Truck Accident Attorneys in Harrisburg
Serving all of Central PA, Including Harrisburg, York, Lancaster & Carlisle
Harrisburg is a hub for truck travel throughout the state, including central Pennsylvania, roads that lead East to Philadelphia, and roads that lead west to Pittsburgh. Some of the main routes in and around the Harrisburg area are the Pennsylvania Turnpike, Interstate 78, 80, and 276. There are many other high-traffic roads such as US 22 and Route 33. Tractor-trailers, rigs, box trucks, and other commercial and non-commercial trucks regularly travel on many of the other roads in and around Harrisburg, Carlisle, Lancaster, and York too.
Trucks carry all types of inventory, such as consumer products, equipment, agricultural products, and machines. At the Law Office of Jason R. Carpenter, our lawyers have the experience and resources to fight for injured drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and bicycle riders. We also fight for the families of any loved ones who are tragically killed in a trucking accident. Our truck accident attorneys have a strong track record of success negotiating just settlements and obtaining high jury verdicts. We handle all truck accident cases on a contingency fee basis, which means accident victims only pay legal fees if we obtain compensation for your damages.
Commonly Asked Questions About Truck Accidents in and around Harrisburg, York, Lancaster, and Carlisle
Our injury lawyers answer all your questions and guide you through each stage of the litigation process. Some of the frequently asked questions (FAQs) we answer at our office include the following:
- How dangerous are truck accidents?
- What types of trucks are involved in accidents?
- What are the different categories of truck accidents?
- What type of negligent activities cause truck crashes?
- What types of injuries do truck accident victims suffer?
- What are the common injuries from commercial truck accidents?
- Which people/defendants are liable for a truck accident?
- What is the value of my truck accident case?
- How much does a Harrisburg truck accident attorney charge?
- How does a truck accident attorney fight for victims and their families?
- Is your firm near me?
How dangerous are truck accidents?
Truck accidents are extremely dangerous and often fatal. A car or motorcycle is simply no match for the size, weight, and mass of a truck. Trucks are longer, taller, and wider than most cars. When a truck and a car collide, the car is likely to be crunched. The car will absorb most of the force of the collision.
- In 2019, 67% of truck accident deaths were occupants of cars and other passenger vehicles, and 15% of fatalities were pedestrians, bicycle riders, and motorcyclists.
- In 2019, 97% of the fatalities in large truck accidents between a truck and a passenger car caused the occupants of the passenger cars (not the truck) to die.
- In 2019, 3/4 of the deaths involved a tractor-trailer, and most of the other 1/4 involved single-unit trucks.
According to Policy Advice, an insurance information company:
- About 130,000 people are injured nationwide in trucking accidents each year.
- More than 4,100 people died nationwide in trucking accidents in 2017.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, in 2020, 122 people died in accidents in Pennsylvania involving heavy trucks.
What types of trucks are involved in accidents?
The deadliest trucking accidents generally involve tractor-trailers. Our Harrisburg truck accident lawyers represent victims of all types of truck accidents. The different types of trucks include:
- Pickup trucks
- Car transporters
- Cement trucks
- Chiller trucks/reefers
- Crane trucks/mobile cranes
- Tow trucks
- Flatbed trailers
- Furniture trucks
- Highway maintenance trucks
- Livestock trucks
- Logging trucks
- Tipper trucks
- Trailer trucks, also called tractor-trailers, 18-wheelers, semis, and rigs
- Box trucks
These trucks transport all types of cargo to locations in and around Harrisburg, Lancaster, York, and Carlisle; across Pennsylvania; and across the United States. During the pandemic, truck traffic has increased as consumers rely on online orders instead of delivers to local stores.
What are the different categories of truck accidents?
The way a truck accident happens is often a strong indicator of who is responsible for the accident and how serious the injuries are likely to be. Our Harrisburg truck accident attorneys work with investigators, traffic reconstruction experts, and others to help show how the accident occurred.
Some truck accidents happen in ways that are similar to car accidents. These accident types include rear-end collisions, head-on crashes, broadsides, and sideswipes. The main difference between these trucking accidents and accidents where two cars collide is trucking accidents are often more deadly and often cause more catastrophic and permanent injuries.
Trucking accidents that are generally unique to trucks (of all shapes and sizes) include the following:
- Rollover accidents. These dangerous accidents involve a truck or truck cab flipping over onto its hood. Truck rollover accidents are much more common than car rollover accidents because of the location of the center of gravity on a truck. Trucks are especially prone to rollovers if the truck travels on wet or snowy roads or the trucker drivers through a turn or a curved road. An added danger of truck rollovers compared to car rollovers is that the cargo from the truck is likely to spill onto the road – creating a double danger. Nearby drivers will need to avoid the truck AND the cargo.
- Jackknife accidents. These truck accidents happen because the cab of the truck and the trailer of the truck don’t completely travel together. If a truck driver takes a turn too fast or is otherwise negligent, the cab and the trailer may rotate in different directions, usually resulting in the cab being at a right-angle (90-degree angle) from the trailer. The occupants of the tractor-trailer will likely suffer serious injuries. The cargo from the trailer may spill onto the road. Nearby truck drivers will be lucky to avoid getting into another accident with the truck or cargo. Most jackknife accidents are caused because the truck driver did not have control of the vehicle.
- Cargo spills. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has specific rules on how certain types of cargo should be loaded and what equipment should be used to secure different types of cargo. The trucking industry also has its own rules and standards. Loading retail goods is different than loading lumber, oil, and equipment. There are also special rules for loading hazardous cargo. The cargo must be properly loaded and secured to ensure the driver has control of the truck. If the cargo is too heavy or shifts during the trip, the truck driver can lose control. When cargo spills onto the road, the result is generally a nightmare that results in multi-vehicle accidents. Cargo is especially likely to spill when the driver turns.
- Truck underride accidents. Many deadly and catastrophic truck accidents happen because small cars can easily slide under a tall truck in the event of an accident. Trucks are generally required to have underride guards to prevent these types of fatal accidents from happening. Trucks should also consider having side guards because cars can slide under the side of a truck as well.
- Wide-turn truck accidents. Big trucks such as tractor-trailers and long box trucks make very wide turns. Many trucks even have text on their truck that says that wide-turn accidents are dangerous. The drivers of these trucks need to be extra-cautious when making turns at an intersection to see that there aren’t any cars or vehicles close by. Otherwise, when the truck turns, vehicles close to the truck can be destroyed. Many truck drivers need to shift to other lanes in order to complete their turns.
- Accidents due to blind sports. Driving a truck is especially dangerous because of the length, height, and width of the trucks and because most trucks don’t have rear or side windows. Even with mirrors, truck drivers often cannot see any cars that are in their rear, on their right side, and directly in front of them. Truck drivers in Harrisburg, Lancaster, York, and Carlisle should consider cameras, multiple mirrors, and video equipment to help them avoid blind spot accidents.
- Tire blowouts. Most trucks have very large wheels and have many more wheels than cars do. Many commercial trucks have 18 wheels – thus the name 18-wheelers. If just one tire goes flat or has a blowout, the truck driver can easily lose control of the truck and cause a serious accident.
- Backout accidents. Many truck drivers need to back out from loading areas into traffic. Generally, truck drivers who back out should use a spotter to help them do so safely. Trucks that back out directly into traffic are especially likely to cause a serious accident. Where possible, truck drivers should try to move forward and turn around in a lot so they can move forward into traffic instead of backward.
- Defective truck parts. Some truck accidents are due to defective electrical components, defective fuel lines, hydraulic systems that don’t work, and other defects. If a truck part was improperly designed, made with shoddy parts, or there are other defects, our Harrisburg truck accident attorneys can file product liability claims against all responsible parties. Defendants include the manufacturers, distributors, and sellers of the defective truck parts.
What type of negligent activities cause truck crashes?
Our seasoned truck accident lawyers at The Law Office of Jason R. Carpenter work to show how the accident occurred and why the defendants are liable. In Pennsylvania, it is necessary to prove fault before you can hold a defendant liable.
Truck drivers cause accidents for many different reasons. Common reasons include:
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Tragically, many truck drivers do drink and drive. For many drivers, taking a break means having a beer or another drink. Our Harrisburg truck accident lawyers work with the police and others to help prove that a driver was intoxicated and that the intoxication caused the truck accident.
- Texting or using a cellphone while driving. According to the FMCSA (and the Pipeline Hazardous Material Safety Administration), texting while driving is prohibited for interstate truck drivers and other types of drivers. Texting includes typing text, reading text, emailing, sending or receiving email messages, accessing the Internet, and instant messaging. Commercial truck drivers also cannot reach for or hold “a mobile phone to conduct voice communication.” Communication devices should be hands-free. Some exceptions may apply. In addition to driver sanctions, motor carriers can also be subject to penalties for allowing or requiring truck drivers to text or use a hand-held mobile phone while driving.
- Driving while distracted. Truck drivers may be distracted if they eat or drink while driving, use an entertainment system while driving, look at a GPS system – or do anything that takes their mind off of traffic, their hands off the wheel, and their eyes off the road. Our lawyers can review phone records, truck logs, and other data – along with questioning all the witnesses – to prove that the trucker was driving while distracted.
- Driving while tired. Truck driver fatigue is very common. That is why the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has specific hours of service rules that regulate when truck drivers need to take rest breaks on a daily and weekly basis. Drivers who are tired can’t react quickly to emergencies. Truck drivers are often pushed by the trucking companies that hire them to make deliveries without taking adequate rests. The FMCSA rules mandate that drivers rest. The drivers and trucking companies are generally required to keep logs of their driving so it is clear, in case there is an accident, when the driver was driving and when they weren’t.
- Speeding or driving too fast for traffic or weather conditions. Truck drivers must obey the speed limits even when a trucking company wants the driver to make deliveries according to the company’s schedule. Truck drivers shouldn’t let other truck drivers pressure them. Drivers of trucks need to understand how to drive when the weather is rainy, snowy, foggy, or too sunny. Drivers need to know how to drive on wet roads and in snow.
- Failing to have the cargo under control. The inventory and goods should be properly secured before the trip starts.
- Drivers who aren’t properly trained. Drivers of most large trucks are required to have a commercial driver’s license if they make deliveries across state lines. Each type of truck is different. Drivers need to be trained to operate the specific type of truck they are driving. The trucking companies that hire drivers need to review whether the driver has the proper experience to drive their trucks.
- Violating other Pennsylvania traffic laws such as laws on yielding, merging, passing, and approaching traffic lights or stop signs.
- Not anticipating blind spots.
Trucking companies may be liable for many reasons too including:
- Not inspecting or repairing their trucks. Truck owners and trucking companies generally have a duty to inspect their trucks before each trip. If a truck needs maintenance, it should be taken off the road until the necessary repairs can be made.
- Not vetting their drivers.
- Pressuring drivers to drive too fast or not take appropriate rest breaks.
- Not maintaining their fleet properly.
What types of injuries do truck accident victims suffer?
Tragically, many truck accidents are deadly. Our injury lawyers can file wrongful death claims on behalf of anyone who dies in a truck accident. We also file survival actions if the victim does not die immediately. In wrongful death cases, the beneficiaries are the spouse, children, and parents. Damages include the funeral and burial bills; any hospital or medical bills, the income the decedent would have earned had they lived, and the value of the loss of the deceased's household services, comfort, society, and guidance.
Survivors should seek medical help as soon as possible. In most cases, a truck accident victim will be taken to the closest hospital emergency room.
Some of the catastrophic, permanent, and serious injuries that truck accident victims may suffer include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord damage
- Burn injuries
- Amputation/loss of limb
- Broken bones
- Soft tissue injuries
- Bruises and lacerations
- Internal organ damage
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Cardiac failure
- Hearing and vision loss
Survivors often need long-term medical care even after their health condition stabilizes. Truck accident victims may need to be treated by neurologists, neurosurgeons, orthopedists, pain management doctors, family physicians, psychologists, physical therapists, vocational therapists, occupational therapists, and many other types of health care professionals.
Which people/defendants are liable for a truck accident?
At The Law Office of Jason R. Carpenter, we fight to hold all responsible defendants accountable for your injuries. Some of the defendants we file claims against in Harrisburg, Lancaster, York, and Carlisle courts include:
- The truck driver
- The owners of the truck – if they are different than the truck driver – are normally liable for the negligent conduct of their drivers
- The shipping company that hired the truck driver
- The trucking broker that arranged the shipment
- A loading company, if the accident happens at or near the loading dock
- The manufacturers, sellers, and retailers of any defective truck parts
In addition, we may file a claim against the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation or other state or county entities if they failed to properly design or maintain the road, or warn drivers of known dangers.
Pennsylvania also permits injury victims the right to file a claim against any company that served liquor to someone who was visibly drunk or to a minor – provided that person’s intoxication is the cause of the truck accident.
What is the value of my truck accident case?
At The Law Office of Jason R. Carpenter, our Harrisburg truck accident attorneys demand all the compensation accident victims deserve. We settle most truck accident cases, often for the insurance policy limits. When necessary, we’re ready to try your case before a jury in Dauphin County, Lancaster, County, York County, or Cumberland County.
We demand compensation for the following:
- Your medical bills. These include the cost of ER care, hospitalizations and surgeries, ambulances, doctor visits, visits with therapists, medications, and assistive devices. Even spending one day and night in a hospital can cost tens of thousands of dollars.
- Your lost income. This includes wages, lost profits, and lost benefits. This amount includes your losses through the date of settlement or verdict and any reasonably likely future income losses if you have a permanent disability.
- Your pain and suffering. This sum includes all your physical aches, pains, and harm and all your anxiety, stress, worries, and depression.
- Your property damages. This amount is for the damage to fix your vehicle or replace it if your vehicle cannot be fixed.
- Loss of consortium. This sum is for the ways your injuries affect your marital relationship.
- Scarring and disfigurement. In addition to the cost of skin grafts and plastic surgeries, many victims who live with scarring and disfigurement suffer emotionally because of their appearance.
In egregious cases, such as drunk driving cases, we demand punitive damages.
How does an attorney fight for victims and their families?
Our truck accident lawyers investigate the cause of the accident. We conduct extensive discovery of all the witnesses through oral and written questions. We examine the vehicles involved in the accident. Our attorneys also examine all relevant documents, including electronic logs, photos, videos, maintenance records, and the relevant insurance policies.
We also work with your doctors to verify all your injuries and detail all the medical care you have received and the care will you need for the rest of your life. We examine all the ways your injuries have changed every aspect of your life. We work with employers and financial experts to verify your lost income.
After the discovery phase of the case, we begin negotiations with the insurance carriers. In Pennsylvania, injury victims start by claiming benefits through their own Personal Injury Protection insurance policy. Generally, victims with “serious” injuries and the families of deceased victims can file personal injury claims against all the responsible parties. Victims who have chosen to pay for a tort insurance option on their insurance policy can also file a personal injury claim.
In truck accident cases, there are often multiple defendants and multiple insurance policies. If the insurance coverage is not enough to cover your damage claims, then we also file claims with your uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) insurance carrier. Many Harrisburg truck accident claims do settle. If the insurance companies do not make acceptable offers, our lawyers are skilled at persuasively arguing your case before a jury. We’ll prepare you for the trial so you can anticipate most of the questions that you will need to answer.
Is your firm near me?
Our law offices are located at:
5 Kacey Ct,
Mechanicsburg, PA 17055
4800 Linglestown Rd,
Harrisburg, PA 17112
326 W Chocolate Ave,
Hershey, PA 17033
We will make arrangements to see you at your home or another location if you are not mobile.
Make an Appointment with an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney Now
At The Law Office of Jason R. Carpenter, our skilled truck accident lawyers fight for anyone hurt in a truck accident in or near Harrisburg, Lancaster, York, or Carlisle. We work aggressively to hold all the people and companies that caused your injuries or the death of a loved one accountable. We’ll guide you through each phase of the litigation process.
To discuss your truck accident claim, call The Law Office of Jason R. Carpenter today by calling (717) 537-0928 or complete our contact formto schedule an appointment. We represent accident victims and families in Central PA: Harrisburg, York, Lancaster, and Carlisle.
“He made a long drawn out process seem easy!”- Lechele
“Confident, thorough, and trustworthy.”- Tara
“Honest, straightforward and fights for YOU!”- Melissa W.