As new and existing fracking sites continue to be developed in Pennsylvania, more and more commercial trucks and tankers end up ferrying water, equipment, and pieces of pipeline to and from these worksites. With so many massive vehicles on the road, it is not all that uncommon for one to be involved in a collision. If you were injured in such an incident, your options for financial recovery may vary significantly depending on the exact circumstances.
Fracking truck driver accidents in DuBois may allow for injured workers to seek compensation through workers’ compensation (if injured on the job) or through third-party litigation. Qualified legal counsel could provide crucial assistance with both types of claim. If you suffered injury in a truck crash while working for a fracking company, a knowledgeable DuBois fracking accident attorney may be able to help you enforce your right to recovery.
Just like anyone else operating a motor vehicle on public roads, employees of fracking companies who are responsible for operating company-owned trucks and tankers have a duty to perform that role reasonably and obey all applicable traffic and safety rules. Importantly, a fracking truck driver’s fault for causing an accident generally does not impact their right to pursue compensation through a workers’ compensation claim, so long as they were not engaging in horseplay or some other grossly irresponsible behavior.
Under Pennsylvania’s workers’ compensation laws, employers assume automatic liability for medical expenses, a portion of lost wages, and certain long-term disability benefits stemming from injuries suffered by their employees on the job, regardless of any fault by the employee. So long as a fracking truck driver in DuBois was performing job-related duties either on a worksite or while traveling to another worksite, the accident-related injuries should fall within his or her employer’s workers’ compensation policy.
In exchange for assuming liability for certain losses caused by work-related accidents, employers in Pennsylvania with workers’ compensation insurance are immune from direct civil liability to their employees for other damages stemming from such an incident. To recover for the full value of wage losses, physical pain, and lost personal opportunities caused by a fracking truck driver wreck in DuBois, an injured driver would need to pursue litigation against a negligent third party—such as another driver, a mechanic, or a truck component manufacturer (i.e. a party other than the employer)—whose misconduct directly resulted in their wreck.
Notably, in a third party claim against a non-employer, any comparative negligence by the injured worker would have an impact on his or her recoverable compensation. Specifically, in accordance with 42 P.S. s §7102, plaintiffs in third-party lawsuits are subject to a proportional reduction in compensation based on the percentage of total blame they hold for their own injuries, and they are ineligible to recover any compensation at all if that percentage exceeds 50 percent.
Even if it does not occur on company-owned land, a fracking company employee who gets hurt while driving a company-owned truck should still be able to pursue a workers’ comp claim since his or her injuries were work-related. That being said, these kinds of claims are often difficult to pursue effectively, and unrepresented claimants rarely have good odds of achieving favorable resolution without competent representation.
After a fracking truck driver accident in DuBois, contacting a seasoned attorney should be a top priority. Call Marcus & Mack today for a consultation.