Resources

Aug 29, 2016 - Wrongful Death

THE WRONGFUL DEATH OF A ‘VIABLE’ FETUS

On behalf of Peter Hileman of Drake, Hileman & Davis, P.C. posted inWrongful Death on Monday, August 29, 2016. There is precedent in Pennsylvania for a lawsuit revolving around a stillborn fetus, as the unborn child’s death was said to be caused by a car accident. The case in question was Gullborg v. Rizzo. It established a precedent within the state for how wrongful death cases after car accidents can proceed. However, other cases have not always followed the precedent. In one case, a doctor was operating on a woman who was pregnant, and the child passed away. The family tried to sue under the same precedent and lost, as the case was said to be different. This shows just how tricky the laws can be when looking at unborn children. There is, however, at least the precedent that a family could seek damages for the death of a child, even though he or she had not yet been born, as long as the child was referred to as a “viable fetus” — as happened in the case noted above. A “viable fetus” is one that would be able to live without being in the womb. For example, many hospitals consider a woman to be at full term at 37 weeks, and that child could usually live, though it may not be born until 40 weeks or later. Essentially, the court was saying that the child’s potential to be born and grow up was enough to count it, in some […]

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Aug 25, 2016 - Drunk Driving Accidents

DRUNK DRIVING LINKED TO REDUCTION IN NEUROTRANSMITTER FUNCTION

On behalf of Peter Hileman of Drake, Hileman & Davis, P.C. posted inDrunk Driving Accidents on Thursday, August 25, 2016. Have you ever found yourself wondering why drunk driving doesn’t go away on its own? Everyone knows what a problem it is, everyone knows that it is illegal and yet it still happens. Across the country, someone is killed in a crash that is related to alcohol every 53 minutes. Surely any rationally-thinking person would know that drunk driving is too dangerous to participate in. But this isn’t how people think, the stats show. Some estimates have said that one out of each 2,000 trips down the road in the United States involves a drunk driver. That may sound like a small amount, but you can pass hundreds of cars on a 10-minute drive to the mall, so you can see how common this danger really is. One reason could be the reduction of function in neurotransmitters. These are the chemicals within the brain that help the brain communicate. It does so through electrical impulses, and they’re carried by neurotransmitters. Some examples of common neurotransmitters are adrenaline and serotonin. Serotonin is often linked with feelings of joy and happiness, while adrenaline is linked to risk and excitement. In any case, alcohol can actually interfere with brain function and the reaction of the neurotransmitters. When their functionality is inhibited, the brain does not carry out complex processes as it is meant to. This could be part of the reason that people […]

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Aug 18, 2016 - Pedestrian Accidents

HOW RUNNERS CAN AVOID CAR ACCIDENTS

On behalf of Peter Hileman of Drake, Hileman & Davis, P.C. posted in Pedestrian Accidents on Thursday, August 18, 2016. For the avid runner, many hours are typically spent on the shoulder of the road, putting in mile after mile. This can create a fairly dangerous situation, as it only takes one negligent driver to cause an accident, and the prolonged — and consistent — exposure means runners are at a high risk. There are things that runner can do to avoid accidents, though, such as wearing bright clothing during the day and donning headlamps when running in the evening or the early morning. Some runners will also wear reflective vests. Many accidents happen when drivers just don’t see runners, so being as visible as possible makes a huge difference. It’s been said that vests increase visibility for a quarter of a mile, while headlamps increase it for a half a mile. Even at 60 miles per hour, that could buy you half a minute of visibility that would wouldn’t have otherwise. It’s also wise to be as predictable as possible. Run where drivers expect you to be, such as on the shoulder. Face traffic when you can. Cross when there is a light and a crosswalk. Don’t suddenly change your direction, especially without checking for cars. Try to avoid anything that would obstruct a driver’s vision, like a row of parked cars. Drivers have expectations about runners. If you do what you can to act the way they already expect, […]

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Aug 10, 2016 - Drunk Driving Accidents

SUSPECTED DUI DRIVER TURNS HIMSELF IN

On behalf of Peter Hileman of Drake, Hileman & Davis, P.C. posted inDrunk Driving Accidents on Wednesday, August 10, 2016. Police think that a 30-year-old man from Pittsburgh wrecked his car because he had been drinking. A 21-year-old woman was killed in that accident when she was thrown from the car. The man has recently turned himself in to the authorities. The crash happened back in the first half of March, but the arrest warrant only recently was given out, prompting the man to cooperate with the investigation. The wreck itself happened on Penn Avenue in Point Breeze, in the 6800 block. The young woman initially survived and was taken to the hospital, but she passed away there. Her family described her as loving, caring and beautiful. As with other states, Pennsylvania has a blood alcohol concentration limit of 0.08. A blood test was done after the accident, and it was found that the man’s BAC was 0.12. He’s now facing multiple charges, with the most serious being DUI felony homicide by vehicle. Police said that the man’s car, which did not have the required lights, left the road and drove up onto a sidewalk. They said he was traveling at a high rate of speed, though the exact speed was not specified. He then ran the car into a utility pole, which is when his passenger was ejected and suffered the injuries that would eventually take her life. The families of those who are killed in DUI accidents know […]

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Aug 1, 2016 - Pedestrian Accidents

RISK FACTORS FOR PEDESTRIAN ACCIDENTS

On behalf of Peter Hileman of Drake, Hileman & Davis, P.C. posted inPedestrian Accidents on Monday, August 1, 2016. Accidents can’t be avoided entirely. Every year, pedestrian accidents take hundreds and hundreds of lives in the United States. For example, 4,735 people died in 2013 alone. Every two hours, a pedestrian was killed in a crash. On top of that, over 150,000 pedestrians ended up in the emergency room that year with injuries that were not fatal. Studies have shown that pedestrians are actually one and a half times as likely to die in a car crash on every trip than people in those cars. However, looking at the risk factors can help people take positive steps to reduce the chances of an accident. Consider the following: — Just under 20 percent of all of the people killed in these accidents were at least 65 years old. This same age group accounted for about 10 percent of those who were injured. — Young children are also in danger. For every five children under 14 who passed away in an accident in 2013, one was a pedestrian. — Alcohol is involved heavily in these accidents. It was noted in just under 50 percent of all deadly accidents. — The above does not just mean that drivers are drinking. In 34 percent of the deadly accidents, the pedestrian had a blood alcohol concentration over 0.08, which is the legal driving limit. While this is not illegal, it does show the involvement. What […]

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Jul 29, 2016 - Commercial Vehicle Accidents

ACCIDENT STAT CHANGES IN A DECADE

On behalf of Peter Hileman of Drake, Hileman & Davis, P.C. posted in Commercial Vehicle Accidents on Friday, July 29, 2016. Looking at accident statistics on a yearly basis can help you see trends and understand if the roads are getting safer or not, but yearly stats don’t always tell the whole story. It can be more helpful to look at long-term changes to avoid being influenced by outlier statistics. Fortunately, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration put together the “Pocket Guide to Large Truck and Bus Statistics” to help do just that. In 2002, there were 38,309 vehicles involved in fatal car accidents. Out of those, 4,183 were large trucks. There were also 1,929,000 vehicles involved in accidents that resulted in injuries, and large trucks accounted for 90,000 of them. Finally, there were 4,348,000 vehicles involved in accidents that merely resulted in property damage, and just 322,000 of them were large trucks. This clearly shows that large trucks are most likely to cause fatalities. Just 4.6 percent of injury crashes involved these vehicles, and just 7.4 percent of the cars in property damage accidents were trucks. However, 10.9 percent of the deadly accidents involved large trucks. You can then jump forward to 2011, almost a decade later. That year, 29,757 vehicles were involved in deadly accidents, including 3,341 large trucks (11.2 percent). 1,530,000 vehicles were involved in injury accidents, including 60,000 large trucks (3.9 percent). 3,778,000 vehicles were in property damage accidents, and 210,000 of them were large trucks (5.6 […]

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Jul 19, 2016 - Car Accidents

TESLA CLAIMS CRASHED CAR WASN’T ON AUTOPILOT

On behalf of Peter Hileman of Drake, Hileman & Davis, P.C. posted inCar Accidents on Tuesday, July 19, 2016. A Tesla Model X crashed in Pennsylvania, and the driver said it was because the autopilot feature failed. The company has reviewed the data from the crash, though, and they say the car was being manually driven and was not on autopilot. The company says that the 77-year-old man who was driving the vehicle took his hands off of the steering wheel. The autopilot is designed to help drivers, not to drive for them, so the system is set up to turn off when the driver doesn’t hold the wheel. The company says that there were visual warnings and audible tones for 15 seconds after the driver removed his hands. Roughly 25 seconds before the wreck, the autopilot started to shut down. The car started slowing down. Tesla alleges that the data then shows that the driver grabbed the wheel about 11 seconds before he crashed. He turned it and also pushed the gas pedal. About 10 seconds after that, Tesla says that the car, which was still being manually driven, drifted from the proper lane. It then hit a barrier, and the driver allegedly over-corrected his steering. He drove across both highway lanes, hit another barrier and caused the car to roll. The driver ended up in the hospital as a result of the accident. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating, and they have not yet made a […]

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Jul 14, 2016 - Motorcycle Accidents

OLDER MOTORCYCLISTS MAY BE IN MORE DANGER

On behalf of Peter Hileman of Drake, Hileman & Davis, P.C. posted inMotorcycle Accidents on Thursday, July 14, 2016. People often think of young riders racing bikes when thinking about people who are in danger of being killed in motorcycle accidents. While this assumption makes sense on some levels — considering the inexperience of the riders, for example, or the raw power of the bikes — the stats show just the opposite. For example, the 2013 data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that 55 percent of those who died in motorcycle accidents were over 40. The stats also show that this age is trending up. In 2004, just 46 percent of the riders who died were over 40, while 54 percent were at least in their 30s. The overall numbers have also been increasing. Between 2004 and 2013, the total number of bikers who passed away in accidents who were at least 40 years old went up by a staggering 39 percent. Fatalities were also up for motorcyclists overall, but just by 16 percent. Clearly, older riders were in far more danger in this study. When looking at the average ages of riders who die in crashes, one can see that the average in 2004 was 38. By 2013, it had jumped up four years, all the way to 42. There could be many reasons for this trend, such as a potential change in the age group that tends to ride the most or the fact that […]

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Jul 6, 2016 - Car Accidents

NEW BILL ADDRESSES SELF-DRIVING CARS

On behalf of Peter Hileman of Drake, Hileman & Davis, P.C. posted inCar Accidents on Wednesday, July 6, 2016. A new bill in Pennsylvania is meant to help control self-driving cars and their testing in the state. It doesn’t govern the technology specifically, but says that auto makers who want to test their vehicles in Pennsylvania have to tell the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation about any malfunctions and other issues that they see. The companies would also have to sign a legal contract, prior to the start of such testing, with PennDOT. Those who support the bill say that it’s definitely not being created to try to keep self-driving vehicles out of the state, but that just the opposite is true. They actually want to see more self-driving vehicles; they just want to know what’s going on and to have some guidelines and regulations in place to keep people safe. After all, there have been problems lately with self-driving technologies. A man was recently killed when a semi turned in front of him and his Tesla S did not automatically stop to avoid a crash. That’s the type of malfunction PennDOT wants to know about — even though the crash rate for self-driving cars is far lower than the rate for cars driven by humans. One problem that lawmakers have noted is that the technology is progressing very quickly, which can make it hard to create laws in time to keep up. This general bill is thought of as a […]

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Jul 1, 2016 - Drunk Driving Accidents

BEER SALES CAUSE MORE DUI ACCIDENTS ON THE 4TH OF JULY

On behalf of Peter Hileman of Drake, Hileman & Davis, P.C. posted in Drunk Driving Accidents on Friday, July 1, 2016. The 4th of July is one of the most well-loved holidays in Pennsylvania, and not just because of the country’s independence. It’s a great break from work in the middle of the summer, and people flock to their backyards to have parties and BBQs. However, when you look at the stats relating to these parties, you’ll see that they could easily cause a spike in DUI accidents. Here are a few interesting stats: 1. About 74 million backyard BBQs will happen.2. People are going to eat about 155 million hot dogs.3. Around 68 million cases of beer — not bottles or cans, but cases — are going to be sold.4. About 34.4 million people in America are going to drive in their cars on the Fourth. The last two stats are very telling. The 68 million cases exceed the amount of beer sold on any other festive holidays, and that includes New Year’s Eve and St. Patrick’s Day. With 34.4 million people on the roads and that much beer being consumed, there’s only one inevitable result: A good number of those drivers are going to be under the influence. The rest of the stats stay true to that trend. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, more people are involved in fatal DUI accidents on the Fourth than any other day. Have you lost a loved one to a […]

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