A crash between two tractor trailers on Parkway West near Pittsburgh PA left debris on the highway slowing down airport traffic for the holiday weekend. Luckily, there were no severe injuries reported, but the cargo areas were torn apart on both trucks leading to the debris-lined roadway.  Every 16 minutes a person is injured or killed from a truck accident and approximately 16% of the time the fault falls with the driver of the truck.  Pennsylvania is among the five states that have the highest number of truck accidents in the United States.  A skilled personal injury attorney can help sort out a claim 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.

Commercial trucks.

Pennsylvania commercial trucking laws are in place to protect drivers and mandate specific safety requirements for commercial trucks to reduce accidents.  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 injuries.  Trucks fall into two classes, those weighing 10,000 pounds or less, and those weighing more than 10,000 pounds moving them to the commercial motor vehicle category and changing some of the laws regarding damages to be sought after in personal injury situations. 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.

Violations of Pennsylvania trucking rules.

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

Insurance.

Federal regulations require tractor-trailer trucks to carry various levels of insurance coverage, based on the type of  transported cargo. The state of Pennsylvania requires a tractor trailer truck to carry a much higher minimum liability insurance policy than a typical automobile. Pennsylvania utilizes the 51% rule, whereby an injured person can be up to 50% responsible for an accident and still collect damages in a Pennsylvania personal injury claim but if a driver is more than 50% responsible for an accident, they may not recover compensation for  accident expenses.

Damages.

If you have been involved in an accident with a truck that causes you lost wages, physical pain, change in lifestyle, or wrongful death to a loved one based on driver negligence, you are entitled to compensation calculated on the negative impacts to your life. Injuries stemming from truck accidents may include wrongful death claims, brain and spine injuries and amputations, to name a few of those that cause long term medical costs and therapies.

Call a lawyer.

Contact an experienced truck accident lawyer to fight for your 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 you 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.trustedchoice.com/commercial-vehicle-insurance/truck-coverage/semi-truck

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/