Victims Win Record Pennsylvania Wrongful Death Truck Accident Settlement
The victims of a 2010 Pennsylvania wrongful death truck accident recently agreed to a record $26.1 million settlement of their claims against the truck driver, the truck company and other defendants. The accident occurred on June 6, 2010, on Interstate 80 East when a tractor-trailer rear-ended a Toyota Matrix that was stuck in traffic for road construction. One occupant of the Toyota, the driver’s father, was fatally injured. Two others, including the driver, received serious, life-threatening injuries. Two dogs in the car were also killed.
The driver of the tractor-trailer, who apparently was speeding, said the sun was in his eyes; however, the sun was actually behind him at the time. Because the driver’s recollection of the accident appeared fuzzy, it was alleged that he may have been driving drowsy or even fallen asleep at the wheel, though this was never proven.
Pennsylvania Wrongful Death Actions
The victim of a truck accident has the option to file a personal injury accident lawsuit to recover compensation for any injuries. If a person is fatally injured in a truck accident in Pennsylvania, the surviving family members may file a wrongful death lawsuit.
A wrongful death lawsuit is similar to a personal injury lawsuit in that it seeks compensation for injuries. However, because the victim is no longer here to file the lawsuit, the law allows surviving family members to file on behalf of the deceased to recover compensation.
Who May File a Pennsylvania Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Under Pennsylvania law, not just anyone may file a wrongful death lawsuit. The statute that governs wrongful death actions is 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 8301, which authorizes a surviving spouse, children or parents to file a wrongful death lawsuit. If the decedent did not leave behind a spouse, child or parent, the statute allows a court-appointed personal representative to file a wrongful death lawsuit. This is typically the person who has been appointed to oversee the probate of the decedent’s estate.
What Damages Can Be Recovered in a Pennsylvania Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
If a wrongful death lawsuit is successful, the following damages may be awarded:
- Actual Damages — to cover such costs as medical treatment prior to the death of the decedent and funeral expenses
- Loss of Future Earnings — to compensate the survivors for what the decedent would have earned over his or her lifetime had the accident not occurred.
- Loss of Benefits — to cover what the decedent would have received in retirement or pension benefits had the accident not happened.
- Loss of Companionship — to compensate the survivors for the emotional loss or mental pain and suffering the accident caused.
- Punitive Damages — to punish a defendant whose conduct was particularly egregious.
When more than one survivor files suit, the damages awarded to the survivors are distributed to the beneficiaries in the same proportions they would ordinarily receive from the estate.
If you have recently lost a loved one as the result of a Pennsylvania truck accident, you are most likely going through an extremely emotional time, filled with grief, anger and confusion. If you believe that the negligence of another person or entity was partially or totally to blame for your loss, then you may have the basis for a Pennsylvania wrongful death lawsuit.
Of course, no amount of money will bring back your loved one; however, the person who caused your loss should be held responsible. The Pennsylvania truck accident attorneys at Munley Law are dedicated to helping the victims and surviving family members of truck accidents receive the compensation they deserve. For your free, no obligation, claim review, call or take a few minutes to fill out our online contact form.
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