Resources

Category: Car Accidents

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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Feb 27, 2017 - Car Accidents

Car Accident Essentials

When you are involved in a car accident, it can be difficult to know what to do next. Since 1985, the attorneys at Drake, Hileman & Davis, have been helping people successfully navigate through the post-accident process. Over the years, we have found that there are certain key steps which anyone can take to ensure personal safety, investigative thoroughness and ultimately justice. SAFETY FIRST Initially, it should be noted that the nature of your injury, as well as when and where the accident occurred may limit what you are able to do immediately following a collision. The circumstances of your accident will dictate a particular safety response or impose investigative limitations. Remember your safety and the safety of your passengers must be your primary concern. If the collision occurred on a multi-lane highway, especially at night, you should pull to the side of the road (right-side preferably). Remain in your vehicle, with your seat-belt on and your hazard lights flashing, until help arrives. Trying to exit your vehicle on a multi-lane highway is dangerous and can risk further injury. If, however, you smell or see smoke, then turn the engine off and find a safe way to exit your vehicle. Move as far away from your vehicle and oncoming traffic as safely possible, while you wait for help to arrive. It should be noted that many people believe that their vehicle is on fire, due to the white powder that is released, when air bags deploy. While this is startling, […]

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Jan 9, 2017 - Car Accidents

Winter Driving in Pennsylvania

If you have been injured by someone’s reckless driving, an Allentown car accident attorney can be your guide throughout the legal process.  We can manage your claim so you can manage your recovery.  Call Drake, Hileman & Davis, PC at 888-777-7098 for help. How Do Winter Conditions Impact Driving? According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (“PennDOT”) there are “nearly 40,000 miles of roads and 25,000 bridges statewide — which translates into nearly 96,000 snow-lane miles, or enough to circle the globe nearly four times” – PennDOT Winter Driving.  Operating your vehicle safely on these roadways in ideal conditions can be challenging, but even experienced drivers will want to exercise extra caution when confronted by snow, sleet and other dangerous Pennsylvania weather conditions. During the 2014-2015 winter, PennDOT recorded 552 crashes, 279 injuries, and 4 deaths resulting from winter driving conditions where aggressive driving behaviors were crash factors.  Winter weather conditions negatively impact the operation of vehicles and you should never drive aggressively during the winter months. The U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration reports that winter weather conditions such as snow or sleet, icy pavements and slush were responsible for a large percentage of weather-related accidents.  Winter weather conditions leading to accidents can be broken down as follows: 17% of accidents occurred during snow or sleet, 13% of accidents occurred on icy pavement, and 14% of weather-related crashes took place on snowy or slushy pavement. These winter conditions slow vehicle response times, cause drivers to lose vehicle control […]

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Oct 29, 2016 - Articles

WHY WOULD YOU NEED A LAWYER AFTER A FENDER-BENDER?

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 27, 2016 - Articles

LEHIGH VALLEY MOTOR VEHICLE COLLISION ARBITRATION AWARD

This case involved a low speed rear end impact on Route 22 near the Whitehall exit in Lehigh County, with minimal property damage to either vehicle. The defendant claimed that the accident was not his fault, but that he had been hit from behind by another vehicle which fled the scene. Our client did not initially realize that she was injured so did not call the police or go to the hospital. This made it difficult to prove that her severe back pain was caused by the accident. Our client was a 32 year old single mother who did have a history of prior back problems and fibromyalgia. Despite these problems with the case, the client made a compelling witness. Plus, her doctors went to bat for her and felt strongly that her injuries and disability were caused by the accident. She was diagnosed with a herniated disc and ended up needing two back surgeries. Unfortunately, she needed a third surgery, but when she lost her job, she lost her health insurance and had no way to pay for the treatment. Following her surgeries, she had a series of injections, which did not improve her constant back and leg pain. She tried to work, but was unable to do so, due to the severity of her pain. Even though she had a sedentary job, she was not able to sit long enough to accomplish any meaningful tasks. Our vocational expert estimated her wage loss and reduction in earning capacity to […]

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Oct 27, 2016 - Articles

CRASH SUIT BRINGS $1.5 MILLION AWARD

This was the headline in the Allentown Morning Call on April 12, 2001. The week before, Pete Hileman, attorney for the Plaintiff, had completed presentation of the case, which involved serious injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident. Courthouse observers felt the verdict to be one of the largest in the history of Lehigh County, which is known for its low jury verdicts. According to cases published in Legal Intelligencer and Pennsylvania Law Weekly, the verdict was one of the 50 largest verdicts in Pennsylvania in 2001. The Plaintiff was a passenger in a Lehigh County van, which was on its way to the prison when it was broadsided by a UGI gas utility van, which had run a red traffic light. The Plaintiff developed chronic back pain and was diagnosed with an internal disc disruption, which eventually required a two level fusion. He remained in chronic pain and unable to work or to engage in any meaningful activity without significant pain. UGI admitted negligence but argued that the Plaintiff had a pre-existing back condition and sustained only minor injuries in the accident and should have been able to work. Mr. Hileman presented the testimony of the orthopedic surgeon who showed the jury how the accident caused the disc disruption and debilitating pain. Vocational experts described why the Plaintiff would never be able to return to work at his previous job and would be forced to work at much lower paying jobs. The jury’s verdict awarded the Plaintiff the exact […]

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WHAT OUR CLIENTS ARE SAYING

"I was injured in an accident and my truck was totaled. The guy who hit me had a low insurance policy. I reinjured my neck and shoulder in the accident. I thought nothing could be done since the guy had hardly any insurance and I had a previous condition, but Jonathan Russell from Drake, Hileman & Davis was able to get me a nice cash settlement!"
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Drake, Hileman & Davis

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