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April 6, 2017

Philadelphia Car Accident Statistics

Car Accident Lawyers in PA

Recent statistics show that over the past few years, Philadelphia car accidents – as well as car accidents statewide – have been on the rise. These high crash statistics in and around Philadelphia are due-in-part to the large population and large number of multi-lane, high-speed roadways and highways in the area.

Regardless of the reasons for these incidents, tens of thousands of people are being injured in car accidents that may have occurred through no fault of their own. When this occurs, victims are often able to recover compensation for their losses under Pennsylvania law. For this reason, if you have been hurt in an accident, you should be sure to have your case reviewed by a lawyer as soon as possible.

Summary of Recent Statistics

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (DOT),1 which releases an annual statewide report on the number of car accidents, deaths, and injuries in the Commonwealth, car accident cases have been on the rise in recent years.

The most recent DOT report for 2015 was released in late-2016. According to that report, the total number of car crashes in Pennsylvania totaled 127,127. This number includes 59,290 personal injury crashes and 1,102 fatal injury crashes. The report also noted the following statistics:

  • Minor injury crashes totaled 40,364; moderate injury crashes totaled 12,503; and severe injury crashes totaled 3,030.
  • Philadelphia County accounted for a total of 8,341 personal injury crashes – the highest number in Pennsylvania.
  • Philadelphia County accounted for a total of 85 fatal injury crashes – the highest number in Pennsylvania.
  • Most crashes occurred in January, and the highest number of fatal crashes occurred in August.
  • Most crashes occurred on Fridays, and the highest number of fatal crashes occurred on Sundays.

The highest number of total crashes were reported over the Thanksgiving, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day Holidays, with the Christmas Holiday following shortly behind.

Common Causes of Car Accidents

While car accidents originate from a variety of sources, some of the most statistically common causes of car crashes in Philadelphia and the surrounding area include the following:

  • Disobeying or disregarding traffic laws, signs, signals, and traffic control devices
  • Failing to appreciate and account for hazardous road conditions
  • Reckless, careless, and negligent driving
  • Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs

Investigating a Car Accident Claim

In some cases, it may be necessary to conduct a thorough investigation about the way in which an accident occurred in order to recover compensation. In these instances, the representation of an attorney can be invaluable. A lawyer will evaluate your case, determine what types of evidence may exist, and use a legal process known as “discovery” to obtain it. Some of the ways a lawyer can help get evidence that indicates negligence on the part of another person includes the following:

  • Compelling the production of evidence, such as vehicle maintenance records, surveillance footage, cell phone records, medical records, or toxicology reports
  • Conducting depositions,2 which elicit testimony from other parties that is given under oath
  • Issuing interrogatories, which are written questions that a party must answer under oath

Victims should keep in mind that an attorney will make the process of preparing your case much easier than it would be if they chose to do it on their own. The last thing you should do while you are in the process of recovering from your injuries is spend time making phone calls, filling out forms, and negotiating with insurance company adjusters who are trying to pay you as little as possible for your injuries. When you retain a lawyer, all of these issues will be handled for you, allowing to focus on getting better and putting your accident behind you.

Contact a Philadelphia Car Accident Attorney Today to Discuss Your Case

If you have been injured in a car accident as a result of someone else’s negligence, our experienced Philadelphia car accident attorneys are ready to assist you with your case.

Remember that insurance companies are not on your side and want to pay out as little money as possible in satisfaction of your claim. Our experienced Philadelphia car accident lawyers have what it takes to hold the insurance companies accountable and negotiate a fair settlement of your car accident case. If a fair settlement cannot be reached, our experienced attorneys welcome the challenge of litigating your case or taking it directly to trial.

To schedule a free case evaluation with one of our Philadelphia car accident lawyers, call ur office today at 215-825-5183 or contact us online.

1 http://www.penndot.gov/Pages/default.aspx

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

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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 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 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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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 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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October 27, 2016

How Distracted Walking Leads to Accidents

Pedestrian Accident Lawyers in Philadelphia

Everyone with a driver’s license should be well aware of the extreme dangers of texting or engage in other types of distractions while driving. However, in this day and age of extreme multitasking, driving is not the only time that using a smartphone can be dangerously distracting. Another very serious activity is distracted walking.

Whenever you walk near traffic, you are inherently at risk for injuries should a pedestrian accident occur. When you are not paying attention to where you are walking or to your surroundings, you can literally walk right into a dangerous situation – such as into the pathway of traffic or into an obstacle that may cause you to trip and fall on the road.

Recent studies have demonstrated the actual risks of distracted walking and have resulted in experts calling the trend a “public health concern.1 Specifically, the rise of smartphones has led to the public health risks of distracted walking. Some of the causes of distracted walking that involve a smartphone can include:

  • Texting, emailing, or other messaging apps
  • Browsing Facebook, Instagram, or other social media sites
  • Searching for directions or information on the Internet
  • Playing games such as Pokemon Go

Pedestrians who are looking down at their phones may not notice changing traffic signals or may not be able to react to cars that may be heading in their direction. Some pedestrians may be under the mistaken impression that they always have the right-of-way and can simply walk into the street and expect traffic to stop, however, this is simply not the case. This attitude is one that results in serious accidents and pedestrians should always be aware of the rules of crossing the street and following traffic signals. The problem has become so serious as of late that legislators in some states have considered issuing tickets and fines for distracted walking.2

Pedestrian Accidents can Cause Severe Injuries

Whether a pedestrian accident involves getting hit by a car, walking into a pole, or slipping, tripping, and falling,3 the potential for serious injuries exists. Some examples of common injuries that can result in the need for extensive medical care for pedestrians can include:

  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Neck and back injuries
  • Sprains and strains
  • Broken bones
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Face and jaw fractures
  • Head injuries

The above injuries can result in the need for emergency trauma care, hospitalization, surgery, physical therapy, home health care, assisted living, medical equipment, and more. As you can imagine, pedestrian injuries can be very costly due to medical expenses, lost wages because of the inability to work, long-term disabilities, and more.

Drivers can Suffer Injuries Because of Distracted Pedestrians, Too

Pedestrians are not the only ones who can sustain serious injuries due to distracted walking. In some cases, drivers may see a distracted pedestrian step out into the road and they may swerve to avoid hitting the pedestrian, which can often cause them to collide with another vehicle. Such collisions can result in head and brain injuries, injuries from airbags or seat belts, broken bones, soft tissue injuries, and more. In such cases, even though the pedestrian may not have been involved in the collision, they may have been the catalyst for the collision because of their distracted walking. In such cases, injured drivers may be able to file a legal claim against the distracted pedestrian.

Shared Responsibility for a Pedestrian Accident

In many pedestrian accidents, the liability may not be black and white. Instead, both the pedestrian and the driver may share responsibility for causing the accident. For example, imagine that a pedestrian is distracted by their smartphone and walks into a crosswalk when they should not have done so. However, a driver approaching the intersection would have had plenty of time to stop and avoid a collision – except, the driver was also looking down at their smartphone and, therefore, did not see the pedestrian until it was too late. In such a case, both the distracted driver and the distracted pedestrian may be partially liable. Pennsylvania law allows certain accident victims to recover partially for their losses even if they were partially at fault. For this reason, you should always discuss your rights with an experienced attorney following an accident.

Call an Experienced Philadelphia Pedestrian Accident Attorney for Help Today

If you have been injured in an accident, you should call our skilled pedestrian accident lawyer at The Levin Firm for assistance as soon as possible. We can evaluate your rights and help you through the legal process, so please call us at 215-825-5183 for free today.

1http://www.popsci.com/distracted-walking-is-an-actual-public-health-concern

2https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2016/03/26/d24651a4-f389-11e5-89c3-a647fcce95e0_story.html

3http://www.nsc.org/NSCDocuments_Advocacy/Fact%20Sheets/Slips-Trips-and-Falls.pdf

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July 28, 2016

Pokemon Go Accident Highlights the Dangers Associated with Apps and Driving

Dangers of Pokemon Go

If you watched the news or been online in the past few week, you have like heard of a new game that is being played by millions of people around the world known as Pokemon Go. Pokemon Go is a new and wildly popular app that was designed to be used with people’s smartphones and utilizes augmented reality, a technology that augments the real world with computer-generated enhancements. The app broke the Apple App Store’s record for the number of downloads during the first week it was available and has some 9.5 million active daily users according to some estimates.1

How the App Works

If you have not tried Pokemon Go, this all may sound very confusing. For the uninitiated, here is a brief explanation of the way in which the app operates. Users control an avatar in the game by moving around the real world. The app uses the locational tracking functionality of smartphones to place the avatar on a map that is analogous to the player’s real world location. The player goes through the real world looking for Pokemon, which are fictional creatures that they can capture and train. When they are in range of a Pokemon, their phone uses the camera function to superimpose an image of the Pokemon character on an image of the real world, which they can then capture by throwing Pokeballs at it. Furthermore, players can visit “Pokestops” and “Gyms” in order to collect game-related items and battle with other players.

Playing Pokemon Go Requires a Significant Amount of Attention

Because taking your avatar through the Pokemon Go world requires you to move through the real world, many players look down at their phones as they are walking from place to place in order to make sure they are heading in the direction of the Pokemon they are trying to catch. If you have noticed people in the area looking at their phones more than normal and then stopping to flick their screen repeatedly, it is very likely that you are watching someone playing the game.

Whenever a person is looking at his or her phone, it is taking their attention away from their surroundings. Recognizing this fact, the game’s maker has placed a conspicuous warning on the game’s startup screen reminding players to be careful and to always be aware of their surrounds, but not all players are heeding this advice.

The First Pokemon-Go Related Car Accident Occurred in Less than a Week

Pokemon Go was released on July 6th of this year. According to a report published on CNET, not a week later, a man in Auburn, New York crashed into a tree while playing the game, marking perhaps the first accident caused by a driver distracted by Pokemon Go. While no one was injured in that accident, so long as drivers are using the app, there is a risk of a serious injury-causing accident occurring due to distracted driving.

Distracted Driving Often Entitles Victims to Compensation

Fortunately for people who are injured by distracted drivers, the fact that a driver was distracted and caused an accident is usually sufficient to recover compensation. While Pokemon Go and other smartphone-based activities can certainly result in significant distractions, distractions can also occur in much less high-tech ways. Some of the more common examples of driver distractions that can lead to accidents include the following:

  • Eating
  • Drinking
  • Grooming
  • Applying makeup
  • Reading
  • Talking on the phone
  • Looking at scenery
  • Searching for objects in the car
  • Adjusting the radio
  • Using a GPS device

People who were distracted when an accident occurred may be reluctant to admit that fact to law enforcement or the other parties involved in the accident. For this reason, it is critical for victims to retain an attorney in order to make sure that their legal rights are protected.

Call a Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyer Today to Schedule a Free Case Evaluation

If you have been injured by a driver who was using their smartphone or otherwise distracted, you should contact an experienced lawyer as soon as you can. At the Levin Law Firm, we are committed to helping people who have been injured by the negligence of another person to recover for their losses. Best of all, we offer free consultations and will charge you nothing in legal fees unless we successfully recover compensation on your behalf. To schedule your free case evaluation with a skilled Philadelphia car accident lawyer, call our office today at 215-825-5183 or send us an email through our online contact form.

1 http://www.recode.net/2016/7/13/12181614/pokemon-go-number-active-users

2 http://www.cnet.com/roadshow/news/that-didnt-take-long-first-car-crash-attributed-to-pokemon-go-in-new-york/

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June 24, 2016

Whiplash can be Surprisingly Serious

Whiplash can be Surprisingly Serious

If you were to accept the way that television and movies portray whiplash injuries,1 you would believe that they were simply a way for accident victims to scam insurance companies. It has become a common trope for the “injured” victim to claim serious injuries, chronic pain, and an inability to work, only to be later discovered by an investigator taking off his or her neck brace to go dancing or have a workout at the gym.

This portrayal is unfortunate because whiplash injuries can often be extremely serious and have a significant impact on victims’ ability to engage in everyday tasks and their overall quality of life. In addition, the idea that whiplash injuries are somehow “fake” has become pervasive, and many insurance companies view claims involving whiplash with suspicion, often making it difficult for injured victims to get the compensation they deserve. Fortunately, the assistance of an experienced lawyer can often help victims get the help they need as quickly as possible.

What is Whiplash?

Whiplash is a type of neck injury that occurs as the result of a forceful and sudden movement of the head back and forth on the neck, as often occurs when a person suddenly accelerates or deceleration. It can often result in serious medical problems, including stiffness, headaches, neck pain, a sensation of pins and needles in the limbs, radiating pain to the neck and shoulders, and back pain.

It is important to note that “whiplash” is not an official medical diagnosis, and may be described by physicians as a neck sprain, hyperextension, hyperflexion, soft-tissue injury, or other names.

What Kinds of Accidents can Cause Whiplash?

Whiplash is commonly associated with motor vehicle accidents, particularly rear-end accidents. In a typical whiplash case, the occupants in the front vehicle are unprepared for an impact, so when it occurs the neck muscles are relaxed. As a result, their bodies are suddenly thrust forward while their heads stay in place, causing the head to snap backward and forward violently. Other kinds of accidents can cause whiplash as well, however, including the following:

  • Motor vehicle accidents that do not involve a rear-end impact
  • Bicycle accidents2
  • Slip and fall injuries
  • Snowboarding and skiing accidents
  • Roller coaster and other amusement park rides
  • Intentional assaults
  • Sports accidents
  • Boating accidents

Proving Whiplash

As mentioned above, many insurance companies are suspicious of claims involving whiplash, making it essential for victims to adequately document and address the injuries they have sustained. Compounding this problem is the fact is that while whiplash is a very real injury, it is not possible to directly observe whiplash, which means that others must rely on the victim’s own description of their pain to determine its severity.

Because of these issues, it is often difficult for people who have sustained a whiplash injury to establish the existence of their injury and its severity. Fortunately, there are certain steps that victims can take to protect their legal rights and ensure that they are able to recover. These include the following:

See a Physician as Soon as Possible after Your Accident – Many people make the mistake of thinking that their injuries are not that serious and will heal on their own after being involved in an accident. In addition, many whiplash injuries do not become symptomatic for a significant period of time after an accident occurs. As a result, victims may wait for a few days or even weeks to see a doctor after an accident has occurred. When you see a physician immediately, you can make sure that there is a medical record connecting your injuries to your accident and also that your injuries are properly identified and treated.

Take Notes on How Your Injury has Affected You – As discussed earlier, unlike a laceration or bruise, whiplash is not an injury that you can typically see. For this reason, establishing the severity of a whiplash injury can be difficult. One thing victims can do to help establish the severity of their injury is take notes on how it has affected them. For example, take notes of any pain you experience, activities you choose to forgo due to your injury, headaches you have, sleep disturbances you experience, or any other ways in which the injury has affected you.

Call a Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyer Today to Schedule a Free Consultation

If you have sustained a neck or spine injury in an accident caused by the negligence of another person, you should call an experienced lawyer immediately. Attorney Gabriel Levin is a skilled Philadelphia personal injury attorney who is committed to getting the largest settlement or award for each client he represents. To schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys, call The Levin Firm today at 215-825-5183 or send us an email through our online contact form.

1 http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/whiplash/basics/definition/con-20033090

2 http://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/bicycle/

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