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Personal Injury Law Blog

The wrongful death of a 'viable' fetus

There is precedent in Pennsylvania for a lawsuit revolving around a stillborn fetus, as the unborn child's death was said to be caused by a car accident. The case in question was Gullborg v. Rizzo. It established a precedent within the state for how wrongful death cases after car accidents can proceed.

However, other cases have not always followed the precedent. In one case, a doctor was operating on a woman who was pregnant, and the child passed away. The family tried to sue under the same precedent and lost, as the case was said to be different. This shows just how tricky the laws can be when looking at unborn children.

Drunk driving linked to reduction in neurotransmitter function

Have you ever found yourself wondering why drunk driving doesn't go away on its own? Everyone knows what a problem it is, everyone knows that it is illegal and yet it still happens. Across the country, someone is killed in a crash that is related to alcohol every 53 minutes. Surely any rationally-thinking person would know that drunk driving is too dangerous to participate in.

But this isn't how people think, the stats show. Some estimates have said that one out of each 2,000 trips down the road in the United States involves a drunk driver. That may sound like a small amount, but you can pass hundreds of cars on a 10-minute drive to the mall, so you can see how common this danger really is.

How runners can avoid car accidents

For the avid runner, many hours are typically spent on the shoulder of the road, putting in mile after mile. This can create a fairly dangerous situation, as it only takes one negligent driver to cause an accident, and the prolonged -- and consistent -- exposure means runners are at a high risk.

There are things that runner can do to avoid accidents, though, such as wearing bright clothing during the day and donning headlamps when running in the evening or the early morning. Some runners will also wear reflective vests. Many accidents happen when drivers just don't see runners, so being as visible as possible makes a huge difference.

Suspected DUI driver turns himself in

Police think that a 30-year-old man from Pittsburgh wrecked his car because he had been drinking. A 21-year-old woman was killed in that accident when she was thrown from the car. The man has recently turned himself in to the authorities.

The crash happened back in the first half of March, but the arrest warrant only recently was given out, prompting the man to cooperate with the investigation. The wreck itself happened on Penn Avenue in Point Breeze, in the 6800 block.

Risk factors for pedestrian accidents

Accidents can't be avoided entirely. Every year, pedestrian accidents take hundreds and hundreds of lives in the United States. For example, 4,735 people died in 2013 alone. Every two hours, a pedestrian was killed in a crash. On top of that, over 150,000 pedestrians ended up in the emergency room that year with injuries that were not fatal. Studies have shown that pedestrians are actually one and a half times as likely to die in a car crash on every trip than people in those cars.

However, looking at the risk factors can help people take positive steps to reduce the chances of an accident. Consider the following:

Accident stat changes in a decade

Looking at accident statistics on a yearly basis can help you see trends and understand if the roads are getting safer or not, but yearly stats don't always tell the whole story. It can be more helpful to look at long-term changes to avoid being influenced by outlier statistics. Fortunately, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration put together the "Pocket Guide to Large Truck and Bus Statistics" to help do just that.

In 2002, there were 38,309 vehicles involved in fatal car accidents. Out of those, 4,183 were large trucks. There were also 1,929,000 vehicles involved in accidents that resulted in injuries, and large trucks accounted for 90,000 of them. Finally, there were 4,348,000 vehicles involved in accidents that merely resulted in property damage, and just 322,000 of them were large trucks.

Tesla claims crashed car wasn't on autopilot

A Tesla Model X crashed in Pennsylvania, and the driver said it was because the autopilot feature failed. The company has reviewed the data from the crash, though, and they say the car was being manually driven and was not on autopilot.

The company says that the 77-year-old man who was driving the vehicle took his hands off of the steering wheel. The autopilot is designed to help drivers, not to drive for them, so the system is set up to turn off when the driver doesn't hold the wheel.

Older motorcyclists may be in more danger

People often think of young riders racing bikes when thinking about people who are in danger of being killed in motorcycle accidents. While this assumption makes sense on some levels -- considering the inexperience of the riders, for example, or the raw power of the bikes -- the stats show just the opposite.

For example, the 2013 data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that 55 percent of those who died in motorcycle accidents were over 40. The stats also show that this age is trending up. In 2004, just 46 percent of the riders who died were over 40, while 54 percent were at least in their 30s.

New bill addresses self-driving cars

A new bill in Pennsylvania is meant to help control self-driving cars and their testing in the state. It doesn't govern the technology specifically, but says that auto makers who want to test their vehicles in Pennsylvania have to tell the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation about any malfunctions and other issues that they see. The companies would also have to sign a legal contract, prior to the start of such testing, with PennDOT.

Those who support the bill say that it's definitely not being created to try to keep self-driving vehicles out of the state, but that just the opposite is true. They actually want to see more self-driving vehicles; they just want to know what's going on and to have some guidelines and regulations in place to keep people safe.

Beer sales cause more DUI accidents on the 4th of July

The 4th of July is one of the most well-loved holidays in Pennsylvania, and not just because of the country's independence. It's a great break from work in the middle of the summer, and people flock to their backyards to have parties and BBQs. However, when you look at the stats relating to these parties, you'll see that they could easily cause a spike in DUI accidents. Here are a few interesting stats:

1. About 74 million backyard BBQs will happen.2. People are going to eat about 155 million hot dogs.3. Around 68 million cases of beer -- not bottles or cans, but cases -- are going to be sold.4. About 34.4 million people in America are going to drive in their cars on the Fourth.

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