If you have never been involved in a traffic accident, you may be overwhelmed by the aftermath of the accident. Who pays your medical bills? How do you get your vehicle repaired? What happens if you need to be out of work? There are so many questions that it is easy to become stressed and anxious. It is also easy to become confused.
The steps you take after a traffic collision can have a significant impact on your settlement proceeds. Unfortunately, we cannot turn back time and re-do the steps we took after an accident. You can do something now — you can contact our Erie accident attorney for help. We will evaluate your case for free and provide our legal opinion regarding your options for recovering the maximum compensation available for your injury claim.
Now that it is Fall in Pennsylvania, the weather will begin to get cooler. Even though we are not facing ice and snow yet, we will soon enough. Until then, we still deal with slick roads because of rain. When poor road conditions cause an accident, is anyone responsible? Can you sue another driver or other party? The answer depends on the circumstances of your case.
Suing A Government Agency for Hazardous Road Conditions
In some cases, a hazardous road condition causes an accident. Examples of hazardous road conditions include potholes, cracks, missing guardrails, and road debris. Sometimes, a government agency or contractor hired by the state can be held liable for accidents caused by road conditions. These types of cases can be very complex and difficult to win. We urge you to call our office if you suspect a dangerous road condition caused your traffic accident. You might have a valid claim against the state, county, or city government agency responsible for maintaining safe roads.
When you are involved in a traffic accident, it may be difficult to think clearly. You have just been given a severe jolt, at the very least, so it is natural to be a little confused and stunned. Unfortunately, there is vital information that you need to remember that can help your personal injury attorney as he investigates the crash to identify liable parties and gather evidence to prove fault.
Obviously, your first concern should be seeking medical care for your injuries. Your medical treatment and recovery are your top priority. However, it can be beneficial if you remember to write down certain information immediately after a crash while it is still fresh on your mind.
To help you remember what information you need after a wreck, you may want to make a list of the following ten items and keep several copies in each of your vehicles. It is much easier to answer pre-printed questions than it is to try to remember what information you need to write down after a car crash.
Labor Day Weekend is great for spending quality time with your family and friends. Whether it is spending time at a backyard BBQ, on the lake, or at a festival or concert, Labor Day is perfect for getting in one last summer trip or adventure.
Unfortunately, some families will experience tragic accidents over the holiday. In some cases, you may be able to avoid an accident by taking a few precautions. Below are tips for avoiding some of the most common types of accidents and injuries associated with a long holiday weekend.
When you are injured in a traffic-related accident, you might be entitled to recover money for your losses and injuries. Depending on the facts of your case, the amount could be substantial, and the amount could include compensation for future damages and permanent disability. While most types of compensation are not taxed as income, there are exceptions. In some cases, you may be required to pay income tax on part of your settlement amount.
Do you live in a college town? If so, students are headed back to dorms and classes for the fall semester. While you may be accustomed to watching for younger children in school zones, we often forget that we need to slow down and be careful when driving near college campuses.
With college in session, there will be more pedestrians and bicyclists using the roads and sidewalks near campuses and around town. As a motorist, you have a duty to take reasonable precautions to avoid a bicycle accident or pedestrian accident.
It is that time again in Erie — back to school time for thousands of students. Schools in and around Erie will be opening their doors to students later this month. Drivers need to be looking for children in school zones and around parks and neighborhoods. Also, more children may be walking to school or riding their bicycles. All drivers should be aware of the safety concerns associated with back to school time.
Children and Traffic Accidents
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that traffic accidents involving children increased in 2015. The number of children injured in 2015 increased by six percent to 178,000 injuries. The number of traffic-related fatalities for children also increased in 2015. The number of deaths related to traffic accidents increased by five percent to 1,132 children. To protect children this school year, review the safety tips for school zones and teach children to be careful when traveling to and from school.
Some drivers are simply worse than other drivers. They do not take the safety of others into concern when they get behind the wheel of a vehicle. Most drivers are very safe drivers who try to avoid accidents. However, even the safest driver may have habits that put him or her at risk for an accident. In many cases, we may not realize that our behavior is that bad. Below are two of the worst driving habits that can increase your risk of being involved in a traffic accident.
Distracted Driving in Pennsylvania
Distracted driving has become an increasing problem throughout the United States. The NHTSA estimates that 3,477 lives were lost in 2015 because of distracted driving. Roughly 391,000 people were injured in traffic accidents involving a distracted driver.
Many drivers are not fully aware of the danger of driving while distracted. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and AAA Exchange have conducted several studies involving distracted drivers. Studies have shown that the danger continues even after a distraction has ceased. The time it takes for a driver to be engaged fully in the task of driving after “multitasking” is 27 seconds. During those 27 seconds, a child could run into the road, a vehicle could suddenly stop, or a piece of road debris could suddenly appear. Just a few seconds could mean the difference between avoiding an accident and causing a collision.
Examples of distracted driving include:
- Texting while driving and talking on a cell phone
- Reading or sending emails
- Using any form of social media
- Looking at videos or reading
- Using a GPS device
- Eating, drinking, and grooming
- Taking care of children or interacting with other passengers
- Daydreaming or focusing on things outside of the vehicle
Any distraction can increase the risk of a traffic accident. For tips on how you can avoid distractions and other information on distracted driving, visit the distracted driving website provided by AAA Exchange.
Road Rage and Aggressive Driving
Instances of road rage and aggressive driving are also increasing throughout the United States. AAA Exchange estimates that almost 80 percent of drivers experience episodes of anger and aggression at least once in the last year. Aggressive behaviors can lead to accidents and injuries. Examples of driving habits that can lead to road rage, aggression, and traffic accidents include:
- Tailgating and following too closely
- Speeding and reckless driving
- Yelling at or cussing at other drivers
- Making obscene gestures toward other drivers
- Blocking cars from passing
- Ramming other vehicles
- Getting out to confront other drivers
- Sideswiping other vehicles
- Throwing objects at vehicles
- Changing lanes without signaling
- Running stop signs and red lights
If you engage in aggressive driving behavior, you can be increasing your risk of being involved in an accident. For more information about aggressive driving and tips on how to avoid road rage, see AAA’s brochure on road rage.
Call an Erie Accident Attorney for Help
If you are the victim of an aggressive driver or distracted driver, you have the right to file a claim for damages. You should not be liable for the damages caused by a negligent driver.
Call The Travis Law Firm toll free at (800) 401-2066 to schedule a free legal consultation with one of our Pennsylvania accident attorneys.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance coverage can be confusing in Pennsylvania because of the state’s full and limited tort laws. To understand the PIP requirements and tort laws, it helps to understand the difference between an “at fault” insurance state and “fault” insurance state.
At Fault vs. Fault Insurance
Some states require drivers to carry liability insurance (fault insurance) to pay for damages from an accident that the driver causes. These states require that you prove a driver caused a collision before you can recover compensation from that driver.
Other states have adopted a no-fault insurance policy whereby drivers are required to purchase no-fault insurance (PIP or Med-Pay). No-fault insurance pays for damages in a car accident regardless of who caused the crash. In other words, if you are injured in a car crash, you file your claim with your own insurance company even if the other driver caused the crash. However, PIP coverage does not pay for all damages. In most cases, it only pays for some of your lost wages, and it does not cover pain and suffering damages.
Pennsylvania has a no-fault insurance policy, but it also allows drivers to choose between limited tort insurance policies and full tort insurance policies.
State Minimum Insurance Requirements for Pennsylvania
Drivers in Pennsylvania are required to carry both liability and PIP coverage. The minimum liability coverage is $15,000 in bodily injury coverage ($30,000 per incident) and $5,000 in property damage liability insurance. In addition, each driver must have $5,000 in PIP coverage.
If you are injured in an accident, you file your claim against your PIP coverage first. If your medical bills, lost wages, and other financial damages exceed the PIP coverage, you can file a claim against the driver who caused the accident. However, whether you can sue for pain and suffering damages depends on whether you choose full tort or limited tort coverage.
If you choose limited tort coverage, you cannot be sued for pain and suffering damages (noneconomic damages) for an accident you cause, BUT you cannot sue another driver for your pain and suffering damages either. The exceptions to this restriction are when an accident results in death, permanent serious disfigurement, or serious impairment of a bodily function.
However, if you chose full tort coverage, you can sue the driver who caused your crash regardless of the severity of your injuries. By choosing full tort, you also open yourself to lawsuits for accidents that you cause. Unfortunately, many people regret not choosing full tort when they are injured in an accident caused by another driver because pain and suffering damages can be a significant amount of a car accident settlement. In these cases, it comes down to proving that your injuries meet the threshold level for filing a lawsuit for pain and suffering.
Erie Car Accident Attorneys Can Help
If you are injured in a traffic accident, sorting out the insurance issues can be confusing and overwhelming. Our Erie accident attorneys can review the applicable coverage and advise you of your options for recovering compensation for your damages.
Call The Travis Law Firm at (800) 401-2066 to schedule a free legal consultation with one of our Erie accident attorneys.