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 […]
WHY WOULD YOU NEED A LAWYER AFTER A FENDER-BENDER?
Car accident victims may not believe injuries from a minor crash are serious. However, whiplash can worsen over time. When most people think about a car accident, they often recall what they have seen in the movies, or on TV. They think of serious, life-threatening crashes, where a car is crushed or has flipped in the air. However, most car crashes in Pennsylvania do not occur this way. Most are what we have come to call “Fender-benders”. These accidents, while seemingly minor, can still result in significant injuries to the occupants of the vehicles. Fender-bender injuries may seem unlikely at first glance, but in reality these collisions can necessitate extensive medical treatment for permanent injuries. The painful issues surrounding whiplash Rear-end crashes are one of the most common types of auto collisionsthat cause injury to the cervical spine (neck). According to Consumer Reports, there is a rear-end accident every 17 seconds in the United States. Injuries can occur in these types of collisions, even in stop-and-go traffic, where vehicles are traveling under 10 miles per hour. Why might an attorney be necessary after a minor or low-speed accident? First, because of the common misconception of fender-benders, the insurance company is going to try to minimize the extent of your injuries. The most common phrase we hear from insurance adjustors after our client has been involved in a low-speed collision is : “How can she be that hurt? It was just a fender-bender!” Additionally, you need someone on your side who […]
Pennsylvania could potentially save the lives of innocent motorists by requiring all convicted DUI offenders to use interlock devices. According to a Mothers Against Drunk Driving research study, more than 290,000 people were injured and over 10,000 people were killed as a result of drunk drivers in 2013 alone. . That equates to one injury every two minutes and one death every 52 minutes as a result of negligent drunk drivers. In Pennsylvania, over 30 percent of all motor vehicle accident fatalities involved drunk drivers. Approximately one-third of all drivers who are arrested or convicted of driving while intoxicated are repeat offenders. As a result, many states have turned to using ignition interlock devices as a way to keep drunk drivers off of the roads. Unfortunately, Pennsylvania lawmakers have not yet enacted legislation mandating such a requirement, leaving interlock device punishment in the Judge’s discretional alone. The facts about ignition interlock devices Drivers who are convicted of a DUI in Pennsylvania will have their driver’s licenses suspended for a certain amount of time. This time period depends on whether the driver is a first-time offender or has multiple DUI offenders on their record. According to MADD, up to 75 percent of convicted DUI offenders who have had their driver’s licenses suspended continue to drive, despite the suspension. Ignition interlock devices offer a practical solution to this problem, as vehicles that are wired with IIDs will only start if the driver is not intoxicated. Research conducted by the Centers for Disease […]
TAXI ACCIDENT VICTIMS MAY NEED LEGAL ASSISTANCE TO FIND A REMEDY
On behalf of Peter Hileman of Drake, Hileman & Davis, P.C. posted inCommercial Vehicle Accidents on Friday, October 28, 2016. Taxi accidents occur all over America, and Bucks County is no exception. People use taxis because they are a convenient one-phone-call solution to their transportation needs. With this in mind, taxi companies offer residents a valuable service while also providing employment opportunities for many individuals. It is probably safe to assume that most taxi drivers are responsible, cautious individuals, but this does not automatically guarantee an accident-free ride. Like other commercial vehicle accident victims, those who have been injured in a taxi accident may face many complications when seeking compensation. For example, who is the responsible party — the driver of the cab or the taxi company? What happens if the driver of another car is actually the person who caused the accident? What if the manufacturer of the taxi cab is the true responsible party? Our personal injury attorneys have handled many taxi accident cases and want to let you know that having legal assistance is important in emerging from your ordeal with the compensation you deserve. We are knowledgeable about the laws that govern common carrier and commercial vehicle accidents and can identify the responsible party or parties. We seek to help you win the maximum compensation allowed by the law. Whether your taxi accident was caused by reckless driving, poor taxi maintenance or irresponsible company operating procedures, you have options for relief at your disposal. We have […]
Following a set of guidelines may help to properly navigate the aftermath of a hit-and-run. People should check auto insurance, understand the law, and report the accident. Hit-and-run car accidents in Pennsylvania happen far too often. Drivers and pedestrians who are victims of hit-and-run car accidents are usually left feeling vulnerable and alone. The law firm of Drake, Hileman & Davis has developed several guidelines which may help when you or a family member find yourself the victim of a hit-and-run accident. The following steps will help to deal with the consequential effects on your health, well-being and financial condition should you be involved in a hit-and-run accident. Know the law Pennsylvania state law requires the driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting in an injury to remain at the accident scene. These drivers have a legal responsibility to give information and even to render aid. The penalties associated with failing to fulfill this responsibility are severe, including felony charges, substantial fines and extended jail time. Report the accident Once a hit-and-run car accident has taken place, it is important to report the accident to the police and your insurance company immediately. If a hit-and-run accident is not reported to your insurance company and the police, within 30 days of an accident, you may lose your ability to make a claim through your personal uninsured motorist coverage. Victims can use a car accident report as evidence in a personal injury claim to prove they were injured. Seek legal […]
Truck accidents are often devastating and can be caused by a number of factors, including fatigue, intoxication and illness. Getting into an accident involving a large commercial truck is probably one of the most terrifying types of automobile accidents someone would ever face. Because of the size and speed of semi-trucks, they can cause devastating injuries and worse. Usually, the occupants of the smaller vehicle are the ones bearing the brunt of the injuries in a crash like this. Trucking accidents are also not rare: There were 166 fatalities related to large truck accidents in Pennsylvania in 2012, says the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Today’s many commercial industries mean that a large number of trucks can be sharing the state’s roadways at any time. According to Insurance News Net, each year about 100,000 people are seriously injured and more than 4,000 killed across the country in truck crashes. These accidents have markedly increased since 2009. Common reasons for truck accidents State Farm reports driver fatigue as one of the most common ways for a truck driver to cause a crash, and it’s no surprise: The trucking industry is known for its long hours, with truck drivers driving as many as 82 hours in a week. There are, of course, other factors that can contribute to an accident. These include: Driving under the influence of alcohol, medications or illegal substances. Improper load distribution or vehicle problems. Poor weather or road conditions. Speeding or careless driving. Distracted driving, including texting or […]
Commercial truck drivers are tasked with a difficult job that requires experience, attention and good judgment to avoid catastrophic accidents. While most drivers do their best to focus on the road and prevent truck accidents, unfortunately, some drivers take their duties less seriously. A recent investigation caught commercial truck drivers engaging in a multitude of dangerous behaviors. Below is a summary of that investigation, which should serve to underscore the necessity of proper training for commercial truck drivers, and to remind others throughout Pennsylvania to always be diligent on the road. In particular, roads such as Route 22, in Lehigh County; Route 78 in Northampton County; Route 33 and Route 80 in Monroe County; Route 76 (the Schuylkill Expressway) in Philadelphia County; Route 309 in Bucks County; and the Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike (Blue Route) in Montgomery Counties, can be particularly dangerous. Driver distraction documented During the investigation, cameras were positioned along highways. The footage captured truck drivers engaging in dangerous behaviors while driving these massive trucks, including manually dialing cellphones, talking on handheld cellphones and even texting. All of these behaviors are against federal regulations, and they also violate state laws, but that was not enough to deter the drivers. Sadly, when these drivers are negligent, the consequences for other motorists can be steep. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports the following troubling facts on large truck accidents: Trucks can weigh 20 to 30 times more than passenger vehicles. Trucks require a far greater distance to […]
DOYLESTOWN ALLENTOWN BETHLEHEM EASTON MEDICAL MALPRACTICE LAWYERS PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEYS SUIT
I AM A VICTIM OF MEDICAL MALPRACTICE – DO I HAVE A GOOD PERSONAL INJURY CASE? By: Peter M. Hileman, Esq. If you or a family member were injured due to medical malpractice, are you entitled to receive compensation for your injuries? Many patients believe that they have received improper medical care from their doctor, hospital, nursing home, or other health care provider. However, to have a valid medical malpractice claim you need to be able to prove the following three elements: First, negligence. Your health care provider must have deviated from the accepted medical standard of care while treating or caring for you. The medical mistake must be clear and verified by another medical expert. Second, causation. The negligence must have caused your injury or harm. Causation may be hard to prove, because a patient’s existing medical condition cannot be the sole basis for a malpractice claim. Rather, the medical provider must cause injury to the patient through actions or inaction that increase the risk of harm to the patient, independent of the normal progression of the existing medical condition. Third, damages. You must have suffered substantial damages, typically involving a permanent injury of some kind, in order for your case to be viable. In addition to your physical injury, you need to have incurred economic losses, such as large medical bills, loss of employment, or the need for substantial future medical care, due to the malpractice. Medical malpractice cases, even where the negligence seems obvious, are very difficult […]
By: Peter M. Hileman, Esq. Drake, Hileman & Davis, P.C. Did you know that product liability suits have made all of our lives safer by forcing companies to make safer products? Out of hundreds of examples we could cite, here are nine high-profile cases involving products that harmed children, women, and consumers generally. Products that Harmed Children : Crib deaths – Bassett Furniture stopped making cribs once it learned babies were dying due to accidental hanging on the headboard. Only after the company lost a lawsuit did it notify owners of the hazard and begin a recall. Children‘s pajamas – Dayton Hudson was aware that children could be severely burned by their pajamas, but chose not to treat them with flame-retardant chemicals. A jury’ verdict forced their product off the market. Football helmets – manufacturers knew for years that inadequate padding led to numerous spinal injuries and deaths to children using their helmets. Improved design spurred by liability claims eliminated deaths for the first time in 60 years. Products that Endangered Women: Tampons – Playtex disregarded studies and medical reports showing that its super-absorbent tampons could cause Toxic Shock Syndrome. Women who died from the condition were awarded damages, and the product was taken off the market. IUD – Dalkon Shield’s intrauterine device was known to cause pelvic disease and septic abortions. Only after a lawsuit and a large damage award did the manufacturer pull the product from the shelves. Products Unsafe for All Consumers : Asbestos – manufacturers knew […]
By: Jonathan J. Russell, Esquire Drake, Hileman & Davis, P.C. Some day you may serve as a juror in a personal injury case. You may be shocked to learn that, if you do, certain key information about the case will be withheld from you by law. As a plaintiffs lawyer, there are three things I wish I could tell every juror during trial. But I can’t. Instead, I will share these secrets with you now, before you step into the jury box: Insurance. You will probably never hear the word “insurance” during the trial. That is because lawyers aren‘t allowed to mention “insurance,” and thus the jurors are left to assume that there is none. But in most personal injury cases an invisible insurance company is paying for the defendants legal representation, and will pay any money awarded to the plaintiff.In a car accident case, there is likely insurance because all drivers are legally required to have it. In a “slip and fall” or “dog bite” case, an individual defendant likely has homeowners insurance, and a business defendant likely has general liability insurance.Of course, insurance companies don’t want you to know that they are involved in the case. They fear that, if you knew, you might grant a fair award fully compensating the plaintiff for his or her injury, without regard to the defendants perceived ability to pay. Legitimacy of the Claim. By the time a personal injury case gets to the jury, the case has already cleared three difficult […]