There are both a shocking number of and causes of car accidents in Philadelphia each year. In the most recent year for which statistics are available, car accidents in Philadelphia County caused more than 8,800 injuries or deaths. In that same year, about 13.5% of all Pennsylvania traffic crashes resulted in an injury occurred in Philadelphia County. About 8% of all Pennsylvania traffic accident deaths occurred in Philadelphia County. Philadelphia County had more injuries and deaths from car accidents than any other Pennsylvania County.
Car accident injury victims in Philadelphia need experienced, caring, and aggressive representation. A Philadelphia car accident lawyer can ease the burden of injury victims by negotiating with insurance adjusters so that victims can concentrate on healing and putting their lives back on track.
Types and Causes of Philadelphia Car Accidents
In 2014, almost 4,000 pedestrians, about 1,300 bicyclists, and more than 3,000 motorcycle riders were injured in Pennsylvania car accidents. Most accident injuries, however, are caused by car versus car collisions.
The most common Philadelphia car accidents are:
- T-bone or angle collisions. Almost 39% of collisions in Philadelphia occur when one car hits the side of another car. A large majority of those collisions are intersection accidents caused by the failure to stop for a traffic sign or signal, the failure to yield, or turning into the path of an oncoming vehicle. Depending on the relative size and speed of the vehicles, T-bone accidents can cause very serious injuries, particularly when they trigger a rollover.
- Rear-end collisions. About 32% of collisions are rear-end collisions. They are usually caused by a distracted driver who fails to notice that traffic has slowed or stopped, including drivers who are texting, dialing, or using a cellphone app. Rear-end collisions commonly cause whiplash injuries.
- Sideswipes. About 10% of Philadelphia car accidents are sideswipes. They typically happen when a driver changes lanes, merges into traffic, or drives too close to a lane divider. Driver distraction or fatigue is usually responsible for a sideswipe.
- Head-on collisions. Only 5% of traffic accidents in Philadelphia County involve head-on collisions, but those accidents often cause devastating injuries, including fatalities.
Every Philadelphia car accident carries the risk of injury. A Philadelphia car accident lawyer can guide injury victims as the seek fair compensation for their financial losses, pain, and emotional suffering.
Car Accident Injuries
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation rates nonfatal car crash injuries as major, moderate, or minor. Unfortunately, the DOT describes the severity of injuries inflicted in about 31% of injury accidents as “unknown.” That isn’t surprising, since DOT gets its information from accident reports prepared by police officers, and the police rarely follow up on nonfatal accidents to determine how severe an injury turns out to be.
The DOT categorized about 4% of collision injuries in 2014 as major injuries. The DOT describes a major injury as one that is life-threatening or that requires emergency medical care. The DOT lists amputations and severe burns as examples of major injuries.
Personal injury lawyers in Philadelphia divide major injuries into two categories. Catastrophic injuries are permanent and life-changing. Brain damage, paralysis, and loss of limbs are examples of catastrophic injuries. They impair the ability to resume former employment and often make it difficult to pursue any employment. Catastrophic injuries typically require a lifetime of medical care, the assistance of caretakers and rehabilitation specialists, or residence in an assisted living facility.
Of course, some catastrophic injuries cause death. Crush injuries that lead to organ damage or internal bleeding and serious head injuries are often fatal. In those cases, surviving family members pursue wrongful death compensation to achieve justice and to regain the economic security that they lost when a loved one died.
Severe injuries have a serious impact on an accident victim’s life, but they do not result in the dependence that characterizes a catastrophic injury. Broken bones, significant nerve damage, a knee injury that requires a joint replacement, and the loss of an eye are examples of severe injuries. A car accident victim with a severe injury may eventually be able to resume work and to live independently, but will often suffer from permanent or long-term impairments that reduce the quality of life and might have a negative impact on earning ability.
The DOT categorized about 15% of car crash injuries in 2014 as moderate injuries. It describes a moderate injury as one that needs prompt medical treatment but is not life-threatening and does not require emergency care. The DOT’s examples include cuts that require stitches and broken fingers.
The DOT admits, however, that its classification is largely based on visible or obvious injuries. The true percentage of moderate injuries is probably higher than the DOT estimate. A back injury, for example, might not have immediate visible symptoms, but back injuries can produce years of nagging pain. Philadelphia personal injury lawyers regard many back injuries as moderate injuries (or worse) even if there is no obvious need for prompt medical treatment at the time the injury occurs.
Whiplash injuries are another example. A whiplash injury can be debilitating, but whiplash injuries do not typically produce symptoms until several hours (and sometimes several days) after the accident occurs. It is not unusual for accident victims to suffer neck and upper back pain from a whiplash for months or years after the injury occurs.
Finally, the DOT categorized about 50% of car accident injuries in 2014 as minor injuries. It describes a minor injury as one that can be treated with first aid.
Again, however, the severity of an injury is not always clear at the time of an accident. A soft tissue injury, such as a stretching or tearing of muscles, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, or nerves, will usually produce no visible symptoms. The injury victim might not realize the severity of the injury until later in the day or after waking up in pain the next morning. An injury that appears to be minor at the accident scene may turn out to be much more serious.
Any Philadelphia car accident injury victim who feels any pain at any point after a collision should see a doctor as soon as possible. Delaying treatment increases the likelihood that the injury will cause prolonged pain and disability. Describing the pain and the impact it has on the victim’s life in detail helps the doctor assess and treat the injury, and also provides important documentation that will make it easier to settle an injury claim for its full value.
Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyers Here To Help
Car accident victims in Philadelphia have the right to seek just compensation for their injuries. To maximize that compensation, they should receive legal advice from a respected and experienced Pennsylvania car accident lawyer that will treat you and your case with the respect and care needed.
Contact the attorneys at KaplunMarx today by calling or filling out our contact form and we will show you why we are consistently chosen to represent car accident victims. Learn more about the causes of car accidents in Philadelphia today.