Resources

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 29, 2019 - Doylestown Car Accident Lawyer

Involuntary Intoxication as a Civil Defense in Pennsylvania

Doylestown Accident Lawyer If you’ve been injured in a motor vehicle accident that was caused by a drunk driver, or by an intoxicated defendant in some other accident scenario, then you may have a right to sue and recover damages under Pennsylvania law.  When pursuing litigation, however, you may come into conflict with the defendant over the issue of “involuntary intoxication.”  Involuntary intoxication is an affirmative defense that may be asserted if the defendant was not actually responsible for their intoxication at the time of the accident, thus shielding them from civil liability. When a defendant asserts the defense of involuntary intoxication, it’s important not to panic or become overwhelmed with the prospect of a more complicated lawsuit.  It is rather difficult for a defendant to successfully avoid liability on the basis of involuntary intoxication, in Pennsylvania or elsewhere. Let’s take a closer look. Involuntary Intoxication is a Complete Defense to Negligence In Pennsylvania, the defendant can make use of the involuntary intoxication defense if they can show by a preponderance of the evidence (i.e., that it is more likely than not) that they became intoxicated through no fault of their own.  There are a variety of circumstances that can give rise to involuntary intoxication, including, but not necessarily limited to the following: The defendant was forcibly intoxicated, either physically (by another party), or by duress, undue influence, fraud, or some other misconduct; The defendant made an innocent mistake regarding the intoxicating product; The defendant has a unique medical condition […]

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Mar 22, 2019 - Allentown Car Accident Lawyer

Seatbelt Use and Car Accident Liability

Allentown Car Accident Lawyer There is little debate about the effectiveness of seatbelts for preventing injury or death in the car accident context.  According to data reported by Center for Disease Control and Prevention, seatbelt use reduced serious crash-related injuries and death by roughly 50 percent, with proper seatbelt use having prevented about 15,000 motor vehicle deaths in 2016 alone.  The CDC noted that while airbags were beneficial as added protection, they were not enough on their own — the combined protection of an airbag and seatbelt worked to significantly improve safety outcomes. If you’ve been seriously harmed in a car accident due to the fault of another, then you may be entitled to compensation under Pennsylvania law.  Car accident litigation is not always straightforward, however, particularly if you were not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident. Let’s brief explore some of the liability issues associated with a failure to wear a seatbelt. Failure to Wear a Seatbelt Could Create Barriers to Complete Damage Recovery Pennsylvania is a modified comparative negligence state.  In accordance with section 7102 of the Pennsylvania Statutes, injured plaintiffs — in car accident lawsuits and otherwise — may only recover damages if they are not more than 50 percent at fault for their own injuries.  If the plaintiff is entitled to recover damages (i.e., they are 50 percent or less at-fault for their own injuries), then their contribution of fault will reduce their damage recovery accordingly. For example, suppose that you are injured […]

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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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Mar 11, 2019 - Allentown Car Accident Lawyer

The Most Dangerous Week of the Year

With the loss of an hour due to daylight savings time, during the week of March 10th through the 16th, we can expect an increase in everything from car accidents to heart attacks. With regard to safe driving, according to a 2014 study by the University of Colorado, auto accidents increase, due to the fact that it takes about 6-7 days to adjust to the darker morning commutes, coupled with the fact that the loss of an hour of sleep causes drivers to be less alert. According to the study, there is a 6.3% increase in traffic fatalities in over the six days following the March time change. Additionally, in 2009 a Journal of Applied Psychology study concluded that mine workers experience 5.7 percent more workplace injuries in the week daylight savings time was implemented, than in any other week of the year. The researchers attribute this increase in injuries to a lack of sleep. For those workers with less strenuous jobs, in 2012 the same journal found that “cyberloafing” significantly increased on the first Monday after daylight savings time. This was attributed to both a lack of sleep and a lack of workday focus and motivation. Finally, a 2016 study by the American Academy of Neurology found that the overall rate for a stroke was 85 higher on average in the two days after daylight savings time started. And a 2012 study at the University of Alabama found that in the first days after daylight savings time begins, there […]

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Mar 8, 2019 - Truck Accidents

Unique Injury Risks Posed by 18-Wheelers

Bethlehem Truck Accident Attorney If you’ve been harmed in a Pennsylvania truck accident due to another party’s fault — such as a trucker’s reckless driving — then you may have a right to bring a lawsuit against the defendant and secure significant compensation for your losses. Effective strategies for litigating a claim vary depending on the details of the case itself.  In a case where the defendant’s vehicle was an 18-wheeler (otherwise known as a “big rig,” trailer truck, or semi-truck), there are a number of unique injury risks that may be useful to consider when moving forward with litigation.  Drivers and trucking companies have a responsibility not to expose others to an unreasonable risk of harm, and in doing so, they must be considerate of the inherent injury risks posed by their fleet of 18-wheelers. Let’s take a closer look. Large Blind Spots 18-wheelers have significant blind spots, making it more difficult for their drivers to identify whether they are going to cause a collision with a simple lane-change or other basic traffic maneuver.  Many people understand that 18-wheelers (and other large trucks) suffer from blind spot issues and make efforts to either fall back to a reasonable distance or overtake the 18-wheeler truck so as to avoid remaining in the blind spot. Maneuverability Challenges 18-wheelers can weigh up to 40 tons, making it nearly 15 to 16 times the weight of the average motor vehicle.  The significant weight of an 18-wheeler, in conjunction with its unique structural profile […]

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Feb 28, 2019 - Slip and Fall

Slip and Falls: Understanding the Non-Obviousness Requirement

Bethlehem Slip and Fall Lawyers If you’ve slipped, tripped, or otherwise lost your balance on another’s property due to the existence of a dangerous condition of property (in other words, a “hazard”), then Pennsylvania law may entitle you to compensation for your injuries. Though your prospective lawsuit may seem rather simple in the initial stages, there are a number of ways in which the defendant may attempt to avoid or minimize liability.  Quite commonly, defendants in slip and fall cases argue that the injured plaintiff is precluded from recovery because the dangerous condition of property — the hazard — was known or obvious to the plaintiff. This defense can pose a real challenge when it comes to securing compensation, so let’s examine it in brief to understand how it works.  By learning about the basics, you’ll get a sense for how an attorney can overcome the defense. Existence of a Known or Obvious Hazard is a Complete Defense to Liability Slip and fall liability is a subcategory of premises liability — stated simply, the defendant property owner (or possessor) can be held liable for failing to exercise due care, and thereby exposing others to an unreasonable risk of harm.  For example, if you’re eating at a restaurant, and you slip and fall on the way to the bathroom due to a large spill on the floor, then you could potentially sue and recover damages.  The defendant’s failure to inspect the floors and clean the spill would likely constitute negligence. It’s […]

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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 14, 2019 - Car Accidents

First-Party Insurance Claims and Uninsured Defendants

If you’ve been injured in a car accident due to the fault of another driver, then you may have a right of action against the defendant-driver for damages.  Unfortunately, many drivers in Pennsylvania do not have insurance coverage to pay for the damages suffered by the victims of their negligence, and even if they do have insurance coverage, if may be insufficient. Moving Forward With a UM/UIM Claim Uninsured and underinsured drivers are a serious problem for car accident plaintiffs.  If the defendant cannot cover your losses, then you may have to seek out alternative avenues for recovery.  One strategy is to identify other possible defendants — for example, if the driver was operating their vehicle in the course and scope of their employment, then you might be able to seek recompense from their employer. In cases where there are no other defendants, however, you might be forced to pursue recovery through your own insurance coverage.  If you have purchased uninsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM coverage), then you may be able to secure compensation by filing a claim with your insurer. Possible Issues There are a number of problems that tend to crop-up when plaintiffs file a first-party claim with their insurer. Insurers Are Not on Your Side The insurer’s goal is to pay out the least amount possible.  As such, it’s important that you consult an attorney so that they can guide you and serve as your “point of contact” in all communications with the insurer.  Without an attorney guiding […]

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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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