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Monthly Archives: August 2018

Aug 31, 2018 - Personal Injury

You May Be Entitled to Damages for Slipping on Ice

In Pennsylvania, snow and ice accumulation is a fact of life and the time to pull out the snow boots and shovels is quickly approaching.  Nearly every season, residents and visitors are likely to encounter the dangers of such conditions, and some may slip-and-fall and injure themselves — perhaps even severely — and depending on the circumstances, the slip-and-fall injury could give rise to a significant, actionable claim for damages under Pennsylvania law. Let’s take a brief look at the basic rule (the “Hills and Ridges” rule) that applies to such disputes. Application of the Hills and Ridges Rule Unlike the courts in warmer weather states, Pennsylvania courts have had to modify the rules of premises liability somewhat to account for the universal injury threat posed by snow and ice conditions during winter months.  Simply put, it would not be reasonable for property owners to be held liable for injuries caused by natural snow and ice conditions in most cases, as the imposition of liability would force property owners to invest enormous amounts of money and effort into spotlessly maintaining their properties throughout the season. The Hills and Ridges rule implemented by Pennsylvania courts attempts to carve out a reasonable “slice” of liability that allows injured claimants to obtain compensation in cases where the defendant has clearly violated a duty to maintain the property in a reasonably safe condition for visitors. Essentially, the Hills and Ridges rule allows injured plaintiffs to impose liability on the defendant property owner only if: […]

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Aug 24, 2018 - Doylestown Personal Injury Attorney

The Collateral Source Rule: Recovering for Medical Expenses After Reimbursement

If you have been seriously injured in an accident that resulted from the negligent, reckless, or wrongful misconduct of another party, then Pennsylvania law may give you a right of action to sue and recover damages for the suffered losses.  Many plaintiffs with legitimate claims are concerned about their right of recovery, however, given the likelihood that many of their losses will be reimbursed thanks to their insurance coverage. Simply put, injured plaintiffs may be confused as to whether they are entitled to damages if the losses giving rise to such damages are actually covered by a third-party source (i.e., through insurance or other benefits).  For example, if you are injured in a slip-and-fall accident, then you may have significant medical expenses — perhaps $300,000 in total, considering various treatments and surgeries and rehabilitative engagements over a multi-year period.  Now, what if all your medical expenses were covered by your insurer?  In total, then, your out-of-pocket medical expenses would be zero.  Claiming the pre-reimbursement expenses as a loss is entirely within your rights as an injured claimant, but this can be confusing for first-time plaintiffs. Pennsylvania imposes the collateral source rule, which — as in many other states — heavily favors the injured plaintiff by prohibiting the introduction of evidence regarding third-party reimbursements and benefits that cover the losses at-issue. Let’s take a look at the basics for a clearer understanding. Basics of the Collateral Source Rule in Pennsylvania Stated succinctly, the collateral source rule prevents the introduction of evidence […]

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Aug 21, 2018 - Articles

FIVE TIPS FOR OCEAN SAFETY

  When we think of summer, we typically think of the beach. For those of us who live in the greater Philadelphia area that means going to the Jersey Shore. However, a relaxing trip to the ocean shouldn’t cause you to relax when it comes to safety. Drowning is the number one accidental cause of death for children ages 1 -4 and the sixth leading cause of accidental death for all ages in the United States. Ten Americans die by drowning every day. And nearly 80 percent of people who drown in the United States are male. Listed below are five simple tips to help you be safe on your end-of-summer trip to the ocean. 1. Only Swim on a Beach Protected by a Lifeguard The chances of drowning on a beach without a lifeguard are almost five times higher than your chances on a beach with a lifeguard. You should swim between the flags positioned on either side of the lifeguard stand. The colors of the flags indicate both the nature of the surf that day and what activities are permitted in the water. A red or yellow flag typically means no swimming or restricted swimming. A green or orange flag means swimming is allowed. As you swim in the ocean, you need to be mindful that currents will move you along the shore. By continuing to swim within the boarder of the flags you can ensure that the lifeguard on duty is able to see you. 2. Never […]

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Aug 17, 2018 - Allentown Car Accident Lawyer

Suing a Vehicle Owner for Damages

In Pennsylvania, if you have suffered injuries in a car accident in which the defendant-driver was operating a vehicle that was not their own, then you may not only have a legitimate claim for damages against the driver, but you may also have a claim against the owner of the vehicle pursuant to the theory of negligent entrustment. Negligent entrustment imposes liability on vehicle owners for permitting a person — who they know (or should know) is unfit to drive — to use their vehicle.  This is separate and independent from vicarious liability, which imposes liability on employers for the negligence committed by their employees. For example, if you are injured in a car accident by an intoxicated pizza delivery driver employee, then you might be entitled to bring a claim against the employer under vicarious liability and separately for negligently entrusting the company vehicle to the driver despite being aware of the intoxicated status of the driver-employee. Same as with vicarious liability claims, legitimate negligent entrustment claims are a strategic boon of sorts in that they enable you — the injured plaintiff — to “spread liability” across multiple parties, particularly those who may have the insurance coverage or personal assets necessary to adequately cover your damages. Negligent entrustment claims are fairly straightforward, though it can be something of a challenge to prove each necessary element to the claim.  For now, let’s explore some of the basics. Elements of a Pennsylvania Negligent Entrustment Claim Negligent entrustment claims in Pennsylvania require […]

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Aug 10, 2018 - Car Accidents

What Happens If You Are Injured by an Uninsured Driver?

In Pennsylvania (and elsewhere), the risk of encountering an uninsured or underinsured driver is rather high.  According to a report conducted by the Insurance Information Institute, roughly 13 percent of motorists across the United States at-large lacked insurance coverage altogether, not accounting for a significant portion of motorists who have minimal insurance coverage that would likely be inadequate to cover all losses sustained in a serious motor vehicle accident. Uninsured and underinsured motorists expose injury victims to a substantial damage recovery problem.  If the defendant does not have adequate insurance coverage to resolve your various losses, then you could be left without the means with which to be compensated — for example, if you have $100,000 in medical expenses, and the defendant-driver only has $50,000 in total insurance coverage, then you may be forced to resolve the difference on your own (out-of-pocket). If you find yourself involved in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, don’t be alarmed.  All is not lost.  With the assistance of a qualified attorney, there are alternative strategies that can be pursued to maximize the possibility of a full recovery, even in situations where the defendant-driver is uninsured or underinsured. Obtaining a Lien on Personal Assets It’s possible — though administratively challenging — to sue an uninsured or underinsured defendant and obtain a successful verdict or settlement, and thereby secure a lien against their personal assets to compensate you for your losses.  This is a realistic choice in situations where the defendant-driver has significant […]

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