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Pittsburgh Personal Injury Law Blog

Drunk driving is a major cause of fatal car accidents nationwide

It comes as no surprise that thousands of Americans, including Pennsylvanians, are killed every year in drunk driving accidents. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that over 10,000 people in the United States were killed in accidents involving a driver who was under the influence of alcohol. Studies have shown that one-third of all accident deaths in the United States are caused by drivers with a blood alcohol level of over .08.

Despite being warned about the potential tragedies of drunk driving, many Americans still choose to drive while under the influence. The CDC found that 1.8 percent of adults admitted to driving while impaired at least once during the previous month. Many of these 4.2 million adults have admitted to doing so more than once during that month.

What are the main causes of plane crashes?

Over the past couple of years, mysterious plane crashes have captured the attention of Pennsylvanians. Recently, the remains of a Boeing 777 were found in the West Indian Ocean. It appears that these remains are those of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370, the flight that disappeared over a year ago with 239 people on board.What causes these tragedies in air? Four major causes of plane crashes are categorized: weather, intentional, mechanical failure and human error.A Boeing study recently found that 20 percent of commercial aviation accidents are caused by mechanical failure. However, these types of accidents do not occur nearly as often as they did in the past. Advances in technology provide backup systems that allow for less dependency on the pilot. Planes are also built with higher quality components.

According to the National Transportation Safety Board, weather plays a role in 23 percent of all plane crashes. While most pilots are experienced in avoiding thunderstorms, there are times where things do not go as planned.

New truck regulations could increase Pennsylvania accidents

In 2014, over 6,600 large trucks were involved in both fatal and non-fatal accidents in Pennsylvania. Out of those 6,600, nearly 450 of them occurred in Alleghany County. These numbers are considerably higher than the last couple of years.

According to data from the Federal Motor Carrier Administration, there was a 69 percent increase in large truck accidents from 2013 to 2014. Heavy-truck related deaths in Pennsylvania have remained somewhat consistent between 2011 and 2014, but the number of deaths did jump from 147 to 151 from 2013 to 2014.New language recently out into the appropriations bills in the House and the Senate would force states to allow for bigger trucks on the highways; more specifically double trailers, each 33 feet in length. U.S. Senator Bob Casey is concerned about this change and fears that these "twin 33s" may make things even more dangerous for those traveling on the Pennsylvania roadways.With Pennsylvania's terrain, harsh weather conditions and numerous structurally deficient bridges, bigger trucks may cause a lot of issues for state travelers. One recent study by the U.S. Department of Transportation says that longer trucks will cost over $1 billion in damages to roads and another $1.1 billion to bridges.

Pennsylvania widow to file suit over fatal car accident

Fatal car accidents leave the victim’s families in Pennsylvania and elsewhere struggling to hold on. On top of their emotional grief, families will often have never-ending medical bills, funeral costs and other expenses to worry about. However, wrongful death lawsuits may make the coping process a little bit easier for grieving families.

According to recent reports, a local woman seeks to file a lawsuit against multiple parties involved in the car accident that killed her husband. The woman’s husband, a Ligonier Township police lieutenant, was killed in a head-on crash involving a wrong-way driver. Investigators believe that the wrong-way driver was drunk at the time of the accident. The lieutenant’s K-9 partner was injured in the crash, as well as the wrong-way driver.

Traumatic brain injuries impact millions of people each year

Traumatic brain injuries or TBIs impact millions of people in the United States. In fact, approximately 1.7 million deaths, emergency department visits and hospitalizations are related to these types of injuries. Pittsburgh residents suffer from TBIs as a result of many different types of accidents. Any trauma to the head or neck, whether it occurs in a car accident or as a result of a slip-and-fall, can cause damage to the brain.

Injuries to the head typically fall into two categories: open injuries or closed injuries. Open injuries occur when the skull is fractured after coming into contact with a hard surface. Closed head injuries don't involve a fracture, but they are typically more serious due to the possibility of blood clots in the skull and bruising and swelling in the brain.

Pittsburgh family files wrongful death suit after death of inmate

No matter the environment an individual is in, when he or she is experiencing health problems, it is presumed that proper steps will be taken by medical professionals. Even in situations where a patient is in jail or prison, employees of the institution are required to take appropriate steps to ensure proper medical treatment of inmates.

The mistreatment and neglect of inmates could lead loved ones to file civil actions against prisons located in Pennsylvania and elsewhere in the nation. One family recently filed a wrongful death suit after an inmate at the Alleghany County Jail died of a seizure disorder earlier this year. The man allegedly told jail staff that he needed medication for his condition but was not prescribed it.

What should I do after a car accident?

It is no surprise that Pittsburgh car accidents can result in serious injuries or death. Many of us will be involved in at least one car accident in our lifetimes, so it is important to know what steps to take following automobile accidents.First, you should always make sure that you stay at the scene of an accident, especially if someone was injured. Failure to do so may mean criminal charges against you as a hit-and-run driver. After contacting emergency medical services if necessary, you should call the police if there is significant property damage, physical injury or death. While at the scene of the incident, be careful not to apologize or take responsibility for anything at the scene. If you do, you may be admitting legal liability for what happened. The next step involves documenting the accident. Make sure to take down all of the other driver's information, including license plate number, insurance information and contact information. Drivers can also benefit from writing down details about the accident itself and talking to witnesses at the scene. Take photos and video of the damages. It may be beneficial to get the property damage valuation from your insurance company.

It may be necessary to seek independent repair estimates as well. If you have injuries, from seemingly minor ailments to serious injury, make sure to keep track of your treatment, doctors, and medical bills. You may also keep a record of how the injuries affected your day to day life.

Brain injury victims have an assertive ally in Pittsburgh

For accident victims suffering from brain injuries, returning to life as they knew it before can prove extremely difficult. The brain is the most vital organ in the body and when it doesn't work the way it's supposed to, a person may struggle with things that used to come easily.

Traumatic brain injuries occur as the result of motor vehicle accidents, workplace accidents and slip-and-falls on the busy streets of Pittsburgh. The brain is protected by a skull, which sadly does not protect the brain from all possible injuries. Injury to the brain is sometimes immediately apparent, but head injury can also sometimes be harder to detect.

Distracted flying a serious form of pilot negligence

We've all heard that distracted driving is a major cause of car accidents these days. A large number of people have cell phones and other handheld devices that keep them from focusing on the road. As a result, approximately 3,154 people were killed and 424,000 people were injured in 2013 car crashes involving distracted driving. Despite these devastating injuries and fatalities, over 650,000 people reportedly still use their electronic devices while driving at any given moment throughout the day.

A number of accidents on the streets of Pittsburgh are caused by driver negligence. Similarly, an aviation accident can be caused by pilot negligence. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, pilots who are distracted by their electronic devices can cause aviation accidents mid-air.

Tracy Morgan continues to recover from brain injury

Last year, we discussed a serious truck accident involving actor and comedian Tracy Morgan. Morgan suffered critical injuries in the accident, including a traumatic brain injury. It has been almost a year since the accident. Morgan has said that he is still struggling to recover, and he continues to suffer from headaches, nosebleeds and memory problems. He also still requires a cane to walk. Morgan has said that he worries about whether he will be able to resume his life as a comedian.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that approximately 275,000 Americans suffer from brain injuries like Morgan's, which are serious enough to require hospitalization. According to experts, recovering from a serious brain injury can take years. Even after years of treatment, people who suffer from brain injuries may never get back to where they used to be.

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