Being involved in a truck accident is one of the most traumatizing events you may ever go through. The recovery time alone may take weeks, months, or even longer, and many victims’ maximum medical improvement falls short of their physical condition prior to the wreck.
Your situation may be further complicated if you were in an out-of-state truck accident. If you were traveling through Pennsylvania at the time of your accident, you are likely unfamiliar with our local and state laws that will affect your truck accident claim and how you may recover compensation.
At Shrager & Sachs, we understand just how difficult this situation can be. Our goal with this article is to clarify any confusion you might have over what to do after being in an out-of-state truck accident, but we also know that every situation is unique. If we fail to address your specific concern or you have any additional questions about your options as an out-of-state resident, do not hesitate to contact our Philadelphia, PA office to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation.
Which State Laws Apply?
Pennsylvania state law will apply to your case if you were traveling in the Keystone State when you were hit by a truck. Do not rely on your own state’s laws when considering filing a truck accident lawsuit. Here are important Pennsylvania state laws that will apply to your case:
- Statute of limitations – You have only two years from the date of your accident to file a claim.
- Cap on compensation – There is no cap on damages for the majority of car and truck accident cases in Pennsylvania. However, a cap of $500,000 applies to cases against a local government if you are involved in an accident with their employees. There is a $250,000 cap on claims against the state of Pennsylvania.
- Insurance requirements – Pennsylvania drivers are required to carry bodily injury liability coverage that covers $15,000 per person with a cap of $30,000 per accident. $5,000 in property damage liability coverage is also required.
Do not rely on your own state laws when determining when or if to move forward with a truck accident claim. When a truck accident occurs in a different state, you must follow that state’s laws for recovering compensation.
This is slightly different from the rules that apply to out-of-state car accidents. For example, if you are a resident of Ohio and are hit by a driver from Maryland while driving in Pennsylvania, there might be some confusion over which state laws apply. In this case, you would either follow Pennsylvania state law because that is where the accident occurred or Maryland state law because that is where the at-fault party is from.
If there is ever any confusion over which laws apply to a truck accident case, do not hesitate to contact Shrager & Sachs to discuss the details of your case.
What To Do After an Out-of-State Truck Accident
The period of time immediately following an accident can be overwhelming and confusing in even the best of situations. When you are traveling outside of your home state, and in areas with which you are not familiar, the stress associated with a truck accident can feel crushing.
If you have been involved in a truck accident while traveling in Pennsylvania, we recommend that you take the following steps:
- Seek medical care – Your primary concern should always be your health and well-being. If you or anyone else involved in the accident appear to be suffering from serious or minor injuries, call 911 right away and wait for the paramedics. If you do not require immediate transport for medical care, go to the nearest emergency room soon after.
- Call the police – Notify police by calling 911 or the local non-emergency line. When you summon a police officer to the scene of an accident, they will create an accident report which you can later access for information supporting your truck accident claim. If an officer does not respond to the scene of the accident, you are legally required to file an accident report within five days.
- Take pictures – Evidence disappears quickly from an accident scene, and if you live in a different state, you might not have the opportunity to return. Take as many pictures as you can before leaving the scene, including damage to your vehicle, visible injuries, skid marks, potholes, and anything that might show the driving conditions at the time of your accident.
- Contact a lawyer – Truck accident cases are complex, and being involved in an out-of-state truck accident can make things even more difficult. Having a lawyer on your side will ensure you know your rights and how to pursue compensation.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents in Pennsylvania
Driving near a tractor-trailer is a stressful experience because we know just how dangerous these large vehicles can be. While the attorneys at Shrager & Sachs always encourage passenger vehicle drivers to keep their distance from big trucks, it is sometimes simply not possible. Any time that you are sharing the road with a truck, you may be at risk for an accident due to one of the following factors:
- Hours of service (HOS) regulations violations
- Drunk or drugged driving
- Driving while texting, taking a photo, recording a video, or talking on the phone
- Eating or drinking behind the wheel
- Driving on too little sleep
- Aggressive or reckless driving
- Vehicle failure
- Inadequate maintenance
- Lack of skill and experience on the part of the truck driver
When we work with truck accident victims, we thoroughly investigate each and every claim to discover the cause of the accident and who was at fault. In most cases, a truck accident claim will be filed against the trucking company rather than the truck driver.
Serving the Pennsylvania Community
You are not alone after a serious truck accident. We pride ourselves on the unrivaled advocacy we provide to our clients in their time of need. Whether you need help negotiating with the insurance company or are not sure what your options are after being in an out-of-state truck accident, Shrager & Sachs is here for you.
Fill out our online form or call us today to schedule your free consultation. One of our attorneys will review the details of your case and go over your legal options step by step. There is never any obligation to move forward with our law firm,