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March 22, 2017

Who is Responsible in an Uber Car Accident?

Car Accident Lawyers in PA

Popular ridesharing companies like Uber1 and Lyft have been taking the transportation industry by storm and giving taxicab companies a run for their money. Over the past several years, Uber has quickly surpassed cab companies in urban areas, such as Philadelphia, for safety, cleanliness, convenience, and affordability. When riders download the Uber App onto their iPhone or smart device, they can request and pay for rides and keep track of their requested driver’s location at all times.

Because several potential individuals, companies, and insurance companies are in potentially involved, Uber car accident cases can be extremely complex. If you have been injured in a car accident involving an Uber ride vehicle, our experienced Philadelphia Uber accident lawyers can help. Our experienced attorneys can discuss the facts and circumstances of your case with you and can file claims against all necessary parties on your behalf, helping to maximize your potential recovery.

Employees versus Independent Contractors

Although Uber requires its drivers to undergo thorough background checks and carry their own motor vehicle insurance, Uber drivers are not employees of Uber. Rather, they are independent contractors. The difference between an employee and an independent contractor largely rests with the amount of control the company has over the worker, whether the worker sets his or her own schedule, and how the worker is paid (e.g., salary versus contract work). In the world of personal injury lawsuits, this distinction can make a significant difference.

In past cases, Uber has tried to distance itself from its drivers when they behave negligently behind the wheel or are deemed ‘at-fault’ for a motor vehicle accident. However, more recent cases have shown that Uber can share in the liability.2

Responsible Parties

In cases of motor vehicle accidents involving negligent Uber drivers, the following parties could potentially share in the liability:

  • The Uber driver
  • Uber – the company
  • The insurance company

An experienced Philadelphia Uber accident lawyer will typically file suit against all of these parties in order to safeguard liability and maximize the potential recovery in the case. However, each of these entities will attempt to have an injured plaintiff sign an agreement that potentially limits settlement and/or prohibits the injured plaintiff from taking further legal action. An injured plaintiff should never sign such an agreement (at least without first consulting with a lawyer), as he or she could potentially lose thousands of dollars in recovery and/or monetary damages.

In terms of Uber’s direct liability, the following Uber policy limits apply:

50/100/25 of contingent coverage by Uber in-between fares (i.e. contingent to a driver’s personal automobile insurance policy and paid only if the personal automobile insurance policy refuses to pay, or pays nothing

$1 million of uninsured/underinsured motorist benefits per accident (rather than per person), providing coverage for Uber passengers who are injured when another driver causes a collision or other type of accident

$1 million of liability coverage per accident (divided into bodily injury and property damage liability)

How Much is Your Uber Accident Case Worth?

Many people who are injured in Uber accidents are anxious to find out how much their case is worth. Unfortunately, there is no way to determine how much a case is worth without conducting a thorough analysis of all of the facts, and any estimate is merely speculation until the case actually settles or a judge or jury make an award. That being said, it is helpful to consider the kinds of damages that are available in most car accident cases. These tend to include medical expenses, lost income, property damage, and physical and emotional pain and suffering. Because Uber customers are passengers, however, it is unlikely that they will be entitled to any compensation for property damage unless they were carrying valuable possessions at the time that the accident occurred

Some of the factors that can affect the amount of the settlement or award your receive after an Uber accident include the following:

  • Your occupation
  • The severity of your injuries
  • Your age
  • Your prognosis
  • Whether you were partially at fault for your accident

Contact a Philadelphia Uber Accident Lawyer Today to Discuss Your Case

If you have been injured in a car accident where Uber is involved, you need experienced legal representation. You should know that Uber has a veritable army of attorneys and lobbyists at its disposal who will use all legal means necessary to limit – or eliminate – Uber’s potential liability exposure.

Our experienced Uber accident lawyers are ready and willing to represent you throughout your case. To schedule a free consultation with a Philadelphia Uber accident lawyer, call our office today at 215-825-5183 or contact us online.

1 https://www.uber.com

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March 20, 2017

How Motorcycle Helmets Drive Down Injury Rates

Motorcycle Accident Lawyers in PA

Motorcycle accidents can happen anywhere, and the results can oftentimes be catastrophic. The many busy multi-lane highways and roadways in and around Philadelphia are prime territory for motorcycle accidents.

The main reason why motorcycles are so dangerous is because the operator (and the passenger, if there is one) do not have the body of a car surrounding them and protecting them in the event of a crash. Therefore, when a crash occurs, the operator and any passengers are likely to make direct contact with the ground and seriously injure themselves. A motorcycle helmet and other types of riding gear provide a protective barrier between a motorcycle rider’s head and the ground.

Motorcycle accidents can often by caused by the driver of another motor vehicle, meaning that victims are often able to obtain compensation for their injuries. If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, our experienced Philadelphia motorcycle accident attorneys are here to help. We will review the unique facts and circumstances of your case and can assist you with maximizing its value. If your case is contested, our team will fully investigate your case and take it to trial if it becomes necessary.

Motorcycle Helmet Statistics

Motorcycle helmets save lives. Period. Statistically, according to both the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, motorcycle helmets reduce the risk of death by 37% in motorcycle crashes and reduce the risk of head injuries by 69%.

Reducing or Eliminating Crash-Related Injuries

When riders sustain injuries in motorcycle crashes, the injuries are oftentimes catastrophic. Some of the most common types of injuries sustained in motorcycle crashes include the following:

  • Fractures and broken bones
  • Traumatic brain injuries1 (TBIs)
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Concussions
  • Scrapes and abrasions
  • Scarring (especially facial scarring)

Given the seriousness of these injuries, motorcycle operators and passengers should not take any chances when it comes to motorcycle safety. Motorcycle helmets can help to prevent – or significantly lessen – the injuries a person sustains in the event of a crash in the following ways:

  • A helmet provides eye protection.
  • A helmet reduces or eliminates wind noise, allowing the operator to see and hear better, thereby reducing fatigue or “highway hypnosis.
  • A helmet provides a protective barrier between the operator’s head and the ground.

Most importantly, the simple act of putting on a motorcycle helmet is a reminder that riding a motorcycle can be a dangerous business, placing motorcycle operators and their passengers in the proper mindset.

How a Philadelphia Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Can Help Victims

The days, week, and months immediately following a motorcycle accident can be stressful and confusing. Between doctors, specialists, insurance adjusters, and work or school, the aftermath of a serious accident can be overwhelming. Fortunately, there are many ways that an attorney can help victims, including the following:

  • Evaluate your case and determine whether you will be able to file a claim
  • Investigate your accident and gather evidence that establishes that the other party was negligent
  • Communicate with the insurance company and make sure that any settlement or award you accept compensates you for your losses
  • File a lawsuit on your behalf and represent you in court

If you have been hurt in an accident, you should be certain to keep in mind that it is best to speak to an attorney as soon as you, because any delay could result in the loss or destruction of evidence that is essential to your claim. In addition, Pennsylvania personal injury claims are subject to a strict statute of limitations,2 which means that waiting to file a claim could result in the forfeiture of your right to recover compensation at all.

Contact a Philadelphia Motorcycle Accident Attorney Today to Discuss Your Case

Motorcycle accidents can result in serious injuries, and in the worst cases, death. Riders, therefore, should take every possible precaution.

If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. Remember that the insurance company is doing everything it can to pay you as little as possible, including potentially using tactics designed to get you to inadvertently admit partial or full liability for your accident

Our experienced Philadelphia motorcycle accident lawyers have the necessary legal knowledge and expertise to negotiate with insurance adjusters on your behalf and help you to obtain a fair value for your case. If a favorable settlement offer cannot be reached, we are not afraid to take your case to trial.

You can contact the experienced Philadelphia motorcycle accident lawyers at The Levin Firm today by calling 215-825-5183, or contact us online.

1 https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/tbi/Pages/default.aspx

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

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March 17, 2017

How to Maximize a Personal Injury Award or Settlement

Personal Injury Lawyer in PA

Motor vehicle accidents can happen anywhere, and Philadelphia, with its many busy roadways and highways, is no exception. Car wrecks can be very traumatizing experiences, and legal concerns are probably the last thing on your mind following involvement in a serious car crash.

Insurance companies, like most big businesses, are interested in lining their own pockets. Their goal in a car accident case is to settle the case as quickly (and as cheaply) as possible. Our experienced Philadelphia personal injury attorneys can help you by negotiating with the insurance company on your behalf and assisting you with obtaining a favorable settlement offer.

If the insurance company refuses to settle your case fairly, we are not afraid to litigate your case and take it to trial. What follows are some simple steps you can take to maximize the value of your case, including the amount of your settlement, arbitration award, or jury verdict.

Visit a Hospital Emergency Room or Urgent Care Facility Immediately After the Accident

Injured victims of Philadelphia car accidents should immediately seek same-day treatment at a local hospital emergency room or urgent care facility. This is true even when no symptoms are immediately apparent. Same-day treatment is necessary for the following reasons:

  • Symptoms oftentimes do not manifest themselves until well after the accident (e.g., days or weeks), and it is better to be safe than sorry.
  • Failing to seek same-day emergency medical treatment sends a message to insurance adjusters that the accident victim was not all that seriously injured and/or was not making medical treatment a top priority following the collision.

It is also important that car accident victims be complete and accurate when describing their pain and symptoms (without overstating their cases) – and that they follow through with all of the emergency room physician’s treatment recommendations. This may include doing one or more of the following:

  • Following up with a primary care physician or specialist for subsequent treatment
  • Beginning a physical therapy regimen at a separate facility
  • Seeking follow-up care and treatment at another facility

Seek Medical Treatment for Injuries and Concentrate on Getting Better

Following a same-day hospital emergency room or urgent care visit, it is important to start treatment with a health care provider immediately for injuries sustained in the accident. Large gaps in treatment, long delays in treatment, and missed appointments (or late arrivals) are red flags for insurance adjusters. Rightly or wrongly, gaps in medical treatment or physical therapy send a signal to the insurance company that a car accident victim is not as seriously injured as he or she claims.

Document How Your Injuries Have Affected You

While proving losses like lost income and medical expenses is fairly straightforward, it is often more difficult to establish the non-economic damages accident victims sustain. Consequently, it is important for victims to keep detailed notes about the way in which their injuries have affected them. Make note of pain that you experience, activities that you forgo because of your injuries, any problems you have sleeping, and feelings of depression1 or anxiety that you have.

Seek Legal Representation

An experienced Philadelphia personal injury lawyer will be able to do the following:

  • Recommend further treatment options
  • Obtain all medical records and bills from hospitals, treating physicians, and physical therapy facilities
  • Obtain information from insurance companies about their available policy limits
  • Submit a settlement demand to the insurance company
  • Negotiate with insurance adjusters to obtain a fair settlement of the case
  • File a lawsuit and litigate the case in the court system, if necessary
  • Take the case to trial or explore alternative dispute resolution options

It is important to keep in mind that establishing the value of a car accident case is a complicated matter and often requires determining how your injuries will affect in the months and years that follow. The assistance of an attorney will ensure that all of your injuries are adequately compensated and that you receive the settlement or award that you deserve.

Contact a Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorney Today to Discuss Your Case

Personal injuries sustained as a result of someone else’s negligence2 can be very serious and can affect every aspect of a person’s life – including their health, their finances, and their quality of life.

An experienced Philadelphia personal injury lawyer will have the necessary legal knowledge and expertise to negotiate with insurance adjusters on your behalf and help you to obtain a fair resolution to your case.

To schedule a free consultation with one of the experienced Philadelphia personal injury attorneys at The Levin Firm, call us today at 215-825-518 or contact us online.

1 https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/index.shtml

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

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March 15, 2017

Top 3 Reasons to Contact a Lawyer after an Auto Accident

Auto Accident Attorney in PA

A car accident can leave you with serious injuries, a wrecked car, an inability to earn an income, and significant physical pain and emotional suffering. Thankfully for victims, under certain circumstances, Pennsylvania law1 allows people who are hurt in accidents to recover compensation for these and other losses that they sustain as a result of their accident.

Obtaining compensation does not happen automatically, however, and there are often several complicated steps that victims need to go through before they receive a check to cover the damages they incurred. For this reason, it is strongly suggested that anyone involved in a car accident speak to a lawyer about their options shortly after their wreck. Below are the top three reasons you should talk to a lawyer after a car wreck.

A Lawyer Will Determine Whether You Have a Claim

Not every car accident entitles those involved to compensation for their injuries – you need to be able to establish that the incident was someone else’s fault. For example, if a tree suddenly fell into the roadway after a lightning strike and caused an accident, it would be hard for anyone hurt in the incident to establish that someone else caused their injuries.

In personal injury law, a person is said to be “at fault” if it can be shown that he or she was negligent and that their negligence caused an accident. Some common examples of negligence that can cause a car crash include the following:

  • Speeding
  • Distracted driving2
  • Following too closely
  • Drunk driving
  • Failure to yield the right of way

In some instanced, it may not be clear who or what caused an accident to occur. If this is the case in your accident, you attorney will investigate your case, gather evidence, and determine whether you may be able to file a claim.

An Attorney Will Make Sure Your Rights are Protected

There are many ways that you could hurt your chances of recovering compensation while your case is pending. Insurance company representatives often try and get accident victims to make statements that may indicate that they were partially or even completely at fault for an accident, which could have the potentially of significantly reducing the amount of compensation you receive or making it impossible to recover compensation at all.

When you have a lawyer representing you, he or she will communicate with the insurance company on your behalf so that you do not have to worry about saying anything that could hurt your chances of obtaining compensation.

Your Lawyer Will Ensure that any Settlement You Accept is Fair

The majority of car accident cases are settled out of court, sometimes before a lawsuit is even filed. This is because in most cases, the cause of the accident is so obvious that it would be a waste of time to litigate the matter. As a result, the only issue that the parties need to agree upon is how much the insurance company will pay the injured victim.

In order to know what a fair settlement is, however, you need to know how much a case may be worth. The damages that are involved in car accident cases often include economic damages like lost income and property damage, which may be easy to determine, but also damages for pain and suffering or loss of quality of life, which are more difficult to accurately assess. In addition, in cases involving serious injuries that cause long-term problems, victims need to be certain to seek damages for their future losses as well. In cases where future losses are at issue, it is often necessary to consult with experts who can determine the cost of care in the future as well as how much a person would have earned had the accident not occurred.

Call the Levin Firm Today to Speak with a Philadelphia Car Accident Attorney

If you have been involved in a car accident, you should speak to a lawyer as soon as you can. At the Levin Firm, our Philadelphia car accident lawyers are committed to representing the rights of victims and take every step possible to ensure that our clients get the compensation to which they are entitled. To schedule a free consultation with an attorney, call our office today at 215-825-5183 or send us an email through our online contact form.

1 http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/LI/Public/cons_index.cfm

2 https://www.distraction.gov/stats-research-laws/facts-and-statistics.html

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March 13, 2017

Philadelphia Car Accident Attorneys Talk about Eating While Driving

PA auto accident lawyers

Many of us are extremely busy and rushed, forcing us to take certain meals while we are driving our vehicles. On any given morning, you can see people eating breakfast and having their morning coffee while sitting in traffic, and a behind-the-wheel means are a staple of many long road trips. Unfortunately, this seemingly harmless way to save time can result in severe injury to others.

Eating While Driving Can Be Extraordinarily Dangerous

While eating and driving and be common and seem like everyday multi-tasking, the fact is that anything that can potentially distract someone while they are driving is dangerous and can result in serious injury-causing accidents. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),1 there are three main categories of driver distraction, which are as follows:

  • Visual Distractions – Anything that requires a driver to look away from the road constitutes a visual distraction.
  • Manual Distractions – Manual distractions occur when a driver takes his or her hands off of the wheel.
  • Cognitive Distractions – Cognitive distractions involve a driver thinking about anything other than the task of driving.

Eating can combine all three types of driver distraction, making a particularly dangerous thing to do while driving. Clearly, a person needs to use his or her hands in order to get food into his or her mouth, making eating a manual distraction. In addition, people tend to look at their food while they are eating it, which means that eating and driving requires drivers to take their eyes off of the road, making it a visual distraction. Finally, eating can be a cognitive distraction, because it requires drivers to pay attention to something other than the road.

Distracted Driving Usually is Negligent Driving

Many people who are injured in accidents caused by drivers who were eating or distracted in some other way often want to know whether they will be able to recover compensation for their losses. Under Pennsylvania law, people who are hurt by the negligence of others are legally entitled to damages for losses such as medical expenses, lost income, loss of quality of life, property damage, and physical and emotional pain and suffering.

Generally speaking, distracted driving is negligent driving, which means that eating, drinking, manipulating a smartphone, changing the radio station, and other common driver distractions will entitle victims to compensation. In many cases, the fact that the driver was distracted is secondary to the fact that the distraction caused the driver to break a traffic law such as running a stop sign, following too closely, making an improper turn, or weaving into another lane.

Do You Need a Car Accident Lawyer after a Distracted Driving Accident?

In cases where a distracted driver (or his or her insurance company) concedes liability, victims often wonder whether they need to retain an attorney at all. In these kinds of cases, the only issue that the parties need to address in how much the at-fault party will pay, making the process of recovering compensation seem deceptively simple.

The fact is that anyone that has been injured in an accident should retain an attorney to represent them, regardless of whether the case is contested or not. This is because many insurance companies engage in tactics designed to minimize the amount that they pay out on valid claims. An attorney will thoroughly evaluate your case and ensure that any settlement that you accept compensates you for all of your losses.

How Much will the Representation of an Attorney Cost You?

Injured victims are often concerned about how much legal representation ill cost them. Fortunately for victims, almost all personal injury victims take their cases on a contingent fee2+ basis, which means that victims do not pay anything for legal representation unless their lawyer successfully recovers compensation on their behalf. In addition, when you retain a personal injury attorney, he or she will cover any up-front costs associated with your case, including experts’ fees and the costs associated with litigation.

Call the Levin Firm Today to Discuss Your Case with a Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyer

If you have been injured in a car accident by a person who was eating while driving or otherwise distracted, you should contact an attorney immediately. Our attorneys are committed representing the legal rights of individuals who have been hurt in accidents and work hard to ensure that each client we represent obtains the largest settlement or award available by law. To schedule a free consultation with a lawyer, call the Levin Firm today at 215-825-5183 or contact us online.

 https://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/distracted_driving/

http://www.americanbar.org/groups/public_education/resources/law_issues_for_consumers/lawyerfees_contingent.html

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March 10, 2017

5 Common Causes of Philadelphia Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcycle Accident Lawyer in PA

Thousands of people are injured in motorcycle accidents every year. Here are some of the more common causes of motorcycle accidents in the Philadelphia area.

Distracted Driving

Distracted drivers are less aware of their surroundings and often do not see motorcyclists until it is too late. While many of use tend to immediately think about smartphones when we think about distracted driving,1 distractions can take be much less high-tech. Some examples of the kinds of things that drivers can do and distract themselves include the following:

  • Grooming
  • Eating
  • Texting
  • Adjusting the radio
  • Using a GPS device
  • Reading
  • Talking
  • Looking at scenery
  • Looking for objects in the car
  • Tending to children
  • Drunk Driving

Despite public education campaigns aimed at educating people about the dangers of drunk driving and harsh penalties for even first-time offenders, people continue to drive drunk on a daily basis in the Philadelphia area. Drunk drivers pose a significant safety risk to motorcyclists as alcohol intoxication can affect a person’s spatial awareness, reaction time, and judgment. If you suspect that the driver who caused your accident was drunk, you should be sure to call the police.

Poor Road Maintenance

Poor road maintenance is a significant factor in many accidents, especially those involving just one vehicle. Issues like potholes, overgrown vegetation, inadequate signage, faded paint, broken stoplights, poor drainage, and excessive grade can very easily cause a serious motorcycle crash.

It is important for the victim to be aware of the fact that when accidents caused by poor road maintenance occur on public property, claims arising from them are subject to a special set of legal rules that govern legal actions against public entities. These kinds of claims are subject to significant time limits, so victims should be certain to speak to an attorney as soon as possible.

Defective Motorcycles

Defectively manufactured, designed, or marketed motorcycles can cause extremely serious accidents, often with little to no warning. Some examples of the kinds of defects that often lead to crashes include brake failures, steering mechanism problems, defective tires, and fuel system defects. Victims of these kinds of incidents can often recover compensation from the manufacturer of the motorcycle.

Traffic Violations

Traffic laws exist to keep us all safe, and motorists who violate them can cause extremely serious injury-causing accidents. Some examples of the kinds of traffic violations that often lead to accidents involving motorcycles include the following:

  • Speeding
  • Failure to yield
  • Following too closely
  • Improper turns
  • Running stop signs or stop lights

Fortunately for victims, evidence that a driver violated a traffic law is often sufficient to establish liability. For this reason, it is important to contact law enforcement after an accident where a traffic violation may have occurred.

Steps to Take to Protect Your Rights

In order to recover compensation, victims need to be able to establish that their accident was the result of someone else’s negligence.2 There are certain steps that you can take after involvement in an accident, the most important of which are detailed below.

Collect Information – After an accident, you should collect as much information as you can about your accident. Examples of the kinds of facts of which should make not include the names of the other motorists involved, the weather conditions at the time of the accident, the license plate numbers of the other vehicles involved, and the other driver’s insurance information. If you can, you should take pictures of the scene of the accident, especially if you believe that a hazardous road condition caused or contributed to your accident.

Seek Medical Attention – You should always undergo a thorough medical evaluation after involvement in an accident. Doing so will ensure that your injuries are identified, treated, and documented.

Talk to a Lawyer – You should talk to a lawyer as soon as you can after you are hurt in a motorcycle accident. A lawyer will analyze your accident, determine whether you have a claim, and protect your rights throughout the process of obtaining compensation for your losses.

Call a Philadelphia Motorcycle Accident Attorney Today to Schedule a Free Consultation

If you have been hurt in a motorcycle accident caused by someone else, you may be entitled to significant compensation under Pennsylvania law. Examples of the kinds of losses for which accident victims often recover include medical expenses, property damage, loss of quality of life, lost income, and physical and emotional pain and suffering. To schedule a free consultation with attorney Gabriel Levin, call our office today at 215-825-5184 or contact us online.

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March 8, 2017

Protecting Yourself From Highway Truck Accidents

Truck Accident lawyer in PA

Whether you are driving a long distance on a highway road trip with your family or are simply commuting to work in the morning, chances are likely you will encounter a large commercial truck on your drive. While these trucks are necessary to keep the economy running in the U.S., they are also involved in more than 100,000 crashes per year, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).1

Because of the inherent risks of injury that exist when driving on the highway near tractor-trailers, it is essential that every driver knows how to protect themselves and avoid a crash whenever possible. The following are only some ways you can protect yourself from a highway truck accident.

Know the Common Causes of Truck Accidents

If you know the most common reasons for truck crashes, you may be able to recognize the signs that an accident may be about to occur. Some of these common causes include:

  • Distracted, impaired, or fatigued driving
  • Malfunctioning truck parts or mechanical failures
  • Speeding in poor weather conditions
  • Lack of proper reflectors or other conspicuity requirements on trailers
  • Coupling failures or other factors that can lead to jackknife accidents

For example, if you see a trailer suddenly start swinging from side to side on the back of a truck, it may be an indication that the coupling is failing or the trailer is off balance and that a jackknife may occur. This should be a sign to slow down and stay out of the path of the truck or on the side of the truck at all costs.

Steer Clear of Dangerous Drivers

We have all likely seen a car swerving, departing its lane, over-correcting, or making other sudden and unusual maneuvers. These are generally signs that the driver is engaging in distracted driving, is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or may even be falling asleep at the wheel. The same is true for truck drivers and you should stay as far away as possible from trucks that are moving in an unusual manner.

In addition, many truck drivers may engage in aggressive driving if they are impatient or encounter slower traffic and this can be especially dangerous. Signs that a truck driver is aggressive include:

  • Following you too closely (tailgating)
  • Cutting you off by changing lanes
  • Making offensive or threatening gestures or comments
  • Excessive speeding
  • Unnecessary horn honking or flashing headlights
  • Following you off the highway

If a truck driver seems aggressive, give them plenty of room on the road. You should never try to engage in a confrontation or stand your ground against a large semi truck. Instead, it is a good idea to diffuse the situation by refraining from returning any comments or gestures and by moving out of their way. If a truck driver follows you on an exit and you believe you may be at risk, call the police.

Avoid No-Zones

“No-zones” are the blind spots on a large truck and they can be substantial. No-zones exist behind the trailer, alongside both sides of the trailer, directly in front of the trailer, and next to the passenger side door of the tractor. If you need to pass a truck or drive in a no-zone, do so quickly and try to get out of the no-zone as soon as possible. Always remember that you should be able to see the truck driver – either directly or in the rear view mirror – or else the truck driver likely cannot see you.

Move Over for Stopped Trucks

When a truck driver has an issue on the road, they may not be able to make it to a truck stop and they may pull over on the shoulder of the highway or of an exit ramp. While truck drivers have a particular protocol they should follow when pulled over,2 they do not always take all necessary steps. You can increase your safety by trying to never pass directly by a pulled over truck and instead move over to an outer lane, which can help avoid a collision with the trailer.

In the Event of a Crash, Call Our Philadelphia Truck Accident Lawyer for Help

Even if you are as careful as possible, you may still be injured in a crash with a commercial driver. At The Levin Firm, we know how serious such injuries can be and how complex truck cases can get. We regularly represent truck accident victims and help them recover financially. Call a Philadelphia truck accident attorney at (215) 825-5183 for help today.

1https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/sites/fmcsa.dot.gov/files/docs/LTCF2015%20Early%20Release.pdf

2https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/49/392.22

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March 6, 2017

How a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help You

Personal Injury Lawyer in PA

The days and weeks immediately following a serious injury-causing accident can be stressful and confusing. Many victims are dealing with mounting medical expenses, uncertainty about when they will be able to return to work, and significant physical and emotional pain and suffering.

Under these circumstances, the thought of taking steps to recover compensation from the person or business that caused you injuries may seem overwhelming. Fortunately, there is help available, and injured victims can retain an attorney from the Levin Firm without having to pay anything up front. In fact, we do not collect legal fees from our personal injury1 clients at all if we do not recover compensation on their behalf.

Here are some of the ways that retaining one of the PI lawyers of the Levin Firm can help you after you are hurt in an accident.

A Personal Injury Lawyer will Evaluate Your Claim

Not every injury-causing accident result in a legal claim. If you caused your own accident or it was unavoidable, chances are you will not be able to recover compensation from anyone else. For example, if you are hurt in a car or truck accident that occurred because you lost control of your vehicle during a snow storm, you probably will not be able to file a claim against another person.

When you first meet with an attorney, he or she will thoroughly analyze the way in which your accident occurred and let you know whether you have a claim to pursue.

An Attorney Will Investigate Your Case

In some cases, it may be necessary to conduct an investigation to uncover evidence that another person or party was negligent2 and caused your accident. Some of the kinds of evidence that may be relevant to a personal injury case include the following:

  • Video surveillance footage
  • Vehicle maintenance reports
  • Eyewitness accounts
  • Medical records
  • Cell phone records
  • Expert opinion
  • Pictures of the scene of the accident

Your lawyer will evaluate your case and determine whether your case warrants additional investigation. If so, he or she will collect evidence in support of your case and may use certain legal mechanisms to compel the production of evidence.

The Representation of a Lawyer will Protect Your Rights

As an accident victim, it is important to understand that you can say or do things that may hurt your ability to recover compensation for your injuries. In fact, insurance companies that are representing at –fault parties have been known to engage in tactics that are designed to get victims to admit partial or even full liability for an accident without even realizing it. When you have retained an attorney, however, your lawyer will communicate with the insurance company for you, ensuring that you receive the full and fair value of your claim.

Your Lawyer Will Attempt to Negotiate a Settlement

Most personal injury cases do not go to trial. When liability is conceded, what generally happens is the at-fault party’s insurance and the victim comes to a settlement agreement in which the insurer pays for the victim’s losses in return for the victim giving up his or her right to bring a claim.

While this process may sound simple, in reality, it is quite complicated. In order to come to a reasonable settlement amount, victims need to be aware of how much their case is worth. While it is simple to look at a medical bill and claim and demand compensation for the amount of the bill, what about calculating future medical expenses? Likewise, placing a value on a person’s physical and emotional pain and suffering requires an understanding of how noneconomic damages are calculated. Because of these and other issues, it is critical for victims who are involved in settlement negotiations to retain a skilled and experienced personal injury attorney.

An Attorney Will Represent You In Court

While most cases settle, some do not, requiring victims to go to court in order to get the compensation they deserve. If this occurs in your case, your attorney will file a lawsuit on your behalf and represent you in any proceedings that may occur.

Call the Levin Firm to Speak with a Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorney Today

If you have been hurt in an accident, you should make sure that your rights are fully protected by retaining an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. To discuss your case with a Philadelphia PI lawyer, call the Levin Firm today at 215-825-5183 or contact us online.

1 http://www.americanbar.org/groups/public_education/resources/law_issues_for_consumers/injury.html

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

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March 3, 2017

Distracted Driving and Smartphones: How to Protect Yourself

Distracted Driving Attorney In Philadelphia

According to statistics published by the federal government, distracted driving injured some 431,000 people during 2014.1 While distracted driving has certainly existed since the first driver has gotten behind the wheel, it is undeniable that smartphones present a particularly compelling and immersive distraction to modern drivers.

With a smartphone, you are connected to your entire digital life at all times. At any given moment, you can check your email, text a friend, make a phone call, and even watch a movie, all with a device that can fit in your pocket. Unfortunately, many people choose to do such things while they are driving, which can be extremely dangerous.

Avoid Distractions Behind the Wheel

The number one way to protect yourself from the dangers of distracted driving is to avoid using your smartphone at all costs while you are driving. Always use hands-free technology if you need to make a call, but even that can be distracting. Keep your phone in a purse or out or reach to avoid the temptation to check it. If it is imperative that you read or send a message, look up directions, or use your smartphone for any other purpose, always have a passenger do it or pull over before you do so.

Unfortunately, as responsible as you may be to avoid your smartphone while driving, you cannot stop others from doing so and putting you at risk. If you actively see someone texting, you should move as far away from them as possible and never drive directly next to them. Even if you cannot see whether they are on a smartphone, you can identify distracted drivers by their driving behaviors, which can be similar to drunk drivers. Such behaviors include:

  • Drifting out of their lane and then swerving back
  • Slowing down without a valid reason to do so or without actively braking
  • Slamming on brakes at the last minute if traffic is slowing down or stopping

If you see another driver behaving in this manner or otherwise driving erratically, give them plenty of room and call the police if their driving is particularly dangerous.

What to Do If You are Injured in an Accident with a Distracted Driver

If someone else crashes into your car and you believe they may have been distracted at the time, there are certain steps you can take to protect your rights. First, you should always call the police to have them some to the scene of the accident. Texting and driving is illegal in Pennsylvania2 and if the police officer finds evidence that the driver was texting or was otherwise using a smartphone, the officer can issue a citation to the driver. This citation can be used as evidence of the driver’s negligence if you file a personal injury claim to recover for your losses. In addition, an officer will file a police report with information that can be used to assist testimony if your case goes to trial.

Next, if you believe there is a chance you sustained any type of injury, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible following the crash. It is usually a good idea to visit an emergency department straight from the accident scene. This ensures that your injuries are properly diagnosed and treated as soon as possible. Those records will also be essential for you to later prove your injury-related losses.

As soon as your injuries are stabilized, you should seek help from a personal injury lawyer who has specific experience handling distracted driving cases. Proving that a driver was distracted can be challenging and requires particular types of evidence and you want a law firm with the resources and knowledge to gather sufficient evidence. Some evidence can include:

  • Smartphone usage records
  • Witness testimony
  • Footage from traffic or surveillance cameras

The right attorney will know how to obtain the evidence necessary to prove fault in your distracted driving case so that you can receive the compensation you deserve.

Call the Levin Firm Today to Speak with a Philadelphia Car Accident Attorney

Distracted drivers pose a threat to everyone with whom they share the road. Fortunately for people who are injured in accidents with distracted drivers, they are often able to recover compensation for the losses they sustain as a result of their wreck. To schedule a free case evaluation with a Philadelphia car accident lawyer, call our office today at 215-825-5183 or contact us online.

1https://www.distraction.gov/stats-research-laws/facts-and-statistics.html

2http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/LI/consCheck.cfm?txtType=HTM&ttl=75&div=0&chpt=33&sctn=16&subsctn=0

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March 1, 2017

Should All Trucks Be Required To Have Cameras As A Safety Measure?

Truck Accident Lawyers in Philadelphia

Every time commercial truck drivers head out onto the highway, they have the lives of hundreds of other motorists in their hands. These large vehicles dwarf passenger cars and SUVs and can easily cause severe if not fatal injuries if the truck driver crashes. For this reason, truck drivers are held to a higher standard of safety on the roads than other drivers.

Unfortunately, it is important to realize that, despite this higher standard, truck drivers are only human. They can make honest mistakes and can also make errors in judgment that lead them to engage in potentially dangerous behaviors, and 102,000 commercial drivers were involved in crashes in 2015 alone.1 If an accident occurs due to negligence,2 a truck driver and their employer should be held liable for all of the losses incurred by accident victims, including medical bills, pain and suffering, income lost, and more.

In order to seek compensation, however, a victim must prove that the driver was negligent. This can be difficult if no one witnessed the driver’s behavior and if there is no concrete evidence of what the driver did. One solution in recent years to both protect victims and hold truck drivers accountable for unsafe behaviors is for companies to install cameras in commercial vehicles.

How the Cameras Work

There are two main types of cameras that are being installed in trucks – forward-facing and driver-facing. Cameras that face forward toward the road will record the traffic, road, and weather conditions that the driver sees in front of them. If a crash occurs, footage can reveal whether a driver reacted to those conditions in a proper manner. Delays in reaction time can indicate distraction, fatigue, or other negligent issues.

Cameras facing the driver focus on the actual behaviors of the truck driver. For example:

  • Did the driver look away from the road to reach behind the passenger seat?
  • Was the driver texting or using a cell phone in violation of the law?
  • Was there a passenger that caused unsafe distractions?
  • Did the driver’s behavior seem impaired for any reason?
  • Did the driver fall asleep at the wheel?
  • Did the driver drink an alcoholic beverage or take drugs while driving?

All of these questions could be answered by watching the video footage from the driver-facing camera. These cameras can make it much easier for truck accident victims to prove negligence and recover for all of their injuries and losses.

How Cameras Increase Safety

Not only do commercial truck cameras help in the wake of a crash, they can also help to prevent crashes, to begin with. For instance, a truck driver may be tempted to take a swig of an alcoholic beverage if he thinks no one is looking or that no one will ever find out. The same goes for a driver who is alone in the cab sending a quick text message, assuming no harm or consequences will result.

However, if a commercial driver knows there is a camera focused on either them or the road in front of the truck, they may simply avoid any behaviors that may get them into trouble. This, in turn, can work to improve safety on the roads and decrease the number of crashes that occur due to preventable negligence.

Some trucking industry experts and drivers state that the cameras are an invasion of privacy and that no one wants to be constantly monitored while behind the wheel. However, individuals in other workplaces have their behavior regularly monitored by supervisors and cameras while they are on the job. Truck drivers should not expect differently, especially in exchange for safety risks.

While there is no current requirement for all trucks to have safety cameras, many large companies have caught onto the trend3 and there may be a regulation passed in the coming years mandating cameras on every commercial vehicle.

Discuss Your Rights with a Philadelphia Truck Accident Attorney Today

While safety measures may be improving in the trucking industry, crashes still occur each and every day across the United States. At The Levin Firm, we know how devastating the injuries and damage from a truck accident can be. We represent the rights of victims against truck drivers and trucking companies to ensure you obtain the compensation you need and deserve. Call for a free consultation today at 215-825-5183.

1https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/sites/fmcsa.dot.gov/files/docs/LTCF2015%20Early%20Release.pdf

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

3http://fortune.com/2015/05/26/driver-facing-truck-cameras/

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