How to Prevent Slipping on Snow and Ice During the Winter

Pennsylvania is known for severe winter weather. Each year, several storms blow through the Northeast, leaving several feet of snow and ice in their wake. Navigating winter weather conditions is a part of life in the Pittsburgh area, and this is a treacherous time especially for pedestrians.

There are tens of thousands of slip and fall accidents involving ice every year, and many of them result in moderate to severe injuries. Young children and the elderly are most vulnerable to slipping on snow and ice during the winter, and it also happens frequently in outdoor work settings such as construction or utilities.

With icy streets, parking lots, and sidewalks to deal with for the next few months, it is important to be prepared and take steps to prevent slipping on snow and ice:

Put on the Right Footwear

Treading safely on snow and ice starts with wearing the right shoes or boots. The best footwear for icy conditions is slip resistant boots ideally with nonskid rubber treads that provide better traction on ice. If you do not already have a suitable pair of winter boots that are slip resistant, you should be able to find one at a local sporting goods store.

Exit Vehicles Carefully

One of the most difficult transitions during winter travel is stepping out of a vehicle and onto the outside ground. The reason being that you may not know whether or not you are stepping onto a slippery surface. For example, when you pull into a parking lot that was recently plowed, there might still be a thin layer of snow with ice underneath. Be especially careful when you get into and out of your vehicle.

Walk Slowly

As you proceed, walk slowly and carefully to your destination. Give yourself plenty of extra time to get where you are going and do not be in a rush. You never know when you might run into a slippery spot, so the best way to deal with this is to walk slower and wider (penguin style) and use your arms for greater stability. Also make sure to use handrails when available and bring along a cane or walker if you have dulled foot sensation (from diabetes) or other balancing problems.

Keep your Hands Free

It should go without saying that you should not be looking at your phone sending texts or doing other types of electronic activity while you are trying to walk through snowy and icy conditions. But beyond that, you should put your phone and any other items you may have away in either your pocket or a backpack (except for a cane or walker as mentioned earlier). This will free up your hands and arms to help you stay balanced.

Watch for Problem Areas

Be on the lookout for icy patches including uneven surfaces and icy ground that are hidden underneath the snow. Watch out for slick black ice in particular as this catches many pedestrians off guard and causes a lot of nasty falls. Black ice is formed when wet pavement re-freezes, and it often appears to be just a wet surface when in reality it is solid ice. Check for potentially slippery areas ahead by tapping them with your foot or cane.

Avoid Alcohol

The dangers of drinking and driving are talked about often, but the problems that can come from walking while intoxicated are sometimes overlooked. In the wintertime especially, you should avoid alcohol as much as possible when you are walking on snow and ice. Intoxication can cause major balancing problems and make you more susceptible to a slip and fall accident.

Injured in a Slip and Fall Accident Involving Ice? Contact Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman for Legal Help

Even when we follow all of the best safety practices, slipping on snow and ice can still happen in spite of our best efforts. When this happens, get immediate medical attention, even if you do not feel like you are hurt all that bad. Sometimes, the cold and freezing temperatures can make it difficult to detect an injury right away, but the symptoms could show up later. It is always best to get checked out and be on the safe side.

If the slip and fall injury happened at work or any public place, report the accident to the appropriate person or entity and contact an experienced personal injury lawyer. If your injury resulted from someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. Before speaking with a representative for the responsible party, talk to a lawyer to discuss your legal rights and options.

For skilled legal guidance with personal injuries in Pittsburgh and throughout Pennsylvania,

contact Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman. Message us online or call our office today at 412-567-1232 or toll-free at 866-466-5789 for a free consultation with one of our attorneys. We look forward to serving you!

 

Delayed Injuries from a Car Accident

Even in cases when the damage is not serious, car accidents can be a horrific experience. Every person has a different reaction to a collision. Some find that their minds are inundated with incessant thoughts and concerns, while others experience a mental fog, which makes it hard to think or concentrate.

Besides mental trauma and emotional turmoil, vehicle crashes can also cause physical damage that is challenging to notice amidst a flurry of immediate distractions. Some serious physical issues might not present any symptoms for a number of days.

Shoulder or Neck Pain or Stiffness

A classic delayed symptom injury related to accidents is called whiplash. A majority of whiplash injury cases occur due to rear-end car collision at speeds of below 14 miles per hour. These injuries can be severe and may necessitate CT scans, MRIs, or x-rays for proper diagnosis.

While it is possible to experience pain immediately after a vehicle accident, sometimes the symptoms can take a few days to manifest. If you experience stiffness or pain around your neck, head, or shoulders, consult your doctor promptly. In the case of whiplash is not the underlying cause for the pain, it might signal a spinal injury, which necessitates immediate treatment.

Headaches

One of the most common symptoms people experience after being in a car accident is the development of a headache. Often times, headaches are harmless and will resolve over time. But sometimes they can indicate more serious issues. Headaches can signal blood clots on the brain, head, or neck injury, or even a deep concussion.

It is best to consult a doctor if you experience headaches after a crash to ensure that it does not indicate a worse condition that can cause severe damage to your health. The risk of traumatic brain injury is also associated with car accidents. If you hit your head in a collision, the brain’s soft tissue may affect the skull’s hard interior.

This could lead to inflammation, bleeding, bruising, and brain tissue damage. These types of brain injuries could prove to be fatal, even if you do not have any immediate symptoms after an accident.

Abdominal Pain or Swelling

Any abdominal pain after a vehicle crash could indicate internal bleeding. Signs of internal bleeding also include large patches of deep purple bruising, fainting, and dizziness. Internal bleeding can go unnoticed for hours or even days. This could be life-threatening and must be diagnosed and treated by a trained emergency medical professional.

Back Pain

Back pain after a crash could occur due to injury to the ligaments, muscles, or nerves in the back or even because of vertebrae damage. If you experience back pain days after your car wreck, it may be due to a soft tissue injury, whiplash, a sprain, a herniated disc, or spinal cord injury.

The above conditions can lead to debilitating pain and mobility challenges. Thus, it is crucial to seek treatment as soon as the symptoms manifest. According to reports by the Back & Neck Pain Center, low back pain is found in over 50 percent of rear impact accidents in which injury was reported and in almost 75 percent of all side-impact accidents.

Numbness

Whiplash does not always cause neck and shoulder pain. It is also associated with Whiplash Associated Disorder, which presents as numbness. This condition occurs due to damage or injury to spinal column nerves and can lead to a lack of feeling, sensation, or tingling in the arms and hands. According to estimates, around 20 percent of rear-end vehicle accident victims experience symptoms of whiplash, either immediately after the crash or as a delayed symptom.

PTSD

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a common condition in victims of car accidents, who often experience disturbing and vivid memories of the crash and nightmares. At times, victims feel as if they are reliving the accident or experience flashbacks.

Children are particularly vulnerable to this condition. Seeking immediate medical attention is advisable for any individual involved in a car wreck. Even if these or any other symptoms manifest several days after the collision, it is crucial to consult a doctor as soon as possible.

Any person who is involved in or witnesses serious trauma can develop this condition. PTSD can manifest gradually and then worsen over time. It can impact the way a person functions and deteriorate their quality of life.

Personality or Physical Function Changes

Changes in personality or physical function could indicate traumatic brain injury due to a concussion. The symptoms include impaired movement, memory, or thinking, issues with hearing or vision, or depression, and other personality changes. Data by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that vehicle accidents are the third leading cause of traumatic brain injuries and the second leading cause of fatalities due to traumatic brain injuries.

Legal Help from a Seasoned Auto Accident Lawyer

Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman recommends that you consult a medical professional as soon as you can after an accident. Doing so is understandably important for your health, but also for the sake of any personal injury lawsuit or insurance claim that you file in the future.

Any delay in consulting a doctor could be used by the insurer against you. The insurance company may contend that you did not sustain injuries in the crash or that your injuries were not as serious as you claim they are. For a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 412-567-1232 or toll-free at 866-466-5789.

Do I Need an Attorney for a “No-Doubt” Liability Claim?

There are a lot of car accidents in which there are significant questions over who was at fault and what percentage of liability each party shares. There are other accidents, however, where it seems clear that one party is definitely at fault. These are sometimes known as “no doubt” liability claims, and those involved in accidents like these often wonder if it is even necessary to retain an attorney to pursue the claim.

The answer to this question is not a simple “yes” or “no”. First off, auto accident cases are not always as simple and straightforward as they initially appear to be. You might think that the other driver will be found clearly at fault, but later on you might learn that there are other factors that you were not previously aware of.

Secondly, even if this is a true “no doubt” liability claim, it does not mean you are going to have an easy time dealing with the other party’s insurance company. Oftentimes, if an insurance company knows that their client was clearly the one at fault in an accident, they will make an early settlement offer to the injured party in an attempt to get the case off of their books.

The problem is that this offer is usually for far lower than what your case is really worth. You might be tempted to take the quick money, but it is most often in your best interests to wait until you know the full extent of your injuries and have a better idea of the actual losses you have sustained.

The bottom line is that you may or may not need an attorney for a no doubt liability claim, but it is always in your best interests to at least talk with an attorney about your case. Nearly all personal injury lawyers provide free initial consultations, so you have nothing to lose by speaking with a lawyer. After this conversation, you will have a much better understanding of your legal rights and options, which will allow you to make the most informed decision on how you wish to proceed.

Common Examples of No Doubt Liability Cases

Here are some car accident cases in which assigning liability is likely to be more clear-cut:

  • DUI Accidents: If one of the drivers was committing a criminal act at the time of the crash, such as driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) that exceeds the legal limit of .08%, then they are probably going to be assigned fault for the accident no matter what. However, things might not be as clear-cut if the other driver had some alcohol in their system, but they were not legally drunk. With this type of case, investigators would need to examine other factors to help determine who the at fault driver was.
  • Left Turn Accidents: When a vehicle is making a left turn, they are going against the flow of traffic. So, when there is a crash, it is often assumed that the left turn driver is the one at fault because it is their responsibility to wait for traffic to clear before they complete the turn. This is not always true, however. There are also clearly times when the left turn driver is not at fault, such as when they have a green arrow and the driver coming from the other direction runs a red light. So again, specific factors will still need to be looked at to determine liability.
  • Rear-End Crashes: When there is a rear-end collision, the driver who strikes the other vehicle from behind is usually thought to be at fault. The reason is that this driver is in the best position to avoid the collision simply by slowing down. But there are exceptions even in this situation. For example, maybe the lead vehicle does not have functional brake lights or taillights, so the trailing driver did not have proper warning that the vehicle in front of them was slowing down. Or maybe the lead driver was sending a text when the collision occurred, which is a legal violation in Pennsylvania and most other states.

How a Lawyer Can Help with a No Doubt Liability Case

As you can see, even in the example cases we have just discussed, there are always exceptions to the “no doubt” liability theory. After a thorough assessment of your case, a lawyer can help you determine if there might be some complicating factors that you were not aware of. If you decide to retain their services, your lawyer will go to work to put together the strongest possible case on your behalf, so that there will be a much smaller chance that some of the blame for the accident will be pinned on you.

Your lawyer will also deal directly with the insurance company for the other side, and they will make sure that you ultimately receive a fair settlement offer. The insurance company could try to undermine your claim by saying that you are exaggerating your injuries, and/or that they are the result of a pre-existing condition. An experienced lawyer will not allow you to be taken advantage of in that way or any other, and if the insurance company refuses to act in good faith, they will be ready to take your case to trial if necessary.

Injured in an Auto Accident in Pennsylvania? Contact Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman for Assistance

If you or someone close to you suffered injury in a car accident, it is always best to speak with an experienced attorney about your case, no matter what the circumstances. If the accident occurred in the Pittsburgh area, contact Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman for a free consultation and case assessment.

Call our office today at 412-567-1232 or toll-free at 866-466-5789 or message us online to speak with a member of our legal team. We look forward to serving you!

 

The Impact of COVID-19 on Personal Injury Cases

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed many aspects of our everyday life.  Some things have been put on hold or delayed.  While we continue to navigate the difficult circumstances and delays caused by precautions in place to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, people are continuing to suffer injuries in car accidents, in pedestrian and bicycle accidents, due to slip-and-falls, due to defective products as well as many other accidents caused by the fault of another.

Injured parties can bring personal-injury claims to seek compensation for their injuries even during the COVID-19 outbreak. After a period of closure, the Pennsylvania courts have re-opened. As part of a coordinated response to the COVID-19 pandemic, courts, insurance entities and attorneys are practicing social distancing and conducting their work by telephone, video conferences and emails.

Tips to remember if you sustain an injury due to the fault of another

COVID-19 has changed the environment for handling personal injury claims from the scene of the accident to the courtroom.  At the injury scene, it is still essential you gather information to assist with your claim, but because of social distancing and the risk of catching the virus, this is more difficult.

Fortunately, cell phones make it possible to capture details on the camera while maintaining social distancing. If you are involved in an accident and need urgent medical attention, it is important that you do not delay seeking treatment.  It may be possible to have your injuries assessed by a medical professional through a telehealth visit.

Holding a virtual consultation by videoconference with your medical professional will allow you to obtain an injury report and a treatment plan.  However, if you have been seriously injured, it is imperative that in person medical help is sought.  Although we are living in unusual times, the basics of making a successful claim for personal injury have not changed.  You should remember the following tips:

  • Document and gather as much evidence as possible at the accident scene.

Unless you need immediate medical attention, you should still try to gather the information you will need to pursue a claim when your accident happens. If you are in a car accident and do not need immediate medical attention for your injures, use your cell phone to take pictures of the accident location and the damage to the vehicles involved. Take pictures of the other driver’s contact information and insurance details or write this information down.

If there are witnesses to the accident or people who stopped to help, have them provide you with their names and phone numbers via a text message or email.  Gathering this type of information is not just important for automobile accidents, but also when you suffer injuries from a slip or trip-and-fall, a pedestrian or bicycle accident, motorcycle accident, or due to a defective product.

  • Seek medical attention quickly.

With the COVID-19 outbreak, you may be hesitant to go to the emergency room or seek treatment from a healthcare professional. Failing to seek treatment could have a long-term impact on your health. When you seek treatment, you should keep a list of the medical facilities and medical providers you have seen and the treatment that has being recommended. While you might have gone to an Emergency Room for an acute injury your PCP may be able to see you the same day due there being less urgent appointments any given day for a doctor’s office due to Pandemic.

  • Discuss your case with an experienced lawyer.

An experienced personal injury lawyer will be able to assess the impact of your injury on your life and work.  He or she will be able to investigate all sources of potential recovery to compensate you for the injuries you have sustained.  Retaining an experienced lawyer will ensure that your case is presented in the best possible way and that you obtain full value for your claim.

  • Do not delay in pursuing your claim.

It is still important to not delay seeking legal advice from an experienced personal injury attorney if you sustain an injury due to the fault of another.  Delaying a consultation with an attorney can have a detrimental effect on the outcome of your case.

The dedicated and experienced attorneys at Caroselli Beachler & Coleman are committed to helping you with your personal injury claim during these trying times.  The personal injury attorneys at Caroselli Beachler & Coleman are available conduct a virtual consultation to discuss your claim over the phone, by a video-based call or by email.  We are committed to complying with all state guidelines and taking precautionary steps to protect our clients and our staff.

COVID-19 and the restrictions that are currently in place due to this pandemic should not affect your right to claim compensation for personal injuries which may be an integral part of maintaining your financial stability during these uncertain times.  The attorneys at Caroselli Beachler & Coleman are committed to working with you to obtain a successful outcome. Contact our firm today at (866) 466-5789 or through our website contact form.

Horrific Pennsylvania Turnpike Accident Highlights the Hazards of Winter Driving

Driving in Pennsylvania during the wintertime is not for the faint of heart. We have numerous snowy and icy days that make the roads slippery and, at times, nearly impossible to drive on. The recent crash on the Pennsylvania Turnpike near Mount Pleasant Township is a sad reminder of what can happen when we are not as careful as we should be when we drive during these conditions.

The multi-vehicle crash that killed five and injured around 60 involved a tour bus and three tractor-trailers, including one UPS truck and one FedEx truck. The accident happened when the tour bus, which was driving in the left lane, crashed into the center barrier and ricocheted across the road to the right and up a steep embankment. It then rolled onto its side, slid back down onto the road and blocked both lanes of traffic. This began a chain reaction of collisions.

One of those killed in the accident was a nine-year-old girl from Brooklyn, New York who was traveling on the tour bus. The driver of the bus and another bus passenger were also killed, along with two UPS drivers. The bus was on its way from Chinatown, New York City to Cincinnati when it ran into slippery conditions on the PA Turnpike. Dozens of injury victims were rushed to nearby hospitals.

The multi-car pileup on the PA Turnpike was one of the worst auto accidents in Pennsylvania in years. But although this particular accident was more severe than most others, this type of occurrence is far from an isolated incident. The number of motor vehicle accidents increases significantly during the winter, largely due to inclement weather and the failure of drivers to properly adjust to it.

Roughly one quarter of all weather-related motor vehicle accidents happen because of slushy, icy, or snowy roads. Winter weather conditions not only make the roads more slippery, they can also reduce visibility, making things even more hazardous out there.

Tips for Avoiding the Dangers of Winter Driving

Even the most experienced drivers have difficulty navigating the Pennsylvania roadways on certain winter days. And when there is bad weather, the very best thing to do is not drive at all if possible. If you do not have any urgent need to go somewhere in your car, just stay home until the conditions improve.

That said, we know that people have to be at work and other important places, and often times, that makes it necessary to drive during inclement weather. If you are one of those who needs to drive during bad weather, here are some important tips to help avoid a winter driving accident:

Make Sure Your Car is Ready Before you Go Out

Preparation is one of the major keys to any type of success in life, and this is certainly true when it comes to safe winter driving. Before you go out and tackle the winter weather, be sure to prepare your vehicle. Check your tire tread and pressure, and if you have less than 2/32 of an inch of tread, it is time to replace that tire. You may even want to consider replacing all 4 tires with all-season tires for the winter.  

Test your battery to make sure it has plenty of charge and bring jumper cables along just in case your battery dies. Fill up your wiper fluid and have extra fluid in the car; and replace your wiper blades if they are worn and leave streaks on the windshield. Finally, keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid your gas line freezing.

Move at a Manageable Speed

Speed is a contributing factor in most winter driving accidents. When the roads get icy, speed limits become meaningless. You need to drive at a speed that is slow enough to safely maneuver your vehicle under whatever conditions you are in. When there is snow or ice on the road, it is generally best to stay under 45 mph, even if you are driving on an interstate.

Keep Plenty of Distance Between You and Other Vehicles

Another common cause of winter accidents is drivers who follow other vehicles too closely. If you are tailgating someone or someone is tailgating you, rear-end collisions are far more likely if you encounter ice and lose control of the vehicle. Do your part by always allowing plenty of space between you and the vehicle in front of you.

Learn How to Drive on Ice

Icy roads are one of the most challenging conditions for motorists, and many people who have four-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive vehicles mistakenly believe that they will not be affected by it. Nothing could be further from the truth. Ice affects all vehicles, and everyone needs to adjust their driving whenever the road gets icy. Watch this video for more detailed tips on dealing with icy roads.

Injured in a Winter Driving Accident in Pennsylvania? Contact Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C. for Legal Help

Driving during the winter is challenging, and even if you do everything right, you cannot control the actions of others. If you or someone close to you was injured in a winter driving accident that was caused (at least in part) by another party, you may be entitled to compensation.

At Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C., we have successfully represented countless individuals who have been injured in auto accidents, tractor trailer accidents and tour bus accidents, and we can do the same for you. To schedule a free consultation and case assessment with one of our experienced lawyers, message us online or call our office today at 412-391-9860 or toll-free at 866-466-5789. We look forward to serving you!

Who is At Fault for a Left Turn Accident?

Making a left turn is one of the more dangerous driving maneuvers, particularly in countries like the U.S. where we drive on the right side of the road. Left turns are far riskier than right turns, because turning left generally goes against the flow of traffic, and full acceleration is often required to complete the turn within the allotted time the driver is given. This requires more mental and physical effort on the part of the driver in order to accurately judge the distance and time needed to make the turn, and it requires the vehicle to work harder as well.

A crash factor study conducted by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that making a left turn is nearly two times as hazardous as driving straight, and nearly 20 times as hazardous as making a right turn. Turning left also tends to waste fuel because of the acceleration required. This along with the dangers of this maneuver have prompted UPS, one of the world’s largest transportation companies, to eliminate left turns from their drivers’ routes.

Is the Driver Turning Left Always at Fault if a Collision Occurs?

In general, the driver who turns left is usually considered responsible for any subsequent accident. The car turning left has the lowest priority, and the driver must wait until everything is clear and they can make the turn safely before entering an area where there may be oncoming vehicle traffic. The only time a driver turning left clearly has the right-of-way is when they have a green left turn arrow.

Although the left turn driver is considered to be at fault for an accident in most cases, there are some notable exceptions to this rule:

The Oncoming Driver was Speeding

There are instances when the driver turning left has a clear path to make the turn safely, but then an oncoming vehicle appears to come out of nowhere and crashes into them. This could happen because the driver of the oncoming vehicle was speeding. When there is an accident that results from exceeding the speed limit and violating traffic laws, the driver who violated these laws could certainly be held responsible. This can be difficult to prove, however, because the left turn driver and other witnesses can only estimate the speed of the oncoming driver, and that driver is not likely to admit to speeding. In such cases, it is very helpful to have video footage of the incident either from a stoplight camera or a vehicle dashboard camera.

Another Driver Ran a Stop Sign or Red Light

If one of the vehicles involved in the collision went through a stop sign or red light and crashed into the vehicle turning left, the driver of that vehicle would most likely be to blame. Again, this would be a traffic violation that directly resulted in an accident. This type of violation is also much easier to prove than speeding as witnesses can clearly see if someone blows through a stop sign or stop light.

Unexpected Circumstances

There are times when it is safe to make a left turn at the time the driver initiates it, but something unexpected impedes the vehicle’s progress and causes a crash. For example, the driver is forced to slam on the brakes because an animal jumps out in front of them, or the vehicle has trouble accelerating because of a faulty part or negligent maintenance. Depending on the specific circumstances, another party may be at least partially to blame for the accident.

Other Circumstances

There may be other circumstances that influence the determination of fault in a left turn accident. For example, one of the other drivers involved may have been legally intoxicated, and their chemical impairment was a contributing factor in the crash. Or another driver may have been sending a text on his/her cell phone and did not see the left turn driver until it was too late.

When circumstances are more complicated and it is not clear who was responsible, the parties involved may each share some of the blame. When this is the case, the state’s comparative fault laws would come into play. Pennsylvania uses a modified comparative negligence standard, and an injured party can still recover compensation as long as they were not more than 50% responsible for the underlying accident. However, their compensation award would be reduced in proportion to the percentage of fault they share in the accident.

Injured in a Left-Turn Accident in Pennsylvania? Contact Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C. for Assistance

If you or a loved one suffered injury in a left-turn accident, you may have a right to compensation, even if you were partially at fault. But before speaking to an insurance adjuster or providing them any type of statement, get in touch with an experienced auto accident lawyer to discuss your case.

If your accident happened in Pennsylvania, call Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C. today at 412-391-9860 or toll-free at 866-466-5789, or message us online to schedule a free consultation. We will meet with you to review your case and inform you of your legal rights and options.


The Hazards of Parking Lot Accidents

Parking lots and parking garages are a lot more dangerous than most people realize. These areas present unique risks that are not always present on the streets and highways. For example, lots and garages are compact areas that are often enclosed and more difficult to maneuver in and out of. In addition, there is much more pedestrian traffic with people continually walking to and from their vehicles.

According to the National Safety Council (NSC), there are over 50,000 crashes in parking lots and garages each year, resulting in hundreds of deaths and thousands of serious injuries. And these types of accidents are most prevalent during the holiday season, when traffic spikes at shopping malls, restaurants, and other retail establishments. Overall, accidents in parking lots and parking garages account for more than 20% of all traffic-related accidents.

Common Causes of Parking Lot Accidents

As mentioned earlier, there are some unique hazards that heighten the risk of parking lot and garage accidents. These areas typically have poor lighting, limited visibility, and tight corners, and there are often multiple vehicles circling around looking for a parking spot.

These conditions can cause various types of accidents. Examples include collisions between two vehicles (such as when two cars are backing up at the same time), vehicles colliding into pedestrians, vehicles colliding into bicycles or motorcycles that are passing by, or pedestrians slipping, tripping and falling due to other hazards.

Parking lot accidents are often the fault of one or more motorists, but pedestrians and others involved may also play a role. A third party that is not directly involved in the accident might also be to blame, such as those who own or manage the lot or garage and/or those responsible for maintaining it.

Here are some of the most common causes of parking lot and garage accidents:

  • Aggressive/Reckless Driving: Many people who come in and out of parking areas are under stress. They are running late for work, running late for an appointment, or just trying to fit all of their holiday shopping into their tight schedules. This causes motorists to drive more aggressively in lots and garages as they compete for parking spots. The increased traffic during the holidays makes things worse, as does the winter weather in outdoor parking lots in states like Pennsylvania.
  • Distractions: Because drivers go slower in lots and garages, they seem to feel more comfortable distracting themselves with their smartphone. An NSC survey revealed that 66% of motorists felt comfortable making phone calls when driving through parking areas, and more than 50% were fine with programming GPS systems, sending texts, using social media, and sending and receiving emails. A high percentage of pedestrians also use their smartphones frequently to send and receive electronic messages, watch videos, take selfies, and similar activities.
  • Negligent Maintenance: Many of these parking areas are aged and have not been adequately maintained. They have cracks in the cement, potholes, uneven pavement, and similar problems. These issues are a major contributor to many pedestrian accidents, particularly among small children and the elderly.
  • Faulty Designs: Sometimes, the way a lot or garage is designed can be a factor that contributes to accidents. For example, these areas often have signs that are very confusing with arrows pointing in multiple directions. Driving lanes and parking spots may not even be marked, or the paint is so faded that the markings are no longer clear. And some parking spots are so small that a regular sized vehicle cannot safely navigate into and out of them.

Parking lot accident cases are often very complicated, and it can be difficult for those who are injured to obtain compensation. Many times, there are multiple parties involved, and more than one party might share some of the blame. Insurance companies do not make things any easier. When you file an injury claim with an insurer, they will do anything they can to diminish the value of your claim or deny it altogether.

If the injury took place at a parking lot or garage in Pennsylvania, the state’s modified comparative negligence laws would apply. This means that your damage award would be reduced in proportion to the percentage of fault you share in the accident, and if you are more than 50% at fault, you would not be able to receive any compensation at all.

You can be sure that the other side will look for ways to pin at least some of the blame for the accident on you, and this is one of many reasons it is very important to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after the accident. With strong legal counsel in your corner, you will maximize your chances of recovering full and fair compensation for your injuries.

Contact the Seasoned Personal Injury Lawyers at Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

If you or someone close to you was injured or killed in a parking lot accident in Pennsylvania, call Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C. today at 412-391-9860 or toll-free at 866-466-5789 or message us online to schedule a free consultation. We will meet with you to thoroughly assess your case and advise you of your legal rights and options.

Drive safe this football season

Football season in Pennsylvania is very popular, and watching the game or tailgating often includes drinking alcohol. For those watching numerous games, this can result in hours of drinking. Unfortunately, some choose to get behind the wheel after drinking too much, and this puts other people on the road in danger. Because drunk driving accidents tend to rise during this time, it is important to remember how alcohol affects driving and to always assign a designated driver.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an average of 30 people each day are the victims of fatal accidents due to drunk driving, and operating a vehicle after drinking at a game increases the chances of a crash. It is illegal for anyone to drive if they have a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher, but even one drink can begin to affect one’s ability to drive. Some of the early effects of alcohol include a lapse in judgment, less alertness, difficulty focusing eyes and reduced coordination. At illegal limits, more pronounced effects include a lowered ability to brake in a timely manner, loss of speed control and difficulty controlling the vehicle.

According to MADD, the organization works with the NFL to promote safe and sober driving. Volunteers attend games and encourage the use of a designated driver, and other prevention strategies include game day initiatives and awareness programs. Specific NFL teams also participate in community events to help increase awareness and inspire fans to make responsible decisions such as use public transportation or rideshare programs.