Resources

Category: Personal Injury

Nov 25, 2019 - Car Accidents

OH, DEER, IT’S THAT SEASON AGAIN

  With hunting season upon us, I am reminded that I have killed more deer with a car than I have with a rifle. Today there are an estimated 1.5 million deer in Pennsylvania and November is the month most likely to have a deer-related collision. Last year in Pennsylvania alone there were 141,000 deer/vehicle crashes, which represented almost 10 percent of all deer related claims in the entire country. Only in West Virginia and Montana do you have a greater chance of striking a deer with your vehicle. So what can you do to be safer on the road during this season? Here are six tips. 1) Remember that deer travel in groups. If one deer successfully crosses the road in front of you, be sure to be looking for others that are soon to follow. Most people miss the first deer they see and hit the second one. 2) Travel with a heightened state of awareness during this season. While deer cross roads at all hours of the day, they are more active at dusk and at dawn. If you are traveling when it is dark, use your high-beams as much as possible in order to see as much of the sides of the roadway as possible. Be aware of areas where you have seen deer before, as deer often travel the same pathways. 3) If you see a deer crossing sign, know that the sign was installed by PennDOT because of prior reported collisions with deer 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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Aug 30, 2019 - Car Accidents

Uniquely Vulnerable Plaintiffs Entitled to Full Damages

In Pennsylvania (and throughout the country), injured plaintiffs often worry about whether they are entitled to the compensation they seek.  This is particularly applicable to plaintiffs who have sustained “excessive” losses due to their unique vulnerabilities and fragilities. For example, suppose that you have a condition that makes your spinal column somewhat less rigid, exposing you to a greater risk of paralysis in the event that a significant impact force collides with the spinal column.  You are subsequently paralyzed in a low speed rear-end car accident that causes your weak spinal column to collapse and your spine to be severed. Now, the defendant might feel that it is unfair to impose such significant damages (long-term medical expenses, pain and suffering, loss of earning capacity, etc.) on them when the accident was only minor. Fortunately for you (and perhaps unfortunately for the defendant), the law entitles plaintiffs to be compensated for their losses in full, even if they are suffering from a unique vulnerability that enhances their losses. How does this work?  Let’s take a closer look. Understanding the Fundamentals of Loss and Recovery in the Context of Personal Injury In personal injury law, the defendant may be held liable for the losses suffered for the plaintiff no matter the unique vulnerabilities of that plaintiff — this concept is known as the eggshell skull rule (referencing Humpty Dumpty, naturally!).  Simply put, it is the defendant’s responsibility to shoulder the cost burden of encountering a uniquely vulnerable plaintiff. If this seems unfair, […]

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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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