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Stopped vehicles cause hundreds of fatal car accidents each year

Disabled Vehicle

Lawyers serving West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania explain how to stay safe

Many fatal car accidents happen due to drivers crashing into stopped or disabled vehicles on the side of the road, according to a recent study as reported by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI).

An estimated 566 people were killed and 14,371 injured annually between 2016-2018.  They died in accidents involving vehicles crashing into parked cars or disabled vehicles on the side of the road. This including parked police cars, ambulances, road maintenance vehicles and disabled cars. That's according to the study conducted by the data analysis firm Impact Research.

The financial impact of such accidents was estimated to be worth $8.8 billion each year, accounting for:

  • Medical care for car accident injuries
  • Lost wages if an injury victim cannot work
  • Other accident-related expenses

“This study identifies a part of the road safety equation that doesn’t get much attention, despite the size of the problem,” said David Zuby. Zuby is the executive vice president and chief research officer at the IIHS.

Why do accidents happen?

Among various reasons cited in the study, poor visibility was “likely a factor” in many of the accidents, the IIHS reported. Specifically, “the stationary vehicle wasn’t conspicuous enough.” A total of 95 percent of these fatal accidents involved drivers crashing into inconspicuous vehicles parked on the side of the road, the IIHS added.

In addition, more than 50 percent of the fatalities and 20 percent of serious injuries involved a vehicle hitting a pedestrian leaving, working on or returning to a stopped vehicle. Specifically, an estimated 300 pedestrian fatalities each year involve such situations, a figure that has increased by more than 25 percent since 2014, according to the IIHS.

What can be done to prevent accidents?

The IIHS and the accident study’s authors identified several solutions for preventing accidents involving parked or disabled vehicles. Such preventative measures include:

  • Placing additional flares, safety cones and flashing lights near a parked or disabled vehicle
  • Brighter vehicle hazard lights
  • Vehicle navigation apps integrated to work with advanced driver assistance features
  • More advanced driving automation features
  • Vehicle-to-vehicle wireless communication devices warning there’s a parked vehicle alongside the road
  • Dispatching two emergency vehicles to a crash. Using one vehicle to protect roadside workers or emergency personnel working alongside the road

How can a lawyer help?

You or your family might think you don’t need a lawyer if another driver clearly caused an accident involving a parked vehicle. Many car accident claims turn out to be complicated legal cases. Sometimes, it’s because the at-fault party refuses to admit doing anything wrong. Other times, it’s the at-fault party’s insurance company. They often hire investigators and attorneys with one goal in mind – to reduce or deny your injury claim.

The experienced lawyers at Recht Law Offices can work with you to build a comprehensive strategy designed to address any legal obstacle you may encounter after your car accident. We understand how the legal system works in West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania. That's because we handle cases in all three states. As your lawyer, we can work with you and build a strong case in support of your injury claim. To learn more about how our law firm can help you after your car accident, simply contact us and schedule your free case evaluation today.

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