Resources

Category: Personal Injury

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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Aug 31, 2018 - Personal Injury

You May Be Entitled to Damages for Slipping on Ice

In Pennsylvania, snow and ice accumulation is a fact of life and the time to pull out the snow boots and shovels is quickly approaching.  Nearly every season, residents and visitors are likely to encounter the dangers of such conditions, and some may slip-and-fall and injure themselves — perhaps even severely — and depending on the circumstances, the slip-and-fall injury could give rise to a significant, actionable claim for damages under Pennsylvania law. Let’s take a brief look at the basic rule (the “Hills and Ridges” rule) that applies to such disputes. Application of the Hills and Ridges Rule Unlike the courts in warmer weather states, Pennsylvania courts have had to modify the rules of premises liability somewhat to account for the universal injury threat posed by snow and ice conditions during winter months.  Simply put, it would not be reasonable for property owners to be held liable for injuries caused by natural snow and ice conditions in most cases, as the imposition of liability would force property owners to invest enormous amounts of money and effort into spotlessly maintaining their properties throughout the season. The Hills and Ridges rule implemented by Pennsylvania courts attempts to carve out a reasonable “slice” of liability that allows injured claimants to obtain compensation in cases where the defendant has clearly violated a duty to maintain the property in a reasonably safe condition for visitors. Essentially, the Hills and Ridges rule allows injured plaintiffs to impose liability on the defendant property owner only if: […]

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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 21, 2018 - Articles

FIVE TIPS FOR OCEAN SAFETY

  When we think of summer, we typically think of the beach. For those of us who live in the greater Philadelphia area that means going to the Jersey Shore. However, a relaxing trip to the ocean shouldn’t cause you to relax when it comes to safety. Drowning is the number one accidental cause of death for children ages 1 -4 and the sixth leading cause of accidental death for all ages in the United States. Ten Americans die by drowning every day. And nearly 80 percent of people who drown in the United States are male. Listed below are five simple tips to help you be safe on your end-of-summer trip to the ocean. 1. Only Swim on a Beach Protected by a Lifeguard The chances of drowning on a beach without a lifeguard are almost five times higher than your chances on a beach with a lifeguard. You should swim between the flags positioned on either side of the lifeguard stand. The colors of the flags indicate both the nature of the surf that day and what activities are permitted in the water. A red or yellow flag typically means no swimming or restricted swimming. A green or orange flag means swimming is allowed. As you swim in the ocean, you need to be mindful that currents will move you along the shore. By continuing to swim within the boarder of the flags you can ensure that the lifeguard on duty is able to see you. 2. Never […]

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Jul 24, 2018 - Personal Injury

Why Do Many Injured Plaintiffs Settle?

Negotiated settlement compromises are extremely common in the personal injury context, in both Pennsylvania and elsewhere in the country.  Though traditional wisdom once pegged the amount of settled cases at 95 percent of the total, data-driven studies have noted that the settlement rate most likely hovers between 66.9 and 87.2 percent, depending on the disputed claims at issue. Settlement may seem an odd choice to those injury plaintiffs who are unfamiliar with the litigation process.  After all, they are agreeing to abandon the claims at-issue and accept a negotiated deal — typically less than the amount that they could have potentially secured had they succeeded at trial. So, why is settlement such a popular choice?  There are a number of great reasons.  Let’s break them down. Trial Litigation is Not Ideal for Many Plaintiffs Even if you have a strong, actionable claim for damages, trial litigation may not actually be the ideal choice.  Litigation can be quite costly from a time/effort, emotional, and financial perspective.  It can also cause problems with your work or business schedule.  It’s not easy to balance your legal duties with the normalcy of your everyday life (family, friends, work, etc.). Further, trial litigation is not private.  In fact, if you bring a claim against the defendant for damages, your trial will be open to the public — you may be subject to media scrutiny, and your reputation could be damaged, depending on the circumstances of your case.  Settlement allows you to avoid the “hassle” and […]

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Jun 27, 2018 - Personal Injury

Intentional Injuries Can Give Rise to Civil Liability

Personal injury claims are often associated with negligence claims, not with intentional injury claims — and perhaps for good reason.  After all, it’s more common for a defendant to fail to adhere to a legal duty (i.e., to act in an unreasonable manner that exposes others to a risk of injury) than to outright intentionally or maliciously cause another person injuries.  In fact, intentional injuries are more often associated with criminal prosecution as opposed to civil liability. Still, despite these perceptions, intentional injury claims are actionable, in Pennsylvania and elsewhere.  If you have been injured due to the intentional acts of the defendant, then you have a right to sue and recover damages. Intentional injury claims are unique, however, and deserve special consideration.  Let’s cover some of the basic issues. Civil and Criminal Litigation When defendants act intentionally to cause injury (i.e., physical battery), they may not only be civilly liability for damages, but may also be exposed to significant criminal liability for their wrongful actions. The prospect of criminal litigation can give injured plaintiffs pause.  It’s important to note, however, that there is no reason to avoid pursuing civil litigation simply because of an ongoing criminal litigation.  You are entitled to pursue a civil remedy in court whether or not the defendant is criminally liable.  Further, it’s worth pointing out that criminal litigation will not have a negative influence on your civil case. Intentional Misconduct May Be Plead in the Alternative If you’ve been injured due to the defendant’s […]

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Jun 25, 2018 - Articles

HOT CARS AND KIDS: FIVE SAFETY TIPS TO PREVENT A TRAGEDY

In 2017, forty-two (42) children died after being left in a hot vehicle. Unfortunately, while one death is too many, this number of deaths is up from the annual average of 37. Sadly, ten (10) minutes is how long it takes in a closed vehicle for the temperature to rise twenty (20) degrees. And a twenty degree increase in an interior car’s temperature, especially for children, is enough to result in death. To avoid these preventable deaths, some newer cars are now equipped with a “rear seat reminder” if a rear car door is opened and closed before the vehicle is started or while the vehicle is running. In such a situation, when the car is turned off, alarm chimes will sound and a message will be displayed on the instrument panel reminding the driver to check the rear seat. Additionally, some newer car seats are equipped with a computer chip placed in the child restraint straps, which transmits a signal to the driver, within seconds of the vehicle’s ignition being turned off. If your vehicle or car seat is not equipped with such safety features, below are five safety tips to prevent a tragedy. Never leave a child alone in a car. Even if the windows are cracked, the temperature can simply rise too high and too quickly to avoid injury. Keep your car locked when you are not in it, in order to prevent a child from trying to play in the vehicle and inadvertently lock themselves in. […]

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May 25, 2018 - Personal Injury

What Can You Do if a Defendant Does Not Respond to a Legal Complaint or Summons?

In Pennsylvania, if you’ve suffered injuries in an accident that was caused due to another person’s fault, you may be entitled to damages.  In some cases, however, the potentially liable defendant may attempt to avoid civil liability by remaining unresponsive to your legal complaint against them, or by failing to appear for a court hearing. For example, you might file a legitimate lawsuit against the defendant for injuries suffered in a car accident, and serve proper notice upon them (in accordance with Pennsylvania law), but the defendant does not respond to your complaint within the applicable deadline period. Fortunately, plaintiffs have the right to obtain a default judgment in circumstances where the defendant is unavailable or is otherwise attempting to avoid the dispute altogether.  Assuming that service was properly made, you may request that the court enter a default judgment in your favor. Default judgments are actually quite beneficial for injured plaintiffs.  In fact, default judgments are “automatic wins,” so to speak.  As the defendant has not responded to the complaint or summons, they cannot dispute your arguments. Requesting Entry of Default In Pennsylvania, if you have effected proper service of a complaint or summons upon the defendant at-issue, and the defendant fails to answer within the applicable deadline, then you may request an entry of default.  Pennsylvania courts will not grant you an award of damages without proof, however.  You will have to present evidence that supports your claim for damages, and the evidence must be sufficiently specific and […]

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