When a Pennsylvania truck driver acts carelessly or negligently behind the wheel of a commercial tractor trailer or another large truck and causes you to suffer, it is only natural to want to see them pay for their actions. At the same time, you probably have treatment costs, lost wages, and out-of-pocket expenses your insurance policy does not cover.
A truck accident lawyer in Pittsburgh, PA, can help you file a claim against the trucking company, and may even be able to collect pain and suffering damages on your behalf. Berger and Green offers free consultations, including a complimentary case evaluation. Call us today at 412-661-1400.
What Type of Damages Are Available After a Pittsburgh Truck Accident?
Because of Pennsylvania’s choice no-fault auto insurance system, everyone in an accident has a certain amount of coverage based on their no-fault insurance. They also have the opportunity to recover certain types of damages from the at-fault party. In a truck accident, the damages you can recover if the trucker caused the crash include:
- Medical bills;
- Lost wages;
- Property damage; and
- Other related out-of-pocket costs.
In addition, some people are eligible to file a claim for additional damages. If the trucker caused your accident, there are three ways you can qualify to file for non-economic damages, such as emotional distress or pain and suffering. You may qualify for this compensation if you:
- Carry full tort auto insurance;
- Suffer injuries that meet the serious injury threshold; or
- Meet another exception to the limited tort laws.
Who Is Liable for My Truck Accident and the Resulting Injuries?
Under the concept is respondeat superior, or vicarious liability, employers are responsible for the actions of employees while they are on the clock. This includes truck drivers, who drive for a living and work to transport goods for their employers. This means the trucker’s employer is financially liable for the truck accident injuries your own insurance does not cover.
If you opted for full tort coverage, you can file a claim for your remaining economic damages as well as non-economic damages. If you opted for limited tort, you can still collect compensation for your remaining economic damages. However, you will need to meet one of the limited tort exceptions to file a claim for pain and suffering. In truck accidents, the two most common exceptions include:
- The trucking company has the truck registered in a different state; or
- You suffered an injury that meets the serious injury threshold, meaning you or a loved one suffered a serious bodily function impairment, permanent disfigurement, or death.
How Can a Pittsburgh Truck Accident Attorney Help Me Navigate the Claims Process?
When we help a client with one of these claims, the first thing we do is discuss the crash with the victim. This consultation is free. It allows us to understand what happened during your accident, who is liable, and the strength of the case against the trucking company. Then we can explain your options for compensation and recommend a plan to get the maximum value possible for your claim.
If we accept your case and you agree to enlist our help, we will launch a full investigation into your accident. In addition to identifying all evidence and interviewing witnesses, we will also work with accident reconstruction specialists, medical experts, and others who can offer us insight into your crash. We also collect your medical bills, receipts, estimates, and any other documentation of your damages.
Early on, we send a spoliation letter to the trucking company demanding it to preserve any evidence in its possession. This evidence can prove vital in some accidents. It may include:
- Data from the truck’s onboard computer;
- Electronic and written driver’s logs;
- Dash cam video, if available;
- Post-accident drug and alcohol test results;
- Employment records for the driver; and
- Truck maintenance records.
Once we have a complete understanding of the trucker’s role in causing your crash and the damages you suffered, we can file all of your insurance claims. This includes filing your medical benefits claim with your own insurance company, as well as the claim with the trucking company’s insurer to recover the rest of your financial losses and expenses. This is true no matter if you carry limited tort or full tort insurance.
If you opted for full tort or meet an exception to the limited tort law, we will also provide evidence of your pain and suffering and request these damages. Usually, the insurance company is willing to negotiate with us to reach a settlement at this point. Most insurers know that if they do not offer a fair settlement, we will not hesitate to file a personal injury lawsuit against any trucking company.
Are There Time Limits on How Long I Can Wait to File a Lawsuit Against the Trucking Company?
The statute of limitations gives most car and truck accident victims two years from the date of the crash to file a lawsuit. Because it takes time to prepare this type of case, you should reach out to us far in advance of this deadline. If you or a family member suffered injuries, we encourage you to contact us as early in the process as possible. We can even work with you while you are still in the hospital recovering.
Most of these cases never go to court, so this deadline does not technically apply. However, if we wait too long and do not have the option to file a lawsuit, the trucking company is unlikely to agree to a fair settlement. This is because we do not have any leverage to convince a company to do the right thing unless we can take your case to court.
How Can I Talk to a Truck Accident Lawyer in Pittsburgh, PA?
The personal injury team from Berger and Green offers complimentary consultations and case reviews for truck accident victims in Pittsburgh. If a truck driver caused your crash and your injuries, call us today at 412-661-1400. We handle these cases on a contingency basis, so you pay no attorney’s fees unless we recover the compensation you deserve.