Regardless of their severity, car accidents have the power to change lives. At Shrager & Sachs, our Philadelphia car accident lawyers are prepared to help you navigate complicated legal matters and deal with frustrating insurance policies, so you can focus on getting your life back in order.
After being in an auto wreck, it’s likely you’ll have concerns regarding your health and potential financial burdens. If you feel as though your accident resulted from the negligence of another party, you may be eligible for compensation that can help you ease those financial burdens. As your legal representation, our law firm will do whatever we can to help you obtain monetary awards that can assist with your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
In order to begin seeking the compensation you’re entitled to, you’ll want to gather all the evidence you can so we can build a strong case to present to your insurance company. In order to assemble that evidence, it may be beneficial for you to have a better understanding of auto collisions in Pennsylvania and the Philadelphia area.
How Common Are Car Accidents in Pennsylvania?
There was a total of 128,188 car crashes in Pennsylvania in 2017. Let’s break that number down by accidents involving property damage, injuries, and fatalities. The facts and statistics below have been compiled from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s (PennDOT) 2017 Pennsylvania Crash Facts and Statistics.
- Of the 128,188 car accidents, 68,901 resulted in just property damage, 58,204 resulted in injury, and 1,083 of the crashes resulted in fatalities.
- Most crashes occurred on the highway.
- Nearly 294,000 individuals were involved in the total number of accidents.
- Fortunately, the majority of those people walked away unscathed.
- 80,612 sustained an accident injury. PennDOT categorizes the injuries according to their severity. 27,237 were suspected to have minor injuries. 26,519 sustained injuries of an unknown severity. 22,629 were categorized as having a possible injury. The remaining 4,227 were treated for serious injuries.
- As a result of the car wrecks, 1,137 individuals lost their lives.
- Most accident-related deaths in Pennsylvania in 2017 resulted from speeding. The second leading cause of accident-related deaths involved alcohol.
- Even though Philadelphia County is one of the smaller counties in the state, a higher number of crashes occurred when compared to the other 66 counties.
- Philadelphia has high numbers for traffic fatalities related to alcohol consumption, seat belt use, and pedestrians.
- Because of the availability of rideshare services in Philadelphia, Uber and Lyft car accidents do occur.
As you can see, motor vehicle accidents are not uncommon in the Keystone State. What’s also common are the reasons many of these accidents happen in the first place.
What Are the Common Causes of Car Accidents?
Car crashes occur for a variety of reasons; however, there are recognizable patterns based on PennDOT’s research:
Speeding. Speeding is the number one reason vehicle wrecks occurred in Pennsylvania in 2017. A little more than 31,000 of the accidents in Pennsylvania in 2017 resulted from speeding. When a driver speeds, their reaction time and control over their vehicle decline. This is especially dangerous in construction zones and on rural backroads. Vehicles traveling at faster speeds also exert more energy in the event of a crash, which means the risk of property damage and injury is significantly higher.
Distracted Driving. Drivers can become distracted for a variety of reasons. Nearly 16,000 accidents resulted from distractions like texting and driving, eating, and adjusting the car’s internal controls. Some other common distractions include personal grooming, gawking at crash scenes, daydreaming, and reaching for fallen objects. No matter how focused we may think we are, the brain isn’t capable of multitasking to the point we can drive and complete other tasks.
Drunk Driving. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs accounted for 9,143 car wrecks in Pennsylvania in 2017. Anyone with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or higher is considered alcohol-impaired by the law. The effects of driving while intoxicated include drowsiness, impaired vision, reduced reaction times, and difficulty understanding sensory information.
Fatigued Driving. While the number of accidents isn’t as high as the other categories, falling asleep at the wheel is incredibly dangerous. More than 2,500 wrecks were caused by fatigued drivers. A drowsy driver is less able to pay attention to the road, has slower reaction times for speeding or braking, and is unable to make good driving decisions.
Age. Young drivers and mature drivers cause the highest number of accidents – regardless of how many vehicles are involved. A young driver is between the ages of 16 and 21. Mature drivers are 65 and older. A young driver, because of their brain development and tendency to be impulsive, may make rash or dangerous decisions behind the wheel. Mature drivers may suffer from uncorrected vision problems and tend to have slower reactions times.
Along with the police accident report, our car accident lawyers can help you identify why your accident happened, and why it could have been prevented.
What Are the Car Accidents Laws in Pennsylvania?
In the event you are in a car accident in or around the Philadelphia area or anywhere in Pennsylvania, the first step is to always evaluate yourself for physical injuries and check on the other involved parties. If anyone needs emergency medical attention, contact 911 right away.
After you’ve determined the wellbeing of the involved parties, you’ll need to obtain several pieces of information from the other driver. You’ll want to exchange names, phone numbers, addresses, driver’s license numbers, tag numbers, and insurance information. You’ll need this information when you submit your accident claim to your insurance company.
While not all accidents require law enforcement attention, you will need to call them to the scene of the accident if the wreck resulted in any injury or death, or if a vehicle was damaged to the point it cannot be driven away from the scene without being towed. If you are uncertain, call 911. The dispatcher will ask you a series of questions and will determine if police assistance is needed.
After the accident, you have five days to request a copy of the accident report to send to your legal representative. Our personal injury lawyers can help you determine if you need to file a lawsuit after your car accident. In the rare event that you do, the statute of limitations from personal injury cases gives you two years from the date of your accident to file with the state’s civil court system. If you fail to file within this time limit, your case will be refused.
Pennsylvania follows a no-fault insurance liability law. This means that after most car collisions, your own insurance company will provide coverage for your medical expenses and lost wages, regardless of who was at fault. Unless your case meets a serious injury threshold, you can’t hold the other driver liable for the accident. Our attorneys understand that serious injury is a vague term, so we’ll be able to help you decide what’s in your best interests.
How Do I Obtain a Car Accident Report in Philadelphia?
After your accident, there’s a chance you may want a copy of your car accident report from the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Records. You may request a copy of the accident report in-person or by mail. You must have acceptable identification to request the report. This can include a driver’s license or a state-issued photo ID. A non-refundable fee will be charged when you ask to access the report. You may also request traffic accident photographs for an additional fee.
Additional parties have the right to access your auto accident report. These parties include your lawyers, the involved insurance companies, authorized agents from the insurance companies, and government agencies.
How Can a Car Accident Lawyer in Philadelphia Help Me Receive Compensation?
As the victim of a car crash, dealing with insurance companies after an accident can be frustrating. Policies often contain terms that are not easy to identify or understand. With the right legal team backing you, reaching a full and fair settlement for your accident should go smoothly. If, unfortunately, you’ve lost a loved one in a car accident, we may be able to help you receive compensation and closure by filing a claim on their behalf.
At Shrager & Sachs, our practice has extensive experience dealing with automobile accident claims and injury law all across Pennsylvania. We assist our clients with building a case with the evidence they need to support their circumstances. If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident, contact us today for a consultation. Our Philadelphia car accident lawyers will help you understand your legal rights, so you can focus on your recovery.