Each year, motor vehicle accidents take the lives of thousands of people across the United States and leave many others with long-term injuries. While the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) reported promising news that the commonwealth had seen its third-lowest number of car accident fatalities on record in 2018, that still meant 1,190 victims lost their lives in the state as a result of fatal motor vehicle accident injuries. That year, 128,420 reportable accidents occurred in Pennsylvania, in which over 78,000 people suffered injuries.
Traffic laws require drivers to obey signals and speed limits, pay attention to the road, and exercise caution to maintain everyone’s safety. However, drivers sometimes commit careless mistakes or act in an intentionally unlawful manner that can have serious long-term consequences for themselves and others involved.
If you or a loved one suffered severe or fatal injuries in a motor vehicle collision caused by someone else’s negligence, a Pennsylvania car accident lawyer could help you hold the responsible party accountable for your damages. Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today at (800) 794-0444 to speak with our legal team about your case.
Causes of Car Accidents
In April 2008, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) compiled the data they collected and evaluated for their National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Study (NMVCCS) to determine the reasons accidents occur, from the events that set the stage for the collision to the final factor. The NMVCCS revealed that of all the critical reasons they discovered for accidents, driver-related errors accounted for 94 percent of all accidents. They broke this category down further to categorize certain actions, behaviors, and contributors.
At over 40 percent, recognition errors make up the largest category of driver-related critical reasons. Recognition errors include those in which the driver fails to recognize a dangerous situation due to factors such as inattentiveness, failing to take note of their surroundings, or distractions inside or outside of the vehicle.
The next most common type of driver-related error, decision errors caused approximately one-third of the accidents studied. Decision errors occur when the driver makes unsafe choices, such as:
- Driving too fast for conditions or curves
- Illegal maneuvers
- Misjudging another vehicle’s distance or speed
- Aggressive driving
In about one in 10 cases, performance error—in which the driver failed to perform the appropriate action to avoid the hazard—caused the accident. Inexperienced drivers often commit performance errors, which could include overcompensating, panicking, or losing control of the vehicle.
Although considered a driver-related error, causes related to non-performance errors only sometimes involve a driver’s negligence. For example, if the driver falls asleep at the wheel, they may have responsibility for driving while fatigued. However, if they have a heart attack while driving and cause an accident, they likely could not anticipate or prevent such an event from occurring.
If you suffered injuries or lost a loved one because of these or another driver-related error, a Pennsylvania car accident lawyer could help you file a claim against the liable party. Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm 24/7 for your free case review with a team member.
Financial Recovery in Car Accident Cases
Pennsylvania gives residents the option to carry no-fault (“Limited Tort”) insurance under 75 PA Cons Stat § 1705, meaning their insurance policy must provide coverage for their injuries regardless of who caused the accident. However, in circumstances that involve severe or fatal injuries, the victim or their family could have the option to file a claim for additional damages.
If you choose “Full Tort” coverage, you have the legal right to pursue economic and noneconomic damages through a personal injury lawsuit, but these policies typically have higher premiums.
Types and amounts of financial awards you could receive will depend on your case. Still, they might include compensation for expenses resulting from catastrophic or permanent injuries as well as wrongful death, such as:
- Medical bills
- Lost income
- Property damage
- Reduced earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Funeral and burial expenses
A car accident attorney can help you assess your damages and determine if you can pursue financial awards from the person who caused your car accident.
Pennsylvania Statutes of Limitations on Car Accidents
In Pennsylvania, car accident victims and their loved ones who qualify for additional compensation from the at-fault driver have the option of filing suit within two years of the accident per 42 PA Con Stat § 5524. This statute of limitations applies to both personal injury cases, which victims file for damages resulting from their injuries, and wrongful death claims, which the personal representative of a decedent’s estate can file for damages resulting from the loss of the victim.
How a Pennsylvania Car Accident Lawyer Can Help You with Your Case
Navigating the legal system can present a challenge to victims of car accidents and their families, especially during your difficult time. While you have the option of filing a claim on your own, you might find that having the assistance of a personal injury lawyer makes the process easier for you. They can enable a smoother process by handling all the appropriate paperwork, managing your case, fighting for adequate financial recovery during settlement negotiations, and taking your case to trial if necessary.
The civil claims process involves many intricacies, deadlines, and procedures that a Pennsylvania car accident lawyer understands, and their knowledge could help you avoid preventable delays. The sooner you contact an attorney to file your claim, the sooner they can get started on your case.
Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm Today
If you suffered serious or fatal injuries in a car accident in Pennsylvania, and your insurance policy did not provide sufficient coverage for your damages, the team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can help you determine if you have a case against the at-fault driver. Our Pennsylvania car accident lawyers work on contingency, meaning you won’t owe us any fees unless we recover a financial award in your favor. Contact our legal team today at (800) 794-0444 to discuss your free case evaluation.