A tractor trailer accident can bring your life to a crashing halt. In that instant, everything can change, and the future can suddenly appear uncertain. No one should have to experience this alone. A tractor trailer accident lawyer can stand by your side and ensure you receive the help you need and obtain the compensation you deserve.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, there were 231 heavy truck-related crashes that resulted in injuries in 2022 in Philadelphia County, more than any other county in Pennsylvania. If you or someone you love was injured by a tractor trailer in Philadelphia or the surrounding counties, the rapid-response truck accident team at Munley Law can help make things right.
Contact the Philadelphia tractor trailer accident lawyers at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys for a free consultation today. We will listen to you, answer your questions, and guide you through the next steps. We do not get paid unless we win your case, and you pay nothing out of pocket. Call, chat live, or fill out our email form today.
Meet the Experienced Philadelphia Tractor Trailer Accident Lawyers at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys
Most people never think about what to do after being hit by a tractor trailer – until it happens. If you’ve been in an accident with a tractor trailer in Philly, an experienced attorney can help you make a full medical, emotional, and financial recovery. It’s important to have the right kind of lawyer. Contrary to common belief, not all personal injury lawyers are qualified to handle a tractor trailer case. In fact, only a small number have experience with and knowledge of high-stakes heavy commercial trucking cases. It is a highly specific area of the law – and one in which Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys lead the industry nationwide.
The Philadelphia tractor trailer accident lawyers at Munley Law have decades of experience standing up to national transportation companies and winning. We have won historic victories for our clients across Pennsylvania.
Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys is the only law firm in the United States with two attorneys who have served as Chair of the American Association for Justice Trucking Litigation Group. Our tractor trailer accident attorneys also belong to the Association of Interstate Trucking Lawyers of America and serve on the Board of Regents for the Academy of Truck Accident Attorneys. We are among the first lawyers in Pennsylvania to become board-certified in truck accident law by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. In addition to these credentials, our attorneys travel around the country all throughout the year to speak at conferences and educate other lawyers on matters of trucking law.
No law firm in Philadelphia is better qualified to take your tractor trailer accident case. Contact us for a free case evaluation today.
Tractor Trailers Cause Serious Accidents
Truck accidents rank among the most severe motor vehicle accidents primarily due to the size disparity between trucks and passenger cars. Trucks outweigh cars by up to 20 to 30 times. Their massive size, weight, and length create a number of conditions that can lead to a devastating crash. Tractor trailers are prone to:
Increased stopping distance: Loaded tractor-trailers require approximately 40 percent more distance to come to a stop on dry roads and at safe speeds than passenger vehicles. This means trucks require more distance in order to safely come to a stop. The distance needed to stop is even greater if the truck is moving at a high speed or in adverse conditions like rain or snow. If truck drivers don’t brake with enough distance ahead of them, they won’t be able to stop in time to avoid a crash.
Heightened risk of rollovers: The truck’s elevated center of gravity makes it susceptible to rolling over when taking corners at high speeds or engaging in evasive maneuvers to avoid accidents.
Wide turns: Due to their length, trucks necessitate ample space to complete turns. This poses a risk to nearby vehicles traveling in adjacent lanes or awaiting their turn.
Limited visibility and blind spots: Due to their length and size, trucks have significant blind spots on all four sides, making it challenging for drivers to spot passenger cars lingering in these areas when attempting to change lanes. Tow trucks exhibit similar blind spot characteristics.
Underride accidents: The substantial ground clearance of tractor-trailers increases the possibility of smaller passenger cars sliding underneath them during accidents, posing a serious danger. When a passenger car experiences an underride, the force of the impact can crush the top of the smaller vehicle and cause injury or death to the vehicle occupants.
Causes of Philadelphia Tractor Trailer Accidents
Tractor-trailer accidents can occur due to various factors, and identifying the specific cause of an accident often requires a thorough investigation. A Philadelphia tractor trailer accident lawyer at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys will perform a thorough investigation to identify all responsible parties and prove negligence in your case. This investigation will include legal action to preserve and obtain evidence, investigation of trucking company records, electronic discovery of the trucker’s phone, and analysis of the truck’s black box data, to name a few.
Here are some common causes of tractor-trailer accidents:
Driver Fatigue: Truck drivers often face demanding schedules and long hours on the road. Fatigue can impair their ability to concentrate and react in a timely manner, leading to accidents. Hours of Service regulations aim to address this issue by limiting the number of consecutive hours a driver can operate a commercial vehicle. Still, drivers have been found to violate these regulations and falsify their log books.
Distracted Driving: Distractions, such as using mobile phones, eating, drinking, or adjusting in-cab devices, can divert a truck driver’s attention from the road, increasing the risk of an accident.
Speeding: Driving at excessive speeds reduces a truck driver’s ability to control the vehicle, increases stopping distances, and makes it more difficult to react to sudden changes in traffic conditions or obstacles.
Improper Lane Changes and Merging: Failing to signal lane changes, improper merging, or misjudging the distance and speed of other vehicles can lead to collisions with other motorists.
Impaired Driving: Driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or certain medications can impair a truck driver’s judgment, coordination, and reaction time, significantly increasing the risk of accidents.
Equipment Failure: Mechanical failures in the truck’s brakes, tires, steering system, or other components can cause accidents. Inadequate maintenance, manufacturing defects, or failure to perform regular inspections can contribute to equipment failure.
Adverse Weather Conditions: Poor weather conditions like rain, snow, fog, or ice can reduce visibility, affect road traction, and make it more challenging to control large commercial vehicles, increasing the risk of accidents.
Improper Cargo Loading: If cargo is not properly loaded, balanced, or secured, it can shift during transit, affecting the truck’s stability and potentially leading to accidents.
Inadequate Training: Insufficient training or lack of experience can hinder a truck driver’s ability to handle the vehicle properly, respond to emergencies, and navigate challenging situations.
Aggressive Driving: Reckless behaviors such as tailgating, sudden lane changes, or aggressive maneuvers by truck drivers can lead to accidents, endangering other motorists on the road.
Injuries in a Philadelphia Tractor Trailer Crash
The severity and specific injuries depend on factors such as the speed of the vehicles involved, the angle of impact, the use of safety devices, and the overall circumstances of the accident. Here are some common injuries people may sustain in tractor-trailer accidents:
- Whiplash and Neck Injuries: Whiplash is a common injury in rear-end collisions, where the sudden impact causes the head and neck to jerk forward and backward rapidly. This can result in neck sprains, strains, or other soft tissue injuries.
- Back and Spinal Cord Injuries: The impact of a tractor-trailer accident can cause injuries to the back and spinal cord. These injuries range from herniated discs, fractures, and sprains to more severe spinal cord injuries that can lead to paralysis or loss of sensation.
- Head and Brain Injuries: Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) can occur when the head strikes an object or experiences a significant jolt during a collision. This can lead to concussions, contusions, skull fractures, or more severe brain injuries that can have long-lasting effects on cognitive function and quality of life.
- Fractures and Broken Bones: The force of impact in a tractor-trailer accident can cause fractures and broken bones in various parts of the body, including the arms, legs, ribs, pelvis, and facial bones.
- Internal Injuries: The blunt force trauma from a collision can cause internal injuries, such as damage to organs like the liver, spleen, kidneys, or lungs. These injuries may require immediate medical attention and surgical intervention.
- Cuts, Lacerations, and Bruises: Broken glass, sharp objects, or impact with vehicle components can result in cuts, lacerations, and bruises. These injuries can vary in severity, from minor abrasions to deep cuts requiring stitches or plastic surgery.
- Psychological Trauma: Being involved in a tractor-trailer accident can also lead to psychological trauma and emotional distress, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, or phobias related to driving or being driven on the highway.
Damages in a Philadelphia Tractor Trailer Accident Case
Economic damages are measurable losses that have a direct financial impact on the injured party. They aim to compensate for the specific monetary losses incurred due to the truck accident. Examples of economic damages include:
Medical Expenses: Compensation for current and future medical bills, hospital stays, surgeries, medications, physical therapy, rehabilitation, and other healthcare expenses related to the accident.
Lost Wages: Reimbursement for the wages and income lost due to the accident, including both past and future lost earnings, if the injuries result in long-term or permanent disability that affects the plaintiff’s ability to work.
Property Damage: Compensation for the repair or replacement of damaged property, such as the plaintiff’s vehicle or personal belongings that were lost or damaged in the truck accident.
Rehabilitation Costs: If the plaintiff requires ongoing therapy, assistive devices, or home modifications to aid their recovery and improve their quality of life, the expenses associated with these rehabilitation efforts may be included as damages.
Other Economic Losses: This category may include additional quantifiable financial losses, such as transportation costs for medical appointments, home care services, or any other expenses directly related to the accident and the resulting injuries.
Non-economic damages are more subjective and aim to compensate for the intangible losses that are not easily quantifiable in monetary terms. These damages address the pain, suffering, emotional distress, and reduced quality of life experienced by the injured party. Examples of non-economic damages include:
Pain and Suffering: Compensation for physical pain, discomfort, and emotional distress resulting from the injuries sustained in the truck accident.
Emotional Distress: This includes mental anguish, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other psychological effects caused by the accident.
Loss of Enjoyment of Life: Compensation for the negative impact on the plaintiff’s ability to participate in activities, hobbies, or enjoy life as before the accident.
Loss of Consortium: If the injuries have affected the plaintiff’s relationship with their spouse or family members, damages may be awarded to compensate for the loss of companionship, affection, and support.
Who is Responsible for a Philadelphia Tractor Trailer Accident?
One of the things that makes tractor trailer cases so complex is that they often involve multiple defendants. In a tractor-trailer accident, several parties may potentially be held liable, depending on the specific circumstances of the accident. Here are some common parties that could be held liable:
- Truck Driver: The truck driver may be held liable if their negligence or actions contributed to the accident. This could include factors such as driver fatigue, distracted driving, speeding, violation of traffic laws, impaired driving, or failure to maintain control of the vehicle.
- Trucking Company: The trucking company or employer of the truck driver may be held liable under certain circumstances. If the truck driver was operating within the scope of their employment at the time of the accident, the company may be held responsible for the actions or negligence of their employee. Additionally, the trucking company can be held liable for its own negligence, such as failure to properly train, supervise, or maintain the vehicles in its fleet.
- Vehicle Owner: If the truck is owned by a different party than the trucking company, such as in cases where the truck is leased or rented, the vehicle owner may bear some responsibility for the accident. They have a duty to ensure the vehicle is properly maintained and safe for operation.
- Truck Manufacturer or Maintenance Provider: If the accident was caused by a defect or malfunction in the truck or its components, the manufacturer of the truck or the provider responsible for maintenance and repairs may be held liable. This could include issues with brakes, tires, steering mechanisms, or other faulty parts.
- Shippers or Cargo Loaders: In some cases, liability may extend to the shippers or cargo loaders if the accident was caused by improper loading or securing of the cargo. Overloading, unbalanced loads, or inadequate securing of cargo can lead to accidents and make the responsible party liable.
Determining liability in a tractor-trailer accident can be complex, and it often requires a thorough investigation of the accident scene, gathering evidence, reviewing records, and consulting with crash reconstruction experts.
Philadelphia Tractor Trailer Accident FAQs
How much will I receive in a tractor trailer accident lawsuit?
The amount of money you receive in compensation in a tractor trailer accident lawsuit will depend on the severity and extent of your injuries, as well as other factors like your average income, the available insurance coverage, and the effectiveness of your attorney. This is why it is extremely important to find a tractor trailer accident lawyer who will work with the leading experts to establish your damages and negotiate a maximum settlement.
Do truck accident lawyers represent injured truck drivers?
The tractor trailer accident lawyers at Munley Law represent truck drivers who have been injured in an accident on the job. Having spent decades handling truck accident cases, we know what a dangerous job trucking can be. Injured truck drivers not only face a mountain of medical bills, but they also may fear for their livelihoods. If you or your family member drive a truck and got hurt in a crash that wasn’t your fault, we can help you. We can assist you in filing a workers’ compensation claim and represent you at the hearing to ensure you receive your benefits. We can also pursue a third-party liability case against the at-fault driver and/or company responsible for the accident that caused your injuries.
When should I contact a lawyer for a truck accident?
In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations for a tractor trailer accident case is two years from the date of the accident. Plaintiffs are not permitted to file a lawsuit for their injuries after this time has elapsed. However, you should not wait to contact a lawyer. The process of investigating the incident and preparing a lawsuit to be filed in court can take many months. What’s more, crucial evidence can be lost or destroyed if it is not preserved by an attorney. And the trucking company will have their defense team working to minimize your settlement. For these reasons, it is critical that you act quickly to protect yourself after a truck accident.
In short, it is never too soon to contact a tractor trailer accident lawyer if you’ve been hit by a truck. Even if you don’t yet have all the information or know the full extent of your injuries, a truck accident lawyer can provide guidance and take action to protect your interests.
Philadelphia Practice Areas
Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys
1617 John F Kennedy Blvd
Philadelphia, PA 19103