Category: Articles

Apr 13, 2018 - Articles

Seeing, But Not Perceiving: Why Other Drivers Don’t See Motorcycles- an Injury Lawyer Perspective

As a personal injury lawyer serving residents in and around Allentown, Doylestown, Bethlehem, Easton and Stroudsburg, with warmer weather upon us, we see motorcyclists getting back out on the road again. Unfortunately, with this increase, comes an increase in calls from motorcycle riders who were seriously injured; or from family members who have suffered the devastating loss of a loved one — all due to another motor vehicle operator’s negligence. As a motorcycle accident lawyer, when we review police reports, we frequently read that the other driver told the investigating police officer, “I never saw him.” Sometimes, the insinuation is that because the other driver never observed the motorcycle, the motorcyclist “must” have been speeding. The reality is that the operator of the car or truck “saw” the motorcycle and its operator, but the human eye failed to “perceive” the motorcyclist. In his interesting article in Road and Track magazine entitled, “Why You Don’t ‘See’ Motorcycles on the Road”, cyclist and author, Jack Baruth, explores the biological workings of the human eye, relative to the phenomena of failing to observe motorcycles and their riders. Baruth asserts that when things are small enough and move quickly enough, our mind does not always “perceive” them, even though our eyes “see” them. In particular, since our eyes are only looking at a relatively small area, a motorcycle approaching head-on from a distance, occupies a very small part of a driver’s vision. If you don’t expect to see a motorcycle and you are only “looking” for cars, your […]

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Dec 29, 2017 - Articles

Tax Provisions Impacting Estate Planning In the New Tax Act

The new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (“2017 Tax Cuts Act”) signed by the President on December 22, 2017, P.L. 115-97 (115th Cong., 1st Sess.), contains important tax provisions related to estate planning. The most important such provision is the doubling of the Applicable Exclusion Amount for Federal Estate and Gift Taxes, described in Paragraph 1 below. 1. Doubling the Applicable Exclusion Amount for Federal Estate and Gift Taxes. The new law doubles of the estate and gift tax “Applicable Exclusion Amount,” from $5 million to $10 million, for gifts made, and estates of decedents dying, after December 31, 2017, and before January 1, 2026. (These amounts were previously adjusted for inflation.) This means that by employing appropriate estate planning measures, a married couple’s total exemption may be increased from $10 million to $20 million. By increasing the applicable exclusion amount, the new law automatically increases the Generation Skipping Tax (“GST”) exemption. Code Sec. 2631(c). By way of Background: a. A federal “gift tax” is imposed on certain lifetime transfers (Code Sec. 2511), and a federal “estate tax” is imposed on certain transfers at death. (Code Sec. 2001) b. Under pre-2017 Tax Cuts Act law, the first $5 million (as adjusted for inflation in years after 2011) of transferred property was exempt from estate and gift tax. For estates of decedents dying and gifts made in 2018, this “basic exclusion amount” was $5.6 million ($11.2 million for a married couple). c. For estates of decedents dying and gifts […]

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Oct 30, 2017 - Allentown Car Accident Lawyer

Small Cars Can Come With Big Risks

    When Purchasing a Car, Safety Should Be A Priority. As Personal Injury Attorneys, at Drake, Hileman & Davis, we often see the difference the size a vehicle makes in how seriously someone is injured in an accident.  Frequently, consumers look at price, style, fuel economy and color when making a car selection, when they really should be looking at vehicle safety. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (“IIHS“) found that some of the smallest cars have the highest death rates during car accidents.  Chuck Farmer, President of IIHS, has stated, “If you hit something bigger than you, you are more likely to die . . .   Physics matter. The bigger the vehicle, the safer you are in an accident.”  Specifically, an IIHS’ study found that the Hyundai Accent had the most accident deaths (104), between 2012 to 2015, out of the 208 models of cars that were analyzed. Other small cars, such as the Kia Rio, Scion tC, Chevrolet Spark, and Nissan Versa also ranked very high for deadly car accidents.[1] Hyundai defended its Accent, saying, “The Hyundai Accent meets or exceeds all Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards set by the U.S. government and performs well in various safety tests and is rated a 4-star overall by NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration).” [2] Bigger is Actually Better  While meeting certain safety standards is a minimum, there is no question that larger cars perform much better than smaller vehicles,  in automobile accidents. Cars like the Jeep Cherokee, Mazda […]

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Jun 5, 2017 - Articles

What is Estate Planning and Why Should You Do It?

What Is Estate Planning? What on earth is estate planning? Many people don’t have a clue. Estate planning sounds like a rich person’s concern. However, estate planning is not only for the rich. It is also important for people with limited assets. Everyone has an Estate, and Everyone Should Make Plans to Protect It. So, what is estate planning? Everyone no matter how rich or poor has an estate. Your estate is made up of all the things you own. Your house, car, financial accounts, insurance accounts, jewelry, furniture, clothes, and pets are all part of your estate. Estate planning assumes that (at some point) you will no longer be able to make decisions about your things or how you will provide for the people you love.  So, estate planning allows you to decide in advance what you will give away, who will get your things, when they will get your them, and even what they have to do in order to get them. Estate planning also lets you plan how you and your loved ones will be protected when you become incapacitated. You can decide what end of life care you will receive, you can plan who will get your money, and you can protect your family from future creditors and unwise spending. A Simple Example: How Estate Planning Can Help Rufus. Let’s consider a simple example of estate planning. Imagine you have a beloved golden retriever named Rufus. What would happen to Rufus if something happened to you? […]

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Apr 11, 2017 - Articles

Sharing the Road: Six Tips for Motorists and Cyclists From a Personal Injury Lawyer

As a Doylestown personal injury attorney, this time of year brings with it awareness of an increased number of bicycles riders out on the country roads of Bucks County. Sharing the road with bicyclists, whether riding alone or as part of a cycle club, can be a challenge for many motor vehicle drivers. We thought this would be good time for both drivers and riders to be reminded of several tips in order to avoid accidents involving bicycles. Tips For Sharing the Road 1. Remember that operators of pedalcycles, including bicycles, when ridden on public roads have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers of motor vehicles. While cyclists cannot ride on freeways (limited access highways), they can on all other roads. Moreover, while cyclists have to ride on the right side of the road, they do not have to ride on the far right or shoulder of the road, unless they are moving slower than the prevailing speed of traffic at the time. Cyclists are not permitted to ride more than two abreast on any roadway. 2. Motor vehicle operators should always reduce their speed when approaching and passing a cyclist. Allow a sufficient amount of space, at least 3 feet or more between your vehicle and a cyclist. Be especially careful when approaching a hill or incline. Wait to pass a cyclist, only after you have determined that you can adequately see approaching traffic and yield appropriately. Always allow for an adequate distance when merging back into the desired […]

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Oct 29, 2016 - Articles


There are a number of laws in place in Pennsylvania to protect cyclists from getting injured from a crash with a motorist. In 2014, the most recent year for which data is available, 1,298 bicyclists in Pennsylvania suffered an injury due to a crash with a motor vehicle. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, 19 cyclists lost their lives that year. Many of these accident may have been prevented, as the DOT states that the majority of the injurious incidents happened during daylight. Further, the majority of those who suffered injuries were at an intersection. Understanding how to share the road can keep cyclists and motorists safe. What are cyclists required to do? Under Pennsylvania law, a bicycle is considered a vehicle and therefore must obey traffic laws the same way a car would. As such, a bicycle is also granted the same rights as a car when it comes tosharing the road or riding on a path designated for a bike. In general, cyclists must do the following: Ride along the shoulder in the same direction traffic is moving Ride in a single-file line unless riding on a designated bicycle path Have a front lamp for riding at night and a braking system Though only children younger than 12 are required to wear a helmet, the DOT urges cyclists of all ages to do so. What can motorists do? Though there is no specific law regarding how motorists should behave around cyclists, the common-sense approach is to obey […]

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Oct 29, 2016 - Articles


If you don’t know what an arbitration clause in a nursing home contract looks like, how do you negotiate about it? A man’s 100-year-old mother is found dead in her nursing home room. The suspect? Her 97-year-old roommate. The real cause of her death? Was it that the nursing home allowed her roommate to remain long after it was clear that she was a danger? So, you would expect the son would sue nursing home for that negligence in court. Except, he could not. When his mother entered the nursing home, he had signed the contract that contained a mandatory arbitration clause. The case would be decided by a private arbitrator. What is more, the arbitration firm had handled more than 400 arbitration hearings for the lawyers who represented the nursing home. Unsurprisingly, they ruled in favor of the nursing home, with a checkbox finding of no negligence. There were no written findings (probably not required by the contract of arbitration) and unlike a civil trial, there was no public record of anything. Which means when you are considering a nursing home, you would have no way of knowing that such events took place in the facility where your mother or father would reside. The fiction of contracts There are two problems with contracts like the one involved in this nursing home. Unless you hire an attorney to review the contract and advise you of any potential problems, like this arbitration clause, the average, intelligent educated person is ill-equipped to […]

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Oct 29, 2016 - Articles


Car accident victims may not believe injuries from a minor crash are serious. However, whiplash can worsen over time. When most people think about a car accident, they often recall what they have seen in the movies, or on TV. They think of serious, life-threatening crashes, where a car is crushed or has flipped in the air. However, most car crashes in Pennsylvania do not occur this way. Most are what we have come to call “Fender-benders”. These accidents, while seemingly minor, can still result in significant injuries to the occupants of the vehicles. Fender-bender injuries may seem unlikely at first glance, but in reality these collisions can necessitate extensive medical treatment for permanent injuries. The painful issues surrounding whiplash Rear-end crashes are one of the most common types of auto collisionsthat cause injury to the cervical spine (neck). According to Consumer Reports, there is a rear-end accident every 17 seconds in the United States. Injuries can occur in these types of collisions, even in stop-and-go traffic, where vehicles are traveling under 10 miles per hour. Why might an attorney be necessary after a minor or low-speed accident? First, because of the common misconception of fender-benders, the insurance company is going to try to minimize the extent of your injuries. The most common phrase we hear from insurance adjustors after our client has been involved in a low-speed collision is : “How can she be that hurt? It was just a fender-bender!” Additionally, you need someone on your side who […]

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Oct 29, 2016 - Articles


Pennsylvania could potentially save the lives of innocent motorists by requiring all convicted DUI offenders to use interlock devices. According to a Mothers Against Drunk Driving research study, more than 290,000 people were injured and over 10,000 people were killed as a result of drunk drivers in 2013 alone. . That equates to one injury every two minutes and one death every 52 minutes as a result of negligent drunk drivers. In Pennsylvania, over 30 percent of all motor vehicle accident fatalities involved drunk drivers. Approximately one-third of all drivers who are arrested or convicted of driving while intoxicated are repeat offenders. As a result, many states have turned to using ignition interlock devices as a way to keep drunk drivers off of the roads. Unfortunately, Pennsylvania lawmakers have not yet enacted legislation mandating such a requirement, leaving interlock device punishment in the Judge’s discretional alone. The facts about ignition interlock devices Drivers who are convicted of a DUI in Pennsylvania will have their driver’s licenses suspended for a certain amount of time. This time period depends on whether the driver is a first-time offender or has multiple DUI offenders on their record. According to MADD, up to 75 percent of convicted DUI offenders who have had their driver’s licenses suspended continue to drive, despite the suspension. Ignition interlock devices offer a practical solution to this problem, as vehicles that are wired with IIDs will only start if the driver is not intoxicated. Research conducted by the Centers for Disease […]

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Oct 27, 2016 - Articles


Following a set of guidelines may help to properly navigate the aftermath of a hit-and-run. People should check auto insurance, understand the law, and report the accident. Hit-and-run car accidents in Pennsylvania happen far too often. Drivers and pedestrians who are victims of hit-and-run car accidents are usually left feeling vulnerable and alone. The law firm of Drake, Hileman & Davis has developed several guidelines which may help when you or a family member find yourself the victim of a hit-and-run accident. The following steps will help to deal with the consequential effects on your health, well-being and financial condition should you be involved in a hit-and-run accident. Know the law Pennsylvania state law requires the driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting in an injury to remain at the accident scene. These drivers have a legal responsibility to give information and even to render aid. The penalties associated with failing to fulfill this responsibility are severe, including felony charges, substantial fines and extended jail time. Report the accident Once a hit-and-run car accident has taken place, it is important to report the accident to the police and your insurance company immediately. If a hit-and-run accident is not reported to your insurance company and the police, within 30 days of an accident, you may lose your ability to make a claim through your personal uninsured motorist coverage. Victims can use a car accident report as evidence in a personal injury claim to prove they were injured. Seek legal […]

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"I slipped on ice a few years ago and ended up needing surgery. As a result I lost a few months of work. Drake Hileman and Davis helped me in so many ways, not just getting compensation, which they did. But they were there to answer the many questions I had through the whole process. I'm from Warminster, PA. Hoping I don't need them again, but I would recommend the firm to anyone. Great lawyers and staff."
Posted By: Dominic Puglia

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