Truck accident cases can be complex and challenging. It’s essential to enlist the services of an experienced attorney who understands the different theories of negligence in Pennsylvania and can determine which ones may be applicable in your case. At Ciccarelli Law Offices, we have a team of experienced injury attorneys who know how to navigate the legal system and help you obtain the compensation you deserve. We’re committed to fighting for your rights and helping you achieve the best possible outcome. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can assist you.
Accidents involving commercial trucks and tractor-trailers are among the most catastrophic and devastating on the road. Large trucking companies and their insurance providers often try to evade responsibility for accidents or minimize their liability. As a victim, you have a right to seek compensation for your injuries, damages, pain, and suffering from a negligent truck driver and their employer. Understanding the various theories of negligence in a tractor-trailer accident case in Pennsylvania can help you build a robust legal case and claim the compensation you deserve. In this blog post, we will explore the different types of negligence that may apply and how they may impact your case.
Negligence Per Se:
Negligence per se involves a violation of a safety statute, regulation, or traffic law by the liable party. In a truck accident case, negligence per se may occur when a trucker is driving at an excessive speed, ignoring a stop sign or red light, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or violating hours-of-service regulations. Negligence per se establishes an automatic presumption of negligence, allowing the plaintiff to prove that the defendant violated their duty of care to the victim by compromising their safety.
Negligence by Reasonable Care:
Negligence by reasonable care applies in circumstances where a truck driver has failed to exercise reasonable care and caution while operating their vehicle, leading to harm. To establish negligence by reasonable care, a plaintiff must prove that a reasonably prudent person in a similar situation would have acted differently or undertaken additional cautionary measures. This type of negligence can make it difficult to prove fault and liability and may require the testimony of expert witnesses.
The theory of Respondeat Superior, or “let the master answer,” holds the employer responsible for the negligent actions of their employee. In a tractor-trailer accident case, Respondeat Superior applies when the truck driver was acting within the scope of their employment. For example, if a truck driver was involved in an accident while making a delivery, the trucking company could be held liable for the accident.
Negligent Hiring or Entrustment:
Negligent hiring or entrustment refers to the act of a trucking company hiring an unfit or unqualified driver, which then leads to an accident. This theory of negligence may be applicable if the trucking company fails to conduct a proper background check, or if they knowingly hire a driver with a history of reckless driving, drunk driving, or violations of traffic laws.
Negligent maintenance refers to the failure of a trucking company to maintain its trucks and trailers in proper working order, leading to a mechanical failure that causes an accident. For example, a trucking company may be held liable if a tire blowout or brake failure was caused by a lack of maintenance, inspection, or repair. Negligent maintenance may also include failure to conduct proper load securements or to replace worn or damaged safety equipment.