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February 24, 2017

5 Things To Do After a Philadelphia Auto Accident

 

Car Accident Lawyers in PA

 

Even minor car accidents can be traumatizing due to the suddenness and the unexpectedness of the event. An impact can cause a lot of tension in your body that can remain for hours and it is normal to feel a bit disoriented. Many car accident victims are also upset at the driver they believe caused the crash.

It is important to remain calm after a collision, however, as what you do and say in the aftermath can have an effect on your legal rights as an accident victim – both positively or adversely. The following are some of the most important things you can do to preserve your legal rights and best interests after an auto accident.

Be Evaluated by Emergency Personnel

Some people can walk away from car accidents relatively unscathed while others sustain life-threatening injuries in a matter of seconds. In some cases, it will be obvious that a victim needs to be immediately taken to the hospital in an ambulance for emergency treatment and stabilization. However, other victims may need medical attention as soon as possible and may not realize how bad their injuries may be.

Allowing an emergency medical technician (EMT) to evaluate you can let you know whether you should remain at the scene of the accident or whether you need to be taken to the hospital. If the EMT thinks your injuries are serious enough to warrant an ambulance ride, you should heed their advice to best protect your physical health.

Talk to the Police

It is always wise to call the police when you believe someone else was at fault for your accident. In some cases, Pennsylvania law1 may even require police notification, such as in the case of severe injuries. When you give your version of what happened to the police, they should put it in their police report. This report can then be used in settlement negotiations and also can be used to refresh the officer’s memory if they testify at trial.

Furthermore, an officer will determine whether the other driver broke the law, including reckless driving, driving under the influence (DUI),2 or other traffic violations. If a ticket is issued or if the driver is charged with a crime, it can make your legal claim significantly easier.

Document the Accident

There is much information you can gather that will help your case at the scene of an accident, including:

  • Names and contact information of others involved in the crash
  • Names and contact information of any witnesses
  • Pictures of the conditions at the scene, damage to vehicles, and visible injuries

When you get home and have the chance, you should always make notes about what you remember happening before, during, and after the crash. Your memory of specific details or observation can easily fade by the time your legal case begins or a trial occurs, and your notes can refresh your memory.

See a Doctor

If you did not need an ambulance ride, you should still head to the emergency department or schedule an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible. First, this will make sure you receive any treatment that you didn’t know you needed. Even minor injuries can escalate and have complications, so it is better to seek treatment from the start.

In addition, it is important to have a diagnosis or all of your injuries documented in your medical records so you can prove your losses in a legal claim. Having a timely diagnosis also serves to connect your injuries with the accident so the other party cannot claim that you sustained your injuries at a later date.

Call an Experienced Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorney as Soon as Possible

Once your physical health is stabilized, if you have incurred any losses from the accident, you should call to discuss your options with a skilled Philadelphia car accident lawyer as soon as you can. Even if your case can be resolved through an insurance claim, it is important to have a lawyer review any settlement offers you receive before you accept them. This is important for two reasons:

  • You may have miscalculated the value of your losses and may not realize the offer is inadequate; and
  • Once you accept an offer, you waive the right to file a legal claim or to seek additional compensation once you realize the offer was inadequate.

An attorney will protect your rights throughout this process and will negotiate for a fair offer whenever possible or help you file a legal claim.

If you have been in an auto accident, please call The Levin Firm at 215-825-5183 for a free consultation today.

1http://www.legis.state.pa.us/WU01/LI/LI/CT/HTM/75/00.037.044.000..HTM

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February 22, 2017

Injuries at the Gym

Personal Injury Lawyers in PA

With the start of a new year, many of us make a resolution to take control of our health by losing weight and getting fit. This often involves going to a gym regularly to work out on your own, have sessions with a personal trainer, or attend an exercise class. While going to the gym should be a positive thing, the experience can turn sour quickly if you sustain an injury.

Some gym injuries are due to mistakes on your own part, such as using too much weight for your abilities or not properly performing an exercise. Sometimes, injuries can happen if you jump into an intense workout program too quickly. In these cases, you are likely at fault for your own injuries and you likely have few legal rights to compensation.

On the other hand, many people may be injured at the gym because of negligence1 on the part of another party, such as the gym owner, management, or staff. In these cases, you likely have the legal right to file a personal injury claim against the negligent party to recover for your medical bills and other losses. These claims can involve different types of legal theories and the following is some additional information regarding types of claims after a gym injury.

Premises Liability

Like any private business or public space, the owner of a gym has the legal duty to make sure the premises are in reasonably safe condition for people who attend. When the premises of a gym is not in proper order, people can have accidents and sustain injuries. Some examples of negligence on the part of a gym can include:

  • Wet or slippery floors
  • Objects in walkways
  • Debris on the floor
  • Worn floor or carpet
  • Cords laid across walkways
  • Dangerous pool or hot tub conditions
  • Televisions or other equipment that is not properly secured and may fall

If a hazard does exist in a gym and it cannot be repaired right away, the gym must provide adequate warning so that gym-goers can take precautions. For example, if a floor was recently cleaned and has not yet dried, there should be a “WET FLOOR” sign prominently displayed.

Defective Equipment

People can also be injured by equipment at the gym if a malfunction occurs. Gyms involve many different kinds of machines, weights, benches, and other equipment, all of which should be safe for its intended use. When a malfunction occurs, one of two parties can generally be held liable:

Manufacturer – If the equipment had a defect when it was purchased because of a flaw in design or assembly, the manufacturer can be held liable for any injuries that result under the concept of products liability.2

Gym owner – If the equipment was in good condition when it was purchased but then malfunctions because the gym did not properly inspect, maintain, or repair the equipment, the gym would be the liable party.

Instructor or Personal Trainer Errors

When you take a class or sign up for personal training, you should be able to expect that you can rely on the professional to provide a safe program for you to follow. All staff who guide gym-goers should be properly trained and should be aware of the limitations of different individuals.

If an exercise instructor or personal trainer pushes you beyond your limits and injuries result, they may be found to be negligent. If they are employees of the gym, the gym itself may also be liable for your medical costs, lost income, and other losses.

Consult with an Experienced Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorney Today

No one wants to be injured at the gym, however, these types of injuries do occur. It is crucial to determine the exact type of negligence that caused your gym injury and who should be responsible for compensating you. At The Levin Firm in Philadelphia, a skilled personal injury lawyer can help you pursue a claim and receive the settlement or award you deserve for your injuries. Please call us at (215) 825-5183 for a free consultation as soon as possible.

1https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/negligence

2https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/products_liability

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February 20, 2017

Can Social Media Companies be Liable for Distracted Driving?

Distracted Driving Lawyers in Philadelphia

Distracted driving is an epidemic in the United States, in part due to the rise of smartphones and mobile apps. We are constantly connected to our friends and family, our email, and our social media accounts and this constant connectivity brings about a sense of urgency for many people when it comes to communication. For example, when someone sends a text message, they often expect almost an instantaneous response, otherwise, they may get upset. Even if some drivers know how dangerous it is to use their phones while they are behind the wheel, they may not be able to resist reading or sending a text or updating a social media profile at that very moment.

Many accidents have occurred in recent years because drivers were distracted by social media. When a crash happens, any injured victims can file a claim against the distracted driver to recover for their personal injuries and losses. The question can then arise: can the social media company also be held liable for someone using their app while driving? While this may seem far-fetched, a recent case examined this exact issue.

Recent Court Decision

This case revolves around a quite controversial filter on the app Snapchat. When the “speed filter” is used while you are moving, Snapchat will track your speed and will display it on your “snap.” One driver has been accused of using the speed filter while she was driving1 to try to get it to read over 100 miles per hour. The alleged combination of distraction and dangerous speed caused her to crash into another operated by an Uber driver. The car accident victim suffered brain damage and was in a coma for five weeks.

The victim then sued the distracted driver, who admits to speeding but denies using Snapchat at that time. Snapchat also denies that the app was being used on her phone at the time of the crash. Despite these claims, the case against the driver is pending and she is facing felony charges of causing serious injury by a vehicle and reckless driving, among others.

The plaintiff also filed a lawsuit against Snapchat, claiming that the company was negligent in providing the potentially dangerous speed filter. However, the judge hearing the case recently dismissed the claim against Snapchat.2 While the app does seem to encourage speeding, the company does have a warning on the filter advising people not to use it for this purpose while driving. This case sets one of the first precedents that social media companies will not be found liable for users engaging in distracted driving while using their apps.

Social Media can still Serve as Important Evidence in Your Case

Even if social media companies may not have to compensate car accident victims, social media can help serve as evidence in a personal injury case against a driver. In order to recover for your injuries, you must sufficiently prove that the driver was engaging in some type of negligent behavior that caused the crash – such as distracted driving. To prove negligence, you must provide evidence to the court of the driver’s actions.

It can be challenging to prove distracted driving because distraction is a mental state. Unless a driver readily admits to using a phone or otherwise being distracted – which is not surprisingly very rare – you must find another way to prove their mental state at the time of a crash.

An experienced car accident lawyer will know how to conduct a thorough investigation to collect any possible evidence of distraction. This can include researching any texts that were received or sent or any updates to Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, or other social media sites just before the crash occurs. If such evidence can be obtained, it can be very persuasive to a jury and may result in a favorable settlement offer.

Discuss Your Rights with a Skilled Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyer

Holding distracted drivers responsible for your injury-related losses is not always an easy task. At The Levin Firm, we regularly represent clients in distracted driving cases and have many resources to prove your claim. Please call (215) 825-5183 for a free consultation today.

1https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2016/04/28/lawsuit-blames-snapchat-for-107-mph-crash-in-mercedes-caused-by-teen-girl-using-speed-filter/?utm_term=.2ff7689387dc

2http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2017/01/23/snapchat-speed-filter-case-dismissed/

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February 17, 2017

How Negligent Trucking Companies Cause Accidents

Truck Accident Lawyers in PA

While truck driver mistakes are the main cause of commercial truck collisions, there are many ways that trucking companies can be negligent and lead to a crash and serious injuries. The following are only some examples of negligence for which trucking companies may be held responsible.

Hiring Practices

Every trucking company should have a careful hiring system to ensure that they do not allow anyone who is unsafe or unqualified to operate their commercial trucks. Truck companies should always review a potential driver’s health records, driving record, criminal record, and qualifications such as a valid commercial driver’s license and any necessary endorsements for the job.

In many cases, a company may not thoroughly vet an applicant or may hire friends or family members despite negative facts. A company may be deemed negligent if they hire an unlicensed commercial driver, someone with a history of driving under the influence or other serious traffic violations, someone with a serious and untreated health issues, or any other red flags that should indicate to a company that the driver will put motorists at risk of harm.

Insufficient Supervision or Discipline

As an employer, a trucking company should always stay aware of the actions of its employees. If a truck driver violates a regulation or law, the company should know through careful supervision and should take necessary disciplinary measures to prevent further danger in the future. For example, if a driver fails a drug or alcohol test or has been driving while impaired, a company should take immediate action to suspend the employee until they are sure the employee has received proper treatment.

If a driver is found to be violating hours of service regulations set out by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA),1 a trucking company should keep close track of their time records to ensure that they do not continue to commit such violations. If a company failed to properly supervise or discipline drivers, it could be help liable for any accidents that result from dangerous employees.

Neglecting Trucks in the Fleet

Whether a trucking company has one truck or an entire fleet of trucks, the company has the duty to keep those trucks in safe and working condition. All trucks should be regularly inspected for any possible defects that may need to be repaired. If any defects exist, they should be fixed before the truck goes back out onto the road. In addition to repairs, regular maintenance must be performed to prevent any issues on the road.

If a truck has been poorly maintained and brake failure or a tire blowout causes a crash, many people can be seriously injured. The injured accident victims would be able to hold the trucking company liable for their losses.

Failing to Perform Required Alcohol or Drug Tests

Because driving a large commercial truck while impaired by drugs and alcohol is extraordinarily dangerous, the FMCSA strictly regulates all types of impaired commercial driving. One requirement2 is that trucking companies must regularly perform random alcohol and drug testing on drivers, either before or after their shifts. In addition, if a driver is in an accident that causes serious injury or damage, an alcohol and drug screening must be performed.

When trucking companies do not perform the necessary chemical tests, it can allow drivers with alcohol or drug issues continue to drive while impaired and go undetected. If drivers know that their employers do not test, they may even be encouraged to push the envelope and drive while intoxicated.

Pushing Drivers to Violate FMCSA Regulations

In some circumstances, trucking companies have even encouraged drivers to violate certain regulations set out by the FMCSA. One common example is requesting that drivers make deliveries faster than they can while adhering to the hours of service regulations. If drivers are pushed to do so, they can become fatigued and can crash. In addition, companies may also create false records to make it appear as if their drivers are in compliance when they truly are violating the law.

Call to Speak with an Experienced Philadelphia Truck Accident Attorney

At The Levin Firm, we are committed to holding negligent trucking companies liable for the harm they cause in truck collisions. If you have been injured in a truck crash, you need an attorney who can identify all possible liable parties so you can obtain the most compensation possible. Please contact our truck accident lawyers for a free consultation at (215) 825-5183 today.

1https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/hours-of-service

2https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/drug-alcohol-testing-program

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February 14, 2017

Information Regarding Neck Injuries

Personal Injury Lawyers in Philadelphia

There are many different parts of the neck that can be easily injured, including bones, joints, nerves, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Your bones or soft tissue can be damaged, sprained, strained, or torn, resulting in serious pain and limited mobility of your head, shoulders, and arms.

Too many people ignore neck pain and delay seeking the treatment they need because they believe the pain will subside and that their injury is not serious enough to see a doctor. In reality, however, neck injuries can take a toll and have many effects on your life if they are not properly treated. The following is some additional information regarding neck injuries.

Common Causes of Neck Injuries

Neck injuries can happen for a variety of reasons. In some cases, they can result from overuse or even sleeping on the wrong pillow. In other situations, neck injuries happen because of an accident caused by a negligent person or company. Some preventable accidents that can cause neck injuries include the following:

  • Auto accidents
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Bicycle accidents
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Falls
  • Sports injuries

Neck Injury Symptoms and Effects

Following any type of accident, you should keep an eye out for any symptoms that may indicate that your neck has been injured. Such symptoms can include:

  • Soreness
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Stiffness
  • Lack of mobility
  • Shoulder pain
  • Headaches

Even dull pain in your head, neck, or shoulders can wear you down easily. In addition to the physical pain and impairments of neck injuries, dealing with chronic and ongoing pain can also have an effect on your mental and emotional health. If left untreated, people with neck injuries may become depressed and may avoid their usual activities.

Furthermore, neck pain can keep many people from performing their job duties. They may have to take time off from work until their neck feels better. In some cases, neck pain can persist for so long that they may lose their jobs or may have to find a new type of job that they can perform. In either situation, neck injuries can result in lost wages, benefits, and professional opportunities.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Because of the potentially serious effects of neck injuries, getting a proper diagnosis as soon as possible is critical. If needed, you should go to the emergency department or you can make an appointment with your physician, who may then refer you to a specialist. Some of the steps in a neck injury diagnosis can include:

  • Reviewing the type of pain that is occurring (radiating, sharp, dull ache, etc.)
  • Location of the pain
  • Asking about numbness, tingling, or similar sensations
  • Mobility restrictions
  • Checking reflexes and neurological abilities
  • Imaging tests such as X-rays and cervical MRIs.1

Once a neck injury is diagnosed, the recommended course of treatment will depend on the specific diagnosis. Some recommendations can include taking painkillers, physical therapy, chiropractic care, physical rest, muscle relaxers, cortisone shots, and in some rare circumstances, surgery. Because treating neck pain often takes time, the costs can add up significantly and can cause serious financial issues, especially if you cannot work in the meantime.

If another person caused your accident and neck injury, you can file an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit against them, depending on the circumstances. First, you must identify who was at fault and the exact type of negligent act that they committed to cause the accident. You must also prove how much you lost due to your neck injury including costs of medical treatment, lost income, future treatment costs and future lost earning power, pain and suffering, mental suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life. It is important to realize that you only have a limited period of time to file a claim due to the statute of limitations in Pennsylvania,2 so you should not delay consulting with an experienced attorney about your rights.

Contact a Philadelphia Neck Injury Attorney for a Free Consultation

While a neck injury may not sound especially serious, people who have suffered this type of injury know just how significantly it can affect your life. Neck injuries can have an effect on your physical health, emotional well-being, professional life, and more and victims deserve to be fully compensated for their losses by any party who caused their injuries. At The Levin Firm, our Philadelphia personal injury attorneys can help you prove the severity of your neck injury and seek the compensation you deserve. Please call our office at (215) 825-5183 today.

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January 12, 2017

Information about Premises Liability Claims

Premise Liability Lawyers in PA

Claims that arise from injuries that you sustain in accidents can be categorized under the general umbrella of “personal injury.” However, there are more specific types of claims depending on now that injury occurred. For example, cases against doctors who cause injuries are called “medical malpractice” claims and cases against companies that sold dangerous products are called “products liability” claims. One common type of personal injury case is called “premises liability” and it involves a claim against a property owner whose negligence caused your injury.

Types of Accidents that can Lead to Premises Liability Claims

Many different accidents can happen on another party’s property, whether that property is commercial or residential. Some examples of accidents at the heart of premises liability claims include the following:

  • Slips, trips, and falls
  • Falls down stairs
  • Falls from landings, balconies, or other heights
  • Getting hit by falling objects
  • Swimming pool or spa accidents
  • Construction site accidents
  • Toxic exposure
  • Electrocution
  • Blasting or explosion accidents
  • Assaults or robberies

Such accidents can happen in many different locations, including grocery stores, schools, retail stores, apartment or condo complexes, bars and restaurants, hotels and resorts, workplaces, and much more.

Any of these accidents can result in serious and often life-changing injuries for victims. Injuries can range from broken bones to brain or spinal cord injuries1 to severe burns, among many others. Victims are often left wondering who they can hold responsible for their extensive medical bills, pain and suffering, and other injury-related losses.

Negligence in Premises Liability Cases

When a party is negligent and causes injury, they can be held liable for the losses of the injured victim. This is no different in premises liability cases as negligent property owners can be ordered to compensate victims for their losses stemming from the accident. In order to be deemed negligent, property owners must have breached their legal duty to maintain their premises and keep it in reasonably safe condition for customers, visitors, and other guests.

Some examples of negligence that can lead to premises liability can include:

  • Having worn or slippery flooring or carpets
  • Allowing wet spills to stay on floors
  • Not cleaning up debris from walkways
  • Having dangerous stairways or broken railings
  • Having unfinished or faulty electrical systems or wires
  • Not having adequate security measures to protect guests
  • Having unstable shelving
  • Allowing any other defects or hazards to persist on the property

Note that a property owner may not defend against a premises liability lawsuit by simply claiming ignorance of the hazard or dangerous condition. Part of a property owner’s duty is to regularly inspect the property so that any potential risks can be identified and addressed. This includes performing routine maintenance and performing repairs on defects. If a property owner simply ignores the premises, it will not relieve them of liability if an injury occurs.

Instead, in this situation, the injured victims must demonstrate that the property owner should have known about the hazard if they had taken reasonable care. For example, imagine that a jar fell in a grocery store and spilled liquid all over the floor. You subsequently slipped on the liquid and fell, suffering a serious back injury. You would have to show that a reasonable store owner or manager would have discovered the spill in the time before you fell and would have cleaned it up or warned visitors of the possible fall hazard.

Statute of Limitations in PA

Pennsylvania law2 does not give you an indefinite period of time to file a claim against a property owner for premises liability. Instead, you only have two years from the date of the injury to file your lawsuit. In this time, you must gather evidence of the property owner’s negligence and of your losses, as well as prepare your complaint to file with the court. Because time is limited, you should discuss your case with an experienced lawyer as soon as possible.

Consult with a Philadelphia Premises Liability Attorney Regarding Your Case

Premises liability cases can be significantly different than a case involving other types of accidents. You need to have an attorney handling your case who specifically understands how to prove negligence in a premises liability claim and who can help you hold business and property owners fully liable for the injuries you suffered and losses you incurred. At The Levin Firm in Philadelphia, we have the resources needed to take on claims against businesses large and small and we are committed to fighting for your rights. Please call our premises liability lawyer at 215-825-5183 today to learn more about our services for free.

1http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/sci/sci.htm

2http://www.legis.state.pa.us/WU01/LI/LI/CT/HTM/42/00.055..HTM

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January 5, 2017

Basics of Medical Malpractice Claims in Philadelphia

Medical Malpractice Lawyers in PA

When you go to a doctor or other healthcare professional seeking care, you rightfully expect that the care you receive will make your condition better, not worse. Unfortunately, not all doctors are created equal and some fail to provide the standard of care expected in the medical profession.

Medical malpractice is a widespread problem that can happen to any patient when they least expect it. While medical malpractice laws recognize that injured patients should have the right to seek financial recovery, such laws are strict and can be confusing. For this reason, if you have been injured by poor medical care, it is time to consult a medical malpractice attorney. With the help of a skilled medical malpractice lawyer, you can be compensated for the injuries you received at the hands of a doctor, nurse, or hospital.

Common Types of Medical Malpractice

There are many different ways that medical malpractice can occur, as there are many different mistakes that doctors can make in many different situations. Some common causes of medical injuries can include the following:

  • Misdiagnosis
  • Delayed diagnosis
  • Cosmetic/Plastic surgery errors
  • Infections contracted in a hospital or due to a doctor’s care
  • Mistakes during C-sections
  • Cerebral palsy1 due to errors during labor and delivery
  • Cardiac catheterization
  • Birth defects that went undiscovered or result from poor medical care
  • Surgery on the wrong patient or the wrong site in the body
  • Foreign objects left in the body after surgery
  • Laparoscopic surgery mistakes
  • Bile duct injuries
  • Gallbladder surgery errors
  • Performing surgery while fatigued or intoxicated
  • Sepsis
  • Severed nerves
  • Severed arteries
  • Punctured arteries
  • Medication errors in the hospital
  • Prescription errors

Pennsylvania Medical Malpractice Law

It is important for injured patients to understand that medical malpractice claims are significantly different and often much more complicated than ordinary personal injury claims. This is why it is important to find an attorney who is familiar with the process and the laws, which can vary significantly from state to state.

For example, in Pennsylvania, the following laws may have a substantial impact on your case:

Statute of Limitations – This is the time limit that you have to file a claim with the civil courts. In many situations, this time limit is fairly straightforward. However, in medical malpractice claims, many variables can affect what the statute of limitations may be in your case. For example, the following may apply:

  • Two years from the date you reasonably discovered that you suffered an injury due to a medical professional;
  • Seven years from the date of the injury even if you did not discover it until late (this time limit does not apply if you had a foreign object left in your body);
  • For minors, seven years from their 20th birthday, regardless of when the injury happened or was discovered;
  • For cases resulting in death, two years from the wrongful death.

Damage Caps – Unlike many states, Pennsylvania does not have laws that limit the economic damages or non-economic damages2 in medical malpractice cases, which can be for medical bills, pain and suffering, and more. Instead, the law only limits the amount of punitive damages you can seek, which are damages awarded to punish the doctor. While punitive damages are rare, they can be awarded in cases involving particularly egregious or intentional actions on the part of your doctor. Punitive damages are capped at twice the amount of the economic damages you suffered.

There are also laws that address when damages must be paid periodically, the requirements for the testimony of experts, contributory negligence, and many other legal issues that may be present in a medical malpractice case. If you have been injured as a result of a doctor’s negligence, you have a limited time to act. The sooner you meet with an attorney, the sooner the process can start.

Contact Us to Speak with a Philadelphia Medical Malpractice Lawyer

The skilled medical malpractice attorneys at The Levin Firm will review your case and be able to discuss damages you may be entitled to and how the damage caps and other Pennsylvania laws will affect your case. Our medical malpractice law firm has worked on claims representing the rights of patients injured by medical professionals in many different ways. We understand your rights after a medical injury and will fight for the highest possible amount of financial recovery in your case. To schedule a free consultation, call our firm at 314-647-8910.

1http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/cerebral_palsy/cerebral_palsy.htm

2https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/damages

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December 29, 2016

Cold Weather Personal Injury Concerns

Personal Injury Attorneys in PA

Philadelphia can have extremely severe winters. Subfreezing temperatures, snow, ice, and dangerous wind chills are not uncommon, and these conditions can often last for days or even weeks on end. While the cold and wintry weather may initially seem like an annoyance that can be easily managed by simply bundling up in quality outerwear, in reality, cold weather can put us all at risk of serious injury. Some of the more common accidents that can occur in cold weather are discussed below.

Car Accidents

Conditions like snow and ice can make driving extraordinarily difficult, even for four-wheel drive vehicles. In many cases, winter storms can result in significantly decreased visibility and slippery roads that can easily result in accidents. Even cold weather by itself can result in the formation of “black ice,” which is a thin sheet of ice on the road that is often invisible to motorists.

Slip and Fall Accidents

Slip and fall accidents are a common occurrence during cold weather, as accumulating snow and ice can make surfaces like sidewalks, walkways, stairwells, and entryways treacherous for pedestrians. While slip and falls are often thought of as minor accidents that do not usually result in serious injury, they are responsible for almost 9 million emergency department visits each year. Some of the more common injuries sustained in cold weather slip and fall accidents include the following:

Broken bones

Hip fractures

Soft tissue injuries

Traumatic brain injuries

Spinal cord injuries

Nerve injuries

Lacerations

Strains

  Sprains

Muscle tears

 

Space Heater Accidents

When the weather gets colder, many people in the Philadelphia area turn to space heaters to keep their homes or offices warm. A space heater can be an efficient way to keep your energy costs low by only heating areas that you need to be heated and also can help manage the temperature in homes with drafty windows or doors. Unfortunately, these devices are also very dangerous and capable of causing serious injuries. For one thing, space heaters themselves can become extremely hot. If you accidentally touch a space heater after it has been operating for some time, it can easily cause serious burns. Secondly, space heaters are a serious fire hazard. They can overheat and start spark fires that could potentially burn an entire house down.

Holiday Decoration Accidents

Winter and colder weather also bring the holiday season. During this time, many people like to decorate their homes in strings of lights or other illuminated objects to create a holiday display. These items can be either inside or outside of the home and usually rely on electricity to operate. Like anything else electrical, if they are misused or defective in some way that can cause serious injury or spark fires. In addition, people who decorate their homes during the holidays often need to get on the roof or extend a ladder to the second story (or beyond) in order to achieve the desired result. As a result, holiday decorating could also expose you to a serious risk of injury in a fall accident.

Determining Whether You Have a Claim

Not every accidental injury entitles victims to pursue compensation. For example, if you are driving in snowy weather and lose control of your car because you were driving too fast, it is unlikely that you will be able to recover for your losses. If on the other hand, you can establish that your accident was the result of a faulty anti-lock braking system, you probably will be able to obtain a settlement or an award. Because of the complicated nature personal injury claims, it is critical for victims to have their case reviewed by an experienced attorney. Our lawyers will review your claim for free and determine whether you have a claim. In addition, if you do have a claim to pursue, you are under no obligation to retain us after your initial consultation.

Call a Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorney Today to Discuss Your Case

If you are injured in an accident this winter, you should speak to an attorney as soon as you can. In many instances, accidents related to cold weather conditions entitle victims to compensation. Examples of the kinds of damages that you may be able to recover include medical expenses, lost income, loss of quality of life, and physical and emotional pain and suffering, among others. To schedule a free consultation with an attorney, call The Levin Firm today at 215-825-5183 or send us an email through our online contact form.

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December 8, 2016

FAQ about Drunk Driving Accidents

Drunk Driving Lawyer in PA

Everyone knows that drunk drivers can seriously injure and often kill innocent people. However, despite the awareness of the risks of drunk driving, 64,024 people were recently arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in Pennsylvania in a single year.1 In addition, about 7,900 people suffered injuries in crashes that were alcohol-related in Pennsylvania. As you can see, drunk driving continues to be a problem and continues to cause serious injuries. The following are some frequently asked questions of drunk driving accident victims.

I believe a driver was drunk after an accident – what do I do?

As with any accident, you always want to call 911 right away so that law enforcement authorities will come to the scene. Calling 911 is especially important if you have been injured or if you suspect that the accident involved an intoxicated driver. Police officers will question the driver and may perform a breathalyzer test or field sobriety test to confirm suspicions of impaired driving. If officers determine the driver was over the legal limit, they will not only include that in their police report but will likely arrest the driver so they will face criminal charges. While any legal claim you bring will be separate from a criminal case, having an arrest and criminal conviction can only help your case.

If you are injured, seek medical treatment immediately so that you have an official record of your diagnosis and treatment recommendations. Your medical records will be essential in proving your damages down the road.

How do I bring a Drunk Driving Accident Claim?

In a few cases, your injuries and the damage to your vehicle may be minor enough that you can obtain compensation simply through an insurance claim. If you receive an offer for an insurance settlement, you should always review the offer with a skilled car accident lawyer before you agree to or sign anything.

If your injuries are serious, however, insurance offers will likely not be enough to cover all of your accident-related losses. In this situation, you will need to file a lawsuit for personal injury with the civil courts in your county. You will have to prove that the driver was negligent in order to prevail in your case, though a drunk driving conviction can serve of automatic proof of such negligence.

Compensation for Your Losses

While it may feel good to have a sense of justice when you prevail in a lawsuit against a drunk driver, the primary purpose of such a case is to seek compensation for your various losses. Such losses generally include:

  • Past medical bills and estimated future medical costs
  • Past lost income and estimated future lost earnings
  • Pain and suffering from your injuries
  • Emotional trauma from your injuries and/or the accident
  • Permanent disability
  • Loss of enjoyment of your life
  • Punitive damages, as are commonly awarded in serious drunk driving cases

It can be relatively simple to prove your past losses that are financial in nature. You can present your medical bills and paystubs that concretely show how much your medical treatments cost and how much income you lost during your recovery. It can be significantly more complex to prove your future losses and your intangible losses, however. In order to prove that, you deserve the amount you seek, you may need to enlist experts or use other resources that are reliable and persuasive to the court.

Can I also Sue the Bar or Restaurant that Served the Driver?

The ability to sue an establishment that served alcohol to a person who later caused a drunk driving accidents are based on “dram shop laws,” which vary from state to state.2 In Pennsylvania, you can hold a liquor-selling establishment liable for any injuries you suffered in two specific scenarios:

  • The establishment served alcohol to a person younger than the drinking age of 21 years old and that person caused your injuries; or
  • The establishment served alcohol to a person who was visibly intoxicated and that person caused your injuries.

Discuss Your Options with an Experienced Philadelphia Drunk Driving Attorney Today

After a drunk driving accident, there are many variables that can dictate your rights and your best course of action. As soon as you can, you should call a drunk driving accident lawyer at The Levin Firm to discuss your case. Call 215-825-5183 for a free consultation today.

1http://www.madd.org/drunk-driving/state-stats/Pennsylvania.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/

2http://www.ncsl.org/research/financial-services-and-commerce/dram-shop-liability-state-statutes.aspx

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December 2, 2016

Information for Construction Workers

Construction Worker Lawyers in Philadelphia

When you become a construction worker, you likely realize that you are engaging in a potentially dangerous job, as construction is deemed one of the riskiest industries by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).1 However, construction workers are necessary to build, improve, and repair building, bridges, roadways, and much more. Therefore, it is important for construction companies to do whatever they can to keep their employees safe from harm on the job. When you are working, you should also be aware of certain information in case an accident and injury does occur.

Common Injury Causes

It is important to understand the common causes of construction accidents so you can take steps to prevent these accidents from happening in the first place, along with recognizing what caused an injury if there is a dispute. Some examples of common construction accidents include:

  • Falls from heights, such as ladders, roofs, or scaffolding
  • Being struck by falling or propelled objects
  • Between trapped in between materials or objects
  • Electrocutions2
  • Slip and falls due to debris or slippery boards
  • Stairs or ladders without handrails or safety equipment
  • Falling off stepladders
  • Collapsing excavation walls or trenches
  • Accidents involving power tools
  • Accidents involving heavy equipment

A large number of construction accidents occur because certain safety equipment – such as harnesses or eye protection – was not used, provided, or mandated on the construction site. Injuries can also happen if other workers are ignoring safety procedures or otherwise engaging in unsafe behavior.

Your Rights after a Construction Accident

When a construction accident happens and causes you injury, you have different rights depending on the type of accident that happened and who or what was involved. In many cases, you will have the right to claim workers’ compensation benefits from your employer to cover the costs of your medical treatment and to help replace any income you lost if you must take time off of work. While many construction accident victims have successful workers’ comp claims, obtaining adequate benefits can be a lot more complicated if your claim is partially or totally denied or if you have suffered a serious disability and are offered a settlement. For this reason, it is often wise to contact an attorney for assistance with your workers’ compensation claim.

In other situations, you may be able to file a claim for personal injury to seek compensation through the civil courts. This generally occurs when a third party unrelated to your employer was responsible for your accident. In such a claim, you can seek damages for medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, permanent disabilities, and more. The legal process is complex and has many specific deadlines and requirements that you must follow to have a successful claim. It is essential to have an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side who understands the nature of construction accidents and injuries.

What to do Following an Accident

Whether you will follow the workers’ compensation route or the personal injury lawsuit route, there are things you can do following your accident that can help protect your rights and increase your chances of financial recovery. Some of these steps include the following:

Medical evaluation – You should always seek medical help after a construction injury. If you will be seeking workers’ compensation benefits, your employer may request that you go to a certain doctor or hospital. In this case, you often want to seek your own independent evaluation, as well.

Gather documentation – You should always be aware of what is in your medical records regarding your workplace injury and what is in your workplace file regarding the accident. These documents can help you make a successful claim.

Never sign anything without first speaking with your attorney – Your employer or an insurance company may ask you to sign a certain document, which may be agreeing to a settlement offer. This will also mean you sign away your right to pursue additional compensation, so you should always consult with a lawyer before signing anything.

Contact a Philadelphia Construction Accident Attorney To Discuss Your Rights

At The Levin Firm, we understand the complicated nature of construction accident cases and that your rights may be different from case to case. We know how to fully evaluate your case, including what caused the accident and the severity of your injuries, to properly advise you of your rights and options in the legal system. We have helped many injured construction workers in and around Philadelphia, so please do not hesitate to contact our office to discuss how we can help you. Call us for a free consultation at 215-825-5183 today.

1https://www.osha.gov/oshstats/commonstats.html

2https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000053.htm

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