Common Types of Car Accidents
Car accidents can lead to severe injuries and fatalities, leaving a lasting impact on your life and the life of your loved ones. These auto accidents are extremely common throughout Pennsylvania and nationwide and can be caused by a number of factors.
If you’ve been injured or lost a loved one in a car accident, please call our lawyers in Pittsburgh today at (412) 338-1000 to schedule your FREE consultation. Hal Waldman & Associates provide experienced legal services to clients in Pittsburgh and surrounding Pennsylvania areas.
We know the devastating affect car accidents can have on your quality of life and you may have lost a loved one. Our lawyers have the experience, skills and legal resources necessary to secure maximum compensation for families with fatal accident claims. We want you to be able to focus on your family during such an emotionally overwhelming time, instead of worrying about how expenses relating to the car accident will be covered.
We can fight for you to receive the compensation you deserve for your medical expenses, pain and suffering and any other detrimental effect the car accident has had on your life.
Some of the most common types of car accidents outlined in detail below include:
- Dangerous road conditions
- Hit and run
- Distracted driving
- Texting and driving
- Drunk driving
- Aggressive driving
- Construction zones<
- Heavy equipment
- Vehicle rollover
- Recalled vehicles
Dangerous Road Conditions
Dangerous road conditions are sometimes the result of so-called “Acts of God” such as freezing rain or thunderstorms. In such circumstances, the driver is most likely the responsible party in the event of a crash. Good driving means adapting your speed to changing weather and road conditions.
On the other hand, dangerous road conditions may be the direct result of someone else’s negligence. Examples of man-made disasters on the road include:
- Faulty signage
- Defective guardrails
- Bad traffic engineering
- Bad roadway design
- Lack of curbs or shoulders
- Overly sharp curves on highway entrance ramps
These hazards can be downright lethal for less-experienced drivers such as teenagers.
Advocating on behalf of injured motorists and passengers when dangerous road conditions are to blame is a challenge, even for good lawyers. Government immunity may mean that there are low caps on compensation that can be paid out to people injured on public roadways. Our experienced lawyer will examine any and all sources of liability, which may include both government and private entities.
It’s hard to believe that someone could cause a serious crash and then flee the scene without knowing or caring if anyone was hurt. Sadly, it happens all the time. The question is: Who pays for your medical bills, economic losses and suffering?
If you were injured or a family member was killed by a hit and run driver, the police may or may not bring that person to justice. Even if the phantom driver is identified, he or she may not have accident insurance. Coverage is available for exactly these scenarios, but you will probably need a lawyer to battle your own insurance company.
Leaving the scene of a car accident is a crime, but what matters is your compensation. If you were the victim of a hit-and-run accident, you must report it to police and to your insurer as soon as possible. This is critical in preserving your rights to compensation and you should be aware of these details:
- A hit-and-run injury claim is usually brought under your auto insurance through uninsured motorist coverage. Your insurance company is obligated to pay damages up to the limits of your policy.
- If uninsured motorist coverage is rejected or not available, we can seek at least partial recovery under the Pennsylvania Assigned Claims Plan.
Don’t be victimized further by the insurance company. Insurance companies know that they are on the hook if a driver who fled is not identified. They will use every tactic in their arsenal to avoid paying your claim or to pay far less than your case is worth.
A driver on a cellphone is an accident waiting to happen. Driving a car takes two hands, two eyes and undivided attention. If the driver who crashed into you was texting, talking on a hand-held phone or distracted in any another way, they can be held liable for the accident. Some drivers don’t seem to understand the dangers of multitasking while driving. We will work to maximize your damages by proving that the other driver could have prevented the collision or minimized the injuries you endured.
At Hal Waldman and Associates, we have seen lives forever changed when motorists fail to pay attention to the road. Our lawyers have the skills and legal resources necessary to prove fault against motorists for causing car accidents by:
- Texting and driving
- Driving under the influence of alcohol, prescription drugs and other narcotics
- Talking on a cellphone
- Using a laptop or another electronic device
- Shaving or applying makeup
- Eating and drinking while driving
- Singing and “dancing” to loud music
- Reading books, newspapers or maps
- Reaching down or reaching into the back seat
- Looking sideways or over the shoulder to talk to passengers
Many drivers don’t realize that the advanced technology in their car such as a touch-screen makes them even more susceptible to distracted driving. Although all of these issues are risks that every driver faces, they can be especially lethal when those drivers are teenagers.
Texting and Driving
The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that distracted driving causes one in four traffic accidents. Cellphone use and texting while driving has been reported the number one distraction. When a driver’s attention is diverted from the roadway for several seconds to check or send a text, that person’s reaction time is no better than someone who is legally drunk.
We rely on witness statements, physical evidence at the scene and law enforcement reports to prove the driver who hit you was texting while driving. If necessary, we can obtain the driver’s cellphone records for further proof.
The distracted driver’s insurance agent may quickly reach out with a settlement offer. However, initial settlement offers rarely cover the full extent of damages car accident victims have incurred. These damages may involve:
- Lost wages
- Physical therapy and other rehabilitative care
- Hospital expenses
- Surgical expenses
- Property damage
No two distracted driving accident claims are the same. We want the at-fault driver’s insurance agent to understand the story behind your claim number. Our lawyers will incorporate as much evidence as possible to explain the full extent of injuries you have endured including the type of medical care you will require. If your ability to continue working or complete daily tasks has been affected, we will also make that clear to the insurance agent.
Injuries in drunk driving accidents are often more severe than injuries in other car accidents involving human error. An inebriated person sometimes does not realize how fast he or she is going and lacks the ordinary judgment and reaction ability that would otherwise keep traffic flowing safely. Our lawyers incorporate evidence from Breathalyzer or blood test results to prove liability, especially when it is initially unclear.
The responsibility for a drunk driving accident may go beyond the drunk driver. People who served an obviously intoxicated person, or an underage drinker, alcohol may be held accountable through what are known as “social host” and “dram shop” laws. Bartender liability or social host liability may apply to your car accident case. In addition, the bar, hotel or restaurant who served the drunk driver while knowing full well how drunk they were, can be held liable for your injuries or the death of a loved one. This would allow you to recover maximum compensation against both the at-fault driver and the negligent establishment.
The lawyers at our Pittsburgh law firm have given seminars on drunk driving and personal injury lawsuits for MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving). We receive referrals through MADD thanks to a strong track record and a reputation for effective representation of accident victims.
The drunk driving element of your car accident offers additional challenges and opportunities. Our lawyers will closely monitor the outcome of the criminal DUI case to stay apprised of any relevant facts, which may affect your accident claim. Our participation can also help ensure that the drunk driver is properly punished — a goal that is often very important to the injured victims of drunk driving accidents and their families.
Our legal team will also work with your doctor to understand the extent of injuries you have suffered from the drunk driving accident such as:
We will incorporate as many facts as possible to help you obtain compensation for any medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and other costs related to the accident.
Aggressive driving — or driving that puts other people and property at risk — is a significant danger on today’s roads. In Pittsburgh and nationwide, the following behaviors fall under the label of “aggressive driving”:
- Failure to yield
- Failure to obey traffic signals and stop signs
- Passing in no-passing zones
- Passing on the inside
- Weaving in and out of traffic lanes
- Excessive speed
- Road rage
- Other unsafe passing behaviors
Sadly, the majority of drivers admit they have employed aggressive driving behaviors at least once during the past month. Many drivers fail to realize the very real danger of navigating their vehicle with such reckless disregard for the people and property around them.
Even worse: When parents speed or engage in other aggressive driving acts, their children quickly pick up on these behaviors. For instance, roughly a third of all American drivers under age 25 admit to speeding with regularity. Nearly half of all fatal crashes that take the life of a person under age 21 involve speeding.
Transportation experts and government legislators agree that aggressive driving is a growing trend, and the numbers tell that story too. Consider that:
- Speeding costs society more than $70,000 a minute, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
- The NHTSA also reports speed-related crashes cost society more than $36 billion a year.
- Crash severity increases with the speed of the vehicle at impact.
- The power of restraint devices such as air bags and safety belts (along with vehicular construction features such as crumple zones and side member beams) decline as impact speed increases.
- The likelihood that a crash victim will suffer death, disfigurement or a debilitating injury grows with higher speed at impact. Such consequences double for every 10 mph over 50 mph a vehicle travels.
- Aggressive driving accounts for more than half of all car accident deaths each year in the United States, according to AAA.
We are never surprised to learn that an accident occurred in a construction zone. Some drivers don’t heed the warnings. Some drivers are injured or cause accidents by trying to follow the signs and detours. The construction-related accident claims we have represented in Pennsylvania and statewide fall into two categories:
- Negligence of other drivers —There is a reason the speed limit is lower in a construction zone. It is not only for the safety of construction crews, but also for the safety of drivers. Drivers zipping along at 55 mph or more in a 35 mph zone often cause rear-end and chain reaction accidents. They may also injure their passengers when they hit concrete barriers or leave the roadway.
- Negligence of construction crews —Many construction zone accidents are caused by unexpected hazards created by construction companies. Our cases have included:
- Confusing signs or road markings
- Sudden sharp turns and dead ends
- Failure to put out cones and barriers
- Unlit detours
- Steep shoulder drop-offs
The common thread is failure to warn and deviation from accepted construction zone standards. We have represented construction workers injured by cars in work zones and handled workers’ compensation cases and lawsuits against the driver or third party.
Big, powerful machines have the potential to cause big, nasty injuries. When heavy equipment operators are careless or intentionally deviate from safety rules, other workers and innocent bystanders get hurt. Heavy equipment car accidents can involve:
- Cranes and boom trucks
- Bulldozers and graders
- Dump trucks and cement trucks
- Backhoes, bobcats and skid loaders
- Cherry-pickers and lift trucks
- Forklifts and scissor lifts
- Log splitters and other stationary machinery
Other potential equipment accidents can arise from:
- Vehicle strike and crush accidents
- Snapped cables and dropped objects
- Falls from machinery
- Explosions and fires
- Electrical shock
- Structure collapse and cave-ins
- Collisions between cars and big machines
We have represented construction workers, utility workers and other employees injured on job sites. We also represent homeowners, pedestrians, vehicle drivers and other people injured in construction zones by heavy equipment.
Single-vehicle rollover crashes have a higher rate of injuries and fatalities than most two-car collisions. Sport utility vehicles (SUVs) are the most rollover-prone. These devastating crashes often stem from defective design for example: tire defects, instability in a swerve and structural failure when the vehicle flips upside down.
Rollover accidents commonly result in massive injuries or fatalities when the SUV or van tips, flips, bounces and rolls. We can conduct a thorough investigation of the crash based on known design defects in many makes and models such as:
- Tire blowout/tread separation
- Traction instability—swerving suddenly to avoid a roadway obstacle
- Non-crashworthiness—collapse of the roof and roof supports
We have won compensation for traumatic brain injury, paralysis, amputation, broken bones and other serious injuries from an initial collision, the rollover or ejection from the vehicle.
Product liability litigation is complex and expensive, but our lawyers have the resources to hire experts in SUV rollover accidents and accident reconstruction specialists.
Every month, it seems another batch of vehicles is recalled for one defect or another. In most of these recalls, it’s a safe bet that innocent people were injured or killed before the manufacturer took action. Hundreds of makes and models of cars, pickups, SUVs and vans have been recalled in the past 10 years. Many of those vehicles are still on the road.
We can explore your car accident claim and investigate any potential auto defects including:
- Defective brakes, brake pedals and floor mats
- Unintended acceleration
- Tread separation and other tire defects
- Rollover danger
- Non-crashworthiness (e.g., roof crush in an SUV rollover)
- Fire hazards and electrical problems
- Computer and electronic system failure
- Transmission failure
- Steering column failure
- Defective air bags, seat belts and seat backs
We commonly research the recall history of vehicles in any accident, especially when our client or the other driver claims that something went wrong with the vehicle prior to the crash. We can hire automotive engineering and accident reconstruction experts to establish a connection to a design defect. We do not recover costs of investigation or litigation unless we prevail in holding the automaker accountable.
Why Choose Hal Waldman & Associates?
Every car accident claim is fact specific. Hal Waldman & Associates know how to gather witness testimony, evidence and police reports to build a compelling argument for your claim. We will investigate all details of your accident.
Our lawyers have decades of experience handling personal injury claims throughout Pennsylvania. We have gained credibility for helping accident victims and families with fatal accident claims obtain a full financial recovery.
Insurance companies have learned we will not give in to quick settlement offers that fail to address the damages our clients have endured. We are known for our commitment to clients and ability to maximize compensation for wrongful death and serious or permanent injuries.
We care and are on your side. Our accomplished lawyers know what questions to ask and which experts to bring in to prove who is accountable.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, please contact our lawyers in Pittsburgh today at (412) 338-1000 to schedule your FREE consultation. Hal Waldman & Associates serve clients in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and statewide.