SUVs are large, top-heavy passenger vehicles that offer a false sense of protection to those who drive them, especially in inclement weather. Their high center of gravity can make them prone to accidents, especially when drivers make sudden turns or travel too fast around corners. Although SUV drivers and occupants have more protection during traffic accidents, those in other passenger vehicles are at risk of severe and potentially fatal injuries when they are involved in an accident with an SUV.
If you have suffered injuries in a Philadelphia SUV accident on I-476 or another major roadway, you could take action to pursue damages related to your injuries. Severe SUV accidents can lead to devastating injuries that leave accident victims in physical pain and debt related to the high costs of medical treatment. If an SUV driver caused your accident and injuries, you should not have to cope with the economic burden on top of the physical pain of accident injuries.
The skilled legal team at The Levin Firm understands the challenges SUV accident victims and their families face in the aftermath of an SUV accident, and can guide you through the claims process. If you live in the Greater Philadelphia area, contact us today online or at (215) 825-5183 for a free consultation to discuss your SUV accident, your injuries, and the ways they have impacted your life, so we can help you determine the best course of action for your situation.
The Levin Firm Advocates for Accident Victims
The award-winning personal injury lawyers at The Levin Firm have represented accident victims since 2005, including those who have suffered injuries in SUV accidents. The firm’s continued dedication to case preparation and client advocacy has led to the recovery of tens of millions of dollars from settlements and jury verdicts for their clients over the years.
Recent case outcomes range from $500,000 to $1.5 million. These examples do not guarantee a financial outcome for your SUV accident injury case. Each claim has specific and unique circumstances that increase or decrease its value. However, The Levin Firm has the knowledge and resources to investigate your accident case and help you build a case against the SUV driver who caused your injuries.
America’s Favorite Vehicles Are Dangerous
SUV is the abbreviation for a sport-utility vehicle. Kelley Blue Book describes an SUV as “a vehicle that combines the interior space of a minivan with the towing capacity of a pickup truck,” making it a popular choice for those who engage in sporting activities because drivers can pull boats, trailers, and other items. In fact, the initial SUV design included powerful engines famous for high fuel consumption. Over the decades, manufacturers have offered varying SUV designs to cater to consumer needs and wants, including multiple sizes and more efficient fuel consumption.
Auto manufacturers classify SUVs by size: compact, mid-size, and full-size. The smallest SUVs typically have smaller engines and less interior space than full-size models. Almost every vehicle manufacturer has one or more SUV models simply because these vehicles have gained so much popularity among consumers, even though they are a passenger vehicle with many potential dangerous qualities.
SUVs have gained so much popularity in the United States that sales have more than doubled over the past decade. More than 60 percent of the time, those who buy a new vehicle choose an SUV. Unfortunately, accidents involving SUVs have also increased over time, especially in accidents involving pedestrians. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety estimates the number of pedestrians killed in SUV accidents has risen by 81 percent in a recent span of seven years, and by 53 percent in a recent span of nine years.
The shape of most SUVs is what poses the largest danger for pedestrians. Many SUVs have a traditional block-front. When the grill strikes a pedestrian it can immediately split the chest or pelvis when the bumper hits a pedestrian’s legs. This causes more damage and a higher likelihood of fatality because it transfers more energy to the pedestrian’s body.
Pedestrians, however, are not the only group to suffer injuries from SUV accidents. In fact, the number of deaths related to driving an SUV or riding as a passenger increased by 3 percent alone over a year—a drastic increase in comparison to other traffic fatalities.
SUV manufacturers have made strides in safety by adopting designs that mimic cars, making them safer to occupants in other vehicles when an accident occurs. For example, manufacturers have lowered bumpers, grilles, and other structures to align with cars. The newest SUVs do not pose a greater threat to occupants in other vehicles that have a comparable weight.
Yet, not everyone is driving a brand-new SUV on the road. Past models have several features that can put others in danger when a traffic collision occurs. The most dangerous characteristics and features of SUVs include:
High Center of Gravity
SUVs are taller vehicles with short-wheel bases that give them a higher center of gravity. As an SUV speeds around a corner or tries to avoid a traffic crash, the center of gravity shifts and makes it difficult for drivers to control. A rollover accident is often the consequence. Although cars and other smaller passenger vehicles can rollover, the high center of gravity approximately doubles the chance of a rollover for those who drive an SUV.
High Ground Clearance
SUVs, like pickup trucks, sit higher off the ground than other passenger vehicles. When traffic accidents occur, smaller vehicles, motorcycles, and even pedestrians can easily slide beneath an SUV, drastically increasing the chances of a severe or fatal injury. Today’s compact and mid-size SUVs have designs with lower ground clearance so others are not at risk for deadly underride accidents after colliding with an SUV.
Larger Blind Spots
All vehicles have blind spots, but as the size of a vehicle increases so does the size of their blind spots. SUV drivers need to use their mirrors to clear their blind spots when they turn or change lanes, but negligent drivers often do not bother. Many new SUVs come with backup cameras that help eliminate rear blind spots when drivers are traveling in reverse. Backup cameras, however, do not help with other blind spots around SUVs.
The vast majority of SUVs have more powerful engines than other passenger vehicles on the road. More power means more speed. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 40 percent of all fatal rollover crashes are speed-related. Increased speed makes it more difficult to control vehicles. This is especially true for top-heavy SUVs with low centers of gravity.
False Sense of Safety
People think that an SUV’s large size protects drivers and occupants. Additionally, many SUVs have four-wheel drive providing extra traction on snowy days. These features give drivers a heightened sense of security in comparison to other passenger vehicles. This often leads to SUV drivers taking risks they would not take when driving another vehicle.
For example, additional traction from 4WD leads some SUV drivers to travel far beyond safe speeds during a snowstorm, or to assume they are safe driving on icy roads.
Government Response to Dangerous SUVs
The dangers of SUVs have not gone unnoticed by the federal government. To improve vehicle safety across the board, the NHTSA proposed requiring all passenger vehicles to come equipped with an electronic stability control (ESC) system. ESC systems rely on automatic, computer-controlled braking to help drivers maintain control of the vehicle in critical driving scenarios. Many auto manufacturers have made ESC systems standard on newer models and will likely continue to do so.
According to the NHTSA, ESC systems should reduce single-vehicle crashes by almost 35 percent and reduce single-SUV crashes by almost 60 percent. The NHTSA estimates that ESC systems will save almost 10,000 lives and prevent over 200,000 accident-related injuries if all new vehicles come equipped with an ESC system.
Seeking Compensation After a Philadelphia SUV Accident
If you have suffered injuries in an SUV accident, your first course of action is to file a claim under your mandatory personal injury protection (PIP) coverage to receive compensation. Depending on the level of coverage you have, your policy might include medical benefits, lost wages, and more. If you only have the minimum $5,000 medical benefits required under Pennsylvania law, you could quickly meet or exceed your policy limit after an SUV accident.
Once you have exhausted your PIP options, you could file a claim with the SUV driver’s insurance carrier to seek compensation. Depending on how well negotiations proceed, a lawsuit might be inevitable. Your attorney could review your case and advise you on the best strategy to take, so you could receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
If you reach a settlement with the insurance company or the court awards you damages if you go to trial, you could receive compensation for common recoverable losses.
They can include economic damages, such as:
- Medical expenses including ambulance service, emergency room visit, doctor visits and treatment, surgery, hospital stay, diagnostic imaging, lab testing, and prescription medication.
- Estimated future medical expenses when an SUV accident leads to a permanent injury or condition that requires ongoing treatment.
- Rehabilitation expenses for visits with specialists who help accident victims with their recovery during physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, behavioral therapy, and others.
- Costs of assistive devices such as wheelchairs, canes, walkers, and artificial limbs.
- Expenses for home remodeling and modifications to increase accessibility for accident victims returning from the hospital, such as constructing a wheelchair ramp, installing handrails in the shower, bathroom, hallways, and other areas, or purchasing a hospital-grade bed.
- Expenses for hiring outside help to replace tasks and labor an injured person provided before their SUV accident, such as cleaning, cooking, snow removal, lawn care, child care, yard work, small home maintenance tasks, grocery shopping, and running errands.
Accident victims could also receive compensation for non-economic damages that are harder to quantify.
- Physical pain and suffering.
- Emotional distress.
- Decreased quality of life.
- Loss of consortium with a spouse if applicable.
- Scarring and disfigurement (especially relevant if an accident victim loses a limb).
- Punitive damages when the court deems the SUV driver acted out of gross negligence or intentional harm.
SUV accidents can be deadly. If a family member you love died as a result of fatal injuries in an SUV accident, you might be eligible for compensation depending on your relationship with the deceased. Under Pennsylvania law, eligible survivors can take legal action against negligent SUV drivers in a wrongful death lawsuit. You might recover some of the damages listed above, and receive compensation for funeral and burial expenses. In some cases, surviving family members also receive compensation for non-economic damages. For example, surviving spouses might receive compensation for loss of companionship, and surviving dependents might receive compensation for loss of parental guidance and support.
Your Philadelphia SUV accident lawyer could review your case, determine the viability of your claim, and answer any questions related to a wrongful death action. The Levin Firm is here to help.
Philadelphia SUV Accident FAQ
Philadelphia SUV accidents can be very impactful. Not only do they cause frustration and often serious injuries, but they have the potential to change the course of your life. Sport Utility Vehicles, or SUV for short, are larger vehicles that you see often on the streets of Philadelphia. Because these vehicles are larger, when they impact another vehicle, the damage and injuries are often more severe.
An SUV presents benefits to a family. There is more storage room and it is easier to pack for an entire family when taking a trip. But, an SUV also presents certain dangers. Because of their size, an SUV is more likely to roll over than many other cars. This happens in both single car and multi-car accidents.
If you or a loved one were injured while riding in an SUV or were injured in an accident where an SUV struck your vehicle, you may pursue compensation. To find out for sure, speak with an experienced Philadelphia SUV accident attorney today so you can better understand your options and chart a path for your recovery.
What dangers do SUVs present in Philadelphia?
SUV sales have more than doubled in the United States over the last ten years. Clearly, these vehicles are popular. But, that popularity can be deadly. Across the United States, pedestrian fatalities have risen and as a result of more SUVs on the road.
SUVs cause more pedestrian deaths than regular cars. That occurs because the front end of an SUV creates more of a forceful impact on a greater percentage of a pedestrian’s body. SUVs are also much heavier than regular cars, meaning the impact with the pedestrians are more often deadly.
The example of pedestrian death increases helps to underscore the dangers posed by SUVs. Drivers, passengers, and occupants of other vehicles can also suffer serious injuries when involved in an accident with an SUV.
Are SUV accidents more deadly than other Philadelphia car accidents?
SUV accidents are more deadly when the SUV is the only vehicle involved in the accident. When SUVs are involved in multi-car accidents, drivers and passengers of the SUV are more likely to survive.
This difference occurs because of the size of an SUV. SUVs are top heavy and more likely to roll over, even at highway speeds. When this type of single vehicle accident occurs, the occupants of the SUV are more likely to perish. But, because the SUV provides more protection for occupants than a regular car, SUV occupants are more likely to walk away from multi-vehicle accidents unscathed.
How do I avoid an SUV accident in Philadelphia?
Just like with other car accidents, there is no sure way to avoid an accident involving an SUV. There are steps you can take—like not driving aggressively—but there is nothing that can guarantee your ability to avoid an accident with or while in an SUV.
However, if you are looking to buy an SUV or you already own one, there are certain steps you can take to help improve your chances of successfully avoiding an accident.
- You cannot drive an SUV like other cars. SUVs are larger than other cars. They are harder to park. They have larger blind spots. They take longer to slow down. Turning too sharply can make it roll over. While you may not have practiced driving since you took your driver’s test for your license, it might be a good idea to spend a little time getting to know how an SUV handles on the road. It can differ greatly from other cars.
- Be alert. This is excellent advice when driving any vehicle. Being an alert driver can help save lives. But, it is especially true when driving an SUV. You sit higher than most other cars on the road. You will also have larger blind spots. These two things can create a catastrophic combination if you are not careful.
- Keep your distance. Even if your SUV is nearly empty and not carrying any cargo or other passengers, your SUV still outweighs most other vehicles on the road. While your SUV has a brake system adequate to handle the heavier vehicle, it will still take longer for you to slow down. By keeping your distance in traffic, you help ensure that you will have enough time to stop before impacting a car in front of you.
- Buy a new SUV. If you do not yet own an SUV but are considering the purchase of one, buy a newer model. SUV safety has improved greatly over time. They have additional airbags, better mirroring, backup cameras, and electronic features to let you know if something is wrong with the vehicle. These safety features alone can give you extra peace of mind that you are operating a safe vehicle.
Do I have to file a Philadelphia SUV accident claim right away?
You need to file a Philadelphia car accident claim soon. In Pennsylvania, you only have two years from the date of your injury to file a Philadelphia car accident claim against the at-fault party. You might think that two years is a long time, but think about what you might face during that time:
- Extended hospital stays
- Multiple surgeries
- Time out of work
- Multiple doctor visits
- Inability to return to work
- In facility or in-home rehabilitation
Whether you suffered injuries while in an SUV or an SUV hit you, you may face uncertainty about what comes next. Depending on the severity of your injuries, you may face many or all of the above scenarios. These situations could leave you in financial hardship as a result of your accident.
That is why it is so important to speak with an experienced Philadelphia SUV accident lawyer as soon as possible after your accident. Your lawyer could answer your questions and reduce your confusion about what comes next. While you focus on your physical wellbeing, your legal representative can be hard at work attempting to hold the negligent party liable for your accident and accountable for your medical bills.
What compensation could I get after my Philadelphia SUV accident?
The compensation you receive will depend a great deal on the injuries you suffered.
Your injuries could include:
- Broken bones
- Concussions and other traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
Depending on the severity of your crash, you may have suffered numerous injuries.
Your attorney might try to get you compensation for:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Lost wages
- Lost earning potential
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of life enjoyment
- Present and future medical bills
- Rehabilitation costs
All of these will require money. If your injuries are life threatening or life altering, you could face a lifetime full of medical attention and adjustments in lifestyle. We all know medical bills are never cheap. That is why it is important to file a Philadelphia car accident claim against the at-fault party to make sure they have to pay your medical bills.
But medical bills are not the only financial hardship you will face. The severity of your injuries may prevent you from returning to work. This may be temporary or, in the worst of situations, permanent. This negatively impacts your ability to earn a living and it can play additional and unnecessary financial burden on your family.
Collecting compensation for your lost wages and your lost earning potential could be the largest part of your recovery. Unfortunately, it is one part of the compensation recovery process that many SUV accident victims neglect and vastly underestimate the amount they should pursue.
When you work with an experienced SUV accident attorney in Philadelphia, you gain the knowledge of your legal representative’s many years of experience protecting the rights of SUV accident victims like you. This comes with the ability to create an accurate estimate of your future needs—both medical and financial. This is an important step in the process, so you and your lawyer have a true understanding of how much money you need to survive.
No amount of money can take away your injuries and suffering. But, collecting compensation from the at-fault party can ensure you do not have to pay out of pocket for any expenses or losses related to your accident. If you did not cause the accident, you should not bear the financial responsibility associated with your recovery.
How long will it take to settle my Philadelphia SUV accident case?
It depends. Many SUV accident victims mistakenly believe that they can settle their case without a lawyer helping them. They believe that having to pay a lawyer will reduce the amount of money they receive, so they attempt to go through the process alone. Unfortunately, doing so could benefit the insurance company rather than the victim.
Soon after your SUV accident, you may receive a phone call from the insurance company representing the at-fault party. It can be tempting to accept a quick offer, because medical bills may be stacking up. The insurance company knows that, and may be using your immediate need for money as a way to get you to agree to a settlement that could be far less than what your case might be worth. They do this because they would make more money if they pay out less.
Your Philadelphia SUV accident lawyer, however, would have your best interests at heart and could negotiate aggressively with the insurance company on your behalf to try to maximize your compensation. But, if you sign the initial settlement offer without first having your lawyer review it, you could end up having to pay for your medical expenses after the settlement funds run out.
When you sign the settlement offer, you waive your right to bring any future claim against the insurance company for this accident. By the time you realize the settlement funds were not enough to cover all of your financial needs, it will be too late.
That is why it can be so vital to speak with a trusted SUV accident lawyer in Philadelphia right away. Your lawyer could make sure the insurance company does not take advantage of you by forcing a lowball settlement that is insufficient to cover your accident costs.
Every year, more Americans file bankruptcy because they cannot pay their medical bills than for any other reason. Do not let yourself become a statistic. The best way to avoid this tragic situation is by working with a seasoned Philadelphia SUV accident lawyer. The sooner you speak with a lawyer, the faster your Philadelphia car accident claim can settle and you can begin your path to recovery.
Do I really need a Philadelphia SUV accident lawyer?
A lawyer could take away a lot of the stresses associated with filing a Philadelphia car accident claim and the stresses of determining how much to pursue for damages. This can help you focus your effort and energy on your health and wellbeing while maximizing your chances at receiving compensation.
The right lawyer can make a difference in your Philadelphia car accident claim. You want a lawyer at your side with experience not only in SUV accident cases like yours, but also a lawyer who is not afraid to stand up to the big insurance companies to get you the compensation you need. Your ability to recover from your injuries and get back to the life you love could be made so much easier based on the legal representation you choose.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury in an SUV accident, you should speak with a trusted Philadelphia SUV accident lawyer today. Do not delay any further. Witnesses forget over time. Evidence gets lost. The time to speak with the Philadelphia SUV accident lawyers at the Levin Firm is now.
Injured in an SUV Accident? Get the Legal Help You Need to Get the Care You Deserve.
The compassionate and skilled SUV accident attorneys at The Levin Firm understands the challenges you and your family might be facing after suffering injuries in an SUV accident. Let our team help you through this difficult time while you focus on healing and recovery. Not only could we handle communications and negotiations with any insurance carriers, but we could also investigate your accident and build a case to get you the maximum compensation for your injuries.
If you have suffered injuries in an SUV accident in the Greater Philadelphia area or have lost a loved one, contact The Levin Firm online or at (215) 825-5183 for a free consultation to discuss the specifics surrounding your SUV accident and injuries. We take SUV accident cases on a contingent fee basis, meaning you need not pay an upfront retainer. Contact us today to set up a consultation to discuss the details of your matter.
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