Whether it’s on I-95, I-476 or I-76 in Philadelphia, a car accident on the highway often results in serious injuries or death. Given the high rates of speed on highways, car or truck accidents often result in major internal injuries, severe fractures, traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries.
Section 1. Injured Victims’ Legal Rights to Compensation After a Highway Accident
Drivers and pedestrians who are injured in highway accidents in Philadelphia can recover for their injuries and damages by seeking compensation from the at-fault driver. In some cases, as discussed in Section 2 below, other parties can be held liable, in addition to the at-fault driver.
Is it important to note that Pennsylvania limited tort law can prevent a full financial recovery, specifically recovery for pain and suffering. Unless an exception applies, a Pennsylvania resident who elected limited tort on their own auto insurance policy may be barred from recovering for pain and suffering damages.
However, in highway accident cases, the injuries are usually so serious that they meet one of the most commonly litigated exceptions to limited tort law – the serious injury exception.
Assuming an injured driver or passenger’s limited tort election does not apply, injured drivers and passengers can seek compensation for medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. Because the injuries are usually so severe in highway auto accident cases, it is crucial to present a comprehensive picture of the extent of the damages. This includes presenting assessments of future medical care needs and costs, future wage loss and future pain and suffering. For example, in a highway accident on I-95, the victim suffers a permanent spinal cord injury rendering her paraplegic. She will need ongoing medical care for the rest of her life, not to mention a total or near total loss of her earning capacity. Of course, she will also suffer mentally and emotionally for the rest of her life. These are all important factors in presenting the damages claims.
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Fatal Accidents on Philly’s Highways – Legal Rights of Surviving Family Members
Unfortunately, auto accidents on highways in Philly are often fatal. Under Pennsylvania law, surviving family members may make specific types of claim when a car accident takes the life of a loved one. Under Pennsylvania law, a wrongful death and possibly a survival action would be filed against the negligent driver.
In fatal car accident cases in Pennsylvania, certain family members can make a wrongful death and survival claim against the at-fault party. There’s a slight distinction between a wrongful death action and a survival action. Different types of damages claims are allowed under each type of claim. Click here to learn more about wrongful death and survival lawsuits in Pennsylvania.
Section 2. Lawsuits Againstcu Other Parties (Non-Drivers)
In auto accident cases filed in Philadelphia, other parties may be held liable. These types of actions are usually filed after extensive investigation which reveals liability of a non-driver, such as a bar, restaurant or club. There may be a second claim against a bar which violated Pennsylvania liquor serving laws.
For example, a Delaware County resident causes a fatal car accident on I-476. He drives over the median and into oncoming traffic. The driver of the car he hit is killed on impact. The drunk driver’s blood alcohol is more than 4 times the legal limit. Investigation shows that the drunk driver had just left a bar minutes before causing the accident. The bartender at that bar continued serving alcohol to the customer/driver, even though he was visibly intoxicated. Video surveillance inside and outside the bar show him stumbling and falling, before he was served another 4 shots of hard liquor in less than 1 hour. In this instance, the bar could be held liable for violating PA liquor law. A DUI negligence lawsuit could be filed against the bar, in addition to the drunk driver.
While a DUI auto accident lawsuit against a bar or club is one of the more common types of cases against other parties, there are others. In some cases, a state or government entity could be liable for a defective condition of the roadway or highway. In a car accident case where a defective condition caused or contributed to a fatality, a product manufacturer, retailer or distributor could be held liable.
Philadelphia Car Accident Injury Law Firm – FREE CONSULTATIONS
Our lawyers handle highway auto accidents in the Philadelphia region, including Bucks, Montgomery, Chester and Delaware County. We’ve recovered nearly $200 million for our personal injury clients. Call for a free consultation or visit our PA auto accident law library. (866) 641-0806
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