With winter weather hitting Pennsylvania, accidents are increasingly likely on the roads. When these accidents involve large, heavy trucks, they are more likely to lead to death or serious injury. The involvement of commercial vehicles, and bad weather in an accident is a recipe for disaster on a large scale. It can also lead to a confusing legal situation.
One woman was killed and several other people were injured recently when snowy weather contributed to a huge multi-vehicle pile-up accident in Pennsylvania, police said. According to reports, the pile-up began when a tractor trailer truck lost control on Interstate-81 and jackknifed, blocking lanes of the highway. Another semitrailer behind the first truck managed to stop in time, but vehicles behind the two trucks collided into the trucks and each other as they struggled to stop in time. A 77-year-old woman in a minivan was killed in one of the numerous crashes in the chain-reaction accident.
In a typical personal injury lawsuit involving a traffic accident, the only parties involved are the injured party and the other driver. If the injuries were caused by negligence on the part of the other driver, the injured may be compensated for medical expenses and other damages. To show that the other driver was negligent, the injured party must prove that the other driver failed to exercise the same level of care that a reasonable person would under the circumstances.
However, if there were multiple vehicles, the question of negligence becomes much more complicated. For example, in a multi-vehicle pile-up, it may be difficult to prove that a reasonable person could have done anything differently.
Commercial vehicle accidents present their own legal complications, as well. A truck driver may be held liable for causing an accident, but so may the driver’s employer. In a lawsuit involving a commercial truck, the injured party may need to look at the trucking company’s records to see if it violated any federal trucking safety regulations.
Whatever the issues at stake, those injured in trucking accidents can be left with enormous medical expenses, lost wages and other damages. A Pennsylvania attorney with experience in personal injury law can help the injured assess the circumstances of their injury and dig through the confusion to decide whether a lawsuit is a good option to seek compensation for these damages.
Source: WHAG, “Update: Police Say Speed, Weather Were Factors in Fatal I-81 N Accident,” Carmen Chau & Rose Lee, Nov. 24, 2013