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July 17, 2018

Deadly Motorcycle Accidents in Philadelphia

Motorcycle and Wrongful Death Attorney in PA

As temperatures heat up, its natural to want to spend more time on your bikecruising the open road. Its important to recognize, however, that motorcycle accidents are some of the deadliest on our roadways. When youre on your motorcycle, after all, theres absolutely nothing other than your helmet and gear to protect you from the impact of an accident. If another drivers negligence has left you or someone you care about injuredor worsein a motorcycle accident, seek experienced legal counsel.

Deadly Philadelphia Motorcycle Accidents

On one Thursday in June, Philadelphia saw two separate deadly motorcycle accidents. The first involved a woman motorist who made a U-turn into the path of a 27-year-old biker, who died from the injuries he incurred. The second accident involved a biker who was riding in a pack of bikes. When the motorcyclist attempted to change lanes, another biker hit himcausing the 41-year-old man to lose control of his bike and crash into a tree. The man later died in the hospital. When motorists fail to exercise appropriate caution, their negligence can lead to deadly motorcycle accidents in the blink of an eye.

Wrongful Death Claims

When someone elses negligence causes your loved one to be killed, you could have a wrongful death claim. In Pennsylvania, the victims spouse, parent, or child can bring a wrongful death claim. With such a claim, you seek compensation for those losses you suffered because of your loved ones untimely demise. Such losses can be both financial and emotional. While no settlement amount can ever bring your loved one back to you, just compensation can help you and your family to better navigate the path toward emotional and financial recovery.

If youve lost a loved one in a motorcycle accident that was caused by another drivers negligence, you know how devastating that is, and you need experienced legal counsel. Losing a loved one in a case of wrongful death is exceedingly difficult to process, but the dedicated legal team at The Levin Firm in Philadelphia is here to work with you through this process. Our experienced wrongful death attorneys have the determination, skill, and compassion to fight for your just compensation.

Financial and Emotional Damages

If youve lost a loved one to a fatal motorcycle accident that was caused by another drivers negligence, youve likely suffered considerable financial losses, including the medical expenses incurred. Further, if the victim was the primary breadwinner (or a breadwinner) in your family, youll also suffer from wages lost and from earning potential that has been cut short. The financial damages associated with wrongful death claims are often exceedingly high.

The emotional damages associated with these claims, however, can be even more staggering and difficult to endure. Your family has lost the deceaseds love, companionship, parenting, and comfort (to name but a few relationship roles), and its impossible to put a price on that. Juries are instructed to come up with values that they consider fair in relation to the circumstances of the claim. Its a difficult but important calculation.

The Statistics

Motorcycle accidents are exceedingly dangerous and are often deadly. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) forwards several grim statistics related to motorcycle accidents that occurred in 2015:

  • Motorcycle fatalities were up by 8 percent (over the 2014 fatality rate).
  • Motorcyclists accounted for 14 percent of all traffic-accident deaths, 4 percent of all traffic-related injuries, 17 percent of all vehicle occupant fatalities (including cyclists and passengers), and 4 percent of all vehicle occupant injuries.
  • Motorcyclists are nearly 29 times more likelyper vehicle, mile traveledto die in traffic accidents than are drivers and occupants of cars.

These dire statistics highlight just how treacherous motorcycle accidents can be. When you ride, always make riding safely your top priority.

Negligent Drivers

Negligent drivers (and even other bikers) sometimes cause serious, often deadly, motorcycle accidents. Negligence refers to driving without appropriate concern for the safety of others on the roadincluding motorcyclists. There are many varieties of negligent driving:

  • Driving while distracted
  • Driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs
  • Driving aggressively, including speeding
  • Ignoring traffic signal, lights, and signs
  • Failing to accommodate for the condition of the road, including the effects of inclement weather

Distracted Drivers

Distracted drivers are so prevalent and so dangerous that its important to take a closer look at the issue. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines distracted driving as any driving in which the motorists attention is focused on anything other than the paramount task of driving safely. Distractions come in many forms, but the pinnacle of distractions is the ever-popular smartphone. As we become increasingly attached to our smartphones, distracted driving continues to skyrocket.

The NHTSA forwards several grim statistics related to distracted driving:

  • In 2016, 3,450 people were killed in traffic accidents involving distracted drivers.
  • In 2015, 391,000 people were injured in traffic accidents involving distracted drivers.
  • During daylight hours, about 481,000 motorists are engaged with their smartphones while driving.
  • When drivers text, they take their eyes off the road for an average of 5 seconds at a time, which is tantamount to driving blind for the length of a football field (when traveling at 55 miles per hour).

Start Looking for Motorcycles

When you ride, you have the obvious disadvantage of not being as visible as other vehicles on the road. Some drivers simply fail to look for or see motorcycles in their midst (distractions dont help). An important element of driving safely is paying attention to other vehicles on the road, including motorcycles.

If Youve Lost a Loved One in a Motorcycle Accident, Talk with an Experienced Philadelphia Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

Losing a loved one in a motorcycle accident caused by another drivers negligence is tragic, and youre likely not to have any idea how to proceed. You arent alone, however. The dedicated legal team at The Levin Firm in Philadelphia is here to help. Our experienced motorcycle accident attorneys have the skill, determination, and compassion to help guide your claim toward just resolution. Were here to help, so please contact or call us at (215) 825-5183 today.

July 9, 2018

How a Shopping Trip Can End at the E.R.

Slip and Fall Attorney PA

Shopping is an important part of our everyday lives. Whether youre picking up groceries, shopping for home goods, or just checking out the mall, we all do a little shopping from time to time. Heck, some of us even enjoy it, but when a shopping trip ends at the emergency room, its a different story.

Shopping Around

No matter where youre shoppingat a local mom and pop grocery store or at a high-end department storethe business owner owes its customers a reasonably safe shopping environment. If a business fails to maintain a shopping environment thats safe enough for you to shop in without being injured, that business may be held liable under premises liability law for any injuries you sustain.

If a run-of-the-mill shopping trip ends with a trip to the ER, you need experienced legal counsel. While every premises liability case is unique to its own set of circumstances, heading out for some casual shopping shouldnt land you in the hospital. The dedicated legal team at The Levin Firm in Philadelphia has the experience, skill, and knowledge to help guide your claim toward the compensation to which youre entitled. Your claim is important, and our determined premises liability attorneys are here to help.

Slip and Fall Accidents

Slip and fall accidents are common to shopping trip accidents, and though slip and fall has a whimsical ring to it, these accidents can be extremely serious and frequently land victims in the emergency room. Slip and fall accidents can happen almost anywhere, but there are several common causes:

  • Parking lots that become slippery with accumulated ice, snow, rain, debris, and leaves
  • Parking lots with broken, uneven, or irregular walking surfaces
  • Entryways that are cluttered, littered with debris, or made slippery by weather conditions that are tracked in
  • Stores that have torn, worn, frayed, bunched, or broken flooring
  • Stores with highly polished and slippery flooring
  • Stores with displays that are precariously placed or erected
  • Stores with inadequate lighting

Any of these can lead to serious injuries that necessitate emergency care.

Traumatic Brain Injuries

In fact, injuries associated with slip and fall accidents are so serious that the Mayo Clinic reports slip and falls as one of the leading causes of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Because TBIs affect the brain, they are extremely unpredictable and typically necessitate a protracted recovery process that carries significant physical, financial, and emotional damages. Many victims of TBIs describe them as altering their very sense of self, which makes TBIs one of the most difficult injuries to heal from.

Other Common Injuries

Broken bones and spinal cord injuries are also common to slip and fall accidents, and theyre both extremely serious injuries that require immediate medical attention. A broken bone is an exceedingly painful injury thats slow to heal and can lead to serious complications, including permanent disability. Spinal cord injuries are caused by damage anywhere on the spinal cord, and they are not only extremely painful but can also cause significant debilitation. The brain and spinal cord, together, comprise the central nervous system, which controls the bodys physical sensations and coordinated movements. Spinal cord injuries can result in partial or complete paralysis, and any such injury comes with serious physical, financial, and emotional consequences.

Other Premises Liability Accidents

In addition to slip and fall accidents, there are a variety of security-related issues and physical accidents that are closely associated with premises liability claims. Security issues include the stores failure to provide adequate security or failure to adhere to accepted security practices. While no two premises liability claims are exactly alike, there are several distinct kinds of accidents, in addition, to slip and falls that commonly lead to such cases:

  • Elevator and escalator accidents
  • Falling merchandise accidents
  • Scaffolding or ladder accidents
  • Accidents caused by architectural or structural design flaws

The Stores Liability

In Pennsylvania, a store may be held liable for injuries you incur on the premises through either strict liability or negligence. Strict liability refers to circumstances that are inherently or abnormally dangerous in the first place. The more likely scenario, however, is liability through negligence, which means your claim must incorporate several elements:

  • The property owner had a duty of care to youa store owner owes you a reasonably safe shopping environment to conduct your business in.
  • The property owner knew about or reasonably should have known about the dangerous condition on the property that caused you to be injured.
  • The property owner failed to fix the dangerous situation that he or she knew about and that caused you to be injured.
  • The property owners breach of duty directly caused you to be injured.

Comparative Negligence

Pennsylvania incorporates a comparative negligence model, which determines who is to blame in premises liability claims. In a nutshell, this means that you, as the injured party, cant be found to share more blame than the store does. Further, if you are found to share a portion of the blame for your injuries, your compensation will be reduced by the percentage of blame youre determined to be responsible for. In other words, its complicated, and if youve been injured while shopping in Philadelphia, you need an experienced premises liability attorney. Your rights and your rightful compensation are far too important to leave to chance or to the vagaries of the insurance company.

If a Shopping Trip Leaves You Injured, Consult with an Experienced Philadelphia Premise Liability Lawyer Today

Shopping is something we all do fairly regularly, and it isnt something that we spend much time worrying about. Nevertheless, unsafe shopping conditions leave people in need of emergency medical care every day. If youve been injured while shopping, you might be facing a long recovery. Remember that you arent alone. The skilled legal team at The Levin Firm in Philadelphia is here to help. Our experienced premises liability attorneys have the experience, commitment, and knowledge to tirelessly advocate for your just compensation. For more information, please contact or call us at 215-825-5183 today.

June 26, 2018

Malpractice at Routine Doctor’s Appointments

Medical Malpractice Lawyer PA

No one likes going for a medical checkup but, unfortunately, it is important to your overall health to do so. It is good to check in with a trusted medical professional on a regular basis to discuss any changes in your health or other concerns. Physicians should know how to best spend time with patients to identify any health issues and advise patients on how to lower the risk of developing certain conditions.

When you think of medical malpractice, you likely think of doctors making grave errors during surgery, the birth of a child, or other dramatic circumstances. However, medical mistakes can happen when you least expect it at a routine doctor’s appointment. Often, you may go in for a checkup with a general physician, OBGYN, ophthalmologist, or other doctors thinking that everything is completely fine. Some patients later discover that they have suffered an unnecessary injury because their doctor made a serious error during that appointment.

Doctors can make errors without being liable for medical malpractice. Malpractice happens when a doctor breaches the medical standard of care, which is providing the care that a reasonable and similarly trained doctor would provide in similar circumstances. For example, if your OBGYN makes an error, the following may be true:

  • If another OBGYN would have possibly made the same error when presented with you as a patient, it may be a simple mistake and likely does not rise to the level of medical malpractice.
  • If another OBGYN would likely not have made the same mistake based on the information provided during your appointment, the error likely constituted medical malpractice.

Often, identifying instances of medical malpractice requires analysis by other medical experts. In the above example, another OBGYN expert can review what happened and the conduct of your doctor and give their opinion whether your doctor met the standard of care or not. Each case will need to be closely examined based on the specific circumstances. However, the following is some additional information about common instances of medical malpractice that may occur during routine medical exams.

Failure to Diagnose

Most people do not go into a regularly-scheduled check up asking for a doctor to diagnose a condition. Instead, they may make a separate appointment if they suspect they have an illness or injury. That being said, part of a routine examination is for a doctor to question a patient about anything out of the ordinary and assess whether these may be indications of any new medical issues. In addition, a doctor should physically examine you and should be able to tell when something doesn’t feel or look right. In addition, doctors should perform the expected tests, review the results, and diagnose any abnormalities or illnesses.

If a doctor does not properly diagnose a condition that should have been apparent, the patient can be deprived of the treatment they need and may suffer preventable complications of their condition. In such cases, a patient may have a strong case for medical malpractice.

Not Recommending Certain Tests

There are some tests that doctors will routinely perform with every patient. Furthermore, doctors should recognize when a patient has a higher risk of developing certain conditions and perform any additional tests as appropriate. Risk factors can include age, weight, family history, medical history, taking certain medications, and more.

For example, once adults reach a certain age, they should undergo tests such as a colonoscopy, mammogram, prostate exam, or similar tests that identify conditions more common in middle to older age. If a patient’s mother and sister both had breast or ovarian cancer, the patient should likely undergo regular cancer screenings earlier than patients with no genetic history of cancer. These are only a few examples of situations in which doctors should order certain tests for certain patients.

Failure to recommend such tests can lead to a significantly delayed diagnosis of any conditions. If a patient did not undergo appropriate tests based on their risk factor, their condition can worsen and may even become life-threatening. Negligent doctors may be held liable for the losses of such patients.

Misreading Test Results

In some cases, doctors may order the right tests but may misread the results and, therefore, miss an important diagnosis. This can be true with many tests, including blood tests, x-rays, MRIs, biopsies, and many more. Reading the results correctly is an essential part of any medical test and if a doctor does not closely review test results in light of a patient’s medical history, they can fail to diagnose a condition and cause unnecessary injuries to a patient.

Prescription Mistakes

Many doctor’s appointments end with a physician handing a patient a prescription to have filled at a pharmacy or even giving a patient a sample medication to take home. Deciding which medications are appropriate is a huge part of any doctor’s job, though many harmful mistakes can happen during this process. Doctors may make the following errors, among others:

  • Not review medical records or question patients regarding possible drug allergies
  • Fail to know all of a patient’s current medications and supplements to determine whether any adverse drug interactions may occur
  • Write a prescription for the incorrect type of medication or the incorrect dosage
  • Fail to warn patients of possible side effects of a drug so they can make an informed decision about taking it

Prescription errors can cause serious problems for patients and often require additional medical care.

Contact a Philadelphia Medical Malpractice Lawyer for Help Today

At The Levin Firm, we know that medical malpractice can happen in any medical setting – even a routine doctor’s appointment. We also know how complicated the resulting legal case can be. Our firm has experience representing patients who have suffered serious injuries at the hands of physicians and other doctors they should have been able to trust. Doctors often try to avoid liability for malpractice and the losses of their patients, but the right attorney will know how to stand up for your rights. Please call 215-825-5183 or contact our office online to discuss a possible claim today.

June 19, 2018

Watch for Hazards at Pools this Summer

Premise Liability Attorney PA

Philadelphia has many swimming pools to help us all beat the heat and spend a day in the sun during the summer months. Some pools are open to the public and others belong to hotels, country clubs, or private homes. Some Philly homeowners have made their swimming pools into luxurious retreats right in their own backyards.

While a pool can be alluring in the summer and can provide hours of entertainment for children, there are times when swimming is not all fun and games. People can be seriously or fatally injured at swimming pools and children are especially at risk.

The Duty of Pool Owners

Premises liability law allows accident victims to hold property owners liable for any injuries caused by negligence. A property owner – including a pool owner – has the duty to maintain the pool premises so that the area is reasonably safe for visitors. When a pool owner fails to abide by this duty and someone gets hurt, that owner was negligent and should be liable for the losses of victims.

Swimming pool accident victims must determine whether a dangerous hazard existed that led to their accident. Often, this can require a careful investigation of the circumstances surrounding the accident. Some examples of negligence in swimming pool accident claims include:

Inadequate pool barriers – If pools did not have proper barriers, young children may be able to wander into the pool area and they may fall into the pool without floatation devices or supervision. Too often, this can result in a tragic drowning. Pool owners should have the necessary fence or other barriers around the entire pool area. The entrance to the pool should be a locking gate that is too high for small children to reach.

Hazards on the pool deck – Injuries can happen if the area around the pool is not properly maintained. If there are tools or debris left on the ground, someone can trip and fall – and they can even fall into the pool. Surfaces that are too slick can cause visitors to slip and fall, which can result in a concussion and other serious injuries even if a victim does not fall into the pool itself.

Harmful surfaces in the pool – If someone needs to, they should be able to easily put their feet down in a pool (in shallow water) or grab onto the edge of a pool for assistance and support. If a pool has rough or sharp edges or surfaces, someone may get hurt by trying to find support and may struggle to stay afloat as a result. Not only can someone get hurt by harmful pool surfaces, but they also risk drowning if they cannot grab onto something or stand up.

Lack of signage and warnings – Pool owners should clearly inform visitors of any important information or warnings regarding the pool or risks of injuries. Failure to do so can leave visitors vulnerable to accidents while at the pool. Some of these signs and warnings can include:

  • No diving
  • Depth markers
  • No lifeguard on duty
  • No glass bottles
  • No running
  • Anything else relevant to that particular pool

Improper drain covers – Many kids grow up afraid of drains in pools. As you grow older, you may become less afraid, however, there may be a legitimate reason for the fear. Drains in pools have been known to cause gruesome and devastating accidents. Specifically, swimmers who have gotten too close to a drain have become suctioned to the drain. Not only does this suction hold someone underwater, often until they drown, but it can also cause evisceration, in which the suction actually pulls out the abdominal organs. After a tragic death due to a drain, the federal government passed the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act, which required standardized drain covers to prevent such accidents. However, some pool owners still fail to comply with this law and put swimmers in danger of a horrifying accident.

Diving board and ladder accidents – When a pool owner installs additions to a pool, including diving boards or ladders, they must ensure these additions are in good condition and that they are regularly maintained. If a diving board malfunctions, a swimmer can be severely injured. To make matters worse, diving boards are at the deep end of the pool, which can increase the risks of drowning.

These are only some ways that pool owners can be negligent and cause injuries or death.

Some common pool accident injuries include:

  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Anoxic brain injury
  • Broken bones
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Drowning

Any of these injuries can cause victims and their families to incur extensive losses, which may continue to increase for years or for the rest of your life, in the case of permanent injuries. Anyone injured at a swimming pool should talk to an experienced lawyer to learn about their rights under the law. If you have the right to file a claim, The Levin Firm will not leave you to the mercy of the insurance adjuster. Instead, we handle every step of the process to ensure the best results possible for you. We are not afraid to turn to the courts and file a lawsuit when needed and we have extensive litigation experience.

Contact a Philadelphia Premises Liability Attorney for a Free Consultation

Swimming is a great way to cool off in the Philly heat this summer, though you do not want your summer to be disrupted by a serious pool-related injury. Pool owners do not always take the care they should and they put visitors at unnecessary risk. The Levin Firm has seen how devastating and costly swimming pool injuries can be and we have represented clients in many types of premises liability cases.

Holding pool owners liable for your injuries is no simple feat. You should always have a skilled personal injury lawyer handling all insurance claims and lawsuits in your case. Our firm can evaluate your situation for free and get started protecting your rights. Call us at 215-825-5183 or contact our office online to discuss a possible claim today.

June 12, 2018

Dangers for Construction Workers in Philly

Construction Accidents in Philly

Construction work is a risky industry. Crews are constantly working on unstable structures, from heights, with electrical systems, and with heavy machinery and power tools. It is important that construction companies and contractors employ proper safety measures to protect employees and prevent accidents. However, even the safest construction site can have serious accidents and injuries occur.

Construction accidents reported in the Philadelphia area in May include:

Fortunately, workers seemed to have escaped catastrophic injuries. These accidents could have been much worse, however, as both falls and getting hit by objects commonly cause life-threatening injuries on construction sites. In fact, both are considered part of the industry’s “fatal four,” which cause the most work-related fatalities among construction workers. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), falls are the leading cause of job-related death for construction workers, causing nearly 39 percent of fatalities. Getting struck by an object is the second-leading cause of death, resulting in about 10 percent of fatalities.

Common catastrophic injuries seen on construction sites include:

  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI) Construction workers frequently suffer head injuries falling from heights, as well as when hit in the head by falling objects. A blow to the head can result in serious injuries with devastating lifelong effects. This can include impairments with cognitive processing, behavioral control, physical movement, coma, and sometimes death.
  • Spinal cord injuryConstruction accidents also commonly result in injury to the spinal cord, which often causes permanent disability or paralysis. This means that a worker can lose their ability to move, feel sensation, and some organ function. Spinal cord injuries can leave construction accident victims unable to return to a physically demanding job, or even unable to care for themselves. Victims of paralyzing spinal injuries may need ongoing medical attention and assistive medical equipment – such as wheelchairs – for the rest of their lives.

The lifelong costs of these kinds of injuries can be extremely high. It is important for construction workers who sustain any type of on-the-job injury to understand their legal rights to recover compensation for their injuries to help pay those expenses.

Liability for Medical Expenses and Disabilities

Because of the inherent risks of the construction industry, employers are expected to adhere to strict safety regulations and standards. Unfortunately employers do not always do so. OSHA recently cited and sanctioned a Philadelphia contractor for multiple violations, including the risk of the following for workers:

  • Falls
  • Getting struck by objects
  • Trips
  • Impalement
  • Electrical shock
  • Dangerous use of ladders
  • Dangerous use of compressed gas cylinders
  • Obstructed exit routes

Due to the violations, the contractor faces up to $222,152 in penalties.

However, an injured worker does not have to prove the employer violated safety regulations to obtain compensation for work-related injuries. Instead, the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act provides injured employees the right to seek compensation from their employer’s mandatory workers’ compensation insurance. While workers’ compensation works to prevent lawsuits against companies, it also allows employees to collect benefits without having to prove negligence or wrongdoing on the part of the employer. If an injury or illness was job-related, workers’ compensation insurance should cover the cost of your medical bills, lost income, and disability losses.

Workers’ compensation claims are not always as straightforward as they should be. Insurers and employers can try to avoid liability by questioning the cause of your injury, the severity of your injury, and more. Injured workers may be dealing with doctors selected by their employer, and a large commercial workers’ compensation insurance carrier. Both employers and their insurers may try to limit payouts to injured workers as much as possible. Workers’ compensation insurance carriers typically have a team of skilled attorneys on their side—and so should you. It is important to have the help of an experienced construction accident lawyer for your claim, especially if you have suffered a lasting disability and cannot work for an extended period of time.

In addition, there may be other avenues to recover compensation for your losses. Many construction accidents happen because of the negligence of a third party. Unlike your employer, these negligent parties are not protected from lawsuits and liability just because you were on the job. Instead, you may be able to file an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit against negligent individuals or companies to recover for your losses. In such cases, you can also seek compensation for noneconomic damages – such as pain and suffering – in addition to your medical expenses and lost wages. Some types of negligence that may cause a construction accident typically include:

  • Defective tools or materials
  • Defective safety equipment
  • Dangerous drivers in construction zones
  • Careless acts of contractors or subcontractors other than your employer

Because liability for a construction accident can be a complicated matter, you need a skilled work injury attorney evaluating your rights and options as soon as possible.

Learn More From Our Philadelphia Construction Accident Attorneys

There are deadlines for both workers’ compensation claims and personal injury lawsuits in Pennsylvania. These are strict deadlines that limit the time you have to seek compensation. Do not delay—even though you are recovering from a serious construction injury, you should still contact an attorney as soon as you can after an accident. The Levin Firm represents injured construction workers in and around the Philadelphia area. We offer free consultations and will evaluate your case at absolutely no charge and advise you of the best course of action for recovery in your situation. Please call 215-825-5183 or contact us online for a free consultation today.

June 1, 2018

How Truck Cargo Can Cause Accidents

Truck Accident Attorneys Philly

Accidents involving large commercial trucks are inherently dangerous because of their massive size and weight. However, they can also be dangerous due to the cargo they carry. Sometimes the cargo itself can cause accidents and injuries to other motorists.

A recent tragedy in Philadelphia illustrates how cargo can cause crashes. According to news reports, a semi-truck was transporting watermelons when it overturned. The watermelons came loose and spilled across three lanes of South I-95. One of the watermelons flew into the air and struck a Honda HR-V. The driver of the HR-V lost control and went off the road, trapping the two occupants inside. Though they both were transported to the hospital for treatment, the 61-year-old passenger did not survive. This fatal accident occurred without the car colliding with the truck at all. When cargo comes loose, even ordinarily non-hazardous produce can have devastating results.

Different Types of Cargo Can Have Different Risks

There are innumerable types of products carried by commercial trucks. Traditional tractor-trailers carry goods ranging from foodstuffs to furniture and everything in between. Trucks with specialized trailers carry cars, livestock, and other cargo that needs customized securement. Flatbed trucks haul oversized or oddly-shaped cargo, such as large timber, heavy machinery, or even houses. Tanker trucks carry liquids and gases, including fuel and toxic chemicals.

Almost any kind of cargo can cause serious injuries if it spills. Smaller products can fall into the path of traffic and either hit cars directly or cause chain-reaction crashes if cars collide with the cargo. Obviously, larger cargo such as cars or lumber can create chaos scene if they fall onto the highway. Toxic cargo poses special hazards. If the tank of a tanker truck is punctured, it can release flammable or toxic substances, causing fire, explosions, or widespread exposure to toxins.

Improper Cargo Loading

When a truck rolls over or otherwise crashes, cargo can spill even if it was properly loaded and secured. However, sometimes, cargo spills due to improper loading – and these spills can happen even in the absence of a truck crash. In some situations, improper loading can actually cause a truck accident.

Each type of cargo has its own requirements for loading and securement. Proper securement is so important that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issues regulations that truckers must follow by law. When cargo loading crews violated these rules or otherwise act carelessly, accidents may happen. If cargo shifts while a truck is moving, the trailer can become imbalanced, causing the driver to lose control or the truck to jackknife.

Who Is Responsible?

Accident claims involving cargo spills can be complicated – specifically, determining who should be held liable for the injuries or deaths of motorists. If the cargo spill happened because the truck initially crashed, the driver and/or the trucking company may be liable. An attorney can help to identify whether the driver or company was negligent and gather evidence to prove a negligence claim. Common acts of negligence that can cause a truck accident include:

  • Distracted driving
  • Fatigued driving
  • Speeding
  • Improper lane changes or passing
  • Aggressive driving
  • Impaired driving
  • Violating traffic laws or trucking regulations
  • Hiring unqualified or potentially dangerous drivers
  • Inadequate supervision

On the other hand, if improper loading was the original cause of the crash, you need to determine who was responsible for loading the cargo. Sometimes, trucking companies may have their own crews. Often, warehouses will have dedicated crews, in which case the company that employed the crew may be held liable.

It is likely that any accident victims will be dealing with an injury claim against a business entity, whether a trucking company, cargo loading company, or a manufacturer. This can be beneficial, as companies often have substantial insurance policies that may fully cover injury or wrongful death losses. However, insurance claims against companies can also be complicated, so you should always have the proper legal representation from the very start of your claim.

Insurance companies will try to avoid liability whenever they can – for both themselves and their commercial policyholders. There are many tactics insurance adjusters use to limit, delay, or deny valid claims, which include:

  • Getting you to make a recorded statement and then using comments against you.
  • Trying to convince you that they are on your side and you can trust them – they are truly on the side of their company.
  • Influencing you to think your claim is worth less than it is.
  • Getting you to agree to an initial settlement offer, which is almost always far less than you deserve.
  • Convincing you that you do not need a lawyer to help with your claim.

When you do have a truck accident attorney on your side, your chances of receiving full compensation for your losses improve. The right lawyer can help you with a truck accident claim in several ways, including:

  • Determining the proper measure of damages for your claim
  • Fighting against any disputes regarding liability for the accident
  • Filing a persuasive insurance claim with the right parties
  • Presenting evidence to the insurer to support your claim
  • Reviewing settlement offers and advising you to reject offers that are too low
  • Engaging in negotiations to obtain full and fair compensation
  • Taking additional action by filing a lawsuit in civil court if needed

Contact a Philadelphia Truck Accident Attorney for More Information

At The Levin Firm, we know from experience how technical and complex commercial truck accident cases can be. The trucking company will not make it easy for accident victims to obtain evidence or to pursue a successful insurance claim. If you are dealing with serious injuries, the last thing you need is the stress of battling against a commercial trucking company and its insurer. Instead, call our highly skilled truck accident attorneys and let us help navigate the process for you. Please call 215-825-5183 or contact us online for a free consultation today.

May 21, 2018

Fatal Hit and Run Accident in Philadelphia

Car Accident Attorney in Philly

Every type of car accident can be stressful and often frightening. However, the situation can become even more traumatic and worrisome if the driver who caused the crash then flees the scene. Hit and run drivers can leave behind accident victims in need of serious medical attention or who suffered fatal injuries in a crash. Sometimes, fleeing the scene causes additional injuries that could have been prevented had the driver stopped and assisted accident victims—or even just called the authorities to report the accident.

An accident in Philadelphia in recent months demonstrates just how dangerous hit and run drivers can be. According to new reports, a 38-year-old driver was involved in an accident near the intersection of 23rd Street and Jackson Street and fled the scene. As the driver sped away, he crashed into a number of additional cars and hit two pedestrians. Several people were transported to the hospital and one 46-year-old woman suffered fatal injuries.

Police reported that the driver had taken medication and believed he lost consciousness right before the accident. While the driver may not have realized what he was doing, taking medication that impairs your driving ability in the first place is negligent behavior. Negligent drivers should be held fully accountable for the extensive losses of injured accident victims and their families. If you have been injured in a car accident—whether another driver fled the scene or not—you should discuss your rights with an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible.

The Rights of Accident Victims

Individuals who sustain injuries in car accidents have the right to seek compensation for their losses from the negligent driver who caused the accident. Losses commonly include medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and more. Ways that accident victims can seek the compensation for their injuries include:

Filing an auto insurance claim – If the negligent driver has car insurance as required by law, you can file a claim with their insurer to request payment for your losses. Many people expect they will simply receive a check for the full amount in the mail—but this is rarely the case. Even though it is the insurance company’s duty to compensate accident victims under certain policies, you can be sure that these companies also want to protect their profitability whenever possible by limiting, delaying, or simply denying payouts.

Insurance companies often engage in unscrupulous tactics to avoid paying accident victims fair compensation. First, many insurers will start by throwing out a lowball offer, hoping that a claimant will simply accept it. Accepting an inadequate offer is a huge mistake, as you will have no additional opportunities to request more once you realize your losses exceed the amount of the settlement. Instead, when you receive an offer from an insurance company, you should have it closely reviewed by a skilled car accident attorney who can identify when an offer is too low.

Insurance companies also try to fight liability by questioning who was at fault in the accident and by challenging the legitimacy of your losses. Often, adjusters claim you did not need all the time off work or all the treatment you received. An experienced attorney will know how to provide proof of fault and your losses to ensure you recover the compensation you deserve.

Filing a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit – When the insurance claim process does not procure a fair settlement, you may need to turn to the courts. Injured accident victims have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit against any negligent parties. Additionally, families of victims killed in crashes can file a wrongful death lawsuit to recover for losses specified by law.

The lawsuit process is governed by specific procedural rules that an experienced litigation attorney can navigate. Often, just filing a lawsuit petition will be enough for an insurance company to substantially increase its insurance offer, as it will try to avoid the costs of litigation. In other cases, several rounds of settlement negotiations may be needed before the other party offers a favorable amount. Rarely, the case may need to proceed to trial to obtain a jury verdict in your favor.

Hit and Run Cases

Although the driver in the recent Philly accident was detained and identified, many hit and run drivers are never found. However, just because a driver fled does not mean that you should be responsible for the costs of your injuries. Instead, you should turn to your uninsured motorist policy.

Making a claim with your own insurance company sounds simple. But your insurance company wants to protect profits just like any other, so the process may be more challenging than you would think. In fact, your own insurance company may erect the same roadblocks in the process as another driver’s carrier. For this reason, you should enlist the help of a car accident lawyer who understands how to seek compensation after a hit and run, even if the driver who hit you fled and cannot be found. An attorney can review settlement offers, prove the extent of your losses, and recognize when your insurance company is acting in bad faith. Having the right legal representation on your side to protect your rights ensures the best possible recovery of compensation for the injuries and losses you’ve suffered.

Contact a Philly Car Accident Law Firm for a Free Consultation

The Levin Firm represents clients in a wide variety of motor vehicle accident cases. Whether your accident involved cars, trucks, pedestrians, hit and run drivers, or other unique circumstances, we have the experience and resources to handle your claim. We will take care of every aspect of a legal claim—including the insurance process and litigation when needed—so that our clients can rest and recover from their injuries with minimal stress. If you need assistance after any type of accident and injury, please call 215-825-5183 or contact us online today to set up your case evaluation.

May 15, 2018

Commercial Vehicles Can Cause Accidents on Residential Streets

Truck Accident Lawyer PA

When you think of commercial vehicles, you may think primarily of the large semi-trucks and tractor-trailers traversing our nation’s highways. However, many more types of vehicles fall into the “commercial” category. Many of these commercial vehicles do not regularly travel long distances but instead, operate locally right in our own neighborhoods. Examples of commercial vehicles that may crash and cause injuries in residential areas of Philadelphia include:

Buses

Nearly 200 million people used SEPTA transportation services in Philly in 2017, including city buses. The bus system is a comprehensive network of routes, vehicles, and drivers who help residents and visitors get around the city. In addition, schools across Philly utilize buses to transport students to and from school on a daily basis, as well as to field trips and sporting events. For this reason, buses can be seen on a regular basis in almost every neighborhood of Philadelphia.

Buses are large, heavy vehicles that are difficult to maneuver. Just like truck drivers, bus drivers must have special licenses and training, as well as comply with additional regulations set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Because of their massive size and weight, buses can cause serious accidents that put many people at risk, including bus drivers, bus passengers, other motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians.

Bus accidents may be the fault of the bus driver, a bus company, a bus manufacturer, another driver, and other parties. Determining who was at fault in a bus accident is essential to recovering compensation for injuries suffered in a crash.

Trash Trucks

We rely on giant garbage trucks to come through our neighborhoods and collect our trash and recycling on a regular basis. This modern convenience also comes with the risks of trash truck accidents. Trash trucks are hulking vehicles that are also quite difficult to maneuver. Routes take trash truck drivers around sharp turns and down narrow streets, often with parked cars on one or both sides. If these routes were not difficult enough as it is, trash drivers must also be aware of children – who are often enthralled with trash trucks – running into the street.

If a trash truck hits a moving car, parked car, or a pedestrian, serious damage and injuries may occur. In Philadelphia, sanitation is a division of the local government, though sometimes trash collectors may also be contractors hired from private companies. If you were involved in an accident with a trash truck, you may be able to hold the city liable, or the private company, depending on the entity operating the trash service. Knowing who to hold liable for a trash truck accident can be a complicated matter and you should have the assistance of a knowledgeable injury attorney as soon as possible.

Delivery Trucks

Ordering items from the comfort of our own homes is increasingly popular in Philadelphia. Amazon Prime allows you to order almost anything with one touch of a button and grocery delivery services allow you to avoid parking lots and waiting in line for the things you need. All of these services require the use of delivery trucks, which are also considered commercial vehicles.

Unlike tractor-trailers that are utilized by many corporations, delivery trucks are often box trucks, not articulated vehicles. Instead, the trailer is connected to the cab of the truck, which makes turning the vehicle challenging in many cases and can create significant blind spots. Because these trucks deliver goods and packages to many homes and small businesses, delivery box trucks appear regularly in residential neighborhoods and always pose the risk of an accident.

When a delivery driver causes a crash on the job, often the driver’s employer may also be held liable for the actions of the employee. Dealing with commercial insurance companies can be complicated so you need the right attorney to handle negotiations with the insurance company and filing suit if necessary.

Fire Trucks

Fire trucks are enormous vehicles that carry highly-specialized equipment in response to fires and other various emergencies. While not necessarily considered a commercial vehicle, firefighters nonetheless must obtain a commercial license to drive one in Pennsylvania. When a fire truck is deployed, time is often of the essence, and it is not uncommon to see and hear fire trucks with flashing lights and screaming sirens barreling down busy streets as other vehicles pull to the right (or wherever they can) to get out of the way.

While the law gives a fire truck responding to an emergency the right of way, this does not mean that the driver is legally entitled to drive recklessly and put others at an unreasonable risk of harm. For this reason, anyone injured in a fire truck accident that occurred while the vehicle was responding to an emergency should have the facts of their accident reviewed by an attorney.

Furthermore, fire truck drivers who are not responding to an emergency are required to follow the rules of the road just like everybody else. If you are injured in an accident caused by a fire truck driver who was not responding to an emergency and ran a stop sign, was speeding, failed to signal a lane change, or otherwise failed to obey the traffic laws, there is a good chance that you will be able to recover compensation for your injuries.

Commercial vehicles of all types can be involved in collisions that result in life-changing injuries. These injuries can affect your job, finances, and well-being, with losses that mount quickly. Your best options for obtaining compensation depend on the specific circumstances of your accident. This analysis can be complicated when a commercial vehicle is involved, so you should have a skilled personal injury lawyer with experience in commercial vehicle accidents evaluate your situation.

Discuss Your Injuries with a Philadelphia Commercial Vehicle Accident Attorney Today

Commercial vehicles have the potential to cause serious injuries in any environment – whether you are on a highway or a residential street. These accidents happen when you least expect them and can completely disrupt your life and the lives of your family members. Dealing with your injuries, medical treatment, and recovery is stressful enough, and the last thing you should have to worry about is how to negotiate with a commercial insurance company or navigate filing litigation to recover compensation for your injuries.

At The Levin Firm, we handle every aspect of your legal claim so you can trust your rights are being properly protected, while you focus on your physical recovery. If you would like to discuss your situation for free, please call 215-825-5183 or contact us online to talk to an experienced Philly commercial vehicle accident lawyer.

May 10, 2018

“Spring” Weather in Philly Can Cause Crashes

Car Accident Lawyers PA

While March brought the official start of spring, people in Philly know better than to expect the flowers to immediately bloom and the sun to start constantly shining. Pennsylvanians should not pack away their coats and winter weather gear right away, as the late spring months can still bring colder temperatures, rainy days, and even harsh snow and ice. Whether a late blizzard hits or a spring shower, the roads in and around Philadelphia can be dangerous.

Duty to Drive Safely

Every driver has the legal duty to drive their vehicle in a manner that is reasonably safe. This is duty is meant to prevent accidents and keep everyone safe from harm. “Reasonably safe” can involve complying with all traffic laws, avoiding distractions, not driving while impaired, and more. What is considered to be reasonably safe will also depend on the particular road and traffic conditions at a particular time, so driving behaviors should regularly be adjusted based on such conditions, which include adverse weather or slick roads.

Take speed limits, for example. When a road has a posted speed limit of 50 miles per hour, anyone exceeding that speed limit may be considered negligent and you may assume that as long as you are within that speed, you will not be liable for speeding. However, speed depends on more than just the posted speed limits—a safe speed should also take into account road and traffic conditions. If you are in heavy traffic, it would be unreasonable to expect to safely travel at 50 miles per hour. Similarly, a posted speed limit may not be reasonably safe if the roads are icy, or if visibility is poor due to a storm.

Every driver is expected to make judgment calls regarding what speed is safe in adverse weather. Unfortunately, too many drivers overestimate their driving ability or the reliability of their vehicles in dangerous weather conditions. Even if drivers stay under the posted speed limit, they may be responsible for causing an accident if they were driving too fast for conditions.

Truck Accidents in Adverse Weather

Commercial truck drivers are especially notorious for speeding past other cars when it is raining or snowing. Large semi-trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds with numerous axles, so they may have better traction on wet roads. For this reason, truck drivers may be overly confident and may drive faster than is reasonable.

In addition to speed limit compliance, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) prohibits commercial drivers from driving “too fast for conditions.” This includes slowing down in adverse road or weather conditions, as well as on curves, in construction zones, in intersections, and in heavy traffic. When a truck driver fails to slow down sufficiently to be safe in stormy weather and crashes, they may be found in violation of FMCSA regulations and liable for the injuries and losses caused by the accident.

Proving Negligence in Adverse Weather

If a driver was not exceeding the speed limit, how do you prove that they were traveling too fast for the road or weather conditions? Without a concrete threshold, it can be a subjective matter and the specific proof can vary from case to case. The following are some tools that an experienced attorney can use to help determine and prove negligence:

  • Witness reports – In many cases, people who witness an accident will stop to render aid to accident victims and report the accident to the authorities. Witnesses may state that they believed a driver was going too fast or that they saw a driver fly by all the other cars on the road, which were traveling at a reasonable speed. This testimony can be important as it will corroborate your assertion that a driver was going too fast.
  • Event data recorders – Commercial vehicles have event data recorders, which are similar to a “black box” on an airplane or train. This device will record the speed at which the truck was moving just before it crashed. This information can then be analyzed by trucking industry experts, who can testify whether this speed would be considered too fast for conditions.
  • Video surveillance – Surveillance cameras are increasingly prevalent—on the outside of businesses, on traffic light poles, in parking lots, and more. If a camera caught an accident, the video can show whether a driver was going faster than others on the road at the time of the crash.
  • Accident reconstruction experts – An accident reconstruction expert can analyze the circumstances of a crash and give their opinion on whether excessive speed or dangerous driving caused the accident. For example, if a car slid on the road, it may be evidence that the driver lost control because of excessive speed. An expert can then testify and give their opinion whether the driver was at fault.

Proving negligence when “spring” weather conditions result in an accident may be complicated. You should seek help from a law firm with the resources to investigate what happened and advise you of your rights and legal options. Your options can include filing an insurance claim or filing a personal injury lawsuit in civil court.

Find Out How a Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyer Can Help You

Sometimes, it may be obvious that a driver was negligent due to spring weather conditions. In other situations, careful investigation and legal analysis may be necessary to identify and prove that another driver breached their duty of care and acted negligently. In either case, The Levin Firm is here to help injured accident victims. Our firm regularly handles car accident cases that are relatively straightforward, as well as cases that are more complicated. If you are uncertain of your rights, the best step is to schedule an appointment so our experienced motor vehicle accident attorneys can evaluate your situation for free.

Timing is important in any legal case and car accident claims are no different. If you have been injured, please do not wait to call The Levin Firm at 215-825-5183 or contact us online today.

May 8, 2018

Watch Out for Potholes in Philadelphia and New Jersey

Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyer PA

While the transition from winter to spring weather can be a welcome one in the northeast, with it often comes a less-than-desirable effect on our roadways—potholes. Both Philadelphia and New Jersey are notorious for potholes. Potholes sometimes cannot be avoided and may even form on well-maintained streets. Winter weather brings moisture that seeps into small cracks in the pavement. The moisture freezes in low temperatures and expands, causing the roadway to crack and break apart.

When the temperature increases with spring, the pavement often crumbles as a result of multiple cracks. The result is what we call “potholes.” Potholes form directly in the path where traffic is heaviest. That means potholes are often much worse in heavily-trafficked areas such as Philadelphia or Norristown, as the stress from the constant weight of traffic and heavy commercial vehicles can break away more and more pavement around the edges of the potholes. Often street maintenance crews in large cities like Philadelphia cannot keep up with the number of potholes forming, and some may persist for a long period of time, presenting hazards for all vehicles on the road.

Crashes Due to Potholes

Potholes are dangerous and may cause accidents. In some cases, a driver may unexpectedly hit a pothole and sustain serious damage to their vehicle, such as undercarriage, axle, or tire damage. In other situations, hitting a pothole can cause a driver to lose control of their vehicle and crash into another car. A driver may also suddenly slam on the brakes or swerve to avoid a large pothole, causing a collision.

Potholes accidents have the potential to cause serious traumatic injuries to vehicle occupants, in addition to vehicle damage. Pothole accident cases can also be complicated, especially if they involve claims against a governmental entity responsible for maintaining the roads. It may also be difficult to prove that a pothole caused a collision. For these reasons, anyone who has been injured in an accident that may have resulted from a dangerous pothole needs the right attorney on their side as soon as possible.

Motorcycle and Bicycle Accidents

Potholes can cause accidents involving any type of vehicle. Even pedestrians can trip and fall due to a pothole. However, potholes can be particularly dangerous for people riding motorcycles or bicycles. These two-wheeled vehicles can react in extremely dangerous ways if an operator suddenly hits a pothole.

First, if a motorcyclist or bicyclist tries to avoid a pothole by swerving around it, they can easily lose their balance due to the sudden movement, and may lose control and crash. If they actually hit the pothole, the front tire may drop into the pothole and stop. The momentum of the vehicle can then cause the motorcycle or bicycle to tip forward, often throwing the rider forward off the vehicle. In such accidents, riders often hit the pavement face-first. Even with a helmet, this type of crash can result in severe injuries, including:

  • Broken jaw
  • Broken nose or cheekbones
  • Dental damage
  • Skull fractures
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Neck injuries
  • Back injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Fractured hands, wrists, or arms
  • Friction burns (“road rash”)
  • Serious lacerations
  • Fractured legs or shattered knees

Many of these injuries leave a motorcyclist or bicyclist scarred, disfigured, or disabled for the rest of their lives. Those who are lucky enough to survive may have extreme costs and losses due to serious injuries—which could have been prevented simply by repairing a pothole.

Seeking Compensation After a Pothole Accident

If a city or state failed to repair a pothole in a timely manner and you suffered injuries as a result, you may be able to hold the municipality responsible for all of your losses. Unfortunately, pothole cases are rarely that straightforward and municipalities will fight liability for property damage and injury costs whenever they can. To make matters worse, they often have government immunity on their side, which can limit a government agency’s liability for certain types of accidents.

Even if you do have the ability to file an insurance claim against the government, the requirements are different from regular personal injury actions. For example, time limits are generally much shorter and you must include specific information for your claim to be considered. For this reason, it is essential that you have an attorney on your side who understands how sovereign immunity laws work and how to pursue a claim on your behalf when applicable.

If a claim against the government is not possible after a pothole accident, you may have to turn to your own insurance to cover your losses. Just because you pay premiums each month does not mean that your insurance company will simply cut you a check, however. Instead, such insurance claims often require a significant amount of negotiating before you receive fair compensation for your vehicle damage and all of your injury-related losses. Having a knowledgeable lawyer represent you when filing a claim with an insurance company can help maximize your recovery.

Contact a Philadelphia and Atlantic City Car Accident Lawyer for Help

Whether you were injured in a car accident, bicycle accident, motorcycle accident, or any other type of vehicle accident, you should not hesitate to call The Levin Firm to discuss your rights. We can assist you throughout the entire insurance process to help ensure you recover proper compensation for your pothole-related accident and injuries. We can also determine whether a municipality was negligent in failing to repair a pothole or another road hazard. Our team has the skill and experience to take on governmental entities when necessary. However, cases against government agencies have very strict time limits and any delay can threaten your ability to seek compensation. Please call 215-825-5183 or contact us online so we can get started evaluating your case as soon as possible.

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