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What Causes Most Truck Accidents in Pennsylvania? 

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How Can a Truck Accident Lawyer Help With My Trucking Accident Case?

attorney robert munley standing with arms crossedUnfortunately, accidents of all kinds are always unforeseen and many times, completely out of our control. Being involved in an accident with a tractor trailer is particularly dangerous for the occupants of a passenger vehicle. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a major trucking route hub, seeing thousands of trucks on its roads per year. With an increase in truck traffic comes an increased risk of truck accidents.

If you get into a truck accident, it’s important to understand what caused the crash. Not only will knowing how the accident was caused ease your mind, but it can help point to who was at fault for the accident. If the cause of the truck accident was the result of a truck driver’s negligence, then you will be able to file a truck accident claim against the responsible parties. But to learn what caused the accident, you’ll need the help of an experienced truck accident lawyer at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys.

Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys is a nationally recognized personal injury firm that has a unique focus on truck accidents throughout the nation. Daniel and Marion Munley, two of the firm’s partners, have received accolades from their peers and legal organizations for their truck accident verdicts and settlements — for example, our truck accident lawyers have secured one of the largest settlements for an individual plaintiff in Northeastern Pennsylvania for a truck accident case. The truck accident lawyers at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys have extensive knowledge of both state and national laws and have dealt with truck insurance companies for decades.

The lawyers also profoundly understand 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 Personal Injury Attorneys 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 Causes Truck Accidents in Pennsylvania to Occur?

Recent data from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has found that over 7,000 trucking accidents happened in Pennsylvania in the past year. That number equates to over 6 percent of the motor vehicle accidents in Pennsylvania involving a commercial vehicle.

Philadelphia County had the most truck accidents in the Commonwealth, 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.

There are several different reasons that truck accidents occur in 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

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, Pennsylvania roadways are often packed with extremely fatigued truck drivers.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention compares drowsy driving to drunk driving, stating that a driver who has been awake for at least 18 hours has the same reaction time as a driver with a blood alcohol content of 0.05%. The CDC further found that 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

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

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 a lack of maintenance. The trucking company or the owner of the vehicle 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 Personal Injury Attorneys truck accident lawyers as soon as possible. They will determine which parties were at fault for the accident and make sure each party is held accountable.

Improperly Loaded Cargo

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 Pennsylvania truck accidents are due to the unbalanced trailer 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.

Improper Training

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 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 to report them to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration online or call the hotline number at 1-888-DOT-SAFT (368-7238).

What Happens If I Am At Fault for the Truck Accident?

Caroline Munley speaking with paralegal in her officeThere are times when multiple parties can be held responsible for a truck crash. The truck driver, trucking company, and shipping carrier may all bear some responsibility of the accident. And there are times when the injury victim could be found partially at fault. If that happens, can you still collect compensation?

Pennsylvania is a no fault state. What this means is after any type of motor vehicle accident, the accident victim must file a claim with their insurance company to pay for any medical expenses and out-of-pocket costs. If the other driver is found at fault for the accident and you do not have enough insurance to cover your expenses, you may be able to file a claim against the other driver.

But if you are found partially at fault for the accident, the comparative negligence law will come into play. 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.

If the claim is found in favor of the plaintiff, then they will receive less compensation depending on how much at fault they were found for the accident. For example, if the injury victim was found 20 percent at fault for the accident, and they were rewarded $100,000 for their injuries, they will receive $80,000.

Comparative negligence is one of the many reasons it is beneficial to have an experienced Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys 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.

What Kind of Injuries Can I Sustain From a Tractor Trailer Accident?

Injuries sustained from truck accidents are often catastrophic and can take years for the injury victim to recover from. Some common injuries include but are not limited to:

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 crash. 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 will be greiving while going through the claims process.

The truck accident lawyers at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys 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.

Hire a Top Truck Accident Lawyer Today

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. So the sooner you contact a truck accident attorney from Munely Law, the easier it will be to discover the causes of truck crash and get you the compensation needed to recover from such a horrible accident.

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 Personal Injury Attorneys 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.

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