FAQ about Truck Accidents
Have you been injured in a truck accident in the Hazleton area? Did a loved one die in a crash? It's normal to have questions. McNelis Law provides answers for some of the more common ones below. If you have other questions, contact us to schedule a free consultation. Attorney Edward McNelis has been helping people injured in truck accidents get fair compensation for their injuries since 1982.
- Are injuries suffered in truck accidents more serious than those in car accidents?
- What types of trucks can be involved in an accident?
- Can more than one party be held responsible for a truck accident?
- What other laws and regulations apply to commercial trucks?
- Should I accept a settlement offer?
Often, yes. That's mostly because trucks are larger and much heavier than cars and can cause much more damage when they crash, especially at high speeds. There are other dangers, too. Trucks may be carrying flammable materials that cause a fire or explosion in a crash. Heavy equipment or automobiles being transported by trucks could become loose in a crash, causing further damage. And a tanker truck carrying liquid could spill its contents, causing cars to slide on the road and crash.
There are many companies in the state that use a wide range of trucks for their business. Tractor-trailers, or 18-wheelers, are a common sight on Pennsylvania highways. Fully loaded, they can weigh 80,000 pounds. But other companies use smaller delivery trucks to transport their products. There are also tanker trucks that carry many different types of liquids. Tanker trucks could transport oil, gas, chemicals, water, milk or molasses. Coal trucks also travel state roads, as well as large moving trucks. Any of these types of trucks can cause serious injury in an accident.
Yes. Some accidents are due to clear negligence on the part of the driver. For example, the driver could be driving while drowsy, distracted or drunk. Other causes are due to negligence on the part of the company. Cargo may not have been loaded properly, the truck may not have been maintained or repaired or the company did not properly follow regulations such as hours of service for drivers. An experienced truck accident attorney can help you determine which parties can be held responsible for your injuries.
Drivers of commercial trucks must follow all state traffic laws, just like any other motorist. But trucking companies and their drivers must also follow regulations set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), part of the U.S. Department of Transportation. For example, drivers are restricted to certain hours of service, to reduce fatigue and prevent drowsy driving. Trucks must all fall within weight limit standards, to protect roads and bridges, prevent cargo loss and keep the operation of the truck safe. All commercial trucks must be regularly inspected and maintained, and repaired promptly. Drivers must be subject to alcohol and drug testing. In addition, commercial truck drivers are considered above the legal limit if they have a blood alcohol level of 0.04 or above.
McNelis Law will review all facts of the case and determine if the driver and the trucking company were not following any state laws or federal regulations.
We recommended speaking to an experienced attorney before accepting any offer from the insurance company. The trucking company and their insurance carrier have the same goal-to make your claim go away for as little money as possible. It's likely that their initial offer won't come close to paying for damages you suffered in the accident. Attorney Edward McNelis can help you determine the true extent of those damages. In addition to medical expenses, they can include past and future loss of wages, emotional distress and other damages. Statistically, people who so much as talk to an attorney tend to recover more than those who do not - and those who retain an attorney to negotiate on their behalf usually recover several times as much.