Is municipality at fault for a fatal Pittsburgh car accident during winter weather?

Pennsylvania – January 31, 2023

Accidents can be reduced when other drivers use increased caution, but there are times when something goes awry, and a driver is involved in a single vehicle crash.  This was the case of a West Moreland County driver as the 41-year-old crashed along Route 993 near the Cleaveland Price Manufacturing Facility when her vehicle apparently crossed into the opposite lane of travel and hit a shale wall.  Investigations are ongoing to determine if winter weather may have caused the crash. Accidents in Pennsylvania are common especially during inclement weather conditions.  Drivers must adjust their driving patterns during periods of severe weather to:

  • Slow down,
  • Clearly indicate actions before taking them,
  • Do not change lanes directly in front of another vehicle without allowing adequate space,
  • Make sure all vehicle lights are working,
  • Learn about size and vehicle blind spots present for larger vehicles,
  • Do not follow too closely behind other cars because weather may impact braking,
  • Avoid distractions while driving,
  • Do not drive aggressively, especially in bad weather or heavy traffic.

 Responsibility for crash.

Pittsburgh municipalities have a duty to maintain roadways in a safe condition for all drivers. Additionally, it has a legal obligation to remove or remedy hazards and known dangerous roadway conditions. A municipality may be found negligent in claims or legal action for a car accident if there was:

  • Design defects in the road
  • Proper roadway maintenance to relieve weather conditions
  • Failure to properly maintain the road
  • Defective design of roadway
  • Delay to repair potholes
  • Inadequate or missing signage
  • Construction debris
  • Unclear lane lines
  • Missing guardrails
  • Poorly designed intersections

Determining fault after a crash is difficult and specialists are usually sent to the scene to identify any conditions that will give insight as to the reason behind the crash. A Pittsburgh car accident attorney can be of assistance when dealing with insurance companies, calculating property damage, medical expenses and future losses that will make up the total award after an accident that results in injury or death. The actions of the drivers will be considered when settlements are estimated.

Accidental death benefit.

It is not uncommon for motor vehicle crashes to end in catastrophic bodily harm, or fatal injury. Car insurance policies may have an accidental death benefit rider, whereby a victim’s loved ones may be able to recover compensation to pay for medical treatment and funeral expenses after a solo vehicle crash.  A Pittsburgh car accident lawyer can review the policy to check the personal injury protection coverage (PIP) that includes death benefits which may address funeral expenses, medical bills, and beneficiary amounts.

Compensation for harmful losses.

Insurance compensation for significant property loss, physical harms and wrongful death may be possible in the State of Pennsylvania.  Call an accident attorney who can help support negligence by assigning “fault” in a legal proceeding that addresses property damage, physical injuries, and wrongful death. Damage compensation that may be recovered includes:

  • Property replacement
  • Medical bills
  • Current and future compensation losses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of care, companionship
  • Estate administration expenses
  • Funeral expenses if a wrongful death occurs.

No fault insurance.

Under Pennsylvania’s no-fault system, a driver may turn to his or her own insurance company for compensation for injuries up to the personal injury protection, or “PIP” limit, regardless of fault. Drivers also have the right to circumvent Pennsylvania’s no-fault law and proceed directly against the at-fault driver under certain circumstances.

Hire a lawyer.

An experienced attorney at can be instrumental in reviewing crash reports, medical records, witness reports, and other facts to determine a cause of a single vehicle accident in Pennsylvania. They can work with insurance companies or initiate litigation when necessary. Individuals who have suffered property damage, or injury because of a car crash related to roadways that were not maintained near Pittsburgh should contact an experienced personal injury attorney at the Law Offices of Scanlon & Wojton for assistance.

Scanlon & Wojton, Attorneys at Law

The Mitchell Building
304 Ross Street, Second Floor
Pittsburgh, Pa 15219

Phone: (412) 918-1241

Fax: (412) 235-7275


  1. https://www.wtae.com/article/1-person-seriously-injured-in-westmoreland-county-rollover-crash/42717854
  2. https://www.legis.state.pa.us/WU01/LI/LI/CT/HTM/42/
  3. https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/LI/consCheck.cfm?txtType=HTM&ttl=42&div=0&chpt=83&sctn=1&subsctn=0
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