People who drive for a living serve a very important purpose. They provide the goods and materials that we need to live, eat, work, and even play. However, truck drivers and commercial vehicle drivers are notoriously overworked and under-rested. While most truck drivers are highly trained and skilled professionals, they are often involved in accidents. When a tractor trailer or any other commercial vehicle is involved in an accident there is a greater risk that the accident is going to be severe and result in serious injuries. If you have been involved in a tractor-trailer accident on Interstate 78 then you may be able to recover some of the money that you lost as a result of being injured or because of missing work.
Who Is Responsible for a Truck Accident?
It is common to see people on the side of the road doing a lot of finger pointing after an accident. However, when it comes to a truck accident or an accident involving a commercial vehicle there can be people who may be responsible for your injuries who are not there on the scene. Some of the people who may be responsible in a truck accident include:
- The truck’s driver
- The owner of the truck or trailer
- The person or company that leased the truck or trailer from the owner
- The manufacturer of the vehicle, tires, or other parts that may have contributed to the cause or severity of the accident, and
- The shipper or loader of the truck’s cargo (in cases involving improper loading).
As you can see there is a whole host of people who may be responsible in the event that there is an accident. However, when there is an accident involving a commercial vehicle it is likely that these parties will argue among themselves about who should compensate the victim. This can delay any money that you may be entitled to under the law.
What do I need to prove my Case?
The law considers a truck accident to be a personal injury. This means that under the law in Pennsylvania you will have to prove certain facts in order to recover for your injuries. Most personal injuries, including accidents that involve a commercial vehicle, are decided on a theory of negligence. This means that in order for you to recover any monetary damages from the truck driver, their company, or their insurance you will have to demonstrate that
A person injured in a commercial truck accident must show that:
- The defendant, who in this case will be the truck driver, the trucking company owed you as the plaintiff a duty to exercise a reasonable degree of care to avoid injury, under the circumstances. All drivers who are on the road owe a legal duty of reasonable care to fellow drivers, passengers, and pedestrians;
- Next, you will need to show that the defendant driver failed to exercise such reasonable care. You will often hear the term breached the duty of reasonable care.
- Finally, you will need to demonstrate to the court that the defendant’s failure to exercise reasonable care was the cause of injury suffered by the plaintiff.
A negligence claim is a very common claim that most people are at least familiar with, however, when you are trying to prove your case you need to be exceptionally diligent in proving each and every element of your case. In the event that you do not prove even one of the elements of negligence, or you file your case too late you may not be able to recover any damages.
Time Limits on Personal Injury Lawsuits in Pennsylvania
As mentioned above, filing a case too late may be a reason that you will not be able to recover money if you have been in an accident while driving on I-78. Every state in the United States including Pennsylvania have adopted laws known as statutes of limitations. A statute of limitations statutorily limits on the amount of time you have to go to court and file a lawsuit after you have suffered some type of harm.
In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations for personal injury case, including those that involve a tractor-trailer, requires that you file your case two years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit in the state’s civil court system.
Many people hear about the statute of limitations being two years and think that that amount of time is more than enough to file their case. However, because accidents can be complex and require lengthy investigations and paperwork people regularly miss filing their case before the statute of limitations has run out. It is very important to understand and follow this rule. If you fail to get your lawsuit filed before the two-year window closes, the Pennsylvania civil court system will likely refuse to hear your case at any time in the future, and your right to compensation will be lost.
A Commercial Truck Accident Injury Lawyer may be Able to Fight for You
If you’ve suffered severe injuries or the death of a loved one in an accident with a large truck, bus, or another commercial vehicle the lawyers of Reiff Law Firm’s The Truck Accident Team may be able to fight for you. To schedule a free and confidential legal consultation call (215) 246-9000 or contact us online today.