to train new employees. Taking shortcuts in the training process is a real problem.
- Poor vehicle maintenance: Oftentimes, trucking companies use third-party maintenance companies to ensure their vehicles are safe and up to par. If the person or entity responsible for this maintenance does not do their job properly, this could lead to mechanical failure.
What Types of Accidents do Tractor Trailers Get Into?
Any of the causes listed above can contribute to the occurrence of a tractor trailer accident. When a tractor trailer accident does occur, the accident itself can take many forms, but there are some types of accidents that are particularly prevalent among trucks. Some of the most common types of tractor trailer accidents include:
- Jackknife accidents
- Overloaded vehicles
- Underride accidents
- Rear-end collisions
- Head-on collisions
- Wide-turn accidents
- Rollover accidents
- Blocking accidents
- Intersection accidents
- Override accidents
- T-bone collisions
- And more
How Often Do Tractor Trailer Accidents Occur?
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a total of 4,014 Americans died in large truck crashes in 2020. Likely due to the vast size and weight difference between passenger vehicles and large trucks, inhabitants of passenger vehicles were far more likely to lose their lives in these crashes. In fact, looking only at occupant deaths in two-vehicle crashes between a large truck and a passenger vehicle, 97 percent of the fatalities were occupants of the passenger vehicle. This particular statistic does not account for pedestrians and cyclists, whose lives are also lost each year due to truck crashes.
The IIHS notes that another common factor in these crashes is truck braking capability. Because trucks are so large and heavy, it takes them substantially longer to come to a complete stop than it would for a passenger vehicle. This means that by the time a truck driver slams on their brakes in order to prevent a collision, it may already be too late.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a tractor trailer accident, you do not have to carry that weight by yourself. At Munley Law, we have decades of experience advocating for tractor trailer accident victims, in Hazleton and across the country. You should not have to suffer in silence — contact our Hazleton truck accident lawyers to learn how we can help.
What Kind of Injuries Does a Truck Accident Cause?
Unfortunately, most accidents that involve a tractor trailer, semi truck, or a commercial truck result in catastrophic injuries for at least one of the parties involved. Some common injuries that can occur as a result of Hazleton tractor trailer accidents include:
- Brain injuries
- Loss of limbs
- Neck Injuries
- Back Injuries
- Severe Cuts and Bruises
Of course, the damage that a truck accident can cause stretches beyond physical injuries as well. Experiencing a severe car accident of any kind can be a traumatic event that takes a heavy mental and emotional toll. In fact, the American Psychological Association reports that car accidents are the most common cause of PTSD in the general population. Accidents can cause victims to experience anxiety, depression, and loss of enjoyment of life. It’s important to seek treatment for physical, mental, and emotional injuries in the wake of a truck accident.
What Should You Do After a Tractor Trailer Accident?
Experiencing a truck accident can be incredibly scary, and in the immediate aftermath, figuring out what to do next might feel overwhelming. In order to both protect your safety and set you up for success should you choose to take legal action down the line, here are some steps you should take after a truck accident:
- Seek medical care if needed. Your health and safety are always the top priority. Remember that adrenaline can sometimes mask the pain of injuries, so it’s always wise to give yourself a once-over to confirm you’re alright even if you feel okay.
- Call the police. Even if someone else at the scene tries to persuade you that calling the police is unnecessary, it’s always a smart idea to have cops come to the scene. Once there, they will write up a report of everything they see. This can be a useful piece of evidence later on, and serves as an official record of what occurred.
- Gather your own evidence. If you are safe and physically able to do so, it’s smart to collect evidence of your own. Take pictures on your phone, of both vehicles, the scene, and anything else you feel is relevant. If you are unable to do this because you require medical attention, see if a friend or family member may be able to help. You can also ask witnesses for their contact information so you can reach out later on, though they are not required to give you that information.
- Exchange information with the other driver or drivers involved. Remember to keep any interaction with the other driver brief and to the point. Get the truck driver’s name, insurance info, trucking company information, personal and professional contact information, and license plate.
- Notify your own insurance provider that you were in an accident.
- Contact a Hazleton tractor trailer accident lawyer.
What Kind of Compensation Can You Secure From a Hazleton Truck Accident?
The precise value of your case, and the compensation you’re eligible to receive, are impossible to estimate without knowing the details of the accident. However, there are some areas that are taken into account when your case is being assigned a dollar value.
When determining the value of any personal injury case, an attorney will look at both economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages are those that have a clear and provable monetary value. This includes things like medical bills and expenses, lost wages, the cost of rehabilitation, and more. Non-economic damages are the more abstract, but still incredibly important costs of an accident. This includes the loss of enjoyment of life, and the victim’s pain and suffering.
Your lawyer will look at all elements of your case in thorough detail, and come up with a number that accurately reflects the economic and non-economic costs of your accident. This will then be presented to the other party and their legal team. Ideally, this settlement offer will be accepted immediately. However, the more common result is that the other party will counter with a settlement offer of their own. This process continues until both sides agree upon a number. If an agreement cannot be reached, going to trial may be necessary (though this is uncommon in personal injury cases).
Do You Really Need A Hazleton Truck Accident Lawyer?
If you or a loved one has been in a tractor trailer accident, you may be wondering: do I really need a lawyer? The fact of the matter is that truck accidents can be exceedingly complex, and if you’re seeking compensation, your best path to success lies in working with an experienced Hazleton attorney.
In an accident between two passenger vehicles, determining fault is usually a relatively simple process. In most cases, one of the two drivers is responsible; sometimes, both drivers may be at fault. Tractor trailer accidents are a different story. In a truck accident, there is a much longer list of potentially liable parties, including the truck driver, the trucking company, the truck manufacturer, the maintenance company, the loading company, and more. This makes determining and proving fault a more arduous process, one that can be difficult without the help of legal counsel. What’s more, trucking companies are prepared to handle accident cases. They likely have an experienced legal team at their disposal whose entire job is to handle cases like yours. In order to stand your ground and secure a fair settlement, you need a legal team of your own.
Additionally, when proving liability in a case, a great deal of evidence is necessary. In truck accident cases, a lot of this evidence can be difficult to secure without the help of an attorney. Helpful evidence includes:
- CCTV footage
- The driver’s driving record
- Vehicle maintenance records
- The driver’s phone records
- Witness statements
- And more
Your Hazleton tractor trailer accident lawyer will know how to secure all of this essential evidence in a timely manner.
Finally, it’s very likely that you’ll initially be offered a lowball settlement offer. If you don’t have experience in handling these kinds of cases, it can be difficult to know what a fair offer looks like. But your lawyer will ensure you never accept a settlement that’s less than what you deserve. They’ll look at your case in completion — your medical bills and expenses, your lost wages, your pain and suffering — and will negotiate a settlement on your behalf that accurately accounts for all of these costs.
Working With Munley Law Truck Accident Lawyers
Tractor trailer accidents can be an extremely traumatic experience for all parties involved. In the aftermath of something like this, as you try to recover and get back to the life you love, the idea of navigating the legal system can sound overwhelming. That’s where Munley Law comes in. We cannot change what you’ve experienced, much as we wish we could, but we can stand by your side and fight on your behalf as you seek justice and compensation.
At Munley Law, each of our lawyers has over a decade of experience, as well as hands-on trial and courtroom experience. We do not get paid unless we win your case, and we will be by your side as you fight to make things right in the wake of your car accident. You can visit our Client Victories page to see some of the substantial wins we’ve had for our clients.
If you are seeking legal representation, or simply want a free case evaluation, please reach out to a Hazleton personal injury lawyer here at Munley Law. We can provide you with an experienced auto accident attorney who will be by your side every step of the way, fighting to protect your rights and advocating for you. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.
Hazleton Practice Areas
Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys
197 N Cedar St,
Hazleton, PA 18201