While it should be relatively easy for injured passengers to file a claim and collect financial compensation from SEPTA after accidents, SEPTA tends to make it difficult for passengers to obtain a monetary recovery. Although SEPTA is self-insured for accidents, it is technically owned by the Commonwealth, which is why there are a number of defenses limiting or negating its liability to injured passengers.
In order to save money, there are several defenses SEPTA uses when trying to guard against claims. However, the three most frequently used defenses by SEPTA that injured victims should be aware of prior to pursuing claims for damages, include:
Under this Act, an injured rider is prohibited from recovering money from SEPTA unless an exception to the Act applies. Pursuant to the state statute, SEPTA waives its right to invoke the sovereign immunity defense where its passengers suffer injury while the vehicle in which they are injured is in “operation.” What does operation mean? One could certainly argue that a SEPTA vehicle is in “operation” if the keys are in the ignition and the ignition is turned on, right? In fact, someone has made that argument, and it failed. Our state Supreme Court has repeatedly held that a stopped SEPTA vehicle is not in “operation,” even if the keys are in the ignition and the ignition is turned on. This even applies where the vehicle is stopped to let passengers on or off. This means that passengers who are injured when they step on or off a SEPTA vehicle won’t have a case against SEPTA, unless there is a dangerous condition that SEPTA has failed to repair, such as a damaged platform or train station.
Many passengers are injured when the buses they are riding in stop suddenly; however, this jerk and jolt defense may prevent passengers who are injured in this manner from being compensated. This common defense used by SEPTA prohibits an injured passenger from recovering money from SEPTA unless the jerk or jolt that caused the injury was “extraordinary.” But the definition of “extraordinary,” of course, is open to interpretation. Our state Supreme Court has repeatedly held that “extraordinary” means uncommon and unexpected. The Supreme Court has also held that the jerk or jolt that caused the injury must have affected more passengers than just the injured person; however, there are exceptions to this rule too.
Common carriers, or those engaged in the business of carrying passengers for money (e.g., trolley companies, cab companies, etc.), have a greater responsibility to ensure their passengers safety than private individuals do. But because SEPTA is owned by the Commonwealth, it argues that it is not a common carrier and therefore does not owe its passengers anything more than just reasonable care. This uncommon carrier defense, as we like to call it, is nonsense and can easily be defeated with the right arguments.
Because injury claims can be expensive due to costly medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering, SEPTA often fights claims with the defenses listed above. Additionally, SEPTA may attempt to settle cases with unfair monetary offers. While these defenses commonly used by SEPTA may sound intimidating to an injured person, they aren’t threatening to lawyers who know the laws and know how to use the right arguments.
If you are a victim of a bus accident, trolley accident, subway accident, or train accident, you should talk with an attorney. A lawyer who has experience in SEPTA claims will be familiar with the defenses and will know how to get you a fair settlement offer. Contact our experienced attorneys today for a complimentary consultation at 215-569-1455, or reach out to us online via our contact form or live chat features.]]>
But did you know that there are things you don’t want to do after being in a wreck? It’s true. From the moment an auto accident occurs, it is important that you know what not to do so that you don’t wreck your personal injury case.
Here are three things you never want to do after a motor vehicle accident without speaking with an attorney first:
From the moment your accident took place, the insurance adjuster’s job is to research the crash, injuries, and how much money you will be entitled to. Remember, adjusters work for insurance companies who want to pay claimants as little money as possible. For example, an insurance adjuster may call within the first few days of the crash and greet you by asking how you are. You might reply with, “I’m good, thanks.” The problem with this is that even as something as simple as this common conversation exchange can work against you. An insurance adjuster will use every word they can against you to lower your settlement. This is why you should have an attorney make contact with an insurance adjuster on your behalf so that you don’t have to worry about making little mistakes that could hurt your claim.
If you do speak with an insurance adjuster, he will often ask you to provide a recorded statement of the incident during your very first conversation. It is important to note that there is no law that requires you to provide an adjuster with a recorded statement this early in your claim—as it will only benefit the insurance company. It is okay to tell the insurance adjuster that you need more time or you would like to schedule the call for a day that you won’t have any interruptions or distractions. Because you will be bound by anything you say in your statement, it is critical that you take it seriously and take your time before giving a recorded statement. If you are working with an attorney, your lawyer will delay your statement until the right time, prepare you for making a statement, and will be with you to advise you during your recorded statement.
The insurance adjuster will likely ask you to sign a release form during your very first conversation so he or she can access your medical records. This form is called a medical release form. Be aware, the insurance company might mail this form to you and inform you that they need access to your medical records in order to continue with your claim. Unfortunately, medical release forms are often used against claimants. This is because insurance adjusters will look back in your medical history to see if there is any similar injury you suffered so they can blame your previous injury as the cause of your current pain—trying to reduce their liability. When working with an attorney, your lawyer will advise you what forms you should and shouldn’t sign and when and what you should sign.
Because insurance adjusters are trained to negotiate personal injury claims in a way to save their company money, it is essential that you have this knowledge before you ever speak with an adjuster. Now that you know an insurance adjuster will attempt to use your words against you, you should consider speaking with an attorney experienced in negotiating with insurance adjusters so that you can get the maximum possible financial recovery. For help finding the right lawyer for you, request a free copy of Got Hurt? Forget the Silly Lawyer Ads…, or call our office at 215-569-1455 for a free, no-obligation legal consultation today.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) furthers this theory, and assigns blame by stating that behavioral problems arise from the limitations and treatment imposed by human society. When dogs feel threatened, neglected, or upset, they become anxious and are more prone to act out.
As a result, the risk of dog attacks and injuries has become extremely high. Every year, approximately 800,000 people are seriously injured due to canine aggression. Unfortunately, many of these attacks could have been avoided if owners and dog attack victims took the time to look for signs of anxiety and get appropriate help before dogs resort to violent behavior.
While identifying a dog’s mood may be more difficult than realizing your spouse is in a bad mood, it’s not impossible to judge whether your dog is under stress. Although he can’t tell you outright or give you obvious clues, his behavior will change. Just like humans, he will give you signs—it’s up to you to recognize them.
By watching for the following uncommon behaviors, you can help prevent your dog from inadvertently biting you or a stranger while also gaining the knowledge to keep yourself from provoking or becoming injured by someone else’s pooch:
Although there are definite reasons that a dog might attack, and some of those reasons may not necessarily be the dog’s fault, responsibility for its actions still lies with the dog’s owner. If you own a dog, you need to pay special attention to its mood to prevent attacks, and if you’re near enough to a dog to be a victim, you monitor it actions.
However, sometimes signs of distress occur so fast that the only thing you can do is try to protect yourself. In these situations the best thing you can do is curl up, protect your face and chest, and once the attack is over, contact an experienced lawyer to get you the compensation you need for your injuries.
Anxiety can cause behavioral issues in humans and animals alike; let us help lessen your anxiety after an attack by making sure the person responsible is held accountable and you aren’t left paying for his mistakes.
What do you think about dog attack liability and who should take the blame? Should attacks be solely blamed on the animal, or should owners, trainers, and handlers be held responsible? Let us know your thoughts by leaving your opinions in the comment section provided.]]>
Road rash is a somewhat misleading term for an otherwise serious injury. A “rash” implies a simple skin irritation that will eventually go away; road rash is anything but that. A more accurate term for this type of injury is “road burn.” Road burns occur when exposed skin is dragged, scraped, and pressed into the ground with a lot of force and velocity. This dragging generally causes the exposed skin to peel off or become lacerated as a result of gravel and abrasive ground covering. In addition to the open wounds caused by the accident, foreign debris such as dirt, stones, and accident debris can become lodged in the wound, promoting infection.
So, now that you know what it is, can you really think of it as a trophy? Or would you rather learn more about your risks so you can protect yourself against it?
Not all road rash injuries are equal. Although they can all be considered painful and require treatment, some are more severe than others. Varying factors of an accident (speed, collision type, biker reaction, etc.) determine the type of injury you’ll sustain, as well as its severity. This is why it is important to know the difference between minor cuts and scrapes, and the road rash that accompanies lacerations, avulsion injuries, and compression wounds.
Given the fact that road rash injuries can be extremely painful and leave you with lasting scars and permanent reminders of an accident, do you think bikers should be proud of them? Should these types of injuries be revered, or fought against? Do you think better protection should be developed and required, or should riders be able to choose how safe they want to be? If you suffer from road rash would you be proud, or would you want justice for your injuries?
In the comment section provided, please share your thoughts, concerns, and stories. By leaving a few words, you can not only help us learn more about societal opinions, but your experiences could also help others get the extra knowledge and support they need when filing a motorcycle injury claim.
Do you know bikers who don’t take road rash concerns seriously? Help them get the information they need to protect themselves by sharing this page with them. It’ll only take a second, but you may wind up giving a loved one the information he needs to secure his entire future. Please, share now.]]>
Some employers honestly care for their employees, and do what they can to help them in these types of situations. However, other employers aren’t as understanding when it comes to paying for their employees’ recoveries and time away from work. In addition, workers’ compensation insurance companies tend to be even less understanding and more brutal than employers when it comes to paying for workplace accidents. They’ll try to deny your claim by either blaming you for the accident, saying the injury isn’t as bad as you’re making it out to be, or even suggesting that the accident didn’t occur at work so it isn’t covered under Pennsylvania workers’ compensation laws.
Sometimes these tactics have been known to work. But you can still get the satisfaction of beating the insurance company bullies at their own game, while also securing the benefits you deserve. To do this, you need thorough documentation to support your version of what happened at the time of the incident. In the hands of an experienced attorney, this documentation will allow your lawyer to put the smoking gun in your employer’s hands and make sure that he takes responsibility for your injuries. But first, you need to know what documentation is relevant.
The majority of evidence needed for a work injury compensation claim needs to be gathered at the time of the incident. Although this can sometimes be difficult, any evidence gathered after the fact won’t hold as much weight as first-hand account testimonies. This is why it is extremely important to know exactly what to do at the time of an injury, so you can gather the information you need as quickly as possible.
In the event of a workplace accident, you need to:
Many of us fund that our employers like to act as our best buddies when they’re profiting from our toil. When a workplace injury threatens to drain money from the business, our “best buddy” bosses suddenly forget our names and faces.
Do you think employers need to be help more accountable for their employees’ safety and security? Should the Occupational Safety and Health Administration create harsher penalties for employers and better security rules for employees when it comes to workplace safety? Let us know how you feel about work safety by sharing your thoughts, stories, and opinions in the comment section provided. We’re eager to learn more about how you feel about your job’s ability to keep you safe, as well as how your employer handles workers’ comp claims.
It’s unfortunate that as a victim you may be forced to fight in order to get the benefits you already deserve. However, if you aren’t willing to fight—or at least take precautions such as hiring a lawyer—you may be left out in the cold. Let Gibbons Legal work on your behalf to the fair compensation you deserve after a workplace injury.]]>
After the dozens of billboards and the aggressive “Texting and Driving—It Can Wait” campaign, you should definitely know better than to “LOL” and “ <3 … =) … BRT” while driving. However, how often do you “forget” to switch on your blinker while changing lanes? Do you always turn on your signal when turning a corner? How many times have you had to slam on your brakes because the car ahead of you turned without warning?
Using your turn signal isn’t only helpful for drivers to predict your movements, but it’s also the law. Think about this the next time you decide to turn without warning or slam into the back end of a Hummer because he failed to signal that he was moving over.
Turn signal lights are standard on cars for a reason. Much like brakes and rearview mirrors, they’re meant to help prevent accidents. However, many drivers believe that using their blinkers is an option or a mere courtesy that should be done whenever they feel like it. These drivers are wrong!
When vehicles turn or merge without giving proper warning, cars around them have no way of knowing that they need to slow down, leave room, or stop to allow room. This is why turn signals are required by state law, in order to prevent such needless collisions.
Here are four reasons why Philly doesn’t consider turn signal use to be “optional:”
Although in a perfect world all motorists would recognize the importance and obey every traffic law, our world is far from perfect. Even though you may strive to always use your signals, you can’t guarantee that the person in front of you has the same common sense. However, you can guarantee that if he causes an accident, we’ll be here to help you and your family.
If you or a loved one has recently been hurt in a traffic accident as a result of another driver carelessly using or neglecting to use a turn signal, don’t take the risk of being improperly compensated for your injuries. We know how coldhearted and arrogant insurance companies can be when they’re trying to keep you from your rightful settlement. Which is why we fight back. Call us today for a free consultation, and allow us to fight for you. You have enough to worry about, let us take charge to secure your family’s future. Call now!]]>
As a result of the staggering number of deaths and arrests linked to alcohol, many states have passed more aggressive legislation. Pennsylvania has been ahead of the trend in terms of assertively addressing the issue of drunken driving. In fact, Pennsylvania lawmakers passed Act 24 in 2003. Act 24 effectively lowered the legal limit of blood alcohol content from .10 to .08. Furthermore, Act 24 introduced a tiered approach to enforcing DUI laws and penalties. The overall strategy in Pennsylvania is to emphasize treatment and rehabilitation for first time offenders, while imposing harsh penalties on repeat offenders.
First time offenders in Pennsylvania will often face misdemeanor charges accompanied by probation and fines. However, those penalties increase with the driver’s level of blood alcohol content. For example, a first time offender whom had a blood alcohol content of .16% or higher could face up to six months in prison. Obviously, the most serious consequence related to drunken driving is death. However, major legal implications can follow a DUI arrest in Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, DUI’s happen and not every individual should be held legally culpable. If you or someone you know has been arrested for a DUI, make sure to contact the attorneys at Gibbons Legal to discuss all options going forward.]]>
There is certainly a cost associated with medical malpractice cases, but it is only calculated to be about 3% of the total cost of healthcare. On the other hand, the number of medical errors and malpractice that occur each year are increasingly alarming. The New England Journal of Medicine reported that nearly a quarter of all hospitalized patients are unnecessarily exposed to harm through medical errors. However, these numbers are not easy to access. Hospitals do not historically have a policy of transparency when it comes to reporting errors.
In 1999, the Institute of Medicine examined two major studies to uncover the incidence of death due to preventable medical errors. Based on those studies, at least 44,000 people die each year because of a preventable medical error. Furthermore, due to the lack of transparency and policy, those studies speculated that upwards of 98,000 deaths may actually be attributed to preventable medical errors. These numbers are simply unacceptable and in any other industry they wouldn’t be tolerated.
The rate of death due to these medical errors make them one of the leading causes of fatality in the United States. In fact, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services has recognized the alarming rate of preventable medical errors and has enforced a “no-pay” policy for many of these events. The important thing to remember is that healthcare providers do make mistakes, but many of them should not occur. When a preventable medical error takes place it is your right to take legal action and the attorneys at Gibbons Legal are available to help.]]>
Therefore, what are some things that you should do if you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of being the victim of a dog attack? Well, the first thing that you should do is identify the dog and who owns it. Secondly, and probably the most important step is to seek immediate medical attention—especially if the bite is severe. There is a high risk of infection after a dog bite, so it is essential that you get emergency care if the bite is severe.
After you have had your wounds treated it is important that you file a “bite report.” This will document your case, and it will inform the authorities about the dog if it happens to claim another victim. After the initial report is filed it is also important to get in touch with a dog bite lawyer because many victims will be able to receive compensation from the owner of the dog. Also, a good dog bite lawyer will have your best interests in mind, and he or she will work hard to prove that you were not the one that instigated the dog to attack.
Dog bite law is difficult to understand, so it is necessary to have a lawyer that understands the ins and outs of the law. For more information on what to do if you have been the victim of a dog attack you can contact Gibbons Legal for a free initial consultation on your dog bit case.]]>
The dangers of drinking and driving are staggering. An individual driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.10 or greater is seven times more likely to be involved in a fatal motor vehicle accident compared to someone who has not consumed a single alcoholic beverage. In addition, a person driving with an alcohol concentration of 0.15 or greater is 25 times more likely to be involved in a fatal car accident.
The chances of an accident increases nearly tenfold with a person driving with an alcohol level of 0.08. This makes the drinking driver eleven times more likely than the non-drinking driver to be involved in a fetal crash. In all as the amount of alcohol in the driver’s system increases on the BAC scale, the likelihood of a traffic accident multiples.
Remember that drinking and driving no matter what day of the week or holiday can turn out to be a fatal action. If you are planning to party at a family or friends house make sure you have someone as the designated driver or someone to pick you up. This also applies if you are going to operate a boat. Whatever you do just remember to not drink and drive.]]>
The most important element in a dog attack lawsuit for pain and suffering is the nature of the dog bite injury and the medical treatment involved. In all, the more serious the injury, the more medical treatment needed, the higher the medical bills, and the longer time-frame of pain and suffering. On the other hand, if the injuries are minor, the bills are less, the treatment time-frame is shorter, and the case is as a result worth less.
There is a tremendous amount of emotional distress suffered by an individual with a facial scar mostly because of the stress that goes into having to look in the mirror and seeing a dog bite scar on their face every day, several times a day. Many dog bite attorneys claim clients who are facially scarred get psychological counseling to deal with the distress, and this also adds to the emotional distress component.
Furthermore, humiliation is related to emotional distress, but is a separate element of pain and suffering. For example, if the dog bite victim feels humiliated because people stare, point, or whisper it is humiliating to the victim and has real dog attack compensation value to the dog attack case, especially when severe scarring on any part of the body has occurred.]]>
The best way to prevent work-related injuries is to make yourself aware of the risks associated with your job duties, and to take measures to make your workplace a safety-conscious environment.
-Make sure your workplace is a safe environment. Begin by keeping any flammable or hazardous materials safely contained. Make sure your work area has adequate ventilation and is equipped with working smoke detectors and sprinklers. Keep clutter to a minimum and clean up any spills or debris off the floor. Also it is very important to make sure everyone you work with is familiar with the proper safety guidelines and regulations, and always report hazardous conditions.
-Know the Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA) Rules. OSHA, sets specific safety guidelines that every employer must follow. The safety guidelines are in place to protect both you the employee, and any customers or consumers you come in contact with. The OSHA guidelines cover issues including, the number of breaks an employee is entitled to, proper equipment handling and food storage, and methods for dealing with hazardous or harmful materials like chemicals or flammable liquids.
-Wear appropriate workplace attire to prevent work-related injuries. If you have long hair tie it back and out of the way. Do not wear oversized, baggy pants or shirts with long sleeves since the extra material can get caught in machinery or cause you to trip. Wear good shoes with rubber soles to prevent any tripping or falling. If your workplace requires that you wear professional attire, keep heels at a reasonable height.
-Maintain proper body mechanics. Lift heavy objects from a wide base of support using your leg strength, and avoid twisting movements which could damage your spine. Back injuries are some of the most common work-related injuries, but many of them can be prevented just by using proper techniques when you’re lifting heavy objects. Remember to never lift or move more than 20 lbs. by yourself without using a moving dolly. Lifting with your knees will place most of the weight on your knees instead of straining your back, and using both hands will evenly distribute the weight.
-Take regular breaks. Workplace fatigue contributes to many work related injuries. Taking regular breaks to relax your mind or stretch will allow you to focus more on your daily assignments.]]>
Human Error Malpractice
Just like every other individual, physicians and surgeons are not perfect. However, sometimes their human error is so gross, or large, that it causes significant damage to a patient. In this event, a patient can recover for his damages, given he shows the unreasonableness of the error.
The standard of proof for human error medical malpractice cases is recklessness. Meaning the plaintiff must show that the doctor acted as no reasonable person would have done in the circumstances. The doctor’s error is compared against other physicians in the area under the same circumstances. If proven, it is likely that the plaintiff would receive compensation.
Accident malpractice occurs when a physician makes an unacceptable accident during treatment or surgery on a patient. Some examples include amputating the wrong leg or prescribing medications that interfered with known and disclosed allergies.
The standard of proof for accident malpractice is recklessness. This means that the doctor’s accident is compared to accidents potentially made by other physicians in the same circumstances. If the accident is severe and causes significant damage to a patient, most likely the patient will recover damages.
Gross Negligence Malpractice
Negligence malpractice occurs when a doctor acts without care and disregards his professional standards in treating or performing surgery. In this situation, the malpractice would appear as a misdiagnosis, failure to read test results or failure that is unacceptable in the medical field.
The standard of proof for gross negligence is negligence itself. Negligence occurs when an individual acts as no other individual would in the same circumstances. The person against whom the physician is compared is the reasonable person. If it is shown that the doctor acted negligently, it is likely that the injured party will receive significant damages.]]>
Even if you were arrested and no charges were filed, you have a criminal record for life. That record can cause you to be unfairly prejudiced. A simple arrest can cause you to have a record at several state law enforcement agencies, since after an arrest in Pennsylvania, that record is transmitted to various law agencies. The information about the arrest and conviction is shared among the local police, county police, state police and the federal government.
Below are some benefits you can expect to see after you have your Pennsylvania criminal record expunged.
* Ability to tell employers that you have not been convicted of a felony.
* Become eligible for student loans and apply for credit.
* Become eligible for housing assistance.
* Become eligible for professional licenses and certificates.
Expungement of your Pennsylvania criminal record is an investment in you. The expense associated with an expungement may seem large, but like all investments, you need to look at the long term cost benefits. For instance, let’s say the cost to expunge your record is $500. It may seem expensive but the benefits are that you may get a job in 1 month as opposed to six months. It can also mean the difference between making $10,000 in 6 months or $2,000 in six months. Criminal records can haunt a person for life unless the record is expunged.]]>