Negligence in Pennsylvania Truck Accidents

If you are reading this right now, there is a good chance that you or someone you love was injured in a truck accident in Pennsylvania and you are looking for some answers. In Pennsylvania, while it certainly matters who is at fault, the comparative negligence laws as detailed in section § 7102 of the Pennsylvania state statute can make determining fault confusing for anyone who has been in a truck accident. Here are some important things you should know about negligence and truck accidents, pertaining to Pennsylvania laws.

Modified Comparative Negligence

Modified comparative negligence, otherwise known as the 51% rule, is essentially Pennsylvania’s negligence law, for any type of personal injury that may occur. Generally speaking, you can collect damages in a Pennsylvania personal injury claim as long as you are determined to be 50% responsible for the accident or less. However, you cannot collect a penny if you are determined to be more than 50% responsible for the accident.

Proving Negligence

Most truck accidents leave a whirlwind of injuries and damages in their wakes. Individually, though, each truck accident typically has a unique set of circumstances. That is why proving who is truly at fault is crucial when a truck accident occurs; after all, someone has to be held accountable for all of the damages and injuries. To prove negligence, you (and your attorney) will have to substantiate five different elements:

  • Duty: You have to prove that the truck driver owed a “duty of care” to you.
  • Breach of Duty: You have to prove that the driver breached the “duty of care” through his or her lack of actions or actions.
  • Cause in Fact: The truck driver is directly connected to the injuries and damages that the plaintiff incurred in the truck accident. This is often referred to as “but-for causation,” wherein the words would be entered into a sentence: but for the defendant (truck driver’s) actions, the plaintiff would not have suffered any injuries.
  • Proximate Cause: A truck driver can only be held responsible for injuries and damages that he or she could have foreseen through his or her actions. Proximate cause typically relates to the scope of the truck driver’s responsibility. For example, the truck driver could be held accountable for the injuries and damages you sustained in the accident he or she caused, but he or she cannot be held accountable for injuries and damages that might occur if you get in another accident while you are on the way to a doctor’s appointment for your injuries.    
  • Damages: There has to be actual damages to the plaintiff. Otherwise, a personal injury case does not exist.

If all five of the above elements can be met and you can demonstrate that the truck driver was more than 50% responsible for the truck accident that caused your injuries, you stand a good chance at recovering compensation for your injuries and damages. Of course, if you want to increase your chances tremendously, you should hire an experienced Pennsylvania truck accident attorney who knows the “ins and outs” of negligence laws, as well as how to effectively pursue truck accident claims. Contact the law office of Solnick & Associates, PC  today at (877) 415-6495 for a free consultation with an experienced, knowledgeable, and skilled Pennsylvania truck attorney.

(image courtesy of Seb Creativo)