Resources

Feb 4, 2019 - Custody

REMOVAL OF CHILD FROM ORIGINAL JURISDICTION

By TOM BLACKBURN One issue in family practice that causes substantial alarm, is when one parent threatens to remove one or more children from the area of the original residence to either another state or another distant location, against the will of the other parent. We receive inquiries on both sides of this issue. On one hand, a parent’s desire to remove the child from an area of violence, hardship and distress, is understandable as they may well see greener pastures, physically, emotionally and financially, in another state or jurisdiction. Perhaps a better job is offered or the encouragement of multiple family members await the children in this new location. On the other hand, this threat of removal can be a devastating blow to the other parent. The threat manifests cries of panic and injustice. The ability to see their child and to maintain input in decision making could be drastically reduced because of the distance involved in the relocation. Often a discerning eye can see that this threat of removal is really an escape from responsibility, or a grasp for complete control avoiding the consideration of the other parent. Criminal Offense? It is first necessary to understand that the mere act of removing a child from the jurisdiction against the will of the other parent, without Court approval, is often a criminal act. Pursuant to applicable law, “A person commits an offense if he knowingly or recklessly takes or entices any child under the age of 18 years from […]

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Feb 1, 2019 - Custody

CUSTODY: GRANDPARENTS AND OTHER RELATIVES

By TOM BLACKBURN Do Grandparents have a right to file a Petition for Custody of their grandchildren? What about Aunts, Uncles, or friends? Is it possible for these concerned parties to request custody when the living situation of these minors is dire? I often get calls asking these very questions. The stories are frequently challenging and they involve issues of drug abuse, domestic violence, sexual abuse and neglect. While these relatives still love and care for the natural parents of these children, they are willing to hire counsel to improve living conditions for these neglected and abused                                children. Grandparents Applicable Pennsylvania law now recognizes the right of a grandparent to file a Petition for Custody. While presumption in these cases favors the natural parent, it may be rebutted by clear and convincing evidence. 23 Pa. C.S.A. §5327(b). A grandparent’s right to file a Petition for Custody is limited. When the natural parent is not consenting to such custody, the grandparent can request an order approving such custody if the grandparent stands in an “in loco parentis” role with the child, meaning “in place of” or if one of the following conditions are met: a) the child has been determined to be a dependent child; b) the child is substantially at risk due to parental abuse, neglect, drug or alcohol abuse or incapacity; or c) the child has lived with the grandparent for at least twelve […]

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Jan 31, 2019 - Personal Injury

Business Owners Must Provide Adequate Security

In Pennsylvania, premises liability principles give injured plaintiffs the right to bring a lawsuit against a property owner for failing to correct non-obvious dangerous conditions of the property (i.e., property hazards, such as broken stairs).  For example, if you trip and fall on the defendant’s stairway due to a broken step, then you could sue and recover damages as compensation. The situation becomes a bit more complicated when the “dangerous condition of property” is not linked to an inanimate object, but is instead linked to the negative and potentially harmful behaviors of another individual.  In many cases, businesses fail to provide adequate security to their customers, and this gives rise to a significant injury risk.  Depending on the circumstances surrounding the incident, a lawsuit against the business owner may be possible. So, what is the advantage of pursuing a lawsuit against the business owner?  Generally speaking, individual criminals do not have the assets or coverage to compensate the injured victim for their losses.  In order for the victim to obtain full compensation, they’ll have to establish the liability of defendants who have “deep enough pockets” to pay — here, the business owner. Reasonable Foreseeability is the Key Pennsylvania law does not make business owners absolute guarantors of the safety of their customers.  Liability may only attach if the business owner knew or reasonably should have known about the dangerous condition of property.  In the inadequate security context, the dangerous condition that the business owner knew or reasonably should have known […]

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Jan 24, 2019 - Trip and Fall

Five Common Stairway Defects That Increase the Risk of Injury

Let Our Allentown Trip and Fall Lawyers Help In Pennsylvania, stairway defects often lead to trip and fall injuries.  Had the property owner (or builder, in some cases) properly evaluated these hazards and corrected them in a timely manner, then the injuries might have been prevented. If you’ve been injured in a trip and fall accident due to the existence of a stairway defect, then you could be entitled to significant compensation.  If the defect is not obvious (i.e., broken steps), then the defendant is likely to argue that the steps were not, in fact, dangerous.  In many cases, the central point-of-conflict is whether or not there was a defect-based stairway hazard. Consider the following. Tread Surface Issues Tread surfaces (i.e., the top of each step) are particularly prone to defects, many of which may not be obvious upon a brief visual inspection.  When the surface is excessively smooth or rough in relation to what is “customary” and thus represents an unexpected departure from the norm, this can be a serious tripping hazard.  Loose items left on tread surfaces can also contribute to the danger, particularly if the adjacent riser leaves a shadow that hides the loose item from the stairway user. Inadequate Lighting Inadequate lighting is a problem that many property owners may not realize affect the safety of a stairway, as the light source is often a distance away from the stairway itself.  For example, in a restaurant setting, customers may be reliant on a light in the […]

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Jan 17, 2019 - Personal Injury

Litigating a Claim Involving Catastrophic Spinal Cord Injuries

Bethlehem Back Injury Lawyers The spinal cord is fundamental to both movement and sensation in the human body, and as such, an injury to the spinal cord can lead to impairment of these functions.  Catastrophic spinal cord injuries often cause: Paralysis Shooting pain Burning pain Movement deficits Sensational deficits And more If you’ve sustained an injury to your spinal cord due to the fault of another party, it’s important that you seek the assistance of a qualified attorney who can help you litigate your claims.  You may be entitled to damages under Pennsylvania Law.  Contact Drake, Hileman & Davis, PC for comprehensive guidance. Catastrophic Injuries Require Significant Compensation The impairments caused by a catastrophic spinal cord injury may lead to damages that surprise most who are unfamiliar with the personal injury litigation process. Suppose, for example, that your legs are paralyzed in a car accident involving a driver who was operating their vehicle recklessly at the time of the accident.  Following your accident, you can no longer work at your construction job.  You may also struggle with the loss of enjoyment related to various social and physical activities that you can no longer partake in.  Your participation in recreational sports may represent a significant loss from both a social and exercise-based perspective. As the injured plaintiff, you may recover for your pain and suffering, humiliation, mental anguish, lost wages, loss of future earning capacity, retraining costs, medical expenses, and various other losses. Timely and Compassionate Resolution Many plaintiffs suffering from […]

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Jan 10, 2019 - Doylestown Personal Injury Attorney

What Are Emotional Damages?

If you’ve been injured due to the negligent or wrongful misconduct of another party in Pennsylvania, then you may have a cause of action against the defendant for damages.  These damages may not only compensate you for the financial losses and physical harm that you suffered due to your injuries, but also the emotional harm. Economic and Non-Economic Damages In Pennsylvania, compensatory damages in a personal injury case can be separated into two different categories: economic and non-economic damages.  Economic and non-economic damages are fundamentally different than one another, though they are both critical to securing a full and adequate recovery. Economic Damages Economic damages account for financial losses suffered due to the accident at-issue.  These may include, but are not necessarily limited, to: Lost wages Loss of future earning capacity Medical expenses Property loss And more Due to their more objective nature, economic damages tend to be rather straightforward to prove, though you’ll have to keep copious records to ensure that you have the evidence to support your claims. Non-Economic Damages Non-economic damages account for the physical and mental losses suffered by the plaintiff due to the accident.  These may include, but are not necessarily limited, to: Pain and suffering Mental anguish Stress Embarrassment Humiliation Loss of enjoyment of life And more Due to their more subjective nature, non-economic damages can be difficult to prove, as the defendant may assert that your claim is “outrageous” based on the circumstances.  Because they cannot experience what you are going through, they […]

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Dec 28, 2018 - Personal Injury

Using Experts to Strengthen Your Injury Claim

If you’ve been injured in an accident that was caused by the negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct of another party, then Pennsylvania law may give you a right to sue and obtain compensation for the losses that you suffered.  Before you move forward with your claims and bringing a lawsuit against the defendant for damages, however, you should probably be aware of the importance of expert witness testimony to successful litigation in many personal injury disputes. Here at Drake, Hileman & Davis, PC, we work with reliable experts who have helped us secure substantial results in the past.  Our close connection with expert ensures that we are “on the same wavelength” from a case strategy standpoint, and that we can guide the expert witness to produce reliable testimony that is less likely to be undermined by opposing counsel. Let’s take a closer look. The Value of Expert Testimony Expert witnesses are quite different from eyewitnesses.  Unlike eyewitnesses, expert witnesses typically did not observe the accident at-issue firsthand.  Expert witnesses are those who are introduced into litigation to testify as to issues and facts that are related to some “special knowledge” that they possess regarding a particular field. For example, an auto industry engineer might be brought in to testify as to the expected tolerances for the roll cage of a vehicle (with regard to the force of impact it is capable of sustaining). Expert witness testimony is quite valuable in the personal injury context to help establish certain standards or […]

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Dec 21, 2018 - Doylestown Personal Injury Attorney

Recovering Damages for a Road Crossing Injury

A Doylestown Personal Injury Attorney Can Help Road crossings can be quite dangerous to pedestrians, whether or not the pedestrian is using a crosswalk or is simply making their way to the other side of the roadway without the use of a crosswalk. If you’ve been injured while crossing the road (outside of a crosswalk), then Pennsylvania law may give you a right of action against the defendant-driver for damages, though the lawsuit may be complicated by liability conflicts, such as your own contribution of fault. Right-of-Way and Pedestrian Road Crossings in Pennsylvania In Pennsylvania, right of way in pedestrian crossing scenarios depends on whether the pedestrian used a crosswalk. Crosswalks can be marked and unmarked.  Marked crosswalks are the sort that most people are familiar with — a marked crosswalk may be painted and feature various traffic signals, for example.  By contrast, an unmarked crosswalk exists at any intersection.  Right-of-way rules for both are the same. Crosswalks (Marked and Unmarked) According to Section 3542 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, the driver of a vehicle must yield right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any marked or unmarked crosswalk.  Traffic control signals may alter the applicable right of way. Non-Crosswalks If the pedestrian is crossing the roadway at a location that is not a marked or unmarked crosswalk, then the driver has the right-of-way.  In other words, the driver need not yield to the pedestrian. Drivers Must Exercise Reasonable Care Given the Circumstances Even if you — the pedestrian […]

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Dec 14, 2018 - Slip and Fall

Frequency of Floor Inspections and Slip and Fall Lawsuits

Contact an Easton Slip and Fall Attorney Today For Assistance Though slip-and-fall accidents are commonplace — in Pennsylvania and elsewhere — many injured plaintiffs are unaware of how such lawsuits work, or the particular challenges that they are likely to face as they move forward with litigation. In the slip-and-fall context, the frequency with which the defendant conducted floor inspections may have a significant impact on whether you can successfully prove that they are liable for your injuries. Let’s take a closer look. Slip and Fall Basics Slip-and-fall accidents come under the umbrella of premises liability claims.  In the state of Pennsylvania, liability will attach to those who exercise control or possession over a given property if the plaintiff is injured due to a dangerous condition of property (i.e., a slip-and-fall hazard).  For example, if the plaintiff slips on a water spill at a retail store, then that would qualify as a hazard that could expose the defendant (the store owner) to potential civil liability and damages. Now, as a plaintiff, your slip-and-fall claim may be met with various defenses.  Depending on the circumstances, the defendant is likely to argue that they did not know about the dangerous condition of property (i.e., the slip-and-fall hazard) that caused you to be injured.  Knowledge is a critical consideration in the slip-and-fall context.  If the defendant did not have knowledge of the hazard, then they can avoid liability. Importantly, however, the defendant’s ignorance is not a complete defense.  If you can show that […]

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Dec 7, 2018 - Dog Bite Injuries

What Qualifies as a Dog With Dangerous Propensities?

Let an Allentown Dog Bite Attorney Help If you’ve been injured by a dog in Pennsylvania, then you may be entitled to significant compensation under the law.  It’s important to understand, however, that your ability to recover may be affected by the qualification of the dog itself — if the animal qualifies as a “dangerous dog,” then the owner can be held absolutely liable (i.e., must pay full compensation) for the damages incurred by their dog during the attack. Curious how it works?  Let’s explore the basics. Defining a Dangerous Dog Under Pennsylvania Law In Pennsylvania, dog owners are strictly liable for the medical expenses incurred by those who are injured by their dogs.  If the dog showcases “dangerous propensities” or is a “dangerous dog,” however, then the owner may be held fully liable for all the damages caused. A dangerous dog is one who has: Inflicted severe injury on a human being or domestic animal without provocation; Attacked a human being without provocation; Been used in the commission of a crime; A history of attacking human beings and/or domestic animals without provocation; or A propensity to attack human beings and/or domestic animals without provocation. Even a single attacking event may be sufficient to establish a propensity that qualifies the dog as “dangerous” under the law. The bar is not particularly high to establish that the dog was “dangerous.”  In Pennsylvania, it is enough to show that the dog rushed at others in a vicious manner (requiring the owner to […]

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