When obtaining a successful settlement or verdict, the cause of a car accident matters. By gathering evidence and showing proof of negligence, your attorney builds a strong case describing what you and your family are owed.
After a car or auto accident, you may be facing extensive medical treatment and a long therapeutic return to independence. You may be laying a loved one to rest and trying to rebuild a life without their support and companionship. In each of these scenarios, the compensation from a personal injury lawsuit could make the crucial difference between a lengthy struggle vs. the appropriate support you deserve.
The cost of car accidents in the United States each year is over $400 billion according to the Insurance Information Institute (III). This includes the losses associated with deaths, disabling injuries, and property damage, as well as the lost productivity surrounding such harmful events. A lawsuit can help you personally recover the damages you’ve suffered.
If you need to speak with an attorney directly, contact D’Amico Law Offices right away using our online contact form, or by calling 412-906-8180. Headquartered in Pittsburgh, we regularly represent clients in Pennsylvania and neighboring states like West Virginia. We also have nationwide reach when dealing with large companies like car and vehicle manufacturers. We offer free consultations in which you can explore your legal options and secure representation before time runs out to file your claim.
For more information on how the top 5 causes of car accidents can affect your legal case, read on.
1. Distracted Driving
Distracted driving occurs when a driver is visually, physically, or mentally diverted from the task of driving. Distracted driving could include:
- Physical distractions caused by other passengers in the car, tasks like eating or applying makeup while driving, or interacting with technology like phones, radios, and computers/tablets
- Visual distractions like an overcrowded dashboard, looking at electronic screen notifications, or looking away from the road to notice something else (such as a stalled vehicle, pedestrian, or roadside signs)
- Mental distractions like holding conversations while driving, or thinking about tasks other than driving such as evening plans
Distracted driving incidents regularly increase as more new technology enters our lives and our vehicles.
How Does Distracted Driving Impact Your Legal Claim?
Though it is challenging to prove distracted driving after the fact, a skilled attorney will know to investigate for relevant evidence. This could include timestamps on texts or phone calls, onboard navigation records (especially prevalent in tractor trailer accident cases), and nearby cameras or witnesses.
The tire patterns and speed of a vehicle on impact in a crash can also reveal signs of distracted driving. That data may indicate whether or not the driver was paying attention to a change in the speed limit or upcoming intersection or onramp.
By noting these pieces of information and showing that they illustrate distraction, your lawyer builds a case of liability against the other driver. This strengthens your negotiating position, and provides your side’s argument in court should your case go before a judge or jury.
Tailgating is the act of driving too closely behind another vehicle. Tailgating is especially dangerous:
- At high speeds due to reduced reaction times and the increased damage caused by high-velocity collisions
- During inclement weather like rain, sleet, or snow that may cause tires to lose traction on the road
- At night when visibility is low, and the appearance of a wild animal on the highway could cause a sudden need to stop
Tailgating is a known dangerous behavior, and there may be laws or traffic rules against this conduct in your location.
How Does Tailgating Impact Your Legal Claim?
In Pennsylvania, for example, the general rule under Title 75 states, “The driver of a motor vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of the vehicles and the traffic upon and the condition of the highway.” The phrase reasonable and prudent is where your attorney can present evidence to prove that the driver tailing your car was too close after a crash caused by tailgating.
Because there are rules against tailgating, it can be argued that the other driver was negligent in doing it. If their negligence caused your accident, you may be entitled to compensation for all the resulting losses you endured.
3. Drowsy Driving
Drowsy driving can happen to anyone who is too tired to be alert while operating a motor vehicle. Those particularly susceptible include professional drivers like truckers and bus drivers who spend long periods of time driving without breaks. Drowsy driving can be caused by:
- Work-related fatigue for long-haul drivers, nightshift workers, or those with extended-hours jobs or people working doubles
- Sleep disorders such as insomnia, narcolepsy, and restless legs syndrome that cause drivers to be dangerously tired while driving
- Medications, intoxicants, or illegal drugs that cause chemically-induced drowsiness (see #5 on this list for more info on intoxication and car accidents)
Falling asleep or nodding out behind the wheel could cause fatal consequences to the driver, their passengers, and other responsible drivers on the road like you.
How Does Drowsy Driving Impact Your Legal Claim?
The proof of drowsy driving can be found in surrounding evidence like a person’s work schedule, medical records, or blood tests that show what drugs or medications they were on at the time of the accident.
A driver is responsible for their decisions when driving. If they chose to drive when they were too tired or sedated to do so safely, they can be held responsible for the injuries and losses caused by the crash. Liabilty may increase if the driver knew of their drowsy condition, yet continued to drive anyway.
Your lawyer has the ability to subpoena documents that would otherwise be private. A subpoena is an official writ that commands a person to appear in court or provide material. If they fail to comply, they may be penalized. Contact D’Amico Law Offices at 412-906-8180 for the experienced representation you deserve.
Speeding laws exist in every state, but can vary depending on the kind of road or time of day. There are three basic types of speeding limits enforced in the United States:
- Statutory speed limits: These are made by the State legislature on specific types of roads like rural highways, interstates, and urban streets.
- Posted speed limits: Also known as “regulatory speed limits,” these may be the same as the statutory limits. They may take effect on city or county lines, and override otherwise established statutory limits.
- “Special conditions” speed limits: These include areas like work zones during periods of construction, or the speed limits posted for school zones during certain times of day when children may be crossing
There are also advisory speed limits that may apply to unique circumstances like steep sections of road, deceleration and exit ramps, and sharp or blind curves.
How Does Speeding Impact Your Legal Claim?
While your personal injury claim is a civil matter, breaking the speed limit could be a criminal offense for the driver who hit your vehicle. In such a case, their ticket or conviction could contribute to the evidence your attorney presents when negotiating on your behalf.
That being said, if the other driver is not held criminally responsible for speeding, you can still hold them civilly accountable for your injuries.
Intoxicated driving is the act of operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or mind-altering pharmaceuticals. Here are the various ways law enforcement refers to intoxicated or drunk driving:
- Driving Under the Influence (DUI): Half of the states and the District of Columbia use this designation to describe intoxicated driving.
- Driving While Intoxicated (DWI): Ten states use DWI as the code for driving while intoxicated or impaired.
- Operating Under the Influence (OUI): The piloting of any vehicle or conveyance while intoxicated, aka “under the influence” of a substance. Some states have more specific designations for different types of intoxicants, like Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants: Controlled Substances (DUII-CS). There are also laws based on the types of vehicles, like Operating a Motor Vehicle while Impaired (OMVI) and Boating Under the Influence (BUI). A person’s actions while intoxicated can be specified too, as with Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated (ADWI).
Remember: regardless of whether the person who caused your accident is criminally charged, you still have the right to file a lawsuit for your injuries.
How Does Intoxicated Driving Impact Your Legal Claim?
If it can be proven that the other driver was intoxicated at the time of your accident, it weighs significantly in your favor that they will be found wholly or at least substantially responsible.
Proof can be obtained with information like their blood alcohol level (BAC) taken at the time of the accident during arrest or while receiving medical attention. Evidence that they were drinking prior to driving like the testimony of a bartender or restaurant servers/patrons can also bolster your case.
Identifying and organizing evidence for a lawsuit is your attorney’s job, not yours. After a car accident, you deserve to heal in peace. The lawyers at D’Amico Law can handle the legal work on your behalf.
Contact Experienced Car Accident Attorneys
The success of your case depends on two key factors: the losses you suffered, and how effectively your lawyer proves those losses in negotiations or at trial.
Surveys show that those who are represented by an attorney are 91% likely to go home with a successful settlement (a 40% increase over those who represent themselves). Those settlement amounts average 300% higher than the amounts individuals receive without professional legal counsel.
At the end of the day, you deserve to move on with your life and not be burdened with legal casework. You save time, stress, and effort when you hire an attorney, and are far more likely to walk away with a substantial result. For you, it’s a no-lose, win-win situation, especially with firms like D’Amico Law, where we work on contingency fee agreements. That means you owe nothing upfront, and we only earn our fee if we win on your behalf.
Contact the attorneys at D’Amico to discuss representation online or by calling 412-906-8180 at your earliest ability. We are a family firm with community roots in representing local occupational injuries in the steel industry, as well as nationwide concerns like pharmaceutical and defective product liability. From our family to yours, we are here to help you recover after a car accident, and move on to a brighter future.