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Category: Car Accidents

Nov 15, 2018 - Articles

Car Accident FAQs

If you’ve been injured in a car accident and can demonstrate that the defendant caused you to suffer harm due to his or her negligent, reckless, or wrongful conduct, you may be entitled to recover significant damages as compensation. Car accident litigation can involve many variables, depending on the circumstances.  Though some lawsuits can be resolved in a straightforward manner, others may involve complicated issues of liability, such as splitting fault between multiple co-defendants and establishing potential employer liability or manufacturer liability (for product defects). Given the fact that car accident litigation — and personal injury disputes in general — can be inherently unpredictable, it’s important that you work with a team of attorneys who are capable of dynamically responding and adapting to changing circumstances over the course of a lawsuit.  We encourage you to contact an experienced attorney or assistance with your car accident claims. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Q: Is there a deadline for pursuing a car accident lawsuit? A: Yes, there is, though it may vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. In some states, the statute of limitations deadline for personal injury claims is two years from the date of injury, whereas in others, the deadline may be three years.  Regardless of the specific length of the deadline, however, if you do not file your lawsuit before the deadline passes, then your case will no longer be actionable in a court of law. It’s worth noting that if the defendant is a public entity or employee, then your […]

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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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Sep 28, 2018 - Allentown Car Accident Lawyer

RAIN, RAIN, GO AWAY: Hydroplaning and How to Avoid It

  Given the almost daily deluge of rain we have been experiencing, hydroplaning is a very real problem for which all drivers must be prepared. Hydroplaning occurs when the vehicle’s tire-to-road traction becomes separated by water. This grip separation results in a loss of control (braking and steering), which can result in a violent accident. While hydroplaning can happen on any wet road surface, tire tread, tire inflation and speed are the key factors in causing hydroplaning to occur. According to the American Automobile Association, “when driving through just one-twelfth of an inch of water, each of your tires has to displace one gallon of water per second.” So, when the road surface is wet, you need to choose an appropriate speed that will displace enough road surface water, that allows your vehicle to maintain proper traction.  “At 30 mph or less, properly inflated tires with good tread will maintain contact.” While low tire pressure causes the tread to “squeeze together, narrowing the tread channels and reduces the tire’s ability to wipe or channel away water,” even with good tread and properly inflated tires, a vehicle can begin to hydroplane at speeds above 35 mph.   Below are six tips every driver should remember when driving on a wet surface. Avoid driving in the outer edges of a roadway. Most roadways have a slight “crown” in the middle of the road which causes water to accumulate on the edge of the roadway. Try to stay more toward the middle of […]

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Sep 12, 2018 - Car Accidents

Dram Shop Liability in Pennsylvania

Under Pennsylvania law — and in some other state jurisdictions — those who have been injured in a car accident by a drunk driver defendant may also be entitled to bring an action against the business or individual who provided alcohol to the intoxicated driver.  This is known as “dram shop liability” and the contours of such liability can be rather confusing for the plaintiff unaccustomed to or otherwise unfamiliar with the law in this respect. Let’s take a brief look at how it works. Business Liability Commercial and non-commercial parties are subject to different dram shop liability standards under the law.  In Pennsylvania, alcohol vendors — businesses — that furnish alcohol to visibly intoxicated individuals may be held liable for the injuries that the intoxicated person subsequently causes. For example, if you are injured in a car accident that was caused by a drunk driver defendant, and you later discover that the driver was furnished alcohol by a bartender (despite being clearly and visibly intoxicated at the time), then you may be entitled to sue and recover damages from the bar itself. Importantly, Pennsylvania law also imposes dram shop liability on businesses that furnish alcohol to individuals in violation of some other liquor regulation.  This is a rather common scenario, in fact, and will give you an opportunity to recover damages from the business defendant even when they did not furnish alcohol to a visibly intoxicated individual. For clarity, consider the following. Suppose that a liquor shop furnishes alcohol […]

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Sep 7, 2018 - Allentown Car Accident Lawyer

DO YOU STOP FOR A SCHOOL BUS ON A DIVIDED HIGHWAY?

With our schools back in session, it is a good time to refresh our understanding as to when motorists must stop for a school bus on a divided highway. We have found that even experienced motorists still have some uncertainty when determining whether they are required to stop for school bus on the other side of a multi-lane roadway. Does it matter if the lanes on the roadway are divided by a turning lane, a jersey barrier, a grassy divide or a median strip? Do you know what the law in Pennsylvania requires? The general rule is that all motorist must stop at least 10 feet away from a school bus that has its red lights flashing and “stop arm” extended, whether if you behind the bus, meeting the bus from the opposite direction, or approaching an intersection where a bus is stopped. You must remained stopped until the red lights have stopped flashing. If children have exited the bus, you must not move your vehicle until all the children have reached a place of safety off of the roadway. If you observe the amber lights of the school bus flashing, this is an indication that within 150 to 300 feet the school bus will be activating its red flashing lights and stopping. Drivers can proceed past a school bus if only the amber lights are flashing, but drivers must be prepared to stop when the red lights are flashing and “stop arm” has been extended. While these rules seem straight […]

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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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Jul 17, 2018 - Allentown Car Accident Lawyer

You May Be Entitled to Sue the Car Owner in an Accident

Car accident litigation can vary quite a bit from case-to-case, particularly if the owner of the vehicle is not the same as the negligent driver that caused your injuries — in Pennsylvania, this gives you a potential right of action against the car owner for damages pursuant to negligent entrustment. Injured in a car accident due to another’s fault?  Pennsylvania law may entitle you to significant damages.  Speak to an experienced Allentown car accident lawyer for further guidance. Negligent entrustment is plaintiff-friendly in the sense that it gives the injured plaintiff access to another defendant’s pockets, so to speak — for example, if you are suing the defendant-driver, but the driver does not have sufficient insurance coverage to account for your losses, then having access to the “pockets” of the vehicle owner will ensure that you can obtain some additional compensation. What is Negligent Entrustment? Negligent entrustment is not the same as the claim you would otherwise bring against the negligent driver — it is a separate and independent claim brought against the owner of the vehicle for negligently permitting the driver to operate the vehicle, thus exposing others to an unreasonable risk of injury. For example, if you are injured by a drunk driver, then you may want to investigate the ownership of the car involved.  If the car was owned by their sibling, who — after further investigation — is found to have permitted the driver to operate the vehicle despite knowing that the driver was intoxicated, then […]

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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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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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