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Lehigh County wreck sends 9 to hospital

Sport utility vehicles (SUV) remain popular with drivers, but overloading an SUV and/or not insisting that all riders be securely belted into their seats can be quite dangerous.

On Monday, Sept. 4, nine residents of Bayonne, New Jersey, suffered serious injuries in a collision involving their SUV on I-78 in Upper Macungie Township in Lehigh County. Police reported that significant delays affected traffic in the region, with traffic headed west being restricted to a single lane until 9 p.m.

According to authorities with the Fogelsville division of the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP), all of the injured were occupants of a 2015 Chevrolet Traverse. Six of the injured passengers were children.

The wreck occurred shortly before 2 p.m. as the 46-year-old driver of the westbound SUV approached mile marker 50.7 located between Routes 100 and 22. For unknown reasons, a 21-year-old Riegelsville resident in another vehicle crossed over his lane, sideswiping the SUV. He was not injured.

No deaths reported

The impact of the collision sent the SUV careening into the guardrail. All of the injured parties in the SUV were transported from the scene to Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest with injuries that were described as "serious."

The passengers included two women, 20 and 34, a girl and five boys, ages 10-16. None of the minors, nor the 20-year-old female, were wearing safety belts. One of them was partially ejected from the vehicle. The driver and 34-year-old passenger were wearing seat belts.

A spokesperson for the hospital reported that the SUV driver was discharged around 9:15 p.m. While the others' conditions remain unknown, the coroner for Lehigh County had no reports as of 10:30 p.m. that night regarding the highway accident.

Police continue to investigate the collision and ask that any witnesses come forward to the PSP with their information.

No charges doesn't mean no recovery

Pennsylvania is in the minority of states that allow "choice no fault" insurance coverage. That means a driver may choose to carry traditional car insurance or no-fault insurance.

No-fault insurance coverage provides compensation for any economic damages even if the accident was the driver's fault, which may limit an injured party's right to pursue litigation against another driver.

Comparative liability and financial recovery

Pennsylvania also follows the doctrine of comparative negligence when determining who may be sued after an accident. Drivers found to be partially to blame, but less than 51 percent responsible, for their accidents may sue to recover compensation. Under the state's standard of modified comparative negligence, whatever damages may be awarded shall get reduced proportionately to the driver's degree of fault.

If you were injured in an auto accident in Pennsylvania, a knowledgeable and aggressive personal injury attorney can assess and evaluate the merits of your case.

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