Archive for the ‘Auto Accidents’ Category

Preventing Motorcycle Accidents Remains a Top Priority

A fatal motorcycle accident occurred in Pennsylvania in late October, resulting in five deaths. The accident happened approximately 70 miles to the southwest of Harrisburg when two motorcycle riders collided with an SUV. Four people on the motorcycles were killed and one SUV passenger also lost his life. According to Fox News, a local township supervisor described the crash as the ‘single worst accident with that many fatalities in the township” and indicated that the accident scene was horrific. Grief counselors were provided at the scene of the crash, and the area where the accident occurred was closed for around five hours.

scooter-in-action-585038-mWhile this accident was devastating, it is unfortunately not the only fatal motorcycle crash that is likely to occur in Pennsylvania this winter. GHSA data reveals that 85 motorcycle riders were killed from January to June of 2011, and 112 motorcyclists lost their lives during the first six months of 2012.  There is always a chance that some of these deaths could have been prevented if both motorcyclists and other drivers practiced safe driving habits through the winter and beyond.

Preventing Motorcycle Accidents Requires a Focus on Safety

While many drivers may assume that motorcyclists won’t be out as much in the winter, the data showing hundreds of deaths in 2012 from January to June makes clear that riders are out on the roads even in the winter months. This is especially true when winter weather is good. The high number of motorcycle deaths in 2012, for example, was explained by the GHSA as being partially caused by “unseasonably warm weather in March and April.”

Motorcycle riders are put in danger by bad weather and by drivers who may not expect to see them on the roads during the colder months. The early darkness caused by daylight savings time also contributes to the risks that motorcycle riders face during the winter.

Motorcyclists need to be aware of all of these dangers and do everything possible to stay safe, including checking weather reports before going out for a ride. This may reduce the chances of becoming caught in an expected storm. Our motorcycle accident lawyers in Wilkes-Barre and Harrisburg PA also encourage riders to wear brightly colored or reflective clothing at night time to make it easier for other drivers to see them.

While motorcyclists need to play a primary role in making sure they don’t become crash victims, drivers must also do their part to keep the roads safe. Some important safe driving practices drivers should follow this winter include:

  • Driving at a speed that is safe for current conditions. This may mean slowing down to account for reduced visibility at night or when the weather is bad.
  • Looking carefully for motorcyclists before turning into an intersection or changing lanes. Remember that motorcycle riders may be harder to see than drivers in passenger cars.
  • Remembering that motorcyclists are more affected by poor road conditions than cars and avoiding tailgating or getting too close to riders.

If both motorcyclists and drivers commit to doing everything they can to stay safe, hopefully motorcyle accident injuries and fatalities can be kept to a minimum this year in PA.

A motorcycle accident attorney in Wilkes-Barre or Harrisburg, PA can help if you are involved in a crash. Contact Metzger Wickersham law firm at 1-800-WIN-WIN-1 (946-9461) or visit us online for a free case evaluation.

Greyhound Bus Crash in Pennsylvania Leaves One Dead and Dozens Injured

busA Greyhound bus en route from New York City to Cleveland smashed into the back of a tractor-trailer on I-80 in Pennsylvania on Wednesday, October 9th, 2013. The crash, which took place about 70 miles North of Harrisburg at approximately 1:30am, left one woman dead and dozens injured.

The cause of the accident is still under investigation, but according to news reports, we do know that more than 40 of the 50 passengers aboard the Greyhound suffered different degrees of injuries, ranging from minor to critical. 

17 of the injured passengers were taken to Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, PA where least four of them were listed in critical condition. A Greyhound spokesperson has reported that the driver of the bus, Sabrina Anderson, 42, was one of the four people in critical condition.

The remaining injured passengers were treated at other local hospitals.

If you’ve been injured in a Greyhound bus crash, a Pennsylvania personal injury lawyer can ensure that your rights are protected. Metzger Wickersham’s bus accident attorneys offer a free consulation for injured accident victims. Contact us today for legal advice.

Later School Starts Could Help Lower Drowsy Driving Risks for Teens

According to the National Sleep Foundation, adolescents and young adults between the ages of 12 and 25 are at high risk for “problem sleepiness.” The NSF’s report on adolescents and sleep suggests that young people require between 8.5 and 9.25 hours of sleep each night. Even when teens are getting optimal sleep, changes in circadian sleep systems associated with puberty, hormonal changes, and other factors can result in teens experiencing an increase in daytime sleepiness.

crash-739118-mUnfortunately making matters worse is the fact that most schools start very early in the morning and cut into teens’ valuable sleep time. A recent article in the Coloradoan drew attention to the problems associated with high schools beginning early in the morning, noting that about 40 percent of U.S. public high schools open before 8 a.m.

Early School Starts Can Put Teens at Risk of Auto Accidents

Our car accident lawyers in Pennsylvania know teens are already at serious risk of traffic collisions, and we fear that “problem sleepiness” in adolescents further contributes to the risk of drowsy driving crashes.

According to the National Sleep Foundation report, drowsy driving has been identified as the primary cause of at least 100,000 auto accidents reported to the police each year. These accidents result in more than 1,500 deaths and injure another 71,000 people. Young drivers age 25 or under are involved in more than half of all the accidents that are caused by motorists falling asleep.

Early start times for most high schools means that there will be many sleep-deprived teenagers on the road — and studies have shown that, in general, a fatigued teen is less likely than a tired adult to pull over and stop driving. This is especially true if the teen is nodding off on his way to school, as the young driver may not want to be late to class.

Teachers at early-starting schools have said that many of their students are falling asleep in their first period classes and show signs of exhaustion. If teens are falling asleep in class, they may be also falling asleep behind the wheel as they drive to school, putting themselves and other motorists on the road at risk of becoming involved in a crash. Later school starts could be a possible way to lower this risk.

A car accident attorney in Pennsylvania can help if you are involved in a crash. Contact Metzger Wickersham law firm at 1-800-WIN-WIN-1 (946-9461) or visit us online for a free case evaluation.

Sending a Text to a Driver Could Make You Liable

textingIn many states, drivers face fines for texting while driving – and in some states, drivers even face prison time when their texting while driving causes injury or death.

But it may not just be drivers who can end up in trouble for accidents caused by texting while driving.

Recently, a New Jersey state appellate court published an opinion establishing that text message senders can also be held legally responsible if they know that the recipient of the text message is driving and likely to read the text while behind the wheel.

The opinion, published last week, says, “We do not hold that someone who texts to a person driving is liable for that person’s negligent actions…” but “when a texter knows or has special reason to know that the intended recipient is driving and is likely to read the text message while driving, the texter has a duty to users of the public roads to refrain from sending the driver a text at that time.”

It may sound like a stretch, but a texter who is not physically in the car at the time of an accident could still be considered “electronically present.”

As texting becomes increasingly prevalent, the standard described in the opinion certainly sets a precedent for assessing liability in future cases involving texting while driving. Texters should be prudent about carrying on a text message conversation with a person they know is driving.

Source: Philly.com, “Sending texts to drivers could draw penalties

Toyota Recalls Vehicles Due to Seat Belt Problems

toyota recallWhen consumers buy a car, they expect it will operate safely and that all promised features will work as intended. This includes major parts such as the brakes or engine, as well as important safety features like air bags and seat belts. While seat belts may seem like a simple component of a vehicle, they are one of the most crucial. The use of a seat belt can significantly reduce the risk of injury or death in the event of a motor-vehicle collision.

Recently, several Toyota models were recalled as a result of problems with the seat belts. The recall, which affected around 342,000 Toyota Tacoma pickup trucks manufactured between 2004 and 2011, was announced in early August. The recall was prompted by a problem with the screws used to fasten the seat belt’s pre-tensioners.

The pre-tensioners are mounted on the rear doors of the truck and are attached to both the driver’s seat belt mechanism and to the passenger’s seat belt mechanism. The job of the pre-tensioners is to pull or cinch the seat belt tightly against the motorist’s body when an impact is sensed in the vehicle. This prevents motorists from being thrown as far forward upon impact and can help to prevent motorists from being ejected in the event of a crash.

In the recalled Toyota vehicles, when the rear doors are opened and closed repeatedly and/or opened and closed too forcefully, the screws can start to loosen. As a result, the seat belt will no longer pull tight across the driver or passenger in an impact. Even worse, the seat belt could come loose entirely, putting motorists at great risk in an accident.

This recent Toyota recall follows an earlier recall that occurred in March, also prompted by seat belt issues. In the March recall, 209,000 FJ Cruiser SUVs had to be taken off the roads because of a possibility that the seatbelt would detach if the rear door panel cracked.

The recalls of two separate Toyota vehicles for seat belt problems in such a short period of time mean that many consumers were put at risk by Toyota’s potentially dangerous designs. Auto manufacturers that make unsafe products may be held legally responsible for any harm that occurs as a direct result of releasing those dangerous products to the public.

We can only hope that the Toyota recalls will prevent people from getting seriously hurt or killed as the result of dangerous design or mechanical defect.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident, contact the Pennsylvania defective vehicle lawyers at Metzger Wickersham. Call 1-800-WIN-WIN-1 (946-9461) or visit us online for a free case evaluation.

Interesting Lancaster County Motorcycle Accident Case Involving a Pig

pig crossing road

On the unusual front, Metzger Wickersham attorney Clark DeVere recently represented a 20-year-old man who was injured when a pig ran out in front of his motorcycle in Lancaster County. Our client suffered shoulder separation, severe road rash and scarring as a result of the accident.

The owner of the 70-lb pig was a farmer. Attorney DeVere investigated the facts and was able to negotiate with the farmer to reach a fair settlement for his injured client.

Over the years, our law firm has skillfully handled a wide variety of accident claims. We take on the unusual, difficult cases and persevere to get our clients the justice they deserve.

If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident or any other type of accident caused by the negligence of another party, you may be entitled to compensation. Get in touch with Metzger Wickersham today for a free case evaluation with one of our experienced attorneys. Call us toll free at 1-800-946-9461, or submit our online contact form.

Voice-Activated Technology is a Safety Risk for Drivers

We all know that electronic gadgets, like our trusted iPhones, can be a dangerous distraction when used behind the wheel.

The obvious solution to stop the distracted driving epidemic is to encourage people to refrain from using any electronic or mobile device while driving.

Yet, as concern about distracted driving dramatically increases, car manufacturers have instead been busy installing voice-activated technology in new vehicle models, so that drivers can have the luxury of updating their Facebook status or Tweeting while keeping their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. Safe alternative, right?

Image courtesy of The New York Times

Wrong. A new study says that voice-activated systems actually create a different and worse safety risk: taking a driver’s mind off the road. Automakers and consumer electronic organizations say that voice recognition systems are safer because they are hands-free, but safety advocates argue that the technology creates a dangerous cognitive distraction.

The study, conducted by AAA’s Foundation for Traffic Safety, is the most exhaustive look to date at new in-car technology.

Read the New York Times article here.

Read more about AAA’s new research findings here.

Pennsylvania Bicycle Safety in Focus this May

Learning to ride a bicycle is a right-of-passage for most children, and many kids and adults ride bikes either for recreation or to commute to school and work. In Pennsylvania, these bicycle riders will find a state that is doing a pretty good job of meeting their needs. In fact, according to the Detroit Free Press, PA ranks #15 out of 50 states when it comes to being bicycle-friendly.

Of course our Pennsylvania bicycle accident attorneys know ranking #15 out of 50 means that there is still plenty of room to do better and to make the state even safer for bicycle riders. This will require a joint commitment from drivers and from riders themselves as everyone will need to obey safety rules and laws. To help encourage bicyclists and drivers to take steps to improve safety, PA is participating in National Bike Safety Awareness Month.

How You Can Make PA Safer for Bicycle Riders

There are a lot of different things going on during National Bike Safety Awareness Month, including organized events where riders are encouraged to bike to work or school. The hope is that if many thousands of people ride to work or school, drivers will take notice of the bicycle riders and will be reminded of the importance of bike safety.

The Department of Transportation is also rolling out a Roll Model campaign during Bike Safety Month. The campaign is targeting parents specifically and it encourages them to model good behavior for their kids by wearing a helmet when riding a bike. Parents are also urged to make a rule that their kids must wear helmets and advised on how to ensure that a child’s helmet fits properly.

The Roll Model campaign also goes beyond encouraging parents to help keep their own kids safe. Parents who ride bikes are also drivers. And, as drivers, they can take some concrete steps to help reduce the risk of bicycle accidents occurring. In fact, all drivers — and not just parents of bike riding kids — should follow some basic tips to help keep bicyclist safer on the road.

Safety tips to practice both during Bike Safety Month and Beyond include:

  • Paying careful attention while driving and watching for bicycle riders. Be careful to watch for riders in blind spots and avoid doing things such as driving while distracted that could cause you to miss the fact that there is a bicyclist in your path.
  • Leaving bicycle riders plenty of room. You shouldn’t pass a bike rider unless you have plenty of space to get around. In fact, in PA, it is illegal to pass a bicycle rider unless you can leave at least four feet of space. Yahoo reports that this 4-foot law went into effect in 2012.

Drivers who respect bicycle riders, who give them plenty of space and who remember that bike riders have the same rights as anyone else on the road will help to reduce the number of bicycle accidents. Hopefully, if drivers make a commitment to being careful, PA can become an even more bike friendly state and can move up on the list from #15.

If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident in Pennsylvania, contact Metzger Wickersham at 1-800-WIN-WIN-1.

Pennsylvania Parents & Proper Use of Car Seats to Avoid Injuries

According to Health Day News, car accidents are the leading cause of death for kids four years of age and younger, at least in part because these young children are often not properly restrained. While kids under four need to be in car seats, many parents aren’t really sure how to use them correctly. Unfortunately, a new study shows that even when kids get into a car accident and are taken to the emergency room, parents are still not educated properly on safe car seat use.

Our Pennsylvania accident attorneys know that a child can be very seriously hurt in any car accident. If the child is not properly secured into a car seat, however, the injuries are likely to be more severe. It is imperative that every effort be made to provide parents with better education on car seat use so kids can be better protected in the event that a crash happens.

Parents Not Receiving Car Seat Education

A recent Health Day News article released information from a study lead by a clinical lecturer in the department of emergency medicine at the University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. The lead author of the study indicated that a visit to the emergency room after an auto accident presents an extremely important chance to educate families about safe car seat use in order to help keep kids out of the hospital in case a future accident happens.

Yet, the study shows that parents simply aren’t receiving this information because emergency rooms are failing to provide it. The study author indicated that the research showed emergency room physicians were largely unaware of resources in the community intended to show parents how to use child seats safely. As such, emergency room physicians simply don’t provide this potentially life-saving information to parents.

This is a huge missed opportunity to save lives, since more than 130,000 kids ages 13 and under go to the emergency room each year after getting hurt in a car wreck. More than one-third of doctors surveyed, however, indicated that they didn’t know if the emergency departments where they worked even had information available about safe use of child seats.

When kids are treated in general emergency departments without specialized pediatric care, parents are even less likely to get information on proper use of child seats than in healthcare environments where the treating physicians have a pediatric specialty. Since almost 85 percent of kids who get into car accidents are treated in general emergency rooms, this means that the vast majority of parents and kids aren’t getting any support for how to use car accidents more safely.

Protecting Your Kids

While hospitals should do better as far as making sure parents are educated about safe car seat use after an auto accident, parents can also get help and information on their own.

At most local police stations, there is information on safe use of child seats. Parents may be able to attend special events where they are taught how to secure their child properly, and can get a hands-on demonstration from community groups and programs specifically intended to teach safe child seat use.

Parents should also be aware that car seats need to be replaced after every car accident with vehicle intrusion; with air bags that deployed; or with a car that was not drivable after the wreck.

If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident in Pennsylvania, contact Metzger Wickersham injury lawyers at 1-800-WIN-WIN-1.

2 Killed in Seton Hill Lacrosse Team Bus Crash near Carlisle, PA

Seton Hill’s women’s lacrosse team was on their way to Millersville University for a game, when the team bus veered off the Pennsylvania Turnpike and crashed into a tree on Saturday morning, March 16th,  just before 9am. It was a one vehicle accident, and police couldn’t immediately determine what caused the crash. The accident is currently under investigation.

According to news reports, the pregnant team coach, Kristina Quigley, and her unborn baby sadly died in the crash. Quigley, 30, of Greensburg, was known as a “very happy person, very passionate about life, about her players, about her job and most importantly about her family,” reported the Huffington Post. She was married and had a young son, Gavin.

The bus driver, Anthony Guaetta, 61, also died in the accident. Numerous other passengers were injured and all were taken to local hospitals as a precaution.

If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident, call Metzger Wickersham’s Pennsylvania injury lawyers for a free consultation.

Metzger Wickersham
Harrisburg, PA 17110
(717) 238-8187
www.mwke.com