Bedford County sits on the southern border of Pennsylvania and Maryland and touches Allegany County, Maryland. This county is steeped in history and is home to approximately 49,762 residents according to the 2010 United States Census. This county has several major highways that run through this country including Interstate 70 and 76 and the Pennsylvania Turnpike which are used by thousands of drivers every year. This means that there are going to be car and truck accidents.
Why there are Truck Accidents in Bedford County
Bedford County Pennsylvania may have a long history and include many important sites such as the Bedford Springs Hotel, which was an important site for the wealthy. This county is considered predominantly rural, however, this does not prevent tractor-trailer accidents. Recently, there was a tractor-trailer accident that claimed the life of one individual. In local Everett Pennsylvania, a tractor-trailer driver was attempting to make a left-hand turn onto business Route 30 when the truck driver turned in front of a pickup truck. The truck driver stated that he did not see anything but that he stopped to see what had happened after the pickup truck ran into the side of him.
This highlights a growing problem for many drivers on the road. Because of the size and where the driver sits commercial vehicles have substantial blind spots. With many roads that run through this county all of which have turns and different factors that can make them challenging for drivers, it is an unfortunate reality that accidents happen. However, most accidents are the result of one driver not paying attention or doing something they were not permitted to do, and negligence is often the theory that most people who have been involved in an accident try to recover under.
Pennsylvania Theories of Negligence
Bedford County sitting soundly in Pennsylvania means that they abide by the rules and laws that the legislators in Harrisburg create and the judges then enforce through court decisions. When you are involved in an accident and are injured you may want to file a lawsuit against the other driver or drivers who were involved in the accident in an attempt to recover for the injuries you sustained. Most people file their civil case under a theory of negligence. All states in the United States have adopted some form of negligence and most of them share the common thread that in order for a person to recover on a basis of negligence that the claimant must show that the other driver had a duty, they breached that duty, because of the breach they were involved in an accident, and that as a result o of the accident or breach of that duty they were injured. Once a person has sustained an injury they may be able to prove all of the elements necessary to bring a negligence action.
Pennsylvania follows a theory of negligence known as modified comparative negligence. Under 42 Pa. CS. 7102 if a person wants to recover for any injuries or damages that they have sustained as a result of an accident then they must be under a certain percentage of fault. Under Pennsylvania’s modified comparative negligence statute, this means that a plaintiff must be under 50% at fault in order to recover for their injuries. In a civil case based on negligence it is the jury who decides how much at fault each party is and in a modified comparative negligence state such as Pennsylvania if a plaintiff is found to be even a single percentage point over the 50% threshold then they will not be able to recover for their damages and injuries. This means that they are effectively barred from recovering any damages in civil court.
This rule of law may seem harsh when someone’s life and well-being are on the line and a single percentage point can determine if that person is entitled to recover for their injuries to their car, their person, and even their emotions. However, these rules of law were adopted to protect the people as a whole and have been viewed as protecting those who are more negligent from being able to recover from the less negligent party. Often times when people do recover they will recover the money they lost from the other parties’ insurance and liability coverage.
What types of coverage Liability Coverage are Pennsylvania Truck Drivers required to carry?
Insurance policies are necessary when you are driving, they protect both you and the other drivers on the road in the event that there is an accident. Indeed, having liability coverage is required in Pennsylvania. Under Pennsylvania insurance law, every operator of a motor vehicle registered in Pennsylvania is required to be financially responsible.
“Financial responsibility” is defined as the ability to respond in damages for liability on account of accidents arising out of the maintenance or use of a motor vehicle in the amount of $15,000 because of injury to one person in any one accident, and in the amount of $30,000 because of injury to two or more persons in any one accident.
Every policy of insurance covering a motor vehicle, including a bus, must provide coverage for medical benefits in the amount of $5,000.00. 75 PA. CS. 1711(a).
Under Pennsylvania’s Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law (“MVFRL”), first-party or PIP benefits must be made available for purchase, but coverage is not mandatory. First party benefits include:
(1) Medical Benefits – coverage for all reasonable and necessary medical treatment and rehabilitative service, with limits up to at least $100,000;
(2) Extraordinary Medical Benefits – reasonable and necessary medical treatment and rehabilitative services which exceed $100,000, the coverage limits of which must be from at least $100,000 to $1,100,000.
(3) Income Loss Benefits – includes 80% of the actual loss of gross income. $2,500 per month to a maximum benefit of at least $50,000 must be made available;
(4) Accidental Death – the available death benefit paid to the insured’s personal representative must be up to at least $25,000;
(5) Funeral Benefits – $2,500.
In the event that you are involved in an accident, you will be able to recover from either your own or from the other driver’s insurance policy depending on the policy and choice of fault that the other driver chooses to use.
Contact a Bedford Truck Accident Attorney Today
If you have been involved in an accident as a result of a tractor-trailer in Bedford County you may be able to recover for your injuries and damage to your car, your person, and your psyche. To schedule a private, no-cost evaluation, call us today. If the statute of limitations expires, your window of legal opportunity will close and you won’t be able to pursue a claim. Contact an experienced trucking accident attorney at The Reiff Law Firm at (215)246-9000 or fill out our online contact form to schedule your free consultation.