Delaware County Car Accident Lawyers
Drivers throughout Delaware County can encounter obstacles during their daily commute. Delaware County is southwest of Philadelphia, meaning it has more traffic than other counties in the area. Drivers in the region should exercise caution when they get behind the wheel and consider how to avoid accidents.
While drivers can do everything in their power to avoid accidents, there may come a time when they are hurt and in need of help. Reach out to a Delaware County car accident lawyer for assistance when drivers or passengers are injured through no fault of their own. Everyone has rights, and a lawyer will stand up for their client against insurance companies and guilty parties.
Even those who have lived in the area their entire lives know to be careful while driving in this part of southeastern Pennsylvania. Knowing what to do in the wake of an accident and how to recover damages helps everyone drive with confidence.
Are the Roads in Delaware County Crowded?
Delaware County is the fifth most populous county in Pennsylvania, but it is also the third smallest. With a population approaching 600,000 people, congestion is part of life in the area. With its location adjacent to Philadelphia and bordering the Delaware River to the southeast, it is more difficult to enter and exit the county than others in the region. Additionally, Delaware County borders counties from two other states. Gloucester County, New Jersey sits just across the Delaware River, and New Castle County, Delaware lingers to the southwest. While crossing the border into Delaware is not difficult, the rural roads in the area do not allow for massive traffic flow. Small towns throughout the region make it difficult to pass through quickly, and traffic can build on narrow streets as citizens commute to work every day.
Ridley Creek State Park, John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge, and First State National Historical Park tend to add to congestion. The townships of Upper Darby, Haverford, Chester, Radnor, Drexel Hill, and Springfield all have populations over 20,000, but these small towns did not experience urban sprawl like other suburban locations. A lack of arterial roads leads to further congestion, along with three major parks, 16 school districts, three charter schools, and 28 Catholic schools.
Do Drivers Face Unique Issues on Delaware County Roads?
While residents and drivers in Delaware County will encounter congestion, they should be aware of several unique issues that make it difficult to traverse the county safely. In each case, drivers should familiarize themselves with traffic conditions on these roads. Drivers are advised to use GPS maps to check traffic conditions or to determine how long their trip will take.
Interstates 95 and 476 cross the county, bringing tens of thousands of drivers every day. I-476 serves the northeastern portion of Pennsylvania, allowing travelers to enter and exit the Lehigh Valley and Poconos with relative ease. Several exits for each highway deliver drivers on surface streets, adding to existing congestion.
U.S. Route 1 crosses the county before turning into Roosevelt Boulevard in Philadelphia. Traveling from Key West to Maine, Route 1 is one of the most dangerous routes in America. A quick review of news stories reveals several major accidents on Route 1 in Pennsylvania in the past few years, which should lead drivers to seek alternate routes. U.S. 13 and 202 allow for quick travel across the county, but there are few other large arterial roads.
U.S. 322 makes its way to the Delaware River and crosses at the Commodore Barry Bridge. Travelers cross this bridge daily for work and leisure, leading to traffic piling up as winter vacationers want to escape to the mountains. Summer vacationers move the other direction to visit the Jersey shore, welcoming heavy traffic for most of the year. Subaru Park, home of the Philadelphia Union, sits just under the bridge in Chester.
Widener University also takes up several city blocks along the edge of I- 95, adding school traffic to an already busy highway. Swarthmore College, Haverford College, Villanova, and Cheyney University all lay claim to land in Delaware County. Nine other institutes of higher learning make their homes in Delaware County, bringing tens of thousands of students and staff out every day for classes.
Airport traffic also flows through the area as the western half of the Philadelphia International Airport sits in Delaware County. Airport hotels and parcel terminals simply add to congestion near the river.
What are Common Causes of Car Accidents in Delaware County?
Car accidents in Delaware County occur due to a range of factors related to driver error and/or third-party negligence. Cautious drivers can take steps to avoid accidents, protect those close to them, and exercise greater caution when the situation calls for it. Common causes of car accidents include:
Distracted driving: Distracted driving is an issue that can cause severe accidents or injuries with only a moment or two of carelessness. Distracted drivers do not focus on the road because they are checking their phones or engaging with other drivers. Manual distractions take the driver’s hand off the wheel. Eating, drinking, holding a cell phone, or adjusting the radio leaves drivers unable to complete safe maneuvers with both hands.
Visual distractions take the driver’s eyes off the road, which can lead to head-on collisions. Drivers also have issues with visual distractions when they rubberneck around an accident scene. Traffic around an accident stops and starts frequently. Distracted drivers can be easily involved in a rear-end accident. Drivers who are traveling too fast leading up to these accident scenes might cause multiple vehicle accidents or pileups. Cognitive distractions force the driver to focus on something other than driving. These drivers can be involved in sides impact accidents.
Drunk or drugged driving: The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation reported 49,730 driving under the influence (DUI) arrests in 2018 and another 33,712 cases of drugged driving. Drunk driving can lead to various accidents. Drivers do not have the power to stop drunk driving. Friends partying and drinking with others should bring a designated driver or commit to using a taxi or ridesharing service.
Reckless driving: Reckless driving can force other vehicles off the road, resulting in multiple vehicle accidents, and even cause sideswipe accidents. Reckless drivers must slow down and change their route to avoid dangerous situations. Reckless drivers can trigger road rage as an angered driver tailgates or even rams another vehicle. Reckless driving and road rage can lead to severe crashes with even more drivers, or drivers might exit their vehicles and engage in physical violence.
Bad weather: Drivers can file claims against other drivers for negligent driving in the rain, wind, and snow. Rainy conditions make it difficult to see the road and drivers might skid or hydroplane due to standing water on the road surface. Ice also causes skidding and drivers should avoid these conditions unless necessary. Windy conditions in Delaware County can cause vehicles to tip over or slide off the road.
Speeding: Speeding causes a range of problems for drivers. When drivers are speeding, they do not have as much time to stop, they cannot see everything on the road, and they bring more force to an accident. Slowing down helps drivers maneuver easily, change lanes, and stop safely. Speeding makes vehicles difficult to steer and issues with the vehicle might worsen.
Defective Vehicles: Defective vehicles are as much an issue as reckless driving or poor decision-making. The manufacturer must build a safe vehicle, issue recalls when needed, and remain transparent concerning these problems. An automotive expert can explain why the vehicle malfunctioned. If a rental vehicle malfunctions, the leasing agency is responsible. Businesses are responsible for their fleet vehicles, but the driver of a fleet vehicle is liable for damages due to their own misconduct.
How Should Drivers Secure Their Cargo?
Drivers who haul cargo in their cars or trucks, must secure it as tightly as possible. Drivers might not realize that hauling extra weight puts a strain on a vehicle and large vehicles may lose their cargo because of improper loading. According to AAA, there were 200,000 accidents involving lost cargo or falling items in a three-year study. These accidents caused 80 to 90 deaths every year and yet more accidents occur when drivers swerve to avoid falling debris or cargo. Issues with unsecured cargo involve:
- Broken/damaged ropes, straps, or tie-downs
- Uncovered haulers
- Imbalanced cargo
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), commercial drivers must use minimum amounts of straps, ropes, or other tying devices. The cargo should not shift and should handle highway speeds. If the driver, loading company, or trucking company violated these regulations, they are liable for accidents caused by lost cargo. Private citizens are also liable when it is clear they did not secure their cargo. Passenger vehicles can lose control of their loads because the suspension cannot handle the cargo, or the brakes do not function properly. Additionally, a heavy load can cause an otherwise stable vehicle to tip over.
How can Drivers Avoid Tire Blowouts?
Tire blowouts may be caused by too much wear or the tires may be defective. Blowouts can cause multiple vehicle accidents or deadly rollovers because drivers cannot maintain control on just three tires. The manufacturer can face a lawsuit if their tires are clearly defective. Tire shops that sell defective tires may also be liable for accidents if they know that the tires are not safe for driving. Mechanics can also be held liable for defects if they repair tires improperly.
What if the Other Driver is Uninsured?
Uninsured or underinsured drivers cause accidents just like everyone else, leaving victims in a bad situation. If the at-fault driver does not have insurance or enough coverage, they can face a lawsuit for the damages they caused. Even though injured drivers can use the uninsured driver clause in their insurance policy, it only serves to increase the victim’s premiums.
Underinsured drivers may not have enough coverage to handle the victim’s expenses or losses. When that is the case, the victim can file a claim to recover the difference between what the insurance company pays and the extent of the victim’s injuries and/or losses.
What Should I Do After a Car Accident?
After a car accident, drivers, or passengers should take quick action to retrieve evidence and receive the care they need. After a simple accident with little to no damage, everyone should exit the vehicle and ensure that all those involved are safe. Move the vehicles out of the road if possible and begin taking pictures of the damage and accident scene.
Do not speak to the other driver or passengers any more than to ask if they are safe. These conversations can become almost too revealing as the victim and the at-fault driver attempt to communicate. The at-fault driver could take anything said by the victim and make it look as though the victim caused the accident.
Call 911 to have a police officer write a report on the accident. If necessary, request an ambulance and fire department. Anyone who is injured should go to the hospital and receive necessary medical care. Simple injuries must be diagnosed before they worsen, and severe injuries require immediate treatment to avoid a potentially lethal situation.
It is important to report the accident to the insurance company, but there is no need to give too many details. Insurance companies will use any information they can find to deny claims or reduce payouts. Let the insurance company know that everyone is receiving treatment and a claim will be filed. Collect receipts and documents that show the extent of the victim’s injuries and recovery. Paystubs help explain how much money the victim is losing.
Reach out to a car accident lawyer for help recovering compensation for these accidents. The statute of limitations in Pennsylvania is two years and delaying a claim may lead to a denial in court.
Can I Obtain Compensation After a Car Accident?
Obtaining compensation for a car accident requires proof that those injuries occurred during the accident. It is important that victims seek medical care and collect as much information as possible. A lawsuit will show that the at-fault driver caused the victim’s injuries. Compensation after a car accident includes:
Medical expenses: Medical expenses can accumulate after an accident. These expenses continue as the victim recovers and requires surgeries, counseling, physical therapy, medications, or medical equipment.
Lost wages: Lost wages involve all the money the victim loses because they cannot go to work or keep their job. Lost wages can also include money from a small business that the victim should earn.
Lost earning capacity: Lost earning capacity deals with the difference between the earnings of the victim before and after the accident. Statements from the employer might explain how much the victim should have earned if they were still working. These earnings might include future promotions or anticipated cost of living increases.
Pain and suffering: Pain and suffering monetizes how much pain the victim feels while dealing with their recovery. Victims might feel pain when they walk, sleep, sit, or complete manual tasks. The victim’s quality of life diminishes, and they deserve compensation for an instantaneous lifestyle change.
Emotional anguish: Emotional anguish involves nightmares, anxiety, depression, and other feelings the victim must cope with after the accident. The victim cannot live as they once did, and they may require years of therapy to recover.
Punitive damages: Punitive damages are used to levy punishment against the offending driver and are only available at trial. If the plaintiff settles out of court, punitive damages are not available.
Why Do I Need to Hire a Lawyer?
Hiring a lawyer helps the victim recover as much compensation as possible and uncover all the facts of the case. The case can be filed after the lawyer has as much information as they need to argue for compensation. Lawyers will start negotiating a settlement or they will take the case to trial. A lawyer will handle all ongoing correspondence with the insurance company and the at-fault party. Lawyers can ensure that victims get through their lawsuit as quickly as possible. These cases may include appeals and other legal issues. A car accident lawyer stays with the victim until they reach a favorable conclusion.
Delaware County Car Accident Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Serve Accident Victims Throughout the Region
If you were injured in a car accident, speak to the Delaware County car accident lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC to receive assistance. We help our clients receive compensation and hold all responsible parties accountable. Call us today at 215-569-8488 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, Abington, and Media, Pennsylvania; Wilmington, Delaware; and Haddonfield, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout the surrounding areas.