A big rig is a two-part truck consisting of a tractor and a trailer. The driver sits in the tractor, also known as the cab, and a trailer is hooked up to the tractor. Freight or cargo is transported in the trailer portion of the truck. Big rigs have five axles and ten to eighteen wheels. They can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. An average passenger vehicle sedan weighs approximately 3,000 pounds. Big rigs are also referred to as 18 wheelers, semi trucks, and tractor trailers. Mack trucks, diesel trucks, flat beds, tanker trucks, freight liners, pipe haulers, oilfield trucks, chemical and hazardous material haulers, cement trucks, log trucks, garbage trucks, dump trucks, gravel trucks, construction zone trucks, wide load trucks, bulldozers, and farm equipment trucks are all commercial trucks.
When a regular passenger vehicle collides with one of these big rig commercial trucks, the results often mean catastrophic injuries for the occupants of the passenger vehicle. Physical injuries can range from broken bones to spinal cord injury, brain trauma, and even death. A 3,000 pound car is simply no match for an 80,000 pound truck. Not only do these big rigs cause physical injuries, but the trauma and emotional stress is often irreversible. Additionally, an injured individual may require compensation for all of their medical expenses, property damage, lost wages and future lost wages. In the event of a death, you would have even more losses – loss of companionship, loss of quality of life and even higher levels of emotional trauma.
Most semi truck accidents in Pennsylvania are caused by truck driver negligence. Truck drivers and trucking companies are supposed to preserve driver log books, any precious accident reports or violations, all inspection/maintenance and repair records, black box records, and any other necessary paperwork.
For more information on big rig truck laws in Pennsylvania, browse our truck accident resource center here on PA Law Blogs, a valuable legal resource managed by skilled PA tractor trailer accident lawyers.