Pennsylvania – June 24, 2021

A CSX train collided with a tractor trailer near Ohio Avenue and Wall Street in Glassport last week, but no injuries were reported.  The tractor trailer was hauling recycled paper and had just left the recycling center when the collision caused the rig to jackknife subsequently demolishing the trailer.  Even though there were no initial reports of injury, drivers should be screened by medical personnel, and severe property damage occurred to the tractor trailer. A truck accident attorney in Pittsburgh can help build a case to determine fault after commercial carriers are involved in an accident.

Railway responsibility.

Truck accident victims can sue railroad companies for injuries and property damage caused by their negligence.  Railroad companies, their employees and railroad equipment manufacturers owe passengers and bystanders a duty of reasonable care. Depending on the nature of the accident, one or more of the following parties may be responsible:

  • The railroad company,
  • The train operator,
  • The manufacturer of the train or train components,
  • A government entity that owns or operates the railroad.

Commercial safety regulations.

There are state and federal regulations that require both trains and tractor trailers to be inspected and maintained on a regular basis, and requirements for drivers to be evaluated to make sure they are in good health to reduce, or identify health problems that could render them dangerous in long distance driving situations which are required of commercial trucking companies and trains in their deadline-imposed businesses.  Identified violations which are common in Pennsylvania include:

  1. Improper Maintenance,
  2. Driver Fatigue,
  3. Distracted Drivers,
  4. Commercial Company Negligence,
  5. Unsecured Loads,
  6. Driving in Extreme Weather.

Insurance and compensation.

The state of Pennsylvania requires a tractor trailer truck to carry a much higher minimum liability insurance policy than a passenger vehicle. Economic and non-economic damage awards are based on degrees of fault in the State of Pennsylvania and the 51% rule is utilized to determine how settlements will be determined.  This means that an injured person can be up to 50% responsible for an accident and still collect damages in a Pennsylvania personal injury claim but if fault was more than 50% responsible, a party is not able to recover compensation for any accident expenses.  Federal laws cap damage compensation for single railway accidents, so it is best to secure legal counsel who can explain limits and the Pennsylvania “modified comparative negligence” rule will impact a case.

Seek legal counsel.

A legal professional may help to mediate settlement amounts with insurance companies for damages caused by possible negligence on the part of a trucking, or railway company.  Sometimes litigation may be the only way to remedy any loss to a victim of a trucking accident. Trucking accidents are complex and often require involved research by legal professionals at Scanlon & Wojton Law Firm, including collecting and reviewing trucking company records, maintenance, and travel logs, along with certificates of health for drivers and other records or police reports that can shed light on the cause of the accident. Accident victims should consult with an accident attorney to determine “fault” and actions toward a legal proceeding to address all property damages and physical injuries sustained.

Scanlon & Wojton, Attorneys at Law

Phone:  (412) 918-1241

Fax: (412) 235-7275

The Mitchell Building
304 Ross Street, Suite 510
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15219

Sources:

https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2021/06/23/train-tractor-trailer-crash-glassport/

https://uscode.house.gov/view.xhtml?path=/[email protected]/subtitle5/partA/chapter209&edition=prelim

https://www.legis.state.pa.us/WU01/LI/LI/CT/HTM/42/00.071.002.000..HTM

https://www.legis.state.pa.us/WU01/LI/LI/CT/HTM/42/00.085.053.000..HTM

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/data-and-statistics/large-truck-and-bus-crash-facts

https://www.nhtsa.gov/

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