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September 30, 2016

Injuries at the Scene of an Accident

Car Accident Lawyer in Philadelphia

The scene after a car accident can be chaotic. Often, people are getting out of their vehicles, inspecting the damage, taking inventory of any injuries, or even trying to rescue people who may be trapped in a vehicle. Even after you calm down, you may spend a substantial period of time waiting for law enforcement to arrive, talking to officers, getting information from people involved or witnesses, and more. What you may not realize is that the risk of injury does not end after the collision is over. Too often, injuries can happen to people waiting at the scene of an accident.

Recent Injuries on the Side of I-95

Recently, Philadelphia firefighters were part of an emergency team that responded to the scene of an accident on I-95.1 While law enforcement officers were tending to the two-vehicle crash scene, the firefighters parked their large ladder truck to block the path of traffic and prevent any drivers from hitting the motorists or responders who were at the scene. Despite the presence of this large truck “buffer,” another serious impact occurred.

A commercial truck driver was approaching the scene of the accident when he claimed he suddenly lost control of the tractor-trailer. The trailer jackknifed, which means it swung out perpendicular to the tractor. Jackknifes often result in a near-complete loss of control of a truck driver and the trailers can take out any vehicles in their path. In this situation, the jackknifed truck struck the fire truck, which held five Philly firefighters inside. The semi-truck forced the fire truck 250 feet down the highway and during this time, all five firefighters suffered injuries.

While the firefighters were – thankfully – treated at nearby medical centers and released with non-life-threatening injuries, the collision at the scene of the accident could have been much worse. For example, if the fire truck had not been there to act as a buffer, the jackknifed truck could have hit any people or smaller vehicles that were on the side of the highway, which likely would have resulted in fatalities or life-changing injuries.

Pedestrians around the scene of an accident are at a particular risk for injuries. People are difficult to see, especially at night and especially if there are flashing lights or other conditions that can draw a driver’s attention away from people who may be in the road.

Holding Drivers Liable for Injuries Caused at the Accident Scene

In many cases, the initial collision may not cause any serious injuries. However, a subsequent collision while you are at the scene of the accident may result in severe injuries. In such cases, the driver that caused the second collision would likely be held liable for the medical expenses, lost income, and other losses that resulted from the crash. You would have to prove that the driver was negligent in some way when they crashed into the accident scene in order to recover. Some common examples of negligence that may cause this type of accident include:

Distracted driving2

  • Drunk or drugged driving
  • Fatigued driving or falling asleep at the wheel
  • Not properly moving over when they saw flashing lights on the side of the road
  • Aggressive driving, such as excessive speeding or dangerous lane changes
  • If you only sustained injuries in the second collision, you only have to prove that the driver who caused that accident was negligent.

However, the situation gets more complex if you suffered injuries in both the initial collision and the second collision. First, it is important to help determine which injuries were caused by what accident in order to decide which driver was responsible for which injuries. Often, if you were out walking around at the scene of the accident, it is likely the initial accident caused only minor injuries and your severe injuries were a result of the subsequent accident. However, if you had been loaded into an ambulance on a stretcher and the second car hit the ambulance, your serious injuries may be attributed to both collisions. Deciding the amount of fault that should be attributed to each negligent driver can be complex and these complicated cases require the help of a very experienced auto accident lawyer.

Consult with a Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorney as Soon as Possible

The car accident attorneys at The Levin Firm know how to handle cases involving shared fault when multiple parties may have caused your injuries. Please call for a free consultation at 215-825-5183 today.

1http://6abc.com/traffic/5-firefighters-injured-in-crash-in-philadelphia/1493779/

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

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August 4, 2016

Reasons Behind Head-on Crashes

reasons behind head on crashes

 

Car crashes can occur in many different ways, with drivers often crashing into the rear or side of other vehicles. One of the most dangerous types of crashes is a head-on collision, which happens when the front of one vehicle collides into the front end of another vehicle. These collisions tend to happen when both vehicles are in motion and often at high speeds. For this and other reasons, head-on collisions can cause some of the most catastrophic and often fatal injuries. According to a report by the Department of Transportation (DOT),1 an estimated 18 percent of crashes outside of intersections involve a head-on crash.

Cars have many safety features to try to reduce the risk of injuries in a head-on collision and other types of car crashes. Crumple zones, bumpers, seatbelts, and airbags are all intended to keep motorists inside of the vehicle and to absorb most of the impact of the crash. However, despite all of these standard safety features, many victims sustain life-changing injuries in head-on collisions.

Many head-on crashes occur because a driver or another party acted in a negligent manner. If a negligent party caused your accident, you have the right to hold that party accountable and receive compensation for your losses.

Causes of Head-on Collisions

Head-on crashes can happen for many different reasons. The following are only some examples of why these extremely dangerous accidents may occur:

Drunk driving — Drunk drivers are notorious for swerving back and forth, often leaving their designated lane. If a drunk driver swerves too far to the left, they may cross over the center yellow line and collide with an oncoming car. Head-on crashes can also happen if a drunk driver is going the wrong way2 down the highway or a one-way street.

Fatigued driving — Fatigued driving can affect a driver’s concentration and they may stray from their intended lane. In addition, very fatigued drivers may completely fall asleep while driving, which often results in them unknowingly turning the wheel and driving into other lanes. Sleeping drivers can cross double lines or medians and can cause head-on accidents.

Distracted driving — Often, if you see a driver swerving in a lane, it would not be surprising to pass them and learn that they were texting or otherwise using a smartphone. Unfortunately, many texting or distracted drivers do depart from their lanes and into oncoming traffic lanes, which often results in hitting another vehicle head-on.

Improper passing — Every driver should know that a double yellow line means that you should not pass another driver. However, many impatient drivers think they are fast or experienced enough to pass cars on a two-lane highway regardless of a double yellow center line. Too often, the passing driver does not have the visibility to see oncoming cars in the passing lane and often cannot brake or get back over in time to avoid a head-on crash.

Rural roads — Statistics show3 that almost half of all head-on collisions happen on rural highways. Rural highways are often two narrow lanes traveling opposite directions. These roads are often winding with many hills that can make it difficult to see oncoming traffic. In addition, because of the lack of law enforcement officers on rural roads, many people are prone to traveling these already dangerous roads at high speeds. All of these circumstances can easily lead to cars straying into the other lane and hitting an oncoming car.

Third party drivers — In some cases, a third car that was not actually involved in the crash can cause the crash to happen. Imagine that you are driving in the left lane and, all of a sudden, a car tries to change lines right where you are driving. You may jerk the wheel to avoid crashing into that car, however, you may then cross over into oncoming lanes and can be involved in a head-on collision through no fault of your own.

Road hazards — Potholes, cracks, improper lane markings, objects in the street, and other hazards can cause a driver to either swerve or lose control of their car, which can regularly lead to a serious head-on crash.

Contact a Philadelphia Auto Accident Lawyer for a Free Consultation

If you have been injured in a head-on crash, you should not hesitate to discuss your legal rights with an experienced car accident attorney in Philadelphia. Call The Levin Firm at 215-825-5183 to discuss your case today.

1http://safety.transportation.org/htmlguides/HOcrashes/exec_sum.htm

2http://www.ntsb.gov/safety/safety-studies/Documents/SIR1201.pdf

3http://safety.transportation.org/htmlguides/freewaycrash/types_of_probs.htm

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July 7, 2016

A New School Year can Expose Your Child to New Risks of Injury

school injuriesWith a new school year just a few weeks away, many people in the area are preparing to send their child off to start a brand new academic year. The start of the school year often involves many new experiences: new friends, new teachers, new subjects to learn, and sometimes even an entirely new school. Unfortunately, it may also expose your child to the risk of injury during their commute to school, particularly if they are starting a new school or are at an age when you feel that it appropriate and safe to allow them to get to and from school on their own.

Fortunately for parents, there are certain things that you can do to make sure that your child’s walk or bike ride to school is as risk-free as possible. These include the following:

  • Choose the Safest Possible Route to and from Your Child’s School – Before the year starts, map out the safest route available to and from your child’s school. For example, if possible, avoid busy intersections and streets with a high volume of traffic. If you have a choice between an intersection that utilizes a morning and afternoon crossing guard and one that does not, always use the one with the crossing guard. Finally, choose a route that minimizes the number of times that your child is required to cross the street.
  • Make Sure Your Child Wears Bright Colors and is Visible – In order for motorists to be able to avoid pedestrians and bicyclist, they need to be able to see them. Children are often difficult to see to begin with due to the fact that they are smaller than adults, so it is imperative to make sure your child wears bright colors when he or she is walking or biking to and from school. As the majority of the year occurs during months where your child will be wearing a jacket or coat, one of the easiest ways to accomplish this is to buy a brightly colored coat. If any part of your child’s commute happens when it is dark out, give him or her a flashlight to carry or make sure his or her bike is outfitted with a both a headlight and a taillight.
  • Clearly Express the Safety Rules Your Child is Expected to Follow – It is critical to make sure your child is aware of the rules that you expect him or her to follow on the way to or from school. For example, make it clear that your child can only use the route that you have approved and that he or she should never run out into the street. If possible, make sure that your child has a friend or friends with whom he or she will plan on walking or biking with each day. Finally, make it clear that your child should not run, push, or chase other children when they are near the roadway.

What Should You Do if Your Child is Injured on the Way to or from School?

Unfortunately, accidents are bound to happen even under the best of circumstances, and it is impossible to reduce the risk of injury for anyone who commutes anywhere to zero, no matter how much want to.  In the event that your child is injured on the way to or from school, there are certain steps you can take to ensure that his or her legal rights to recover compensation are protected. Some of these include the following:

  • Have Your Child see a Physician Immediately – This step is important even if you do not think that your child has been serious injured. Injuries like mild concussions1 or whiplash2 may not be apparent right away but have the potential to cause serious and long-term complications. If you wait to have them diagnosed even for a few days, it can be difficult to prove they were caused by your child’s accident, jeopardizing his or her right to compensation.
  • Call a Lawyer – If your child has been injured in an accident, you should retain legal counsel as soon as his or her condition is stable. Retaining an attorney will ensure that your rights are protected and that your child obtains the full value of his or her legal claim.

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

If you or your child has been injured in an accident that you think may have been caused by someone else’s carelessness or negligence, you should speak with an attorney as soon as you can. In many cases, victims are able to recover compensation for a variety of losses, including their medical bills, lost income, loss of future earning potential, property damage, and physical and emotional pain and suffering, among others. To learn more about how a skilled Philadelphia personal injury lawyer can help you, call The Levin Firm today at 215-825-5183 or send us and email through our online contact form.

1 http://www.cdc.gov/traumaticbraininjury/symptoms.html

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

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June 3, 2016

Store Liability for a Slip and Fall Accident

fall in a store

Any store that welcomes customers onto the property has a duty to keep them reasonably safe. An “unreasonable” condition that contributes to a fall can lead to an injury claim against the store.  Whether it’s a “big box” nationwide chain, a grocery chain or a local independent retailer, any business that invites the public onto its premises is obligated to take certain steps to keep customers out of harm’s way. Customers who are injured in slip and fall accidents on store premises may have a valid legal claim against the business.

Duty to Maintain Safe Premises

Like all businesses that open themselves up to the public, stores are legally obligated to maintain reasonably safe premises[1] for the protection of their customers. When a slip and fall accident happens at a department store, grocery store, or even a local “mom and pop”, the business may be liable for injuries if it can be shown that the slip and fall occurred due to unsafe conditions on the property. The store’s responsibility for compensating a customer who slipped and fell usually depends on the specific facts of the particular accident, but there are a few common conditions that lead to slip and fall accidents in stores.

Common In-Store Slip and Fall Accidents

Injuries from slip and falls at a store can happen for a variety of reasons. A customer might fall on in the entry way of the store or could trip over an errant floor mat. Items on display might be haphazardly placed and can fall in the pathway of a customer. The store might have poor lighting leading to poor visibility, or a prior customer’s spilled beverage could have left a puddle in an aisle. The possibilities are endless, but regardless of the cause of the slip and fall accident, the legal responsibility of the store will depend on whether it had, or should have reasonably had, notice of the unsafe condition and failed to take prompt action to fix the problem.

Holding the Store Liable for Damages

A store can be responsible for unsafe conditions under a few different legal theories. The store owner may be liable if it created the unsafe condition, by using a slippery clearer on the floors for example.  The owner may also be liable if it knew of the condition, even if it did not create it, but failed to take steps to remedy it. For instance, if one customer spills a drink in an aisle, and another customer injures her back after slipping on the puddle and falling on the floor, the store may be liable for the injury. In that circumstance, the injured person will have to show some evidence that the store knew or should have reasonably known of the condition. There must be some evidence that the spill sat there long enough for the store to have become aware of its presence and have a reasonable opportunity to clean it up and prevent an accident. The injured party may also demonstrate that the store knew or should have known that spilled products were common, but failed to have a system in place for monitoring and cleaning up such spills.

What Should You do After a Slip and Fall Accident at a Store?

After your slip and fall accident in a store, it is important to record everything that happened immediately while it is fresh in your mind:

  • Take photos of the area
  • Note any warning signs, conditions of the floor, conditions of the products or aisles near you and any other factor that contributed to the slip and fall
  • Get the names and contact information of witnesses to the incident
  • Write down the names of every store employee who spoke to you
  • Write down all of the facts as soon as you are able to do so.

Representatives and employees from the store will not help you on this matter.  You need to take matters into your own hands when gathering the evidence necessary to prove the business was at fault for your slip and fall accident so that you can review all of the information with a Philadelphia slip and fall accident attorney as soon a possible.

Contact a Philadelphia Slip and Fall Accident Attorney

At the Levin Firm, our team of highly skilled slip and fall accident attorneys can review your case and obtain the compensation you are entitled to receive for injuries as well as lost wages and other damages. Please call 215-825-5183 to schedule a free consultation today or call our toll free number at 877-825-8542.

References

[1] https://govt.westlaw.com/pac/Document/N1BD052C03EC111DCB090E72F2BA450B5?viewType=FullText&originationContext=documenttoc&transitionType=CategoryPageItem&contextData=(sc.Default)&bhcp=1

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May 20, 2016

Vision Problems Caused by Brain Injury

Vision problems after accident

 

Research estimates that 80-85 percent of an individual’s perception, learning, cognition, and activities are mediated through vision. It can be challenging, therefore, for anyone suffering from vision issues[1] after a brain injury.

Common Forms of Vision Problems After TBI

In general, 20-40 percent of people with traumatic brain injury (TBI) experience related vision disorders[2]. Some vision-related issues can be permanent while others resolve quickly. The extent and nature of the vision disorder is based, in part, upon the unique brain injury. Vision can be broken down into the following:

  • Visual motor abilities, including alignment, refers to “eye posture”, meaning the direction in which the eyes point. For example, if the eyes are straight and aligned, the eye posture is normal.
  • Visual perception is the ability to interpret information and surroundings from visible light reaching the eye.
  • Visual acuity refers to clarity of sight.
  • Visual field can include various different types of vision field loss.Optometrists Network [3] sets forth a list of vision related problems after a traumatic brain injury:
  • Blurred vision
  • Sensitivity to light, glare sensitivity
  • Reading difficulties; words appear to move
  • Comprehension difficulty
  • Attention and concentration difficulty
  • Memory difficulty
  • Double vision
  • Aching eyes
  • Headaches with visual tasks
  • Inability to maintain visual contact or focus
  • Reduction or loss of visual field (Visual Field Loss)
  • Difficulties with eye movements, such as:

eye tracking ability, shifting gaze quickly from one point to the other, focusing, eye alignment, eye teaming, and depth perception.

Techniques for Vision Problems Caused by TBI

There are various techniques and strategies to help people with vision problems[4] after TBI. They can include the following:

  • Prescription glasses: Corrective glasses can be used to assist with blurry vision.
  • Magnification: Glasses that magnify objects can be helpful for up close activities such as reading and using a cellular telephone.
  • Prism glasses: Prism glasses are specialized glasses with a prism ground into or put onto the lens. The prism changes the way that the light comes into the eye. This type of glasses can assist with double vision or visual field loss in many instances.
  • Lighting: Implementing better or varying lighting for different environments.
  • Patching: Patching one eye or part of the visual field of one eye to assist with double vision. The patch is placed to eliminate the information that results in the double image from coming into the brain.
  • Technologies: Using assistive technologies to help with activities such as reading or using a computer.
  • Vision therapy: Reteaching the eyes to move and look into missing areas in the vision field.

Other Strategies for Assisting with TBI-Related Vision Problems

  • Take a break: Take a break often when doing tasks that rely on vision. This may be especially important when reading, watching television or using a computer or other electronic device. Look up every 20 minutes and focus on something at least 20 feet away to give your eyes a break.
  • Avoid bothersome light sources. Fluorescent lights can be irritating to some people. Use natural light whenever possible. Wearing tinted sunglasses, indoors or out, may also provide assistance.
  • Reduce glare. Wearing tinted sunglasses can help with glare. Covering shiny surfaces that reflect light into the eyes is another possibility.
  • Avoid visual overload. Cut down on clutter in your home and at work. Try to keep all the items needed to complete a task together in one place. Designate one storage place for a frequently used item.

Contact a Philadelphia Brain Injury Attorney

The effects of a brain injury can be dramatic especially when it includes vision related problems. If you have vision difficulties after suffering from a brain injury, it is necessary to speak to an experienced Philadelphia brain injury attorney at the Levin Firm. We know how to evaluate your situation based on the facts of your case and to investigate what type of claim can be made on your behalf. Please call 215-825-5183 to schedule a free consultation today or call our toll free number at 877-825-8542.

References

[1] http://www.brainline.org/content/2011/03/vision-and-rehabilitation-after-brain-trauma-part-1-.html

[2] http://www.brainline.org/content/2010/02/vision-issues-after-brain-injury-brainline-talks-with-dr-gregory-goodrich.html

[3] http://www.optometrists.org/about_optometrists.html

[4] http://www.msktc.org/tbi/factsheets/Vision-Problems-And-Traumatic-Brain-Injury

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March 21, 2016

I was exposed to asbestos at work – Now what?

Asbestos Attorney

 

While the link between asbestos and serious health problems like mesothelioma has been well established, many employees still have questions concerning asbestos such as the following:

  • What is asbestos?
  • In which occupations are you most likely to encounter significant levels of asbestos?
  • What steps can be taken to protect employees from mesothelioma and other health problems linked to asbestos exposure?

Below are some answers to your questions relating to asbestos.

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring, fibrous material that has been used in many industries and occupations for decades. But, long before its popularity in industry peaked, asbestos became linked to health problems, and over the years thousands of workers have developed a deadly asbestos-related disease called mesothelioma. Asbestos has been classified as a cancer-causing substance.

Asbestos in the Workplace

Everyone breathes in trace amounts of asbestos each day, but because asbestos fibers can be inhaled, even short-term exposure to high levels of asbestos while on the job can lead to breathing problems, coughing, and shortness of breath. It comes as no surprise that the most severe health risks come from long-term exposure to asbestos on the job.  In many instances, older people who may have spent decades in the workplace before safety measures were developed to protect employees from asbestos exposure are at even greater risk.

Serious health problems related to asbestos exposure include:

  • Lung cancer
  • Mesothelioma
  • Asbestosis
  • Colorectal and gastrointestinal cancers
  • Abnormalities in the lining of the chest cavity

Jobs With Greater Risk of Asbestos Exposure

Exposure to asbestos is still quite common in some lines of work. Here’s a list of occupations and industries that have traditionally seen workers exposed to significant levels of asbestos:

  • Construction
  • Shipbuilding
  • Paper mills
  • Mining
  • Heating and cooling equipment repair
  • Automotive repair
  • Manufacture of products containing asbestos
  • Roofing
  • Janitorial

Your Rights

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and other workplace safety agencies were established to carefully regulate and monitor asbestos exposure on the job.  So more than likely your employer is legally required to take certain steps to protect you and your coworkers from any health risks involving asbestos.

Depending on the industry you work in and the specifics of your job, you may be legally entitled to receive the following protections from asbestos exposure while on the job:

  • Training of employees who will be working with and around asbestos
  • Properly ventilated workspaces
  • Monitoring of employees for asbestos exposure levels
  • Warning signs and instructions in areas where asbestos-related work is performed
  • Protective clothing like coveralls, gloves, foot coverings, face shields, and goggles
  • Protective equipment like respirators
  • Showers and other post-exposure precautions
  • Medical examinations for certain workers who are exposed to high levels of asbestos.

Who Is Legally Responsible?

If jobs you have held involved working with or around significant amounts of asbestos, you may have questions about lawsuits regarding exposure to asbestos.  Generally speaking, if an employee suffers from health problems that are caused by asbestos in the workplace, a lawsuit would be filed against some or all of the following parties:

  • The company that manufactured the asbestos or any protective equipment that failed to work properly
  • Owners of the premises where the work was being performed
  • Contractors and sub-contractors involved in the work being performed.

At The Levin Firm, we understand that representing workers’ compensation claimants requires particular types of skills and knowledge, as well as ability to understand your rights as an employee. We understand these issues, and work with our clients, their friends and family, as well as their doctors, psychologists, long-term care planners, and others – to ensure that our clients receive not only the finest legal representation, but also the finest support and medical care.

Workers’ compensation claims are complex, and require attorneys who understand how to navigate the system, and who are willing to explain the status of your case to you every step of the way. At The Levin Firm, we investigate every claim so that we may aggressively and zealously represent our clients and obtain the best possible results.

When you need a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania or New Jersey personal injury attorney to represent you, a family member or friend who has been injured at work, contact The Levin Firm at (215) 825-5183We represent every client zealously in order to obtain the best results possible in each case.

Sources:

1.      http://www.levininjuryfirm.com/practice-areas/workplace-injuries/workers-compensation/

2.      http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/free-books/employee-rights-book/chapter12-3.html

3.      http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/workers-compensation

4.      http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/getting-fair-amount-from-your-workers-comp-settlement.html

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November 23, 2015

Mental Health Issues can Affect Truck Driver Performance

 

Philadelphia Truck Accident Attorney

Commercial truck drivers are charged with operating extraordinarily large tractor-trailers, flatbed trucks, tankers, and other commercial vehicles at high speeds alongside small cars and other passenger vehicles on a regular basis. When a collision occurs, commercial trucks can cause catastrophic and often fatal injuries to motorists in smaller vehicles. Because of the significant risks of these collisions, it is critical that every commercial driver is in the appropriate mental state every time they get behind the wheel.

Despite the importance of proper mental health, many commercial drivers continue to work operating large trucks even though they know they suffer from emotional or mental conditions [1] that may affect their concentration, judgment, and other important faculties. Perhaps more concerning is the fact that, instead of seeking professional assistance, many truck drivers try to mask their mental health issues through self-medication. These drivers use alcohol or illegal controlled substances to regulate their thoughts and moods. Instead of stabilizing mental health, substance abuse often makes a person’s mental state even worse.

There is no excuse for commercial drivers to put other motorists at risk because they continue to drive with mental health issues and without seeking a proper mental health evaluation. Anyone who has sustained injuries in an accident due to a negligent truck driver should discuss their situation with a Philadelphia truck accident attorney as soon as possible.

Common mental health issues in truck drivers

Commercial truck driving is not an easy job. It involves controlling large vehicles for long hours alone on often monotonous strips of highway. Because the job conditions can cause boredom and loneliness, it is understandable that certain drivers may develop mental or emotional conditions. The National Institute of Health (NIH) conducted a study that indicated that a substantial number of drivers of commercial vehicles suffer from mental health conditions, including the following:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Chronic loneliness
  • Chronic insomnia or other sleep disturbances
  • Personality disorders
  • Other types of emotional impairments and issues

All of the above have the potential to affect a driver’s judgment, focus, decision-making abilities, and more. Additionally, some mental health issues can lead to recklessness or even aggression on the road, which can be highly dangerous.

FMCSA has mental health requirements

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has medical requirements [2] to ensure that all individuals are in adequate health to operate a large vehicle before they can get or renew their commercial driver’s license. Drivers must undergo a thorough medical exam conducted by a medical professional approved by the FMCSA. In addition to looking for any dangerous physical health problems, these examiners should also look for any potential mental health issues, as well. Doctors should consider the mental and emotional effects and demands of truck driving when determining whether to sign off on a particular driver’s health. A driver may need to undergo a psychiatric evaluation in order to meet these requirements. If a driver does have a mental condition but is taking the proper medication to regulate it and the medication does not impair their other faculties, a driver may still be approved depending on the other circumstances present.

Even if a driver initially passed the medical exam, they still need to report if they begin suffering from any mental health issues and should always seek proper treatment. Furthermore, if a trucking company believes that one of its drivers is having problems with their mental or emotional health, the company should require the driver to be evaluated and to receive any recommended treatment for a mental health diagnosis before they can continue driving. If a truck driver or their employer continues to allow the driver to operate a commercial vehicle knowing that mental instability may exist, they should be held liable for all injuries and losses that result from an accident.

Contact an experienced Philadelphia truck accident attorney today

There is no excuse for a truck driver who is operating a commercial truck with a mental or emotional problem that may hider their ability to safely drive the vehicle. Doing so is extraordinarily dangerous and puts the safety of everyone else on the road at risk. Following an accident, it is important to consider the health of the driver to determine whether that could have contributed to or caused the collision. At The Levin Firm, we understand the many possible causes of truck accidents and will investigate to identify any possible negligent acts in your case. Please call for a free consultation at 215-825-5183 today.

[1] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22757596

[2] http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/title49/section/391.43

 

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November 16, 2015

Issues with Crash Avoidance Technology

PHILADELPHIA PERSONAL INJURY LAWYERS

Auto manufacturers are constantly trying to come up with new systems and features to offer in their models to attract customers. Due to an increased concern about vehicle safety over the past couple of decades, manufacturers have specifically looked for ways to both protect motorists in the event of a crash and to try to prevent crashes from happening in the first place. One feature commonly offered on cars and SUVs is crash avoidance technology.

There are many different types of crash avoidance technologies offered on different types of vehicles. For example, the following are some features a vehicle may have:

  • Electronic stability control – This older system detects when a driver has lost steering control due to skidding or other loss of traction. The system then automatically reduces engine power and/or applies individual brakes in a manner that allows a driver to regain control
  • Collision warning systems – These systems use laser, camera, or radar sensors to determine if a moving vehicle is coming too close to another vehicle or object and then warns the driver of an imminent crash so the driver and apply the brakes or steer to avoid the collision.
  • Automatic emergency braking and/or steering systems – If these systems detect an imminent collision, the vehicle autonomously applies the brakes or steers the vehicle out of the path of the danger. Generally, braking will occur at lower speeds and steering will occur at higher speeds.

Though these systems do not always completely prevent a front collision, in many situations, a resulting impact may be much less severe than if the driver had no warning or assistance at all. Other examples of crash prevention systems include warnings when a driver is about to back over something, warnings when speed is too high on a curve, warnings when a driver is departing their lane, and systems that detect vehicles or objects in a driver’s blind spot.

Effectiveness of crash avoidance systems

The Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) have touted the general effectiveness of these systems in avoiding crashes. For example, IIHS research showed that electronic stability control technology can reduce the risk of rollover accidents by up to 80 percent and the risk of fatal accidents by over 30 percent. [1] Some front crash prevention systems were found to reduce insurance claims for bodily injury by approximately 29 percent. [2]

These crash avoidance technologies are often only included in the more expensive models an auto manufacturer may offer. However, because of the largely successful results of these systems thus far, ten different auto manufacturers have recently pledged [3] to begin including automatic emergency braking technology as standard on every new vehicle they build. These manufacturers include:

  • Audi
  • Ford
  • Mazda
  • Toyota
  • Volvo
  •  BMW
  • General Motors
  • Mercedes-Benz
  • Tesla
  • Volkswagon

You cannot always rely on crash avoidance systems

Though these systems do protect motorists from accidents and resulting injuries, they are not infallible. If fact, the following are some things of which motorists using these systems should be aware:

  • Systems can malfunction – Like any other part of a motor vehicle, these systems can be defective and may malfunction. If a driver is relying on this technology to avoid a crash and is used to the warning system, they may not be paying as close of attention to the road. If they come upon a vehicle or obstacle and do not hear a warning due to a malfunction, they may react less instinctively than they normally would because they are used to the warnings. Additionally, if these systems malfunction and apply the brakes or steer the vehicle when it is not necessary to avoid a crash, it could even cause a collision.
  • Weather conditions can affect performance – Sensors that detect a potential crash may not work in any type of adverse weather condition such as rain, snow, sleet, or fog. Since these types of weather conditions often increase the risk of crashes in the first place, the failure of this technology can lead to serious crashes and injuries.
  • These systems cannot compensate for driver negligence –  No matter how effective a crash avoidance system may be, it cannot prevent accidents that are caused by other negligent drivers, so motorists should always be vigilant when on the roads.

Contact an experienced Philadelphia auto accident attorney today

If you have been in a crash due to failed equipment, a negligent driver, or any other reason, please do not hesitate to call a qualified car accident lawyer at The Levin Firm at 215-825-5183 for a free consultation today.

[1] http://www.iihs.org/iihs/news/desktopnews/electronic-stability-control-could-prevent-nearly-one-third-of-all-fatal-crashes-and-reduce-rollover-risk-by-as-much-as-80-effect-is-found-on-single-and-multiple-vehicle-crashes

[2] http://www.iihs.org/iihs/sr/statusreport/article/50/7/2

[3] http://www.iihs.org/iihs/news/desktopnews/u-s-dot-and-iihs-announce-historic-commitment-from-10-automakers-to-include-automatic-emergency-braking-on-all-new-vehicles

 

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October 27, 2015

Emotional Injuries Following a Motor Vehicle Accident

PA Car Accident Lawyer

Following a motor vehicle accident, attention should be immediately paid to a victim’s physical injuries. Emergency treatment and stabilization are key in improving a victim’s chance of survival and preventing complications. Treatment for physical injuries may be ongoing for a significant period of time, especially if a victim requires surgical procedures or rehabilitative therapy. While physical injuries can be serious, focus should also be turned to a victim’s psychological well-being and to any emotional injuries they may have suffered as a result of the motor vehicle accident.

Psychological effects of injuries

Many emotional and psychological effects may result from physical injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident. Some factors that can cause emotional injuries include:

  • Pain – Some serious injuries cause chronic and long-lasting pain that even painkillers cannot completely relieve. Experiencing such ongoing pain can significantly wear on a victim and can have psychological effects, including depression.
  • Disabilities and impairments – Many injuries cause victims to experience a range of disabilities or impairments that can limit their activities and abilities to work or care for themselves. Even if disabilities or impairments are temporary, having to rely on others or not being able to earn a living for a period of time can cause emotional distress. Victims of permanent disabilities or impairments may experience even more severe emotional issues as they must accept their “new” life and learn both physical and emotional coping skills.
  • Disfigurement and scarring – Even after extensive medical treatment, victims of car accidents can be left with permanent scars or disfigurements as a result of their injuries. Such disfigurements can not only cause depression and anxiety due to a changed physical appearance but may also cause social anxieties and related fears about reactions to their scars and disfigurement.

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) [1] is most often associated with veterans who were in active combat zones. However, this mental condition can develop following any kind of traumatic event during which you sustained serious physical injury or felt the threat of serious physical injury. Motor vehicle collisions are sudden and often violent events that can result in a car rolling over, chain reaction collisions, being trapped in a vehicle, and other circumstances that can be extremely traumatic. Studies demonstrate [2] that an estimated 9 percent of motor vehicle victims suffer from PTSD as a result of the accident and the percentage is much higher among accident victims who seek treatment for mental conditions.

PTSD can be a debilitating condition that can have the following symptoms and more:

  • Violent nightmares that disrupt sleep patterns.
  • Involuntary wakeful flashbacks that can cause “blackouts” in the victim’s consciousness.
  • Intrusive and recurring memories of the collision.
  • Intense and prolonged periods of distress following a memory, flashback, nightmare, or any other reminder of the collision.
  • Determined avoidance of anything that may remind the victim of the collision, especially riding in a motor vehicle, being around motor vehicles, or even leaving the house.
  • Loss of memory regarding the events of the collision.
  • Alienation from friends and family.
  • Severe lack of interest in usual activities and challenges succeeding in work or school.
  • Patterns of self-blame that may even manifest in self-harm.

In addition to the above symptoms, a significant percentage of motor vehicle accident victims with PTSD also suffer from severe phobias, major depression, anxiety, and/or other mood disorders.

The symptoms and effects of PTSD can have a substantially adverse effect on a sufferer’s life as they may withdraw from jobs, social situations, school, or other previously enjoyed activities. This condition requires a significant amount of psychological therapy and often requires medication during an extensive recovery time. Treatment can be costly and victims may also lose income during recovery.

Call a Philadelphia auto accident attorney for a free consultation

The costs of treatment for emotional and psychological injuries after a motor vehicle accident can be substantial. In addition, if an emotional injury is debilitating, a victim may lose income from missing work or may be temporarily disabled until they receive proper psychological treatments. Just as victims deserve to recover for all medical expenses related to physical injuries, they also deserve to obtain compensation for all losses related to emotional injuries and distress. At The Levin Firm, we understand how substantially an accident can affect your emotional well-being and we will always strive for full compensation for all of your losses. Please call a Philadelphia car accident lawyer today at 215-825-5183 for help.

[1] http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd/index.shtml

[2] http://www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/trauma/other/traumatic-stress-vehicle-accidents.asp

 

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May 27, 2015

Could Philly Be the Next Baltimore?

philly-baltimore

The death of Michael Brown at the hands of law enforcement officer Darren Wilson last summer sparked rioting and aggressive protesting in the town of Ferguson, Missouri. Many people across the United States watched the media coverage and thought, “This would never happen in my hometown.” However, the unrest in Ferguson was only the beginning of protests stemming from unlawful police brutality and unfair treatment of black people by law enforcement. The choking of Eric Garner sparked more protests in New York. Most recently, Baltimore has seen looting, rioting, and both violent and peaceful protests following the death of 25 year-old Freddie Gray after sustaining a fatal spinal injury while in police custody. With protests spreading in different cities around the country, many people may wonder if Philadelphia may be next.

Philly protests in solidarity with Baltimore

On April 30, several hundred individuals in Philadelphia took to the streets in an organized protest to show support for Baltimore and also to speak out against police brutality and unfair treatment in this city. City officials were notified of the plans regarding the “Philadelphia is Baltimore” protest and prepared1 by reassigning police officers, closing the courts early, and similar actions.

Protesters gathered at 4:30 in front of city hall and headed toward Rittenhouse Square. The group headed down Broad Street where some people tried to block traffic by sitting in the road. They then marched on to the federal prison, where they yelled to prisoners “you are not alone” and prisoners responded with flashing lights. The protest went on for several hours.2

Though a police spokesperson stated that police officers were supposed to be primarily concerned with protecting the rights of Philadelphians to peacefully protest, clashes between officers and protesters took place around 7:45 and 8:00 in the evening. Police made several arrests and removed protesters who were believed to be rowdy or physical. The protest naturally dissipated some time later.

Will protests continue?

Though protests were already planned for many other cities including Portland, Oregon and Oakland, California for Friday, May 1st, many residents of Philadelphia wondered whether the protests were over for their hometown. Many signs indicate that Philly may experience repeated or lengthened protests in the coming days and weeks by individuals fighting for their rights to be treated lawfully and fairly by police officers. Even the State Senator and candidate for mayor Anthony H. Williams told the media that people in Philadelphia are “sitting on a powder keg3 that may explode any minute and result in extended protests in the city.

Similarities between two cities

Baltimore and Philadelphia are similar in many ways. Both cities have a number of black individuals holding powerful political and leadership positions, however disproportionately high incarceration and poverty rates persist. It is no surprise that these circumstances lead to individuals banding together to protest the lack of effort by political leaders to equalize the situation for white and black people in Philly.

Distrust of the police

The protests and riots of the past year have stemmed from incidences involving police brutality and violence without proper justification under the law. Many residents on Philadelphia—especially black individuals—already do not trust the police to protect them and instead fear that police may inflict serious or even fatal injury on them during an encounter for no reason. A large number of black residents further believe they are specifically targeted by law enforcement officers, a belief that is justified based on arrest statistics. Such fear and beliefs cause severe strain on the relationship between civilians and cops and can only increase the potential for violent encounters.

Furthermore, the general trust toward the Philadelphia police has severely declined in recent years, mostly due to the exposure of multiple incidences of widespread corruption and mistreatment of civilians. Such growing distrust of law enforcement can only contribute to residents taking action against wrongful acts by police.

Seeking actual change

The main question now is whether the leaders and candidates in Philadelphia will be smart enough to effectively initiate and continue a meaningful dialogue with dissatisfied residents about concrete change, as officials have failed to do in other cities. Simply making a public statement that leaders want and support change is not enough to satisfy protesters. Instead, current and future politicians should fully demonstrate how they are striving for actual change or they should expect to see numerous protests continuing over the coming weeks and months.

References:

1http://www.phillymag.com/news/2015/04/30/officials-ready-philly-is-baltimore-protest/
2http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/Protest-City-Hall-Evening-Transit-301853251.html
3http://www.phillymag.com/citified/2015/04/30/baltimore-riots-protests-philadelphia/

 

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