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Monthly Archives: October 2018

Oct 31, 2018 - Personal Injury

Factors Making Crosswalks Dangerous

Pedestrian crosswalks can pose a serious problem for those looking to safely make their way across the marked road.  Dangerous crosswalks can expose pedestrians to an unreasonable risk of harm, and further, the injuries suffered are very often severe — pedestrians hit in a crosswalk will be injured directly, which could lead to catastrophic injuries in some circumstances.  Pedestrians may also be “lured” into using a crosswalk without realizing the danger in its design or maintenance. In Pennsylvania, and elsewhere, pedestrians who have been injured due to a dangerous crosswalk may sue and recover damages not only from the defendant-driver, but also from the entity that designed, maintains, or otherwise controls the crosswalk at-issue. What factors make a crosswalk dangerous?  Let’s take a look at a few. Poor Visibility Crosswalks are often made dangerous for pedestrians by virtue of inadequate visibility around the crosswalk, or even on approach.  Visibility may be influenced by a number of factors, such as poor lighting, sight line blockage (i.e., overgrown trees, buildings covering the approach, etc.), and having the crosswalk built on a road that features a sharp upward or downward angle. Signal Defects Not all crosswalks require additional signage or traffic signals, such as a pedestrian light that can be turned on by those using the crosswalk to notify incoming traffic.  When such signals are implemented, however, pedestrians come to rely on them to ensure that the crossing will be reasonably safe.  If the signal is not properly maintained — in other words, […]

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Oct 24, 2018 - Trip and Fall

Recreational Purpose Immunity in Premises Liability Lawsuits

Generally speaking, Pennsylvania landowners have a duty to maintain their property in reasonably safe condition for premises entrants, and to either correct dangerous conditions of property (e.g. hazards) or warn premises entrants of such hazards.  If you tripped and fell on the defendant’s property due to some hidden hazard, such as a loose floor tile, then you could potentially sue and recover damages pursuant to standard premises liability rules. Things get a bit more complicated when the injury takes place on land that was made available to the public for recreational purposes.  Pennsylvania shields landowners from liability in certain limited circumstances with the “recreational immunity,” which is intended to encourage landowners to keep their land available for public use. Let’s take a look at the basics. How the Recreational Immunity Works In Pennsylvania, recreational immunity is granted by the Recreational Use of Land and Water Act.  The Act ensures that landowners can benefit from immunity to injury liability for trip and fall incidents (and other premises-related injuries) occurring on the property at-issue so long as the landowner allowed the general public to access the land for a recreational purpose. Simply put, the recreational immunity prevents the imposition of liability on landowners for failing to correct hazards or to warn premises entrants of hazards, unless the hazard was known to the landowner (before the injury occurred). Confused?  We’ll put this all into context with a quick example. Suppose that you trip and fall while sitting on a dock on the defendant’s […]

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Oct 17, 2018 - Personal Injury

Plaintiffs Should Not Exaggerate Injuries

If you’ve been injured in an accident that was caused by the fault of another, then you may have an actionable claim for damages under Pennsylvania law.  It’s important that you do not exaggerate or misrepresent the nature or extent of your injuries, however — this is commonly known as malingering. Consequences of Misrepresenting Injuries Exaggerating or otherwise misrepresenting your injuries could damage your credibility as a personal injury plaintiff, thus making it difficult to obtain compensation.  Even if your claim is legitimate, the jury may not feel comfortable accepting your version of events. Depending on the severity of the misrepresentation, and whether it can be proved, you could be exposed to criminal liability pursuant to Pennsylvania perjury laws.  Further — though quite uncommon — the defendant may attempt to sue you on the basis of malicious prosecution, if they can show that you had some hidden, underlying reason for exaggerating your injuries. How Defendants Discover Inconsistencies Some plaintiffs believe that they can effectively “game” the system and exaggerate or otherwise misrepresent their injuries, but in truth, there are a number of mechanisms that allow the defendant to discover inconsistencies in the injury claim.  These mechanisms include, but are not necessarily limited to: Evaluation of medical records that are inconsistent with the assertions being made by the injured plaintiff Court-ordered medical examination of the plaintiff Surveillance of the plaintiff (i.e., video surveillance, photos, social media posts, etc.) And more For example, if you injure your back in a car accident, […]

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Oct 10, 2018 - Car Accidents

Car Accident Lawsuits: A Brief Look at Negligence Per Se

If you’ve sustained injuries in a car accident that was caused due to the negligence of another individual (or entity), then Pennsylvania law may give you a right of action against the defendant for damages as compensation for your losses. Litigating negligence claims — in a car accident scenario or otherwise — can be rather complicated, however.  Depending on the circumstances, it may be difficult to prove that the defendant was actually negligent (i.e., violated the applicable standard of care).  In Pennsylvania, as in other states, the doctrine of “negligence per se” enables injured plaintiffs to automatically establish negligence and thereby avoid the conflicts associated with such proof. Let’s take a brief look at the basics. What is Negligence Per Se? Negligence per se is presumed negligence associated with the violation of statutory law or some other codified ordinance or rule.  In other words, if you can show that the defendant-driver violated some law (and in doing so, caused you to suffer injuries), then you may not have to prove that they acted negligently — the court will presume negligence. Courts in Pennsylvania have long clarified the requirements necessary for application of negligence per se.  Simply put, negligence per se requires the following: That the defendant violated a statute or other regulation; That the purpose of the statute is (at least in part) to protect the interest of a particular group of individuals, as opposed to the general public; That the statute or regulation must apply to the conduct of […]

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