Pittsburgh is criss-crossed by major highways and is home to numerous businesses requiring goods transportation, making tractor trailer accidents a major safety issue. Tractor trailer accidents are dangerous and can cause severe injuries. These tractor trailer accidents can have significant legal implications, making it important to find the right legal representation. Finding the right Pittsburgh tractor trailer accident lawyer can mean the difference between just compensation and unnecessary hardship.
If you or a loved one was injured in a truck accident in Pittsburgh, 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. Call today to schedule a free consultation.
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What causes tractor trailer accidents in Pittsburgh?
Various factors can contribute to tractor trailer accidents. Some common causes of truck accidents are:
- 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.
- 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.
- Driver Fatigue. Tractor trailer 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.
- 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.
- Improper Loading. Tractor trailers 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.
Many tractor trailer 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 tractor trailer accidents?
The size and skill required to operate big tractor trailers leads to certain specific types of accidents. Some of the most common types of trucking accidents are:
- Rollover or tip-over truck accidents. Due to their high center of gravity and heavy loads, tractor-trailers can be prone to rollovers, especially during sharp turns, sudden maneuvers, or on slopes.
- Jackknife truck accidents. This type of accident occurs when the trailer of the truck swings out to the side, making it resemble a folding pocketknife. This often happens when the driver brakes suddenly, and the momentum causes the trailer to skid and swing out.
- Underride truck accidents. These are particularly dangerous accidents where a smaller vehicle slides under the rear or side of a tractor trailer. They often occur if a truck stops suddenly and the following vehicle cannot stop in time.
- Blind spot truck accidents. Tractor trailers have large blind spots, or “no-zones,” on all four sides of the vehicle. Accidents often occur when other motorists aren’t aware of these blind spots and the truck driver fails to see them when changing lanes or making a turn.
- Rear-end collisions. Given the large size and weight of tractor trailers, they require more distance to come to a complete stop than smaller vehicles. If a truck driver cannot stop in time, it may result in a rear-end collision.
- Tire blowout accidents. A blown-out tire can cause a truck driver to lose control of the vehicle, potentially leading to a serious accident. This can happen due to overuse, poor maintenance, or overloading the truck.
- Lost load accidents. If a tractor trailer’s cargo isn’t secured properly, it can fall onto the roadway, causing accidents.
Understanding these types of accidents can help in determining the cause of a tractor trailer accident and establishing liability in legal proceedings. Always consult with a knowledgeable attorney if you’re involved in a truck accident.
How often do tractor trailer accidents occur?
Thousands of accidents involving large trucks, including tractor trailers, occur across the United States each year. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation estimates that there were 9,818 car accidents in Allegheny County in 2020, making it one of the top counties in Pennsylvania for traffic accidents.
Who can be held responsible for tractor trailer accidents?
Tractor-trailer accidents can be complex, and determining liability can involve multiple parties. Here are several potential parties who can be held responsible in such cases:
- Truck Driver. The truck driver can be held liable if their negligence or misconduct led to the accident. This could include factors like speeding, driving under the influence, fatigue, distraction, or other forms of reckless behavior.
- Trucking Company: The company that employs the driver can also be held responsible. This is particularly the case if they neglected to maintain the vehicles properly, failed to train drivers adequately, pushed drivers to work beyond legally allowed hours, or hired drivers with poor safety records.
- Truck Owner: If the truck is owned by a different entity than the company operating it, the owner could be held liable for not properly maintaining the vehicle or ensuring its safety.
- Cargo Loading Company: If the cargo was improperly loaded or secured, and this was a contributing factor to the accident, the company responsible for loading the cargo could be held liable.
- Manufacturer of the Truck or its Parts: If a defect in the truck or one of its components led to the accident, the manufacturer could potentially be held liable. This would fall under product liability law.
- Maintenance Company: If a company was contracted to maintain the truck and did not do so properly, leading to an accident, they could be held responsible.
- Government Entities: In some cases, a local or state government might be held liable if poor road design or maintenance contributed to the accident.
Determining responsibility in a tractor-trailer accident can be complicated and typically requires an in-depth investigation. It often involves examining driver logs, maintenance records, the truck’s black box data, and more. Moreover, liability might not fall entirely on one party; it could be shared among multiple parties based on their degree of fault. As such, it’s often helpful for those involved in a tractor-trailer accident to seek legal counsel to navigate these complexities.
What damages are available in a tractor trailer accident?
When an individual is involved in a tractor-trailer accident, they may be eligible to receive compensation for various types of damages, depending on the specifics of the case. Some of the types of damage you might recover in a tractor trailer accident are:
- Medical Expenses. This includes the cost of immediate medical care, ongoing treatment, rehabilitation, and any future medical expenses related to the accident.
- Lost Wages. If the victim misses work due to injuries sustained in the accident, they can be compensated for the loss of earnings during the recovery period.
- Loss of Earning Capacity. If the victim’s ability to work in the future is impaired due to the accident, they can seek damages for the reduction in earning potential.
- Property Damage. This covers the cost of repairing or replacing a vehicle or other property damaged in the accident.
- Pain and Suffering. This covers the physical discomfort and emotional distress experienced by the victim due to the accident and subsequent injuries.
- Emotional Distress. This addresses the psychological impact of the accident, which may manifest in anxiety, depression, sleep disorders, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Each case is unique, and the amount and types of damages available depends on the specifics of the accident, the severity of the injuries, the jurisdiction where the lawsuit is filed, and various other factors. It is always best to consult with a personal injury attorney who specializes in tractor-trailer accidents to understand the potential compensation in a particular case.
What is the statute of limitations for a tractor trailer accident?
Pennsylvania has a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury cases, meaning you have two (2) years from the date of the incident to file your lawsuit. If you have any concerns or questions about the statute of limitations, you should contact a lawyer or seek advice to ensure that you do not file your claim too late.
Why Should I Choose Munley Law?
If you are considering filing a legal claim for tractor trailer 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 away from you. We know that we can reach the settlement you deserve. Our lawyers often operate on a contingency fee basis, where the amount you owe is based only on the amount you win. Call Munley Law today or contact us online for a free case evaluation.
Pittsburgh Practice Areas
Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys
510 Third Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15219