Articles Posted in car accidents

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Often times the first thing that comes to mind for many teens and parents when talking about in-vehicle driver monitoring is the notion of invasion of privacy or the possibility of breaking the teen’s trust. What if this stigma was framed in a different light, what if instead of a big brother monitoring device we think of monitoring devices more similarly to training wheels. Monitoring your teen driver would be out in the open and just part of the learning curve required to successfully learn how to drive. Like training wheels, when the teen driver and their parents and or guardians become more confident in the teen’s ability to drive safely, then and only then would the device be removed. More studies are beginning to show the benefits of teens that drive with a form of in-vehicle monitoring are less likely to drive in a reckless or risky manner (Farmer et al., 2010, McGehee et al., 2007, Simon-Moton et al., 2013). It is widely known that teen drivers pose the greatest crash risk to themselves as well as to other drivers on the road. Less known is the starling statistic from the Center for Disease Control, which found that motor vehicle injuries are the leading cause of death for those 13-19 years of age (CDC, 2012). For those who have been injured in a car crash, the law offices of Rosenbaum and Associates have over 25 years of experience working with families who have been injured in automobile accidents throughout the Philadelphia area.

While the rate of death for new teen drivers is slowly declining, in part due to better education programs warning of the dangers of driving while using your cell phone and driving without your seatbelt, as well as, new laws in Pennsylvania for graduated driver licenses which limits the number of passengers and requires the driver to wear their seatbelt, the average number of teen who loose their life due to car related accidents is still about seven teen deaths a day. The CDC estimates that in 2010, about 2,700 teens in the United States aged 16-19 were fatally injured, with an additional 282,000 treated and released from emergency rooms for injuries suffered from automobile accidents. Yes, monitoring devices can be seen as a bit extreme, but since when have parents not been willing to go the extra mile to ensure their children’s well being. Numerous studies have shown that teens drive more safely when a parent or guardian is in the car with them. However, this is not always an option, plus the teen driver is beginning to display the need for some freedom and space. A monitoring device, which does not monitor the teen per se, but more so how the teen is driving, is an option that many parents are turning to. With the increase in technology options available the prices have begun to drop a bit making the in car devices more readily available.

Speeding which is something many automakers are trying to help prevent in teen drivers offer special keys and built in options which limit the amount of speed a car can accelerate, allow the parents to set up geo-fencing paired with the car’s GPS, lower the radio, or even fully shut off the radio if the driver or passenger takes off their seat belt while driving. Such automakers as Ford, Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz, and Infiniti are leading the way with options built into the car to help make giving your teen driver the keys that less hair raising. With more time tested on the road these options will also become more attuned. Even with all the applications, video recorders, GPS tracking devices, and cell phone blocks out there, studies still show that a straight forward talk with your teen about the dangers on the road and risky behavior is still the best approach.
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As a Philadelphia accident lawyer, I was sad to read about a suburban Philadelphia accident involving a tractor-trailer whose driver was apparently breaking the law. According to the Times of Trenton, a Brooklyn truck driver was trying to make an illegal U-turn in Mercer County, New Jersey, when an SUV struck it and became trapped underneath the truck. The crash killed Jamella Tisdale, 25; Jaevon Durante, 9; and a baby boy, Jaden Tisdale. Driver Shaqwan Tisdale, 25, and passenger Mellady Duante, 8, were hospitalized with injuries. All of the victims were from Levittown, Pennsylvania. The Mercer County prosecutor’s office has charged trucker Richard Williams, 45, of Brooklyn, with three counts of death by auto.

Both the Tisdale SUV and the tractor-trailer driven by Williams were heading south on Brunswick Pike in Lawrence, N.J., when the crash happened. Authorities believe Williams was trying to make a U-turn at the intersection with Darrah Lane around 6:30 p.m. on August 2 when the SUV struck the side of the truck and became wedged underneath it. Emergency crews found two-thirds of the SUV underneath the truck and had to stabilize the truck before they could begin extracting the passengers, which took several hours. No injuries to Williams were reported. He was being held in the Mercer County Corrections Center in lieu of $100,000 bail.

Unfortunately, this pattern of deadly injuries to victims in cars while truck drivers walk away is not uncommon. As a Philadelphia injury lawyer, I know that truck drivers are well protected by their much larger, much heavier vehicles. By contrast, a Chevy Tahoe like the one this family was driving is far lighter than the truck–and therefore contributes much less force to a crash. That’s why people inside ordinary cars can be catastrophically injured in crashes with big rigs, even when the crash was clearly the trucker’s fault. When truck drivers and their trucking companies break the law–or violate trucking safety regulations–the innocent motorists around them can suffer. As a Philadelphia personal injury lawyer, I believe the cost of that suffering should be laid at the feet of the irresponsible driver or trucking company that caused it.
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As a Philadelphia accident lawyer, I was disappointed to see a report of serious injuries attributed to a drunk driver here in Philadelphia. According to the Philadelphia Daily News, driver Erika Williams swerved to miss a ball in the road and instead hit a five-year-old girl, her two-year-old brother, her mother and her aunt. The crash took place just before 11 a.m. Saturday night, as the family attended a birthday party in the neighborhood of Summerdale. The victims were all hospitalized, the little girl in critical condition with a severe leg injury. Williams was taken into custody and charged with multiple counts related to the crash, including DUI with aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, criminal mischief, possession of an instrument of crime and more. Her bail has been set at $40,000 and she will appear in court July 24.

Police say Williams was speeding and drunk when she drove down the Summerdale street shortly before 11 p.m. On the street were Anya Mwagala, 5; Lamar Mwagala, 2; their mother, Dwania Dreuitt; and their aunt, Asheena Sutton. A ball reportedly rolled in front of Williams’s car, and she swerved into the sidewalk. Both of the adults suffered injuries that were not life-threatening; Sutton had surgery for an injury not specified. But the children suffered serious injuries. Neighbors pulled the car off the victims, and two administered CPR on the children until paramedics arrived. NBC 10 Philadelphia reported that Anya’s leg had to be amputated below the knee because of a severe injury; she is in a medically induced coma. Her brother Lamar, 2, suffered a dislocated pelvis and was listed in good condition. Witnesses said Williams apologized to Dreuitt after the crash and sat down to wait for the police.

My heart goes out to this family, which has suffered very serious injuries through no fault of their own. As a Philadelphia injury lawyer, I know that they are also likely to start getting very large hospital bills as a result. The kinds of injuries that require a medically induced coma are very serious indeed and may require that Anya have long-lasting therapy or accommodations for a permanent disability. That’s on top of the loss of her leg, which is certainly a disability. All of this costs money the family may not have, and the person responsible for causing the accident is legally liable for those costs under Pennsylvania law. My job as a Philadelphia personal injury lawyer is to help victims secure fair payment from at-fault drivers, and their insurance companies, so they can get the medical and personal care they need and pay other costs of a crisis someone else created.
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Very late one night in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania a police officer noticed Isaac Roberts engaged in suspicious activity in his vehicle. The Officer pursued Isaac, who instead of pulling over, sped down the road with his headlights off. The Officer pursued Isaac at high speed. Isaac collided with the passenger side of a vehicle at an intersection. The passenger, Akeem Cornelius, ultimately died at a local hospital from the injuries he sustained in the accident.

Mary Cornelius, administratrix of Akeem’s estate, filed a civil action against the Officer and the Harrisburg Police Bureau. Mary alleged that the Officer operated his cruiser in a negligent manner, by initiating and maintaining a high speed in pursuit of Isaac and that this was in violation of police regulations. Mary also alleged that the Bureau was negligent in failing to train and supervise the Officer.

Defendants claimed that police officers do not owe a duty to innocent bystanders during police pursuits of fleeing suspect. And further, that the Bureau was protected from Mary’s negligence claim for failure to train and supervise by governmental immunity. The Court of Common Pleas dismissed Defendant’s claims that they did not owe a duty and had immunity and this determination was appealed to the Commonwealth Court.

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According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 9,870 people died in drunk driving crashes in 2011. That is one every 53 minutes. And one in three people will be involved in an alcohol-related crash in their lifetime. Everyone knows that driving under the influence of alcohol is wrong, but is it ‘outrageous conduct,’ ‘done with a bad motive or reckless indifference to the interests of others?’ This question was recently posed before a Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas.

Elvin Jenkins was driving east and John Krivosh was driving west on New Year’s Eve 2011. Elvin was driving a truck and it crossed into the opposing lane and struck John’s vehicle head on. John suffered serious injuries including a broken thigh bone, elbow bone, a closed head injury, internal bleeding and multiple bruises. John alleged that Elvin was under the influence of alcohol while driving the truck and requested punitive damages in his complaint.

Punitive damages are also called exemplary damages. They are not intended to compensate the injured but are meant to reform or deter the defendant from similar behavior. They are meant to set an example for society. Even though these damages are not meant to compensate the plaintiff, they will receive all or some portion of the punitive damages. In Pennsylvania, “[p]unitive damages may be awarded for conduct that is outrageous because of the defendant’s evil motive or reckless indifference to the rights of others.” Chambers v. Montgomery, 192 A.2d 355, 358 (Pa. 1963) citing Restatement (Second) of Torts § 908(2).

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As a Philadelphia injury lawyer, I was sad to read about a recent car crash that took the life of a 66-year-old woman. According to the Delaware County Times, a four-car crash took place on Township Line Road in Haverford earlier this month, near its border with Upper Darby Township. The article says a car heading north made a sudden lane change, causing the car behind to swerve. Unfortunately, the second car crossed the center divider and crashed head-on into the victim’s Chevy Malibu, which was then struck by another vehicle in the same lane. The driver of the Malibu was pronounced dead at the scene. The other drivers involved were sent to the hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening. The Haverford Police Department is investigating.

A car headed north toward Philadelphia apparently cut off a Ford Focus heading in the same direction around 12:30 in the afternoon. To avoid an accident, the Focus swerved, but ended up in the southbound lane, where it hit the victim’s Malibu. The Malibu was then hit by a Ford Explorer SUV. A Ford Windstar minivan was also involved, but the article didn’t specify its role. The victim, who was not identified pending notification of her family, was extracted from her car by firefighters and pronounced dead at the scene. The other drivers involved, also not identified, went to the hospital with injuries not believed to be life-threatening. The crash shut down traffic on West Township Line Road for nearly three hours.

This accident is unusual in that the responsibility seems to have been assigned to the driver of the vehicle that cut off the Focus. If that turns out to be true–after the police do their investigation–it would mean that all of the injuries and damages stemming from the crash are the responsibility of that driver. That would be true even if the vehicle never actually hit any other vehicle. Because I work with so many accident victims in my job as a Philadelphia accident lawyer, I’d be interested in seeing whether the insurance companies are willing to agree with that assessment. Insurance companies don’t like to pay expensive claims–and a crash involving four cars and a death will be very expensive. As a result, sometimes they look for ways to paint the accident as the fault of someone else’s insured. Pointing out that the first car never struck another vehicle might be such an excuse–but even if it didn’t strike a vehicle, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t involved. As a Philadelphia personal injury lawyer, I hope everyone involved in the crash is able to get fair compensation without this kind of fight.
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As a Philadelphia injury lawyer, I was interested to see reports of injuries from an unusual accident in the city. CBS Philly reported Feb. 1 that an explosion in the Brewerytown neighborhood injured four and closed a bridge over train tracks. The explosion left a two-foot hole in the bridge and sent chunks of concrete flying, prompting police to bring in bomb-sniffing dogs to look for explosives. When the dogs found nothing, an Amtrak electrical engineer concluded that the explosion was caused by melting icicles that came into contact with electrical lines from the Amtrak trains. The accident sent concrete flying into two pedestrians and an SUV with two passengers; three sought treatment for minor injuries. Service on Amtrak and SEPTA trains was temporarily suspended.

The explosion took place around 5 p.m. in the 3100 block of Cecil B. Moore Avenue. Chief Inspector Joseph Sullivan of the Philadelphia police said to outside observers, it looked as if a bomb had detonated; chunks of concrete were thrown long distances across the bridge. The driver of the SUV said he felt the ground start shaking and then saw a rock fly over his car. The police Bomb Disposal Unit, Amtrak investigators and the FBI all came to investigate. But after a K-9 unit found no explosives, an Amtrak engineer concluded that the cause was most likely weather: melting ice that hit a power line serving the trains. One of the pedestrians went to the hospital for treatment of minor injuries, and both people in the car asked to go to the hospital as a precaution.

I’m glad to see that nobody was seriously hurt, and that authorities don’t believe there was a bomb. As a Philadelphia accident lawyer, however, I believe the authorities responsible for maintaining the bridge and power lines would be held liable for any serious accident that could have resulted from this. The law requires government agencies and private businesses to maintain their equipment so that it doesn’t pose a hazard to innocent people who just happen to be passing by. For sidewalks, this typically includes clearing ice and snow that might pose a slipping hazard. In this case, responsibility might be laid at the feet of the agency that maintains the bridge, or perhaps the agency responsible for the power lines. Luckily, nobody was seriously hurt–but they easily could have been, and that could have triggered liability.

At Rosenbaum & Associates, we represent clients who suffered serious injuries or lost a loved one because of someone else’s bad decisions. That includes negligence by government agencies that fail to maintain their properties in a safe condition. Suing a government agency is generally more complicated than suing a private business, because governments require injured people to file extra paperwork or exhaust administrative complaints before they can file. As a result, it’s absolutely vital to talk to our Philadelphia personal injury lawyers early in the process, so we can ensure you don’t miss any deadlines. A legal claim can help injured people and their families get the money they need for medical care, lost income, and other costs, as well as fair compensation for their injuries, pain and trauma.
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As a Philadelphia accident lawyer, I was interested to see that New York Jets coach Rex Ryan was involved in a crash here in eastern Pennsylvania. According to Lehigh Valley Live, Ryan ran a red light during evening rush hour, pushing a second car into a third car. Fortunately, no injuries were reported. The sports blog Deadspin, which was the first to report the story, said the tip it got claimed Ryan was speeding when he ran the light, but Ryan denied this and local police said the damage was not consistent with speeding. Ryan and the other drivers involved all stopped their cars, and police said the vehicles sustained only moderate damage. The New York Post later reported that Ryan got a warning from police.

The Bethlehem police department confirmed that Ryan was heading west on West 3rd Street Jan. 14 at around 6:15 p.m. Ryan allegedly went through the red light at Wyandotte Street, hitting another driver who had the right-of-way. That driver told police that the impact from that crash sent his car into a third driver who was making a turn. Police withheld the names of the other two drivers, but all three were stopped by the side of the road and cooperated with police. One witness reported seeing Ryan’s red Mustang pass through the red light; police say Ryan did not deny that he ran it, although he did deny speeding. Their investigation was still open as of Jan. 22 because they were waiting to hear from another witness. A police source told Deadspin that the intersection is at a blind hill.

Indeed, if the accident had not involved an NFL coach whose team is famous for rude behavior, the crash would probably not have made national news. There’s a discrepancy between Deadspin’s tipster’s report that Ryan was speeding, and the Bethlehem police’s contention that he was not. But as a Philadelphia injury lawyer, I know it doesn’t matter in a way–regardless of whether Ryan was speeding, he’s legally at fault for the crash because he violated a traffic signal. The articles say he wasn’t ticketed for the crash, but someone in his situation might very well be–and in fact, that driver could face more serious criminal and civil penalties if someone had been hurt. That includes a car crash lawsuit, which could be filed by one of the other drivers to recover compensation for injuries and property damage caused by the crash. Speeding would make it harder to defend such a case, but running the red light is enough to put Ryan at fault.
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As a Philadelphia injury lawyer, I often have the grave but important privilege of telling families how they can recover financial compensation for the death of a loved one. The injuries that you can recover money for vary from state to state, but typically include the lost person’s care, companionship and love; and his or her income. In many states, including Pennsylvania, families may also recover money for the pain and suffering of the lost person, if the person was not killed instantly. In Rutland v. South Carolina Department of Transportation, the issue was whether South Carolina does or should recognize pre-impact fear as a compensable injury. The case was brought by Clarence Rutland, who lost his wife, Tiffanie Rutland, in a car crash. The state’s high court ultimately declined to rule on whether her pre-death fear should be compensable, saying not enough evidence was presented to show conscious pain and suffering.

The Rutlands were in the backseat of a car driven by Joseph Bishop; their infant son was also in the car. Bishop hit a patch of water on the roadway and his Chevy Blazer flipped. Clarence Rutland was entirely thrown from the vehicle and Tiffanie Rutland was partly ejected. When Clarence was able to get back to the vehicle, he found Tiffanie’s head hanging out of the window; she was cold and unresponsive, but a bystander said she had a pulse. After settling with Bishop’s insurance company, Clarence sued the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) for negligent maintenance of the highway and General Motors for defective design of the window. His settlement with GM and verdict after trial against SCDOT included compensation for Tiffanie’s pain and suffering, but SCDOT objected, saying there was no evidence to support her pain and suffering. The trial judge agreed and reduced the judgment to nearly zero. On appeal, the South Carolina Court of Appeals affirmed, saying South Carolina does not recognize pre-impact fear as an injury.

Clarence again appealed, and the South Carolina Supreme Court affirmed, but on different grounds. The question of whether the state should recognize pre-impact fear as a cognizable element of damages is novel, the court said. However, it found no need to consider the issue, because it found no evidence presented of Tiffanie Rutland’s conscious pain and suffering before or after the accident. At trial and on appeal, Clarence Rutland offered only a discussion of his own fear prior to the crash, using that to speculate that Tiffanie must have felt the same fear. But according to the high court, the crash took place quickly and the evidence suggests that Tiffanie died instantly, giving her no time to think about the situation. Thus, regardless of whether South Carolina recognizes pre-crash fear, the court said, not enough evidence supports such an award in this case. As a result, the high court went on, Clarence’s claim that the judgment should not have been reduced also fails. A dissent argued that the reduction was inequitable to the defendants because SCDOT will pay nothing.

That dissent interests me as a Philadelphia accident lawyer, because it notes that Clarence may not have had a chance to present evidence of Tiffanie’s pre-impact fear. His suit was for wrongful death, and South Carolina requires a separate survival action to recover for the deceased person’s own damages. This situation also exists in Pennsylvania, where families can recover for pain and suffering through a survival action that benefits the estate of the deceased. The difference between the two can be tricky, especially for families already suffering from grief and shock, which is why it’s vital to talk to a Philadelphia personal injury lawyer as soon as you think you might be interested in suing the party at fault for the accident.
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As a Philadelphia personal injury lawyer, I was pleased to see a settlement announcement involving a hit-and-run car accident with a boy on a bicycle. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer’s MontCo Memo blog, Suzanne Lammers, a Villanova woman described as a socialite, has settled a lawsuit against her by the family of Andrew Mallee. The family sued Lammers after police concluded that she was the driver responsible for hitting Mallee and fleeing in 2009. Lammers, 77, served 90 days in jail after being convicted criminally. Mallon, a high school freshman at the time, suffered a broken leg and head injuries but has recovered well, according to his family’s attorney. The family received $635,000 for all of his physical and financial injuries.

Lammers hit Mallee with her car in July of 2009, near an intersection in Bryn Mawr. Lammers told police she pulled over at first, but then “became flustered” and fled when she heard sirens. She parked her Volvo in a garage and hid the damage to the front end, including a hole in the windshield, with a blanket. An anonymous tip led police to her door later, but Lammers told them at first that she had hit a deer with her car. Lammers was criminally convicted in 2010 for being involved in an accident causing serious injury, and for failing to stop and render aid. Her sentence included 90 days in jail as well as 20 months of parole, a year of probation and 200 hours of community service. The crash left Mallon with long-term injuries including a limited ability to run, hearing loss and balance problems. The Philadelphia accident lawyer representing Mallon’s family told the newspaper that Mallon is now physically very recovered, playing sports and doing well academically.

This case illustrates an issue that may be important to injured Pennsylvania families: whether to pursue a lawsuit when there’s already a criminal case. If you’re not familiar with the justice system, you may not realize that both kinds of cases are possible. However, they may make a lot of sense for families dealing with expensive catastrophic injuries. A criminal conviction serves the people of Pennsylvania by holding wrongdoers responsible for their actions. A civil lawsuit, by contrast, serves the injured person and family by allowing them to recover the money they need to pay medical bills, get the care they need in the future, replace lost income and deal with other fallout from the accident. As a Philadelphia injury lawyer, I encourage families to call me to learn more about their own rights and options.
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