Resources

Category: Personal Injury

Nov 29, 2018 - Personal Injury

The Discovery Rule and the Statute of Limitations

Allentown Injury Attorney In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations for most personal injury claims — unless the defendant is a “public” employee or entity, in which case a separate, stricter set of procedural rules apply — is just two years from the date of injury. The statute of limitations is essentially a deadline for one’s lawsuit.  Failure to bring an action against the defendant before the deadline passes will result in an abandonment of the claims therein.  Simply put: you will lose your right to litigate your injury dispute in a Pennsylvania court of law should the deadline pass before you file your claims. There are numerous exceptions to the statute of limitations, however, which can give you extra time.  The Discovery Rule is one such exception, and it is significant.  If the injuries you sustained due to an accident were hidden or otherwise non-obvious, then there’s a good chance that the Discovery Rule is applicable to your lawsuit. Let’s take a closer look at how it works. How Does the Discovery Rule Work? According to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, the Discovery Rule provides that “where the existence of the injury is not known to the complaining party and such knowledge cannot be reasonably ascertained within the prescribed statutory period, the limitations period does not begin to run until the discovery of the injury is reasonably possible.”  Stated another way, the statute of limitations period will not begin to count down until the plaintiff either becomes aware of the injury […]

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Nov 8, 2018 - Personal Injury

Recovering Damages for an Assault

If you’ve been intentionally injured by another person in Pennsylvania, then they may not only be criminally liable for having committed assault, but also civilly liable for the damages they caused you to suffer as a result of their actions. Many people do not realize that they are entitled to bring a civil action — independent of State prosecutors’ criminal case — against the individual(s) who assaulted them.  This civil action is important, as it may give the injured plaintiff access to financial resources that covers their losses.  For example, if you are badly injured in an assault and is thereby forced to resign from your position (due to your inability to perform the material duties of the job), then you could ostensibly sue and recover damages for those lost wages and the loss of future earning capacity, among other losses. So, how does a civil assault claim work?  Let’s examine the basics. Understanding Assault In Pennsylvania, assault requires: The attempt to cause bodily injury to another; The attempt (by physical menace) to put another in fear of imminent serious bodily injury; Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing bodily injury to another; or Negligently causing bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon. This may give rise to a civil claim for damages, as the victims of an intentional tort are entitled to sue and recover damages for the harm caused by the defendant. Suppose, for example, that the defendant pushes you into a dark alleyway and waves a gun at […]

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Nov 1, 2018 - Personal Injury

Some Evidence May Be Excluded From Your Injury Lawsuit

If you’ve been injured due to the fault of another — their negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct — then Pennsylvania law may entitle you to pursue an action for damages. Importantly, the success of personal injury litigation often turns on the outcome of evidentiary battles.  For example, whether your claim for damages succeeds might depend on whether you can prevent the defendant from introducing evidence that shines a negative light on your character. Excluding Irrelevant Evidence Evidence may only be admissible if it is relevant.  Irrelevant evidence has no place in litigation. Rule 401 of the Pennsylvania code succinctly defines “relevance” in the evidentiary context.  In accordance with the rule, evidence is relevant if: It has a tendency to make a fact more or less probable; and The fact is of consequence in determining the action. For example, in a slip-and-fall case, evidence concerning the regularity/consistency of the floor inspection schedule would likely be relevant, as it would help determine whether the defendant adhered to their duty of reasonable care. Not All Relevant Evidence is Admissible If the evidence is relevant — in other words, if it has probative value with regard to some material fact pertaining to the case at-hand — then you might still be able to prohibit its introduction. Rule 403 of the Pennsylvania Code describes the circumstances under which relevant evidence may be deemed “inadmissible.”  Specifically, relevant evidence may be inadmissible if its probative value is outweighed by the danger of: Unfair prejudice; Confusing the issues; […]

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Oct 31, 2018 - Personal Injury

Factors Making Crosswalks Dangerous

Pedestrian crosswalks can pose a serious problem for those looking to safely make their way across the marked road.  Dangerous crosswalks can expose pedestrians to an unreasonable risk of harm, and further, the injuries suffered are very often severe — pedestrians hit in a crosswalk will be injured directly, which could lead to catastrophic injuries in some circumstances.  Pedestrians may also be “lured” into using a crosswalk without realizing the danger in its design or maintenance. In Pennsylvania, and elsewhere, pedestrians who have been injured due to a dangerous crosswalk may sue and recover damages not only from the defendant-driver, but also from the entity that designed, maintains, or otherwise controls the crosswalk at-issue. What factors make a crosswalk dangerous?  Let’s take a look at a few. Poor Visibility Crosswalks are often made dangerous for pedestrians by virtue of inadequate visibility around the crosswalk, or even on approach.  Visibility may be influenced by a number of factors, such as poor lighting, sight line blockage (i.e., overgrown trees, buildings covering the approach, etc.), and having the crosswalk built on a road that features a sharp upward or downward angle. Signal Defects Not all crosswalks require additional signage or traffic signals, such as a pedestrian light that can be turned on by those using the crosswalk to notify incoming traffic.  When such signals are implemented, however, pedestrians come to rely on them to ensure that the crossing will be reasonably safe.  If the signal is not properly maintained — in other words, […]

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Oct 17, 2018 - Personal Injury

Plaintiffs Should Not Exaggerate Injuries

If you’ve been injured in an accident that was caused by the fault of another, then you may have an actionable claim for damages under Pennsylvania law.  It’s important that you do not exaggerate or misrepresent the nature or extent of your injuries, however — this is commonly known as malingering. Consequences of Misrepresenting Injuries Exaggerating or otherwise misrepresenting your injuries could damage your credibility as a personal injury plaintiff, thus making it difficult to obtain compensation.  Even if your claim is legitimate, the jury may not feel comfortable accepting your version of events. Depending on the severity of the misrepresentation, and whether it can be proved, you could be exposed to criminal liability pursuant to Pennsylvania perjury laws.  Further — though quite uncommon — the defendant may attempt to sue you on the basis of malicious prosecution, if they can show that you had some hidden, underlying reason for exaggerating your injuries. How Defendants Discover Inconsistencies Some plaintiffs believe that they can effectively “game” the system and exaggerate or otherwise misrepresent their injuries, but in truth, there are a number of mechanisms that allow the defendant to discover inconsistencies in the injury claim.  These mechanisms include, but are not necessarily limited to: Evaluation of medical records that are inconsistent with the assertions being made by the injured plaintiff Court-ordered medical examination of the plaintiff Surveillance of the plaintiff (i.e., video surveillance, photos, social media posts, etc.) And more For example, if you injure your back in a car accident, […]

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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 21, 2018 - Personal Injury

Breach of Express Warranty Claims and Product Defects

If you have been seriously injured due to a product failing to perform in the manner advertised by the seller, then you may be entitled to damages under Pennsylvania law. Product defect injury lawsuits are typically associated with strict liability issues that arise out of certain implied protections granted to products — for example, claims arising from injuries sustained due to a product failing to meet its implied warranty of merchantability (i.e., the product must reasonably conform to ordinary expectations).  Importantly, however, those who are injured by a product may also bring a lawsuit on the basis of a breach of an express warranty. So, how do express warranties work in the product liability context?  Let’s explore the basics for a clearer understanding. Breach of Express Warranty Basics In Pennsylvania, express warranties are formed in two instances: When a promise or affirmation of fact is made by the seller relating to the goods, and that promise becomes part of the basis of the bargain; or When a description of the goods becomes part of the basis of the bargain. When the express warranty has been formed, the product at-issue must conform to the warranty — either the promise, affirmation of fact, or description — or else the court will determine that there has been a breach.  If this breach caused you to suffer injuries, then you will have an actionable claim for damages under Pennsylvania law. Breach of warranty claims can be somewhat confusing for plaintiffs who do not have […]

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Sep 19, 2018 - Personal Injury

Hurt in an Accident? Beware: You Might Be Under Surveillance

If you have been injured in an accident that was caused by the negligent, reckless, or intentional acts of another party, then you may be entitled to compensation under Pennsylvania law.  It’s important to point out, however, that injury lawsuits do not typically proceed in an obvious or straightforward manner.  Depending on the circumstances of your injury and the particularities of your claim, the defendant may conduct surveillance and attempt to undermine your claims by gathering evidence that is inconsistent with your claims. Though surveillance tactics are most commonly associated with disability claims, defendants in personal injury lawsuits have a right to conduct surveillance.  In Pennsylvania, surveillance video and related evidence is deemed relevant and may be introduced into evidence pursuant to discovery — as such, injured plaintiffs must exercise great care to prior to litigation to ensure that the strength of their claims are preserved. How Surveillance Can Impact Your Injury Lawsuit Surveillance can have a significant and negative impact on your ability to secure damages in a personal injury lawsuit, if you’re not careful.  What many plaintiffs do not realize is that — even if you have a legitimate claim, and you are not exaggerating your injuries — the defendant can misconstrue supposed “inconsistencies” and create substantial doubt in the minds of the jury with regard to the seriousness of your injury. Let’s clarify with a quick example. Suppose that you are injured in a car accident involving another negligent driver.  Due to the accident, you sustain a […]

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Sep 14, 2018 - Personal Injury

Suing for Injuries Caused to Your Children by a Negligent Supervisor

Though many parents might want to be able to supervise their children at all times, there are times when children must come under the supervision of another adult, whether in a school setting or through some other arrangement (i.e., childcare center). Children are naturally curious, and as such, they tend to “attract” injuries.  These tendencies often give rise to situations where children sustain injuries while under the care of a non-parental adult.  Generally speaking, for minor injuries — cuts and scrapes and scratches — this is a non-issue, but in cases where your child has suffered severe injuries, Pennsylvania law may give you a right of action to secure damages on behalf of your child. What Qualifies as Negligent Supervision of a Child? Liability for negligent supervision of a child will attach only if there is a duty of supervision that connects the child and the caretaker. For example, if your child runs off in the supermarket and hurts themselves crawling on a shelf while in the vicinity of a stranger, you cannot hold that strange liable for failing to supervise or otherwise “negligently” supervising your child, as the stranger has no duty to supervise your child. On the other hand, if you paid a nanny to supervise your child, and he or she crawled on a shelf and injured themselves, then you might be entitled to hold the nanny liable for negligent supervision — the nanny has a clear duty of supervision. Failure to meet the standard of care […]

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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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