April 19, 2018

Choose the Right Type of Motorcycle for Your Safety

motorcycle accident lawyer in pa

Motorcycle accidents are among the deadliest on our roads. As such, it’s imperative that you make safety your top concern every time you ride. Choosing a bike that’s not only right for you but that’s also safer for you is a great place to start. 

The Sobering Statistics

Before choosing your ride, carefully consider the dangers inherent to motorcycles. The Insurance Information Institute shares the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) motorcycle accident statistics based on overall miles traveled in 2015:

  • Motorcyclists were 29 times more likely than car occupants to be killed in traffic accidents (40 percent of these accident victims weren’t wearing helmets).
  • Motorcyclists were five times more likely to be injured in traffic accidents.

In addition to not wearing a helmet, factors that significantly increased the odds of being injured in a bike accident include being 60 or older, speeding, and riding while impaired. Riders should always remain alert and drive defensively. Be aware that many drivers simply do not see motorcycles.

If a driver who was not paying attention to motorcycles on the road caused an accident that left you injured, you need skilled legal counsel. These claims can be complicated and the process can seem overwhelming, especially when you are injured. The dedicated legal team at The Levin Firm in Philadelphia has the determination, skill, and experience handling motorcycle accident claims to help you recover fair compensation for your injuries after an accident.

Choosing the Right Bike

Finding a bike that’s right for your skill level is an important factor to take into consideration when choosing a bike. Consumer Reports shares some tips on how to make the safest choice:

Choose a Bike You Can Handle Safely

If you’re new to riding or haven’t been on a bike in a while, you may be surprised to experience the power that new models—even those with smaller engines—can pack. The bikes of today are decidedly faster and more powerful than bikes of yesteryear. When it comes to choosing a bike that’s right for you, make sure that you’re not purchasing more bike than you can safely handle.

Fit is an important factor when choosing a motorcycle. When you’re seated atop a bike that’s a good fit, both your feet should rest comfortably flat on the ground. If you’re on your tiptoes, the bike’s too big. The handlebars and controls should be comfortably within your reach. Test drive and get a good feel for how the bikes you’re considering handle, and choose one that you can easily mount and dismount from the center stand. A good point to remember is that a bike that feels too heavy probably is too heavy.

Engine size also matters. A smaller 250-cc to 300-cc engine can be a great place to start. These bikes are convenient for commuters and easier—and thus safer—to handle. If you’re looking to rack up a lot of highway miles, however, you may want to consider a bike with an engine in the 500-cc to 750-cc range that allows you to safely keep up with highway traffic.

Choose a Bike with Antilock Brakes

Antilock brakes are available on many motorcycle models and are proven to save lives. The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety reports that the fatality rate for motorcycles that are equipped with optional antilock brakes is 31 percent lower than for the same motorcycle models that aren’t equipped with the option. The Institute explains that braking a motorcycle is more complex than braking a car. On a motorcycle, braking too hard can cause your bike’s wheels to lock up and send you into to skid. Braking inadequately is likewise obviously dangerous.

An antilock braking system allows you to apply full pressure to the brakes without risking a lockup. This safety mechanism automatically decreases pressure when a lockup is imminent and reapplies the pressure when traction is restored and it’s safe to do so.

Some Bikes Are More Dangerous than Others

The Institute also reports that some types of motorcycles are simply more dangerous than others. So-called supersport bikes are associated with a fatality rate that’s four times that of standard motorcycles and cruisers. Supersport motorcycles mimic racing bikes, with lightweight engines and amped-up horsepower. Remember those features may make a bike more dangerous when you choose a bike that’s right for you. Stick to a model that’s built for fun and safety—not just for speed.

Educate Yourself

Getting the training that you need to operate your bike safely is perhaps even more important than choosing the right bike. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation, which is sponsored by motorcycle manufacturers and distributors, partners with NHTSA, state governments, and other organizations to help improve motorcycle safety through training, education, and licensing. The emphasis of this training is riding within your skill limitations; wearing appropriate safety gear; and riding sober. While these courses focus on safety basics, they can also help you learn advanced techniques, such as how to perform emergency evasion maneuvers.

Protect Your Brain

Finally, never ride without a helmet. Helmets save lives and reduce the incidence of brain injuries. Choose a helmet that provides full protection. Consumer Reports relays that full-faced helmets approved by the Department of Transportation are the safest option.

If You’ve Been Injured in a Motorcycle Accident, You Need an Experienced Philadelphia Motorcycle Accident Attorney

Motorcycle accidents are extremely dangerous and often cause serious injuries. Always be on the lookout for distracted drivers and drivers who just don’t see motorcycles. If another driver’s negligence causes a motorcycle accident and you are injured, make sure you get the right legal team on your side. At The Levin Firm in Philadelphia, we are dedicated to helping people who have been injured in accidents recover. Our lawyers have over 50 years of combined experience working to help Philadelphia accident victims. We have the skill, knowledge, and commitment to fight for your rights and fair compensation. We’re here to help, so please contact or call us at 215-825-5183 today.

April 16, 2018

What Happens When Drivers Don’t Slow Down in a Storm

Car Accident Attorney PA

Nearly any kind of storm can cause the roads to become treacherous and slippery – or even to become impassible. Dangerous accidents become more likely when temperatures drop and roads ice over. When winds are high, and snow, ice, or rain is coming down, drivers may also be unable to see a safe distance ahead of them, making driving in slick conditions that much more dangerous. When drivers fail to accommodate for these adverse conditions by slowing down, they endanger everyone on the road.

Slow Down

The National Weather Service (NWS) advises drivers to slow down for bad weather. Even if the road only looks wet, it can still be slippery and dangerous. The NWS shares that there are more than 6,000 weather-related fatalities on U.S. roadways every year. When drivers fail to take this most-basic driving advice seriously and refuse to slow down when roads are affected by inclement weather, they endanger themselves and others.

If another driver fails to slow down in stormy weather and causes an accident that leaves you injured, you need skilled legal counsel. The experienced legal team at The Levin Firm has the skill, knowledge, and commitment to help navigate your claim toward its most positive resolution, so please contact or call us at 215-825-5183 today. Our dedicated car accident attorneys are here to help.

Speed Kills

Even in the best conditions, speed kills. Drivers who speed increase the distance necessary for their cars to brake safely and decrease the amount of time they have to react safely to dangerous conditions. The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that in 2015, drivers who were speeding in the U.S. killed over 9,500 people. Additionally, speed has played a significant role in about a third of traffic fatalities for more than 20 years.

Weather Events and Roads

Failing to slow down during inclement weather is even more dangerous. When a driver fails to slow down on icy roads, the danger associated with speeding grows exponentially. The Department of Transportation (DOT) reports that stormy weather can impair visibility, affect a driver’s capacity to drive, reduce vehicle performance (with decreased traction, stability, and maneuverability), decrease pavement friction, increase crash risks, and alter traffic flow. The DOT shares these startling statistics regarding weather-related accidents:

  • About 22 percent of all accidents are weather-related. Weather-related accidents are defined as those that happen during adverse weather (including rain, sleet, snow, fog, severe crosswinds, and blowing precipitation, sand, or debris) or those accidents that occur on pavement made slick by rain, snow/slush, or ice.
  • Most weather-related accidents occur on wet pavement and when it’s raining (73 percent on wet pavement and 46 percent when it’s raining).

Because weather-related accidents represent a serious threat to everyone on the road, it is incumbent on all drivers to regulate their speed accordingly during stormy conditions.

In Frigid Temperatures

If you’re involved in a car accident during a winter storm with frigid temperatures, the NWA provides several tips to help you remain safe while you wait for help to arrive:

  • First and foremost, stay inside your vehicle. Wind-driven snow and ice can quickly disorient you if you get out of your vehicle.
  • Run your motor for about 10 minutes every hour for heat (crack a window to allow in fresh air to help ward off carbon monoxide poisoning).
  • Clear snow from your exhaust pipe to ward off gas poisoning.
  • Make sure your car is visible to oncoming traffic by turning on the dome light when you’re running your engine (at night) or by tying a brightly colored cloth to your antenna (in daylight).
  • When the snow stops falling, raise your hood to signal that you need help.
  • Icy and/or snow-obstructed roads combined with plummeting temperatures are extremely dangerous. Don’t attempt to walk away from your car to seek help.

Stay Safe Out There

Bad weather can crop up unexpectedly, and it’s important to be prepared when it does. Steps that you can take to help keep yourself and your loved ones safe when you’re driving in dangerous conditions include:

  • Slow down to a speed that’s appropriate for the conditions of the road—even if it means slowing to a crawl. If the weather warrants, find a safe place to wait out the storm.
  • Be prepared by keeping a fully stocked storm-survival kit in your vehicle.
  • Keep your tires in good repair—your vehicle’s tires are your point of connection with the road and are critical to maintaining traction in wet or slick conditions.
  • If your car does go into a skid, remain calm and stay focused. While it’s natural for panic to wash over you in a driving emergency, it helps if you know how to handle such a situation. Let up on the gas, stay off your brakes, steer smoothly in the direction you want the front wheels to go, and don’t apply the brakes or gas until you’ve regained control of your car.

When the weather turns, it’s important to remember that it’s going to take you longer to get where you’re going. Allow yourself plenty of time, and take all the necessary precautions. Always make traveling safely your top priority.

If You’ve Been Injured in a Weather-Related Car Accident, Consult With a Skilled Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyer Today

Bad weather demands reduced speeds. If another driver’s failure to abide by this safety rule causes an accident and you were injured, you need a skilled car accident attorney. These accident claims are often complicated. Your rights and fair compensation for your injuries are too important not to aggressively advocate for the best possible outcome. At The Levin Firm in Philadelphia, our dedicated car accident attorneys have the experience, knowledge, and commitment to help guide your claim toward just resolution and help ensure you are fairly compensated for your injuries, while you focus on your recovery. We’re here to help, so please contact or call us at 215-825-5183 today.

April 13, 2018

Been in a Crash? Know Your Rights

Auto Accident Lawyer PA

Car accidents are dangerous and frightening. If another driver’s negligence has left you injured, it can be devastating. It’s important to remember, however, that no matter how difficult your situation seems, you have rights. Knowing your rights after a car accident can help you better navigate the often-complicated claim process and you should have an experienced car accident attorney who can help.

Car Insurance In PA

Pennsylvania is a choice no-fault car insurance state, which means that you can choose the type of car insurance coverage you want to purchase. While a no-fault policy is less expensive, it means that your own insurance company will cover a claim no matter who is at fault, but you can only collect financial damages unless you’ve incurred an extremely serious injury. A more traditional policy, on the other hand, requires you to seek recovery from the at-fault party’s insurance company and allows recovery for pain and suffering. These insurance claims may be complicated, but a skilled car accident attorney can help ensure that you recover fair compensation for your damages.

If a negligent driver has left you injured, consult with an experienced car accident lawyer to discuss your rights today. Your claim is too important to leave to either chance or the insurance company. The dedicated legal team at The Levin Firm in Philadelphia is here to help guide your car accident claim toward the compensation to which you’re entitled.

The Car Insurance Company

You purchased car insurance to cover you in case you were ever in an accident. Now, you’ve been in an accident, and it’s your right to recover compensation for your injuries. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that insurance companies are in the business of making profits, which can mean making lowball offers, cutting corners, dropping claims, and minimizing payouts. Don’t take the path of least resistance by accepting the first settlement offer the insurance company makes. You have the right to be compensated in full for your injuries, so don’t accept anything less. A skilled car accident attorney can help aggressively advocate for your rights negotiating with the insurance company to help ensure a fair settlement.

Protect Your Claim

If another driver’s negligence has left you injured, you should know how to protect your claim. If the insurance company is not forthcoming with a fair settlement, you can take certain steps to help protect your claim. The first step is to collect comprehensive evidence at the scene of the accident (or have a bystander do it for you). Ways to collect evidence include:

  • Use your smartphone to take pictures and videos of the accident from every angle. Don’t forget to include a picture that depicts the vehicles in relation to each other and pictures that capture both vehicles’ license plates.
  • Gather eyewitness testimonies and contact information.
  • Sketch the scene of the accident, including the exact location of the accident, the direction the vehicles were traveling, the damage to the cars and any other property damage.
  • Note any circumstances that may have affected the accident, such as adverse weather, bad road conditions, or inadequate signage.
  • As soon after the accident, as you can, jot down your recollections about how the accident happened and include as many details as possible. Car accidents are often overwhelming, and the mayhem that ensues can quickly blur your memory. Notes made at the time of the accident can help you remember pertinent details and help your car accident attorney better guide your claim.

What Not to Do

While there are several things you can do to protect your rights, there are also things you should avoid:

  • Even though it may seem natural to apologize after an accident, even when it was not your fault, resist the urge. Your apology may be used later as an admission of fault.
  • Try not to talk about the accident with people at the scene. Anything you say may adversely impact your claim later.
  • You are not obligated to provide the other driver’s insurance company with a statement. Any statement you give has the potential to be misconstrued as an admission of fault on your part. If someone from the other driver’s insurance company contacts you, direct them to your attorney. An experienced car accident attorney can handle the insurance company’s requests for information.
  • While you may be obligated to make a statement on the record to your own insurance company, your attorney can help walk you through the process and provide you with the tools necessary to give a truthful and on-point statement.
  • Don’t assume that you are not injured just because you feel fine after an accident. Although it’s always in your best interest to obtain medical treatment after a car accident, the mayhem of the accident can leave you feeling dazed and confused enough to simply want to go home instead. But some injuries don’t show up right away and may not be diagnosed until they become more pronounced. Even if you didn’t seek medical treatment right away, don’t let that stop you from doing so later when symptoms show up.

If You’ve Been Injured in a Car Accident, Discuss Your Rights with an Experienced Philadelphia Car Accident Attorney Today

Being injured in a car accident may be extremely upsetting and overwhelming, but you have rights. Having skilled legal counsel will help you protect those rights and navigate through the complicated process of recovering at trial or through settlement. Meeting with a car accident attorney does not necessarily mean that your claim will eventually end up in court; your attorney may be able to negotiate and expedite a rapid settlement with an insurance company instead. Your car accident lawyer will discuss the unique circumstances of your claim with you and will help effectively and efficiently guide your case toward equitable resolution of your claims. The dedicated legal team at The Levin Firm in Philadelphia is committed to helping ensure you receive full and fair compensation for your injuries, while you focus on your recovery. Our experienced car accident attorneys are here to help, so please contact or call us at 215-825-5183 today.

April 12, 2018

Distracted Truck Drivers Can Cause Permanent Injuries

Truck Accident Attorneys PA

Trucks swarm our highways and byways for one very important reason – increasing consumer demand. We want things, and trucks deliver them. Meanwhile, truck accidents are some of the most deadly and violent accidents on our roads. Because of their massive size, weight, and limited maneuverability, semi trucks are particularly dangerous when it comes to accident risks. If a trucker makes even a minor miscalculation or driving error, it can be very difficult to correct and lead to a lethal accident.

This is why safely operating a tractor-trailer requires experience and professional driving skills. The people who drive these behemoths are professionals, held to more stringent standards and restrictions than ordinary drivers. If a trucker chooses to drive while distracted from the considerable task of handing a semi task safely and causes an accident, the consequences are all too often lethal.

Distracted Driving: What Is It?

If you drive, you may have allowed your eyes to wander from the road a time or two. Distractions can vary from quite minor, such as turning up the heat or changing the radio station, to incredibly dangerous, such as reading and texting messages on your smartphone.

Distracted driving has become such a significant safety hazard that the U.S. government has dedicated a website to the issue, distraction.gov. The site clarifies that distracted driving is categorized as any driving whereby the driver’s attention is focused on anything other than safe driving. Types of distractions fall in three categories:

  • Visual distractions
  • Manual distractions
  • Cognitive distractions

Smartphone usage is particularly dangerous because it comprises all three types of distraction. For example, texting means the driver is looking away from the road at a cell phone (visual distraction), using at least one hand to navigate screens and enter text (manual distraction), and thinking about that task instead of driving (cognitive distraction). Other types of distracted driving include:

  • Eating and drinking behind the wheel
  • Conversing with passengers
  • Grooming in the rearview mirror
  • Using a navigational device
  • Adjusting console controls, including the radio and the heating system
  • Reading maps (or anything else)
  • Taking and/or making calls
  • Watching a television screen

Distracted Truckers

Distracted drivers are dangerous, no matter what kind of vehicle they drive. But distracted truck drivers are even more dangerous. Trucks are massive, and truckers take on a massive responsibility when they drive them. A fully loaded big rig can tip the scales at 80,000 pounds. When a vehicle of this size crashes with a much smaller car, it places all the occupants of that car in grave danger.

Truckers may be even more likely to engage in distractions while driving to avoid lost time on the road and prevent boredom. Truckers may use at least one ordinary distraction at any given time simply out of habit—such as listening to the radio or nearby trucker radio conversations—and may often engage in several distractions at once, such as using a mapping system while also eating lunch. These types of habits can make distracted truckers particularly dangerous.

Demands of the Job

In addition, truckers often drive under strict deadlines that push them to multi-task while driving. They may be tempted to complete administerial and organizational tasks while behind the wheel just to stay on schedule. These additional distractions include:

  • Maintaining a mandatory trucking log
  • Reading a map or trucking industry paperwork
  • Making calculations related to the trip
  • Using a dispatch device
  • Arranging overnight lodging and coordinating break stops

While these are all tasks necessary to the job, truck drivers who perform them behind the wheel are not paying full attention to the task of driving a semi truck in a safe manner.

Truckers Who Text

When a trucker texts – or otherwise engages with a smartphone – that trucker engages his or her hands, vision, and thoughts on the phone rather than on the critical task of driving safely. Truckers who text are, in fact, so dangerous that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) prohibits truckers from texting behind the wheel.

The FMCSA puts emphasis on this prohibition by going so far as to classify texting within this regulation as “manually entering alphanumeric text into, or reading text from, an electronic device. This includes, but is not limited to, short message services, e-mailing, instant messaging, or pressing more than a single button to start or end a voice communication using a mobile phone.” Put more simply, the FMCSA demands that truckers put their smartphones away—and leave them put away—when they drive.

Legal Consequences

The FMCSA enforces those texting regulations with hefty fines up to $2,750 along with potential revocation of a driver’s commercial trucking license. Because driving is a trucker’s livelihood, these consequences are significant. The ban on texting by the FMCSA is supported by research that finds that truckers who text are over 23 times more likely to cause an accident. The research also finds that drivers who text are essentially driving blind for an average of almost five seconds at a time. Five seconds is more critical for truckers than drivers of other vehicles, because trucks require a much greater distance—and more time—to reach a safe stop. In addition, a trucker who rear-ends a car is much more likely to plow that car forward into another vehicle, causing a multi-car accident with cars crushed between the truck and other vehicles in front. That factor makes texting while trucking even more lethal.

Compensation for Devastating Injuries

Truck accidents, if not deadly, often leave victims with devastating permanent injuries. Injuries commonly associated with these accidents include debilitating brain injuries and paralyzing spinal cord injuries. The physical, emotional, and future effects make quantifying a dollar amount to compensate for these injuries extremely difficult. While no amount of financial compensation can ever return you to your pre-accident self, just compensation can help you better navigate the path toward recovery.

If a Distracted Trucker Has Left You Injured, Consult with a Skilled Philadelphia Truck Accident Attorney Today

If you or someone you care about has been injured by a distracted trucker, you need an attorney with experience in trucking accident cases who can protect your rights and help ensure just recovery for your injuries. At The Levin Firm in Philadelphia, our dedicated legal team has the experience, skill, and compassion to fight for your legal rights, including bring suit against the trucking company if necessary, while you focus on your recovery. We are here to help. Please contact or call us at 215-825-5183 today.

April 9, 2018

Have an Attorney Review Your Insurance Settlement

Car Insurance Lawyers PA

When facing piles of medical bills for injuries after a car accident, you may be tempted to accept the first settlement offer you receive from the insurance company. However, fair compensation that will cover all of your medical bills—not just now, but in the future—is critical to your recovery. Deciding how much you will need is simply too important to leave up to the discretion of insurance company adjusters whose objective is to pay you as little as possible. Instead, you need an experienced car accident attorney to protect your interests. You should discuss your case with an attorney who can evaluate your entitlement to damages and review any insurance settlement offer before accepting it. Because the legal team at The Levin Firm specializes in dealing with car accident cases, we can help ensure that you are fully compensated for your injuries.

A Choice No-Fault Car Insurance State

Car insurance law in Pennsylvania is unique to Pennsylvania, and can be complicated. Pennsylvania is a choice no-fault car insurance state, which means that you can choose the type of coverage you want to purchase. If you carry a traditional policy, which requires the driver at fault to pay all losses, your car accident claim will process through the negligent driver’s insurance company. This type of policy may allow recovery of damages for your pain and suffering. A traditional policy, while more expensive than a no-fault policy, covers your losses no matter who caused the accident. However, these policies typically pay only for financial losses, not for damages for pain and suffering, unless the accident involved extremely serious and traumatic injuries.

Regardless of which kind of coverage you carry, you should consult with a dedicated car accident lawyer to make sure the insurance company offers to pay for everything your policy entitles you to recover. When you’ve been hurt, you shouldn’t have to face the insurance company alone. Even minor car accidents can be costly and it can take a long time to fully recover both physically and financially. A knowledgeable car accident attorney can fight for your rights and handle negotiations with the insurance company to maximize your settlement, while you can focus on your recovery. At The Levin Firm in Philadelphia, our committed car accident lawyers have the experience, skill, and determination to carefully assess your unique claim and recover the compensation to which you’re entitled.

Car Insurance Companies: The Hard Truth

While you’re naturally overwhelmed after a car accident, don’t be lulled into accepting whatever the insurance company offers you. That’s rarely the best choice. Insurance companies are in business to make profit, just like other businesses. Often insurance companies use less than scrupulous methods, like making low-ball offers when you desperately need money to pay rapidly mounting medical bills. Insurance companies may also unreasonably delay processing your claim; deny your claim outright and argue you failed to provide adequate documentation or meet deadlines; or send you minimal payouts to induce you to accept without realizing it can cut off your right to a fair settlement. Don’t let an insurance company take advantage of you when you’ve been hurt. Have an experienced car accident attorney carefully analyze your situation and evaluate any insurance settlement offer under your particular circumstances.

Your Damages

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you’ve most likely accrued significant medical expenses. Although these may vary with the nature of your injuries, your recoverable costs may include:

  • Emergency transportation from the accident scene
  • Treatment in the emergency room
  • Surgery and aftercare
  • Doctor, specialist, and therapist appointments and treatment
  • Prescription medications
  • Ongoing treatment and therapy
  • Adaptive medical devices
  • Home adaptations
  • Ongoing healthcare

While your medical expenses may well be extensive, they are likely not your only losses. If you’ve been injured in an accident, you’ve probably also lost wages and may even experience diminished earning potential. A change in your ability to work can cause especially difficult consequences if you invested your whole life in a career that you are no longer able to do. Having the right attorney who understands these devastating impacts can help you recover and move on with your life despite these challenges.

Pain and Suffering

Although car accidents cause significant financial losses, the pain and suffering you’ve endured should never be discounted. The trauma of being hurt by someone else’s negligence in the blink of an eye is almost impossible to quantify. While no dollar amount can ever return you to your pre-accident self, full and just compensation including amounts for your pain and suffering can help you better navigate toward complete recovery.

Documenting Your Damages

When an insurance company has made a settlement offer, it may seem simplest just to take the offer and try to put your accident behind you. It’s important to remember, however, that the damages emanating from a car accident may be complex and difficult to assess. Several types of documentation may help support your claim for full compensation:

  • Records of all doctor, specialist, and therapist appointments
  • Records of all prescription medications
  • Instructions from doctors, specialists, and therapists
  • Written referrals to specialists and therapists
  • Medical reports
  • Records of all medical procedures
  • Notes from any medical professionals to your employer
  • Records of any lost wages or alterations in your employment

By compiling all relevant data and records related to your injuries, you’ll provide support that your experienced car accident attorney can use quantify how much you deserve to recover and ensure that your insurance settlement is both comprehensive and just.

Protecting Your Claim

If the insurance company has offered you a settlement, don’t let them rush you into accepting it before you’ve even had time to fully recognize the extent of your damages. A car accident attorney will help you better assess your total damages now, as well as those you may experience in the future. With a car accident lawyer’s guidance, you’ll feel more confident and better prepared throughout this often-stressful process. An attorney will help ensure that you avoid the all-too-common mistake of accepting an inadequate settlement offer.

If the Insurance Company Has Made You a Settlement Offer, Consult With an Experienced Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyer Today

The aftermath of a car accident is stressful and complicated. Remember not to jump at the first offer the insurance company makes. While this impulse is understandable, you need a skilled attorney to protect you and fight for your rights. The experienced car accident attorneys at The Levin Firm in Philadelphia have the knowledge and perseverance to aggressively advocate for the compensation you deserve. Our dedicated legal team is here to help you recover from being hurt in an accident. Please contact or call us at 215-825-5183 today.

March 30, 2018

How Long Does It Take to Resolve a Car Accident Case?

Car Accident Lawyer PA

Car accidents can upset and overwhelm anyone—and always leave massively expensive medical bills behind. If an accident injured you, you may feel at a loss for how best to move your case forward—and when to expect it to conclude. An experienced Philadelphia car accident lawyer will help ensure the fair compensation for your damages in a timely manner. Car insurance laws in Pennsylvania are somewhat unique to this state, so it may help to develop a basic understanding of how the process works.

No-Fault Car Insurance

When it comes to car insurance, Pennsylvania implements a no-fault insurance system with a twistcalled Choice. As such, you, as an insured driver, have the choice of whether to purchase a less-expensive no-fault car insurance policy or a traditional car insurance policy thats based on driver liability. Under no-fault insurance coverage, your car insurance company is responsible for covering your damages in a car accident, but your policy will only cover economic damages and will not factor in pain and suffering. There are, however, exceptions built into this system to accommodate for what the law considers a serious injury.

It goes against your best interest to assume that your car insurance companys top priority is your fair compensation. On the contrary, insurance companies are in the business of turning a profit, which means minimizing their payouts by whatever means they can get away withincluding denying or delaying your settlement. If a car accident injured youregardless of the kind of car insurance you carryyou need experienced legal counsel. The dedicated car accident attorneys at The Levin Firm in Philadelphia have the experience, skill, and commitment to effectively and efficiently guide your claim toward its best possible resolution.

Statute of Limitations

First, consider Pennsylvanias statute of limitations. In Pennsylvania, you have exactly two years from the date of your accident to file a suit for personal injury and property damage. Consult an experienced car accident attorney as soon you can after your accident to better protect your claim. Two years may seem like a long time, but a lot of work needs to go into a successful claim, and that time can slip by before you know it.

Your Cases Timeline

Every car accident case is unique, which means that its nearly impossible to predict how long your car accident case will take to fully conclude. Some claims settle relatively quicklywithin a few months or even weekswhile others can take much longer. Your car accident lawyer will endeavor to move your claim forward as efficiently as possible while also protecting your best interests. Furthermore, specific elements of a car accident claim can prolong the process.

Your Injuries

One of the most significant elements of any car accident claim is the kind and severity of injury youve endured. While some injuries follow a fairly obvious path (such as fractured bones typically do), other common, if less predictable, injuries require careful assessments before you can calculate just compensation. Such injuries include whiplash and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).

If you suffered such injuries, your health should reach your maximum medical improvement (MMI), which refers to your fullest recovery, before you consider negotiating your claim.

Because whiplash injuries and TBIs are so closely related to lengthier car-accident timelines, its worth taking a closer look at them.

Whiplash. When your head whips back and forth on your neck (much like the cracking of a whip), it can cause whiplash, a soft-tissue injury of the neck. Rear-end car accidents often lead to whiplash, but any kind of car accident will doeven accidents that occur at slower speeds. Whiplash can present instantaneous symptoms, or its symptoms can develop with time. The pain and diminished range-of-neck-motion associated with a whiplash injury can vary from mild to severe, and these injuries resolve quickly or remain for years (or even the rest of your life). In other words, never minimize or discount whiplash. Your health and your rights are too important to leave to chanceor to an insurance company.

Traumatic brain injuries. A TBI is caused by brain damage, such as commonly happens in car accidents. Your brain is your central command center, and even a seemingly minor injury can leave long-lasting, highly unpredictable physical and emotional consequences. Where a TBI will lead is anyones guess, so its critical that a doctor fully and accurately assesses the consequences of your injury before your attorney proceeds with your car accident claim.

A TBI can cause immense physical damage, altered mental functioning, chronic seizures, altered language abilities, and defective sensory perceptionincluding to your senses of hearing and smell. This all significantly contributes to what makes you uniquely you, and a TBI that changes these things can exacerbate the psychological and emotional effects of such an injury. The damages associated with traumatic brain injuries are difficult to overstate.

Your Damages

If youre injured in a car accidentregardless of the type of injury youre likely to face a range of medical expenses:

  • Emergency transportation from the accident scene
  • Emergency treatments
  • Surgeries and aftercare
  • Hospitalizations
  • Treatments and care from your doctor, specialists, surgeons, and therapists
  • Follow-up care and ongoing care
  • Prescription medications
  • Adaptive medical devices
  • Home adaptations

The expenses associated with a car accident can add up quickly. Obtaining compensation for the injuries that someone else’s negligence caused can at least help pay for those costs.

If a Car Accident Injured You, Consult a Skilled Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyer

If a car accident injured you, youre likely to ask many questionsnot the least of which is, How long until you can resolve my claim?

While every car accident claim is unique and no lawyer can provide an exact answer, an experienced car accident lawyer will help you better understand your cases probable timeline and will help efficiently guide your claim toward just resolution. At The Levin Firm in Philadelphia, we have the experience, commitment, and compassion to help you obtain the compensation to which youre entitled. Were here to help, so please contact or call us at (215) 825-5183 today.

March 29, 2018

Who Is Responsible for a Truck Jackknife?

Truck Accident Lawyer in PA

The massive size and heft of semi-trucks make them especially dangerous when theyre involved in accidents on our highways and byways. In fact, big rigs are responsible for some of the deadliest motor-vehicle accidents. These behemoths of our roadways seem to multiply right in front our eyes, all in response to our ever-increasing consumer demands. With more semis come more accidents, and these include jackknife accidents, which truck driver error can often cause.

Truck Accidents: The Stats

Tractor-trailer accidents are frequently deadly. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found several significant statistics related to commercial truck crashes:

  • In 2015, nearly 4,000 truck-accident fatalities took place in the United States
  • The drivers and passengers who werent in the semi-trucks were far more likely to die in truck accidents than drivers or passengers in the semi-trucks
  • Truck accident fatalities rose by 22 percent in the seven years from 2009 to 2015
  • More than 11 percent of all traffic fatalities in 2015 involved big rigs

These sobering statistics serve to highlight the dangers associated with commercial truck accidents. When you get behind the wheel of your car, remember that you share the road with semi-trucks and always make safety your top priority.

If a truck jackknife accident injured you, consult an experienced truck accident attorney as soon as possible. Your rights and your rightful compensation are far too important to leave to chance. The dedicated legal team at The Levin Firm in Philadelphia is committed to helping truck-accident victims like you get the compensation to which Pennsylvania law entitles you.

Jackknife Accidents

A moveable joint connects a semi-trucks cab and trailer, which is why people call them articulated vehicles. This joint gives these massive vehicles increased maneuverability, but it also leaves semis more vulnerable to specific kinds of accidents that include jackknifes.

When a semi jackknifes, its trailer folds back in on its own cab in a terrifying motion that resembles the action of a jackknife closing. Several variables may cause a tractor-trailer to jackknife (or contribute to its jackknifing)and many of them are closely associated with truck driver negligence or error:

  • When a truck driver brakes improperly in relation to the driving conditions, including bad weather
  • When a truck driver speeds or exceeds the posted speed limit
  • When a truck driver anything other than driving safely claims a driver’s attention
  • When a truck driver takes curves or turns too quickly
  • When a truck driver hauls improperly or poorly loaded cargo

As professional drivers, the law holds truck drivers to more stringent safety standards than the rest of us. Any one of the factors listed above can lead to a dangerous jackknife accident, and each of them is directly attributable to truck driver negligence—although the trucker, the trucking company, the loading crew, or all three may bear or share the responsibility for a poorly or improperly loaded trailer.

Contributing Factors

Lets take a closer look at the most closely connected factors in jackknife accidents:

  • Speeding. Every trucker shoulders an immense responsibility when getting behind the wheel due to the massive size of the vehicle. When a truck driver makes the dangerous decision to exceed the posted speed limit or to exceed the safe speed as dictated by road conditions and visibility, that trucker engages in dangerous driving. With increased speed comes the decreased ability to stop a semi in a driving emergency. The greater the speed that the semi travels at, the longer its stopping distance. Speed is closely associated with jackknife accidents.
  • Taking curves. While mild curves don’t usually present problems, steep curves demand every drivers utmost attention and care. Pennsylvania law holds truck drivers to strict accountability in such matters. With steeper curves come an increased risk that the truck will jackknife. As professional drivers, truck drivers know this safety hazard, and they should always attend to steep curves with the utmost caution.
  • Driving in inclement weather. Bad weather often means slippery roads and low visibility, and when it comes to 18-wheelers, any decrease in traction with the roadway can lead to dangerous accidents, including jackknifing.

Semis, because of their massive sizes and articulations, are more likely to jackknife when the road is even slightly slippery. Truck drivers face responsibility for accommodating poor driving conditions such as inclement weather.

Semis represent a significant threat on our roadways, and as such their drivers must adhere to strict safety practicesor endanger everyone with whom they share the road.

Trucking While Distracted

Distracted driving has become so prevalent and plays such a role in truck accidents, including jackknife accidents, that it necessitates further attention. The U.S. government has identified distracted driving as such a significant danger that it devotes a website to the topic. This site identifies distracted driving as any driving in which the drivers attention focuses on anything other than the vital task at handsafe driving. The website divides distractions into three categories:

  • Visual distractions
  • Manual distractions
  • Cognitive distractions

When it comes to distractions, smartphone usagebecause it engages all three categorieshits a home run. When truck drivers engage in distracted driving, they are far more likely to jackknife their massive vehicles.

If a Truck Jackknife Accident Injured You, Consult an Experienced Philadelphia Truck Accident Lawyer

Truck jackknife accidents are terrifying and extremely dangerous. If a truck jackknife accident injured you, you know all of the difficulties your face. Hire a skilled truck accident attorney to help deal with the legal issues so you can focus on physical and psychological healing. The dedicated legal team at The Levin Firm in Philadelphia has the experience and commitment to aggressively advocate for your claims best possible resolution. Were here to help, so please contact or call us at (215) 825-5183 today.

March 27, 2018

Did Someone Drive off After a Bicycle Accident?

Bike Injury Lawyer PA

Bicycle collisions with motor vehicles can result in exceedingly dangerous injuries. When youre on your bike, theres absolutely nothing but your helmet to protect you from the impact of an accident, so when you head out on your bike, always make riding safely your top priority. If a motorist injures you in a bike accident then drives off, first seek medical attention and then consult an experienced Philadelphia bike accident attorney.

Hit and Run Bike Accidents

Bike accidents are difficult enough, but if youre injured in a hit and run accident, its that much more difficultand devastating. After all, someone has harmed you and hasnt exhibited the humanity to stop and help you—and is hiding from the responsibility of compensating you for your injuries. That can prove hard to wrap your thoughts around. These phantom drivers are responsible for vast damages on our roadways every year. In Pennsylvania, your auto insurance policy automatically covers you for accidents caused by uninsured drivers (which is how insurance companies typically classify hit and run drivers).

If a hit and run driver injured you in a bike accident, you need experienced legal counsel. Your rights and your rightful compensation are too important to leave to chance (or to the insurance companys discretion). At The Levin Law Firm in Philadelphia, we understand how upsetting and difficult these claims are, and we have the experience, dedication, and compassion to fight for your just compensation.

Bike Accidents: The Statistics

When youre on your bike, you share the road with vehicles many, many times your size, and that puts you at a decided safety disadvantage. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published several sobering statistics as they relate to bike accidents:

  • Bike trips account for about 1 percent of the trips made in the United States, but bicyclists are at a much greater risk of injury or death in an accident than motorists.
  • Bicyclists between the ages of 50 and 59 are most likely die in bike accidents.
  • Those between the five and 19 are most likely to suffer injuries in bike accidents. These youths account for more than a third of the bike-related injuries that flow through our emergency rooms.
  • Male riders are far more likely to die or sustain injuries in bike accidents than female riders.
  • Most bike-related fatalities occur in urban areaslike Philadelphiaand outside of intersections.
  • Thirty-seven percent of bike fatalities involve alcohol, and this percentage applies to both the bicyclists and the motorists involved.

Take heed of these startling statistics, and always make arriving alive your primary concern.

Your Hit and Run Claim

If youre injured in a bike accident that a hit and run driver caused, you know all about the resulting trauma. While youre likely covered by your car insurance policy in Pennsylvania, this does not mean that you will face an easy claim. Insurance companies are in the business of making a profit by any means possibleand that this includes doing whatever they can get away with to deny claims. Your hit and run case deserves better; consult an experienced Philadelphia bike accident lawyer today.

Bike Laws in Pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania, bicyclists enjoy the same rights and responsibilities as motoristswith certain exceptions:

  • Its your right to ride your bike on the shoulder of the road and in the same direction as the traffic flow, but you arent required to do so.
  • Its also your right to ride your bike in the roads right lane (just like a car does), which means that you may occupy the right-most lane of travel on a multilane road, the right lane on a two-way road, and the right side of a roadway that has no centerline. For your own safety, remember that youre most visible when you ride in the center of your lane, which is where you should always aim.
  • When youre overtaking another vehicle thats moving in the same direction, you may move out of your right-most lane. This is also true when you prepare to turn left and when you encounter an obstacle that requires a lane change or a crossing of the centerlinethough you must undertake such maneuvers with the utmost care.
  • Bicyclists may not ride more than two abreast (two bikes riding side-by-side) unless they travel on a roadway designated for the exclusive use of bicycles.
  • As long as they use appropriate caution, both bicyclists and motorists are allowed to react to inoperable or malfunctioning intersection traffic lights as stop conditions (if the lights are red) and as caution conditions (if the lights are yellow or green). Furthermore, traffic lights equipped with embedded detection devices may not recognize bicyclists, and Pennsylvania law recognizes such situations as inoperable traffic lights.

Motorists, meanwhile, have their own responsibilities to cyclists:

  • Motorists must maintain at least four feet between themselves and any bicyclists. Furthermore, they must proceed with prudence in such situations. This allocation of distance is the motorists responsibility and not the bicyclists.
  • A motorist canto avoid excessive delaysovertake a bike in a nopassing zone, but must do so with utmost care and while allowing for the required four feet of clearance.
  • They may not leave accident scenes, even—perhaps especially—when they strike bicycles.

If a Hit and Run Driver Left You Injured in a Bike Accident, Consult an Experienced Philadelphia Bike Accident Attorney

Hit and run bike accidents can upset you more than other dangerous bike accidents. If youre injured in a bike accident that a hit and run driver caused, you need a skilled bike accident attorney. At The Levin Firm in Philadelphia, our experienced bike accident lawyers have the skill, knowledge, and commitment to guide your bike accident claim toward just compensation. Your claim matters, and were here to helpso please contact or call us at (215) 825-5183 today.

March 23, 2018

Hours of Service Violations Can Lead to Severely Fatigued Truckers

Truck Accident Lawyers PA

Truck accidents are among the deadliest and most devastating on our roads. You might imagine that professional truck drivers are less likely to engage in risky behavior, but truck drivers often experience extremely tight schedules that directly affect their livelihoods. This can push some truckers to drive outside the parameters set by laws that restrict hours of service. These truckers are dangerous truckers. But the complicated laws that govern hours of service, and the careful investigations needed to prove violations, call for experienced legal counsel. If a fatiguedand thus negligenttrucker injured you in the Philadelphia area, contact The Levin Firm today.

Hours of Service

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sets strict hours of service (HOS) regulations for truckers. These HOS regulations incorporate hefty fines and penalties for truckers who fail to abide by them.

If you or someone you love was injuredor if someone you love diedin a truck accident, you know exactly how harrowing that feels, and you need experienced legal counsel to help you work through it. The dedicated legal team at The Levin Firm in Philadelphia will aggressively advocate for your rights and for your rightful compensation.

The FMCSAs hours of service regulations limit truckers driving to 14 hours within any period of duty. Truckers may only engage in 11 hours of uninterrupted drivingwhich must incorporate a 30-minute break for every eight hours of driving time. This 14-hour maximum must include the time expended on all driving breaks and gas stops. (Drivers cannot subtract the time spent on these driving breaks from the total allotment of 14 hours of driving time.)

Additional regulations relate to a drivers weekly HOS:

  • A trucker many not drive more than 60 hours in any one week, and the trucker can restart the allowed 60 hours only after spending at least 34 consecutive hours off duty.
  • A trucker may not drive more that 70 hours in eight days, and the trucker can restart the allowed 70 hours only after spending 34 consecutive hours off duty. 
  • Truckers who use the sleeper berth in their trucks must spend at least eight consecutive hours in the sleeper birth and another two consecutive hours either in the sleeper berth or off duty (or any combination of these two).
  • All truckers must track their driving and resting hours in a daily log book (or in an Electronic On-Board RecorderEOBR). This log must include the dates, times, and locations of drivingalong with all status-of-duty changes and total miles driven on each driving leg.

When drivers deviate from these important HOS restrictions, they can face harsh penalties and fines. This also applies to the trucking companies themselves. In fact, truckers or trucking companies that knowingly and willfully commit violations may face federal criminal penalties.

Rules and Their Exceptions

Exceptions to the HOS rules may alter a truckers legal driving hours:

  • In inclement weather (which naturally slows a trucker down), the trucker may exceed the 11-hour driving limit by a maximum of two hours.
  • Truckers who only drive within a 100-mile radius of the location where they report for duty arent required to keep driving logs.
  • Truckers for retail stores who drive less than a radius of 100 air miles can surpass their daily driving-hour restrictions between the dates of December 10 and December 25to help keep up with the increased retail demands of the holiday season. (Note that truck accidents increase around the holidays.)

Fatigued Truckers Are Dangerous Truckers

Truckers face strict HOS regulations for good reason: Fatigued truck drivers are dangerous truck drivers. Due to their massive size, big rigs are the most dangerous vehicles on our roadways. The rigors of the trucking industry, however, can push some truck drivers to make the incredibly unsafe decision to drive with too little rest. Tired truckers face the following functional impairments:

  • Increased reaction time
  • Decreased attention span
  • Decreased alertness
  • Lapses in safe decision making

When drowsy truckers get behind the wheel, they are far more likely to cause serious accidents and they endanger everyone with whom they share the road.

Truck Accidents: The Sobering Statistics

More semis travel our roads because we need ever-more semis to fulfill our growing consumer demands. As the trucking industry rushes to keep pace, trucking companies sometimes bypass the regulations to which theyre supposed to abide. These lapses can cause and exacerbate trucking accidents. In fact, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) shares some sobering statistics related to these accidents:

  • In 2015, almost 4,000 people died in truck accidents in the United States
  • In 2015, the drivers and passengers in the vehicles that werent in the commercial trucks accounted for 97 percent of truck-accident fatalities
  • In the seven years between 2009 and 2015, truck accident fatalities increased by 22 percent
  • Of all the traffic fatalities in 2015, 11 percent involved semi-trucks

These statistics represent an important reminder that we share the road with massive, dangerous commercial trucks and that, as such, we should always proceed with caution.

Your Truck Accident Claim

Truck accidents are extremely dangerous, and the federal government, therefore, holds truckers to strict hour-of-service rules and regulations. If a driver injures you in an accident, however, you may find proof of fatigue hard to uncover. Some truckers, for example, arent above falsifying their duty logs. Furthermore, trucking companies and their insurance carriers are in the business of turning a profit, which includes fighting not to pay out on accident claims. If you were injured in a truck accident, you need an experienced truck accident attorney to help overcome these obstacles.

If You Are Injured in a Truck Accident, Consult a Skilled Philadelphia Truck Accident Attorney

Truck accidents are always harrowing. If a fatigued trucker injured you or your loved one, consult an experienced truck accident lawyer as soon as you can. The dedicated legal team at The Levin Firm in Philadelphia is committed to fighting for your just compensation, and we have the experience and compassion to help you. Please contact or call us at (215) 825-5183 today.

March 22, 2018

Pennsylvania Bicycle Laws

 

Bike Accident Attorney PA

Whether you commute to work by bike or just like to ride around a bit on the weekend, biking is a great, affordable way to way to fit some exercise into your day and to go green. If you are into biking, though, know the rules of the road in Pennsylvania. These laws are in place for one reasonto help keep everyone safer. Since bicycle accidents are among the deadliest on our roads, put safety first every time you head out on your bike.

The Statistics and Risk Factors

Bicycling can put lives at risk. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that, while bikes account for only about 1 percent of all traffic in the United States, bicyclists are much more likely suffer injuries or death in an accident than motorists. Furthermore, the CDC reports the following significant risks associated with bike accidents:

  • Cyclists between the ages of 50 and 59 are at the greatest risk of dying in a bike accident.
  • Children and youth between five and 19 are most likely to suffer injuries in bike accidents, and these accidents account for more than one-third of the bikeaccident injuries seen in emergency rooms.
  • The injury and death risk factor for males in bike accidents is far greater than for females.
  • Most bike-accident fatalities take place in urban areaslike Philadelphiaand away from intersections.
  • Alcohol consumptionby either the bicyclist or the motoristis involved in 37 percent of bike-accident fatalities.
  • Bike accidents are exceedingly dangerous. Always make safety your top priority.

If a bike accident injured you, you need an experienced Philadelphia bike accident attorney. The skilled legal team at The Levin Firm has the experience, knowledge, and dedication to guide your bike accident claim toward its most positive resolution, and were here to help.

Pennsylvanias Bike Laws

Pennsylvania grants bike riders the same rights and responsibilities as motoristswith a few exceptions:

  • You may ride your bike on the roads shoulderin the same direction as traffics flowbut you arent required to do so.
  • You may also ride your bike in the right lanejust like a carwhich means that you can ride in the right-most travel lane on a multilane road, in the right lane on a two-lane road, and on the right side of the road on a roadway with no center line. Remember that its safest to stay in the center of your lane (just as it is for motorists).
  • You may move your bike out of the right-most lane when you overtake another vehicle thats moving in the same direction, when youre preparing to make a left turn, and when theres an obstacle in your lane that necessitates a lane change (or a crossing of the center line), which you must undertake with due care.

Unless the roadway is set aside for bicyclists exclusive use, bikes may not ride more than two abreast (side-by-side).

  • Both bicyclists and motorists maywith appropriate cautionreact to an inoperable or malfunctioning intersection light as a stop condition (if red) and as a caution condition (if yellow or green). Traffic signals with embedded detectors may not recognize you on your bike, and the law treats this as an inoperable traffic signal.
  • Motorists must allow at least four feet of distance from bicyclists and must use careful and prudent speed in so doing. The motorist bears responsibility for maintaining this space between the car and the bike.
  • To avoid excessive delays, a motorist may overtake a bike in a no-passing zone but must do so with due care and must allow the required clearance of four feet.
  • No motorist (or passenger) shall open any of the vehicles doors unless and until it is reasonably safe to do so and unless and until it doesnt interfere with the flow of traffic. Bicyclists are often seriously injured or killed in dooring accidents (when a vehicles door opens into the cyclists line of travel). When you ride beside parked vehicles, keep four feet between your bike and the parked cars.

Ride Right

Exercise prudence when you share a roadway with much larger and faster vehicles. Lane control will help keep you safe out there. As a bicyclist, its your right to travel on either the shoulder or in the center of the right lane, and you protect your own safety when you confidently assert these rightsyoure most visible when you are in the center of your lane. Furthermore, when youre on your bike, ride predictablyjust as you would behind the wheel of your car. Finally, the law requires motor vehicles to fully change lanes when they overtake you on your bikeyou arent required to move over so they can pass.

Gear Up

If you ride between sundown and sunup, Pennsylvania requires that you equip your bike with a front lamp and with reflectors on its rear and sideall visible from at least 500 feet. This will help motorists see you and illuminate your path. In addition, you must install good working brakes on your bike. Finally, everyone younger than 12 must wear a helmet whenever they ride or are a passenger on a bike (including riding in an attached child seat or trailer). While its not a law, Pennsylvania strongly encourages all bicyclists to don a helmet every time they ride.

If You Were Injured in a Bike Accident, Consult an Experienced Philadelphia Bike Accident Lawyer

Bike accidents are dangerous, and if you were injured in a bike accident that another drivers negligence caused, you need a skilled bike accident attorney. At The Levin Firm in Philadelphia, were committed to helping you obtain the compensation to which youre entitled. Were here to help, so please contact or call us at (215) 825-5183 today.

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