Resources

Category: Personal Injury

Aug 23, 2019 - Personal Injury

Train, Bus, and Plane Accidents — Common Carrier Liability

Trains, buses, and planes all fit into the category of common carriers (under Pennsylvania law, a common carrier is essentially any person or entity that accepts money to transport passengers).  If you’ve been injured while traveling with a common carrier, or in the course of waiting/boarding/etc., then you could be entitled to compensation.  Common carrier regulations require that they provide a safe environment for passengers, and that they exert significant efforts in doing so. Curious about your claims?  Contact Drake, Hileman & Davis, PC to discuss your case with one of our experienced attorneys.  We will evaluate your claims and work with you to identify a winning strategy for securing the compensation you deserve. The Standard of Care for Common Carriers Common carriers are held to the “highest possible” standard of care, though it’s important to note that they are not guarantors of safety.  Put simply, common carriers are expected to take significant precautions to ensure that they do not expose passengers to an unreasonable risk of harm. Importantly, the duty of care for common carriers not only applies to situations centering around the transportation of passengers (i.e., operating the vehicle), but also to the facilities in which passengers are picked up and dropped off as part of their journey. Confused?  Let’s clarify with a brief example. Suppose that you are assaulted at a bus station while waiting for a private coach to pick you up.  You suffer serious injuries as a result and bring an action against the coach […]

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Aug 16, 2019 - Personal Injury

Recreational Waivers of Liability Are Enforceable in Pennsylvania

Liability waivers are common in the recreational context and the sporting world, as a means of limiting the financial exposure of those who operate such enterprises.  These waivers often intimidating prospective injury plaintiffs, and for good reason — in Pennsylvania, liability waivers are generally enforceable. If you’ve signed a liability waiver and have been injured, it’s important that you evaluate the situation at-hand more closely.  The circumstances may be such that the waiver will not actually be enforced, so don’t resign yourself to a “lost” case from the beginning. Liability Waivers Must Be Clear and Unambiguous If you signed a liability waivers before engaging in the recreational or sporting activity that ultimately led to your injuries, then Pennsylvania law may prevent you from litigating the claims at-issue — the court may deem the liability waiver valid and enforceable and dismiss your claims on that basis. Fortunately, you may be able to show that the liability waiver — despite the fact that you signed it — is not actually enforceable.  In Pennsylvania, valid and enforceable liability waivers must: Be clearly-written and unambiguous with respect to its function and intent; and Be sufficiently obvious (visually) in the context of the signed contract. So, how might this affect your claims? Suppose that you are injured while attending a horse-riding class.  Before class began, you signed a liability waiver as part of the attendance contract.  The liability waiver language was not clearly-written, however, and used confusing and non-standard language.  Further, the liability waiver language […]

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Jul 31, 2019 - Personal Injury

Why You Need a Personal Injury Lawyer for a Settlement

If you’ve been injured in an accident due to another’s fault, then you may be interested in securing a settlement from the responsible defendant — after all, litigation can be quite a burden.  Obtaining comprehensive legal representation is a crucial first step in moving forward with your claims. We encourage prospective plaintiffs to contact Drake, Hileman & Davis, PC to learn more about how a personal injury settlement lawyer at our firm can provide the guidance necessary to maximize their settlement recoveries.  We currently operate five offices in Pennsylvania in order to better serve our clients: in Allentown, Bethlehem, Doylestown, Stroudsburg, and Easton. Understanding the Reasoning Behind a Settlement In civil disputes, parties may choose to avoid litigation and resolve the underlying conflict through settlement negotiation.  In fact, the large majority of cases — personal injury and otherwise — are resolved through the settlement process, as opposed to litigation. How does a settlement work, exactly? Suppose that you are injured in a trip and fall case while shopping at the defendant’s retail store.  You sustain roughly $100,000 in damages, and the facts indicate that the defendant did not properly inspect and maintain their store, giving rise to numerous defects that contributed to your injuries.  The defendant may want to avoid extensive litigation, however, and may therefore make a reasonable settlement offer to avoid going through litigation — perhaps $70,000 here.  As the plaintiff, you would be entitled to either accept that settlement offer, put forth a counter-offer, or completely reject […]

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Apr 23, 2019 - Personal Injury

How a Catastrophic Back Injury Can Lead to Significant Damages

Back Injury Lawyers Serving Clients in Bethlehem and Throughout Pennsylvania Catastrophic injuries — including those that affect the back, spine, brain, and other critical bodily systems — can give rise to complex litigation, as the injured plaintiff’s claim is likely to be substantial given their various impairments and losses. For example, if you are rendered paraplegic in a car accident, then your damages are likely to be significantly more (all else being equal) than if you had only fractured your leg.  An injury that causes you to become paraplegic will have a long-term impact on your physical, psychological, and social health, and may severely undermine your ability to work. Given the high-stakes nature of catastrophic injury litigation, it’s important that you consult with a team of attorneys who have extensive experience handling personal injury claims that involve significant damage claims.  We encourage you to contact Drake, Hileman & Davis, PC for more information about how we can help you move forward with your catastrophic injury claims. Back Injuries Can Cause Pain and Functional Impairment The back is particularly vulnerable to damage in an accident and can lead to significant and long-term functional impairments.  Regardless of the individual, the back is central to many intertwined systems in the body — it houses the spinal cord, and its musculature provides necessary support for most full-body movement. Injuries to the back can give rise to: Severe pain and suffering Limited mobility Difficulty making accurate movements Burning sensations Stabbing sensations Strength deficits Paralysis And […]

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Apr 9, 2019 - Dog Bite Injuries

Exotic Animal Bite Injuries and Liability

Dog Bite Attorney in Allentown, PA Have you been injured in an exotic animal attack — at a zoo, garden, circus, or even in a residential area where the animal has a permitted individual owner?  Depending on the circumstances of the injury, Pennsylvania law may give you a right of action against the owner for damages. Here at Drake, Hileman & Davis, PC, we have successfully litigated numerous animal bite cases, with significant results obtained through settlement and trial.  Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you pursue your claims. Exotic Wildlife Ownership is Limited and Strict In Pennsylvania, exotic wildlife possession is extremely limited and highly-regulated.  An exotic animal may only be possessed by public zoological parks/gardens, nationally-recognized circuses, and individuals with the necessary permits. Individual permits are granted for each exotic animal, and the individual must have at least two years of hands-on experience in a licensed facility, as well as house the animal in a safe and sanitary manner that adequately protects the public from the dangers of such wildlife. If an exotic animal owner fails to satisfy the legal requirements, they could be exposed to civil and criminal penalties. Imposing Liability As a foundational matter, it’s important to understand that exotic animal owners must exercise due care in safeguarding the public from attack.  Failure to do so could give you — the injured plaintiff — a right to sue and recover damages for the suffered losses. Whether the owner is liable will […]

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Mar 15, 2019 - Personal Injury

What is the Difference Between Economic and Noneconomic Damages?

Bethlehem Personal Injury Lawyers If you’ve been harmed in an accident that was caused by the negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct of another individual or entity in Pennsylvania, then the law may give you a right of action for damages. When pursuing a personal injury lawsuit, however, there is a significant difference between merely winning a case and winning a case while securing full and adequate damages to cover your losses.  For example, it’s possible for the court to agree with your arguments and impose liability on the defendant, but for the jury to award limited damages.  The jury may not believe that you have done enough to establish the “certainty” of your various losses or may believe that you are exaggerating your losses. Understanding personal injury damages is therefore critical to ensuring that you are able to achieve your litigation goals.  Let’s take a closer look. Two Primary Categories: Economic and Noneconomic Damages Damages are meant to “compensate” the injured plaintiff for their losses, and as such, the standard damages available to an injured plaintiff are termed compensatory damages.  Their purpose is compensatory in nature — they are intended to position the plaintiff (recipient of the damages) in a manner that most accurately projects their status had the accident not occurred in the first place. Compensatory damages can be further subdivided into two categories: economic damages and noneconomic damages. Economic damages describe losses that are purely pecuniary in nature.  These damages may include compensation that covers losses such as: […]

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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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Feb 7, 2019 - Personal Injury

Extending the Personal Injury Claim Deadline

In the state of Pennsylvania, personal injury plaintiffs are subject to a two-year statute of limitations period.  If the plaintiff does not file their lawsuit before the deadline passes, then they will lose their right to litigate their claim in a court of law, thus relinquishing any real possibility of recovery. Statute of limitations rules are critically important, and as such, we recommend that all prospective plaintiffs seek out legal assistance early (even if uncertain about whether a claim is actionable) so that the case can be properly evaluated before too much time has passed.  If you’ve delayed in filing your lawsuit, however, there may still be hope.  Pennsylvania, same as many other jurisdictions, suspends the statute of limitations in certain circumstances. Consider the following “common exceptions” to the statute of limitations. The Discovery Rule In many cases, one’s injuries are not actually clear on the date of the accident.  For example, if you are hit by a car in a low-speed accident, you might not realize that you were harmed if the injury is asymptomatic until a later date.  The discovery rule allows for the suspension of the statute of limitations until the date of discovery (or at least, until you should have discovered the injury with the exercise of reasonable care). Minor Plaintiff Plaintiffs who were minors at the time of an accident have their statute of limitations period suspended until they become 18 years of age.  How does this work?  Suppose that you are injured in a […]

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Jan 31, 2019 - Personal Injury

Business Owners Must Provide Adequate Security

In Pennsylvania, premises liability principles give injured plaintiffs the right to bring a lawsuit against a property owner for failing to correct non-obvious dangerous conditions of the property (i.e., property hazards, such as broken stairs).  For example, if you trip and fall on the defendant’s stairway due to a broken step, then you could sue and recover damages as compensation. The situation becomes a bit more complicated when the “dangerous condition of property” is not linked to an inanimate object, but is instead linked to the negative and potentially harmful behaviors of another individual.  In many cases, businesses fail to provide adequate security to their customers, and this gives rise to a significant injury risk.  Depending on the circumstances surrounding the incident, a lawsuit against the business owner may be possible. So, what is the advantage of pursuing a lawsuit against the business owner?  Generally speaking, individual criminals do not have the assets or coverage to compensate the injured victim for their losses.  In order for the victim to obtain full compensation, they’ll have to establish the liability of defendants who have “deep enough pockets” to pay — here, the business owner. Reasonable Foreseeability is the Key Pennsylvania law does not make business owners absolute guarantors of the safety of their customers.  Liability may only attach if the business owner knew or reasonably should have known about the dangerous condition of property.  In the inadequate security context, the dangerous condition that the business owner knew or reasonably should have known […]

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Jan 17, 2019 - Personal Injury

Litigating a Claim Involving Catastrophic Spinal Cord Injuries

Bethlehem Back Injury Lawyers The spinal cord is fundamental to both movement and sensation in the human body, and as such, an injury to the spinal cord can lead to impairment of these functions.  Catastrophic spinal cord injuries often cause: Paralysis Shooting pain Burning pain Movement deficits Sensational deficits And more If you’ve sustained an injury to your spinal cord due to the fault of another party, it’s important that you seek the assistance of a qualified attorney who can help you litigate your claims.  You may be entitled to damages under Pennsylvania Law.  Contact Drake, Hileman & Davis, PC for comprehensive guidance. Catastrophic Injuries Require Significant Compensation The impairments caused by a catastrophic spinal cord injury may lead to damages that surprise most who are unfamiliar with the personal injury litigation process. Suppose, for example, that your legs are paralyzed in a car accident involving a driver who was operating their vehicle recklessly at the time of the accident.  Following your accident, you can no longer work at your construction job.  You may also struggle with the loss of enjoyment related to various social and physical activities that you can no longer partake in.  Your participation in recreational sports may represent a significant loss from both a social and exercise-based perspective. As the injured plaintiff, you may recover for your pain and suffering, humiliation, mental anguish, lost wages, loss of future earning capacity, retraining costs, medical expenses, and various other losses. Timely and Compassionate Resolution Many plaintiffs suffering from […]

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