Pennsylvania Lawyers that Specialize in Car Accidents
There are frightening car accidents across Philadelphia every day and night. These collisions can prove devastating for the drivers and passengers involved and for the families of those victims. In the aftermath of a serious crash, victims can face life-altering injuries, sky-high medical bills, a loss of income, and the costs of auto repairs or a new vehicle. That doesn’t even begin to cover the emotional toll a severe injury can have on the victim and his or her family. If you were injured in an automobile collision, you need the help of an accident claims lawyer that specializes in receiving maximum compensation for car accidents victims, to get you the justice you deserve.
No Recovery/No Fee/ Contingent Fee Cases Accepted
Philadelphia doesn’t go a day without these damaging collisions. The Pennsylvania DOT (PennDOT) recorded 10,108 car crashes in Philadelphia in 2020. That equates to over 30 accidents a day in the city. Over 6,202 of those crashes were reported as involving injuries.
After an accident, victims and families should be left to heal, but hospital bills and other expenses will show up no matter the circumstances. These hardships are the fault of a careless or distracted driver and the innocent victims shouldn’t be the ones left to worry over the costs of recovery. In these difficult situations, a local attorney for car accident claims near you fighting for your rights can turn the tide in a battle for compensation.
Philadelphia car accident lawyer Edith Pearce, the founder of The Pearce Law Firm knows the “ins and outs” of car accident law. She worked as an attorney for years for a major auto insurance company. With her wealth of inside knowledge, Edith Pearce has served as an expert car accident lawyer for numerous clients helping them achieve multi-million dollar car accident settlements for victims and their families who have suffered tragic results of car accidents in Philadelphia. She has fought to make sure they receive the compensation they deserve for not only car accidents but other motor vehicle accidents such as motorcycle accidents and hit-and-run accidents.
Steps To Take After a Car Accident
When You’ve Been In A Car Accident – Protect Yourself and Your Rights
Challenges following an auto accident of any kind include dealing with insurance companies, handling extensive paperwork, and trying to get fair compensation after an auto accident for your losses through a Philadelphia auto accident lawsuit. Most individuals are not equipped to deal with these details, and can easily be taken advantage of by insurance companies who want to give you as little as possible. Remember, the insurance companies have experienced auto accident attorneys working for them, which is why the cost of hiring an attorney is worth it. And why professional legal help for your car accident case is your best protection. If you’re outside of Philadelphia you can call our Bucks County car accident lawyers, or our lawyers in Cherry Hill NJ.
Expertise and Inside Knowledge of Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Laws
Having worked for almost 10 years for an automobile insurance company and for an accident defense firm, Philadelphia car accident lawyer Edith Pearce uses her expert knowledge from inside the industry to help you recover maximum compensation. Edith Pearce, the founder of The Pearce Law Firm is a lifetime member of the multi-million dollar advocates forum and has been awarded the prestigious Super Lawyers® designation. The Pearce Law Firm will fight to recover your expenses, replace income, and make sure that your losses, your suffering, your property damage, and your injuries are adequately compensated.
Unlike the huge firms with dozens of attorneys and many different attorneys handling different aspects of your case, car accident lawyer Edith Pearce is personally involved in every case the firm handles from start to finish. She genuinely cares about her clients and you will not be treated like just another case or file. The firm uses a combination of aggressive discovery, site visits, witness interviews, a close examination of medical records, and the assistance of medical and engineering experts to provide clients with state-of-the-art legal representation for their car accident injury claims to arrive at a timely settlement or proceed to trial to obtain a full and fair compensation amount.
Getting the Compensation You’ll Need After a Car Accident in Philadelphia
The cost of damages that the victim and the victim’s family of an auto accident may be entitled to include:
hospital and medical expenses
past and future lost earnings
past and future permanent physical disability, such as a limp, scars, loss of a limb
emotional distress, such as depression and anxiety
grief and emotional suffering caused by the death of a loved one
loss of love and companionship caused by the death of a loved one
damage or destruction of property
physical pain and suffering
loss of enjoyment of life
Depending on the seriousness of the injuries incurred from your car accident there could be short-term and long-term consequences. Many times an injury will cause a pre-existing condition (such as an old back injury) to be aggravated, causing greater pain and suffering than before. Sometimes a car accident injury does not appear serious at first but may continue to cause pain and disability.
To protect your legal rights following a serious auto accident injury or death due to a car accident in Philadelphia or the surrounding area, it is wise to consult a personal injury law firm with experience in these matters as soon as possible. Within the first week, important physical evidence can be lost, and witnesses may become hard to find. The Pearce Law Firm has experience getting maximum compensation for car accident cases in Philadelphia and throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
The Pearce Law Firm will work diligently to arrive at a timely settlement or proceed to trial to obtain fair compensation for your injuries.
Why Choose Us?
No Recovery/No Fee/ Contingent Fee Cases Accepted
If you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident in Philadelphia or anywhere in Pennsylvania or New Jersey or if you live in Pennsylvania or New Jersey and your auto accident occurred out of state, please contact us for a FREE auto accident consultation.
We are dedicated to protecting your rights and obtaining full and fair compensation for you.
Read what Sam had to say about us plus other reviews on Avvo:
“I highly recommend contacting Edith Pearce. After an accident I was in, I was scared and worried about the medical bills. Friends suggested I contact an attorney, and I’m so fortunate I found Pearce Law! She reassured me and was patient in answering all my questions. She handled all communication with insurance, doctors, etc, and provided timely updates. I especially appreciated her quick response time! She and her team worked their magic, and I was so surprised and grateful when Edith personally called me about receiving a settlement. I can not thank her or recommend her enough!”
Rating: 5/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need an attorney to make an auto accident injury claim?
The law doesn’t require you to have an attorney to make a claim for compensation after an accident, but it is highly recommended. However, the insurance companies and their attorneys are experienced and have been at this for a long time. Most likely this is your first accident, and you need someone who knows the law and is experienced at getting the maximum compensation allowed by the law.
If I was partially to blame, can I still get compensation if I’m injured?
Pennsylvania is a comparative fault state meaning that the law allows the jury to assign a percentage of fault for an accident between the drivers involved. If your percentage is lower than the other driver, then you should be able to still get some compensation for your injuries.
How do I know if the other driver was negligent?
Pennsylvania law requires the victim to prove that the other driver was negligent and the negligence led to the victim’s injuries. To determine negligence, the jury will look at the actions of the driver and compare them to what a reasonably prudent driver would do under the same or similar circumstances. If not, then that driver was negligent.
What Should You Do in a Car Accident in Philadelphia?
If it’s an emergency, call 911.
As of May 3, 2010, Philadelphia Police do not respond to the scene of minor accidents and fender benders where there are no injuries and when vehicles can be safely driven away. Philadelphia Police do respond when there are personal injuries and emergencies. Call 911 in either case.
First of all we should note that if you have just been involved in an accident it is very important to stay safe. Standing in the road while your adrenaline is pumping is not a good place to be.
The announcement of Philly PD no longer showing up to non-injury vehicle collisions basically states that if the only thing damaged are the vehicles in the accident, the vehicles can safely drive away, there are no injuries, and all drivers involved kindly exchange information, that drivers should contact 911. The announcement states that:
Drivers should move their cars to the side of the road, safely out of any lanes of travel, and turn on hazard lights.
Drivers should then call 911 emergency operators, where they will be asked a series of questions to determine whether or not police must be dispatched to the scene of the accident.
Once a determination is made that the drivers may report the accident in person, or on the phone, they will be given the contact information of the appropriate police district to which they can report the accident.
Drivers should then exchange the following owner/vehicle information with each other before leaving the scene:
Information to be exchanged includes: Name, address, phone number, driver’s license number, insurance company name, insurance policy number, vehicle year, make, model, color, license plate number, and VIN #, which should be located on the driver’s side of the car, on the dashboard, which is visible when looking through the windshield. This will look like a very large combination of numbers consisting of 17 characters (Example: 1C4RJEBG8CC299381).
What if my injury appears later?
The fact is many injuries occur, even during very low-speed impacts. Sometimes the adrenaline wears off and people realize they have a soft tissue injury such as whiplash. Soft tissue injuries may not present themselves until days or weeks after the accident. While some forms of whiplash clear up, others can last a very long time. Other injuries which do not always appear right away include chronic head pain, or even a cracked sternum. Concussions are another injury that can have long-lasting negative side effects, as can a car accident while you’re pregnant.
While an auto accident may be minor and only cause small amounts of property damage, in some unfortunate cases the auto accident could lead to a fatality. Under these devastating circumstances, it is hard to think about what steps to take next, which is why you need a Philadelphia fatal car accident attorney from The Pearce Law Firm, P.C. on your side to help you get through these horrible time. The Pearce Law firm deals with fatal car accident cases in Philadelphia and can help you through this difficult time.
A wrongful death lawsuit may be brought by the family of a victim who was killed as the result of another person’s actions. In order for a wrongful death to ensue, your family member must not have been 100% at fault for the accident that ultimately caused his or her death, but was instead a result of the other party’s negligence or actions. The wrongful party does not necessarily have to be another driver, but could be a car manufacturer or even a driver in the same vehicle in which your loved one was traveling (if your loved one was a passenger).
Contact a Philadelphia fatal car accident attorney today. It is always a heartbreaking and stressful time when you lose a loved one, but having the right attorney on your side can help to make that time less stressful. At The Pearce Law Firm, P.C., we will strive to give you the best help, advice, and services to help you initiate a wrongful death lawsuit.
How to Prevent and Defend Against Staged Car Accidents
Being involved in a car accident can be frightening but when the accident is staged, you may also feel duped. Many law-abiding citizens have never heard of a staged car accident until it happens to them. Yet these types of scams occur every day all across the country. It is important to understand what staged car accidents are so you can defend against them and prevent them from happening in the first place.
There are a number of different ways that a car accident can be staged. In general, a staged accident occurs when another driver forces you into an accident that will ultimately make you appear at fault. One of the most common types of staged car accidents happens when the car in front of you stops suddenly, giving you no other option than to hit the vehicle from behind. Other scammers may choose to slam into you in an intersection, and then use false witnesses to say that you ran a red light.
Still another staged scenario arises when a driver signals you to allow you to change lanes and then instead lets you hit them. The driver will later deny that they signaled you to proceed. These and other situations are dangerous and can cause you plenty of misery and money. Any time you are involved in any accident be sure to request a copy of the other party’s driver’s license and proof of insurance.
Prevention is the best way to avoid being blamed for an accident you did not cause. Defensive driving is essential in the prevention of all accidents. When you see a driver who is driving erratically, remain as far away from the other vehicle as possible. Do not tailgate – allow enough room between you and the car in front so that you can stop when they do. Be prepared in case an accident happens so you can take photos and make notes at the scene. Some people are more susceptible to scams than others. For example, those who drive an expensive car may be targeted more often and those who are older may also be at higher risk.
Staged accidents can be difficult to defend, especially when the drivers use accomplices as witnesses. Drivers may want to get money to repair other damage to their vehicles or collect for injuries that are falsified. As soon as the accident occurs call the police and file a police report. Be sure to let the police know that you believe you were not at fault, and provide a clear account of what happened. At the scene of the accident get the names of witnesses besides those who are possibly associated with the other driver. There may be some surveillance cameras in place nearby that could help you prove how the incident happened.
Rear-end collisions account for over a third of all vehicle accidents, with most of these resulting in serious injuries and even fatalities. When you are hit from behind, spine, head, and neck injuries are the most common resulting injuries. These injuries can dramatically affect your quality of life. Whiplash, for instance, can cause daily debilitating headaches, even paralysis. A rear-end collision can even end your ability to participate in many normal activities.
Painful injuries from a rear-end accident cannot only cripple you physically but also financially. Loss of work due to excruciating daily pain, medical bills piling up, and vehicle damage are just a few of the things The Pearce Law Firm will seek for in your financial compensation.
Car Accidents During Tropical Storms
A tropical storm can bring high winds, flooding that covers roads and even spawn tornadoes. That was certainly the case with Tropical Storm Isaias which was responsible for at least six tornados across the tri-state area at the beginning of August 2020.
The local radio station KYW 1060AM reported on the damage and also the havoc on the roads. They noted several spin-out accidents in Delaware County and even detailed several cars landing on top of each other in Bucks County.
Tropical Storms carry many hazards with them, but even the wet road surfaces and ponding of water at depths of an inch or less can make driving treacherous. The Pennsylvania DOT found that wet road surfaces contributed to over 22,000 accidents in the state in 2019. That accounts for 18% of all the accidents for the year. Sadly 16 % of fatal accidents for the year involved wet road conditions.
What to do if You’re in a Traffic Accident During a Tropical Storm
Unfortunately, storms won’t keep bad drivers at home. The havoc on the roads may put you in the path of a careless driver. If you’re in an accident that wasn’t your fault, you’ll want to pay attention to certain details on the scene. Severe weather events always tie-up police and emergency crews, so your own investigative work may have to suffice until essential workers can reach you.
After a collision, see to your safety first. If the accident left you in a spot where you’re in more danger, if you’re physically able, try to move yourself or your car out of harm’s way. This can include leaving a location that’s starting to flood or moving out of the path of other traffic, especially if visibility is reduced.
Assess any injuries in your vehicle. Call 911. Then, if able, you’ll need to start collecting details from your accident to build a strong case against the driver that caused the collision. Of course, if the wind and rain prove too hazardous, stay in your car, but try to gather these elements if possible:
Give a full report to dispatchers and police when you can reach them.
Take photos. Document the scene, the car that hit you, street signs, and capture the current weather conditions in case the at-fault driver tries to blame the rain when in fact, it was only drizzling. Take photos of any injuries that are visible and any damage to clothing.
Talk to any witnesses.
Exchange information with everyone involved but don’t make any statements about the accident. Insurance companies can use these statements against you later.
Get checked out by EMS crews and your own doctor. Get everything documented.
Keep any damaged clothing and personal items. Don’t throw evidence out.
Philadelphia T-Bone Accident Attorney
One of the most dangerous kind of motor vehicle accident is one that involves a side collision, also known as a T-Bone collision. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, impacts to the side of a passenger car is the second leading cause of vehicle accident fatalities and serious injuries (the number one cause is frontal crashes). Side impact accidents are particularly dangerous because there are no deep, crushable metal structures between the occupant and the impacting vehicle or object. As a result, the door collapses into the passenger at a significant speed.
The lack of adequate barriers for passengers makes side impacts quite dangerous. The NHTSA reported that in 2018 nearly 6,000 people died in side impact vehicle collisions (Table 72). The type and severity of an injury in a side impact crash will necessarily depend on several factors, including the speed of the accident, location of the impact, and size of the passenger.
Philadelphia Crashes Involving Car Fires
Anytime cars collide, there is the potential for a fire. In most car fires, the occupants of the car escape unharmed—at least from the fire. However, in others, someone is trapped and is severely injured by the fire or is killed. Also, with the addition of a fire, a crash scene is even more chaotic and deadly as the fire poses separate risks associated with the accident.
Liability in Fire Crashes:
When a car catches fire from an accident, it can cause damage and injuries that are not part of other crashes. Burns are some of the most severe injuries causing the victim considerable pain and a difficult road to recovery.
Fire can also spread beyond the accident scene and cause extended property damage and additional injuries. Some of those injuries can be to those who try to help. Someone pulling another person out of a fire can cause burns to the rescuer as well.
There is a limit, but just about any property damage or injuries directly caused by the fire will be considered a liability to the at-fault driver. In the event someone dies in a car accident, loved ones may pursue a wrongful death claim.
Types of Crashes that Cause Fires:
According to a FEMA report, each year there are over 170,000 vehicle fires that come from collisions on U.S. highways. Out of these, there are around 400 deaths and 1,300 injuries, some of them severe. Just about any collision can lead to a fire. Most fires start in the engine, but it can happen under a number of scenarios. Some of the crashes that have a higher risk for causing a fire are:
Head-On Collision: In a head-on collision, the impact puts both engines at risk for fire. Leaking fuel, transmission fluid hitting the manifold or acid leaking from a battery can all cause a fire.
T-Bone: The damage to an engine and the side of a vehicle where the gas tank might be can start a fire. .
Rollover: Rollovers bring many possibilities for a fire as just about any area of the car can be damaged.
Rear-end: A rear-end collision impact affects the engine of one car and the gas tank of another.
A note on design defects:
In auto accident cases where the fire can be traced to a design problem, then the auto-maker may be able to be held liable for all damages that were related to the fire. If the person was injured or killed fully or in part because of the fire, then the automaker could be pursued for damages. For example, in the last 4 years, millions of Kia and Hyundai vehicles have been recalled due to fire risks.
Types of Car Accident Injuries
When You Break a Bone in a Car Accident
There are several ways to fracture or break a bone in a car accident. Because there are different types of fractured bones, you may not even immediately realize you have one. Broken and fracted bones can occur in car accidents due to blunt force trauma or crushing weight, such as when a person is pinned in a car.
Although a broken bone may not sound as serious as other accident injuries such as head trauma, they can lead to serious complications and create unexpected expenses. And when another driver is responsible for the accident, an entire set of additional complications must be dealt with Treatment and recovery can be stressful enough without having to manage legal complications, insurance negotiations, and the finances of a car accident injury. However, the auto insurance claim lawyers near you at the Pearce Law Firm can help you navigate these processes and make sure the right person is held responsible for your injuries.
A broken bone or fractured bone normally heals correctly once set and protected by a splint or cast. There are, however, occasions when a break is so severe that pins or plates installed via surgery may be required. When this happens, it may mean that even after the surgery, the affected limb and bone may be weaker and not function as they once did.
In open fractures, there is also the risk of a bone infection. This occurs when bacteria contaminate the inside of the exposed bone. This is a serious condition that—unfortunately—does sometimes occur in broken bones sustained during car accidents.
If you fail to seek treatment immediately for any bone injury, your condition could worsen. Additionally, if you seek compensation later, your initial failure to take your injury seriously could jeopardize your case.
Any type of ongoing medical treatment after a car accident is almost always expensive. This is particularly true of the worst broken bones, which may require surgery and rehabilitative therapy. But even minor broken and fractured bones may require expensive testing, medication, and medical devices such as braces and splints.
During this time, your ability to work or perform daily functions may be limited. In addition to the medical bills, you may also face lost income and an inability to carry out the day-to-day tasks you once could without a second thought.
Among some of the most common injuries to occur in Philadelphia car accidents are back injuries. Many people don’t understand the severity of this type of injury or the extent of the back’s role in many everyday tasks and activities. If you have suffered one of these injuries during a car accident, you have likely discovered that there are a number of physical, emotional, and financial ramifications that have to be dealt with. Treating back injuries can be expensive, and the injury is likely something you will contend with for the rest of your life. If your accident was caused by another driver’s negligence, you can hold that person responsible by seeking financial compensation for your back injury and the financial burdens and pain and suffering you’ve experienced as a result. A Philadelphia car accident back injury lawyer from the Pearce Law Firm can help you throughout this process.
Understanding the Severity of Back Injuries
A back injury could be anything from a fractured vertebra to a severing of the nerves in the spinal cord. Back injuries can greatly decrease your mobility, limiting the types of activities you can take part in and greatly reducing your quality of life. Pain and other sensations can be another issue as almost all signals from the body travel through the spinal cord to the brain. This means you may feel pain when you shouldn’t, or you may not feel things that you should.
Symptoms of Back Injuries
Extensive testing is required to determine the full extent of a back injury, and limited movement is almost guaranteed to be a part of the treatment plan. Some of the most common symptoms that occur when you have a back injury include the following:
Difficulty getting comfortable, whether standing, sitting, or lying down
Back pain and limited mobility
Headaches and migraines
Loss of sensation or tingling sensation in the extremities
Because you might not notice the severity of your back problems right away, you could be injured far more than you think. After any car accident, you should always see your doctor for a full medical evaluation.
Financial Loss from an Accident-Related Back Injury
Because back injuries can be extremely serious accident injuries, the financial loss can extend much further than just the treatment expenses. You will most likely need ongoing testing and consultations with several different types of doctors, as well as home medical equipment and modifications to your home and vehicle to accommodate the injury.
Long-term pain medication and physical therapy might also be necessary for your recovery. All of this can add up to quite a financial burden and doesn’t even take into account the lost income from not being able to work. If you have suffered a back injury in a car accident because of someone else’s negligence, you could be entitled to financial compensation that could help you move forward.
Rather than suffer from a back injury alone, let the experienced attorneys at the Pearce Law Firm navigate the process on your behalf and get you the compensation you deserve.
Pennsylvania Auto Accident Statistics
In 2019, 1,059 people lost their lives in Pennsylvania traffic accidents.
The 1,059 fatalities represent the lowest number of deaths in Pennsylvania motor vehicle crashes over the last 92 years. That’s according to Pennsylvania DOT (PENN DOT) findings.
By comparison, across the U.S., the National Safety Council (NSC) found that an estimated 38,800 people were killed in traffic accidents, in 2019.
Over the last five years, an average of 1,154 people died each year on Pennsylvania roads.
125,267 total accidents were reported across the state in 2019. One out of every 45 state residents was involved in a reportable traffic crash.
Pennsylvania DOT Daily On Average Figures:
Each day 343 reportable traffic crashes occurred (about 14 crashes every hour)
Each day 3 people were fatally injured in reportable traffic crashes (one fatality every 8 hours)
Each day 209 people were injured in reportable crashes (about 9 injuries every hour)
In 2019, across the nation, around 4.4 million people were injured seriously enough in auto accidents to require a hospital visit.
Philadelphia Traffic Accident Numbers
With a population of 1,584,064 (12% of the state’s population), Philadelphia reported 11,120 car crashes in 2019.
Philadelphia lost 91 people on local roads in 2019.
Over a five-year period, an average of 96 people a year were killed in traffic accidents in the city.
Philadelphia County had the most reported fatal accidents of any county. Philadelphia’s deadly incidents made up 8.6% of Pennsylvania’s total fatality numbers.
Philadelphia saw 7,410 accidents that resulted in injury in 2019. Another 3,624 crashes were listed as property damage only.
DUI Related Accidents In Pennsylvania
Out of 9,390 DUI Accidents in 2019, 299 people died in Pennsylvania according to PENN DOT’s Crash Facts & Statistics Report for 2019.
There were 4,490 DUI Accidents involving injuries across the state in 2019
On average each day, 26 alcohol-related traffic crashes occurred statewide.
Young people 16-20 years old were involved in 361 alcohol-related accidents in 2019. 21-25-year-old drivers were involved in 1,682 DUI incidents, the highest rate of any age group. In fact, 43% of fatalities in the 21-25-year-old age group were drivers who consumed alcohol.
DUI Related Accidents In Philadelphia
Philadelphia saw 28 deaths in alcohol-related crashes in 2019.
Over five years, Philadelphia averaged 24 alcohol-related accident deaths a year.
73% of motorists driving under the influence in traffic crashes were male.
Distracted Driving Accidents Across Pennsylvania and Philadelphia
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation reported 13,729 accidents involving distracted driving in 2019. 56 fatalities were attributed to distracted driving.
Philadelphia saw 217 total accidents involving drivers who were distracted.
One person was killed in an accident attributed to distracted driving in Philadelphia in 2019.
Accidents Related to Location and Weather in Pennsylvania
There were 1,626 work zone crashes in Pennsylvania in 2019.
16 Fatally Injured (No Workers Fatally Injured)
Pennsylvania Accidents According to Time of Day
In 2019, there were 79,217 accidents reported during daylight hours across the state. 41,125 accidents occurred at night.
There were fewer nighttime accidents, but they proved more deadly. Daytime deadly accidents occurred at a rate of 7.2 fatalities per 1000 accidents. Deadly accidents after dark occurred at a rate of 10.6 fatalities per 1000 crashes.
69% of the alcohol-related crashes were at night, and more often on weekend nights.
In 2019, alcohol-related fatalities were 28% of the total traffic deaths for the state.
Drive Safely in Pennsylvania
Factors like weather and vehicle malfunction can play a part in accidents, but a rough estimate puts driver error responsible for 85-90% of all traffic crashes. That may be your mistake behind the wheel, but more likely, it’ll be the careless driver that’s in front, beside, or behind you. It doesn’t matter how careful you drive, a distracted motorist’s mistake can make it impossible to avoid a collision.
You may find yourself the victim of a bad driver and facing injuries and a long recovery. In these cases, you should talk to a local attorney who specializes in car accidents. Trusting your hospital bills and other financial losses to a stranger and his or her insurance company can leave you without the money you’ll need now and in the future to return to a normal life. As the statistics every year show, there’s no shortage of careless drivers on Pennsylvania roads, and chances are they’ll be one in your lane at some point on every trip you make.
Red Light Accidents
Motor vehicle accidents are one of the leading causes of fatalities across the United States. Unfortunately, many of these accidents can be avoided if drivers choose to use proper care and caution while driving. A major contributor to car accident fatalities is drivers running red lights. Drivers running red lights cause hundreds of fatalities every year and cause thousands of car crashes. In 2019, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, nearly 846 people and another 143,000 people suffered injuries as a result of drivers running red lights. Many of these victims are innocent bystanders. More than half of the victims killed were pedestrians, cyclists, or passengers in other vehicles
According to a survey from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, approximately 86% of drivers believe that running red lights is a major safety threat yet 31% reported doing so in the last 30 days..
Even though drivers recognize this as a problem, many drivers still run red lights, which pose a safety threat to other drivers and can cause serious injuries and fatalities. Common causes of red light accidents include distracted driving (such as talking or texting on the cell phone) and speeding to beat the light. While it is impossible to entirely eliminate the threat from red-light runners, it is at least possible to minimize the risk. In this regard, it is recommended that drivers use caution at intersections, including looking in all directions for red-light runners before proceeding after a light turns green, whether driving, cycling or walking.
What Is The Definition of Running a Red Light?
The U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, has legally defined red-light running depending on whether the law in effect allows “permissive yellow”or “restrictive yellow.” If the “permissible yellow” rule applies then a driver can legally enter the intersection during the entire yellow interval. A violation occurs only if the driver enters the intersection after the onset of the red light.
Conversely, under the “restrictive yellow” rule, a driver may neither enter nor be in the intersection during a red light. Notably, a driver commits a violation if the driver does not clear the intersection after the onset of the red. Importantly, drivers who are in the intersection waiting to turn when the light changes red are not considered red light runners under the law.
If you have been involved in a red light accident, it is important to have an experienced car accident attorney who can help you understand your legal rights. The accident attorneys at The Pearce Law Firm can help you investigate the facts and circumstances surrounding the accident to determine who caused the accident and who is legally liable.
Self-Driving Car Accidents
What happens when a self-driving car is involved in a car accident? Who was negligent? The answer may be more complicated than current automobile law that is based on “tort law.” In Pennsylvania and most states, an injured person may recover damages including compensation for pain and suffering against the driver who breached the duty of care (committed negligent) which caused the accident. However, what if the self-driving software of the car was at fault? For example, a Tesla Model S was involved in a truck accident when the self-driving Tesla did not stop and actually went under the trailer. According to the New York Times article, Tesla acknowledged that a “technical failure” of the automatic braking system played a role but maintained that Autopilot was not at fault. Obviously, in this type of case the manufacturer of the car and the manufacturer of the self-driving software (if a different company) may both be sued as potentially negligent parties.
The bottom line is that car accidents in Philadelphia and around the world may be much more complicated in the future for the autonomous car. Instead of involving just a claim or car accident lawsuit in Philadelphia against the negligent driver, a personal injury attorney may have to be consulted about a lawsuit against the car manufacturer and the manufacturer of the self-driving hardware and software. These lawsuits could be very expensive to litigate and may change how cars are insured and which parties are sued in a car accident. One thing is for sure, an expereinced car accident lawyer in Philadelphi s will be even more important in the future to help investigate this new style of car crash.
Rollover Car Accidents
If you have been injured in a rollover car accident, expenses arising out of medical treatment or carrying out repairs to your vehicle are inevitable. One of the most popular vehicles today is the Sport Utility Vehicle or SUV. However, because of their high center of gravity, the SUV is more prone to rollover accidents than other lower vehicles, especially if the vehicle leaves the road or the driver makes a sharp turn. Figures from the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2019 show that among passenger vehicle occupants killed in 2019 by vehicle type, the percentage of fatalities in rollover crashes was highest for SUVs (41%). It was lower for pickups (38%), vans (25%), and passenger cars (20%). Even if you have insurance coverage, you may be shocked to find there are limitations to the kind of compensation you can claim after the accident.
Do you have limited tort or full tort on your policy?
Limited tort: Two types of insurance coverage can be purchased in Pennsylvania, which are known as “limited tort option” and “full tort option.” To find out if you have “limited tort” or “full tort” check the declaration page of your policy. Under Pennsylvania law, those who select the limited tort option may not bring suit for non-economic damages or “pain and suffering,” unless they have suffered a “serious injury.” A serious injury is defined by law as a personal injury resulting in death, permanent and serious disfigurement, or serious impairment of bodily function. At present, the courts in Philadelphia and across Pennsylvania are still interpreting what constitutes a “serious injury.” Generally, the courts will look to see if the injury has significantly affected your ability to perform your normal activities of daily living for a long period of time and caused you to suffer a significant amount of pain and discomfort during that period of time. Edith Pearce recommends you choose the “full tort” option or change to the “full tort” option. Choosing limited tort saves you very little money in annual premiums, as little as $100 to $200, yet it may cost you thousands of dollars by not allowing you to recover for certain injuries. If you have “limited tort,” on your auto policy, you may still have a case and you need an experienced car accident insurance lawyer like Edith Pearce to help prove you have a serious injury to allow you to recover.
Full tort: Full Tort allows you to retain unrestricted rights to bring suit against the negligent party in an car accident, whether your injury is considered “serious” or not. Do not be fooled by the insurance companies claim to save you money. Make sure you choose the full tort option to protect you and your family.
Do you have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage with or without stacking?
Uninsured: Uninsured Motorist Benefits (usually abbreviated UM on your policy) protect you and your family if you were injured in a car accident and the driver at fault had no insurance or if the driver who caused the car accident left the scene of the accident without stopping (“hit and run”). UM coverage is inexpensive. You may choose to waive this coverage, which Edith Pearce strongly recommends against. By waiving UM coverage, you are choosing not to insure or protect yourself and your family, even though you have been responsible and purchased automobile insurance to protect a stranger if you cause the car accident. Don’t protect others and fail to protect yourself and your family. If you choose UM benefits, your insurance company will pay you the same as the other driver’s insurance company would have paid you if that person had insurance. Also, the insurance company is not allowed to raise your rates, or refuse to renew coverage, because you made a claim for UM benefits. In other words, if the car accident was not your fault, your rates will not go up just because you made a claim.
Underinsured: Underinsured Motorist Benefits (usually abbreviated UIM on your policy) protect you and your family if you were injured in a car accident and the driver at fault had insurance coverage, but the amount or limits of coverage were too low to compensate you for your injuries. For example, assume the driver at fault maintained the minimum amount of insurance allowed under Pennsylvania of $15,000 of liability coverage, which was paid to you. Also assume that you were seriously injured in a car accident and the fair compensation for your injuries was $100,000. If you maintained underinsured motorist coverage of $100,000, your insurance company could pay you $85,000 additional benefits to allow you to be fully compensated (rather than just receiving $15,000). The insurance company is not permitted to raise your rates, or refuse to renew coverage, merely because it paid underinsured benefits. If the car accident was not your fault, your rates will not go up just because you made a claim. Edith Pearce strongly recommends you maintain underinsured coverage. Don’t protect others and fail to protect yourself and your family. Failure to maintain underinsured coverage could result in you receiving only $15,000 for bodily injuries because the driver at fault purchased the cheapest auto insurance policy with minimum limits.
Stacking: If you have chosen “Stacking” of your automobile insurance policy, you are permitted to add together or “stack” the coverages of each automobile owned and registered in Pennsylvania for uninsured (UM) or underinsured (UIM) coverage or insurance. For example, if each vehicle has $15,000/$30,000 coverage and there are two vehicles, the coverage would actually be equivalent to $30,000/$60,000 limits. Although stacking is optional, Edith Pearce strongly recommends that you choose or add stacking to your policy as it may provide an inexpensive means to increase your coverage. Although you may not know it, you may be adequately protecting others in an car accident, except yourself, by not having enough underinsured or uninsured coverage. Underinsured and Uninsured coverage protects you if you are injured in a car accident and the driver at fault does not have enough insurance or any insurance to compensate you for your injuries.
Do you have income loss protection?
Income loss protection is optional under Pennsylvania law. If you choose this coverage, generally 80% of gross income lost after the first five days of work missed can be recovered up to $1,000 per month. The minimum wage loss coverage you may purchase is $5,000.00. Edith Pearce recommends you purchase income loss protection at a level that provides a safety net. If you do not carry Income loss coverage, you may not be able to collect money for your lost wages unless and until your case has resolved either through a trial or by settlement.
Are there multiple policies of insurance under which you may get coverage?
Generally, if you own more than one registered vehicle in Pennsylvania, stacking is permitted so that you may add together or “stack” your underinsured or uninsured coverage of each automobile. Also, the party that caused the car accident may have more than one policy available for you to recover against. For example, if the driver causing the car accident is driving a business vehicle, there may be coverage under a business automobile insurance policy, umbrella insurance coverage, and a personal automobile insurance policy.
An umbrella policy is excess liability insurance coverage over and above that which is covered by an automobile insurance policy. In picking up where an automobile policy left off, it is an extra layer of coverage.
Could there be workers’ compensation coverage?
Workers’ Compensation (formerly known as workmen’s compensation) generally covers employees from injuries, which occur while working, and provides wage loss and medical benefits. Most people do not think of workers’ compensation coverage when they are involved in a car accident. If your car accident involved a trip or errand for your company, it may be covered under Pennsylvania workers’ compensation. Even a car accident while commuting to and from work can sometimes be covered under Pennsylvania workers’ compensation. While Pennsylvania does not allow workers’ compensation benefits if the car accident occurs when an employee is generally commuting to and from work, there are many exceptions to this rule. For example, where the employee’s duties included travel or where the employee was running an errand for his employer during his or her commute, workers’ compensation may apply. Other examples of automobile accidents which could be covered under workers’ compensation include when an employer is paying/reimbursing mileage as part of an employee’s salary and where the employee has no fixed place of work such as an office or building he reports to every day. For example, a health care provider or nurse that travels to different patients’ homes everyday may be covered by workers’ compensation even if the car accident occurs on her commute home, because she had “no fixed place of work.” Edith Pearce has the inside knowledge of working for an insurance company as an attorney and a defense firm for 10 years. She will be able to determine what insurance may apply to achieve the maximum compensation you deserve. If you’ve been injured or sustained damages by a PA government or commonwealth employee, our PennDOT attorneys can help you file a car accident claim against the offending entity.