Articles Posted in Personal Injury

slip and fallIf you were injured in a slip-and-fall accident, would you know what to do to ensure you fully and completely protected your rights? Would you know whom to sue if you found out that the property where you fell was leased at the time of your injury? All of these facts were part of a case involving a woman injured outside a Montgomery County church, and the case highlights how even a seemingly “simple” slip-and-fall case can have nuances and complexities with which an experienced Pennsylvania slip-and-fall accident attorney can provide crucial help.

The injured woman, Catherine, was walking along a sidewalk outside a Catholic church in Montgomery County in November 2005 when she slipped and fell, suffering injuries. On most days, this set of facts might offer a fairly straightforward potential case, with the injured pedestrian seeking recovery from the property owner. But this wasn’t most days; it was Election Day, and, on that day, the county had leased the church for use as a polling place.

This “wrinkle” in the facts of the case led the injured woman to sue both the Catholic Archdiocese and the county. This decision spawned extensive legal wrangling between the county and the archdiocese. The county moved for summary judgment, which, if successful, meant that it would be removed from the case before the trial even started and face no potential liability for the woman’s injuries. The trial court agreed and removed the county from the case.

Knee injuries suffered in a car accident can include fractures, ligament injuries, and dislocation. Not only can they lead to severe pain, swelling, and limited range of motion, but also some knee injuries can take months to heal, affecting an individual’s ability to work and be active. When a negligent motorist causes an accident that results in injuries, the law provides victims the right to file a Pennsylvania car accident claim against that driver for damages.

knee injury compensation

Filing a liability claim or a personal injury lawsuit may be appropriate when accident victims suffer serious injuries. There are many different causes of car accidents, ranging from distracted driving to mechanical malfunctions. But regardless of the cause, those hurt by the negligence of others have the legal right to pursue compensation for their suffering and harm.

The first step in a personal injury claim is to establish legal fault for causing an accident. This can stem from action, or in some cases, inaction. Failing to pay attention while operating a vehicle, for example, or refusing to adjust speed to account for weather conditions can be factors that lead to a crash and a legal determination of negligence.

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Restaurants, hotels, shopping malls, and other businesses may be held legally responsible when water or other fluid accumulated on a floor causes people to slip and fall, injuring themselves. In fact, this is a common cause of slip and fall accidents throughout Pennsylvania. A skilled Pennsylvania slip and fall attorney can help those hurt in a slip and fall accident recover damages from the responsible individual or entity, which in many cases, is the property owner.

Slip and Fall Accidents
Slip and fall legal cases brought by injured individuals require proving that the business owner or individual in charge of the property knew of the condition or should have known about it, based on the circumstances. Legally, the injured individual, as a plaintiff in a personal injury claim, must show that the defendant property owner was negligent. Since slip and fall cases proceed as a type of injury claim titled “premises liability,” this means that the status of the victim is important to recovering damages. In a situation involving injuries suffered in a business, the victim is an invitee, or someone who was invited onto the property for a commercial purpose.

Because of the legal status of those invited into a business, such as a restaurant, the property owner owes a different duty of care than in an ordinary negligence claim. For example, business owners are required to regularly inspect their property, and if they identify dangerous conditions, they must repair them or place an obvious warning. An owner that fails to meet this duty of care may be held responsible when visitors suffer injuries due to their violated duty.

When determining compensation after an accident in Pennsylvania, victims may find it difficult to set a dollar amount on the emotional pain and suffering they have endured.  Injury settlement amounts depend on a variety of factors and often require a professional assessment by medical doctors, vocational experts, and others who can strengthen a claim for damages.  In many cases, Pennsylvania injury lawyers take part in settlement negotiations, and insurance adjusters will need to determine the value of the case.

broken arm

Generally, those individuals who suffer injuries caused by the negligence of another party have two years to bring a legal claim for damages. Abiding by the statute of limitations is necessary, since Pennsylvania courts will not hear cases filed after this period of time.  After asserting a claim against a defendant, the individual or entity’s insurer will use the alleged injury as a starting point to determine an appropriate amount of damages.

In many situations, insurance adjusters categorize injuries into soft tissue injuries or hard injuries.  Soft tissue injuries are generally described by the patient and only involve muscles or other connective tissues. These are generally less serious than hard injuries, and when assessing the value of these claims, insurers reason that soft tissue injuries are not usually permanent, despite the pain the victim may endure.

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Riding a motorcycle requires abiding by Pennsylvania laws regarding the use and operation of the bike.  Whether a rider chooses to use a motorcycle for transportation or recreation, certain state regulations, such as motorcycle helmet laws, are important to protecting the rider’s safety as well as the safety of others on the road.  Pennsylvania motorcycle accident lawyers are familiar with the importance of abiding by these laws. Particularly in the unfortunate circumstance of an accident, it may be important to show compliance in order to successfully secure damages in a legal claim for compensation.

motorcycle helmet

According to Pennsylvania law, persons age 21 and over are not required to wear a motorcycle helmet if they have completed a safety course approved by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, or if they have been licensed for at least two years to operate a motorcycle.  For riders 20 years old or younger, helmets must be worn.

The minimum performance requirements for helmets designed to be used by motorcyclists have been set forth by Pennsylvania law, which clearly indicates how helmets should be labeled, among other things.  These helmets must provide a field of vision indicated by law and must cover at least to the center of the ear. Other details are set forth within the state regulations.

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A tragic mobile truck crane accident at the Pennsylvania State University campus has allegedly led to a Pennsylvania injury lawsuit based on claims of negligence and loss of consortium against the crane manufacturer and the contractor. The device involved in the accident, a mobile truck crane, was used for construction on the Penn State campus. One individual, a worker, was killed, and another worker suffered serious injuries when, during its operation, the jib of the crane fell to the ground. Both men were employed by a subcontracting company, which had been hired by the contractor defendant to perform work on the construction job.

construction site

As is common in personal injury lawsuits, the plaintiff in this case sought damages based on his accident-related costs. The facts indicate that the contractor in this case had rented the mobile crane from a manufacturer. Additionally, the manufacturer had supplied an operator to control the jib. While the plaintiff, the injured worker, had been working on the project, the jib struck him and caused injuries to his right arm and wrist.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), an agency of the United States Department of Labor, investigated the incident. The agency determined that the incident was caused by the mobile crane operator and the employees who stowed the jib. Specifically, OSHA noted that the employees had failed to follow proper stowing procedures, which led to the jib collapsing and causing the plaintiff’s serious injuries (as well as the fatality of another individual). The manufacturer was cited $7,000, and it paid this amount.

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Pennsylvania has more amusement park rides than any other state, and parks like Hershey and Kennywood attract residents and visitors from all over the nation.  For family-friendly fun and excitement, people flock to the the carousels, roller coasters, and other attractions.  While these rides scare and thrill, they can also lead to injuries.  Many amusement park ride injuries involve falls, and the causes range from mechanical failure to operator error.

rollercoaster

When the carelessness of an amusement park or a park employee has led to injuries, the victim may allege legal fault and seek damages for all of their accident-related costs.  All amusement parks are considered to be responsible for the actions taken by their employees. When an employee is negligent, the park may be liable for the employee’s conduct.  An example of negligent conduct would be a park failing to post a clear sign that individuals with heart problems should not go on a certain ride. If a rider suffering from a heart condition is injured while on the ride, they may file a claim for damages against the park, since the failure to place this sign directly led to the resulting injuries.

In some situations, the legal defense of assumption of risk may apply in an amusement park ride injury lawsuit.  The defendant in a legal claim would allege that the injured individual had knowledge of the risk involved and voluntarily accepted this risk.  By going on rides that are inherently dangerous, the park may argue, the participant “assumed the risk.”

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When someone is negligent and causes harm to another person, they may be held liable.  In most personal injury cases, the injured victim alleges negligence. Success for a plaintiff in a slip and fall case, for example, would require the injured victim to show that the property owner or manager had been negligent.  It is not sidewalk crackenough to simply slip and injure yourself on someone’s property – to recover monetary damages, an individual or entity must be legally at fault.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), falls are the leading cause of injury and death for older Americans.  The CDC states that there are steps adults can take to prevent a fall, including talking to their health care provider about fall prevention.  Making their home safer, getting rid of hazards, and having their eyes checked can also help.

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In the warm summer months, many people choose to go four-wheeling on ATVs, or all-terrain vehicles. As a leisure activity, driving ATVs is a popular pastime, but it does carry the risk of serious harm should a collision take place. Increasing safety among ATV drivers and riders is important, and Pennsylvania laws specifically address how to safely operate an ATV in order to avoid a Pennsylvania ATV accident and resulting harm.

ATV

As with other motor vehicle collisions, victims who are injured in an ATV accident have the potential to bring a personal injury claim under Pennsylvania law against the at-fault driver. The main issue is causation and determining who caused the accident. Assuming that the victim was not at fault for the accident, they may choose to pursue a negligence claim against the defendant. This would require showing that the defendant owed them a duty of care, breached this duty, and caused the accident that led to the victim’s losses and damages. According to law, ATV drivers are prohibited from speeding above posted limits, and they are instructed not to drive “in any careless way” that endangers others. An accident victim may set forth evidence that the driver was speeding at the time of the collision, and this fact may support a finding that the driver breached their duty of care.

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Pennsylvania injury law provides for punitive damages in a personal injury lawsuit when the defendant’s conduct is “outrageous.”  Determining whether conduct is outrageous requires a careful analysis.  Additionally, the plaintiff in the personal injury claim should set forth material facts in their complaint that support allegations of willful or oppressive conduct.  This requires showing that the defendant realized the possibility that harm would result from his actions, or he was aware it was substantially certain to take place.

car crash
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has assessed the conduct necessary to demonstrate punitive damages, particularly as it regards the concept of reckless indifference to the rights of others.  In Martin v. Johns-Manville Corp., the Court relied on the Restatement Second of Torts, Section 908(2). Particularly, the court stated that a defendant’s mental state must rise above gross negligence, such that their outrageous conduct is accompanied by a reckless indifference to the interests of other people.

According to the Court in Martin, reckless conduct requires that an individual make a conscious choice of a course of action.  They must know of the serious danger posed to others.  By defining “outrageous conduct” as reckless indifference, the Court intended it to require that an individual have decided to bring about the result or be aware it was substantially certain to occur.