Articles Posted in negligence

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With the rise of indoor trampoline parks becoming a widespread trend trampoline injuries are projected to escalate especially among those under the age of sixteen, yet it is not in the commercial setting that poses greater risk but at home trampolines. A study recently published in The Journal of Pediatric Orthopedics, analyzed trampoline fracture patterns and costs. The released findings indicate that between the years 2002 and 2011 there were an estimated 1 million visits to the emergency department relating to trampoline injuries costing more than $1 billion. The most common injury sustained from trampolines was fractures. The average age for those with a fracture injury was approximately 9.5 years old with over 92 percent of those injured from a trampoline were under the age of sixteen. Over $400 million has been spent on broken bone injuries most of which included upper extremity injuries such as fingers, elbows, hands, and forearms. While less common spine injuries, head, and rib injuries account for 4 percent of all trampoline injuries. The leading place that one becomes injured from using a trampoline is at home. Preventative measures can go a long way to both decreasing the rate of serious injury as well as lower the societal costs.

Perhaps it is the ability to fly even if for a short amount of time, or defying gravity with flips and sky high jumps, but there is something about a trampoline that makes children and adults gravitate towards the equipment. The American Academy of Pediatrics has consistently warned of the dangers of at home trampolines. Specifically warning “most trampoline injuries occur with multiple simultaneous users on the mat.” Further noting that serious injuries such as cervical spine injuries “often occur with falls off the trampoline or with attempts at somersault or flips.” Interestingly enough a 2012 American Academy of Pediatric study, entitled “Trampoline Safety in Childhood and Adolescence” found that even implemented safety measures did not have a strong enough impact on the risk of harm and accordingly “the home use of trampolines is strongly discouraged.” Similarly the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that homeowners view trampolines similar to swimming pools as far as attractive nuisance and homeowner insurance is concerned.

Steps to Prevent Trampoline Injuries:

  1. Solo jumpers. Trampoline use should be limited to one person on the trampoline at a time. Smaller more lightweight individuals are particular at risk when multiple jumpers are on the trampoline as they are more prone to flying in the air and colliding with other jumpers.
  2. Somersaults and Flips should be limited to commercial settings. While rare, devastating and long-term cervical spine injuries are directly linked to attempted flips and tricks in a home setting where there is less supervision and knowledge of proper technique.
  3. Check Your Equipment Regularly. If your property has a trampoline it is vital that the trampoline is level with adequate padding and aligned springs.

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For residents of Philadelphia and other urban areas, walking your dog — a daily necessity, often involves ambling along sidewalks all around the city. Consider that in Pennsylvania there are approximately 3.2 million pet dogs, with over 390,000 dogs estimated in the Philadelphia region alone. Particularly as the weather warms, swarms of dog walkers will take to our city streets with their furry friends. If you are a property owner, it is advisable to check on the current state of the sidewalk directly in front of your property, as you can be held liable for the injuries caused in a slip and fall accident.

A recent ruling on a slip and fall case in Philadelphia highlighted the risk a property owner faces when they fail to properly maintain the sidewalk in front of their property. Under Pennsylvania premises liability, both the City and Township are not responsible for the maintenance of the sidewalks; instead the obligation falls on the property owner to ensure that sidewalks are free of known defects, obstructions, or visible hazards. All property with sidewalks accessible to the public must be maintained as to be reasonable safe for pedestrians to use. In Butler v. City of Philadelphia, the court held that the two property owners, defendants Cui Lan Dong and Benyi Zhu, were legally liable for the injuries caused when the plaintiff, Abbie Butler, tripped and fell on an alleged defect in the sidewalk in front of their residential property, causing the plaintiff severe injure her dominant right shoulder.

The incident took place on November 12, 2012, when Butler, was out walking her dog along Cottman Avenue, in Northeast Philadelphia. The plaintiff alleged that she tripped on a large crack in the sidewalk causing her to loose her balance and fall. Butler who was in her sixties at the time suffered a fracture and dislocation of her right shoulder that required pain medication, physical therapy, surgery, and on going future medical care. On the day of the accident, Butler was transported by ambulance to Nazareth Hospital, where she was diagnosed and underwent a reduction procedure to reset her shoulder. After undergoing four separate physical therapy treatments, Butler was sent to an orthopedic specialist. Following her surgery the plaintiff was prescribed Oxycodone, which was taken twice a day for three months. Butler required assistance in everyday tasks, such as bathing and getting dressed. The plaintiff further alleged that the fall greatly restricted her daily actions and hindered her ability to enjoy her favorite pastime, gardening.

The defendants contended in their pretrial memo that they were never made aware of a defect in the sidewalk by neither their tenants, nor had the city of Philadelphia recorded any complaints about the maintenance of the sidewalk. The defendants also stated that the day of the alleged accident was a clear sunny day and that there were no obstructions in place to block plaintiff’s sight. The defendants also argued that the condition of the sidewalk was open and obvious, so much so, that the plaintiff should have seen the crack as there was grass growing out of it. The jury found that the defendants were negligent, and that Butler was not contributorily negligent, awarding the plaintiff $200,000 in damages.
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In 2008, a new high school was being built in Reading, Pennsylvania. Perrotto was the general contractor on the project and Reigel was hired to procure and install the structural steel for the building. Ralph Ferraro, an employee of Riegel was working with two other men in a five story, stairway tower. He was standing on a lift platform installing steel and when he attempted to secure a 300 pound piece, he lost his balance and fell 30 feet. He filed suit for his injuries against Perrotto and Turner, the lift company. Perrotto filed and was granted a request to bring Riegel into the suit. Perrotto claimed that in accordance with their subcontractor agreement, Riegel is required to defend, indemnify and hold harmless, Perrotto.

Reigel agreed that under the agreement they would have to take the fall if they or their employees were negligent, but argued that they were not required to indemnify Perrotto if Perrotto was negligent. Perrotto settled the matter with Ralph and is now seeking for Reigel to indemnify, or cover the settlement costs.

In order for a business, which has settled a case for personal injuries to recover the costs of the settlement from someone they have an indemnity contract with, they must demonstrate that the underlying claim against them was valid, that settlement was reasonable and that any attorneys fees were reasonable. Otherwise they would just settle the matter regardless of fault and seek payment from the other party.

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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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In 2011, after seeing a film, Eileen Sheil and her sister Brigid Smyth entered the ladies room at a movie theater in Newtown, Pennsylvania. As Eileen walked to the sink her show and cane slipped and she fell to the floor. She was taken to the hospital by ambulance after the fall. She didn’t see what she slipped on but believed it was water because after the fall, the seat of her pants was wet. The sisters had been to this theater many times and reported seeing water on the floor of the bathroom many times.

The bathroom had mats under the hand dryers but not by the sink and there was no “wet floor” signage. The theater’s associate manager, Henri Scott, responded to the incident and prepared a report which stated that there was no water on the floor when he inspected the bathroom after Eileen’s fall. The theater’s policy is to inspect the bathroom every thirty minutes. It was unknown when this bathroom was last inspected.

Eileen filed a lawsuit against the movie theater for negligence. Eileen was what is called a “business invitee” and therefore the movie theater owed her a duty to protect her from foreseeable harm. Under Pennsylvania law, to succeed on a claim of negligence against a business owner, Eileen must show that the movie theater: 1) knew or by reasonable care, should have known, of an unreasonable risk of harm to business invitees; 2) should not expect invitees to discover or protect themselves from the danger; and 3) failed to exercise reasonable care to protect the invitees from the danger.

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You can get injured in Philadelphia when you least expect it.

Consider the terrifying events that recently unfolded at a Harpers Crossing apartment complex in Middletown. During a thunderstorm, a bolt of lightning crackled and struck a three-storey building, setting off what ultimately blossomed into a four-alarm fire. The blaze was so bright and dramatic – with the fire and smoke billowing out of the building – that people on nearby Route 1 and I-95 stopped to take pictures. Nearly 125 local firefighters were called from all around Bucks County to respond to the apartment fire, which rendered the building uninhabitable and displaced 30 occupants. Sadly, seven firefighters were hurt while fighting the blaze. Two firefighters got treatment at the scene. But five were taken to nearby hospitals; and two remain in treatment for (non-life threatening) second and third degree burns.

No residents were hurt. That’s actually kind of miraculous, given that the building’s fire alarms did not go off. Early investigators suggested that perhaps the lightning strike short-circuited the fire alarm system. The sprinkler system, meanwhile, did help to contain the blaze, but only partially.

Picking Up the Pieces After the Chaos of a Philadelphia Injury

Whether you got hurt in a car accident or burned in an apartment fire, your life probably feels chaotic and overwhelming right now. You have so many “balls in the air” with respect to your injuries and obligations — you may not even know where to begin.

Obviously, you need good medical care. But you may not be aware of how important it could be to investigate the scene of the event, collect evidence, and begin preparing possible legal action. If you wait too long to talk to a Pennsylvania injury law firm, like Rosenbaum & Associates, you could damage or undercut your potential to bring negligent or aggressive perpetuators to justice – and to collect money for your surgical/medical bills, lost wages at work, emotional pain and trauma, etc.
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A verdict has been reached in a landmark Philadelphia birth injury case. The result? A whopping $70.5 million!

The matter involves the sad case of Parrys Nicholson-Upsey, a three-year-old girl who nearly died during her delivery due to a birth injury caused and worsened by the negligence of multiple parties involved in her treatment.

Per the complaint, the mother had been 36-weeks pregnant, when she checked into the Pottstown Memorial Medical Center complaining about pain in her abdomen. Her doctor, Charles V. Touey, conducted an ultrasound test, which found no cardiac activity detected.
Dr. Touey, who later became the lead defendant in the case, told Ms. Upsey that her baby had died. He had Upsey taken for additional testing at a radiology lab to confirm the ultrasound diagnosis. It took over an hour to transport her to the operating room for an emergency C-section. When Parrys was born, she was alive but deemed “hypotonic and lethargic.” She was then transferred to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital to undergo something called a “head cooling treatment.” During this phase of care, per the complaint, her endotracheal tube became clotted due to negligence, which put additional strain on the newborn’s respiratory system.

As a result of the hypoxic brain injury, Parrys suffered spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy, an irreversible and severely debilitating condition, which will necessitate medical care for the rest of her life. The lawsuit cast a wide net of defendants beyond Dr. Touey, including Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Pottstown Hospital Company, LLC, and other parties.

One of the main arguments put forward was that the doctor who originally performed the ultrasound after Ms. Upsey complained had been using an old and outdated ultrasonography machine. Per the hospital’s requirements, that kind of equipment needed to be serviced annually, but it hadn’t been updated in a decade. The obstetrician insisted in court that he had done the ultrasound properly and that Parrys had died but then came back to life 81 minutes later.

The plaintiffs allege that the hospital administration had been negligent by failing to have an ultrasound tech present and by using outmoded machinery to do the analysis.
The award money will go to help pay for the child’s lifetime medical care needs.
Philadelphia birth injury cases can be incredibly complicated and emotionally exhausting.
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On June 20, 2011, movie star/daredevil Ryan Dunn flew off 322 in a Porsche at approximately 100 miles per hour – the resultant fatal Philadelphia car accident took his life as well as the life of his passenger, 30-year-old Zachary Hartwell.

The 34-year-old Dunn was best known for his work as a stuntman/daredevil with the “Jackass” crew – headlined by Johnny Knoxville. Dunn starred in 3 Jackass movies as well as the long running hit TV show, which revolved around ridiculous/scary/clever practical jokes.

Dunn had been engaged at the time of his death, which police officially ruled to be caused by “blunt and thermal trauma due to a motor vehicle accident.” Dunn’s Porsche had been almost entirely incinerated in the cataclysmic crash near the Pottstown exit of Route 33 – just 100 yards from Hartwell’s home.

Dunn’s Philadelphia auto accident untimely death set off an incredible amount of mourning among loyal “Jackass” fans around the globe. It also stirred controversy and strange speculation. In the immediate aftermath of the report, several internet commentators suggested that Dunn’s accident was a staged ploy to drum up publicity for the actor’s new film.

Even the iconic movie reviewer Roger Ebert got into the fray. He suggested that Dunn had been driving under the influence of alcohol during the crash. Ebert was soundly upbraided for this speculation, not only by Dunn’s fans but also by “mainstream” critics, who ultimately forced Ebert to issue a mea culpa.

Lessons That We Might Learn from Dunn’s Accident
Lesson #1: The days and weeks after a serious car accident in Philadelphia can be chaotic.

Even if your accident was not as catastrophic – or newsworthy – expect the few days and weeks after your accident to be a time of chaos and speculation. Only after you and your attorney have had a chance to digest what happened – and to investigate carefully what might have caused or contributed to the accident – can you really gain perspective and come to closure.

Lesson#2: The hours and days immediately after an accident are the most vital, legally speaking.

Evidence from a crash can quickly be wiped out and forgotten. A person who witnessed your accident — who can recount it vividly now — may forget critical details or even “change the story” altogether. Physical evidence, such as a broken auto part or rubber tire marks, can be lost or eroded by rain or tampered with. Perhaps most importantly, the liable party or insurance company will almost surely immediately start building up a legal defense.

Lesson #3: Your choice of Philadelphia injury attorney can be an enormously pivotal factor.

The team here at Rosenbaum & Associates has the wherewithal, experience and strategic track record to answer your questions and help you develop and execute a good plan to obtain recovery and pick up the pieces after your accident.

Connect with us online or call us today for a free consultation.
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If you or someone you love has suffered an injury in Philadelphia, you might need an injury attorney. But whether you got hurt in a car accident, slip and fall, or workplace accident, you might learn several useful “takeaway lessons” by examining a local (shocking) child abuse trial.

The defendants, who include Monsignor William Lynn and Rev. James Brennan, are the latest church “higher-ups” to face charges in a shocking, wide ranging scandal. Rev. Brennan allegedly tried to rape a 14-year old child back in 1996; Monsignor Lynn stands accused of covering up child sex abuse allegations and moving accused priests to different parishes to protect them.

Last Thursday, Brennan’s attorney asked Judge Sarmina for a mistrial for allowing the jury to listen to testimony from a victim in a different trial (in 2008) that was never submitted to evidence. The judge denied that request, and the jury continued to deliberate.

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As a Philadelphia accident lawyer, I was disappointed to read about the death of a 25-year-old man in an unusual accident. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the man died on the night of June 3 after he mistakenly stepped into an empty elevator shaft and fell five stories. The man was not named pending notification of his family, but he was reportedly a resident of the building on Chestnut Street in the Washington Square West neighborhood. The elevator is the older kind with a gated lift. Representative from the state Department of Labor and Industry said it would send an elevator inspector to the building June 6 to determine whether the elevator is safe for other users.

The article said the building itself is older, with external fire escapes as well as the old-fashioned elevator. Police said the light was out as well, and that the man didn’t realize the elevator was not at the fifth floor, which is the building’s top floor. The accident was reported just before midnight June 3 and the man was pronounced dead at Thomas Jefferson University Medical Center around 1:15 on June 4. The Department of Labor and Industry said it was working with law enforcement to keep the elevator out of service and “secure” until it could send an inspector. A city spokesperson added that the City Licenses and Inspections Commission has no authority over elevators.

One thing that struck me about this story, as a Philadelphia injury lawyer, is the apparent lack of safeguards against just this kind of accident. Elevators have safety rules, which is why the state has elevator inspectors, but it’s not clear whether any safety rules were broken in his case. Nonetheless, if a 25-year-old man can walk into an elevator shaft without noticing that the elevator isn’t there, as this story suggests, it’s easy to imagine unattended children or an impaired person doing the same. If the management of this building failed to install required safety equipment, or failed to maintain the light in violation of regulations, it could be considered legally liable for the accident. And that would entitle the victim’s family to file a wrongful death lawsuit, which could help them defray the costs of the death as well as compensate them for a loved one lost too soon.
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