Delaware County Car Accident Lawyers
Delaware County is situated to the south and west of Philadelphia and contains many of the suburbs that feed traffic into the city. When a driver crosses the Commodore Barry Bridge from New Jersey, they arrive in Delaware County. This county also feeds traffic into the state of Delaware as people drive across the border to the south, and there are many towns that stretch to the west into the rural areas of the county.
When accidents occur, drivers must reach out to a Delaware County car accident lawyer who will take the case and seek compensation given the massive scale of many car accidents. Although Delaware County is seen as a suburban area, it is filled with diverse roads and traversed by a variety of vehicles every day. Drivers should take great care when driving through Delaware County because traffic in this area is affected by commuters coming from South Jersey, Delaware, Philadelphia, and the outer suburbs of the county.
What Causes Car Accidents in Delaware County?
Car accidents in Delaware County are caused by a variety of factors. Drivers in the area can get close to the Philadelphia International Airport before exiting the county, cross into New Jersey, cross the border into Delaware, or drive into the rural sections of the county that include wineries, breweries, and farms. Vehicles crossing the county include the following:
- Commuters in passenger vehicles
- Large trucks
- Farm vehicles
- Boat carriers
- School buses
- Airport shuttles
Additionally, Delaware County is home to Interstates 95 and 476. US 1 also crosses the county, and several state routes allow travelers to drive through the county quickly. The mixture of rural areas and urban areas makes it a challenge for drivers to remain alert. Roads can narrow quickly, drivers who exit the highway might find themselves in a rural area, and drivers might encounter all the vehicles listed above.
School buses are out every morning and afternoon. Farm vehicles often use the road to travel from one facility to another. Boat carriers enter and exit the Delaware River, and airport shuttles must reach the airport on time. Commuters who cross the Commodore Barry Bridge can choose to drive to Philadelphia. Traffic in this region can get very congested in a short time because commuters are either driving into Philadelphia or attempting to get back to Delaware or South Jersey.
Those who wish to visit the Jersey Shore in the summer will find the roads are congested while attempting to cross the Delaware River, and those who drive into Delaware for a vacation will find crowded roads waiting for them. Aside from these vehicles and situations causing accidents, drivers often endanger themselves and others because of the following behaviors:
Distracted driving. Distracted driving is often considered nothing more than texting and driving. Although texting and driving is illegal in Pennsylvania, someone might be distracted as they talk on the phone, talk to their passengers, interact with other motorists, engage in rubbernecking, eat, or engage in other activities that distract from driving and watching the road.
When drivers get behind the wheel, they need to commit to blocking out all the distractions that they might face. This can be difficult because most people are busy. If necessary, drivers can set their phone to Do Not Disturb or simply turn off their phone until they reach their destination.
When the driver has a hands-free system in the car, they should allow that system to read directions so that there is no need to check a map.
Reckless driving. Reckless drivers are simply not paying attention to what might occur if they make a sudden maneuver or swerve across the road. Drivers might cut across traffic to make an exit ramp, or they might change lanes without realizing there is someone next to them. Reckless drivers often stop and start abruptly, or they drive so fast that they frighten other drivers.
Drunk/impaired driving. Impaired drivers could cause an accident because they do not have the reflexes needed to drive safely. Intoxicated drivers might have partaken in legalized or medical marijuana, and they are still too affected to drive. If the driver is under the influence of other drugs, they can be cited for driving under the influence (DUI). Even someone who is feeling affected by a prescription medication can be pulled over and cited for DUI. No one should get behind the wheel if they know that something they have put in their body will make driving perilous. Drivers should call for a taxi, ask someone else to drive, or use a ride-sharing app to call for a vehicle.
Road rage. Road rage is a particularly troubling issue that can lead to car accidents and even physical violence. A study completed in 2020 found that approximately six percent of drivers have seen at least one motorist get out of their car to confront another driver. This behavior is ill advised, as a confrontation cannot solve anyone’s problems. Even more troubling is that some of these encounters involve physical violence or the use of firearms.
Inappropriate maneuvers. Unwise maneuvers are often made by inexperienced drivers. Young drivers might start driving to school, and there are college students driving into the city for class. Some drivers simply do not realize that there is a car in the other lane, or they do not see a sign that prohibits turning right on red or another restriction.
Road Conditions in Delaware County
Drivers must remain alert at all times because assessing traffic situations and obeying all posted traffic signs help prevent accidents. Poor weather conditions and bad roads can cause traffic accidents throughout the year in Delaware County. This part of Pennsylvania is subject to heavy snow in the winter, heavy rains in the summer and fall, and strong winds throughout the year. The roads crack when temperatures drop, and many of these roads are difficult to repair because of the amount of traffic they handle. Drivers must slow down if they hope to deal with difficult road and weather conditions. Speeding makes these situations that much more stressful for everyone involved.
Poor visibility is a problem throughout Pennsylvania in the fall and winter when the time change causes darkness to settle over the area around 5:00 p.m. People who are leaving work around this time will drive home in progressive darkness. Driving in darkness causes visibility to drop quickly, and drivers must slow down, use their headlights, and signal when changing lanes.
Despite all these precautions, drivers may be involved in accidents because other drivers have not been as careful. All the large vehicles, shuttles, and trucks listed above should be avoided to help prevent accidents. Large trucks are often so difficult to manage that even a benign maneuver by a passenger car could cause an accident. For example, a trailer, farm vehicle, or boat carrier can lose control of its load very quickly.
Victims should reach out to a car accident lawyer in the aftermath of these accidents. The situation must be investigated by a lawyer, and a lawsuit can be filed once it is clear who was at fault during the accident.
Dealing with Large Trucks and Construction Scenes
Large trucks and construction scenes require the most care when drivers leave the house. Large trucks can lose control of their loads quickly. Construction scenes are often much more dangerous than drivers believe. Drivers do not see workers and assume they can speed through the area. Speed limit signs are posted near these sites for everyone’s protection.
Construction scenes have trucks entering and exiting the road constantly. Even if the workers are not on site, a truck might drop off materials. All the materials left over from the end of the work shift will be still on the road. For example, workers who are adding lanes or paving certain sections of the road may have used a barrier to protect drivers. Even so, chunks of asphalt, running water, and metal bars used to reinforce road surfaces or barriers might be lying in the road.
Drivers are also required to turn on their headlights in work zones in Pennsylvania. This is important because headlights can allow drivers to see what is happening in a work zone. Some workers are performing their duties close to the road. Work is being done, and drivers might see debris that they must maneuver around.
When construction scenes are set up, the road may become extremely narrow. In a situation like this, drivers must slow down so that they can avoid any collisions with the barriers or other vehicles. For example, large trucks in these areas have nowhere to go if they lose control. They have slowed down quite a bit, and other drivers should be mindful of that. Cutting off a large truck or tailgating could easily result in a severe accident.
Which Accidents are Common to Delaware County?
Delaware County has a large rural area of which many people forget. Anyone who is driving through the rural sections of the county should be aware of hazards unique to the area. A 2017 study by a non-profit group known as TRIP showed that Pennsylvania’s rural roads are some of the most dangerous and worst maintained in the United States.
Rural roads can ice over or become slippery because they are not as heavily traveled as other roads. Rural roads are popular places for children and adults to ride their bikes. People who live in rural areas often grew up walking along the road to get to where they need to go, and rural roads are often crossed by wild animals.
One danger that all drivers in Pennsylvania should be aware of is deer crossing the road. Deer will cross the road at any time, and they may become paralyzed with fear when they see a large vehicle approaching. Drivers must always be on the lookout for deer. At the same time, drivers need to understand that deer move very quickly.
If drivers see the flashing eyes of a deer on the side of the road, the deer can dart into the road in a split second. If there is one deer, there are likely more. It is best to slow down when deer are near the road. If possible, drivers should come to a complete stop when deer are in the road and honk the horn so that the deer might exit the road. Motorists should not attempt to drive around deer because they might be frightened and inadvertently jump in front of the vehicle.
If drivers are involved in accidents with a deer, they should pull over, call the police, and have the police report taken properly. This is important, as the driver will need to use the medical reimbursement portion of their insurance policy to pay for their injuries. If there is no record of the accident, the insurance company might claim that the deer did not cause all recorded injuries.
Drivers in rural Delaware County should also be aware of roads where there are no guardrails. Drivers should slow down to prevent any accidents that take the vehicle off the road, increase damage incurred by the vehicle, and increase the likelihood of serious injuries or deaths. Drivers can reach out to a car accident lawyer after an accident to protect the victim’s rights and recover compensation that might be due.
What are Common Car Accident Injuries?
Car accident injuries range from benign to severe. Although common car accident injuries often call for immediate medical attention, some accident victims believe they do not need medical care because they feel fine after the accident. Everyone who has suffered one of the following injuries should go to the emergency room or a doctor as soon as possible:
Crushing injuries. Crushing injuries in a car accident occur when someone is caught between any two objects. Some of these injuries are not seen as major because the victim is not stuck when the accident is over. However, the victim might have had part of their body crushed during the accident without realizing the extent of their injuries.
Broken bones/leg trauma. Broken bones are common because of the force of an accident, and leg trauma is common because the crash might break bones or cause trauma to soft tissue in the legs. For example, someone who is limping after an accident may have severe trauma in their knees or ankles. They cannot walk off this injury because the damage is so extensive.
Internal injuries. Internal injuries often do not present any physical evidence. The victim feels pain, but they cannot see the nature of the problem. Going to the emergency room or the doctor is the only way to obtain a diagnosis for these injuries.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD is common after car accidents because victims were hurt, lost a loved one, or felt intense fear as the accident occurred. These victims might experience nightmares; headaches; and a fear of the accident scene, cars, or driving. It is imperative that accident victims visit a therapist to learn how to manage this condition.
Spinal injuries/traumatic brain injury. Spinal injuries and traumatic brain injuries are not always obvious after an accident. If a victim cannot move after an accident, they clearly have a major injury that requires immediate medical attention. Victims, however, might leave the accident scene with severe back or neck pain. Many people have whiplash after an accident, but they might also have damaged disks or vertebrae. Although the victim might not be paralyzed immediately after the accident, their physical condition might deteriorate over time.
Soft tissue injuries. Finally, soft tissue injuries require medical attention. After the driver consults with a lawyer, it may become obvious that the driver has lost motor skills or the ability to do their job. For example, someone who works with their hands every day cannot continue as normal if they have soft tissue damage in their hands or arms. Compensation via a lawsuit is the only way to help the victim move forward.
Who can be Sued for an Accident?
Anyone can be sued for an accident when it has been proved that they caused the accident in some way. Suing the other driver is often necessary because they were negligent when operating their vehicle. Even someone who is arrested for DUI can still be sued. They will face criminal charges, and they will also face the civil lawsuit that they caused because of their reckless behavior.
Any business or government entity that caused an accident can be sued. Businesses that manage vehicles or drivers can be sued when they have not maintained those vehicles, improperly trained their drivers, or negligently hired their drivers.
If a large truck driver has broken Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration rules, they can be sued. These drivers, however, may have been ordered to ignore those rules by their employer. The same is true of a mechanic who services vehicles for these companies. When mechanics use faulty parts or does not complete each service properly, they are liable. If the mechanic claims the business forced them to do substandard work, the business can be sued.
Liability in any car accident can be confusing. A car accident lawyer can investigate the case and determine who caused the accident. Without a liable party, a lawsuit cannot be filed to recover damages.
What Types of Evidence Do Victims Need to Collect?
Accident victims are not responsible for collecting evidence after their accident. It is helpful, however, if the victim can provide information a lawyer can use when filing a lawsuit. Lawsuits against at-fault parties in a car accident can be supported by the following evidence:
- Timeline from the day of the crash. If the driver can prove that they were in the wrong place at the wrong time, it is easier to show that they did not cause the accident.
- Pictures and videos from the accident. Not everyone can take photographs or videos, but it helps show a lawyer how the accident occurred. This is especially important if the police do not take any pictures. Most police reports contain a simple drawing of the accident scene that does not account for all the details a lawyer will see in a photograph or video.
- Medical records and receipts. Accident victims will take on a good amount of medical debt in the aftermath of any accident. Receipts and records are the only way to show that all this treatment, therapy, and/or medication were necessary.
- Eyewitness information. Eyewitness information gives the lawyer multiple perspectives on the same accident. If someone saw the accident from a different angle, they might have seen another driver texting and driving, making aggressive gestures at another driver, or anything else that contributed to the accident.
Providing this information to a lawyer as soon as possible will serve to expedite the legal process. If drivers know what is needed after a car accident, they are more likely to collect that information at the scene.
Hiring a Lawyer
Hiring a lawyer also expedites the legal process. In some court cases, a judge will not allow the victim to represent themselves, as that will slow down the entire court system. A lawyer is a trained professional who understands negotiations, contracts, and local laws concerning car accidents.
An experienced car accident lawyer examines every detail pertaining to the case. These details often make or break cases because details prove that other drivers or entities were negligent. Lawyers will take time to investigate these cases, uncover records, research defective vehicles, and investigate any claims made by the victim.
A lawyer also knows how to negotiate a settlement to end the burden on the victim as quickly as possible. When a settlement occurs, the victim is paid and there is no possibility for further legal action. The victim can also ask their lawyer to go to court because it is clear that the at-fault driver or entity does not want to pay appropriate compensation for their negligence.
A lawyer should be contacted as soon as possible because Pennsylvania imposes a two-year statute of limitations on these claims. Delaying action might make it impossible for a lawyer to investigate the case and file a compelling lawsuit.
Delaware County Car Accident Lawyers at Nerenberg Law Associates, P.C. Serve Accident Victims in the Area
Unfortunately, car accidents are not rare occurrences. If you have been hurt or lost a loved one in a car accident, the Delaware County car accident lawyers at Nerenberg Law Associates, P.C. are available to assist with any lawsuits or claims. We help our clients obtain compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Call us today at 215-569-9100 or contact us online for a free consultation. With offices in Philadelphia, we proudly serve clients throughout both Pennsylvania and New Jersey.