Interstate 79 is an interstate highway that runs through West Virginia and Pennsylvania. The road is a total length of 343 miles and cuts across eight separate counties on the western side of the state. As this road cuts through the Allegheny Plateau it can become a bit rough and is known for its rugged terrain. However, most of the road is flat and ideal for commercial vehicles and tractor-trailers to use.
In fact, in late September of 2015 Interstate 79 was closed for several hours as a result of multiple tractor-trailer accidents. Whenever there is a tractor-trailer involved in an accident there is a higher risk that you or someone you love will be injured as a result of the accident.
What Causes Truck Accidents on I-79?
Commercial vehicles are very different from passenger vehicles and because of their unique features they are more likely to be involved in a catastrophic accident as opposed to a regular passenger vehicle. Tractor-trailers are not as maneuverable on the road and require longer stopping distances. In addition, when there is bad weather it can take a tractor-trailer almost the whole length of a football field to come to a complete stop. In addition, despite the fact that a truck or commercial vehicle sits higher on the road they also have large blind spots, which can make it dangerous for other drivers on the road. Commercial truck drivers are also under constant pressure to keep trucks moving and stopped trucks lose money for the trucking company. The pressure to keep trucks on the road often leads to exhausted drivers and worn-out equipment. Common causes of truck accidents include:
- Driver fatigue
- Failure to stop at a stop sign or light
- Truck driver DUI
- Changing lanes abruptly
- Overloaded trucks
- Oversized trucks
- Unsafe passing
- Driving in unsafe weather conditions
- Improper turns
- Blind spots
Unfortunately, this is an abbreviated list of reasons that a person may be involved in an accident while they are driving on the road. As you are aware, driving requires you to maintain an incredible amount of focus. However, when a driver has been on the road for hours they can become complacent and may not be as careful as they should be. In those instances, that is when an accident is more likely to occur.
Where Should You File a Personal Injury Claim if I have been Injured on I-79?
If you were driving along on interstate 79 and were involved in an accident you may be wondering where you should file your case. Maybe you live on the other side of Pennsylvania and were only driving through to visit family or friends. Or maybe, you are not a Pennsylvania resident but still would like to be able to recover some of the money and time that you lost as a result of your accident.
State courts in the county where the injury occurred or where those involved in the incident reside typically handle personal injury lawsuits. Interstate 79 passes through the following counties in Pennsylvania and if you were in an accident in any of the following counties, then they generally would be the proper place to file your personal injury case. Interstate 79 crosses through the following counties:
- Greene County
- Washington County
- Allegheny County
- Butler County
- Lawrence County
- Mercer County
- Crawford County
It is important that you know that personal injury cases that do not exceed $8,000 can be filed in Pennsylvania’s small claims court or $10,000 in the case of Philadelphia municipality.
What Compensation Can I receive?
When there is a tractor-trailer or a commercial vehicle involved in an accident there is the potential that the damages are going to be more severe than if you had been involved in an accident with another passenger vehicle. One of the first questions that people ask when they have been in an accident is what type of compensation can they receive?
Some of the forms of compensation you may be able to receive include:
- Medical Benefits
- Income loss benefits
- Accidental death benefit
- Funeral benefit
- Extraordinary medical benefits.
- Future Medical benefits
Personal injury awards are usually paid to a person who has been injured all at one time also known as a lump sum, rather than weekly or monthly payments. However, this means that when you have been injured you must try to calculate for future expenses that you may incur as a result of your accident.
What are Future Medical Expenses?
Future medical expenses are just what you think they would be, these are expenses that you will incur in the future as a result of your accident. Some of the medical benefits that you may be entitled to receive and may have to incur in the future include:
- Rehabilitative services
- Licensed physical therapy,
- Nursing services,
- Vocational rehabilitation
- Occupational therapy,
- Speech pathology and audiology,
- Optometric services,
- Medical supplies and
- Prosthetic devices
However, when you have been injured in an accident involving a tractor-trailer or any other vehicle you are not automatically entitled to future medical expenses. In order to recover future medical expenses, you must prove that you will incur future medical expenses and their reasonable cost. Additionally, you will need to prove these expenses through testimony by an expert witness such as a doctor or surgeon.