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Personal Injury Law Blog

Traffic deaths are up in Erie County

Unless something dramatic changes, traffic deaths in Erie County, Pennsylvania, are going to be up this year. In 2014, there were 39 total deaths that were linked to accidents and injuries. This year, there are already 38, with more than a month—at the beginning of winter, no less—to go.

There has really been an uptick lately. From Oct. 10 to Nov. 22, 10 people were killed in accidents. Police said that all of the crashes and deaths were preventable.

Distracted drivers are a serious threat to runners

Runners have a right to run along the side of the road, but that doesn't mean it's always safe. Drivers—and especially those who are distracted—can cause many accidents, which can easily be fatal. It's important for runners, who may be very dialed-in to their times and keeping on pace, to be well aware of these dangers.

Experts warn that drivers who are using different gadgets behind the wheel, like tablets and smartphones, are especially dangerous. They only need to swerve off of the road and onto the shoulder for a brief second to hit a runner.

Women are riding motorcycles more and more often

While men are often stereotyped as being the only ones to want to ride motorcycles, the reality is that women are riding them more and more often. A full 12 percent of all of the people who own motorcycles in the United States are women. In the five year period from 2009 to 2014 alone, that means motorcycle ownership by women went up by 28 percent.

Women are even more involved with motorcycles when you consider those who are passengers, rather than drivers. When both groups are considered together, roughly 25 percent of people on motorcycles are women.

Keep these foods out of your car at all costs

Thinking about grabbing a bite to eat while you drive to work? A lot of people do it, but some reports have linked eating and driving to an astounding 65 percent of near misses and 80 percent of car accidents. Food in the car is a huge distraction, and these types are some of the worst:

1. Hot liquid food and drinks.

Dashcams can help after an accident, but are sometimes unreliable

If you ask a dashcam manufacturer, you'll be told that these cameras, which mount on the dash of your car and record everything that happens as you drive, often on a loop, are a great way to prove that you weren't at fault if you're involved in an accident. Are these the key to a court case, or are those claims overstated?

The truth is that a dashcam absolutely can help in some situations, but it's important to note that it's not a guarantee that you're going to win the case, as they can sometimes be unreliable or they don't tell the whole story.

Does your property have an attractive nuisance?

It's very important for homeowners to know what an attractive nuisance is and whether or not they have these on their property. If a child is injured while playing on one, it's possible that property owners in Pennsylvania could be liable for those injuries, even if they never told the children they could come on the property in the first place.

Generally speaking, an attractive nuisance is something—usually man-made—that a child may notice and decide to explore. Examples include staircases, roofs, tunnels, swimming pools and more. It is understood that children may not always realize they are in danger, so they have to be protected from dangerous situations.

Could smoke alarms lead to wrongful death lawsuits?

Smoke alarms have led to wrongful death lawsuits in the past, usually when it was found that the alarms were not working and that people were put needlessly in danger. In some cases, landlords have been forced to pay for faulty alarms on the grounds that they should have done better upkeep on the property.But what about smoke alarms that work, just not well enough?

It's an interesting question because there are some people who think that the standard smoke alarms that most people have, which are known as ionization alarms, are not actually helping to keep people from dying in fires.

Most people still drive when they're tired

Studies have shown that the majority of Americans are willing to drive when they're tired. When the National Sleep Foundation asked people in 2005 if they drove when they were currently feeling drowsy, a full 60 percent claimed they done it in just the past 12 months. At the time, that meant around 168 million people had driven when they were feeling tired.

On top of that, the study found that 37 percent of those asked, or 103 million people, had even been so tired they'd nodded off, falling asleep at the wheel. About 13 percent had not only done this in the previous year, but continued to do it each month.

Why it's so hard to see pedestrians at night

When pedestrian accidents happen at night in Pennsylvania, drivers often claim that they never saw the people before hitting them. The most obvious reasons for this are that it's dark, visibility is reduced, people and other objects become dim, and people who are wearing dark clothing blend right in. However, there are a few other issues as well.

One is that drivers usually don't look right at pedestrians, instead picking them out with their peripheral vision. If a pedestrian is walking to cross the street and the driver is looking in a straight line ahead, as he or she has been taught to do, the pedestrian comes slowly into this range. When it's dark, peripheral vision is drastically reduced, making pedestrians seem to "jump" out of nowhere.

Is the gym liable if you get hurt?

With any type of athletic activity in Pennsylvania, there is the chance that you could be hurt, and this also goes for a trip to the gym. So, if you're injured, can you sue the gym to cover your medical costs and other such things?

The answer can be a bit complex. The first thing to consider is whether or not you signed a waiver. If you did, you may have given up some of your rights when you joined the gym.

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