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Coatesville Car Accident Attorney

The number of drivers on U.S. roads has risen dramatically in recent years. By 2020, the United States had around 228.2 million licensed drivers. Vehicle ownership has also grown steadily over the years. According to data from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), there were 275,913,237 personal and commercial vehicles registered to drivers in the U.S. as of 2020.

As experienced Coatesville car accident lawyers, Wilk Law is well aware that more road users means a higher likelihood of car accidents. Road accidents can take many forms and occur due to various reasons, ranging from reckless driving and speeding to vehicle malfunction.

Coatesville roads — such as the Lincoln Highway, PA Route 82, and U.S. Route 30 — are no exception when it comes to road accidents. Car accidents can happen at any time and to any road user. Sadly, these situations tend to bring out the worst in people, which is why the law gets involved in settling car accident disputes. But the legal process is a delicate balancing act requiring detailed paperwork, an understanding of the legal procedures and lingo, and a case backed by strong arguments.

But don’t worry if all that is too much for you. Our car accident attorneys in Coatesville will walk you through the entire process. Whether you are at fault or not, we believe everyone deserves fair legal consideration and compensation.

Coatesville, Pennsylvania Car Crash Statistics

According to 2020 figures, Pennsylvania ranks as the seventh state with the most vehicles, at 4,043,715. Given the state’s population of 12,972,008, there’s one vehicle for every three Pennsylvanians. And that’s before you count other road users: pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists. The point is, Pennsylvania roads are busy, and with high roadways traffic inevitably comes car accidents.

But exactly how many car accidents happen in Pennsylvania, and what is the nature of these accidents? Here is a list of car crash figures from PennDOT’s 2021 Pennsylvania Crash Facts and Statistics which our Coatesville car accident lawyers found paints an accurate picture of the state of car accidents in Pennsylvania:

  • The total number of reported car crashes in 2021 was 117,899, resulting in 69,599 injuries and 1,230 fatalities.
  • Compared to 2020, the total number of crashes increased by 12.8%, injuries increased by 13.6%, and fatalities increased by 8.9%.
  • On average, 323 traffic crashes were reported daily (about 13 crashes per hour), in which 191 people were injured and three were fatally wounded.
  • One out of every 50 people was involved in a reportable traffic crash.
  • There were 1.44 fatalities per hundred million vehicle miles of travel, the highest recorded traffic fatality rate since 2005.

Most car crashes in Pennsylvania occur on state highways and local roads. And as you’d expect, some roads are more accident-prone than others, especially those with busy intersections, fast straights, and sharp bends. In Pennsylvania, at the top of this list is the 5-mile stretch on Roosevelt Boulevard from Wyoming Avenue to Hartel Avenue, with a total of 22 fatal accidents between 2017 and 2019.

What Are Some of the Reasons These Crashes in Coatesville Are Happening?

A car crash can happen due to any number of different reasons. But here are four of the most common culprits of car crashes which our Coatesville car accident attorneys see in the city:

Driver Negligence

Driver negligence is sometimes called driver error. The law defines negligence as “failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances.” In simpler words, negligence is the failure to take proper care in doing something. When driving, negligence constitutes any unsafe, unlawful, or inconsiderate thing the driver does that could lead to a crash.

It’s widely quoted that driver error accounts for approximately 94% of traffic crashes nationwide.

Here are some common illustrations of driver negligence:

  • Speeding. This means driving over the speed limit or too fast for the particular road, vehicle, or weather conditions. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), speeding accounted for 11,258 deaths in 2020 alone and contributed to 29% of all road fatalities that year.
  • Distracted driving. Trying to handle other tasks while driving can drastically reduce the driver’s concentration, situational awareness, and reaction time. Distracted driving often involves using a cell phone, eating/drinking, rubbernecking, and fiddling with the radio or GPS behind the wheel.
  • Disregard for traffic rules. Traffic rules are meant to maintain order and safety on the road. Reckless driving behaviors — such as running red lights, speeding past stop signs, carelessly switching lanes, tailgating, and failing to signal properly — endanger all road users.
  • Drunk driving. Pennsylvania saw 311 alcohol-related traffic fatalities in 2021. Meanwhile, the NHTSA estimates that about 32 lives are lost daily to drunk-driving crashes. Most of these accidents and deaths are entirely preventable, which is why the law takes such a dim view of drunk driving. In Pennsylvania, for example, the legal limit for a driving under the influence (DUI) conviction is .08% blood alcohol percentage (BAC). But you can still get a DUI with .05 BAC if there’s enough evidence of impairment at that level.
  • Driver fatigue. Driving while exhausted, sleepy, or unwell is unquestionably dangerous. In fact, some argue that it’s comparable to drunk driving.

Remember that negligence works both ways; the injured person may be the one at fault. Negligent passengers, cyclists, riders, or pedestrians can also cause car crashes.

Defective Vehicles

A car is just a machine; like all machines, it can malfunction. Any of the thousands of moving parts or electrical components can go wrong, compromising the vehicle’s response, usability, and safety. For instance, unexpected brake failure can cause one car to rear-end another, a collapsed suspension can cause a vehicle to veer off the road, and defective lights can give nearby road users the wrong information.

In some cases, the vehicle’s manufacturer or mechanic is held responsible for vehicle-related accidents.

Poor Weather Conditions

Extreme weather — such as heavy rain, thick fog, snowstorms, and frigid temperatures — is sometimes to blame for car crashes in Pennsylvania. In most cases, bad weather reduces visibility, like in the case of snow, rain, and fog. In other scenarios, such as extreme winter weather, the roads become slippery and dangerous.

Poor Road Conditions

As car accident attorneys in Coatesville, we know that poor road conditions — such as potholes, icy surfaces, defective traffic lights, and inadequate signage — can cause car accidents. Also, other sudden hazards on the road — such as fallen trees, crossing animals, and falling rocks — can lead to serious car crashes. The authorities responsible for maintaining the roads may be found accountable for accidents resulting from certain road hazards.

In a nutshell, car crashes are mainly attributed to one or a combination of three factors: the driver, the vehicle, or the road. Some auto accident settlements involve proving the factor (or factors) responsible for a crash and determining who’s liable.

What Are the Most Common Car Accident Types in Coatesville, Pennsylvania?

Car crashes are mainly categorized based on the nature of the collision or impact. The type of car accident may determine the at-fault party and how much a claim is worth. Here’s a general overview our car accident lawyers in Coatesville have put together of the different types of car crashes:

  • Head-on collision. This occurs when two vehicles traveling in opposite directions crash head-first into each other. Often caused initially by someone driving the wrong way. This is the most devastating type of crash for both parties.
  • Rear-end collision. In rear-ending, the car behind crashes into the back of the car in front. This type of crash is usually a result of tailgating, sudden braking (of the vehicle in front), distracted driving, or brake failure.
  • Sideswipe collision. This occurs when the sides of two or more vehicles driving parallel to each other collide. Most sideswipe collisions are minor accidents with relatively light damage to the vehicles’ side doors, mirrors, or windows.
  • T-bone collision. When the front of one car slams perpendicularly into the side of another car, the accident is called a T-bone, side-impact, or broadside collision. This type of crash usually occurs at intersections when one driver fails to yield or stop at a red light or stop sign.
  • Rollover crash. This happens when a car hits an obstacle, such as a pothole, curb, ditch, or railing, causing the car to flip or roll on its side. A vehicle can also roll when speeding around a sharp curve.
  • Single-car accident. This is a car accident involving only one vehicle. However, it does not necessarily mean that the driver is at fault. Most of these crashes happen as the driver tries to avoid a collision or hazard on the road.
  • Multi-vehicle collision. This is an umbrella term for accidents involving three or more vehicles.

How Can a Car Accident Lawyer in Coatesville Help Me?

If you get involved in any kind of car accident in Pennsylvania, you can claim compensation from your insurer through your own personal injury protection (PIP) coverage or from the at-fault driver through a third-party insurance claim.

Let’s briefly discuss the rules surrounding the compensation process to understand where a Coatesville car accident lawyer comes in.

Pennsylvania follows a variation of no-fault auto insurance. Under Pennsylvania law, the insurer is obligated to pay for your medical expenses and other financial losses following a car accident, regardless of who’s to blame for the accident. The amount of compensation will depend on the type of policy and its coverage limit.

You can also file a third-party insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver, depending on the severity of your injuries. But if the other driver is only partly at fault for the accident, the claim follows the modified comparative fault rule where both parties share the blame and compensation liability. In such a case, a jury determines your percentage of fault in the accident and deducts the compensation by that percentage.

Also, car crash claims and lawsuits have a strict statute of limitations. Any car accident lawsuit must be filed within two years; otherwise, it will be dismissed.

This is just a taste of the many intricate rules governing the auto accident insurance settlement and lawsuit processes. An auto accident attorney in Coatesville, PA, familiar with Pennsylvania’s insurance and personal injury laws comes in handy when navigating this complex legal maze. In addition to handling all legal procedures, they will also do the following:

  • Investigates the car accident and gathers the relevant evidence to support your case
  • Communicates with the insurance companies on your behalf
  • Collects and organizes your medical records, bills, and other expenses related to the accident
  • Argues in court in support of your claim, for instance, by proving the other driver’s negligence
  • Handles all the mundane and time-consuming legal work while you recover from injuries
  • Negotiates for a fair and satisfactory settlement

Understanding the Car Accident Claims Process

How do you file a claim after a car accident? Well, the first thing you should do after a car accident is to seek medical attention if you or your passengers sustain injuries. Failing to address your injuries promptly might jeopardize your claim, lawsuit, or settlement.

Second, you must notify your insurance provider about the accident as soon as possible. Most insurance companies require claimants to make this notification within a day or two of the accident. Also, failing to report an accident could result in the suspension of your driver’s license. The information on the report varies from insurer to insurer, but it generally describes the accident — damages/injuries sustained, location, number of cars involved, etc.

After a few days, the insurer will issue you with claim forms. The scope and details of the claim will depend on your policy and whether you have no-fault or full tort coverage.

If you have no-fault insurance, you can file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver if your injuries are severe enough to cause bodily impairment or disfigurement. With full tort insurance, you can claim property and financial damages through the other driver’s insurance. Your Coatesville car accident attorney can even file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver if the insurance settlement is inadequate. Such cases can escalate to jury trials if the parties disagree on fair compensation.

How Do Car Accident Settlements Work?

A car accident settlement is an out-of-court agreement between a car crash victim and their insurance company (or the at-fault driver’s insurance company) to render monetary compensation for any losses, damages, pain, or suffering caused directly by the accident. This kind of resolve does not require a court trial, but it does call for solid arguments from the claimant — again, a car accident attorney in Coatesville can help you make a convincing settlement request.

Auto accident settlements are typically paid by either the victim’s or the at-fault driver’s insurance company.

The settlement process begins with gathering relevant evidence about the accident and any information that proves financial losses or other damages on the claimant’s part. All that information and the claim are then organized and put in a demand letter. A demand letter is an official document written by a lawyer “demanding” auto accident settlement from the insurer.

The insurer will typically respond with a counterproposal that opens the table for negotiations. Ideally, the claimant’s lawyer and insurance company argue their cases until they both agree to settle. If they disagree, the issue goes to court for trial. But car accident settlements rarely escalate to lawsuits.

Contact Wilk Law Today

Looking for a Coatesville car accident attorney? Look no further than Wilk Law. We fight tirelessly for all our clients to ensure they get the most out of their car accident settlement, down to the last penny. Request a free consultation with an attorney from our law firm today.

Some of the other locations our law firm serves includes West Chester, Philadelphia, Downingtown, Phoenixville, BerwynPottstown, Valley ForgeKennett Square, Devon, Exton, Frazer, and more.