Our Wilkes-Barre Fatal Truck Accident Attorneys Can Get You Justice
Truck accidents are some of the most destructive types of crashes that happen in Wilkes-Barre. Far too often, these truck crashes result in loss of life. A fatal truck crash can upend the lives of surviving family members and leave you devastated, looking for answers, and wanting justice. No amount of money can make up for the sudden loss of a beloved family member, but a lawsuit can hold the at-fault party accountable for their actions and bring you some future security so that financial burdens do not interfere with your ability to honor your loved one’s memory in peace.
If someone you love was killed in a fatal truck accident in Wilkes-Barre, contact the Wilkes-Barre truck accident lawyers at Munley Law. Our compassionate team of legal experts will answer your questions, assist you during this difficult time, and see that justice is done for your family.
Contact Munley Law today for a free, private consultation. If you are unable to meet with us at our Wilkes-Barre office location, we can arrange a virtual meeting or travel to meet you where you are located. There is no charge for the consultation and no fee unless we win your case.
$32 Million Wrongful Death
$26 Million Truck Accident
$17.5 Million Car Accident
$12 Million Product Liability
$9 Million Truck Accident
$8 Million Truck Accident
$8 Million Truck Accident
$7.5 Million Auto Accident
$6.9 Million Garbage Truck Accident
$6.5 Million Traumatic Brain Injury
$5 Million Medical Malpractice
$5 Million Bus Accidents
What Are the Causes of Fatal Truck Accidents?
Wilkes-Barre’s location near several busy highways including PA-309, PA-476, I-81, I-80, and I-380 means that Luzerne County residents share the road with large trucks and tractor trailers during their daily travels. Under these conditions, a negligent action or omission can result in a devastating wreck. Some common causes of truck accidents in Wilkes-Barre include:
- Driver distraction – Driver distraction is among the most common causes of deadly accidents, including those involving a large truck. Truckers and drivers of passenger vehicles must stay alert at all times – but this is not always the case. Distraction can take many forms; the most common type of distraction is technology, be it a mobile device, navigation, or hands-free system. But other passengers, food and drink, multitasking, or anything else that takes your attention away from the task of driving can become deadly.
- Driver fatigue – Fatigue and lack of sleep can impair driving performance as much as alcohol. Truck drivers can be especially susceptible to driver fatigue because they face a higher risk of sleep apnea and often drive during hours when the rest of us are sleeping. Truckers also face intense pressure to make deliveries on time, and time not spent driving is time for which they are not paid. In some cases, this financial pressure can incentivize drivers to exceed the maximum hours of service established by federal law.
- Driving too fast for conditions – Speeding or driving too fast for road conditions is one of the leading causes of deadly traffic accidents. Speed not only increases the risk of a crash, but it also increases the chances that the crash will be deadly. Trucks take far longer than passenger cars to slow down or come to a stop. If a truck is traveling too fast for the traffic or weather conditions, it can result in a fatal rear-end or multivehicle pile-up crash.
- Improperly secured loads – An improperly secured load can also lead to a devastating truck crash. For example, if cargo is not loaded properly, it can cause uneven distribution of weight that can cause a truck driver to lose control of the trailer. This can be deadly for the trucker and for other drivers on the road.
What is a Wrongful Death Claim?
If your loved one died in a fatal truck accident in Luzerne County, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit to hold the at-fault party accountable. A wrongful death suit is different from a regular personal injury case. While a personal injury case typically seeks to compensate the victim of an accident or injury, a wrongful death claim seeks to compensate the victim’s surviving beneficiaries. A wrongful death claim also serves to hold the negligent party responsible for their wrongdoing.
A wrongful death lawsuit can result in compensation for both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include funeral and burial costs, bills for medical care and hospitalization, the economic value of services provided, and the costs associated with the administration of the decedent’s estate. Noneconomic damages in a wrongful death claim include loss of parental guidance, loss of companionship, and loss of love and affection.
While some states place limitations or caps on the amount of compensation that can be recovered in a wrongful death lawsuit, Pennsylvania has no cap on compensatory damages.
The amount of compensation beneficiaries can receive in a wrongful death settlement in Wilkes-Barre will depend on a number of factors. A wrongful death attorney will work closely with medical and economic experts to calculate the full extent of damages based on the deceased person’s age, health, and expected lifespan, anticipated earning capacity, income and benefits, number and age of surviving dependents, and more.
Who Can Sue for a Fatal Truck Accident in Wilkes-Barre?
Pennsylvania law specifies who may bring a wrongful death claim in the event of a fatal truck crash. In Pennsylvania, the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate must be the one to bring the wrongful death claim on behalf of the decedent’s beneficiaries. The personal representative, also called the executor of the will, may or may not be a beneficiary themselves. However, if the representative of the estate does not file a wrongful death claim within six months of the decedent’s passing, any of the remaining beneficiaries may do so.
In Pennsylvania, beneficiaries in a wrongful death claim are limited to the deceased person’s spouse, children, and parents.
After a fatal Wilkes-Barre truck accident, there may be conflict or confusion among family members as to who has the legal right to file a claim, and/or to receive any resulting damages. An experienced truck accident attorney at Munley Law can help you sort it all out.
Liable Parties in a Fatal Wilkes-Barre Truck Accident
Truck accidents are complex because they often involve more than one defendant. In a fatal truck accident case, liability may fall on the at-fault truck driver, the trucking company that employed the truck driver, the owner of the truck, a third party broker, or any combination of these parties. An experienced truck accident lawyer will not only investigate the driver involved, but will also look to the transportation company and their records to determine if federal regulation violations or negligent hiring, training, and safety practices contributed to your loved one’s crash.
It is important to have an experienced truck accident lawyer on your case who can identify all liable parties, establish liability and negligence, and pursue maximum recovery for you and your family.
How Does a Wrongful Death Truck Accident Case Work?
In order to win a truck accident wrongful death case, you will need to prove certain elements. You will need to establish that the defendant owed a duty of care, that they breached that duty, that their breach resulted in injury and death, and that you suffered damages as a result.
In order to prove the defendant’s negligence, you will need substantial evidence. The Wilkes-Barre truck accident lawyers at Munley Law will act immediately to preserve and obtain evidence that is critical to your case. Trucking companies do not always hand this material over willingly, so we can mobilize quickly to obtain a court order compelling them to preserve and produce relevant information for your case. Of utmost importance are the truck driver’s cell phone and the electronic data recorder onboard the truck itself. We will also perform a thorough investigation of your loved one’s accident. This can include interviewing eyewitnesses, obtaining photo and video evidence, working with crash reconstruction teams and private investigators, and obtaining trucking company records.
In addition to the investigation, your legal team will work closely with medical and forensic economic experts to calculate the full extent of the damages in your case.
We will negotiate with the insurance companies on your behalf to arrive at a fair settlement. With decades of experience handling truck accident and wrongful death claims, we know what a reasonable settlement looks like and when to demand more. We will never accept an offer of settlement without your consent. While some lawyers would settle for less rather than risk taking your case to trial, the truck accident lawyers at Munley Law thirve in the courtroom. We will prepare your case for trial and fight for you in front of a jury if no appropriate settlement can be reached before your trial date.
All along the way, we will be your resource to help you during this difficult time. We know how difficult it is to lose a loved one unexpectedly. Our family will open our doors to you throughout this experience to help you rebuild your life.
Wilkes-Barre Fatal Truck Accident FAQs
What is the Statute of Limitations for a Fatal Truck Accident in Wilkes-Barre?
Pennsylvania law states that a wrongful death claim must be filed within two years of the date of the accident that resulted in your loved one’s death. The statute of limitations strictly bars any claims that are brought after this deadline has passed.
For this reason, it is important to contact a lawyer as early as possible. A great deal of work must be done in order to prepare a wrongful death lawsuit, and critical evidence can be lost or destroyed in the days and weeks following a truck crash. Even if you are not yet sure how to proceed, contacting a lawyer as soon as possible will maximize your options and your claim’s chances of success.
What is the Difference Between a Wrongful Death Claim and a Survival Action in Pennsylvania?
Another type of legal action you may take after the death of a loved one is called a “survival action.” While a wrongful death claim pursues damages on behalf of the decedent’s surviving family, a survival action pursues compensation on behalf of the deceased victim for their financial losses and pain and suffering. A survival action is a continuation of the personal injury claim the victim made or would have made had they not succumbed to their injuries.
Like a wrongful death lawsuit, a survival action must be filed by the personal representative of the deceased’s estate.
It is sometimes possible to file both a wrongful death truck accident lawsuit and a survival action at the same time. To find out if this applies to your case, speak with an experienced truck accident attorney who can help you understand your rights.
Can More Than One Family Member File a Wrongful Death Truck Accident Lawsuit?
Surviving family members can file jointly as plaintiffs in a wrongful death case, but only one wrongful death action can be taken. For example, the personal representative of the deceased’s estate may file on behalf of all beneficiaries. Or, in the death of a minor child, parents may file together or one parent may file on behalf of both parents. But there is only one lawsuit.
This is why it is important that all beneficiaries be named in the original lawsuit, because you may not sue more than once for a single incident.
What If My Loved One Was a Truck Driver Who Was Killed on the Job?
Truck drivers have dangerous jobs. They face one of the highest rates of workplace fatality in any occupation. Truck drivers can be killed on the road, while loading heavy materials into their trailer, or even while resting in the sleeper berth of their cab. Munley Law has represented the families of truck drivers who died on the job. We can help you recover workers’ compensation death benefits and pursue a third party wrongful death case against the driver or company responsible for your loved one’s untimely death.
What Kind of Lawyer Do I Need For a Truck Accident Fatality?
A fatal truck accident is not only devastating, but it can also be legally complicated. While many personal injury law firms handle wrongful death, they don’t all have experience dealing with fatal truck crashes. If your case involves a large commercial truck, it is crucial that you have a truck accident lawyer in your corner. All wrongful death cases are serious, but truck crash cases present a totally unique set of challenges. Commercial truck crashes often involve multiple defendants with multiple private and commercial insurance policies. The success of a truck accident lawsuit also depends on your attorney’s knowledge of trucking industry regulations and highly technical discovery such as how to obtain and analyze black box data from the truck itself.
The truck accident attorneys at Munley Law have earned national recognition for their work on behalf of injured victims and bereaved families, having won some of the largest settlements and verdicts in Pennsylvania. Two of our lawyers have served as Chair of the American Association for Justice Trucking Litigation Group; we were among the first lawyers in PA to become board certified in Truck Accident Law by the National Board of Trial Advocacy; we serve on the Board of Regents for the Academy of Truck Accident Attorneys, and have been certified by the Association of Interstate Trucking Lawyers of America.
Contact a Wilkes-Barre truck accident wrongful death lawyer at Munley Law
The team of attorneys at Munley Law is ready for your call. We will get to work right away and guide you through this difficult experience to alleviate the strain on your family.
The Wilkes-Barre wrongful death attorneys at Munley Law work on a contingent fee basis, which means we only get paid when we win your case. Protecting you from the financial risk of pursuing a claim, we invest our time and resources into your case, and if we are unsuccessful, you owe us nothing. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Wilkes-Barre Practice Areas
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702