Common Causes of Automobile Accidents

Beaver county lawyerDriving Under the Influence

A well known cause of motor vehicle accidents is drivers impaired by alcohol or drugs.  A driver under the influence has a lower ability to respond to traffic conditions and weaker motor control, resulting in an inability to control a car.  In Pennsylvania, a driver is considered to be under the influence if their blood alcohol level is .08 or greater.  If a driver’s blood alcohol level is greater than .08 it is likely that a DUI charge will be filed against the driver and this evidence can be used against the impaired driver in a civil case should your lawyer have to sue for damages.  For an attorney, proving liability on the part of the impaired driver is often not difficult and these types of cases often settle with the insurance company before suit is filed.

Contact attorney Matvey now at 724-709-7958

How much of a problem is drunk driving?

  • In 2006, 13,470 people died in crashes involving alcohol-impaired drivers, accounting for about one-third (32%) of all traffic-related deaths in the United States.
  • In 2007, over 1.4 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics. That’s less than one percent of the 159 million self-reported episodes of alcohol-impaired driving among U.S. adults each year.
  • Drugs other than alcohol (e.g., marijuana and cocaine) are involved in about 18% of motor vehicle driver deaths. These other drugs are generally used in combination with alcohol.
  • Half of the 306 child passengers ages 14 and younger who died in alcohol-related crashes in 2006 were riding with drivers who had a BAC level of .08 or higher.
  • In 2006, 45 children age 14 years and younger who were killed as pedestrians or bicyclists were hit by alcohol-impaired drivers.

Source: Centers for Disease Control, see link here.

Distracted Driving and Car Accidents

Distracted driving, driving while talking on a cell phone, texting on a cell phone, eating, putting on make up, and other activities while driving is also a common cause of car accidents.  Drivers not paying attention to the road and traffic conditions may not see traffic stopped ahead of them and may rear-end another driver.  Many states have banned talking on a cell phone unless it is a “hands free” telephone but this does not completely solve the problem.

Studies have shown that even those talking on hands free cell phones still do not have their attention properly on the road.  Commonly, a person distracted by talking on a phone will not notice that a car has stopped in front of them or they will not notice that a stop light has changed and they will cause a rear-end or intersection accident.  Distracted drivers at times can also drift off the road onto the berm of the road leading to a loss of  control of their vehicle, causing a one-car accident.  Where your attorney can prove that the operator was engaged in other activities besides driving their vehicle at the time of the crash, you can have significant proof of the negligence of the other driver and can have a successful case.

Medical Problems and Car Accidents

Drivers experiencing medical emergencies can also cause accidents.  Heart attacks while driving, diabetic issues, or other medical issues can cause a driver to lose control of their vehicle and cause a crash.  In these incidents, proving fault by the driver can be difficult though if the driver has a history of medical problems and should have known about the risk of a loss of consciousness while driving. Elderly drivers may also experience confusion while driving and can cause an accident because of their condition.  Family members should monitor their senior citizen family members for signs of confusion in order to protect them and others from accidents.  Drivers have also fallen asleep while driving and caused accidents.  Where your lawyer has proof of prior knowledge of a medical condition or where the driver admits to falling asleep, you have a case with a strong liability claim against the negligent driver.

Mechanical Failure and Car Accidents

Brake failure, steering failure, tire failure, or other mechanical failures can occur while someone is driving and can cause a crash.  When a case like this is investigated, it is important to look into what the owner or driver of the vehicle knew prior to the crash.  If the driver knew that the tires were bald and chose to drive anyway, negligence can be proven when the car tire blows and causes an accident.  If the driver knew that the brakes were bad but chose to drive anyway, again, the driver can be shown to be negligent.  The difficult cases are those where there was no reason to know that there might be a problem with the mechanics of the vehicle and something fails and causes an accident.  These types of cases can be difficult for your lawyer if you have to file a lawsuit but these cases can be won in court.

Weather Conditions and Car Accidents

Snow and rain can cause or contribute to an accident because of the decreased control a driver will have in adverse weather conditions.  snow covered roads can be difficult for even the best of drivers in the best of vehicles.  A car driven on extremely wet roads can hydroplane and cause an accident.  Even conditions during sunny days can affect a driver’s ability to safely operate a car.  At times the sun can blind a driver and they will not see other vehicles in front of them or will drift off the road and crash.  It is common for a driver who drifts onto the berm of the road to over-correct for their error and cross over the road into oncoming traffic or simply lose control of their vehicle due to the over-correction.

To prove liability in these types of accidents, attorneys look at what the driver was doing in response to the condition observed.  If the driver was driving too fast on snow covered or wet roads, your lawyer can prove liability in court if you have to sue.  If the operator of a vehicle is driving his car toward the sun and his vision is affected by the sun, he must take steps to avoid causing an accident based on his inability to see.

Contact Attorney Matvey today at 724-709-7958 to discuss your accident case.