Fatal Pedestrian Accidents Increased Dramatically During Coronavirus Pandemic

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Road Crowd People City Traffic Street. Source: Maxpixel.net, shared under a CC0 license

 

The lockdowns of 2020 caused many departures from routine. In the case of pedestrian accidents, these changes in pattern were sometimes tragic.

Vehicle miles traveled in the first six months of the year dropped by 16.5 percent compared with the same period in 2019. Despite this drop, an increase in pedestrian deaths was registered — from 2,951 in 2019 to 2,957 in 2020!

This continuity represents an actual pedestrian fatality rate increase of 20% over 2019. The fatality rate increased to 2.2 pedestrian deaths per billion vehicle miles traveled, compared to 1.8 deaths in 2019.

The pedestrian rights lawyers at McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt represent civilians with cases of serious medical injuries or wrongful deaths caused by automobiles. If you were injured due to the negligence of a driver, we will fight for the compensation that you deserve.

 

What Causes These Accidents?

In the first months of the pandemic, traffic was light but enforcement was lax. In addition, many more pedestrians were on back roads near to their houses, owing to an excess of time spent at home and no open destinations to head to.

This may help to explain the per-mile spike in pedestrian deaths in 2020 — but it doesn’t excuse it. 

When pedestrian accidents occur, drivers are often speeding, distracted, or otherwise operating their vehicle in an unsafe manner. These are the most common causes of pedestrian traffic accidents:

  • Drunk or otherwise intoxicated driving
  • Running red lights 
  • Right turns through crosswalks without looking for pedestrians
  • Distracted driving, such as driving while texting
  • Illegally parked cars making it difficult to see pedestrians and bicycles

 

Do Pedestrians Always Have the Right of Way?

Pedestrians harmed in traffic accidents are rarely to blame. If you or a loved one were injured on a sidewalk or at a crosswalk with no traffic signal, the driver was definitely in the wrong. Even if that was not the case, you may have had the right of way. 

Motorists must:

  • Yield to pedestrians crossing a roadway in a marked or unmarked crosswalk when the pedestrian has the right of way
  • Yield to pedestrians crossing a roadway with the assistance of a white/red-tipped cane or a guide dog. Motorists must also pay careful attention when moving past such individuals
  • Exercise “due care” by making use of all available precautions to avoid hitting pedestrians, including honking or giving audible signals when possible

Pedestrians have several responsibilities when dealing with traffic as well. They should:

  • Follow traffic control devices such as red lights, stop signs and “do not walk” signals
  • Cross at marked crosswalks or pedestrian crossings when traffic control devices are present at an intersection
  • When there are no designated crossings, pedestrians must yield the right of way to vehicles

Common Pedestrian Accident Injuries

When a vehicle and pedestrian collide, the results are predictably tragic. Our lawyers have helped pedestrians who have suffered:

These injuries don’t just cause extensive pain and suffering, they also carry staggering medical expenses. A personal injury lawsuit can help you handle the heavy burden brought on by driver negligence.

 

Other Pedestrian Injuries

It isn’t just vehicles responsible for harm to pedestrians. Negligence of all kinds is to blame for many pedestrian injuries each year. 

Slip and fall injuries occur on icy and dangerous sidewalks, in open manhole covers, from falling debris from construction projects, and down slippery stairs. 

Negligent property owners may be liable for some or all of your injuries, including medical bills and other economic damages. If intangible damages occur as a result of their negligence, they may be responsible for these too.

Photo by Nout Gons from Pexels

When to Consult with an Experienced Traffic Accident Attorney

When a devastating accident occurs, it can be hard to understand the next steps. Insurance companies are not on your side. An experienced personal injury law firm like McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt is best equipped to help you navigate this challenging process.

If you or a loved one are injured due to the negligence of a driver, property owner or construction project, don’t hesitate to contact our team of lawyers today. Fill out our form or call 1-866-382-4806.

 

What To Do After a Car Accident in Philadelphia

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If you’ve been involved in a car accident, whether minor or serious, you know that the aftermath can be a challenging time. The lawyers at McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt have created the following list that we hope will be helpful to you in those first moments after a car accident. Feel free to bookmark this page or print it out to keep in your glove box in case of an emergency. 

1. Stay at the Scene

A hit-and-run is against the law, and you may face consequences even if the accident is minor and did not result in any injuries. Don’t run the risk of running afoul of the law; stay at the scene until you are given the all clear.

2. Check for Injuries

If occupants of either vehicle sustain any injuries in the crash, they should receive medical attention. It is a good idea to keep a first-aid kit in your vehicle at all times in case of minor injuries, but you should summon an ambulance for any severe injuries. When in doubt, err on the side of caution and call emergency services; it may save a life.

3. Call the Police

If the accident is not serious and you happen to have the non-emergency number, you can use it to summon the police, but there’s also nothing wrong with calling 911 for even a minor accident. To make an insurance claim later, you will probably need an official accident report from the police, so don’t hesitate to involve law enforcement, regardless of the severity of the accident. 

4. Make a Report

Tell the police exactly what happened to the best of your ability. Stick to the facts, and include as much detail as possible. However, be careful to avoid saying anything that could be construed as taking responsibility for the collision. Even saying “I’m sorry” could be interpreted as an admission of guilt. Let the authorities and the insurance companies determine who was at fault.

5. Gather Data

This involves exchanging insurance information with the other driver, but it also includes identifying and obtaining contact information from any witnesses, noting the responding officer’s name and badge number, and documenting the scene of the accident. You should obtain the location’s address, if possible, or at least be able to name nearby cross streets. It is also a good idea to take pictures of the scene if you can do so safely.

6. Contact Your Insurance Company

You should do this as soon as possible to start the claims process. In many cases, it is also advisable to hire a Philadelphia car accident lawyer to represent your interests after a car accident. The lawyers at McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt can provide you with more information during your initial consultation, which is always provided free of charge.

 

What Not To Do After an Accident

There are a few important things to avoid saying or doing after being involved in a car accident. These include:

  • Not calling the police

    In some cases, people believe it is okay to just exchange information with the other driver and forgo calling the police. Not calling the police, however, means you will not receive an official accident report to provide as evidence of what happened. 

  • Avoid recorded statements:

    Insurance companies may try to reach out to you after the accident to ask for a recorded statement. We advise our clients to avoid doing that until they have obtained proper legal representation. Remember, an insurance company’s primary objective is to pay you as little as possible. As the victim, you deserve compensation that will cover your medical bills, lost wages, out-of-pocket expenses, pain and suffering, and property damage. 

  • Avoid waiting too long before seeking recovery on your claim

    In most states, there is a set time period for accident victims to sue for personal injuries or wrongful death cases. If the time limit is surpassed, your claim will not receive any coverage. 

The attorney’s at McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt can help you meet all the required deadlines, and gather the evidence you need to obtain the compensation you deserve. Call us today at 1-866-333-7715 or reach out online by filling out our form for your free consultation. 

 

Top Ten Reasons for Car Accidents in 2020 and 2021

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In order to receive compensation after a car accident, you will need to show that the person who caused your accident was negligent, and that their negligent actions led to the crash. Below, we’ve compiled the top ten reasons for a car accident in 2020 and moving into 2021, to help you gain a better understanding of why accidents happen and how to prevent them. 

 

1. COVID-19 and Car Accidents 

The global pandemic caused the number of vehicles on the road to dramatically decrease in 2020, so it’s natural to assume there would be a decrease in traffic accidents as well. But in fact, traffic-related fatalities rose by 4.6% nationwide. Philadelphia County reported 120 traffic related fatalities in 2020, up 60% from 2019. 

This rise in fatalities may be in part because the COVID-19 crisis led to increased alcohol consumption, potentially causing more drunk drivers. In addition, the decrease in vehicles caused less congestion on roadways, which allowed drivers who remained on the road to drive more recklessly.

 

2. Speeding

Speed limits are carefully determined by elected officials in conjunction with traffic engineers, and are put in place to keep people safe while driving. This is because speed is the number one factor in determining if an accident will be fatal. 

 

3. Drunk Driving

Intoxication, whether it be from alcohol or other substances, can impair an individual’s reaction time, motor functioning, and decision making. Drunk driving is another major contributing factor in determining if an accident will be fatal. 

 

4. Distracted Driving 

While drunk driving leads to a higher risk of fatalities, distracted driving is one of the top causes of accidents across the United States. 

Distracted driving can include:

  • Eating or drinking
  • Putting on makeup
  • Turning to talk to other passengers
  • Adjusting the navigation system

 

5. Texting and Driving

The most common form of distracted driving is texting and driving. Texting involves a visual distraction (looking at your phone), a manual distraction (typing), and a cognitive distraction (reading the text). It may seem like only a few seconds, but even 5 seconds of looking away from the road while driving at 55mph is like driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed. 

 

6. Drowsy Driving

Driving while drowsy can be just as dangerous as driving while intoxicated. In fact, in controlled studies, drunk and drowsy driving resulted in a similar number of crashes. 

 

7. Inexperienced Drivers

An experienced driver knows to keep a safe distance while following another car, as well as to check their blind spots while changing lanes. But an inexperienced driver may not remember to glance over their shoulder into the area their mirror cannot see, and may also inadvertently tailgate or fail to yield when they should. 

 

8. Aggressive Driving

Changing lanes rapidly, tailgating, or illegal passing of other cars may be the result of inexperience, but it can also be caused by an experienced, but aggressive driver. In Philadelphia, around 36% of traffic-related deaths are the result of aggressive driving.  

 

9. Road Rage

Aggressive driving may or may not be associated with road rage, which occurs when a driver gets angry at another vehicle on the road. This can result in behaviors like cutting in front of a car aggressively, using verbal insults, or threatening another driver.  

 

10. Poor Vehicle Maintenance

If a driver does not take proper care of their car, it can easily create a dangerous situation. Mechanical failures can occur that endanger the driver and other cars on the road, such as

 

What To Do if You Were Involved in a Car Accident 

Even if you take every precaution in the world, it’s impossible to prevent every car accident from occurring. If you were injured due to someone else’s negligence, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit to cover your medical bills, vehicle repairs, and collect compensation for your pain and suffering. 

The Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyers at McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt understand how difficult the aftermath of a serious car accident can be, and are ready to fight for you at every step of the way. Call us today for your free consultation at 1-866-333-7715 or reach out by filling out our form.

 

Fiat Chrysler SUVs and Minivans Recalled Due to Projectile Hazard During Airbag Deployment

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Another year has brought another massive vehicle recall due to defective airbags. On July 13, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced the recall of 1.2 million Fiat Chrysler minivans and SUVs due to a defect which has already resulted in at least 14 reports of injury. The airbag covers of the recalled 2007–11 Dodge Nitro SUVs and 2008–10 Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans are secured by defective clips, many of which have loosened over time to turn themselves and the plastic emblems they hold into projectiles.

This recall comes on the heels of the 6-years-and-counting saga of Takata’s airbag recall, involving 56 million vehicles made by 19 different automakers in what the NHTSA has called “the largest and most complex safety recall in U.S. history.” As many as 15.9 million defective Takata airbags still remain on the road, resulting in occasional tragedies like the story of 17-year-old Huma Hanif, whose neck was cut by a piece of metal ejected from a faulty airbag inflator, causing her to bleed to death. Her family claims that they were never contacted about the recall.

How Defective Product Law Protects Drivers

Federal laws cover manufacturing defects, design defects and communication about known product dangers, ensuring consumers of a basic right to the implied safety of a purchased product. When you buy a product and use it in the proper way, these laws are there to protect you from unexpected harm. 

On the other side of the equation, consumer safety laws aim to keep everyone in the manufacturing and supply chain honest, applying equally to manufacturers, distributors and retailers. Companies have an obligation to design and manufacture safe products — and when they fail to do so, you have a right to seek action. 

Vehicle Makers Are Held to an Especially High Standard

Product law requires automobile manufacturers to go to great lengths to ensure that every car they produce performs well under typical driving conditions, and mitigates injury in the event of a crash. There is even the added burden of crashworthiness, which requires a car’s designers and manufacturers to look ahead to the human consequences of all types of driver outcomes. This is one of the reasons that auto makers use devices like crash test dummies in simulating crashes.

Since airbags were first required in new passenger vehicles at the start of the 1999 model year, they have been a big part of that safety. Front airbags have been shown to reduce driver fatalities in frontal crashes by 29 percent and front-seat passenger deaths (provided they are 13 or older) by 32 percent. Side airbags reduce a car driver’s risk of death in driver-side crashes by 37 percent and an SUV driver’s risk by 52 percent.

The heightened safety that airbags deliver has become an expectation — which makes it all the more tragic when airbag defects end up causing injury instead of preventing it.

What Types of Injuries Can Defective Airbags Inflict?

While the Fiat Chrysler airbag issue is still unfolding, more is known about the ramifications of Takata’s airbag issue, which has so far claimed the lives of 24 people worldwide while injuring hundreds.

Airbags come out of their housing at speeds up to 200 miles per hour, and must be held to a high design and manufacturing standard. When they fail, injuries can include:

  • Broken bones, skull fractures and brain injury
  • Chemical burns from the gas propellant used for inflation
  • Deep cuts and hemorrhaging from projectiles and shrapnel
  • Blindness caused by exploding airbags

Source: Wikipedia, shared under a CC BY-SA 3.0 license

When to Consult with an Experienced Product Liability Lawyer

At McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt, we have over 30 years of experience in litigating product liability cases. We take all claims on a contingency basis, and will only charge you attorney fees if we are able to obtain financial compensation for your losses. Our experience comes in handy when connecting cases with the right expert witnesses, which can be invaluable in demonstrating the validity of a claim.

McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt welcomes clients local to our Philadelphia offices and those from New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and further afield. To schedule a meeting for a free consultation, fill out our form or call us directly at 1-866-694-5578.

Five Killed and 60 Hospitalized After Tragic Pennsylvania Turnpike Crash

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A tragic accident on the Pennsylvania Turnpike early Sunday morning left five dead and over 60 injured when a passenger bus with Z&D Tour Inc. lost control around a turn and set off a chain-reaction which involved three tractor-trailers and a passenger vehicle.

Police say that the bus was not able to get around a particularly tight turn, went up an embankment and flipped between the exits for New Stanton and Breezewood.  This set off a chain reaction which led to the horrific amount of injuries sustained, in what the spokesman for the Pennsylvania Turnpike Carl DeFebo called “the worst accident in his decades-long tenure with the turnpike.”. 

UPS confirmed that two of their drivers were killed in the accident:

Sadly, UPS confirms the identities of two of our drivers who are victims of this tragic incident. Daniel Kepner, age 53, had 5 years of service, and, Dennis Kehler, age 48, had 28 years of service. Both were driving together in a tractor-trailer vehicle out of our Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, operating center. Our drivers will be missed and our thoughts and prayers go out to their families. This is all of the information available at this time,”

FedEx and Z&D Tour Inc. have so far declined to comment beyond that they are cooperating with authorities.

Trucking Accidents in Pennsylvania Cause Serious Injuries

There are thousands of fatal accidents each year caused by trucks and tractor-trailers, and sadly Pennsylvania has one of the highest rates of trucking accidents in the US. Victims overloaded local hospitals and staff, having prepared for mass casualty plans, were able to handle the influx of victims, and provide the necessary treatment for their injuries.

Multiple patients had to be treated at Allegheny Health Network’s Forbes Hospital for neurosurgical issues, abdominal injuries, brain bleeds, contusions, and fractures from this Sunday’s accident, and staff from Forbes reported that their training for such an event had paid off.

Trucking accidents can cause serious injuries compared to standard vehicles, and almost 98% of the time a collision occurs between a large truck and a passenger vehicle the passenger sustains catastrophic injuries.

What or Who Exactly Caused The Tractor-Trailer Crash on The PA Turnpike?

While the bus from Z&D Tour Inc. has been identified as the first car in the crash, authorities have yet to determine what exactly caused the pile-up, and they say it can take weeks or months to determine.  While the weather can certainly be a factor, it’s still too early too determine whether it is a factor.

The bus that initially flipped was heading from Chinatown in New York City to Cincinnati.  

Finding The Right Attorney If You Or A Loved One Has Been In A Tractor Trailer Accident

With the severity of injuries that trucking accidents cause to passenger vehicles, it’s important that you make sure your medical costs immediately after the accident, and following the accident are covered.  

At McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt, we understand the complexities that are associated with these catastrophic accidents, and we provide comprehensive counsel to those who have suffered injuries due to trucking or multi-vehicle accidents.  Our team can take care of all types of serious and catastrophic injury claims, including brain or spinal cord injury, broken bones, burns, paralysis, and amputation or loss of limb and remove the stress from your family to help you focus on recovering from your injuries.

 McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt has won over $200,000,000 for our clients in various personal injury cases, and our team has worked directly with dozens of trucking cases involving commercial vehicles.

We take a vested interest in your case and you won’t pay a dime unless we win.  In many cases, we can advance the expenses necessary to help you find treatment and work with medical experts in order to properly diagnose your injuries, and how they’ll impact your life going forward.

Don’t hesitate to contact our team or call us directly at 1-800-590-4116 to speak directly to our team.

 

2.7 Million GM Trucks and SUVs Could Have Defective Brakes

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GM Trucks and SUVs Could Have Defective Brakes

The U.S. government is investigating General Motors (GM) big pickup trucks and SUVs due to faulty braking systems. Roughly 2.7 million vehicles sold in the U.S. may be affected by the issue, so if you own a GM truck or SUV, here is what you need to know.

NTSB Details Tesla’s Role in First Self-Driving Car Fatality

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The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) held a hearing today concerning the Florida self-driving car accident in May 2016 that resulted in the nation’s first fatality involving an auto-driving system. According to media reports, the semi-autonomous driving system had a “major role” in the crash because of “operational limitations.”

Update on NHTSA Whistleblower Rules

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has yet to publish the proposed rules for the NHTSA whistleblower program. This whistleblower program was authorized by the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act in December 2015.

Eric Young Interviewed on Auto Whistleblowers by Corporate Crime Reporter

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Eric Young was interviewed for the January 16, 2017 edition of the Corporate Crime Reporter on the new auto whistleblower reward program established by Congress in 2015 as part of the FAST Act. With Takata and VW paying large fines to the U.S. Government in the past two weeks, it is a timely read.

VW to Pay Record Fine to Resolve Dieselgate

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Reuters is reporting that Volkswagen AG and the Justice Department are near an agreement to resolve criminal and civil liability for the German automaker’s diesel emissions cheating scandal. If the reported $3 billion figure is finalized, it will be the largest fine ever paid by an automaker to the U.S. Government.

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