If you have been hurt in a serious Pennsylvania truck accident, understanding your options is crucial. Contact Edenstein Martin & Nelson for a free consultation.
Large tractor-trailers are a necessity on our roads in Pennsylvania and all throughout the United States. These vehicles are used as common modes of transportation for taking goods from one destination to another. Without large trucks on our roads, we as consumers would never be able to make the purchases we desire from our favorite stores. Grocery stores would run out of food in about 3 days.
However, even though trucks are a necessity and will continue to be, commercial truck accidents are a growing concern throughout the country. Though the drivers of commercial trucks are supposed to abide by many regulations so accidents can be prevented, many serious collisions still take place each year involving these vehicles. These accidents often lead to devastating injuries and severe damages.
How Common Are Large Truck Accidents in Pennsylvania?
Across the U.S., large tractor-trailer accidents happen every single day. However, Pennsylvania specifically sees a large percentage of truck accidents each year as well. According to statistics in 2020 released by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, there were 6,344 large truck crashes throughout Pennsylvania. Out of these accidents, it is estimated that 110 individuals lost their lives and thousands more were injured.
Because of the sheer size of tractor-trailers compared to small passenger vehicles, truck accidents are likely to lead to catastrophic harm when they occur. Severe injuries result from commercial vehicle accidents in Pennsylvania every single year, sending many victims to the hospital. If you have been hurt in a Pennsylvania commercial truck accident, it is crucial that you seek the experienced help of a Pennsylvania truck accident lawyer at Edelstein Martin & Nelson.
Common Reasons for Tractor-Trailer Accidents in Pennsylvania
A tractor-trailer collision can happen in the blink of an eye in Pennsylvania. Just one relatively small mistake can set off a collision that leads to multiple damaged vehicles and horrific injuries. There are several common reasons for Pennsylvania truck accidents, which include the following:
Driving Fatigue: One of the most common reasons for tractor-trailer collisions in Pennsylvania is driver fatigue. Regulations have been put in place to ensure that truck drivers get as much sleep as possible before they hit the road. However, some trucking companies do not abide by these regulations and rush a driver from one destination to the next. When a driver falls asleep behind the wheel, they are likely to cause a severe and life-altering collision that can take lives.
Distracted Driving: Though distracted driving is a dangerous practice, it still happens in the trucking industry every day. Because truck drivers spend a long period of time on our roads, they are likely to become bored at times – which can lead to fiddling with the radio, texting and driving, or eating behind the wheel. Even one simple distraction can set off a serious accident with lasting consequences.
Lack of Truck Maintenance: Before a large truck is permitted on our roads in Pennsylvania, it must be properly maintained and checked at multiple points for road readiness. Trucking companies and drivers are supposed to make sure that a truck is in good working condition and fix any problems. If this doesn’t happen, a serious accident could result.
Lack of Proper Training of Truck Drivers: Truck drivers are supposed to undergo proper training so that they are prepared to go out on the roads as safely as possible. If a truck driver is not properly trained for the job, they could be risking the lives of everybody around them as well as their own.
Intoxication: Intoxicated driving, through drugs or alcohol, is another concern in the trucking industry. Under Pennsylvania law, truck drivers are prohibited from drinking alcohol within four hours of operating a truck for a company. Intoxication causes many serious collisions every year.
Laws Regulating the Trucking Industry
There are many regulations in the trucking industry that have been introduced to keep everybody safe on the roads. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has created a set of regulations called what is known as Hours of Service. These regulations restrict the hours that a driver works to make sure that they are not driving while fatigued. According to these laws, a driver is able to drive up to 11 hours during a 14-hour period.
On top of this, truck drivers undergo drug and alcohol testing to make sure that they are not driving while under the influence. There are several circumstances in which a driver could be tested to ensure that they were not under the influence while driving. Testing sometimes happens at random, as well as when a truck driver causes an accident or a fatality.
If you have been hurt in a truck accident in Pennsylvania, you have many options as you move forward. Proving that a truck driver or company has broken a law or trucking regulation is not always easy to do. Because of this, you should speak with a skilled Pennsylvania truck attorney that you can trust at Edelstein Martin & Nelson.
Injuries Stemming from Truck Accidents
Tractor-trailer accidents are some of the most catastrophic accidents that occur on our roads. Because of this, they are capable of causing some of the most severe harm, including serious injuries and fatalities. Some of the most common injuries that stem from Pennsylvania truck accidents include the following:
Back and Neck Injuries: Back and neck injuries are among the most common injuries that occur as a result of tractor-trailer accidents. These injuries can range from the most mild of injuries such as whiplash, as well as severe injuries like disc dislocation.
Spinal Cord Injuries: Spinal cord injuries can be critical and life-altering in nature. While many of these injuries can take a long time to recover from, some are life-threatening or permanent, such as paralysis. This can affect your life forever and must be compensated by the liable party or parties.
Burns: Burns are also common in truck accidents. Trucks have a high chance of experiencing a fuel tank explosion, which means that they could quickly become engulfed in fire or create fires that spread to other vehicles. Burns can range from minor to severe in nature but almost always cause a need for hospitalizations.
Internal Injuries: Because the force of truck accidents can be immense, blunt force trauma to the abdominal area can occur in the blink of an eye. Some of the internal organs that can be damaged in an accident include the bladder, liver, spleen, lungs, and more.
Fractures: Bones can break quickly in the event of an accident. These accidents can be incredibly traumatic, causing fractures that require a long healing time and physical therapy.
Amputations: Especially in cases where a passenger vehicle is crushed due to a large truck, an amputation is likely. When an amputation is necessary, you may need ongoing therapy and even a prosthesis just so that you can try to somewhat enjoy the activities and work that you did before your collision.
Abrasions and Bruises: You may think that bruises are never severe in nature. However, they can sometimes lead to scarring and disfigurement that affects the rest of your life.
How Are Truck Accidents Different from Other Types of Car Accidents?
Truck accidents greatly differ from regular passenger vehicle accidents on our roads in Pennsylvania. One of the most obvious differences is the size of these vehicles. Tractor-trailers tend to weigh more than 76,000 pounds over what regular passenger vehicles weigh. Because of this, when a passenger vehicle is struck by a large truck, there is no way that it will not sustain any damage.
On top of this, there are many regulations that are seen in the trucking industry that do not apply for regular drivers on our roads. To hold a CDL license, you must comply with many laws and regulations that regular drivers do not have to. This is due to the fact that truck drivers always have to make safety their first priority to keep themselves and everyone else on the road safe. If they do not and an accident occurs, the employing company may end up having to pay thousands or even millions of dollars in compensation to a victim who sustains injuries.
Lastly, there could be more parties to blame for a truck accident than just the driver, as seen in many car accident claims. These include some of the following parties:
- A truck driver or actual owner of the truck
- A trucking company
- The manufacturer of a truck or its parts
- Cargo loaders who load materials and goods into trucks
When Should You Hire A Pennsylvania Truck Accident Lawyer?
Especially in the event of a serious and traumatic accident leading to serious injuries, you should always have the help of a Pennsylvania truck accident attorney on your side. Moving forward with a legal claim is a complex matter, especially when truck companies and large insurance companies are involved. Here are some circumstances in which hiring a truck accident attorney is essential:
- You have sustained catastrophic and debilitating injuries that will affect you for a long time.
- Your property sustained severe damage.
- Liability is not as clear as you thought it might be.
- You are being blamed for the truck accident.
- Your medical expenses are too much for you to afford.
- You can show that you have lost wages and medical bills due to the accident.
There are many other reasons why it is necessary for you to hire a truck accident attorney after an accident. Speaking with a Pennsylvania personal injury attorney is crucial if you want to move forward with a complicated truck accident claim.
What If the Trucking Company Contacts Me?
Many people who get injured in serious truck accidents find that the trucking company or their insurance company will contact them after a collision has occurred. If you have been contacted by a trucking company following an accident, don’t talk to them. You should refuse to speak with them until you first speak with your attorney. Trucking companies may attempt to find out information about the accident from your point of view so that they can use it against you later on down the road. They might also attempt to offer you a low settlement offer and get you to accept it so that you cannot sue them.
Providing information directly to the trucking company or the insurance company is never a good idea, which is why you should not take their calls under any circumstances. You should always remember who the insurance company works for and know that they are not on your side and not working in your best interests. You do not want to settle a claim for a very small amount that won’t pay for the expenses you’ve incurred. This is why you should always have a knowledgeable legal advocate on your side after a truck crash.
Meeting Deadlines in Your Truck Accident Claim
When you move forward with a personal injury claim, you have to meet what is known as the statute of limitations. These limitations state that you only have a certain amount of time to bring a claim before you are barred from doing so. In all Pennsylvania personal injury claims, including truck accident claims, you have two years to bring a claim. If the truck was a government-owned vehicle, you only have six months from the discovery of your injury to bring a claim against a responsible party.
Because of these time limits and the time it takes to build your case, it is in your best interest to seek an attorney as soon as possible after you get injured in a truck accident.
What is My Pennsylvania Truck Accident Claim Worth?
Because tractor-trailer accidents are some of the worst accidents on our roads, they tend to lead to some of the most severe damages. There are multiple factors that can determine how much your claim is worth, such as the following:
- The nature and severity of the injuries you have sustained
- The lost income that you have suffered due to missing time at work
- The overall cost of your medical treatment
- Whether or not you can establish who is liable for your accident
Compensation You Can Receive After a Pennsylvania Truck Accident
Under Pennsylvania law, you can claim compensation for both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages take care of aspects that are monetary in nature. These include some of the following:
- Medical expenses of the past, present, and future
- Medications that you need to heal
- Lost wages due to missed time at work
- Physical therapy
- Damage to your property
Non-economic damages cover aspects that are not financial in nature. These include some of the following:
- Pain and suffering damages
- Physical scarring and disfigurement
- Anxiety and mental anguish
- Loss of quality of life
On top of this, you may be able to receive punitive damages if gross negligence was at play. Punitive damages are meant to punish a party or multiple parties for their reckless actions that led to your accident. On top of this, they are used to deter others from engaging in these acts in the future.
A tractor-trailer collision can impact the rest of your life depending on its severity. If you have been hurt in a truck accident, you should speak with an attorney that you can trust. A Pennsylvania truck accident attorney will be able to help you successfully get back on your feet after an accident that is not your fault.
Wrongful Death Claims Involving Tractor-Trailers
Some tractor-trailer accidents are so severe that they take the lives of those involved. A passenger vehicle is no match for a large truck, which means that fatalities occur in the blink of an eye every day in the United States. Pennsylvania is no stranger to these accidents, either. A family can bring a successful wrongful death suit if they can hold all responsible parties liable, as well as bring the claim within proper deadlines. However, there are only certain parties who are able to bring these claims. These include the following:
- Parents of the deceased
- Children of the deceased
- Spouse of the deceased
- A personal representative of the victim’s estate
By bringing a wrongful death claim, you can recover compensation for an array of damages, as well as some that have been previously mentioned. These include pain and suffering, funeral costs, lost income, loss of consortium, and more. Speaking with a Pennsylvania wrongful death attorney is crucial if you have lost a loved one in a truck accident and are left wondering where you can turn.
Speak with a Pennsylvania Truck Accident Attorney After Your Accident
You could have a long road to recovery in store for you after a Pennsylvania tractor-trailer accident. It is not unusual to sustain some amount of property damage or injuries as a result of one of these devastating and traumatic accidents. Knowing where you can turn after a truck accident is how you will get back on your feet, as truck accident claims are known for being highly complex in nature.
If you have been hurt in a Pennsylvania truck accident, you have many options available for you. However, you should never delay in taking action and moving forward with a claim so that you do not miss out on your chance. Evidence can start to quickly disappear in the days and weeks following a truck accident, which is why you should speak with an attorney that you can trust immediately.
Our Pennsylvania truck accident attorneys at Edelstein Martin & Nelson are here for you and your family. Contact an attorney that you can trust at (888) 208-1810 to find out what we can do for you.