Resources

Oct 29, 2016 - FAQ

SHOULD I SETTLE MY PERSONAL INJURY CASE?

By: Jonathan J. Russell, Esq. At Drake, Hileman & Davis, we realize that if you have been injured in an accident, your ultimate goal is not to spend anxious days in court trying to prove your case to a jury of strangers. Rather, you want to be made whole for the injuries you have suffered due to someone else’s fault. In our system of justice, the only remedy a court can provide to an injury victim is money, hopefully an amount that fully compensates you for the injuries and losses you have sustained. But there are other nonlitigation alternatives that can also assure that you receive full compensation, often at less cost to you in terms of stress, anxiety and money. Even though we lawyers enjoy the opportunity to use our lawyering skills in open court, you have little interest in being caught up in a grueling trial. What you really want is to be compensated for your harm. Since our job is to represent our clients and keep their interests paramount, we strive to keep our client’s goal of full compensation our top priority. As a personal injury case approaches trial, both sides have incentive to settle, due to the uncertainty of a jury trial. In an effort to manage this uncertainty, the parties to the lawsuit often agree to an alternative dispute resolution process such as mediation or arbitration. Parties do so in order to replace a very unpredictable court system with a more predictable settlement system that […]

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Oct 29, 2016 - FAQ

HOW MUCH IS MY PERSONAL INJURY CASE WORTH?

By: Peter M. Hileman, Esq. The Top Seven Factors If you have been injured due to a car accident, slip and fall, product defect or dog bite as a result of someone else negligence, it is natural for you to wonder what your case is worth. One reason to select an experienced personal injury law firm such as Drake, Hileman & Davis to handle your personal injury case is that we have the experience and judgment to provide you with a reasonable estimate of the amount of compensation that you can expect to receive. Don’t be misled by what you may have read or heard elsewhere. A trained professional can provide you with a realistic value range for your case. Insurance companies routinely value personal injury cases to decide whether they should settle or try them, and for how much. (Some even use powerful computer software programs to do so.) Just as insurance companies have claim valuation tools at their disposal to guide their decisions, you need a good lawyer on your side who understands how to value your case and knows what to do in order to ensure that you receive full value for your claim. A good trial lawyer knows how to appropriately assess the relevant facts and factors that go into valuing your claim. This evaluation process is part art and part science. However, there is no substitute for experience and good judgment. These are the top seven factors that go into determining the value of a […]

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Oct 29, 2016 - FAQ

DO I HAVE THE RIGHT CAR INSURANCE COVERAGE?

By: Peter M. Hileman, Esq. At Drake, Hileman & Davis, we deal with car accident victims on a daily basis. One of the first questions we ask them is what are the terms of your auto insurance policy? It amazes us how few people know what their auto insurance policy says or what its key terms mean. Many don’t realize until after an accident that they don’t have adequate insurance coverage. For the little thought you probably give it, your auto insurance policy is one of the most important and potentially valuable things you have. Many people try to save some money by cutting corners on their auto insurance coverage. This is the ultimate penny wise, pound foolish mentality. Many have only the minimum coverage allowed by law. In Pennsylvania, minimum coverage is: limited tort; no uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage; and $15,000 of bodily injury coverage. But when it comes to auto insurance, you literally get what you pay for. And, unfortunately, when you elect to limit your own insurance coverage, your decision also limits the rights of your spouse and minor children to recover for their injuries as well. We have seen the devastating impact of motor vehicle accidents on families who did not have adequate insurance. Like many people, they thought that auto accidents and disabling injuries only happen to other people. But when an accident impacted their lives, they deeply regretted that they did not do a better job of protecting their family. These crash victims would tell […]

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Oct 29, 2016 - FAQ

DO I HAVE A GOOD SLIP & FALL CASE?

By: Jonathan J. Russell, Esq. If you or a family member was injured in a fall on someone else’s property, are you entitled to receive compensation for your injuries from the property owner? The answer depends on the five factors discussed below. First, did the property owner owe you a duty of care? That depends on why you were on the owner’s property. Were you an invitee, a licensee or a trespasser? If you were an invitee, you were owed the highest duty of care. This is true whether you were a business invitee(i.e., shopping at a store), a public invitee (such as walking on a public sidewalk) or a social invitee (visiting a friend’s home, for example). If you were a licensee, you were owed a moderate duty of care. Licensees are permitted to enter the property of another for a limited purpose such as to perform a service. If you were a trespasser, you were owed the least duty of care. However, even trespassers have a potential claim if they are injured due to a serious defect in the property. Second, did the property owner or manager breach his or her duty of care to you? That depends on whether the owner/manager acted reasonably under the circumstances. It also depends on whether the owner caused or knew about (or should have known of) the dangerous condition that made you fall. For example, suppose you slipped and fell on a banana peel lying on a supermarket floor. Store management […]

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Oct 29, 2016 - FAQ

DO I HAVE A GOOD MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CASE?

People injured by medical malpractice may be entitled to substantial compensation for pain, suffering, medical expenses and other damages. Medical malpractice liability, however, is difficult to prove. To prevail, an injured person must: Prove duty of care and negligence. Your health care provider must have deviated from the accepted medical standard of care, and the error must be clear and be verified by another medical expert. Establish causation and damages. You must prove that your health care provider’s action or inaction caused an injury or worsened or prolonged an illness, and as a result, you suffered harm. If you were injured due to medical malpractice, or someone close to you was, the lawyers of the Pennsylvania personal injury law firm of Drake, Hileman & Davis can provide experienced legal help. We understand the issues that are relevant in all types of medical malpractice cases. We can provide clear advice if you have questions regarding harm caused by a physician’s or surgeon’s mistakes, including: Failure to diagnose cancer or another disease or medical condition Misdiagnosis resulting in inappropriate or delayed treatment for a disease or injury Medication errors such as a wrong prescription or wrong dosage We have handled many complex cases ranging from misdiagnosed fractures to foreign objects left in a patient’s body during surgery. We will work hard to develop a strong case for you that will convince an insurer or a jury that you have suffered serious and long-term injuries and economic losses and are entitled to fair […]

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Oct 29, 2016 - FAQ

I WAS BITTEN BY A DOG. DO I HAVE A GOOD PERSONAL INJURY CASE?

By: Peter M. Hileman, Esq. If you, or a family member, have been bitten by a dog, you may be entitled to recover money to compensate you for your injuries. But the fact that a dog bit you doesn’t automatically make the dog’s owner liable for your injuries. To be eligible for damages, you must be able to prove that the owner was negligent or otherwise “at fault.” At Drake, Hileman & Davis, there are two ways we do this: 1. By proving the dog’s “dangerous propensities.” At one time, all Pennsylvania dog bite cases were subject to the “one bite rule.” It was presumed that all dogs (who are, after all, “man’s best friend”) are safe until proven dangerous. The dog got “one free bite.” That first bite then put the owner “on notice” of the dog’s vicious propensities, and obligated him to confine the dog. The dog’s second victim had a case, but the first victim was out of luck. The one bite rule has changed. Today, the plaintiff need to only prove that the dog’s owner knew that his dog had “dangerous or vicious propensities.” A prior bite is still sufficient proof of such knowledge. But now, even a first bite may give rise to a valid claim if any of the following apply: Mauling. If the “first bite” involves a ferocious mauling and serious injuries, a jury may reasonably conclude that the owner knew the dog had vicious propensities, even if the plaintiff cannot actually prove prior […]

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Oct 29, 2016 - FAQ

DO I HAVE A GOOD DEFECTIVE PRODUCT CASE?

By: Peter M. Hileman, Esq. Have you or a family member been injured by a defective product? If so, you may be entitled to recover money to compensate you for your injuries. This article will explain the key elements of a products liability case. Pennsylvania has a strong pro-consumer products liability law. This law makes the manufacturer the “guarantor” of its product’s safety, andstrictly liable for injuries caused by its use, if the product lacks any element necessary to make it safe for its intended purpose. Thus, if you were injured by an unsafe product while using it as it was intended to be used, you likely have a good case. Unlike typical negligence cases, most Pennsylvania defective product cases are based on strict liability, and thus the defendant need not have been negligent or at fault. (Some products cases, however, are based in whole or part on negligence or breach of warranty.) Even if the defective product had never injured anyone else, or was very similar to other products deemed to be “safe,” or if the product that injured you can be shown to be unsafe, you may have a claim. Products liability law has a unique concept known as “chain of liability.” As a result, if the product is proven defective, any seller of that product in the chain of distribution may be liable for your injuries, including the retailer that sold it to you, any distributor or reseller, and the original manufacturer. Parties that assembled, provided components […]

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Oct 29, 2016 - FAQ

CAN I RECOVER FOR PAIN AND SUFFERING?

By: Jonathan J. Russell, Esq. Are you entitled to compensation for “pain and suffering” if you have been injured due to someone else’s negligence? At one time, the answer to this question was clearly “yes.” However, an expensive campaign of misinformation waged by so-called “tort reformers” has created a climate of public ignorance and fear about this issue. As a result, many jurors mistakenly believe that they should not award money for “pain and suffering,” regardless of how severe that pain and suffering may be. Sadly, this trend runs contrary to civilization’s core principles of justice, equity and fairness developed by many cultures over thousands of years. Early cultures used retaliation as virtually the sole means of righting wrongs. Hebraic law, like other ancient codes, required an “eye for an eye.” Retaliation satisfied the victim’s psychological need for vengeance, but did little to restore what he lost. Gradually, however, cultures added an alternate basis of justice — compensation, or the payment of money, as recompense for wrongful injury. Retaliatory justice gradually evolved into compensatory justice. The Romans established a complex system of compensatory payments for injuries inflicted by a wrongdoer on an innocent victim. The amount of compensation was calibrated based on various factors that indirectly accounted for the degree of pain caused by the injury. For example, the victim of a broken bone was entitled to a payment equal to a third of a year’s salary. Lesser injuries required lesser payments. A Roman who maimed another was required to […]

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Oct 29, 2016 - Articles

SHARE THE ROAD 101: PENNSYLVANIA’S BICYCLE LAWS

There are a number of laws in place in Pennsylvania to protect cyclists from getting injured from a crash with a motorist. In 2014, the most recent year for which data is available, 1,298 bicyclists in Pennsylvania suffered an injury due to a crash with a motor vehicle. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, 19 cyclists lost their lives that year. Many of these accident may have been prevented, as the DOT states that the majority of the injurious incidents happened during daylight. Further, the majority of those who suffered injuries were at an intersection. Understanding how to share the road can keep cyclists and motorists safe. What are cyclists required to do? Under Pennsylvania law, a bicycle is considered a vehicle and therefore must obey traffic laws the same way a car would. As such, a bicycle is also granted the same rights as a car when it comes tosharing the road or riding on a path designated for a bike. In general, cyclists must do the following: Ride along the shoulder in the same direction traffic is moving Ride in a single-file line unless riding on a designated bicycle path Have a front lamp for riding at night and a braking system Though only children younger than 12 are required to wear a helmet, the DOT urges cyclists of all ages to do so. What can motorists do? Though there is no specific law regarding how motorists should behave around cyclists, the common-sense approach is to obey […]

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Oct 29, 2016 - Articles

HOW DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU DO NOT KNOW?

If you don’t know what an arbitration clause in a nursing home contract looks like, how do you negotiate about it? A man’s 100-year-old mother is found dead in her nursing home room. The suspect? Her 97-year-old roommate. The real cause of her death? Was it that the nursing home allowed her roommate to remain long after it was clear that she was a danger? So, you would expect the son would sue nursing home for that negligence in court. Except, he could not. When his mother entered the nursing home, he had signed the contract that contained a mandatory arbitration clause. The case would be decided by a private arbitrator. What is more, the arbitration firm had handled more than 400 arbitration hearings for the lawyers who represented the nursing home. Unsurprisingly, they ruled in favor of the nursing home, with a checkbox finding of no negligence. There were no written findings (probably not required by the contract of arbitration) and unlike a civil trial, there was no public record of anything. Which means when you are considering a nursing home, you would have no way of knowing that such events took place in the facility where your mother or father would reside. The fiction of contracts There are two problems with contracts like the one involved in this nursing home. Unless you hire an attorney to review the contract and advise you of any potential problems, like this arbitration clause, the average, intelligent educated person is ill-equipped to […]

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"Unfortunately, I had a a slip and fall incident and it left me in a situation where I struggled to support my family and I really had no idea what my rights were. Thankfully, someone recommended DHD, specifically Jeremy Puglia, and it was the best decision I could have made. I was able to focus on getting better while he made certain no one took advantage of me or the situation. He listened to what I felt was fair and why, discussed it all with me and fought for me. I would NOT want to be up against him in a court room. Some people were made to defend others and he is one of them for sure!"
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