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.

April 30, 2018

When Negligence Causes Motor Vehicle Accidents

PA Car Accident Attorneys

When negligence causes a car accident, it makes an already stressful situation that much more upsetting. All too often simple carelessness causes accidents—and injuries—that could easily have been prevented. Nevertheless, ordinary negligence frequently causes dangerous car accidents.

If another driver’s negligence has left you injured, you know how financially, physically, and emotionally difficult it can be. Your recovery and your right to just compensation are too important not to consult with an experienced car accident attorney. At The Levin Firm in Philadelphia, our dedicated car accident attorneys have the experience, skill, and compassion to aggressively advocate for the compensation to which you’re entitled.

Distracted Drivers

The number of negligent car accidents caused by distracted drivers on our nation’s roadways has skyrocketed. Driving while distracted is particularly dangerous. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported two startling distracted driving statistics:

  • Every day in the U.S., approximately 1,000 people are injured and 9 more are killed in accidents involving distracted drivers.
  • When drivers text or email while traveling at 55 miles per hour, they take their eyes off the road for at least 5 seconds at a time—the time it takes to travel the length of a football field.

With the explosion of smartphones, distracted driving has become such a significant problem that the U.S. government has set up a website dedicated to the safety issue, distraction.gov. The website identifies distracted driving as any driving when the driver’s attention is focused on anything other than the primary task of driving safely. The website categorizes the most common types of distractions as visual, manual, and cognitive. When drivers use smartphones to text or email, they engage in all three of these types of distraction at once, creating an extremely dangerous diversion from driving.

Impaired Drivers

Almost everyone knows that driving under the influence of alcohol is extremely dangerous, but many drivers continue to engage in this deadly practice. Impaired drivers not only endanger themselves and their passengers, they risk the lives of everyone else on the road. The CDC reports several sobering impaired-driving statistics based on data from 2015:

  • More than 10,000 people were killed in accidents involving alcohol, accounting for about a third of the total number of U.S. traffic fatalities that year.
  • More than a million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics—but this number accounts for only about 1 percent of the 111 million self-reported cases of impaired driving every year. That means that for every person charged with DUI, there are 99 more drunk drivers out there still on the roads.
  • Impaired drivers were involved in 16 percent of all traffic fatalities involving children.

These statistics show that despite law enforcement efforts, drunk drivers continue to plague the roads and cause a hefty number of needless accidents and fatalities every year.

Aggressive Drivers

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (DOT) reports that aggressive driving is one of the leading causes of traffic accidents and fatalities in the state. The DOT identifies aggressive driving as taking a variety of forms:

  • Speeding excessively
  • Passing illegally on the right
  • Tailgating
  • Racing to beat the light or running stop signs
  • Weaving in and out of traffic
  • Failing to yield the right of way

All these driving practices are exceedingly dangerous. Sometimes aggressive drivers also get personal and taunt other drivers by hurling expletives and using obscene hand gestures. Steps you can take to steer clear of these dangerous drivers include:

  • If you spot an aggressive driver, allow that driver all the space on the road that you can. Simply steering clear of these drivers is your best defense. After you’ve allowed such a driver to pass, contact the authorities when it’s safe to do so. You may help avert a dangerous accident.
  • Never engage with an aggressive driver – even if the driver’s anger is directed at you. Don’t make eye contact, which can be interpreted as a sign of returned aggression. Aggressive drivers are dangerous, and because they’re willing to engage in aggressive driving in the first place, it’s difficult to know how far that driver might go—including escalating to road rage. If an enraged driver ever approaches your car, do not get out of your vehicle. If you can, drive away, or call 911.

Speeding Drivers

While speeding is a form of aggressive driving, it’s such a serious issue that it bears separate consideration. The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that speed has played an elemental role in nearly a third of the total vehicular fatalities in the U.S. over the past 20-plus years. There were more than 9,500 speed-related fatalities in 2015 alone.

While we all remember from Driver’s Education that speed kills, specific factors make speeding especially dangerous:
  • Speeding increases the odds that a driver will lose control of his or her vehicle.
  • Speeding reduces the effectiveness of a car’s occupant protection devices such as seatbelts and airbags.
  • Speeding increases the severity of any accident that ensues and all resulting injuries, including physical, financial, and emotional damages.

If You’ve Been Injured by a Negligent Driver, Contact an Experienced Philadelphia Car Accident Attorney Today

Car accidents are dangerous and frightening—but car accidents needlessly caused by another driver’s careless negligence are even more upsetting. If you have been injured by a negligent driver, you need skilled legal counsel to help you through this difficult time. The experienced legal team at The Levin Firm is committed to helping protect the rights of injured accident victims and ensuring just compensation for their injuries. We have over fifty years of combined experience helping accident victims in Philadelphia recover fair compensation for their injuries. Our dedicated car accident attorneys have the skill, knowledge, and commitment to fight for your rights while you focus on your recovery. We’re here to help. Please contact or call us at 215-825-5183 today.

April 27, 2018

Can You Seek Compensation for Minor Car Accident Injuries?

Car Accident Lawyer PA

A car accident—even a minor one—can throw things into turmoil. The consequences can be much more difficult if you suffered injuries. If someone else’s negligence caused the accident, understanding some basics can be helpful.

Pennsylvania – a Choice No-Fault Car Insurance State

Pennsylvania implements a unique car accident insurance system that’s known as a choice no-fault law, which can be complicated. As a citizen of Pennsylvania, you have the choice of purchasing less-costly no-fault car insurance coverage, or purchasing more traditional coverage that is based on who was at fault in causing an accident. With no-fault coverage, your accident claim will be covered by your own insurance company, but only your financial damages are recoverable. In other words, while you’re covered for your medical expenses, lost wages, and property damages, you won’t be compensated for pain and suffering except in cases involving especially serious injuries.

If you carry more traditional insurance coverage, the negligent driver’s insurance will cover your losses, which may include damages for pain and suffering. There is, however, a mechanism for allocating the percentage of fault and adjusting your compensation accordingly. Because the determination of fault and allocation of responsibility can get very complicated, a dedicated car accident attorney can help.

Even a minor car accident can be costly, and no injury should be ignored. If you’ve suffered a minor injury in a car accident that was caused by another driver’s negligence, a car accident attorney can help you assess your best options and help ensure that you’re justly compensated. Because Pennsylvania’s car accident laws are unique to Pennsylvania, it’s important to consult with an experienced Pennsylvania car accident attorney. At the Levin Firm in Philadelphia, our dedicated legal team has the experience, commitment, and skill to aggressively advocate for your claim’s best possible resolution.

Your Injury: First Things First

Always seek medical attention after a car accident, even if you think you feel fine at the time.

Sometimes the trauma of being in car accident causes a rush of adrenaline and symptoms of shock that can mask injuries. Moreover, minor injuries that may not seem important can become serious if not treated. Certain kinds of injuries commonly associated with minor accidents—such as whiplash and spinal injuries—may develop into chronic debilitating conditions. Even if you think you escaped with just a few bumps and bruises, you should get checked out and make sure those bumps and bruises aren’t hiding something serious, like a blood clot. Early medical intervention is always in your best interest—even if the doctor just provides reassurance. Seeking swift medical attention also provides you with more accurate documentation of your physical damages to support your claim.

The Insurance Company

No matter what kind of coverage you carry, your car accident claim is going to go through a car insurance company. It is important to remember that car insurance companies are not in business to maximize recovery for your claim. Instead, car insurance companies attempt to minimize payouts as much as possible. Some implement delay tactics, or will offer a quick but inadequate settlement.

Your claim and your just compensation matter too much not to consult with an experienced car accident attorney who will help ensure that you’re fully compensated for all your incurred damages. Your best strategy is to find a lawyer experienced in dealing with car insurance companies who knows how to maximize your recovery. When you are injured after a car accident, it is no time to go to battle with an insurance company. Allow a dedicated car accident lawyer to protect your rights while you focus on your recovery.

Statute of Limitations

Pennsylvania has a two-year statute of limitations for bringing a legal claim after an accident, which means you have two years from the date the accident to file a lawsuit. You cannot bring suit after limitations has run, even if your injuries become more serious over time. An experienced car accident lawyer helps guide your claim through the process and ensures you don’t miss important deadlines.

A Whiplash Injury

Often people who suffer from whiplash don’t even realize they’ve been injured until a day or longer after the accident. Because whiplash injuries have the potential to degrade into something far more serious, they’re worth considering more carefully. Whiplash is a soft-tissue injury of the neck caused when your head is whipped back and forth on your neck – like the cracking of a whip. Even minor accidents at slower speeds can result in whiplash injuries. While such injuries are sometimes immediately apparent, they can also develop and worsen over time. Whiplash injuries often lead to considerable pain and to decreased range-of-motion in the neck. Moreover, whiplash can be short-lived, but can also become a permanent debilitating condition. Even what seems like mild whiplash should not be overlooked as a potentially serious injury.

Your Car Accident Claim

Even a car accident that leads to a minor injury can rack up considerable expenses:

  • Medical attention and treatment
  • Therapy
  • Prescription medications
  • Property damage to your vehicle
  • Time lost from work and lost wages

A skilled car accident attorney will help ensure that you recover fair compensation for your injuries. If you’ve been injured by another driver’s negligence, it’s a difficult time. But don’t let an insurance company take advantage of you when you have been injured. A committed car accident attorney will carefully evaluate the unique circumstances of your claim and help design a strategy to protect your rights and fight for the compensation to which you are entitled.

If Another Driver Has Left You Injured, Contact a Skilled Philadelphia Car Accident Attorney Today

Even a minor car accident with what seems like minimal injuries can be extremely difficult to process and have lasting consequences. If another driver’s negligence caused an accident that left you injured, your legal rights and your claim are important. The dedicated car accident attorneys at The Levin Firm in Philadelphia have the experience, commitment, and determination to help navigate your claim and place you in the best position possible while you focus on your recovery. We’re here to help, so please contact or call us at 215-825-5183 today.

April 26, 2018

How a Crash Can Cause Cognitive Issues

 

Car Accident Lawyer PA

Car accidents are dangerous and frightening and often cause devastating injuries. Of these, head injuries can be some of those most challenging, because your cognitive abilities may be impaired without you even realizing it. Head injuries may be asymptomatic at the scene of the accident, with significant and dangerous symptoms presenting only after the fact, making matters even more complicated. Even a mild head injury can lead to cognitive difficulties and should never be discounted. If you’ve been in a car accident, it’s always a good idea to seek medical attention and rule out any head injury, even if you think you feel fine.

Concussions

Concussions are very common head injuries occurring in car accidents. A concussion is a mild form of traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by either rough shaking of the head or a blow to the head. A concussion is usually a temporary condition that heals with time, but may cause significant physical and cognitive issues over time. On the spectrum of traumatic brain injuries, concussions are considered mild, but are nevertheless often associated with serious health consequences. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that concussions account for most TBIs, and that TBIs play a role in almost a third of all deaths caused by traumatic injury in the United States.

If you’ve suffered a head injury in a car accident caused by another driver’s negligence, you need experienced legal counsel to help you navigate the process of recovery. Car accident injury claims may be complicated, especially when you are facing cognitive issues. The dedicated legal team at The Levin Firm in Philadelphia understands exactly how overwhelming your situation can be. We’re here to help effectively and efficiently guide you through the claim process and help ensure that you recover fair compensation for your injuries.

Traumatic Brain Injuries

Head injuries like TBIs are often referred to as silent injuries because they may not be visible to the outside observer, which can exacerbate their isolating effects. Your brain is your body’s command central, which allows you to effectively navigate through life. As such, any injury to this delicately calibrated system can lead to negative cognitive consequences. TBIs can be unpredictable, with even very slight injuries causing significant cognitive issues.

The Mayo Clinic reports that traffic accidents are one of the top four causes of TBIs. A car accident need not be especially serious or high speed to cause a traumatic brain injury.

Cognitive Consequences

Victims of head injuries, such as concussions and other TBIs, often suffer what they describe as an altered sense of self. This may occur because cognitive processes are so closely related to what makes us unique. For example, TBI victims can suffer memory loss and the inability to regulate their emotions in familiar ways, resulting in abrupt personality changes. Such consequences can lead to psychological effects that include depression and social isolation. Ultimately, these effects tend to push away the injured person’s support system just when needed most.

In addition, a TBI that causes you to suffer from cognitive impairment is likely to affect your ability to carry out your job. A TBI can cause you to lose hours at work, or even to lose your capacity to function at your previous performance level altogether. Because our careers are so closely tied to our sense of self and to our position in the world, this can be just as psychologically and emotionally damaging as it is financially devastating.

Traumatic Brain Injuries: The Symptoms

Traumatic brain injuries can be slow to present with symptoms, but there are several signs that you should be on the lookout for if you or someone you care about has been in a car accident:

  • Dizziness
  • Loss of coordination
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Persistent headaches
  • Confusion
  • The sudden onset of fatigue
  • Widespread or localized weakness or numbness
  • Speech disturbances
  • The sudden onset of mood swings
  • A change in behavior or personality

Any of these symptoms can indicate a traumatic brain injury. Even if the symptoms seem relatively mild, they should not be ignored. Instead, seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of those symptoms after an accident.

Traumatic Brain Injuries and Treatment

Traumatic brain injuries are tricky. Because these injuries can linger before presenting with symptoms, they often go undiagnosed until they become more pronounced and more difficult to treat. In fact, TBIs sometimes sneak up so quietly that victims have a difficult time connecting them to the precipitating accident. Further, because these injuries are so unpredictable, it’s difficult to know how a TBI will affect your life as you move into the future. Immediate medical attention is always the safest option when it comes to car accidents.

Your Car Accident Claim

Every car accident claim is unique and often complicated. If someone else’s negligence has caused you to suffer a head injury in a car accident, you need both experienced medical attention and skilled legal counsel. Your claim and your just compensation are too important to leave to chance or to the insurance company. Insurance companies all too often make lowball offers to settle serious injury claims, while you are faced with mounting medical bills. Don’t be tempted to take on an insurance company yourself, especially if you’ve suffered a head injury with cognitive issues. You need an attorney experienced with your type of claim to help you successfully negotiate with the insurance company, and to bring suit if necessary.

If a Car Accident Has Left You Injured, Contact an Experienced Philadelphia Car Accident Attorney Today

Being injured in a car accident can be overwhelming, especially if you’ve suffered a head injury. At The Levin Firm in Philadelphia, our dedicated car accident attorneys have the experience, skill, and determination to help guide your claim toward the best possible resolution, while you focus on your recovery. We have over 50 years of combined experience helping people who have been injured in accidents in Philadelphia. We’re here to help. Please contact or call us at 215-825-5183 today.

April 20, 2018

Were You Injured by Drag Racing Drivers?

Auto Accident Attorneys PA

Most people are familiar with drag racing only in the movies. But drag racing happens in real life—and causes accidents that hurt people. Unfortunately, drag racing has become increasingly popular among urban youth in cities like Philadelphia, with drivers and spectators uploading footage of races on YouTube and other social media platforms.

The State of Pennsylvania has enacted laws to specifically address drag racing. Drag racing is illegal in Pennsylvania– not only to drive in a drag race, but to participate in any capacity. These laws define drag racing as two or more vehicles competitively attempting to outdistance each other while driving side by side at accelerating speeds. The “Racing on Highways” statute makes it illegal to engage in drag racing, even just as a spectator. Convicted participants are subject to a six-month suspension of license, fines, and the possibility of jail time.

The Need for Speed

Drag racing—or street racing—is obviously dangerous for the participants, who are all too often younger drivers. But it also frequently endangers other drivers and pedestrians, especially when drivers drag race on busy urban streets at night. Drag racing claims may be complicated and difficult to prove because the drivers involved typically will not admit to drag racing.

If you’ve been injured in an accident and suspect the driver who caused the accident may have been drag racing, you need skilled legal counsel to help navigate your claim. At The Levin Firm in Philadelphia, we recognize the dangers of street races on our urban streets, and we’re here to help. Our dedicated car accident attorneys have the experience, skill, and commitment to fight for your rights and help you recover fair compensation for your injuries.

The Fast and the Fatal

An article entitled The Fast and the Fatal in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), in conjunction with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), identifies several key factors common to drag racing fatalities:

  • The drivers most likely to be involved in fatal drag racing accidents are male teenagers with poor driving histories.
  • Street racing fatalities are almost six times more likely than other traffic fatalities to involve speeds that exceed 65 miles per hour.
  • Impaired driving is a common factor in these accidents.
  • Street racing fatalities are more likely to occur on urban surface streets – like the streets of Philadelphia.

Speed Kills

Speed alone is deadly. As a driver’s speed increases, so too does the driver’s braking distance. This means that the driver’s available reaction time decreases – just when he or she needs it most. The NHTSA reports that in 2016, speed killed more than 10,000 people and accounted for more than a quarter of traffic fatalities overall. Speed has played a significant role in about a third of total traffic fatalities for more than 20 years.

When you mix excessive speeds with the other factors common to drag racing—young, often impaired drivers with poor driving histories racing on busy urban surface streets—you have a recipe for disaster.

Speeding and Its Consequences

According to the NHTSA, speed correlates directly with specific consequences:

  • The driver increases the chances that he or she will lose control of the car.
  • The severity of the accident is increased along with the resulting amount of damage.
  • The car’s occupant protection devices, including the seatbelts and airbags, experience reduced effectiveness.
  • Speed-related crashes have increasingly serious economic, physical, and psychological consequences.

Impaired Driving

Statistics show that drivers who drag race are often impaired by alcohol or other intoxicating substances. While driving under the influence is always dangerous, mixing this practice with the reckless characteristics of drag racing is a potentially deadly combination. Let’s consider the sobering statistics forwarded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

  • Almost a third of total U.S. traffic fatalities in 2015 were alcohol-related.
  • Of the self-reported incidences of impaired driving that occur every year on U.S. roads, only about one percent resulted in arrests in 2015.
  • In 2015, impaired drivers were involved in 16 percent of traffic fatalities involving children (aged 14 and younger).

Driving while impaired is always a terrible idea. Mixing impairment with the speed and recklessness of drag racing makes it an even more dangerous practice.

Drag Racing

When you take young, impetuous drivers who tend to have poor driving records in the first place and add speed and alcohol into the equation, things get very dangerous very quickly. Drag racing, unfortunately, is not new to the streets of Philadelphia. If you’ve been injured by a drag racing driver, you need an accident attorney with experience in these kinds of cases to help protect your rights and guide you through the process of recovering for your claims.

If a Drag Racing Driver Has Left You Injured, Consult with an Experienced Philadelphia Car Accident Attorney Today

If you have been injured in an accident and suspect that one or more of the drivers involved may have been drag racing, the legal team at The Levin Firm in Philadelphia can help. Our attorneys have over fifty years’ combined experience helping accident victims recover fair compensation and move forward in the recovery process. Our attorneys have the commitment, knowledge, and compassion to aggressively advocate for you and your rights. We’re here to help, so please contact or call us at 215-825-5183 today.

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.

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