Motor Vehicle Accidents

Serious and catastrophic injuries and deaths occur all too often on Pennsylvania roads and highways. From head-on to rear-end collisions, and from angle crashes or side-swipes to pedestrian accidents, collisions take many forms. Automobiles, trucks, SUV's, motorcycles, tractor-trailers, and vehicle/pedestrian collisions are daily occurrences, with sometimes tragic and life altering consequences.

According to PennDOT's 2011 Pennsylvania Crash Facts and Statistics, in 2011, there were 125,395 reportable traffic crashes in Pennsylvania. As a result of these accidents, 1,286 individuals were killed, and 87,839 individuals injured. Put another way, on average in Pennsylvania each day there was a death every 7 hours, and approximately 10 injuries every hour.

Under Pennsylvania law, in order to recover damages for a motor vehicle accident, an injured person must prove that the driver of the other vehicle was negligent (careless) in the maintenance or operation of his or her vehicle, or has disregarded safe driving practices. For example, an innocent victim of a drunk driver would be entitled to compensation for certain specified damages as permitted by law. The insurance carrier for the drunk driver cannot avoid its duty to provide coverage on the grounds that it's insured committed a criminal offense by driving under the influence of alcohol.

If you are a passenger in a motor vehicle and suffer injuries, we can advise you of your rights as to the driver or owner of the vehicle in which you were traveling, or as to any other driver involved in the accident. As an injured passenger, unless you interfered with the operation of the vehicle which you occupied, or knowingly accepted a ride with an impaired driver, you would bear no responsibility for the harm you suffered, and may be entitled to compensation from the responsible insurance carrier. We understand that you may have concerns about pursuing your rights against the carrier which insures someone you know, and are willing to advise you of your options in this context.

If you suffer injuries in an accident involving a tractor trailer, we have the capability to investigate the fault of the truck driver, discover his or her driving history, and probe into matters such as the number of continuous driver hours on the road. We can also identify and determine the potential liability of the involved motor carrier including any non-compliance with applicable safety regulations.

In certain situations, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or local municipalities may also bear responsibility for the failure to correct known and dangerous road conditions, or the failure to properly maintain roadways under their control.

A manufacturer and seller of a motor vehicle or motor vehicle parts such as brakes or air bags may be liable for causing harm from producing or selling a defectively designed or manufactured product or product component. Negligent inspection of motor vehicles causing an accident is another potential source of liability.

If you contact us about your motor vehicle accident, we will discuss your automobile insurance policy with you to determine your rights under Pennsylvania's motor vehicle insurance law including the effect of your choice of full or limited tort, and your election to obtain uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage from your own automobile insurance company.

Injuries and damages from motor vehicle collisions are often significant. Your vehicle repair and medical bills may represent the smallest part of your claim.

We have over 35 years of experience in handling personal injury claims and lawsuits. We are prepared to thoroughly investigate the nature and extent of your physical injuries arising from your motor vehicle accident, consult with your treating physicians, nurses, therapists, or other rehabilitation personnel, and retain independent and qualified experts to analyze and report on the issues in your case including the fault of the responsible parties, and the damages arising from your accident. We will also work with you and those close to you to obtain a full understanding of the economic losses and financial hardships, which you have already incurred, and will face in the future.

In addition to damages arising from your physical injuries, you may also have suffered from the following:

• Past and future medical expenses

• Past and future wage or income loss

• Loss of the daily pleasures of life

• Costs associated with hiring any additional help you may require

• Emotional and psychological trauma associated with your accident

• Any other cost you have incurred as a result of the accident

If you or someone close to you has been the victim of a motor vehicle accident, it is important that you contact an attorney as soon as possible. Pennsylvania law has definite time limits on filing motor vehicle accident claims in Court. Filing your lawsuit too late will result in automatic dismissal of your claims.

CONTACT US FOR A FREE LEGAL CONSULTATION

Call us at 412-394-6842, or email Art Schwarzwaelder at art@schwarzwalderlaw.com. If you prefer, you may click Contact Us and complete the questionnaire.