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The impact of fatal car accidents on Pennsylvania residents

Tens of thousands of individuals in Pennsylvania and across the nation die in car accidents every year. Fatal car accidents often include other non-fatal injuries and can result in the requirement of extensive or long-term care.

The Polk Company's National Vehicle Population Profile and the U.S. Department of Transportation's Fatality Analysis Reporting System have kept extensive data on crashes that occurred between 1975 and 2012. During that time, the number of deaths involving passenger cars declined by 49 percent. However, accidents involving SUVs resulted in nine times more deaths than accidents involving smaller passenger cars. The number of deaths resulting from pickup truck accidents rose by 18 percent and was still higher in 2012 than fatalities resulting from smaller car accidents.

What is a spinal cord injury?

Pennsylvania residents may be interested to know that an estimated 200,000 Americans live with a spinal cord injury. Furthermore, it is estimated that 12,000 to 20,000 new spinal cord injuries occur annually. The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves located within the spinal column that is responsible for sending signals between the brain and the rest of the body. When these nerves are damaged, neurological problems can occur.

Research indicates that spinal cord injuries can cost as much as $30,000 per year. Over a lifetime, the cost of a spinal cord injury is therefore substantial. While alcohol plays a role in a quarter of all spinal injuries, 46 percent of injuries are caused in a car accident. Statistics indicate that 12 percent of spinal cord injuries are caused by playing sports while another 22 percent occur in falls.

Lawsuits, minors and incapacitated persons

The Pennsylvania Code sets forth specific parameters for wrongful-death lawsuits. If a juvenile or an incapacitated person is involved in the lawsuit, the case cannot legally be dismissed unless and until the court resolves the matter or permits the dismissal. Once a final amount is determined through a verdict or settlement, the court will rule on how the monies will be divided by the parties. In the case of the juvenile or incapacitated individual, the court will grant the guardian of the estate to receive the monies, which could be set up through a structured settlement.

The court can appoint a guardian or agency for a juvenile or incapacitated individual and award a payment of up to $25,000 to them for handling the matter. Monies received from the lawsuit shall be deposited in an appropriate and insured financial institution so that the funds are protected. If the funds are higher than the insured amount, they must be deposited in another insured financial institution. Withdrawals cannot be made from said accounts, except according to a court order, until the juvenile matures or the incapacitated person is judged to be competent.

Woman detained for fatal March accident

On Sept. 24, state police announced the arrest of a 37-year-old Pennsylvania woman on charges of homicide by vehicle while DUI, aggravated assault while DUI, possession of drugs, involuntary manslaughter and various traffic offenses. The fatal accident, which occurred on March 29, resulted in a long investigation.

According to authorities, the woman was driving under the influence around 12:30 a.m. when she struck a 41-year-old male pedestrian, causing minor injuries. Instead of stopping her vehicle, the woman allegedly continued driving and then lost control of her 1997 Chevrolet C/K 1500. Police allege she then crossed the centerline of Route 54, striking a 1996 Chevrolet Cavalier head-on. The driver of the car, a 62-year-old man, died of his injuries suffered in the collision.

Maitaining a good distance between cars when driving

According to statistics, Pennsylvania is among the top five states that tailgate dangerously. Drivers who follow another vehicle too closely can be seen as engaging in aggressive behavior. Moreover, the odds of a rear-end collision also increase when a driver tailgates another car. In order to reduce the likelihood of getting into an accident, drivers should consider adopting the three-second rule, which allows motorists to maintain a good following distance.

During clear weather on dry roads, a driver may observe the three-second rule. A driver picks a fixed object on the road and then counts to three. If the driver gets to the object in less than three seconds after the car in front of it passes that object, a driver is following too closely.

1 killed, 3 injured in Pennsylvania hit-and-run

One person was killed and three others were injured in a hit-and-run accident in Philadelphia on Sept. 26. The East Mt. Airy crash happened at about 8:30 p.m.

According to authorities, the car accident occurred on the intersection of East Gorgas Lane and Ardleigh Street, just after an 83-year-old man picked up his 13-year-old grandson from football practice. The individuals were inside a red sedan when the vehicle was hit by a green SUV. The 21-year-old driver and the 27-year-old passenger of the SUV left the scene on foot after the collision. Police later located the driver and the passenger of the SUV at different locations.

Pennsylvania wrongful death trial

A Pennsylvania wrongful death trial began in Franklin County on Sept. 15. The family of a 65-year-old woman says she died in Chambersburg Hospital on May 9, 2009, as a result of medical professional negligence. They are suing for more than $50,000 to cover medical expenses, lost earnings and pain and suffering. They are also seeking more than $50,000 for wrongful death.

The woman suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease which was exacerbated shortly before her death. She was admitted to the hospital after falling on April 14, 2009. She was then given Keflex to treat a possible bacterial infection. Her cause of death is documented as severe sepsis, toxigenic clostridium difficile enteritis, metabolic acidosis and diarrhea.

Pennsylvania crash kills 2

A head-on collision in a Pittsburgh suburb has claimed the lives of two people. The late-weekend accident occurred during evening hours. According to authorities, a sedan was heading east when it drove across the center of the road, running directly into a Jeep. The driver of the sedan, a 22-year-old man, died at the accident scene. The other person that died was identified as another 22-year-old man and was a passenger in the sedan.

According to reports, the driver of the Jeep, a 28-year-old man from Myerstown, was transporting four passengers at the time of the crash. All were taken to an area hospital for treatment. No information has been released about the status of their conditions. Although authorities have confirmed there were two other passengers in the sedan, there are no reports on whether or not either was injured.

Truck tires cause fatal collision on I-79

State police continue to investigate a traffic incident in which two large truck tires flew across the median of Interstate 79 in Pennsylvania and collided with the windshield of an SUV traveling southbound on Sept. 8, leading to the death of the driver. The collision also injured a passenger in the SUV. After the impact, the vehicle careened into the median and collided with the restrictive guide wires.

The catapulted tires also sideswiped another vehicle traveling southbound. The driver of the second vehicle, who received minor injuries, was treated and released. The middle-aged driver of the SUV was pronounced dead at the scene. The female passenger was transported for treatment.

Pennsylvania driver faces charges in relation to fatal crash

An Allentown man is facing criminal prosecution in connection with a May 13 crash on Route 22 in Lehigh County that killed another man. Officials recently filed multiple charges against the 41-year-old man, including homicide by vehicle and driving under the influence. Moreover, officials recently disclosed that the 41-year-old man allegedly had multiple drugs in his system at the time of the accident.

According to the Pennsylvania State Police, the incident occurred after a Bethlehem Township man pulled his vehicle over on the right shoulder of Route 22. Allegedly, the Allentown man was driving a Chevrolet pickup truck north on Route 309 when he attempted to merge left onto Route 22 and struck the Bethlehem Township man's parked vehicle. On account of the accident, the Bethlehem Township man, who had been standing at the rear of his vehicle, became pinned.

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