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Personal Injury Law Blog

Acting quickly is vital in Pennsylvania wrongful death lawsuits

The unexpected death of a family member often leaves survivors scrambling to take care of the decedent's estate. There are burial and funeral services to prepare as well as a myriad of other financial loose ends to attend. Sometimes during that grief-filled process, many overwhelmed survivors overlook the fact that the death of their loved one might have been caused as a result of someone else's negligent actions.

In Pennsylvania, a wrongful death is considered to have occurred when someone is accidentally killed through the negligent, wrongful or unlawfully violent actions of another. Family members of the victim are allowed to sue individuals or businesses in civil court for damages they have suffered as a result of a preventable accident.

Commercial vehicle accidents and bus tourism in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania residents enjoy the proximity to a tourist attraction that draws eight million tourists annually to the Commonwealth. It is estimated that the old world charm of the Amish found in Pennsylvania's Lancaster County generates $1.9 billion in tourist revenue each year.

Many of the people traveling to Pennsylvania's Amish Dutch country arrive in chartered buses and commercial motorcoaches. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is the government agency tasked with regulating commercial bus carriers, among other vehicles.

Aleppo, Pennsylvania, pedestrian killed in unusual car accident

On Jan. 3, a 49-year-old woman died after being struck by a car that had slid on a patch of ice. According to officials, the Aleppo, Pennsylvania, woman was walking her two dogs near her home around 8:00 a.m., when the accident occurred.

Officials say the collision between the vehicle and the pedestrian took place in the intersection of Rockledge and Lakeside drives. Authorities believe the victim had been walking with her two dogs, both Bernese Mountain Dogs, just prior to the accident. One of the dogs became pinned under the vehicle while the other dog is believed to have fled into a nearby wooded area. The injured dog is expected to survive after having been treated at a local veterinarian.

Can I be sued by trespassers hunting on my Pennsylvania property?

Here in Bucks County, we enjoy some of the longest deer hunting seasons throughout the Commonwealth. In fact, we are one of only six Pennsylvania counties that allow extended regular firearms season for antlerless deer for Dec. 26 through Jan. 24.

Trapping for furbearing animals such as bobcats, raccoons and foxes is also available throughout Pennsylvania. In fact, some animals such as coyotes, opossums and skunks can be taken at almost any time of the year.

Safety enforcement a problem in many Pennsylvania truck accidents

As any Pennsylvania motorists can attest, our roadways serve as an important corridor for commercial tractor-trailers. Pennsylvania's proximity to the grain belt of the Midwest as well as the hyper-populated cities of the Eastern Seaboard practically guarantees a constant flow of semi-trucks throughout the state.

The problem is that many of these commercial big rigs are not in compliance with federal and state safety regulations. In fact, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration estimates that one out of every six trucks on the road may fail to pass safety inspection to the point to where they would be considered unsafe for service.

Who is entitled to sue in a Pennsylvania wrongful death lawsuit?

A wrongful death occurs in Pennsylvania when a person is accidentally killed by the negligent, wrongful or unlawfully violent actions of another. Pennsylvania's Wrongful Death Act and Survival Act contain many provisions but arguably the most notable one is that they allow the victim's family and "personal representative" to sue those individuals responsible for the premature death of their loved one. More specifically, the right to sue on a wrongful death action is extended to the victim's spouse, children, parents or a person identified as the. There are also no state residency requirements for these beneficiaries to file their claims.

Another interesting component of the Wrongful Death Act is that it also contains a provision for situations where the decedent had no surviving beneficiaries. In those rare cases, the law allows an individual known as a "personal representative" to file a claim on behalf of the decedent's estate if no other family members have been identified within six months of the wrongful death.

Increased liability in Pennsylvania impaired motorcycle accidents

As stated in a previous web post, Pennsylvania allows motorists to choose their preferred method of insurance based on the so-called "tort option". Under this scheme, motorists with full tort car insurance can recover compensation for their bodily injuries even if they are not seriously injured. Whereas, motorists with the limited tort style of car insurance are essentially limited to recovering money associated with their medical costs and treatment only if they have been seriously injured in an accident.

Pennsylvania motorists and motorcyclists should know that there is one huge exception to that rule. The Commonwealth now allows victims injured by drunk or drugged drivers to sue those responsible for their bodily injuries regardless of which type of insurance they were carrying at the time of the accident.

Some important facts about auto-pedestrian accidents

Each of us becomes a pedestrian at some point of every day. Regardless of whether we drive a brand-new Ferrari or a dilapidated minivan, most of us will eventually have to park our vehicle and get out and walk.

As pedestrians we are exceptionally vulnerable to the motorists around us. Whether walking to the front door of a grocery store, or using a crosswalk at a major intersection, when we travel on foot we depend on the vigilance and driving abilities of others to avoid serious injuries and death.In 2012, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conducted a national survey of auto-pedestrian accidents. The following are some of the most interesting statistics NHTSA compiled:

Slip and fall accidents and Pennsylvania premises liability law

Late fall and early winter are peak times for slip and fall injuries throughout the Commonwealth. Accumulations of ice and snow can make walking near commercial properties a particularly treacherous activity.

In a previous blog post, we discussed a lawsuit filed by New Jersey woman against a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-area home improvement store. In that case, the woman claimed that she slipped and fell on a puddle of water at the front of the store after husband dropped her off from their car. Imagine if that puddle of water had instead been a slab of ice.

How do “hours of service” affect truck accidents?

In a previous blog post, we discussed the serious consequences that sometimes result when truck drivers are excessively fatigued. In that post, we noted that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that a driver who has been awake for 24 hours straight is equally impaired as someone who is legally drunk.

In July 2014, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration implemented new regulations regarding the total hours of service in which commercial drivers are allowed to operate. These so-called "HOS Regulations" are meant to reduce truck accidents by preventing overly fatigued drivers from continuing to operate across America's roadways.

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