Philadelphia Fatal Night Driving Accident Lawyer
Millions of people drive on the roads every day. Driving can be dangerous for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians. It is more difficult and dangerous to drive at night, which can cause a motor vehicle accident. While some of the crashes may be minor, other collisions may result in a fatal accident.
If a night driving caused fatal injuries to your loved one, contact a knowledgeable Pennsylvania accident attorney at MyPhillyLawyer toll-free at (800) 461-3741 or in Philadelphia at (215) 227-2727.
Dangers of Headlights and Night Driving
Pennsylvania traffic laws require vehicles to have headlights to see directly in front and at a distance. However, the glare from other cars’ headlights may cause moments of impaired vision or temporary blindness. When drivers cannot see clearly, it is difficult to see hazards and avoid them.
Dangers of Rain and Wet Roads While Driving at Night
Rain makes the glare of headlights worse for drivers at night. The lights reflect off of the water and create a shine that makes it harder to see clearly. In addition to glare from headlights, a heavy downpour of rain at night can cause the driver to have low or no visibility. The use of windshield wipers when it rains can obstruct the view of the road, and the wipers may not have the capacity to continuously remove the large amounts of water from the windshield for the driver to see.
Puddles and pools of water add an extra hazard because they can cause vehicles to slide or skid. Moreover, at night, it is more difficult to see where water is. Hydroplaning may occur when automobiles drive through or over the water, and the tires lose contact with the road surface. Speeding, slowing down and sudden stops are common causes for hydroplaning.
Dangers of Snow and Ice for Night Driving
Snow and ice on roads are dangerous. This is especially true for cities and towns with little to no snow days, which may not have the experience to prepare their roadways and highways for cold weather. Regions prone to snow likely have plans in place to clean the snow from the roads.
Snow is dangerous, especially when the heat from vehicles causes the snow to melt and become slushy. Snow and slush make the roadways slippery, causing drivers to slide across the roads.
When temperatures drop, water on the roadways turns to ice. It is unsafe to operate a vehicle on an icy and slippery road at night. The ice may not be visible from a distance, and it is hard to prepare for.
Driver Behavior While Night Driving
Drivers must remain alert and pay attention while operating a car, especially while driving at night. One of the biggest dangers of driving at night is fatigue. Motorists should make sure they are well-rested to avoid becoming distracted, disoriented or sleepy while driving.
Consumption of alcohol or controlled substances can impair coordination and decision-making. Pennsylvania law prohibits a driver from operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated. It is dangerous and a violation of the law. The intoxication may make the driver unable to control the vehicle increasing the likelihood of having an accident.
Legal Consequences for Fatal Night Driving Accidents in Pennsylvania
When the victim of a night driving accident dies, the deceased’s spouse, children or parents may file a wrongful death action against the at-fault driver. The beneficiaries who bring the lawsuit may seek the damages entitled to the victim had the victim survived the accident, including medical expenses, funeral expenses, pain and suffering, loss of companionship, loss of the victim’s future earnings, and loss of consortium.
The lawsuit may also make a survival action claim, which compensates for the damages the victim incurred from the moment of injury up until the victim’s death. Such damages are medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and disfigurement.
The at-fault driver may face criminal consequences for a fatal night driving accident. Although the driver caused the accident and death unintentionally, the behavior or condition of the motorist may have been reckless or grossly negligent.
Vehicular homicide is reckless or grossly negligent driving that causes the death of another person. The at-fault driver must have been violating the law while engaged in driving. If the violation caused a person’s death, the driver is guilty of a third-degree felony.
When someone drives while under the influence of alcohol or uncontrolled substance (DUI) and unintentionally causes the death of another person, they are guilty of a second-degree felony. For a second-degree DUI death, the guilty person faces a minimum three-year term per death that resulted from the accident. The person must serve each term consecutively.
Pennsylvania law increases the offense to first-degree if the at-fault driver has previous convictions for the same or similar crime. For a person found guilty of first-degree DUI death, the sentence is a minimum of five-year imprisonment terms for each death if the at-fault driver has a prior conviction for the same or similar offense. However, if they have two or more of such previous convictions, the sentence increases to a minimum of seven-year terms.
A Fatal Accident Attorney Can Help
If your loved one was the victim of a fatal night driving accident, contact an experienced Pennsylvania attorney at MyPhillyLawyer today for a free case evaluation. Call us toll-free at (800) 461-3741 or if you are in Philadelphia, call (215) 227-2727.