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Dec 7, 2018 - Dog Bite Injuries

What Qualifies as a Dog With Dangerous Propensities?

Let an Allentown Dog Bite Attorney Help If you’ve been injured by a dog in Pennsylvania, then you may be entitled to significant compensation under the law.  It’s important to understand, however, that your ability to recover may be affected by the qualification of the dog itself — if the animal qualifies as a “dangerous dog,” then the owner can be held absolutely liable (i.e., must pay full compensation) for the damages incurred by their dog during the attack. Curious how it works?  Let’s explore the basics. Defining a Dangerous Dog Under Pennsylvania Law In Pennsylvania, dog owners are strictly liable for the medical expenses incurred by those who are injured by their dogs.  If the dog showcases “dangerous propensities” or is a “dangerous dog,” however, then the owner may be held fully liable for all the damages caused. A dangerous dog is one who has: Inflicted severe injury on a human being or domestic animal without provocation; Attacked a human being without provocation; Been used in the commission of a crime; A history of attacking human beings and/or domestic animals without provocation; or A propensity to attack human beings and/or domestic animals without provocation. Even a single attacking event may be sufficient to establish a propensity that qualifies the dog as “dangerous” under the law. The bar is not particularly high to establish that the dog was “dangerous.”  In Pennsylvania, it is enough to show that the dog rushed at others in a vicious manner (requiring the owner to […]

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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 22, 2018 - Bethlehem Car Accident Lawyer

Unsafe Lane Changes and Motor Vehicle Liability

If you’ve been injured in a motor vehicle accident — car, truck, or motorcycle — in which the accident was caused by the defendant’s negligence in making an unsafe lane change, then you may be entitled to damages as compensation for your losses.  Pennsylvania law imposes liability on defendants who fail to exercise reasonable care when operating their vehicles on roadways, including those engage in unsafe activity relating to lane changes. Let’s take a closer look. General Rules for Lane Changes in Pennsylvania Section 3334 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes defines the general rules applicable to turning movements and required signals.  According to statutory law, a person is prohibited from turning their vehicle or changing lanes unless and until the movement can be made with reasonable safety nor without giving an appropriate signal. Reasonable Safety Whether the lane change can be made with “reasonable safety” is dependent on the circumstances.  For example, if there is more than 50 feet available in the next lane, and the vehicles around said space are moving at a constant speed, then the defendant might arguably make a safe lane change into that 50-foot space.  On the other hand, if there is only 10 feet available and there is a good chance that — by making the lane change movement — the defendant will strike another vehicle, or otherwise force others to come to a sudden stop to avoid a collision, then the lane change would likely be deemed unreasonable. Signal Requirements In Pennsylvania, all […]

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Nov 15, 2018 - Articles

Car Accident FAQs

If you’ve been injured in a car accident and can demonstrate that the defendant caused you to suffer harm due to his or her negligent, reckless, or wrongful conduct, you may be entitled to recover significant damages as compensation. Car accident litigation can involve many variables, depending on the circumstances.  Though some lawsuits can be resolved in a straightforward manner, others may involve complicated issues of liability, such as splitting fault between multiple co-defendants and establishing potential employer liability or manufacturer liability (for product defects). Given the fact that car accident litigation — and personal injury disputes in general — can be inherently unpredictable, it’s important that you work with a team of attorneys who are capable of dynamically responding and adapting to changing circumstances over the course of a lawsuit.  We encourage you to contact an experienced attorney or assistance with your car accident claims. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Q: Is there a deadline for pursuing a car accident lawsuit? A: Yes, there is, though it may vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. In some states, the statute of limitations deadline for personal injury claims is two years from the date of injury, whereas in others, the deadline may be three years.  Regardless of the specific length of the deadline, however, if you do not file your lawsuit before the deadline passes, then your case will no longer be actionable in a court of law. It’s worth noting that if the defendant is a public entity or employee, then your […]

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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 24, 2018 - Trip and Fall

Recreational Purpose Immunity in Premises Liability Lawsuits

Generally speaking, Pennsylvania landowners have a duty to maintain their property in reasonably safe condition for premises entrants, and to either correct dangerous conditions of property (e.g. hazards) or warn premises entrants of such hazards.  If you tripped and fell on the defendant’s property due to some hidden hazard, such as a loose floor tile, then you could potentially sue and recover damages pursuant to standard premises liability rules. Things get a bit more complicated when the injury takes place on land that was made available to the public for recreational purposes.  Pennsylvania shields landowners from liability in certain limited circumstances with the “recreational immunity,” which is intended to encourage landowners to keep their land available for public use. Let’s take a look at the basics. How the Recreational Immunity Works In Pennsylvania, recreational immunity is granted by the Recreational Use of Land and Water Act.  The Act ensures that landowners can benefit from immunity to injury liability for trip and fall incidents (and other premises-related injuries) occurring on the property at-issue so long as the landowner allowed the general public to access the land for a recreational purpose. Simply put, the recreational immunity prevents the imposition of liability on landowners for failing to correct hazards or to warn premises entrants of hazards, unless the hazard was known to the landowner (before the injury occurred). Confused?  We’ll put this all into context with a quick example. Suppose that you trip and fall while sitting on a dock on the defendant’s […]

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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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Oct 10, 2018 - Car Accidents

Car Accident Lawsuits: A Brief Look at Negligence Per Se

If you’ve sustained injuries in a car accident that was caused due to the negligence of another individual (or entity), then Pennsylvania law may give you a right of action against the defendant for damages as compensation for your losses. Litigating negligence claims — in a car accident scenario or otherwise — can be rather complicated, however.  Depending on the circumstances, it may be difficult to prove that the defendant was actually negligent (i.e., violated the applicable standard of care).  In Pennsylvania, as in other states, the doctrine of “negligence per se” enables injured plaintiffs to automatically establish negligence and thereby avoid the conflicts associated with such proof. Let’s take a brief look at the basics. What is Negligence Per Se? Negligence per se is presumed negligence associated with the violation of statutory law or some other codified ordinance or rule.  In other words, if you can show that the defendant-driver violated some law (and in doing so, caused you to suffer injuries), then you may not have to prove that they acted negligently — the court will presume negligence. Courts in Pennsylvania have long clarified the requirements necessary for application of negligence per se.  Simply put, negligence per se requires the following: That the defendant violated a statute or other regulation; That the purpose of the statute is (at least in part) to protect the interest of a particular group of individuals, as opposed to the general public; That the statute or regulation must apply to the conduct of […]

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