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Pennsylvania Traffic Laws That Often Impact Car Accident Claims

taking license from driverPennsylvania is known as a no-fault state because drivers are required to purchase personal injury protection coverage to provide compensation after a crash, even if the policyholder is at fault. However, fault can still be a factor in a Pennsylvania car crash claim.

For the most part, drivers are found to be at fault for a crash if they break traffic laws and it results in an accident. While there are numerous traffic laws that can be violated, there are some that come up more often than others when victims file insurance claims.

If you were seriously injured in a crash caused by a negligent driver, give Schmidt Kramer a call today to discuss potential legal options. We help accident victims every day and have secured more than $100 million on behalf of our clients. The initial consultation is 100 percent free of charge.

Right-of-Way Infractions

Right-of-way laws are designed to keep everyone safe by dictating who can proceed and who must wait. We trust that other drivers will follow these rules and we act accordingly. When it is our turn to go, we assume other drivers will allow us to proceed and follow the law.

Unfortunately, drivers are often impatient, or they do not pay enough attention and they violate right-of-way laws, resulting in accidents. Depending on the speed of the collision and the point of impact, the results can be devastating. 

Ignorance is not an excuse for breaking traffic laws. That is why it is important to review any right-of-way laws you do not understand.

That said, there are some basic rules to remember:

  • You must come to a complete stop at all stop signs or before entering a crosswalk
  • Respect yield signs and allow oncoming traffic to go
  • Make sure you have plenty of space to make a left turn in front of oncoming traffic
  • When there are no signals or stop signs, the driver who arrived at the intersection first has the right of way

Speeding

Speeding is one of the top causes of crashes each year. Drivers are either in a hurry or think they can react quickly enough to avoid danger while they break the posted speed limit.

It is up to you to know the speed limit on the road you are traveling. If you were to be pulled over by a police officer, you could not get out of a ticket by saying you did not know the speed limit.

If you find yourself speeding often, because you are worried about being late to work or to another engagement, you should consider leaving earlier. If you have more time, you may be less likely to speed.

The thing to remember about speeding is it gives you less time to react and take steps to prevent a crash. If you see trouble ahead but do not have enough time to avoid it, a crash will likely result.

If you are injured in a crash by a driver who you think was speeding, inform the police officer who responds to the accident. Your lawyer may be able to use damage to your vehicle to establish the other driver was breaking the speed limit.

If you were going over the speed limit and got hit by a driver breaking another traffic law, you may bear some fault for the crash. It may be a small amount of fault, but it could result in you receiving less compensation.

Tailgating

Under state law, you are not allowed to follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent. You must consider the speed of the vehicle in front of you and the condition of the highway.

Following too closely presents some of the same risks as speeding. You are giving yourself much less time and space to slow down, stop or maneuver away from a potential accident.

If you are unhappy with the speed of the car in front of you, change lanes. Otherwise, wait until the opportunity to change lanes presents itself.

While it may be difficult to do, avoid the temptation to get angry with the other driver. If you get angry you may be more likely to tailgate and you could end up causing a crash.

Unfortunately, many people do not do what is prudent and they cause accidents. These accidents can result in serious injuries, like whiplash.

If you think another driver was tailgating you before the crash, tell the police officer who comes to the scene. Damage from the crash may also indicate tailgating.

Texting and Driving

Texting and driving is often the cause of rear-end accidents. Drivers are looking at their phones and before they have time to stop, they plow into the back of another vehicle.

Under Pennsylvania law, it is illegal for drivers to use interactive wireless communication devices (IWCD) for sending, writing or reading text messages while the vehicle is in motion. That means you cannot use a smartphone, mobile computer, wireless phone or similar device for these reasons.

This is a primary offense law, meaning a police officer can pull you over purely because you were texting while driving. They do not need another reason to pull you over.

Your lawyer may be able to subpoena phone records to determine if the at-fault driver was using his or her phone at the time of the crash. Witnesses may have also seen the other driver looking at his or her phone moments before the crash.

Drunk Driving

It is against state law to operate a motor vehicle while your blood alcohol level is at .08 or more. Unfortunately, drunk drivers may seriously injure others while they are still able to get out of their vehicles on their own.

Lawyers can often turn to the police report to prove the driver was drunk. Police officers may have done a sobriety test at the scene of the crash or after the driver was taken into custody.

If you notice signs a driver may be under the influence, notify the police officer at the scene. Does the other driver smell like alcohol? Does he or she seem to be slurring words or walking funny?

When a drunk driver causes a catastrophic crash, it may be possible to seek punitive damages. These are meant to punish the at-fault party for extreme or intentional negligence.

Your lawyer may also be able to pursue a case against the bar or other establishment that served this person alcohol. It is possible he or she was overserved after he or she was already intoxicated.

Have Questions About Filing a Car Crash Claim? Call Today

Our award-winning auto accident attorneys in Harrisburg have vast experience helping car crash victims and are ready to put our experience and legal knowledge to work on your claim.

First, give us a call to schedule a free legal consultation. If we validate your claim, we are prepared to begin building a robust case as we pursue full compensation.

There are no upfront fees, which means no financial risk to you in working with us.

Schmidt Kramer. We are here to help. Ph: (717) 888-8888.