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Monthly Archives: January 2013

Jan 31, 2013 - Car Accidents

SEVERAL CRASHES RESULT FROM SNOW AND ICY ROADS IN PENNSYLVANIA

By Jonathan Russell of Drake, Hileman & Davis, P.C. posted in Car Accidents on Thursday, January 31, 2013. Winter weather can pose several risks to residents in Pennsylvania and in the northern states. The season not only brings frigid temperatures and snow to the region, but also can cause melts and freezes. This can pose hazards to drivers and cause numerous and massive car accidents. The slippery conditions on the road could result in serious damages and injuries to vehicles, drivers and passengers. Although it is important for drivers to significantly reduce their speeds for road conditions, drivers should attempt to avoid driving altogether during times of inclement weather. Philadelphia recently experienced a nighttime snowfall followed by a sudden drop in temperatures. This led to very severe road conditions for drivers. Numerous roads were closed due to icy conditions and accidents. Crashes occurred on US 1 north, US 202 north and Rt. 309 north. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation closed the roads where the accidents occurred in order to clear the accident sites and prevent additional cars becoming involved in the incident. Other roads were closed to reduce road travel and stop additional accidents from occurring. The results of the accidents were not reported, and any injuries and damages from the multiple collisions in Philadelphia were not reported at this time. A person injured in a crash like this might have a personal injury suit, if it is shown that another driver was negligent in causing the crash. An automobile […]

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Jan 28, 2013 - Truck Accidents

TWO SEPARATE TRACTOR-TRAILER ACCIDENTS END IN FATALITIES

By Jonathan Russell of Drake, Hileman & Davis, P.C. posted in Truck Accidents on Monday, January 28, 2013. Accidents can happen suddenly and can change the lives of several individuals in that moment. A truck accident can result in serious damages and injuries. It is tough for automobiles and pedestrians to stand a chance against the tremendous vehicles that can plow over right over them. Not only are these vehicles massive in size, but their ability to reduce speeds suddenly or make an abrupt turn is challenging. Although these maneuvers may be an attempt to evade a collision, they can sometimes cause an accident or even a fatality. One tractor-trailer accident left a men dead on Interstate 95. The incident occurred between what appeared to be a red Peterbilt tractor and a silver-colored trailer and a pedestrian. After striking the man near mile marker 26, the driver fled northbound from the scene. Emergency crewmembers pronounced the pedestrian dead at the scene. Authorities are still investigating the accident and are searching for the driver of the truck. While preliminary findings have not indicated negligence on the part of any party at this time, any person killed in an accident like this might have a wrongful death claim. Compensation from the suit could go towards funeral costs, medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering. However, the driver in this case must be identified before such a suit can proceed. Some accidents cannot be avoided, which is simply why they are referred […]

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Jan 25, 2013 - Wrongful Death

PHILADELPHIA COURT IS VENUE FOR ZOLOFT WRONGFUL DEATH SUIT

By Jonathan Russell of Drake, Hileman & Davis, P.C. posted in Wrongful Death on Friday, January 25, 2013. A grieving Wisconsin couple is suing pharmaceutical manufacturer Pfizer over fatal birth defects suffered by their newborn daughter, the alleged result of taking the anti-depressant Zoloft during pregnancy. The wrongful death lawsuit says Zoloft caused a constellation of medical problems including malformation of the brain, hydrocephalus and lung defects. The baby lived only a few hours and died on the same day she was born. Zoloft is also sold as a generic drug called Sertraline. The suit says Pfizer and its subsidiary, Greenstone LLC, either knew or should have known that the medication posed an imminent risk of birth defects because it can “cross” the placenta. The placenta serves as a sort of barrier wall for various substances found in the blood. Drugs that cross the placenta wind up in the unborn baby’s circulatory system. It will be up to a court to decide if Pfizer really did hide evidence that Zoloft and Sertraline were dangerous when taken by pregnant women. The Wisconsin couple will have plenty of company in court. A raft of lawsuits over Zoloft have been bundled together in an action called the Zoloft Products Liability Litigation. It seeks both compensatory and punitive damages. The prescribing information for doctors that comes with both Zoloft and Sertraline has what is called a “black box” warning about the drug’s potential to cause suicidal thoughts or behaviors. The warning cautions doctors to […]

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Jan 22, 2013 - Wrongful Death

PENNSYLVANIA PROBATION AND PAROLE BOARD WANTS OUT OF LAWSUIT

By Jonathan Russell of Drake, Hileman & Davis, P.C. posted in Wrongful Death on Tuesday, January 22, 2013. The Board of probation and Parole says it should not be held accountable for the death of an off-duty Philadelphia police officer who was shot to death by a paroled criminal. In a court document asking that a federal wrongful death lawsuit filed by the officer’s family be dismissed, the board stated “This is a classic case reflecting the harsh realities that the law does not require government to ensure the safety of its citizens from private violence and that not every tragedy results in governmental financial compensation to the victim.” That, in a nutshell, is their argument. The officer was killed as he walked home after a shift at his precinct. The alleged shooter was a man out on parole after an armed robbery conviction. Technically, according to the lawsuit, the suspect should have been confined to his house with an electronic ankle bracelet monitor, but the man didn’t have a phone line so the system could not be installed. Consequently, he could roam at will and that resulted in a “systemic breakdown” of the parole system due to the lack of “proper and effective policies and procedures to protect the citizenry at large and, in particular, police officers.” The Board’s attorneys argue the lawsuit is flawed and doesn’t meet the requirements of Pennsylvania’s wrongful death statutes. Furthermore, they say, the 11th Amendment to the Constitution forbids lawsuits by private citizens […]

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Jan 17, 2013 - Wrongful Death

ENERGY DRINKS HAZARDOUS TO ADULTS TOO

By Jonathan Russell of Drake, Hileman & Davis, P.C. posted in Wrongful Death on Thursday, January 17, 2013. The health problems in children attributed to excessive consumption of energy drinks are apparently not limited to kids. Adults, too, are winding up in the emergency department with racing or irregular heart rhythms, anxiety and seizures, and in 2011 more than 5,000 adults over age 40 were hospitalized for those conditions. Older people with chronic diseases and conditions can exacerbate those problems with a caffeine overload, caffeine being the drug that puts the “energy’ in energy drinks. Rarely but occasionally, people die from over-consumption of these beverages. The number of emergency department visits linked to energy drinks has doubled in the last four years, according to the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, from around 10,000 in 2007 to over 20,000 in 2011, the last year for which data is available. Several high-profile cases in which the user died have prompted some lawmakers to demand investigations into exactly what ingredients manufacturers put into their beverages, and whether those high-octane refreshments should carry warning labels. Energy drinks are increasingly popular with people who don’t like coffee, the more traditional source of caffeine pre-loads. A rapid heart rate, called tachycardia, can be dangerous if not quickly controlled. When the heart beats too quickly, the chambers that pump blood can’t refill fast enough and that causes a dangerous drop in blood pressure. Another danger is that the electrical impulses fired off by nerves that […]

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Jan 14, 2013 - Pedestrian Accidents

ERIE POLICE OFFICER STILL RECOVERING ONE YEAR AFTER ACCIDENT

By Jonathan Russell of Drake, Hileman & Davis, P.C. posted in Pedestrian Accidents on Monday, January 14, 2013. Two lives changed on December 14, 2011 – the life of an Erie police officer and the life of the driver who struck her with her car. Both are still healing. The officer is brain-damaged and paralyzed. She will never return to her old job. The driver is physically fine but the crushing guilt she carries weighs heavily. That driver was not speeding, had no drugs or alcohol in her system, and was not texting or phoning when the accident occurred. The officer was crossing the street on a rainy afternoon, and the driver just didn’t see her in time. The 42 year-old cop says she doesn’t remember the accident and doesn’t want to. The impact caused bleeding in her brain, an injury so serious that the neurosurgeon who treated her doubted she would survive. A year later she is trying to regain useful movement in her arms and get her speech patterns back to normal. Her doctor says his patient has surpassed all expectations for recovery. Her 50 year-old fiancée is still with her and still planning to marry her in 2014. Her fiancée has been trying to build a bridge between the victim and the driver. The officer says she has already forgiven the woman and is not angry with her. After the accident, other police officers told her the driver was in shock and distraught. The fiancée called her and left a message. […]

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Jan 9, 2013 - Wrongful Death

A CARING ACT IN THE WAKE OF TRAGEDY

By Jonathan Russell of Drake, Hileman & Davis, P.C. posted in Wrongful Death on Wednesday, January 9, 2013. Two selfless acts on a Pennsylvania highway lead to two very different outcomes; one tragic, one joyful. The story begins with the tragedy. It happened on December 26 on an icy stretch of Interstate 78. A Florida handyman was driving cautiously down the highway with his dog in the seat next to him. He saw a motorist spin out, and the man got out of his car to give the other driver a hand. Seconds later, another car spun out, hit the handyman, and killed him. In the confusion and investigation of the accident, the dog was left on the side of the highway, a thousand miles from home and without the caring owner he had known for the past 12 years. The black Labrador retriever, named Rancid after a punk rock band, was found alone in his master’s car by a tow truck driver who came to haul away the wreckage. The driver took Rancid home and says he would have kept him had the owner’s family not been located back in Florida. Rancid, meanwhile, waited patiently for eight days for his master to return. Another dog lover decided it was time to take Rancid back to his home in Hollywood, Florida, so she volunteered to make the 21 hour drive. Well-wishers made contributions to help pay for the gas. The woman says she was about two miles from her destination when Rancid […]

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Jan 7, 2013 - Truck Accidents

TRUCKER FACES HOMICIDE CHARGE IN HIGHWAY WORKER’S DEATH

By Jonathan Russell of Drake, Hileman & Davis, P.C. posted in Truck Accidents on Monday, January 7, 2013. The Montgomery County district attorney has leveled a vehicular homicide charge against a Pennsylvania truck driver who allegedly plowed into a construction zone and killed a 66 year-old highway worker. Police say the trucker’s license was suspended at the time ofthe crash, back on October 22, 2012. Highway workers live in the shadow of death every day. As they do their jobs, traffic races by at high speed and just a few seconds of inattention on a driver’s part can cause disaster. Back on that fateful October 22, a road crew was working on the Pennsylvania Turnpike near Norristown when the suspect, behind the wheel of a 31,000 box truck, smashed into a highway maintenance vehicle at the side of the road. The vehicle flew forward, killing the worker doing his job in front of the truck. A passenger in the maintenance vehicle was also injured by the impact. The box truck driver will also face charges of aggravated assault by vehicle, reckless endangerment, and other charges as well as the homicide count. He was jailed briefly and then released on bail. The driver’s attorney called the case “a tragedy for all parties involved.” The wreck closed part of the Turnpike for eight hours while authorities investigated the wreck and cleared away the debris. The Associated General Contractors organization says 68 percent of construction companies had vehicles crash into their highway job […]

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Jan 2, 2013 - Reckless Driving

INTERSTATE 81 MOTORISTS NARROWLY ESCAPE WRONG-WAY DRIVER

By Jonathan Russell of Drake, Hileman & Davis, P.C. posted inReckless Driving on Wednesday, January 2, 2013. You have to wonder how a 22 year-old Albrightsville, Pennsylvania driver missed all the clues. All the road signs facing the wrong way. Being on the left side of the highway instead of the right. Those “Wrong Way” signs on the entrance ramp. All those cars coming at you honking their horns and flashing their lights. If the woman noticed, she didn’t seem to care. Pennsylvania State Police say she drove 18 miles at high speed, from Dickinson City to Laflin, on the wrong side of Interstate 81. Fortunately her reckless driving didn’t injure anyone. Troopers got a number of calls about a car racing south in the northbound lane early New Year’s Day morning. Responding officers wisely remained in the proper lane and tried to get the wrong-way driver’s attention with their emergency lights and spotlights, but the motorist rolled blithely along, apparently not seeing the squad cars or not caring. Troopers then zipped ahead to a highway turn-around and surrounded her with a rolling roadblock that quickly brought the dangerous adventure to an end. Authorities arrested the driver for drunk driving and reckless endangerment. A passenger in her car was not charged. In a statement, the State Police noted how fortunate it was that few people were on the interstate at 5:30 AM. “It’s a miracle that the operator and her passenger, or any motorist were not killed or injured severely […]

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