Jan 1, 2015 - Premises Liability


On behalf of Peter Hileman of Drake, Hileman & Davis, P.C. posted in Premises Liability on Thursday, January 1, 2015. Here in Bucks County, we enjoy some of the longest deer hunting seasons throughout the Commonwealth. In fact, we are one of only six Pennsylvania counties that allow extended regular firearms season for antlerless deer for Dec. 26 through Jan. 24. Trapping for furbearing animals such as bobcats, raccoons and foxes is also available throughout Pennsylvania. In fact, some animals such as coyotes, opossums and skunks can be taken at almost any time of the year. This can sometimes pose premises liability problems for some Pennsylvania landowners. Currently, landowners are required to exercise ordinary care to ensure that their property does not cause unnecessary harm to people who are authorized to come onto their property. However, that same standard of care is not required of the landowner for individuals who trespass onto their property without consent. Basically, a landowner needs only to refrain from engaging in willful, wanton or reckless conduct that might cause some injury to a trespasser. Premises liability problems can arise for Pennsylvania landowners who tolerate trespassers to some extent. In other words, landowners might incur increased liability if they discover that trespassers have been coming onto their properties, yet they fail to remove certain hazards. This is especially if the landowner is aware that this has been happening for quite some time. This can be particularly tricky for trespassers who are children. Pennsylvania recognizes the concept of […]

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Dec 24, 2014 - Truck Accidents


On behalf of Peter Hileman of Drake, Hileman & Davis, P.C. posted inTruck Accidents on Wednesday, December 24, 2014. As any Pennsylvania motorists can attest, our roadways serve as an important corridor for commercial tractor-trailers. Pennsylvania’s proximity to the grain belt of the Midwest as well as the hyper-populated cities of the Eastern Seaboard practically guarantees a constant flow of semi-trucks throughout the state. The problem is that many of these commercial big rigs are not in compliance with federal and state safety regulations. In fact, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration estimates that one out of every six trucks on the road may fail to pass safety inspection to the point to where they would be considered unsafe for service. The traffic safety accident numbers reveal a grim pattern of neglecting safety standards. Since 2009, an estimated 14,000 people have been killed in accidents associated with semi-trucks. Some safety advocates estimate that perhaps a quarter of those fatalities involve vehicles with prior safety violations. One survey of truck safety looked at national truck accident statistics and compared the rate of truck accidents per every million miles traveled. New Jersey was found to have the worst accident rate: 0.53 crashes for every million miles of commercial tractor-trailer traffic. Although Pennsylvania was closer to the bottom of that list, we still came in with an incident rate of 0.18. Safety experts point to the irregularity of truck safety enforcement as a major contributing problem. For example, safety officials in Texas may […]

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Dec 18, 2014 - Wrongful Death


On behalf of Peter Hileman of Drake, Hileman & Davis, P.C. posted in Wrongful Death on Thursday, December 18, 2014. A wrongful death occurs in Pennsylvania when a person is accidentally killed by the negligent, wrongful or unlawfully violent actions of another. Pennsylvania’s Wrongful Death Act and Survival Act contain many provisions but arguably the most notable one is that they allow the victim’s family and “personal representative” to sue those individuals responsible for the premature death of their loved one. More specifically, the right to sue on a wrongful death action is extended to the victim’s spouse, children, parents or a person identified as the. There are also no state residency requirements for these beneficiaries to file their claims. Another interesting component of the Wrongful Death Act is that it also contains a provision for situations where the decedent had no surviving beneficiaries. In those rare cases, the law allows an individual known as a “personal representative” to file a claim on behalf of the decedent’s estate if no other family members have been identified within six months of the wrongful death. That personal representative is entitled to sue for damages associated with the reasonable hospital, nursing, medical and funeral expenses incurred as a result of the decedent’s wrongful death. Generally, this action will be to recover money spent while trying to keep decedents alive before they ultimately succumbed to their injuries. Imagine a case where a motorist who was struck by a drunk driver lived for a decade […]

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Dec 11, 2014 - Motorcycle Accidents


On behalf of Peter Hileman of Drake, Hileman & Davis, P.C. posted in Motorcycle Accidents on Thursday, December 11, 2014. As stated in a previous web post, Pennsylvania allows motorists to choose their preferred method of insurance based on the so-called “tort option”. Under this scheme, motorists with full tort car insurance can recover compensation for their bodily injuries even if they are not seriously injured. Whereas, motorists with the limited tort style of car insurance are essentially limited to recovering money associated with their medical costs and treatment only if they have been seriously injured in an accident. Pennsylvania motorists and motorcyclists should know that there is one huge exception to that rule. The Commonwealth now allows victims injured by drunk or drugged drivers to sue those responsible for their bodily injuries regardless of which type of insurance they were carrying at the time of the accident. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, in 2013 there were 860,377 individuals licensed to operate motorcycles on Pennsylvania roads. In that same year, there were 405,209 motorcycles registered throughout the Commonwealth. The chances are likely that with so many motorcycles and licensed drivers on the roads, at least a few of those will fall victim to motorists impaired by drugs or alcohol. Our law firm has over 30 years of experience in providing for our client’s legal needs since 1985. We currently maintain law offices in Doylestown, Allentown, Easton and Stroudsburg although we represent clients in personal injury cases throughout Pennsylvania and […]

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Dec 3, 2014 - Pedestrian Accidents


On behalf of Peter Hileman of Drake, Hileman & Davis, P.C. posted in Pedestrian Accidents on Wednesday, December 3, 2014. Each of us becomes a pedestrian at some point of every day. Regardless of whether we drive a brand-new Ferrari or a dilapidated minivan, most of us will eventually have to park our vehicle and get out and walk. As pedestrians we are exceptionally vulnerable to the motorists around us. Whether walking to the front door of a grocery store, or using a crosswalk at a major intersection, when we travel on foot we depend on the vigilance and driving abilities of others to avoid serious injuries and death.In 2012, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conducted a national survey of auto-pedestrian accidents. The following are some of the most interesting statistics NHTSA compiled: –In 2012, at least 4,743 pedestrians were killed by motor vehicles and another 76,000 suffered some form of injury. The number of fatalities reported in 2012 represented a 6 percent increase from the previous year. Interestingly, there have been roughly the same amount of pedestrian fatalities each year since 2003, about 4, 500 plus or minus a few hundred. Between the years of 2003-2012 the lowest amount of pedestrian deaths occurred in 2009 with only 4,109 killed. The year with the greatest number of traffic fatalities was 2005 with 4,892 pedestrians killed. –According to the study, pedestrians living in urban environments are much more likely than their rural counterparts at experiencing a fatal accident. At least 73 […]

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Nov 28, 2014 - Premises Liability


On behalf of Peter Hileman of Drake, Hileman & Davis, P.C. posted in Premises Liability on Friday, November 28, 2014. Late fall and early winter are peak times for slip and fall injuries throughout the Commonwealth. Accumulations of ice and snow can make walking near commercial properties a particularly treacherous activity. In a previous blog post, we discussed a lawsuit filed by New Jersey woman against a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-area home improvement store. In that case, the woman claimed that she slipped and fell on a puddle of water at the front of the store after husband dropped her off from their car. Imagine if that puddle of water had instead been a slab of ice. Pennsylvania law has long recognized the duty of a landlord to take reasonable care to ensure that conditions on their property are not unreasonably dangerous to others. Another tenant of premises liability doctrine holds that a property owner also has a duty to exercise reasonable preventative measures against foreseeable risks. This means that they should not require extra notice of potential hazards which were known to them, or reasonably should have been known them. A good example of this is the current Doylestown Borough ordinance regarding snow and ice removal. According to the code, property owners must clear their walkways which pose a danger to others within 10 hours after a period of snowfall has ended. Essentially, this means that a land owner should have known that their publicly assessable walkways may cause a hazard after a […]

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Nov 20, 2014 - Truck Accidents


On behalf of Peter Hileman of Drake, Hileman & Davis, P.C. posted in Truck Accidents on Thursday, November 20, 2014. In a previous blog post, we discussed the serious consequences that sometimes result when truck drivers are excessively fatigued. In that post, we noted that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that a driver who has been awake for 24 hours straight is equally impaired as someone who is legally drunk. In July 2014, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration implemented new regulations regarding the total hours of service in which commercial drivers are allowed to operate. These so-called “HOS Regulations” are meant to reduce truck accidents by preventing overly fatigued drivers from continuing to operate across America’s roadways. Truck drivers are now limited to driving for only 14 hours per workday but must stop for a break after 11 hours of continuous driving. The maximum allowable work hours per week for truck drivers has now been capped at a total of 70 hours. Truck drivers are also now required to take a 30-minute break during the first eight hours of their shifts. The new regulations contain a provision aimed at allowing a truck driver’s natural body clock to “reset” by resting for a specified period of time when the body most requires rest. Currently, drivers who have reached their maximum 70-hour work week limit are not permitted to resume driving until they have rested for 34 consecutive hours. Additionally, drivers must have rested during the hours of 1:00 […]

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Nov 12, 2014 - Wrongful Death


On behalf of Peter Hileman of Drake, Hileman & Davis, P.C. posted in Wrongful Death on Wednesday, November 12, 2014. Pennsylvania safety officials hope that a new law will help curb boating and water-related accident fatalities. The new law, which went into effect Nov. 1, now requires all boaters and waterfowl hunters throughout the Commonwealth to wear life jackets while on the water between Nov. 1 through April 30. This regulation also extends to water vessels less than 16 feet in length such as canoes and kayaks. According to the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, research drawn from boating accident reports show that nearly 80 percent of all boating accident fatalities happened to individuals not wearing life jackets. The PFBC says that a large number of those fatal accidents are caused by the human body’s reaction to becoming immersed in cold water. An agency spokesperson says that the sudden unexpected plunge into cold water is the real culprit. According to the spokesperson, the involuntary gasp caused by a dunk in water below 70°F can bring about hyperventilation and quickly diminish a swimmer’s ability to escape the water. National statistics also seem to support that theory. The PFBC says that boating accidents which happened during the colder parts of the year typically result in more deaths. It is estimated that boating accidents which occur in water that is 39°F are roughly 4 times more likely to result in death when compared to warmer water accidents. Pennsylvania boaters, waterfowl hunters and other […]

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Nov 6, 2014 - Drunk Driving Accidents


On behalf of Peter Hileman of Drake, Hileman & Davis, P.C. posted inDrunk Driving Accidents on Thursday, November 6, 2014. In a previous entry on our website, we explained that Pennsylvania motorists should always elect to choose full tort car insurance vs. the limited tort option. That is because full tort coverage will allow you to recover for bodily injuries even if you are not seriously injured. The other reason is that full tort coverage only costs approximately 15 percent more, or $150 extra per year, than limited tort insurance. This may not seem like a wise decision at the time you are writing the check to the insurance company, but if you have an accident later, you will understand the prudence of taking that extra precaution. However, Pennsylvania’s relatively recent tort reform laws have several exceptions to the rules that normally limit the recovery of injured plaintiffs. Accidents caused by drunk drivers are not covered under the limited tort provisions. This means that even motorists with limited tort insurance coverage are entitled to seek compensation for their injuriesif they were caused by a drunk or drugged driver. Some other exceptions to the limited tort law are accidents caused by drivers who intentionally use their vehicle to injure or kill others, and drivers who fail to maintain mandatory minimum car insurance. Our law firm wants you to know that we believe that the American legal system should recognize your pain and suffering as a valid claim worthy of compensation. For […]

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Oct 29, 2014 - Car Accidents


On behalf of Peter Hileman of Drake, Hileman & Davis, P.C. posted in Car Accidents on Wednesday, October 29, 2014. It is impossible to watch TV, listen to a radio or even drive along our Pennsylvania highways without being bombarded with advertising warning against drunk driving. However, each year a fair number of Pennsylvania residents are killed in alcohol-related accidents despite the use of expensive advertising campaigns and random DUI checkpoints. According to the Pennsylvania DUI Association, alcohol was a factor in 11,956 accidents during 2012. At least 404 people were killed that same year as a result of drunk driving. One of the most alarming trends in recent DUI statistics is an uptick in the number of young people dying in alcohol-related car crashes. Statistics from 2012 indicate that at least 18 percent of drivers who died between the ages of 16-20 were intoxicated at the time of their deaths. Another young age group, 21-25 years old, accounted for 40 percent of all drinking driver deaths. On average, there are roughly 33 alcohol-related accidents occurring throughout the Commonwealth every day. Additionally, out of those 33 accidents an estimated 1.1 individuals will die as a result of those crashes. The time of day when the majority of people will be killed by drunk drivers occurs between 8:00 p.m. through 4:00 a.m. Becoming involved in any car accident is always an unpleasant experience, but it is made several times worse when it has been caused by the careless or reckless actions of […]

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