In an instant, an 18-wheeler colliding with a smaller vehicle can change lives forever in an instant. Of course, a car or even an SUV is no match for the impact of a fully loaded semi truck. The occupants of the smaller vehicle are at high risk of serious injury, permanent disability, or death.
Heavy-freight trucking is a reality in Pennsylvania. The busy interstate system leads to the Port of Philadelphia, an international hub for trucking, rail, and maritime transport of all types of goods. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, the commonwealth has about 121,000 miles of roadway. Semis and other large commercial trucks haul tons of freight, including:
- Equipment and water for natural-gas fracking operations
- Fresh and processed agricultural products
- Logs and timber products from the Commonwealth’s huge timber industry
- Raw materials for and finished products from the steel industry
Pennsylvania Heavy Truck Accident Statistics
PennDOT cites these 2010 Pennsylvania Large-Truck Crash statistics:
- Crashes involving heavy trucks caused 157 deaths, but only 27 of those were actually occupants of the trucks themselves.
- Heavy trucks were involved in only 4.8 percent of the state’s total crashes (5,846), but in 12 percent of fatal crashes (145).
- Of the heavy-truck accidents related to equipment failure, most involved problems with tires and wheels, followed by brakes and then by overloaded or poorly secured trailers.
Experienced Legal Counsel: a Must
If you are involved in a Pennsylvania Motor-Vehicle Accident with a tractor trailer or other type of large commercial truck, consult an experienced personal injury attorney to help with the unique characteristics of these crashes:
- Complex insurance questions: Liability will need to be sorted out between the trucking company’s insurer and the other driver’s insurance company, and a lawyer can take the pressure of communicating with the insurance companies off the victim and his or her family.
- Investigation: The trucking company will begin its own investigation immediately, sometimes even before the wreck is cleared, and the other party would be wise to begin its own investigation, with the aid of a knowledgeable lawyer.
- Evidence: An attorney will know how to gather crucial evidence like maintenance records and driver’s logs.
- Serious injury: An automobile occupant may suffer Catastrophic Injury to the brain, bones, limbs, or spine, requiring long-term rehabilitation, therapy, and possibly care giving, the cost of which should be reflected in any legal settlement or verdict.
- Damages: Legal damages could include medical costs, property damage, lost wages, pain and suffering, vocational rehabilitation, long-term care, and more.
- Wrongful death: The family of a trucking-accident victim should have careful legal guidance about the rights and remedies available to them.
Be sure to discuss the situation with a skilled truck accident lawyer in the event you or a loved one has been hurt or killed in a Pennsylvania Motor-Vehicle Accident with a heavy commercial truck.
This content was written on behalf of Greg Prosmushkin.