Can the family of a person killed or catastrophically injured in a one-car crash recover monetary damages to help pay medical bills, lost earnings, and other damages caused by the crash? The answer is “yes,” if another person, company, or the government caused the crash.
Claims Against Vehicle Manufacturers (Crashworthiness)
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), “crashworthiness” research and programs are designed to protect vehicle occupants by “developing and upgrading test procedures for evaluating motor vehicle safety.” This type of testing and research is made on new and used vehicles in the U.S. and has the goal of improving vehicle “design, safety countermeasures, and equipment to enhance occupant safety.”
Car manufactures must make cars safe and must make them perform to minimum standards in crashes. When a one-car crash causes death or serious, permanent injuries such as spinal cord injury with paralysis, TBI, amputation of limbs, or loss of bodily functions, the driver’s family should contact an experienced crashworthiness lawyer immediately. In these cases, preservation of the vehicle is vital to making a claim for damages—which often exceeds $1 million for items like future medical and rehabilitative care, past medical bills, past income loss, future income loss, disfigurement, pain, and suffering.
Attorney Christopher Marzzacco has been involved in crashworthiness cases and understands that gaining possession of the car and retaining the right team of engineers and other experts immediately after the accident makes all the difference in the case.
Claims Against PennDOT And Highway Construction Companies
When a highway or roadway needs repairs, it is common for the local or state government responsible for that road’s maintenance and care to hire a private construction company to perform the work for them. These construction contractors have the resources and expertise to handle large-scale projects themselves, but also commonly hire sub-contracting companies as well. These workers owe all vehicles on the road a duty of care to keep them safe while they make the necessary repairs on or near the roadway. If the workers breach this duty, the large general construction company will be liable to the injured victim, as may some of the sub-contracting companies. Understanding this process and how these large construction companies are insured is important for your personal injury lawyer to know.
The construction industry and the large construction companies will have complex protocols and procedures that must be followed when working on roadways and must comply with all local, state, and federal laws as well. Failure to follow procedures that results in a driver’s injuries or death is negligence and can result in a claim for significant monetary damages for the injured victim.
Attorney Marzzacco has handled numerous construction-related motor vehicle crash cases and has seen instances where workers have allowed water from a saw to run onto the highway in winter and freeze, instances where debris or shrapnel has flown onto the highway, and situations where dangerous driving conditions such as uneven pavement on the roadway were created, for example.
Although PennDot enjoys “sovereign immunity” and local governments have immunity under Pennsylvania’s Political Subdivision Tort Claims Act, either or both can also be held responsible when a dangerous condition on the road causes the injuries or death in a one-vehicle crash, under certain exceptions to the respective immunity laws.
Dram Shop And Social Host Liability
Drinking and driving continues to kill innocent motorists on Pennsylvania roads each year. Most restaurants and bars work diligently to follow the requirements of the Pennsylvania Liquor Code. However, in some instances, this law gets violated. When a violation of the Liquor Code results in the wrongful death or significant injuries to an innocent victim, the bar that furnished the alcohol could be liable for monetary damages to the victim. When a bar, restaurant, or other establishment with a liquor license serves a minor or a “visibly intoxicated” adult, liability attaches. Often in crashes causing catastrophic injury or death, the family of the injured victim will need sizable compensation for the damages incurred. Any investigation of an alcohol-related motor vehicle crash should involve looking into the source of the alcohol to the drunk driver.
If a private citizen hosts a party at his or her home and serves a minor, this is negligence per se. When a minor has been furnished alcohol by either a bar, restaurant, or private individual, the furnisher will be liable for damages caused or suffered by that minor in an alcohol-related motor vehicle crash.
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To speak with an experienced personal injury attorney about your case, please contact us online or call 717-260-3580. We will answer your questions, help you determine whether you have a case, and advise you how you can protect your rights. From our main office in Harrisburg, we serve injured people all over Pennsylvania.