In January 2015, an 18-vehicle crash occurred in western Pennsylvania, killing three people and injuring dozens. Heavy snow and poor visibility were cited as the reasons for the accident.
Bad weather can be blamed for a number of winter accidents. But according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, driver error is a factor in most crashes – speeding, for example, was a factor in more than 30,000 accidents in 2014. Mistakes also cause a lot of accidents involving other types of vehicles, such as motorcycles and boats.
Operating a vehicle is a big responsibility, yet many people put themselves and others at risk of injury because they fail to follow traffic laws. Equally dangerous are people who drive while distracted or tired, because they may not be able to react quickly enough to avoid a crash.
Failing to follow traffic laws and engaging in unsafe activities while operating a vehicle could be considered negligence, if a crash results that causes injuries others. If you have been injured in a vehicle crash and believe someone else is responsible, you might be entitled to compensation. Call us for a free consultation, at (800) 529-6600.
Too often, insurance policies offer inadequate payouts for people injured in a car accident. Insurance investigators have been known to look for every opportunity to avoid paying a claim. From the moment someone files a claim of injury, investigators may start monitoring that person to see if they can raise questions about whether the injuries are truly severe. That’s why it’s important to get legal help right away if you’ve been injured in a car accident.
Wapner, Newman, Wigrizer, Brecher & Miller has more than 30 years of experience representing people hurt in car accidents, and the families of those killed by negligent drivers. We understand how to pursue justice for our clients and how to hold people accountable for their actions.
If you or a family member have been injured in a car accident, don’t wait to get help. Call us today for a no-obligation consultation, at (800) 529-6600.
In 2014, Pennsylvania was the site of 438 crashes in which a car, truck, van or SUV struck a motorcycle. Those kinds of accidents can cause serious injury to motorcyclists and their passengers, because their bodies aren’t shielded from oncoming vehicles.
Drivers of passenger cars who are unfamiliar with motorcycles might assume the vehicles operate similarly. But there are some differences that create risks unique to motorcyclists. The Alliance of Bikers Aimed Toward Education (A.B.A.T.E.) of Pennsylvania explains some of those important differences and offers safety tips for other motorists:
- Motorcyclists may have trouble stopping quickly if on slick pavement, or when carrying a passenger, so cars behind them should avoid following too closely.
- Motorcyclists sometimes decelerate by downshifting, which means their brake lights won’t activate.
- The small size of motorcycles may create the illusion that they are further away, or moving faster, than they are.
- Rearview mirrors on motorcycles are convex, thus making cars behind them seem further away.
Motorcyclists can cause crashes, especially when attempting to maneuver around curves at high speeds or when they fail to account for how road conditions affect their driving. When operators of all vehicles follow traffic laws and are aware of others around them, they contribute to a safer environment for everyone.
A vehicle accident poses a great threat of injury when a pedestrian is involved. In 2014, nearly 4,000 Pennsylvania pedestrians were injured by vehicles and 166 pedestrians died as a result of vehicle accidents. Most of those injuries happened in daylight, as people were walking, jogging, or simply crossing the street.
Pedestrians sometimes step into traffic while looking at their cell phone or while otherwise distracted in some way. But as long as a pedestrian is less at-fault for a crash than the other party, he could still be entitled to compensation for his injuries.
In Pennsylvania, boating accidents decreased between 2013 and 2014, from 71 to 66, but the number of fatal boating accidents increased, from 16 to 20, meaning about a third of the state’s boating accidents caused fatalities. In New Jersey, there were 111 boating accidents in 2014 – a decrease from 2013 – and three of those accidents caused fatalities.
Too often, boat crashes are caused by people who are operating under the influence of alcohol. When out on a boat, enjoying a long weekend, people may forget that there are laws that govern the responsible operation of watercraft. But all boat operators are required by law to know the applicable rules (see the Pennsylvania Boating Handbook) and to be aware of all of their passengers’ actions.
In the U.S. in 2010, excluding government and farm vehicles, there were 2.3 million Class 8 trucks – those weighing more than 33,000 pounds – registered for business use, and they logged 99.2 billion miles. That’s a lot of heavyweight traffic on the roads, and it doesn’t account for trucks registered outside the U.S. that travel between Canada and Mexico.
Many professional truckers are cautious drivers whose vehicles have been properly maintained. But when drivers are reckless or overly tired, and when drivers or their employers fail to maintain equipment, they increase the risk of a crash.
The Bottom Line
Regardless of the type of vehicle, operators owe a duty of care to others. Unfortunately, some people don’t take that duty seriously and their careless actions cause others serious harm.
If you’ve been injured in a vehicle accident, you need someone to protect your rights. Contact us today for your free consultation, either by filling out our online form or by calling us toll free at (800) 529-6600.