Imagine the following scenario: A family is driving home from a baseball game in the late evening. Dad is driving while the kids are falling asleep in the back seat. The roads are wet and it’s dark out. He’s driving on a local highway at the posted speed of 65 miles per hour. In front of him, coming the opposite direction, the driver of an 18 wheel truck is starting to fall asleep. The truck driver has been on the road for 53 of the last 55 hours. He’s exhausted, but he has a deadline to meet. His cargo must be delivered timely or his pay is docked. He is traveling 80 miles per hour. A second later, the truck driver falls asleep and his truck crosses the center line, straight into the family. No one but the driver survives.
This example is extreme, but this kind of situation has happened and no doubt, will happen. Trucks traveling at high speeds can do incredible damage to other cars on the road. In an instant, a family is forever changed, family members lost, lives torn apart.
Punitive Damage Claims in a PA Truck Accident Case
Under the laws of Pennsylvania, when someone commits negligence and causes harm to another, the injured party can recover in tort, by making a negligence claim. However, in addition to negligence claims, claims for punitive damages can be made in special cases. Punitive damages are designed to punish a party for their behavior. They are commonly awarded in drunk driving civil cases. A party which acts with recklessness that shows a blatant disregard for the health and safety of others may be held liable for punitive damages.
In trucking accident cases in Pennsylvania, an injured party may make a punitive damage claim against a truck driver and his or her employer, the trucking company.
Many truck companies force their truck drivers to drive excessive hours, in violation of federal and state truck driving hour restrictions. Other factors which may support a punitive damage claim in a Pennsylvania trucking accident include driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol or knowingly driving with bald tires.
For more information, contact a Pennsylvania car and truck accident lawyer.
Related Pennsylvania Truck Accident Articles:
- Proving Intoxication in a Pennsylvania Truck Accident
- Common Claims Made in a Truck Accident Lawsuit in Pennsylvania
- Pennsylvania Trucking Accident Update: Truck Driver Rule Changes
Our attorneys serve truck accident victims in the following areas: Allegheny County, PA; Berks County, PA; Bucks County, PA; Chester County, PA; Delaware County, PA; Lehigh County, PA; Montgomery County, PA; Northampton County, PA: Philadelphia County, PA; Atlantic County, NJ; Burlington County, NJ; Camden County, NJ; Cumberland County, NJ; Gloucester County, NJ; Salem County, NJ; New Castle County, DE; Kent County, DE; Atlantic City, NJ; Philadelphia, PA; Pittsburgh, PA; Newark, NJ; Doylestown, PA; Media, PA; West Chester, PA; Norristown, PA; Camden, NJ; Wilmington, DE; Newark, DE; Georgetown, DE; and New Castle, DE. Our lawyers can obtain special admission in other states on a case by case basis.
**This website does not provide legal advice. Every case is unique and it is crucial to get a qualified, expert legal opinion prior to making any decisions about your case. See the full disclaimer at the bottom of this page.
Published: August 10, 2012