Pennsylvania – March 2, 2021

Pennsylvania is among the five states that have the highest number of truck accidents in the United States. A recent interstate head-on crash occurred on Route 22 involving a tractor-trailer and an SUV, causing a rollover situation for the tractor trailer with a cargo load of 40,000 pound steel rolls.  The tractor-trailer subsequently went over a 100-foot embankment and the driver had to be pulled out of the vehicle and brought up on a back board before being flown to the hospital for treatment.  The driver of the SUV sustained serious injury as well and was also flown to the hospital for treatment.  Damages in truck accidents tend to be expensive, and related injuries can be significant, so it is best to speak with a truck accident attorney after an accident.

Value of legal counsel.

A skilled personal injury attorney can help accident victims sort out insurance claims for damages arising out of this type of accident.  They can also guide any legal action when it is warranted, possibly related to a truck driver’s non-compliance with state and federal laws and specific trucking restrictions.  They can assist with preliminary determinations of fault that will need to be proven, and valuate the extent of losses through personal injury and property damage assessments.

Pennsylvania 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.  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 catastrophic and/or fatal in terms of injuries.  Commercial trucking companies are deadline-imposed businesses and sometimes accidents occur due to the violation of safety laws, such as hours of service, tempting fatigued drivers to continue to drive past their hourly restrictions, or due to dangerous shifts based on overloaded cargo.  A truck accident attorney will research the possibility of violations that can strengthen a negligence case.

Maintenance inspection.

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 of Pennsylvania trucking rules include:

  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 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 you were more than 50% responsible for the accident, you are not able to recover compensation for your accident expenses.

Seek legal counsel.

Harmful losses stemming from truck accidents may include wrongful death claims, brain and spine injuries and amputations, causing long term financial instability. The laws and regulations related to the trucking industry can be difficult to understand and the experienced legal professionals at Scanlon & Wojton Attorneys at Law can assist accident victims recover 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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