NEGLIGENCE-SLIP AND FALL

December 12th, 2018 by Rieders Travis in Negligence

Koziar v. Rayner, 2018 Pa. Super. 331 LEXIS 1312 (December 7, 2018) Strassburger, J.  This case involved a cleaning lady who fell on property of the owner.  The jury found negligence, but that it was not a factual cause of the harm suffered by the cleaning lady.  The court granted a new trial.  There was never any agreement in this case that the cleaning lady suffered any injuries at all.  The homeowners vigorously challenged causation and presented ample evidence of other conflicting causes of the injury.  Therefore, the jury had the right to reject factual cause.

Drivers Are Addicted to Distracting Activities – Automakers Aren’t Helping

August 13th, 2018 by Rieders Travis in Car Accidents, Negligence, Personal Injury

Drivers Are Addicted to Distracting Activities - Automakers Aren't Helping
Emerging technologies are cool and useful, but they can also take drivers down a path of distraction that leads to increased crashes.  Driving while distracted is illegal in 47 states, including Pennsylvania; but people are addicted to their gadgets and technology, and new cars have more of these than ever. As a result, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has been studying how to minimize the driving distractions they say kill 3,500 people and injure 390,000 in U.S. crashes every year. According to the Washington Post the study showed that new vehicle technology involving buttons, touch screens, gesture controls, heads-up displays, and voice commands are often not safe when used while the vehicle is in motion. For example, distractions from Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto shaved crucial seconds from the time that drivers could get their eyes back on the road. The AAA survey found that almost half of drivers said they make calls and 35 percent sent a text or email while driving. In the less than 4.5 seconds it takes to send a text, a vehicle going 55 mph covers more than the length of a football…

Distracted Driving Enforcement Increases in Pennsylvania; Distraction Continues to Be a Problem

June 18th, 2018 by Rieders Travis in Car Accidents, Negligence, Personal Injury

Distracted Driving Enforcement Increases in Pennsylvania; Distraction Continues to Be a Problem
Pennsylvania is cracking down on anyone caught driving while distracted, and the number of distracted driving citations is climbing.  Ticketed drivers pay a $50 fine plus $90 for court costs. According to the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts, citations increased by 52 percent statewide in 2017 and 172 percent since 2013. The heightened emphasis on distracted driving is for good reason:  The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) reports 1,188 total deaths on Pennsylvania roads in 2016, with distracted driving a contributing factor in 61 of them. If you or a loved one was injured or if someone has died in a crash involving distracted driving, you may have a claim for compensation for your losses. This includes medical, hospital and rehabilitation bills that are not covered by first party personal injury protection, lost wages and future wage horizon and other economic expenses.  You may also have a claim for noneconomic damages such as loss of life’s pleasures, pain and suffering, and disfigurement. Pennsylvania auto laws are complex.  Pennsylvania is governed by the Financial Responsibility Law.  Cliff Rieders has a great deal of experience in this field of the law and…

NEGLIGENCE-INCREASED RISK OF HARM

June 4th, 2018 by Rieders Travis in Negligence

Straw v. Kirk A. Fair and Golon Masonry Restoration, Inc., et al., 2018 Pa. Super. 125 (May 11, 2018) Olson, J.  An appeal was taken from a judgment in favor of Jennifer M. Straw and Thomas P. Straw, individually and as administrators of the Estate of Elijah C. Straw, a deceased minor, and Rowan J. Straw, a minor, by and through his parents and natural guardians, Jennifer M. Straw and Thomas P. Straw, against appellants in the amount of $35,114,122.78.  The court vacated the judgment and remanded.  The basic facts are that Thomas Straw was driving his Pontiac Vibe automobile in Allegheny County.  Several of the Straws were passengers in the car.  As the Straws were driving down the highway, their vehicle experienced a mechanical malfunction that caused Thomas Straw to reduce his speed and bring the vehicle to a controlled stop in the middle of the highway.  Mr. Straw turned on his hazard flashers.  Kirk Fair was driving behind the Straws in a Ford F-250 truck that his employer provided to him.  Mr. Fair did not stop his truck in time and crashed into the Straws’ stationary vehicle traveling…

NEGLIGENCE-CAUSATION-INJURY OR HARM

May 15th, 2018 by Rieders Travis in Negligence

Corvin v. Tihansky, 2018 Pa. Super. LEXIS 362 (April 20, 2018) Shogan, J.  Jury answered “no” to the question as to whether there was any harm as a result of a minor rear-end automobile accident.  The court said that its conscience was not shocked by the verdict.  The question was whether the plaintiff had a herniated disc from the automobile accident.   This case is very similar to Maiczyk vs. Oesch, 789 A.2d 917 (Pa. Super. 2001), an en banc decision. In that case, the plaintiff was a passenger in a car that was rear-ended by the defendant’s vehicle. She alleged that the impact caused a herniated disc which required surgery to repair. The defendant’s expert conceded that the plaintiff had sustained some injury, but not a herniated disc. Instead, he opined that the plaintiff had suffered a cervical strain. The jury returned a defense verdict. The Superior Court framed the issue thusly: May a jury find for a defendant despite his or her obvious negligence where it does not believe that the plaintiff’s pain and suffering are compensable? The Superior Court first observed that not all pain and suffering…

NEGLIGENCE-HOLD HARMLESS CLAUSE-SKIING

May 9th, 2018 by Rieders Travis in Negligence

Kibler v. Blue Knob All Seasons Resort, 2018 Pa. Super. LEXIS 357 (April 19, 2018) Ford Elliott, P.J.E.  This case involved a skier who signed an exculpatory clause in a release which included ruts, bumps, growth, etc.  The person fell in a trench while traversing from one slope to another.  The court held the Pennsylvania Skier’s Responsibility Act controlled.  There was no gross negligence, found the court.  The release was not ambiguous.  The trenches created by the all-terrain vehicles traversing the slope would be included within the release and was not gross negligence or recklessness.  The actions were not improper in normal slope maintenance.

NEGLIGENCE-SLIP AND FALL-HILLS AND RIDGES

April 18th, 2018 by Rieders Travis in Negligence

Collins v. Philadelphia Suburban Development Corporation and Ross’s Home Improvement, Inc., 2018 Pa. 17, No. 1484 EDA 2017 (Pa. Super. January 31, 2018) Stevens, P.J.E.   David Collins appealed from a judgment entered in a slip and fall case.  It was claimed tha the trial court erred in granting motion for summary judgment.  Summary judgment was affirmed. The bottom line is that the fall occurred during a blizzard and a large amount of snow had accumulated over many hours.  There was no dispute that Mr. Collins slipped and fell on ice and snow from an active blizzard.  It was therefore claimed that there was no breach of duty.  The court noted that to recover for a fall on ice or snow covered surface it must be shown:  (1) that the snow and ice had accumulated on the sidewalk in ridges or elevations in such size and character as to unreasonably obstruct travel and constitute a danger to pedestrians traveling; (2) that the property owner had notice, either actual or constructive of the existence of the condition; and (3) that it was a dangerous accumulation of snow and ice which caused…

NEGLIGENCE-SLIP AND FALL-INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS-RETAINED CONTROL EXCEPTION

March 30th, 2018 by Rieders Travis in Negligence

Santiago v. Wegmans Food Market, Inc., t/d/b/a Wegmans, Wegmans Retail Service Center, Wegmans Distribution Center, No. 16-CV-1529 (C.P. Lackawanna February 2, 2018) Nealon, J.  In this slip & fall case against commercial landowner by the employee of an independent contractor that was retained by that property owner to provide janitorial services, the owner filed a motion for summary judgment.  The basis of the summary judgment is that it allegedly owed no duty of care to the employee since a landowner who retains an independent contractor cannot be vicariously liable for the negligence of an independent contractor or its employees.  Under the “retained control” exception to that theory of non-liability, a property owner who entrusts work to an independent contractor remains subject to liability if its contract with the independent contractor grants the premises owner control over the manner, method and operative details of the independent contractor’s work.  Based upon the comprehensive terms of the janitorial services contract, the landowner dictated how the contractor’s cleaning services were to be performed, what products and equipment were to be used, when designated tasks were to be completed, and the exact manner in which…

Uber Halts Project After Pedestrian Death

March 26th, 2018 by Rieders Travis in Negligence, Personal Injury

Self-driving cars are claimed to be safer than the average human driver as they eliminate human error, but they can and do crash. Recently, a self-driving Uber SUV struck and killed 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg who was walking her bicycle across a street in Tempe, Arizona. A test driver from Uber was behind the wheel of the car at the time, but the car was driving automatically. Uber has stopped testing the vehicles after the fatal crash, but companies such as GM's (GM) Cruise and Intel (INTC) are also testing. Tesla’s Model S has allegedly already caused two fatalities. While self-driving cars are revolutionizing driving, when an accident occurs, the concept raises numerous legal issues. If a driverless car causes a crash, who is liable for personal injury claims? There is no driver controlling the vehicle, so even if someone is sitting behind the wheel, that person is, in essence, a passenger. The car itself is the driver; but can you hold a car liable for an accident? If you or a loved one has suffered harm from a crash that involved a self-driving vehicle (or any vehicle), you may be entitled to compensation for your medical…

March 11 – 17: Patient Safety Awareness Week

March 5th, 2018 by Rieders Travis in Negligence

Drug Injury
People going into hospitals and medical facilities do so to get better, not to get sicker; unfortunately, many wind up suffering harm that is significant and preventable. The Institute for Hospital Improvement (http://www.unitedforpatientsafety.org) states, “Most people in the U.S. are likely to experience a missed, delayed or wrong diagnosis in their lifetime.”  And according to the American Association for Justice, one out of every three hospital patients will experience a medical error, which cost nearly 120,000 patients' lives each year. The Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority reports a third of a million errors a year as serious events and incidents.  Only about 1,400 people a year file lawsuit in Pennsylvania. Therefore, it is clear that most patients do not sue over preventable medical errors. Cliff Rieders helped to write the legislation and was one of the first appointees to Pennsylvania’s Patient Safety Authority. Cliff Rieders served for 15 years on the Patient Safety Authority and received a commendation of great respect when he decided to leave the Authority. To bring this problem to the public attention, March 11-17, 2018, has been designated as National Patient Safety Awareness Week, with activities planned to increase patient safety. Hospitals…