Resources

May 27, 2015 - Car Accidents

ANY FORM OF DISTRACTED DRIVING CAN CAUSE ACCIDENTS

On behalf of Peter Hileman of Drake, Hileman & Davis, P.C. posted in Car Accidents on Wednesday, May 27, 2015. Ask any group of random people about distracted driving and the chances are that at least a few of them will mention cellphones. While it’s true that the use of cellphones to talk or text while driving is dangerous, it’s also important to remember that distracted driving comes in many other forms. Basically, anything that draws a driver’s attention away from operating one’s vehicle could potentially become a source of distraction. This is important because according to a 2011 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report, distracted driving played a role in over 387,000 vehicle accidents involving injury. Even worse, that agency claims that distracted driving was a factor in the deaths of over 3,000 motorists that same year. Besides cellphones, the use of other electronic devices such as GPS navigational systems, tablets and now smart watches are all examples of things that could potentially steal focus away from drivers. Additionally, drivers reaching for objects under their seats or in other areas of the car are potential hazards. Applying makeup, dealing with an excited pet or fastening children in car seats are some other avoidable forms of distraction. Pennsylvania law allows injured motorists to seek recovery for their injuries from drivers who cause those preventable accidents. The fact of the matter is that even a relatively minor fender bender can result in victims requiring medical treatment. Those accidents might even cause them […]

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May 21, 2015 - Wrongful Death

WHY IS PAIN AND SUFFERING IMPORTANT TO MY WRONGFUL DEATH CASE?

On behalf of Peter Hileman of Drake, Hileman & Davis, P.C. posted in Wrongful Death on Thursday, May 21, 2015. In Pennsylvania, a wrongful death occurs when someone causes the death of another person through negligent, wrongful or criminal actions. Obviously, in cases involving criminal actions prosecutors will attempt to convict the responsible party and put them behind bars. However, civil courts typically handle cases where a responsible party causes the death of another person through some manner of negligence. An airbag manufacturer whose product unintentionally kills victims after becoming damaged from excessive humidity might be a good example of this type of wrongful death. In such an example, it may be rather straightforward to assess proper compensation for the victim’s family when it comes to the economic loss they will suffer from losing their family member. For example, an award for economic damages would likely include calculations regarding the victim’s annual income and likely potential for lifetime earnings. These are gifts and services that victim would probably contribute to his or her spouse and children. But what about the non-economic damages of pain and suffering? Oftentimes, it’s tough for a jury to put an actual dollar amount on those types of contributions. This is especially true with pain and suffering. Perhaps a good way to conceptualize this is to consider the deceased victims relationships with individual family members. For example, a child whose parent spent every available free moment of their time with them would likely miss out on […]

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May 13, 2015 - Premises Liability

SOME POTENTIAL HAZARDS OF COMMERCIAL FLOOR MATS

On behalf of Peter Hileman of Drake, Hileman & Davis, P.C. posted in Premises Liability on Wednesday, May 13, 2015. Floor mats used in commercial settings often receive little notice until something goes wrong. This is because most of us encounter commercial floor mats almost every day. They are used in convenience stores near entrances as well as underneath soda dispensers. Many restaurants also employ the use of mats in their kitchens and preparation areas. These mats help to provide no-slip traction in areas where frequent spills of liquids and other slippery substances frequently occur. Despite their obvious advantages, improper placement and care of these commercial mats can create slip and fall hazards of their own. This is important because accidents involving slips, trips and falls represent the number one cause of insurance claims made by customers throughout the retail industry. These types of accidents are also one of several leading causes of employee accidents. Here are some tips that can make the use of commercial mats safer for everyone: — Selecting the proper type of mat is important. A good match should have beveled edges and thick rubber backing to prevent rolling objects such as carts and dollies from bunching it up. Bunched mats can cause people walking over them to trip on the uneven surface. — The amount of expected foot traffic should influence proper mat selection. A map that is at least five feet in length will usually have sufficient weight and size to remain secured to the […]

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May 7, 2015 - Drunk Driving Accidents

BUCKS COUNTY WOMAN PLEADS GUILTY TO FATAL DUI CRASH

On behalf of Peter Hileman of Drake, Hileman & Davis, P.C. posted in Drunk Driving Accidents on Thursday, May 7, 2015. Authorities say that it was not alcohol, but amphetamines that played a significant role in an accident last fall that claimed the life of an elderly woman in a tragic two-vehicle accident. Investigators say that a 36-year-old woman from Quakertown, Pennsylvania, was under the influence of drugs when her car smashed into a car driven by the victim around 7:00 p.m. on the night of Nov. 21, 2014. The fatal accident occurred in Horsham, Pennsylvania, near the intersection of Easton Road and County Line Road. News reports say that the 71-year-old victim, formally of Bristol, Pennsylvania, was near that intersection along with four other passengers in her Nissan Rogue just prior to the accident. Investigators believe that the traffic signal had been red for seven seconds when the defendant’s car ran that light in her Jeep Wrangler and impacted the victim’s vehicle. First responders pronounced the elderly driver dead on the scene. The four passengers that were in the victim’s vehicle were listed as injured by the crash, although the extent of their injuries is unknown. The driver of the Jeep Wrangler has since pleaded guilty to homicide by vehicle, DUI, four counts of recklessly endangering another person and failure to stop at a red light. The defendant is currently awaiting sentencing while out on bail. Pennsylvania motorists who are injured due to the criminal or negligent actions of another […]

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Apr 29, 2015 - Commercial Vehicle Accidents

SOME COMMERCIAL VEHICLE CASES CAN CREATE COMPLICATED LITIGATION

On behalf of Peter Hileman of Drake, Hileman & Davis, P.C. posted in Commercial Vehicle Accidents on Wednesday, April 29, 2015. When most people think of a commercial vehicle accident the first thing that comes to mind is a semi-truck or a tractor-trailer. However, it’s important to remember that just like their 18- wheel counterparts, the drivers of any “for hire” vehicle also require commercial driving licenses. These include taxi drivers and operators of commercial motor coaches, limousines and parcel delivery vans. The reason this is important is that many types of these commercial operations often have overlapping insurance arrangements. For example, the owner of a parcel service may have an insurance policy specifically for the driver. Simultaneously, that driver might have a separate policy for his or her vehicle. There may even be an insurance policy that covers the value of the parcels contained within the vehicle. You need to make sure that the attorney you choose to represent you in your legal action has the requisite experience to deal with these sometimes very complicated situations. Frequent readers of our online blog may recall a case of a food truck that exploded last summer. This is a good example of just how complicated these commercial truck accident cases can be. In that case, five victims received serious burn injuries and another seven were injured after a food truck exploded in Feltonville, Pennsylvania. You need a law firm that can deal with such a wide array of potential insurance disputes which […]

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Apr 24, 2015 - Pedestrian Accidents

UNDERSTANDING HOW CITY PLANNING CAN REDUCE PEDESTRIAN ACCIDENTS

On behalf of Peter Hileman of Drake, Hileman & Davis, P.C. posted in Pedestrian Accidents on Friday, April 24, 2015. It’s easy to understand why vehicle accidents that involve pedestrians are so dangerous. That’s because even a minor collision with a car, truck or SUV can leave those victims with serious injuries. With little or no protection, pedestrians are especially prone to injuries caused by distracted, drugged or drunk motorists. This is especially true when individuals on foot attempt to cross roadways at intersections. In many vehicle vs. pedestrian accidents, the drivers of the vehicles involved simply fail to see pedestrians in the crosswalks. One of the main causes of that is due to a lack of driver visibility. Other vehicles parked alongside the roadway and close to intersections make it harder for motorists to see pedestrians. This is particularly true when those pedestrians are entering crosswalks at the same time that drivers are stopped at the intersection and preparing to make a right turn. Currently, several cities across the United States have begun implementing new intersection designs, which are geared towards improving motorist visibility at intersections and reducing overall pedestrian accidents. One of the principal types of this strategy is known as a “neck down”. A neck down is really nothing more than a narrowing of a street as it approaches an intersection. This strategy forces drivers to reduce their speed as they come up to the light and stop for the intersection. Another city planning/engineering strategy to reduce pedestrian […]

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Apr 16, 2015 - Motorcycle Accidents

JUST HOW DANGEROUS IS RIDING A MOTORCYCLE?

On behalf of Peter Hileman of Drake, Hileman & Davis, P.C. posted in Motorcycle Accidents on Thursday, April 16, 2015. Most people have a good understanding that riding a motorcycle is inherently more dangerous than traveling in other motor vehicles. Per each mile traveled, federal safety experts say that 2011 statistics show that motorcycle fatalities were 30 times higher than the number of those killed in cars. One of the most obvious reasons for that is motorcycles simply don’t offer the same amount of protection as enclosed vehicles. Another important factor is the motorcycles relatively small size. When compared to other vehicles, it’s easier to see why the motorcycles smaller profile makes it easier for other motorists to overlook. A sad testament to the reduced overall safety of motorcycles compared to cars is that in 2013, at least 4,381 motorcyclists perished in collisions. The following are some interesting statistics about the dangerousness of motorcycle riding: — Head injuries are one of the more common occurrences in fatal motorcycle injuries. The use of a helmet has been statistically proven to be an effective life-saving device for motorcyclists. Despite the fact that only 19 states and the District of Columbia require motorcyclists to wear helmets, they are roughly 37 percent effective in preventing motorcycle fatalities. In fact, wearing a helmet prevented about 67 percent of motorcycle accident victims studied from suffering brain injuries. — Women motorcyclists who are passengers are exceptionally prone to fatal accidents. Statistics taken from 2013 indicate that 61 percent […]

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Apr 7, 2015 - Wrongful Death

GOING AFTER ALL RESPONSIBLE PARTIES IN YOUR WRONGFUL DEATH CLAIM

On behalf of Peter Hileman of Drake, Hileman & Davis, P.C. posted in Wrongful Death on Tuesday, April 7, 2015. According to Pennsylvania statutes, a wrongful death is one in which a victim died as the result of someone else’s wrongful, negligent or criminal actions. State law recognizes the fact that an accidental death often deprives a family of many things. First and foremost, the victim’s family is deprived of the emotional support and guidance the victim previously provided. This is often referred to as a loss of society or consortium. These types of losses can be especially hard for a victim’s young children to overcome. There is also the matter of lost income. In many American families, it’s necessary for both parents to work full-time in order to cover their day-to-day costs. The wrongful death of a primary wage earner often leaves the family of the victim scrambling to make payments on mortgages, cars, insurance deductibles, tuition and more. Fortunately, Pennsylvania laws allow the estate of a wrongfully killed person to sue those responsible for compensation of those losses. Obviously, no amount of money can ever replace a family member. However, a wrongful death lawsuit can go a long way towards helping to provide for the financial support and future needs of spouses and children left behind. One of the largest hurdles family members often face in wrongful death lawsuits is establishing liability. A good example of this can be found in a previously written article on our blog […]

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Apr 3, 2015 - Premises Liability

WHAT DOES FRICTION HAVE TO DO WITH MY SLIP AND FALL ACCIDENT?

On behalf of Peter Hileman of Drake, Hileman & Davis, P.C. posted in Premises Liability on Friday, April 3, 2015. Most of us are familiar with the term “slippery when wet”. Yet few of us know the scientific role that friction plays when liquids interact with certain surfaces. For example, a normally slip resistant marble floor can instantly become a slip hazard with the addition of just a few ounces of water. The answer is friction, or more specifically, the coefficient of friction or COF. The coefficient of friction is the metric that safety experts use to gauge the slipperiness of flooring. Put simply, the COF of a particular surface represents the amount of resistance a human foot might encounter as it moves across that floor. Safety experts today use sophisticated devices to measure a floor’s horizontal resistance to vertical downward force. To get some context on this, let’s compare the COF of ice to a swept concrete sidewalk. For ice, the typical COF is 0.3, whereas swept concrete has a COF of 0.8. Premises liability is a legal concept that generally stands for the proposition that property owners have a duty to exercise reasonable care when maintaining the safety of their properties. This level of care increases depending on how the property owner uses his or her property. For example, the owner of a grocery store might be expected to mop up any milk spilled in the dairy aisle during normal business hours. However, that duty will likely diminish once […]

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Mar 24, 2015 - Drunk Driving Accidents

PROPOSAL TO CLOSE DRUNK DRIVING LOOPHOLE ANNOUNCED

On behalf of Peter Hileman of Drake, Hileman & Davis, P.C. posted inDrunk Driving Accidents on Tuesday, March 24, 2015. According to statistics taken from 2013, alcohol-related crashes across Pennsylvania accounted for 32 percent of all traffic deaths. A new proposal offered by Pennsylvania State lawmakers is now aiming to change this by increasing the civil liabilities for drunk driving accidents. The proposal would amend the current limitations placed on drunk driving accident victims. The bill’s sponsor, Democratic Representative Gerald Mullery, wants to lift a crucial restriction for victims of drunk driving accidents under Pennsylvania’s current car insurance laws. In particular, Rep. Mullery wants to clarify language in existing laws which state that drunk drivers who are enrolled in accelerated rehabilitative disposition programs or convicted of drunk driving charges are liable for full financial penalties. Essentially, this means that the victim of a drunk driver, or the victim’s family, can sue the driver for full damages including pain and suffering. The lawmaker, who is also an attorney, indicated that he decided to champion the issue after a resident of his district informed him of a problem with the current laws. That resident reported that her family was restricted to the limited type of recovery against a drunk driver who had injured her daughter. Apparently, that driver died before he had the opportunity to enroll in an ARD program or receive a conviction for drunk driving. The State Representative’s new proposal would automatically entitle victims to sue for full compensation in […]

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