Articles Posted in Auto Accident

brake lightsIn real life, motor vehicle accident victims come from all walks of life and have all kinds of “back stories.” Sometimes, people make errors of judgment that precede their accidents. If you made some mistakes in the moments preceding your accident, does that mean you absolutely cannot get compensation for your injuries? No. Depending on the facts of your case, you may still be entitled to recovery. To learn more about your options within the legal system, talk to an experienced Pennsylvania car accident attorney.

A recent case from Berks County provides an example of a case in which both sides had some degree of negligence. The case began with John and Ashley heading home from a wedding reception that they had attended. While at the reception, both John and Ashley had consumed alcohol. During the drive home, another driver, Anthony, allegedly began tailgating John. John allegedly became angry and began “brake-checking” Anthony.

At a red light, John got out of his car and began approaching Anthony. Anthony tried to get away in his car, but, in the process, he hit John and dragged him roughly 100 feet. Once EMTs got to the scene, they allegedly found John combative and smelling of alcohol. Eventually, the police charged John with harassment, driving drunk, and driving on a suspended license.

guard-railSometimes, you may be injured due to the negligence of another driver. At other times, though, your injuries are not a result of the negligence of someone else behind the wheel, but are a result of the negligent design, inspection, or maintenance of roadways. When that happens, you may have a claim for compensation against the governmental entity responsible for that road. Injury lawsuits against governmental entities can be very tricky and potentially challenging to win, so you should make sure you have an experienced Pennsylvania car accident attorney handling your case.

An example of a case in which the injured plaintiffs were successful was one that began in Beaver County. In January 2015, Joisse and Dale were driving along State Route 551 when, as is not uncommon in Pennsylvania in mid-winter, they encountered a stretch of road with snow and ice on it. The wife, who was driving, lost control, spun out, and slammed into a guardrail. The worst of the damage happened, though, when the guardrail speared the side of the couple’s car, seriously injuring Joisse’s toe, foot, and leg, including multiple fractures.

The couple sued PennDOT over the guardrail accident. Their argument was that the department was negligent in installing a “boxing glove” style of guardrail that was not crashworthy and was also negligent in failing to inspect or correct the problems with the guardrail.

magnifying glassWhen you are injured in an auto accident, you are probably shaken up, stressed out, in pain, and generally concerned with many, many things other than your legal rights. However, being concerned with your legal rights is something that you most definitely should be. In order to get the compensation you deserve, you’ll need to act decisively and promptly. One of the first things you should do is retain skilled Pennsylvania injury counsel. Your experienced injury attorney can be the one to focus on your legal issues while you focus on you and your family.

Knowledgeable counsel matters in an auto accident case because details matter, and your diligent attorney can work to identify the details that can make the difference between a successful outcome and an unsuccessful one. Take, for example, a case involving John, an employee of a major telecommunications company. John was driving an employer-owned vehicle when another driver crashed into him at a traffic light. The crash caused John to suffer substantial damages. The at-fault driver only had insurance coverage equal to the minimum required by state law.

Since his damages exceeded the policy limits of the at-fault driver’s insurance, John filed an underinsured motorist claim with his employer’s auto insurer. The insurance company denied the claim, contending that John’s employer actually had declined underinsured motorist coverage as part of its policy.

hourglassA successful car accident case often involves several ingredients, including strong factual evidence that your opponent was at fault, a clear legal basis for liability, proof of the substantial damages that you have suffered, and diligent legal representation from a Pennsylvania car accident attorney who aggressively pursues a recovery for you. This diligence and aggressiveness are important because, if a case sits with no activity for too long, the trial court may be allowed to throw the lawsuit out entirely, even if you have a strong case.

An example of the harmful effects of case inactivity was the injury lawsuit filed by Dorothy in 2007. Dorothy and Stacy were involved in an auto accident in 2005. As a result of the accident, Dorothy suffered injuries, so she sued. Discovery went on for nearly two years. The court identified May 2009 as the final discovery deadline and October 2009 as a time-frame for trial. The case, however, never proceeded to trial.

In the fall of 2015, the trial court published a notice that demanded attendance at a Nov. 30 hearing, or else the court would dismiss Dorothy’s case for inactivity. The Nov. 30 hearing came and went, with none of Dorothy, Stacy, or the lawyers for either side attending. The trial court dismissed the case.

front-end collisionOnce you find yourself going to court in an auto accident case, you likely hope for a straightforward trial in which your evidence clearly establishes your opponent’s liability and your entitlement to damages. Unfortunately, real life rarely plays out so seamlessly. Many twists and turns can take place during the course of your case. Trials, especially jury trials, can be unpredictable. This is one reason to have an experienced Pennsylvania car accident lawyer on your side from the start – so that you are ready for whatever your case throws at you.

One example of such an unexpected outcome is when a jury renders an inconsistent verdict, like what happened in a recent case that originated in Pittsburgh. In that case, Ronald’s truck rear-ended a vehicle driven by Kerim. Kerim sued Ronald for damages he suffered as a result of the collision.

Ronald admitted liability but fought the issue of damages. In some situations, establishing that the person you’ve sued is to blame for your damages is the key to the case. Other times, though, who is at fault isn’t the key to the case; proving how much harm you’ve suffered is.

Knee injuries suffered in a car accident can include fractures, ligament injuries, and dislocation. Not only can they lead to severe pain, swelling, and limited range of motion, but also some knee injuries can take months to heal, affecting an individual’s ability to work and be active. When a negligent motorist causes an accident that results in injuries, the law provides victims the right to file a Pennsylvania car accident claim against that driver for damages.

knee injury compensation

Filing a liability claim or a personal injury lawsuit may be appropriate when accident victims suffer serious injuries. There are many different causes of car accidents, ranging from distracted driving to mechanical malfunctions. But regardless of the cause, those hurt by the negligence of others have the legal right to pursue compensation for their suffering and harm.

The first step in a personal injury claim is to establish legal fault for causing an accident. This can stem from action, or in some cases, inaction. Failing to pay attention while operating a vehicle, for example, or refusing to adjust speed to account for weather conditions can be factors that lead to a crash and a legal determination of negligence.

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According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, alcohol use and speeding contribute to the majority of car accidents throughout Pennsylvania. Alcohol-related crashes remain a major safety issue, and in 2014, there were 10,550 crashes due to impaired drivers.  Statistics also indicate that in 2014, alcohol-redrunk drivinglated deaths were 28% of the total traffic deaths. Statistics also indicate that the majority of alcohol-related deaths take place between 8:00 p.m. and 4:00 a.m., with the majority of these fatal crashes occurring on the weekend.

The public health concern regarding drunk driving continues to remain high. For those accident victims suffering physically and emotionally from the effects of a drunk driving accident, Pennsylvania law provides a means to recover compensation.  In many cases, the driver will be charged by the state and face criminal proceedings. But victims of drunk driving collisions can file a separate personal injury claim to recover costs for medical treatment, as well as expenses related to pain and suffering and loss of income due to the accident.

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Fatal car accidents may be caused by a variety of factors and lead to either a sudden death accident or an eventual death fatal accident.  Throughout Pennsylvania, surviving family memberhighway accidents or dependents of the person who passed away may face medical bills, funeral expenses, and other accident-related costs. By pursuing a wrongful death claim against the person who caused the accident, they may recover compensation for their losses.

According to Pennsylvania law, when an individual is fatally injured due to a wrongful act, intentional conduct, or negligence, there may be a legal action to recover damages.  According to the statute, the “right of action,” or the ability to bring this claim, exists for the benefit of surviving spouses, children, or parents of the deceased.  The law specifically states that these individuals need not reside within the Commonwealth.  Additionally, if there is no person eligible to recover damages, the personal representative for the deceased can bring an action to recover damages.

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Transportation network companies, such as Uber and Lyft, are considered to serve the public, and based on a law recently passed in Pennsylvania, they will continue to operate throughout the entire commonwealth. The way people travel has changed, and as a result, there was statewide authorization for Senate Bill 984, enabling services like Lyft and Uber. The policy behind the bill was to both protect consumers and encourage the companies to continue their operations.

collision transportation network company

Transportation network companies provide prearranged transportation services by using a digital network. The Bill sets forth the conditions and framework for these companies.  It also includes protections for drivers as well as consumers, including insurance coverage information and criminal background checks for drivers. Notably, the bill makes clear that the companies can operate in Philadelphia, whereas previously this area was unable to access ride-sharing in a legal way.

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Left turns are considered among the more dangerous driving maneuvers.  Drivers that turn left often do so in front of oncoming traffic, increasing the risk of an accident.  Side-impact accidents and T-bone collisions can result when a negligent or careless driver turns left without yielding or ensuring that there is a clear path.

left turn

There are more rules set forth under the Pennsylvania vehicle code for left turns than for right turns because of the dangerous nature of these turns. Pennsylvania law provides that vehicles turning left in an intersection yield the right-of-way to other vehicles approaching from the opposite direction. All drivers must signal before turning left, at least 100 feet before their turn, and 300 feet before a turn if the driver is operating their vehicle above 35 miles per hour.

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