Common Truck Accident Causes in Pennsylvania
Unfortunately, accidents of all kinds are always unforeseen and many times, completely out of our control. Being involved in an accident with a commercial, semi, or tractor trailer truck is particularly dangerous for the occupants of a passenger vehicle. The state of Pennsylvania is a major trucking route hub, seeing thousands of trucks on its roads per year. With an increase of travelers comes an increased risk of truck accidents.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation reported over 6,000 truck accidents in 2020 alone. Of those accidents, only 22 truck occupants lost their lives. That is not the case with drivers and passengers of a regular sedan. Passengers in a regular car are more likely to be severely injured or die due to the impact of a truck wreck. In fact, 97% of fatalities in truck accidents involving a passenger vehicle are the occupants in the car.
Leading Pennsylvania Truck Accident Lawyers
Munley Law is a nationally recognized personal injury firm that puts a unique focus on truck accidents in Pennsylvania. Daniel and Marion Munley, two of the firm’s partners, secured a $26,000,000 settlement for a truck accident – the largest settlement for an individual plaintiff in Northeastern Pennsylvania. The truck accident lawyers at Munley Law have an extensive knowledge of the Pennsylvania laws, various insurance policies, and the Pennsylvania court system.
The lawyers also have a profound understanding of what you and your family are going through following a truck accident. In an instant, your entire life was uprooted. The truck accident lawyers at Munley Law will work hard to secure the highest amount of compensation possible in the least amount of time. They understand that you don’t want to be their client one second longer than you have to be, so they will work to relieve you of the sudden financial burden after a truck accident so you can focus on a full recovery and getting back to normal as soon as possible.
What Are the Main Causes of Most Truck Accidents?
There are several different reasons that truck accidents occur in the state of Pennsylvania. Bad weather, road hazards, and nighttime driving can all play a role in a truck wreck. However, the leading causes of truck accidents are:
Drowsy driving is a huge problem among truck drivers in Pennsylvania and across the United States. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration enforces strict regulations regarding the number of consecutive hours a trucker can drive without a break. However, many trucking companies pressure their drivers to forego those rules in order to speed up delivery times. Therefore, the Pennsylvania roadways are often packed with extremely fatigued truck drivers.
The CDC compares drowsy driving to drunk driving, stating that a driver who has been awake for at least 18 hours is the same as a driver with the blood alcohol content of 0.05%. If a driver has been awake for at least 24 hours, it is equal to driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.10%, which is over the legal limit.
Drowsy driving lowers reaction times, makes the drivers less attentive to the road, affects their ability to make quick decisions, and can make them fully fall asleep at the wheel. The best thing to do if you are tired behind the wheel is to find a safe spot to pull over and rest.
Distracted driving is unfortunately becoming the norm with many drivers. Distracted driving is anything that takes your focus and eyes off the road. In order to combat the increasing number of distracted drivers, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation implemented a strict law that prohibits texting while a driver is behind the wheel. There is no text message, email, or phone call that is worth the risk of getting into a truck crash. Drivers should put their phones down and keep their attention solely on the road.
Other forms of distracted driving are:
- Eating, drinking, or smoking
- Adjusting the radio
- Talking, texting, or emailing on your phone
- Interacting with other passengers
- Searching for anything in your vehicle while driving
- Reading or writing
- Grooming (putting on makeup, doing your hair, etc.)
Mechanical Defects and Improperly Loaded Cargo
Faulty brakes or tires are a major cause of truck accidents. Although faulty brakes or tires can be the result of a poor manufacturing design, most faulty equipment is from lack of maintenance. The trucking company is responsible for keeping their trucks in pristine condition before sending them on the road. If you were involved in a truck accident due to mechanical failure, contact the Munley Law semi truck accident lawyers as soon as possible. They will work to determine which parties were at fault for the accident and make sure each party is held accountable.
A cargo loader’s job is to make sure the cargo in the truck is evenly spread out so the trailer of the truck doesn’t tip over. Many tractor trailer accidents in Pennsylvania are due to the trailers tipping over, creating road hazards for other drivers. In some of the worst cases, the trailer of a truck can roll over onto another vehicle. Your lawyer will do a thorough investigation of the manufacturer, cargo loaders, trucking company, and truck driver to make sure your compensation comes from every party who is responsible for the accident.
Driving a vehicle that can weigh up to 80,000 pounds with cargo is a huge responsibility. It is up to the truck companies to make sure their drivers are fully and properly trained before they make solo trips. Truck driving training has to include how to brake properly and drive defensively, including learning to anticipate road hazards and avoid collisions with other vehicles. When a new truck driver isn’t properly trained, they are a hazard to everyone else on the road.
Speeding and Aggressive Driving
Excessive speeding, weaving in between lanes, tailgating, and disregarding traffic signals are all forms of aggressive driving. Aggressive driving is dangerous regardless of the vehicle or driver. However, it is especially risky when a trucker drives recklessly. Because of the weight of a commercial or semi truck, it can take several seconds for the truck to come to a complete stop. If a truck driver is tailgating or speeding, and has to stop suddenly, they run the risk of not being able to slow down in time and crashing into another vehicle from behind.
If you see aggressive truck drivers on the road, it is to the benefit of all the drivers on the road to report them to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. You can reach out via their complaint page or their hotline number: 1-888-DOT-SAFT (368-7238).
What Kind of Injuries Can I Sustain From a Tractor Trailer Accident?
Injuries sustained from tractor trailers, semi, and other commercial trucks are often catastrophic. They can lead to severe traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, paralysis, broken bones, and disfigurement. Emotional injuries, such as post traumatic stress syndrome, often linger with the victim for years.
When these injuries occur, it is not just the victim that suffers. Families can be devastated when their loved one is involved in a semi truck accident. For survivors of truck accidents, their lives are often never the same. Loved ones are left to become full time caregivers, which adds enormous amounts of financial stress to the family. If you are a truck accident victim and can no longer work, your family must learn to live on one less income. Victims of traumatic brain injuries suffer personality and behavioral changes that their family members have to navigate through. In the worst cases, the family suffers a loss of a loved one and has grieve while going through the claims process.
The truck accident lawyers at Munley Law deeply understand the consequences of truck accidents. They have worked with countless clients who have gone through similar situations. Call the truck accident lawyers today to speak with a compassionate attorney who will gently guide you through the claims process.
Truck Accident Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is modified comparative negligence law in Pennsylvania?
Comparative negligence is when both parties involved in the accident are at fault. In these cases, if the judge finds that the plaintiff (the truck accident victim who is making the claim) is at least 50% responsible for the accident, then the claim is thrown out. However, if the defendant (in this case, the truck driver or trucking company who caused the accident) is found to be at least 51% responsible for the accident, then the claim can proceed to a resolution.
Comparative negligence is one of the many reasons it is beneficial to have an experienced Munley Law semi truck accident lawyer by your side. Your lawyer will be able to investigate the scene of the accident, use expert witness testimony, and determine all the parties at fault for the accident to prove complete negligence on their part.
Q: What are the largest trucking fleets in the United States?
Pepsi sends out the most trucks in the United States per year. This is followed by Sysco Corp, Halliburton, Walmart, and Reyes.
Q: What are the most dangerous Pennsylvania counties for truck accidents?
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Lancaster County saw the most crashes in 2019, followed very closely by Alleghany County. I-95, which connects to the Pennsylvania Turnpike, is the third most fatal road in the nation for truck accidents.
Q: What is the statute of limitations to file a claim after a truck accident?
A statute of limitations is a law that restricts a victim’s time to file a claim or lawsuit against the party or parties that caused the accident. The statute of limitations to file a claim for a truck accident is two years. Though this may seem like a long time, medical expenses pile up quickly.
Hire a Top Truck Accident Lawyer Today
If you’ve been in an accident with a truck, it’s important you have a lawyer by your side to help you navigate your case. The sooner you higher a Munley Law tractor trailer accident lawyer, the sooner you can receive proper compensation for your medical bills and lost wages. Call Munley today for a free consultation with one of the top truck accident attorneys in the United States.