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Personal Injury Law Blog

A look at 2013 Pennsylvania motorcycle accident statistics

Most Pennsylvania residents are aware that motorcyclists are not currently required to wear helmets throughout the Commonwealth. Certainly, the lack of helmet regulations have led to an increase in traumatic brain injuries during motorcycle collisions. However, the relatively smaller size of motorcycles compared to cars, SUVs and trucks ensures that many motorcyclists will nevertheless receive extensive injuries, regardless of helmet usage.

A review of 2013 motorcycle crash statistics compiled by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation supports that theory. According to the report, there were 3,427 total crashes involving motorcycles throughout the state in 2013. Here is a breakdown of the other motorcycle crash stats:

Dangerous property issues raised by fatal stabbing

On Oct. 9, a bar fight in Delaware County, Pennsylvania left one man in critical condition and another man fleeing from arrest at a local bar. The incident occurred inside the La Cantina Bar in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, which is located in the 6800 block of Market Street.

According to police, the victim's throat was slashed by a knife wielded by another patron who was also visiting the bar at the same time. The victim was hospitalized in extremely critical condition following the stabbing, yet died four days later on Oct. 13 from injuries suffered in the attack.

Statistics involving Pennsylvania commercial vehicle accidents

When many of us think about vehicle accidents, we instantly conjure images of the smoking and crumpled remains of cars or SUVs on the highway as we travel to and from our destinations. Most of us forget that we also share the roads with fleets of commercial vehicles that also become involved in similar accidents.

Commercial vehicles are vehicles hired to move people and things along our roadways. A few examples of these are taxis, chartered motorcoaches, cargo and utility vans and even airport shuttles. The point is that commercial vehicles can be found among nearly every class of vehicle using Pennsylvania roadways.

Pennsylvania’s noneconomic loss law and pedestrian accidents

If you or someone you know has been injured by a vehicle as a pedestrian, then there are a few things you should know about Pennsylvania's laws regarding pedestrian accidents. Most of us are already aware that pedestrians have the right-of-way in crosswalks and intersections where there are no lights or signals. However, there are also many other situations in which pedestrians also enjoy right-of-way privileges. Some of these include sidewalks that cross driveways and alleyways.

Many accidents that involve automobiles and pedestrians quickly devolve into a dispute over which party has the right-of-way at the time of the accident. Establishing this liability is usually the most hotly contested component of many auto vs. pedestrian accidents. Perhaps the reason for this is that Pennsylvania law allows for injured pedestrians to recover non-economic losses for their injuries in such accidents.

Who may benefit from a Pennsylvania wrongful death lawsuit?

To first understand who can benefit from filing a wrongful death claim, it is important to know what actually constitutes a wrongful death. The legislature of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania considers a wrongful death as the premature death of an individual caused by the wrongful or neglectful act of another. Perhaps a good example of this would be a drunk driver causing an accident which results in the death of another motorist. Another example could be a charter fishing boat captain who failed to properly maintain lifesaving equipment which later resulted in the drowning of a boat passenger.

As a general rule, the right to bring an action for a wrongful death in Pennsylvania is extended only for the benefit of the decedent's spouse, children or their parents. This right of action is preserved by any of the above-mentioned surviving family members regardless of whether they reside in Pennsylvania.

Absence of fire detectors create dangerous property situation

A recent fire that claimed the lives of four children in Roseland, Illinois, earlier this month is a reminder that landlords play a significant role in reducing the dangerousness of the properties they rent. Speculation is now growing that the four dead children, ranging in age between 7 and 15 years old, may have perished in the second-floor apartment where they lived due to a lack of working smoke detectors in the dwelling. Sadly, the apartment did have smoke detectors in the apartment's hallway.

Although it has not yet been established whether the lack of fire alarms played a significant role in the Chicago, Illinois, area fire, similar questions remain about other deadly fires.

Veteran’s tribute ride honors motorcycle accident victim

On September 5, a group of Meadville, Pennsylvania, military veterans and bikers participated in a motorcycle rally organized to pay tribute to a fallen comrade. Roughly 25 veterans on motorcycles and other supporters participated in the event. Their primary goal was to escort the family of a deceased veteran who died in a California hit-and-run accident as they recovered his remains. It remains unknown whether police in California have discovered the identity of the hit-and-run driver.

The body of the victim, a 22-year-old active-duty Marine sergeant and former resident of the Meadville-Saegertown area, was sent to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, after the young man was killed in California on Aug. 28 while riding his Suzuki GSXR motorcycle. Family members, friends and other supporters of the event gathered at a Meadville funeral home before setting off for Pittsburgh.

Alarming trends in distracted-driving related car accidents

As previously reported on our law blog, the growing trend of distracted driving has been fueled by the popular appeal of handheld electronic devices. In June 2014, Just Drive PA, a Pennsylvania organization dedicated to increasing public awareness about distracted driving, launched a publicity campaign related to that effort.

Perhaps one of the most important aspects of Just Drive PA's campaign was that it brought attention to the fact that distracted driving is more than just when someone looks at their cellphone. It's also caused by eating, smoking, applying makeup, reaching for something in the back seat and more.

What does Pennsylvania do to reduce pedestrian accidents?

Pedestrian accidents in Pennsylvania resulted in the deaths of 122 residents 2011. At first glance, that number seems high but it actually represents a steady decline from the previous years. In fact, in 2001 there were 195 fatal pedestrian accidents.

Pennsylvania has identified crosswalks as being a problem area for pedestrian accidents. For this reason, in 2001, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation began placing signs in high pedestrian traffic areas that are specifically developed to alert motorists to the presence of pedestrians.

Do Pennsylvania laws help limit commercial vehicle accidents?

Chances are that you see commercial vehicles every time you take to the road. In Pennsylvania, medium and heavy trucks, buses and school buses operate daily throughout the Commonwealth. These are the package delivery trucks that deliver your online purchases, the chartered buses that shuttle gawking tourists through Amish country and even the bread trucks that deliver doughnuts to your favorite coffee shop. The sheer number of this commercial fleet and their frequency on the roads ensures that there are always a fair number of accidents caused by their use.

The good news is that Pennsylvania has specific regulations that govern these vehicles and attempt to limit commercial vehicle accidents. Here are a few examples of those rules taken from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation's "Subchapter F":

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