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Category: Doylestown Personal Injury Attorney

Nov 15, 2019 - Doylestown Personal Injury Attorney

Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress in Pennsylvania

Negligent infliction of emotional distress (NIED) claims are often asserted as supplementary claims in the personal injury context, in Pennsylvania and elsewhere.  For example, if you are injured in a car accident and your relative is killed in the seat next to you, then you could bring a number of different claims against the defendant-driver, including a standard injury cause of action as well as one that is tied to the emotional distress you suffered as a result of the accident. Many first-time plaintiffs are not fully aware of how NIED claims work, however.  Let’s explore some of the basics for clarity. Basics of an NIED Claim In Pennsylvania, plaintiffs may be entitled to damages if they suffer severe emotional distress due to an accident that was caused by the defendant’s negligent acts.  There are a number of specific rules and exceptions that define NIED liability.  Consider the following. Physical Impact Rule Traditionally, Pennsylvania law required (by default) that the NIED plaintiff also been physically impacted in some way by the defendant.  If the plaintiff only suffered emotional distress, then that would not be enough.  As the law progressed, however, several exceptions were carved out. Zone of Danger Liability Zone of danger liability allows an NIED plaintiff to recover damages if they could reasonably argue that they felt a fear of injury due to being in the “zone of danger” near the point of impact.  For example, if a construction team negligently secured a concrete block and it fell on […]

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Nov 1, 2019 - Articles

TURNING OUR CLOCKS BACK INCREASES THE RISKS OF DRIVING AT NIGHT– Here Are Ten Tips to Stay Alive

  This Sunday morning, at 2 AM, Daylight Savings Time will end. We will move our clocks back one hour. While many will welcome the extra hour of sleep we gain, when Daylight Saving Time ends, many people will find themselves spending more time driving in the dark. According to the National Safety Council, traffic fatalities are 3 times greater at night than during the day. Fatigue, compromised night vision, and impaired drivers are some of the risks we face when driving at night. These risks become especially pronounced moving into the weekend, with fatal crashes peaking on Saturday nights, according to NSC analysis of NHTSA data. Depth perception, color recognition and peripheral vision can be compromised in the dark and the glare of headlights from an oncoming vehicle can temporarily blind a driver. Even with high-beam headlights on, visibility is limited to about 500 feet (250 feet for normal headlights) creating less time to react, especially when driving at higher speeds. Ninety percent of your reaction time depends on your ability to see what’s around you. Since your depth perception, color recognition, and peripheral vision decrease after sundown, your chances for a car accident tend to increase. According to the American Optometric Association, as we age, we have greater difficulty seeing at night. A 50-year-old driver may need twice as much light to see as well as a 30-year-old. At age 60 and older, driving can become even more difficult due to compromised vision as a result of cataracts […]

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Mar 11, 2019 - Allentown Car Accident Lawyer

The Most Dangerous Week of the Year

With the loss of an hour due to daylight savings time, during the week of March 10th through the 16th, we can expect an increase in everything from car accidents to heart attacks. With regard to safe driving, according to a 2014 study by the University of Colorado, auto accidents increase, due to the fact that it takes about 6-7 days to adjust to the darker morning commutes, coupled with the fact that the loss of an hour of sleep causes drivers to be less alert. According to the study, there is a 6.3% increase in traffic fatalities in over the six days following the March time change. Additionally, in 2009 a Journal of Applied Psychology study concluded that mine workers experience 5.7 percent more workplace injuries in the week daylight savings time was implemented, than in any other week of the year. The researchers attribute this increase in injuries to a lack of sleep. For those workers with less strenuous jobs, in 2012 the same journal found that “cyberloafing” significantly increased on the first Monday after daylight savings time. This was attributed to both a lack of sleep and a lack of workday focus and motivation. Finally, a 2016 study by the American Academy of Neurology found that the overall rate for a stroke was 85 higher on average in the two days after daylight savings time started. And a 2012 study at the University of Alabama found that in the first days after daylight savings time begins, there […]

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Feb 18, 2019 - Allentown Car Accident Lawyer

Several Reminders From Highway Safety Law Awareness Week

Did you know that this week (February 18- 25) is “Highway Safety Law Awareness Week?” By raising awareness regarding certain traffic laws, with which you may not be too familiar, PennDOT and the Pennsylvania State Police hope to make everyone safer on our roadways. This year’s focus is on a variety of lesser know traffic laws, as well as some changes to our existing laws. These include, Pennsylvania’s Blind Pedestrian Law; the Use of Headphones While Driving; the Ride-on-Red law; the Unattended Motor Vehicle law (those with remote car starters should especially read this); the Clear Snow and Ice from your Vehicle Law (see our previous article here); the Steer Clear Law; the Turn Around, Don’t Drown Law; as well as penalty changes to our existing DUI laws. In addition to the “Clear the Snow from Your Vehicle Law,” we previously wrote about, we think that it is important to be reminded, about two additional laws that are the focus of this year’s Awareness Week. The first law we would like to look at in more detail is the “Unattended Motor Vehicle Law” and the second is the “Turn Around, Don’t Drown Law.” On a cold winter morning, who doesn’t want to wait in the house while your car is getting warmed-up before heading out on the road? But do you know what the laws are in Pennsylvania regarding leaving a vehicle running that is unattended? 75 Pa. C.S.A. Sec. 3701, prohibits anyone who is “in charge” of a motor […]

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Jan 10, 2019 - Doylestown Personal Injury Attorney

What Are Emotional Damages?

If you’ve been injured due to the negligent or wrongful misconduct of another party in Pennsylvania, then you may have a cause of action against the defendant for damages.  These damages may not only compensate you for the financial losses and physical harm that you suffered due to your injuries, but also the emotional harm. Economic and Non-Economic Damages In Pennsylvania, compensatory damages in a personal injury case can be separated into two different categories: economic and non-economic damages.  Economic and non-economic damages are fundamentally different than one another, though they are both critical to securing a full and adequate recovery. Economic Damages Economic damages account for financial losses suffered due to the accident at-issue.  These may include, but are not necessarily limited, to: Lost wages Loss of future earning capacity Medical expenses Property loss And more Due to their more objective nature, economic damages tend to be rather straightforward to prove, though you’ll have to keep copious records to ensure that you have the evidence to support your claims. Non-Economic Damages Non-economic damages account for the physical and mental losses suffered by the plaintiff due to the accident.  These may include, but are not necessarily limited, to: Pain and suffering Mental anguish Stress Embarrassment Humiliation Loss of enjoyment of life And more Due to their more subjective nature, non-economic damages can be difficult to prove, as the defendant may assert that your claim is “outrageous” based on the circumstances.  Because they cannot experience what you are going through, they […]

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Dec 21, 2018 - Doylestown Personal Injury Attorney

Recovering Damages for a Road Crossing Injury

A Doylestown Personal Injury Attorney Can Help Road crossings can be quite dangerous to pedestrians, whether or not the pedestrian is using a crosswalk or is simply making their way to the other side of the roadway without the use of a crosswalk. If you’ve been injured while crossing the road (outside of a crosswalk), then Pennsylvania law may give you a right of action against the defendant-driver for damages, though the lawsuit may be complicated by liability conflicts, such as your own contribution of fault. Right-of-Way and Pedestrian Road Crossings in Pennsylvania In Pennsylvania, right of way in pedestrian crossing scenarios depends on whether the pedestrian used a crosswalk. Crosswalks can be marked and unmarked.  Marked crosswalks are the sort that most people are familiar with — a marked crosswalk may be painted and feature various traffic signals, for example.  By contrast, an unmarked crosswalk exists at any intersection.  Right-of-way rules for both are the same. Crosswalks (Marked and Unmarked) According to Section 3542 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, the driver of a vehicle must yield right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any marked or unmarked crosswalk.  Traffic control signals may alter the applicable right of way. Non-Crosswalks If the pedestrian is crossing the roadway at a location that is not a marked or unmarked crosswalk, then the driver has the right-of-way.  In other words, the driver need not yield to the pedestrian. Drivers Must Exercise Reasonable Care Given the Circumstances Even if you — the pedestrian […]

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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 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 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 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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"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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