Resources

Nov 25, 2019 - Car Accidents

OH, DEER, IT’S THAT SEASON AGAIN

  With hunting season upon us, I am reminded that I have killed more deer with a car than I have with a rifle. Today there are an estimated 1.5 million deer in Pennsylvania and November is the month most likely to have a deer-related collision. Last year in Pennsylvania alone there were 141,000 deer/vehicle crashes, which represented almost 10 percent of all deer related claims in the entire country. Only in West Virginia and Montana do you have a greater chance of striking a deer with your vehicle. So what can you do to be safer on the road during this season? Here are six tips. 1) Remember that deer travel in groups. If one deer successfully crosses the road in front of you, be sure to be looking for others that are soon to follow. Most people miss the first deer they see and hit the second one. 2) Travel with a heightened state of awareness during this season. While deer cross roads at all hours of the day, they are more active at dusk and at dawn. If you are traveling when it is dark, use your high-beams as much as possible in order to see as much of the sides of the roadway as possible. Be aware of areas where you have seen deer before, as deer often travel the same pathways. 3) If you see a deer crossing sign, know that the sign was installed by PennDOT because of prior reported collisions with deer on […]

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Nov 15, 2019 - Doylestown Personal Injury Attorney

Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress in Pennsylvania

Negligent infliction of emotional distress (NIED) claims are often asserted as supplementary claims in the personal injury context, in Pennsylvania and elsewhere.  For example, if you are injured in a car accident and your relative is killed in the seat next to you, then you could bring a number of different claims against the defendant-driver, including a standard injury cause of action as well as one that is tied to the emotional distress you suffered as a result of the accident. Many first-time plaintiffs are not fully aware of how NIED claims work, however.  Let’s explore some of the basics for clarity. Basics of an NIED Claim In Pennsylvania, plaintiffs may be entitled to damages if they suffer severe emotional distress due to an accident that was caused by the defendant’s negligent acts.  There are a number of specific rules and exceptions that define NIED liability.  Consider the following. Physical Impact Rule Traditionally, Pennsylvania law required (by default) that the NIED plaintiff also been physically impacted in some way by the defendant.  If the plaintiff only suffered emotional distress, then that would not be enough.  As the law progressed, however, several exceptions were carved out. Zone of Danger Liability Zone of danger liability allows an NIED plaintiff to recover damages if they could reasonably argue that they felt a fear of injury due to being in the “zone of danger” near the point of impact.  For example, if a construction team negligently secured a concrete block and it fell on […]

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Nov 8, 2019 - Truck Accidents

Trucks Must Be Properly Loaded to Minimize the Risk of a Rollover

In Pennsylvania and throughout the country, rollover accidents are a serious problem that are particularly common in cases involving large trucks.  According to data gathered and reported on by the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine, nine percent of all large truck accidents involve rollovers. Rollover accidents can be avoided with the exercise of reasonable care.  Drivers and others who fail to exercise reasonable care thus risk exposing others to the dangers of a rollover accident.  If you have sustained injuries in a truck rollover accident, it’s likely that you are entitled to damages as compensation for your losses. How Improper Loading Can Cause a Rollover Accident Though rollover accidents have many causes (inadequate maintenance, suspension tuning issues, tire deterioration, and more), one of the chief negligence-related causes is improper cargo loading.  When the cargo load has not been properly secured, or has been unevenly distributed, then that can result in weight and balance problems that are difficult — if not impossible — for the driver to correct during maneuvers. For example, if a commercial delivery truck has been loaded with cargo that is not properly secured, then the cargo may come loose and slide to one side of the truck during a particularly sharp corner turn, thus causing the truck to overturn. Different Parties May Be Negligent Rollover motor vehicle accidents (that were caused by improper cargo loading) may expose multiple different parties to liability, depending on the circumstances. For example, though it may initially seem as though […]

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Nov 1, 2019 - Articles

TURNING OUR CLOCKS BACK INCREASES THE RISKS OF DRIVING AT NIGHT– Here Are Ten Tips to Stay Alive

  This Sunday morning, at 2 AM, Daylight Savings Time will end. We will move our clocks back one hour. While many will welcome the extra hour of sleep we gain, when Daylight Saving Time ends, many people will find themselves spending more time driving in the dark. According to the National Safety Council, traffic fatalities are 3 times greater at night than during the day. Fatigue, compromised night vision, and impaired drivers are some of the risks we face when driving at night. These risks become especially pronounced moving into the weekend, with fatal crashes peaking on Saturday nights, according to NSC analysis of NHTSA data. Depth perception, color recognition and peripheral vision can be compromised in the dark and the glare of headlights from an oncoming vehicle can temporarily blind a driver. Even with high-beam headlights on, visibility is limited to about 500 feet (250 feet for normal headlights) creating less time to react, especially when driving at higher speeds. Ninety percent of your reaction time depends on your ability to see what’s around you. Since your depth perception, color recognition, and peripheral vision decrease after sundown, your chances for a car accident tend to increase. According to the American Optometric Association, as we age, we have greater difficulty seeing at night. A 50-year-old driver may need twice as much light to see as well as a 30-year-old. At age 60 and older, driving can become even more difficult due to compromised vision as a result of cataracts […]

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Oct 17, 2019 - Premises Liability

Common Defenses in Slip and Fall Lawsuits

In Pennsylvania, and elsewhere, slip and fall injury claims come under the umbrella of premises liability, which gives those who sustain injuries on another’s property the opportunity to sue and recover damages if their injury was caused by the defendant failure to maintain their property in a reasonably safe condition. Suppose, for example, that you are walking through the defendant’s store, and a defective tile suddenly breaks loose, causing you to slip and fall, injuring yourself.  Given these circumstances, you would very likely be entitled to bring an action against the defendant for damages. Though you may feel that you have a strong claim, it’s important not to underestimate the defendant in a slip and fall lawsuit.  Pennsylvania law affords slip and fall defendants a number of strategic defenses that can be used to avoid or minimize their liability.  In order to successfully recover damages, you’ll therefore have to understand how to circumvent or otherwise undermine these defenses. For clarity, let’s explore three of the most commonly encountered defenses in Pennsylvania slip and fall injury lawsuits. Open and Obvious Condition All premises liability claims — including slip and fall injury claims — require that the dangerous condition at-issue is non-obvious.  In other words, if the dangerous slip and fall condition would be hidden and unobservable by the average person (in similar circumstances to the plaintiff), then liability may attach.  If the defendant can show that you were aware of the dangerous condition, or that it was sufficiently obvious that you […]

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Oct 10, 2019 - Personal Injury

The Burden of Proof in Civil Litigation

If you have sustained injuries in an accident by the negligent or wrongful misconduct of another party, then you may be entitled to compensation pursuant to Pennsylvania law.  It’s worth noting, however, in order to successfully litigate your claim and recover the damages that you’re owed by the defendant, you’ll have to satisfy the “burden of proof” standard applicable to your case. You may have heard of the “burden of proof” concept, but what does it really mean?  Let’s explore some of the basics. What is Burden of Proof as a Concept? In civil or criminal litigation, the burden of proof describes a legal standard necessary to prove the claims being asserted.  As the plaintiff, you are entering the litigation process with the intention of introducing evidence that will prove the truth of your claims — for example, if you were injured in a car accident, you’ll want to introduce evidence that the defendant was texting and driving simultaneously (thus exposing you to an unreasonable risk of injury). The burden of proof is indicative of the dispositive value of the evidence being introduced.  In civil lawsuits, the burden of proof requires that the overall evidence you introduce prove that you are more likely right than wrong.  Evidence must therefore be considered in the context of the applicable burden of proof standard. Understanding the Different Burden of Proof Standards Criminal and civil litigation involve fundamentally different burden of proof standards. In criminal trials, the prosecution must prove that the defendant is […]

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Oct 3, 2019 - Dog Bite Injuries

Pennsylvania and Limited Strict Liability for Dog Bites

In Pennsylvania, the law is quite plaintiff-friendly with regard to dog bite injuries.  If you’ve been injured in a dog bite accident, you are practically guaranteed some amount of damages as compensation.  Still, those damages may be limited unless you can prove that the defendant’s dog was uniquely dangerous or that the defendant acted negligently, thus contributing to the injuries you suffered. Pennsylvania Employs a Hybrid Liability System Pennsylvania dog bite liability can seem rather complicated upon first impression.  Let’s break it down into its component parts for the sake of clarity. Strict Liability No matter what, if you are bitten by a dog and thereby injured, you will be entitled to damages for your medical expenses.  For example, if the defendant has their dog tightly leashed, but the dog suddenly and unexpectedly jumps at you and bites your hand, you would be entitled to whatever medical expenses you incur as a result, even if the defendant had the dog properly restrained and the dog did not have a dangerous disposition. Of course, medical expenses are not generally sufficient to cover all the losses associated with a serious bite injury.  Dog bite injuries can give rise to a range of damages that include wage loss, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. So, how can you recover the full range of damages that would properly compensate you for the suffered losses?  You’ll have to prove that the dog was dangerous — in other words, had vicious propensities — or that the […]

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Sep 30, 2019 - Allentown Car Accident Lawyer

Your Pennsylvania Personal Injury Claim is Subject to a Time Limit

If you’ve been injured in an accident that was caused by someone else, you may have a legitimate claim for damages. However, it’s worth noting that you do not have an unlimited period of time to sue.  In Pennsylvania — and all throughout the country — the applicable statute of limitations sets a deadline by which you must file your claims against the relevant defendants in your case. Many injury victims do not realize the fundamental importance of the statute of limitations deadline.  In many cases, excessive delays can lead to a dismissal of an otherwise legitimate injury claim.  As such, it’s absolutely critical that you get in touch with a qualified Pennsylvania personal injury attorney who can evaluate your claims and bring an action against the defendants in a timely manner. How the Statute of Limitations Works In Pennsylvania, personal injury claims have a statute of limitations period that is currently two years from the date of injury.  If you do not bring an action against the defendants within such time and the deadline passes, then you are deemed to have “abandoned” your claims.  Following that, you will no longer have the right to sue the defendant(s) and recover damages in a Pennsylvania court of law.  Unfortunately, injury victims often ignore the consequences of a delay, perhaps due to the other challenges posed by their injury. For example, suppose that you are seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident.  You may even have suffered lower-body paralysis.  In the wake […]

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Sep 16, 2019 - Personal Injury

What is Reckless Conduct and What Does It Mean For My Personal Injury Claim?

If you’ve been injured due to the fault of another person or entity, you may have a claim for damages pursuant to Pennsylvania law.  Litigating your injury claim may seem like a straightforward matter, but depending on the circumstances, you may have to take additional issues into consideration.  These may include the nature of the defendant’s conduct and whether it constitutes mere negligence or recklessness. Reckless Conduct and Punitive Damages In Pennsylvania, reckless conduct is conduct where the defendant demonstrates a “reckless indifference” to the interests of others.  Recklessness requires a mental state in which the defendant consciously disregards the serious risk of danger that they pose to others. Reckless conduct is more than mere negligence.  Whereas negligence requires only the breach of the duty of care (and thus, a heightened risk of injury), reckless conduct generally involves more egregious or outrageous conduct, as well as a mental state in which the defendant knows of the risks they pose to others but — regardless — choose to continue acting recklessly. For example, imagine that you are injured in a motor vehicle accident.  The defendant-driver makes a mistake and enters your lane without signaling, causing a collision.  This is likely to be deemed negligence. Now, imagine another scenario where the defendant-driver is weaving between lanes at a high speed and is also failing to signal.  He or she is well aware of the risk of danger posed to others on the road, but the driver chooses to continue this behavior.  This […]

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Sep 2, 2019 - Allentown Car Accident Lawyer

Injured Plaintiffs Must Mitigate Their Damages

In Pennsylvania — and in other jurisdictions throughout the country — injured plaintiffs must act responsibly in the wake of an accident to ensure that their personal injury claims are preserved to the fullest possible extent.  Plaintiffs are not entitled to negligently allow their losses to accumulate without taking action.  There is a broad “duty to mitigate” that requires that plaintiffs exert reasonable efforts to minimize their losses. Comparative Negligence in Pennsylvania Pennsylvania applies comparative negligence principles that allow an injured plaintiff to recover damages as compensation for their various losses, but only if the plaintiff is less negligent than the at-fault defendant. How does this work? Suppose, for example, that you have been injured in a car accident, and your damages total to $100,000.  You were also speeding at the time of the accident, however.  The court determines that you were 30 percent at-fault for your injuries.  Despite your own significant contribution of negligence, you would be entitled to recover the remaining 70 percent of the damages ($70,000).  You should also note that even if fault is deemed to be 50/50, you may still recover damages. On the other hand, if you were deemed 51 percent at-fault, then you would not be entitled to recover any damages. In a personal injury lawsuit, the duty to mitigate is fundamentally linked to the application of comparative negligence principles.  Failure to adequately mitigate damages (in the wake of an accident) constitutes negligence, and depending on the extent of such failure, it might […]

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