Pennsylvania – December 21, 2020

A tractor-trailer is approximately 65 feet in length and can weigh up to 80,000 pounds when fully loaded, causing any type of crash between it and another moving vehicle, stationary object, or person to be more catastrophic and/or fatal in terms of injury and loss.  Trucks fall into two classes, those weighing 10,000 pounds, or less, and those weighing more than 10,000 pounds which may move them to the commercial motor vehicle category and change some of the laws  and restrictions that impact damage claims in personal injury litigation. Pennsylvania is among the five states that have the highest number of truck accidents in the United States.

Types of accidents involving trucks include:

  • Side-Impact
  • Single-Vehicle
  • Multiple-Vehicle
  • Head-On

Causes of accidents involving trucks include:

  • Speeding
  • Intoxication
  • Distracted Driving
  • Auto Defects
  • Bad Weather

Loss determination.

A skilled truck accident attorney can help individuals sort out claims for damages arising out of this type of accident, whether it was a direct result of an impact, or caused by highway debris. Factors that will increase the likelihood of damage recovery involve driver’s compliance with state and federal laws and specific trucking restrictions, determination of fault, and the extent of losses through personal injury and property damage.  Contact legal counsel to assist with loss determination.

Commercial trucking laws.

Pennsylvania commercial trucking laws are in place to protect drivers and mandate specific safety requirements for commercial trucks in the hopes of reducing accidents.  Automobile drivers must share the heavily used Pennsylvania Roadways with large numbers of hurried commercial trucks navigating their way to delivery locations from distribution hubs all over the state. Commercial trucking companies are deadline-imposed businesses and sometimes accidents occur due to the violation of safety laws such as allowing tired drivers to continue to drive past their hourly restrictions, or because of the weight of overloaded cargo.

There are state and federal regulations that require tractor-trailer trucks to be inspected and maintained on a regular basis.  Drivers of trucks have imposed hourly restrictions, and size and weight limits based upon cargo are logged and weighed on highways.

Common violations.

  1. Improper Maintenance
  2. Driver Fatigue
  3. Distracted Drivers
  4. Commercial Company Negligence
  5. Unsecured Loads
  6. Driving in Extreme Weather

Federal regulations require tractor-trailer trucks to carry various levels of insurance coverage, based on the transported cargo. The state of Pennsylvania requires a tractor trailer truck to carry a much higher minimum liability insurance policy than a typical automobile.

Insurance.

Pennsylvania utilizes the 51% rule, whereby an injured person can be up to 50% responsible for an accident and still collect damages.  An accident victim can only seek damages from the truck driver if they are less than 51 percent at fault. Full and limited tort are options that individuals can choose under their auto insurance policies in accordance with Pennsylvania motor vehicle financial responsibility laws. Personal injury legal action needs to be initiated within the two year statute of limitations in Pennsylvania.

Damages.

Individuals who have been involved in an accident with a truck causing lost wages, physical pain, change in lifestyle, or wrongful death to a loved one, based on driver negligence, are entitled to compensation calculated on the negative impacts to their life.

Hire a lawyer.

Accident victims should contact an experienced truck accident lawyer to fight for their rights. The laws and regulations related to the trucking industry can be difficult to understand and the experienced legal professionals of Scanlon & Wojton Attorneys at Law can assist with any potential claim for damages resulting from a truck accident.

Scanlon & Wojton, Attorneys at Law

Phone:  (412) 918-1241

Fax: (412) 235-7275

The Mitchell Building
304 Ross Street, Suite 510
Pittsburgh, Pa 15219

Sources:

https://www.legis.state.pa.us/WU01/LI/LI/CT/HTM/42/00.071.002.000..HTM

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/data-and-statistics/large-truck-and-bus-crash-facts

https://www.nhtsa.gov/

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