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Wrongful Death

July 23rd, 2019 by Rieders Travis in Wrongful Death

WRONGFUL DEATH AND SURVIVAL-FOREFEITURE-ABANDONMENT 

Johnson v. Neshaminy Shore Picnic Park, 2019 Pa. Super. LEXIS 822.    OPINION BY KUNSELMAN, J.:

In this tragic wrongful death and survival action, decedent’s father, Carl Griggs, appeals from the trial court’s decision that he forfeited his share of the proceeds from the action filed by the decedent’s mother, Janelle Johnson, under Pennsylvania probate law.  See 20Pa.C.S.A.§2106(b).  We affirm.

In sum, we cannot ignore the ramifications of the amendments to the failure-to-support clause.  We must conclude that the willfulness element of a prima facie forfeiture claim has been eliminated.  We conclude further that the duty to support encompasses physical, emotional, and financial support.  Therefore, the elements of a prima facie forfeiture claim under the current failure-to-support clause are as follows:

  1. 1. the decedent must be a minor or dependent child;
  2. 2. the parent must owe a duty of support to the decedent; and
  3. 3. the parent must have failed to perform the duty of support for the decedent for at least a year prior to the decedent’s death.

See 20 Pa.C.S.A.§2106(b)

Regarding the third element, the reason why a parent may have failed to support the child is irrelevant.  Furthermore, the Legislature mandates the courts to inquire into both the quality, nature and extent of the parent’s contact and the physical, emotional and financial support provided to the child.  See id.  (emphasis added); see also In re Estate of Fuller, 87 A.3d at 334, 336 (concluding that the “quality, nature, and extent of the parent’s conduct with the child and the physical, emotional and financial support provided to the child” indicated that the parent did not desert the child” (emphasis added)).

In a case that turned largely on testimony, the trial court determined Father did virtually nothing.  In the year immediately preceding Child’s death, Father saw Child only once.  While he was incarcerated during 10 of the 12 months leading up to the death, Father made no other effort to have a relationship with Child.  In fact, the Father’s involvement in Child’s life was so extremely limited that Child thought his true father was his maternal grandfather.  Although Father had little disposable income, so did Mother.  When Mother named Father on her application for public assistance, Father denied paternity and requested testing.  Father testified that he did this to be vindictive, because he and Mother had allegedly agreed to handle support of Child without the court’s involvement.  During the course of Child’s lifetime, Father bought Child one pair of shoes; he never bought Child food, toys or other gifts.  In the three years Child attended daycare, Father provided transportation three times.  He never spent holidays with Child or exercised any sort of custody.  The sum total of Father’s physical, emotional, and financial support was $39.99, and only after Mother’s request.  We conclude that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in concluding that Father failed to support Child for at least one year prior to Child’s death.

Our review of the trial court’s decision is not a review of Father’s parenting.  We are cognizant that parents discussed the possibility of Father and Child having a meaningful relationship in the future.  Tragedy robbed them of that opportunity.  Conversely, we are also cognizant that if Father inherited his share, his other child would presumably reap some benefit from this inheritance.  The statute does not consider what could or should have been, only what was.  In that vein, the trial court did not abuse its discretion when it applied the statute and found Father forfeited his ability to inherit from his deceased minor child.

Fewer Patients, Better Care? Proposed Bill Seeks to Limit Patient-to-Nurse Ratio

Seriously ill patients in hospitals depend on competent nursing care when needed; but when there is a shortage of nurses and they are overworked and exhausted, the result is risk to patient safety and their lives.

To prevent these problems, there is now a proposed Congressional bill, House Bill 867, that would limit the number of patients Pennsylvania nurses can care for at one time. The bill bases the nurse-to-patient ratio on the type of hospital unit, with a 1:2 or fewer ratio proposed for intensive care units and a 1:4 or fewer ratio for emergency departments. Advocates of the bill cite the ratio mandate already in California, which has proven to be cost-effective, produce better health outcomes and create openings for job-seeking nurses.  

The hospital industry opposes the legislation, arguing that there is not enough research to support it, there are not enough nurses to meet the lower ratio, and that staffing mandates would force facilities to close.

Nurses disagree and have appealed to the House committee, saying that having too many patients leads to making mistakes and giving poor care. They believe that better nurse/patient ratios dramatically improve safety and actually reduce the costs to hospitals because lower ratios mean better nursing care and fewer nursing errors, resulting in lower malpractice claims.

If you or a loved one has suffered because of negligence due to a shortage of nurses at a hospital, you may be entitled to receive financial compensation to cover your medical and hospital expenses,  other economic losses, pain and suffering, disfigurement, loss of life’s pleasures prior to death, loss of wages, loss of future wage horizon, and certain relatives may be entitled to make financial claims as well. However, your case must be handled correctly and competently, or you may never collect the compensation you are entitled to.

The skilled and experienced Pennsylvania hospital medical malpractice attorney Clifford A. Rieders of Rieders, Travis, Humphrey, Waters & Dohrmann has spent decades honing his skills and successfully representing Pennsylvania families who have suffered an injury or loss due to negligence and malpractice by medical professionals and hospitals.  Our attorneys offer personal attention and loyalty to every client, aggressively fighting for their right to compensation.

We offer a free consultation to examine the facts of your case and determine how we can help, so contact us online or call our offices to set up your free consultation.

Negligence Due to Overworked Nurses

Hospitals frequently have numerous patients who are extremely sick and require a high level of nursing care.  Nurses cannot be in two places at once, so if multiple patients are in crisis, it is not surprising that errors occur that can lead to medical malpractice. Some common examples are:

  • Medication errors
  • Preventable infections
  • Failure to adhere to safety procedures, spend enough time with or follow up properly on patients
  • Lack of patient supervision, inadequate triage systems, inadequate record keeping.

Is it Medical Malpractice?

According to Pennsylvania law, medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare professional commits medical negligence by violating a reasonable standard of care. The medical negligence must have a factual cause resulting in the patient’s injuries.

Hospitals and their nurses and other staff must uphold proper standards of care, including maintaining safe and adequate facilities and equipment and having adequate and properly trained staff and responsible rules and policies. However, not every injury rises to the level of negligence, and a hospital and its staff is not responsible for every medical complication, injury or death suffered by its patients.

Medical malpractice laws are complicated, so anyone who even suspects medical malpractice should contact an attorney immediately due to the Pennsylvania statute of limitations.

Contact Us for a Free Consultation.

If you or a family member has experienced harm or wrongful death due to nurse medical malpractice in Pennsylvania, your next step should be to consult Clifford Rieders of Rieders, Travis, Humphrey, Waters & Dohrmann.

The skilled and experienced Pennsylvania medical malpractice attorney Cliff Rieders of Rieders, Travis, Humphrey, Waters & Dohrmann has spent decades honing his skills and successfully representing Pennsylvania families who have suffered an injury or loss due to someone else’s negligence. Or attorneys offer personal attention and loyalty to every client, aggressively fighting for their right to compensation. Whether in settlement negotiations or pursuing a favorable trial verdict, we are thoroughly prepared and committed to achieving a just outcome. With our competent staff, we offer strength in numbers while providing top-notch personal service.

Cliff Rieders was involved in writing the MCare Act, which governs medical liability actions in Pennsylvania.  He wrote the book on Medical Malpractice that virtually every lawyer in the state uses who practices in this field of the law.

Cliff Rieders is a Nationally Board-Certified Civil Trial and Civil Practice and Procedure advocate.  He is a cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa graduate of New York University.  He graduated from law school with a juris doctoral degree from Georgetown University Law Center.  Rieders is a life member of the American Law Institute, which publishes recommended legal principles utilized throughout the United States.  He is a Past President of the Pennsylvania Association for Justice, formerly Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association.  Rieders has won numerous awards and recognition from the Pennsylvania Association for Justice, and he received the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority recognition award.  Cliff Rieders was a founder of the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority and served on same for 15 years.  Rieders was a Law Clerk in the federal court system for one of the most well-known and longest serving federal judges in the country, the Honorable Malcolm Muir.  Cliff has received the George F. Douglas Amicus Curiae Award, as well as the Milton D. Rosenberg Award from the Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers.  Rieders is on committees and organizations that write the law in many fields of practice.

Cliff has authored a number of other textbooks and articles and he frequently teaches the law to other experienced lawyers.   Cliff Rieders is admitted in state and federal courts, including the Supreme Court of the United States.    He is admitted in numerous state and federal courts, including the Supreme Court of the United States, United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, and state courts in Pennsylvania, New York, and the District of Columbia.

If you or your loved one has suffered harm from someone else’s negligence, your next step should be to consult Cliff Rieders at Rieders, Travis, Humphrey, Waters & Dohrmann by calling or using our online contact form.

Based in Williamsport, we serve clients throughout the state of Pennsylvania, offering a free consultation on all personal injury matters. More than that, we offer you experience, knowledge, compassion, and a long history of results.

Roy J. Burkett v. St. Francis Country House, 2018 Phila. Ct. Com. Pl. LEXIS 45 (August 1, 2018) Rau, J.

In this case, Roy Burkett, Jr., son of decedent, had to rush his mother into hospice care where she later died.  Suit followed.  The court found that the mandatory binding arbitration clause is unenforceable because it was unconscionable under the circumstances.  Further, defendant Arch Diocese of Philadelphia did not even sign the admissions agreement and therefore was not binding.  Therefore, the survival action, as well as the wrongful death action, can go forward.  The evidence was that there was a very quick signing of the document, no meaningful discussion.  It was told that the mediation was “voluntary.”  The court found that Mr. Burkett credibly testified that the administrative person did not explain the mandatory arbitration clause or what arbitration was.  The court found that Mr. Burkett did not understand that signing the admissions agreement with a mandatory binding arbitration clause meant that he would be giving up his mother’s right to a jury trial for claims she would have.  He did not opt out of mandatory binding arbitration clause because he was not aware that it was a possibility.  There was insufficient explanation.  It was a grievance procedure and it was different than arbitration.  The mandatory binding arbitration clause was tucked into the middle of the longer Admissions Agreement and the circumstances under which Mr. Burkett had to sign the Admissions Agreement in order to keep his mother in one of the few available facilities that accepted Medicare patients was unconscionable.

Time for Transportation to Take Sleep Apnea Seriously

Sleep apnea can be a cause of vehicle crashes, so it has been a major concern for transportation safety advocates for years. The condition causes fatigue, and commercial drivers who are fatigued can doze off, a dangerous situation when they are driving large commercial vehicles or trains.

The American Sleep Apnea Association estimates that 22 million Americans have sleep apnea and that 80 percent of moderate and severe obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) cases are undiagnosed. A recent study from the University of California, San Francisco, concluded that 41 percent of commercial motor vehicle drivers could have OSA. And a March 2016 study from the University of Minnesota, Morris, found that drivers who do not follow their prescribed treatment for OSA are five times more likely to be involved in a crash than other drivers.

Recently, sleep apnea led to two commuter railroad accidents within 13 weeks of one another.  In September 2016, a New Jersey Transit train failed to stop and struck a wall of the terminal, killing one woman and injuring 110 other people. In January 2017, a Long Island Rail Road commuter train  crashed into a room beyond the end of the track, leaving 108 people injured and damage estimated at $5.3 million.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) found that both accidents involved engineers who had issues with obstructive sleep apnea. The agency found OSA to be the probable cause of 10 highway and rail accidents investigated by the NTSB in the past 17 years.

 

What is Sleep Apnea?

The term “sleep apnea” refers to interruptions in breathing during sleep. During sleep, the brain normally instructs breathing muscles to take a breath. But muscles that hold the airway open relax during sleep, and sometimes tissue in the back of the throat collapses, blocking the airway and preventing air from getting to the lungs. Oxygen levels decrease and carbon dioxide levels increase, causing the person to awaken in order to breathe.  Sleep is interrupted and fragmented, causing daytime fatigue.

There are three types of sleep apnea:

  1. Central sleep apnea (CSA) — the brain fails to send the signal to activate the muscles of breathing during sleep.
  2. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) — the brain sends the signal to the muscles, but the airway is obstructed and prevents an adequate flow of air.
  3. Mixed sleep apnea — both central sleep apnea and obstructive sleep apnea.

Complications of obstructive sleep apnea include high blood pressure, strokes, heart disease, insomnia and daytime sleepiness, anxiety, irritability, headaches,  and difficulty concentrating, thinking, remembering and performing work duties.  These complications can and do contribute to vehicle crashes.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Obstructive sleep apnea can be treated, but many people are unaware they have it. Sometimes a spouse or partner will observe a person stop breathing, then snore loudly and gasp for air. People who suspect OSA can be diagnosed and evaluated by history, physical examination and sleep studies called polysomnography.

There are nonsurgical treatments that include behavior therapy, weight loss, medications, dental appliances, and machines that provide continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) to keep the throat from collapsing. Surgical treatments include nasal, throat, and bariatric surgery.

What Can Be Done

Unfortunately, although a regulation on OSA was proposed, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) have withdrawn an advance notice of proposed rulemaking on the condition. These agencies stated that current safety programs for fatigue risk management are appropriate avenues to address OSA.

The FRA endorses the voluntary North American Fatigue Management Program to commercial motor vehicle drivers and employers. The Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 states that railroads must institute fatigue management plans as part of Risk Reduction Programs or System Safety Programs.

The FMCSA requires that truck drivers be medically qualified before being certified to drive and that untreated OSA can serve as a basis for denying qualification. Carriers who allow their drivers to be on the road with OSA can and have been held liable for truck accidents caused by related driver fatigue.

Achieving Results When it Counts

If you or a loved one was injured or someone has died in a crash involving sleep apnea due to someone else’s negligence or responsibility, you should immediately consult an EXPERIENCED PENNSYLVANIA PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER regarding your legal rights and possibility of receiving financial compensation.

ARBITRATION-WRONGFUL DEATH CLAIMS-SIGNATURE BY DECEDENT’S RELATIVES

Del Ciotto v. Pennsylvania Hospital of the University of Penn Health System, 2017 Pa. Super. 412 (December 27, 2017) Solano, J.  In this complex case, decedent’s relatives did not sign the arbitration agreement.  In Pisano, the court held that a wrongful death claim is not subject to arbitration unless decedent’s relatives who are the wrongful death claimants sign the relevant arbitration agreement.  The relative, Del Ciotto, did not sign the agreement in his individual capacity.  There was a specific signature block for an individual signature.  Del Ciotto did not sign on that line.  The instruction was that the signature block should be signed but it was not.  By not signing on the Patient Representative’s Individual Capacity line, Del Ciotto made clear that he did not agree that he was signing as a party in his individual capacity and therefore the agreement did not apply to him.  The case will be sent to trial on the wrongful death claim.  The court also cited to Taylor.

2 killed in Pennsylvania motorcycle accident

A husband and wife in Pennsylvania recently lost their lives in a tragic wreck. The motorcycle accident is said to have occurred on June 24, in Indiana County. The driver deemed responsible for the crash also failed to survive the event.

According to local reports, a 46-year-old male and a 44-year-old female were riding their motorcycle on Route 286 when their vehicle was struck by a car. The driver of the automobile — a 65-year-old male — is believed to have lost control of his car at a curve in the road. This caused his sedan to slide sideways across the centerline, hitting the motorcycle. The driver of the motorcycle died at the scene of accident, while his wife was transported to a hospital where she was pronounced dead.

The driver of the car also died at the scene of the crash. Police still have not indicated what may have caused the man to lose control of his vehicle. All three individuals involved in this wreck are said to have died as a result of blunt force trauma.

This motorcycle accident was certainly a tragic event, one that has, undoubtedly, left the surviving family members of all those involved devastated in a variety of ways. When the individuals deemed responsible for such incidents fail to survive, the victims’ loved ones may not feel that they have any recourse. Thankfully, according to the laws of Pennsylvania, this is far from the truth. In this particular case, the surviving family members of the husband and wife killed in this horrible accident may be entitled to pursue wrongful death claims against the estate of the driver deemed responsible. Claims that are navigated successfully may be granted monetary judgments for any recoverable losses.

Source: pennlive.com, “Violent car vs. motorcycle crash leaves 3 dead in Pa.“, John Luciew, June 27, 2016

Jury agrees emergency room errors resulted in unborn baby’s death

A woman in another state has won her medical malpractice case in court. This is said to be a rare victory, as many of these cases are often settled out-of-court. The plaintiff claimed emergency room errors led to the death of her unborn son. Diagnostic and treatment errors do occur at hospitals all across the country, Pennsylvania included. When this does happen, just as this woman did, it is okay to question liability.

It was recently reported that a mother was awarded a $2.5 million verdict in her case against the hospital staff that treated her for a hematoma. The woman — 38-year-old at the time — was 35 weeks pregnant when she began having serious abdominal pain. She went to a local emergency room where she was diagnosed with gallstones and a hematoma. The physician that treated her, instead of admitting her for observation — despite her being considered a high risk pregnancy — sent her home with a prescription for pain pills. A day later, one of the plaintiff’s daughters found her at home, nearly unresponsive, and called an ambulance.

After being admitted to the hospital, doctors found that the hematoma had increased in size and the patient’s vital organs were shutting down. There was also a lack of blood flow to her unborn baby, and he died inside the womb. Doctors were able to stabilize the mother, and about a week after all of this started, the plaintiff had to be induced in order to deliver her stillborn son.

This woman questioned if emergency room errors led to the death of her son and the further medical issues she endured as a result of her lack of appropriate treatment. While it took the jury some time to decide her case, ultimately, it was agreed that different decisions should have been made by her medical providers. For those residing in Pennsylvania who believe that they have been the victims of medical malpractice, it may be possible to settle such claims out-of-court or through litigation. These cases can take time, but with the assistance of legal counsel victims of malpractice may be able to achieve compensation for their losses.

Source: Miami Herald, “After death of unborn son, a rare courtroom victory in medical malpractice case“, Eric Alder, June 10, 2016

DAMAGES-WRONGFUL DEATH AND SURVIVAL-LOSS FOR CHILD’S SOCIETY, COMFORT OR COMPANIONSHIP

Page v. Moses Taylor Hospital, Civil No. 11 CV 1402 (C.P. Lackawanna May 24, 2016) Nealon, J.  In paragraph 77 of the original Complaint, plaintiff sought to recover damages for her loss of the twins’ society, comfort and companionship.  AND NOW, this 24th day of May, 2016, upon consideration of “Defendant, Michael J. Kush, M.D.’s Motion in Limine to Preclude any Grief/Solatium/Bereavement Damages Under the Wrongful Death Act” and the “Motion in Limine of Defendants, Physicians Health Alliance, Inc., Francis E. Hamm, M.D. and Kristine M. McNulty, M.D., to Preclude any Evidence Regarding Grief/Solatium/Bereavement Damages Under the Wrongful Death Act,” and based upon the reasoning set forth above, it is hereby ORDERED and DECREED that “Defendant, Michael J. Kush, M.D.’s Motion in Limine to Preclude any Grief/Solatium/Bereavement Damages Under the Wrongful Death Act” and the “Motion in Limine of Defendants, Physicians Health Alliance, KInc., Francis E. Hamm, M.D. and Kristine M. McNulty, M.D., to Preclude any Evidence Regarding Grief/Solatium/Bereavement Damages Under the Wrongful Death Act” are both DENIED.

1 killed in single vehicle car accident in Pennsylvania

A single vehicle accident in Pennsylvania is currently being investigated by authorities. The car accident reportedly occurred in Bethel Park on May 15. A teenage boy was killed in the wreck.

According to local reports, the crash happened at around 1 a.m., on a local road. A resident of the area says that a car struck a tree and a fire hydrant before coming to a stop. A 16-year-old teenager, who was riding in the back seat of the vehicle, suffered critical injuries and was transported to an area hospital. He later died. It is unknown if the driver or other passenger suffered any injuries in the wreck.

The victim was a football player in high school. According to his coach, he was a hard working, quality human being. This is certainly a devastating loss for his family and friends.

At this time, police have not indicated what may have led to the crash. The investigation is still ongoing. It is unknown if any charges are pending against the driver.

A fatal car accident can leave surviving family members with numerous questions, which is completely understandable. Some questions might include: Why did the accident happen and who is responsible? In this particular case, the driver and/or the vehicle’s owner — if different — may be held accountable for the death of this young man. By pursing civil claims in a Pennsylvania court, the victim’s loved ones may be able to achieve compensation for the losses that they have endured as a result of this terrible tragedy.

Source: wpxi.com, “Teenage boy killed in accident in Bethel Park“, May 16, 2016

ARBITRATION-ASSISTED LIVING-MANOR CARE

MacPherson v. Magee Memorial Hospital, 128 A.3d 1209 (Pa. Super. 2015).  After a long line of cases throwing out arbitration clauses, this en banc opinion finds an arbitration clause, predispute, in a nursing home setting to be valid.  The court therefore reversed and remanded the case for proceedings consistent with the opinion.  The lower court had thrown out the arbitration request.  Dissenting opinions are filed by three justices, one of whom, David Wecht, is now on the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.  The court distinguished prior decisions by saying they were applicable only to wrongful death claims brought on behalf of beneficiaries designated in 42 Pa.C.S. § 8301(b).  Personal representatives proceeding pursuant to § 8301(d), however, are bound by otherwise enforceable arbitration agreements signed by a decedent.  Under the Pennsylvania Wrongful Death Statute, recovery passes to the limited group of beneficiaries defined in the statute.  § 8301(d) was an action by a personal representative where no person is eligible to recover damages and therefore the personal representatives of the deceased may bring an action and recover damages for reasonable hospital, nursing, medical, funeral expenses and expenses of administration necessitated by reason of injuries causing death.  The actions addressed in other cases where arbitration was not permitted is where there was a right of action existing only for the benefit of the spouse, children or parents of the deceased.  The dissent relied upon a Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision in Wert v. Manor Care of Carlisle, PA, LLC, 124 A.3d 1248 (2015) (plurality opinion).

Pennsylvania car accident: Head-on crash kills 2

Authorities in Pennsylvania are currently investigating the cause of a fatal head-on collision. This car accident reportedly occurred the evening of March 23, in Dauphin County. Both drivers died at the scene.

According to reports, police were called to the scene of a two-vehicle car crash on Route 39 in South Hanover Township. It is believed that the driver of a car crossed into oncoming traffic and struck a small SUV head-on. Both drivers — males, whose ages were not reported — died of their injuries. Investigators say that neither of these individuals was wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash.

The road near the accident scene was closed for several hours while investigators and cleanup crews worked. At this time, authorities have not determined what caused the individual responsible for this crash to cross the centerline of traffic. The investigation into this incident is still ongoing.

A fatal car accident such as this one can leave the family members of all those involved with a lot of questions. Sadly, getting the answers needed for closure can take some time. Thankfully, answers will come, and the victim’s surviving family members will have the right to seek compensation for their losses. Wrongful death claims may be filed against the estate of the driver deemed responsible for this tragic incident. Establishing negligence will be necessary for a civil claim to be successful; however, if this can be done, a Pennsylvania court may award financial relief for any and all documented damages.

Source: abc27.com, “Deadly crash closes Route 39 in Dauphin County“, Ed Albert, March 23, 2016

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS-WRONGFUL DEATH AND SURVIVAL ACTION-MCARE ACT

This is a ghastly death in a nursing home case.  Dubose v. Quinlan, 125 A.3d 1231 (Pa. Super. 2015).  Defendants failed to treat bedsores, failed to provide wound care, failed to adequately hydrate the patient, failed to guard against infection, and provided nursing medical care that was below the standard of care.  The Mcare Act clearly provides that wrongful death and survival actions may be brought within two (2) years of the date of death.  The argument had been made that the statute of limitations begins to run when Mrs. Dubose developed a pressure wound.  The court clearly rejected that.  Defendant argued wrongful death actions are strictly limited to pecuniary damages.  The court rejected that.  Although Mrs. Dubose was suffering from severe brain damage, her family was deprived of her society and comfort.  Mrs. Dubose was responsive to music and a photograph of her grandchild.  Decedent’s family derived comfort and solace from the fact that she was still alive and being able to visit her in the nursing home.  In addition, plaintiff presented evidence that the estate incurred funeral and other expenses as a result of the death.  Rejected was the claim that wrongful death does not encompass damages for emotional loss or mental pain and suffering.  The evidence was sufficient to prove punitive damages.  Punitive damages are within the sound discretion of the fact-finder.  There was evidence that decedent was malnourished, dehydrated, and suffered conscious pain from numerous bedsores.  In addition, the nursing home used a licensed practical nurse to provide advanced wound care, in violation of the Nurse Practices Act.  There were at least 10 pressure ulcers, as well as systemic infection.  Decedent was hospitalized for acute renal failure caused by severe dehydration.  The nursing home expert was David Lopez.  He was not a nursing home administrator and had no medical training, but he was sufficient.  He is president and CEO of Harris Health System in Houston, Texas, and was qualified as an expert.  There was no error in preventing the nursing home from introducing evidence that decedent’s mother was “acting out” and mistreating the nursing staff because she believed that her mother was receiving substandard care.  Defendants can show no prejudice.  The court said that the verdict was not shocking.  The Wrongful Death verdict was $125,000, and the Survival Act verdict was $1 million.  The fact that Mrs. Dubose suffered permanent, debilitating brain injury does not mean that she was physiologically incapable of feeling pain.  Mrs. Dubose required pain medication and was placed on a pain management program.  The jury’s award was not excessive.  The verdict should not be discounted because of decreased mental functioning and poor prognosis.  While wealth of the tortfeasor is a relevant consideration, it is not a necessary condition precedent for imposition of an award of punitive damages.  The nursing home cannot show that it was prejudiced by the jury’s punitive damage award since it was less than the compensatory damages award.  There was no requirement to bifurcate the punitive damage phase of the trial.  The court questions SJIC instruction § 8.30, that punitive damages cannot be awarded in a wrongful death action as a result of a remark of the Superior Court in Harvey v. Hassinger, 315 Pa.Super. 97, 461 A.2d 814 (1983).  This court questions the continued viability of the language in Harvey and § 8.30 of the Suggested Standard Jury Instruction in view of the holding in Hatwood v. HUP at p. 55 of that opinion.  This was a Wrongful Death and Survival Action, and there is no dispute that punitive damages may be awarded under the Survival Act.  Further, the court dismissed the claim that Rule 238 damages do not apply to wrongful death recoveries.  The court did not err in awarding delay damages.

1 killed in Pennsylvania car accident

An elderly Pennsylvania man recently lost his life in an auto collision in Upper Hanover Township. According to police, this car accident was the result of another driver failing to stop at a stop sign. If desired, the decedent’s surviving family members may seek compensation for their losses through legal means.

This accident occurred around noon on Jan. 11. A 79-year-old male was apparently driving through an intersection when his SUV was struck by another vehicle. He was transported to an area hospital where he was later pronounced dead.

The driver of the other car, an 88-year-old woman, was injured in the wreck — though her injuries were considered minor in nature. It is unknown if she will face any criminal charges for the victim’s death. At this time, authorities are asking any witnesses to please come forward with any information that they may have to share regarding this incident.

Losing a loved one in a car accident can be, understandably, devastating. Those affected by this particular collision may have legal recourse. A wrongful death claim may be filed in a Pennsylvania civil court against the woman believed responsible for this elderly gentleman’s death. By taking this sort of action — if litigation is successful — the victim’s surviving family members may achieve relief for any economic and non-economic damages that they have personally sustained as a result of this wreck. They may also be entitled to pursue survival actions on behalf of the victim in an effort to gain compensation for any financial, physical and psychological losses that he may have incurred before his untimely death.

Source: wfmz.com, “Telford man killed in Montgomery County accident“, Jan. 12, 2016

Head-on car accident in Pennsylvania kills 1

A young man in Pennsylvania recently died when his vehicle was struck head-on by a pickup truck on Route 611. This car accident reportedly occurred Dec. 28, in Williams Township. Authorities are still in the process of investigating this incident.

According to Pennsylvania State Police, a 23-year-old male died shortly after his car was struck on the front-end by a truck that crossed the center line of traffic. The force of impact caused the victim’s car to spin 180 degrees before coming to a stop. The other vehicle rolled and came to a stop on its roof. The victim reportedly died at the scene of the crash.

The driver of the pickup was injured in the wreck. He was transported to a local medical facility for the treatment of unknown injuries. It is unclear if this individual will face any criminal charges for this incident. An accident reconstruction team is still in the process of investigating the cause of the crash.

The family members of the deceased may choose to pursue legal actions against the driver deemed responsible for their loved one’s death. A wrongful death claim may be filed in a Pennsylvania civil court. While taking this type of action can be difficult in a number of ways, if it proves successful, the victim’s surviving family members may be awarded relief for the various economic and non-economic damages they may have sustained as a result of the car accident — such as funeral and other expenses, as well as compensation for any psychological distress.

Source: wfmz.com, “Easton-area man killed in crash on Route 611“, Dec. 28, 2015

2 killed in Pennsylvania car accident

Authorities in Pennsylvania are currently investigating a crash that killed two people. This car accident reportedly occurred on Dec. 8, in Bucks County. The victims’ vehicle was supposedly struck head-on by an SUV.

According to a video that accompanied a local report, the victims, an older couple, died shortly after their car was hit by a man driving an SUV. The victims are said to have been very active volunteers, giving their time to a number of causes. This is certainly a great loss for their surviving family members and the community as a whole.

Investigators have yet to determine why the driver thought responsible for this collision crossed into oncoming traffic. He was injured in the wreck and was airlifted to a medical facility for treatment. His current condition is unknown. Authorities have not stated if any criminal charges will be filed in this case.

A fatal car accident such as this can leave surviving family members with a million questions, which is completely understandable. At this time, investigators in Pennsylvania are working diligently in order to provide as much information as possible as to why this incident occurred. Anyone who witnessed this crash is being asked to please step forward. When all is said and done, the victims’ loved ones may be entitled to pursue wrongful death claims in an effort to recoup any losses experienced as a result of this tragic event. While such cases can seem draining, a bit of financial and emotional relief can be achieved if they are handled successfully.

Source: 6abc.com, “Police ID couple killed in Route 202 crash in Bucks County“, Dec. 10, 2015

Lost a loved one in an accident? Damages may be compensable

For those in Pennsylvania or elsewhere, losing a loved one in any sort of accident can be devastating. There is little that can be done to help lighten the load or ease one’s grief. However, when one has lost a loved one in an accident it may be possible to seek compensation for any resulting damages, which could grant relief from financial stresses and allow the victim’s surviving family members the ability to focus on what they need to in order to move forward.

When a fatal accident occurs, it is completely understandable that surviving family members will want to understand how the incident happened and wonder who is at fault. While there are times that these incidents truly are just accidents, there are others that can be linked to another person’s negligence. In such cases, the victim’s loved ones may have legal recourse.

A wrongful death claim may be filed in an effort for surviving family members to seek compensation for their losses. This type of claim will have to be brought forward by a representative of the decedent’s estate. For this type of case to be successful, proof of any damages — such as financial losses, loss of companionship and funeral expenses — will have to be provided.

Along with showing that one has suffered losses as a result of having lost a loved one in an accident, negligence will have to be established against the individual believed responsible for the loss of life. This is not always easy to accomplish. However, if this can be done to the satisfaction of a Pennsylvania civil court, a monetary judgment may be awarded for any damages that are deemed legally recoverable.

Elderly woman killed in pedestrian accident

Pennsylvania police are investigating the untimely death of an elderly woman. This woman apparently lost her life in a pedestrian accident on Oct. 21 in Summit Township. At this time, it is unknown if the driver believed responsible for the crash has been charged for the incident.

State police believe the victim — a 79-year-old female from out of state — was crossing Route 97 in Summit Township just at approximately 9:15 p.m. when she was struck by a car. She was swiftly transported to a medical facility for the treatment of unspecified injuries. Sadly, she died not long after her arrival at the hospital.

The driver, a 37-year-old male, claims that he attempted to avoid the victim. He and his passenger, a 43-year-old female, were uninjured in the wreck. The deceased pedestrian was from Vermont, and it appears the Pennsylvania State Police investigated the fatal accident.

Pedestrians and drivers cannot be too careful — each must be vigilant in checking their surroundings at all times. Unfortunately, accidents of this nature happen far too frequently, and the pedestrians involved tend to suffer severe if not fatal consequences. In this particular case, the victim’s surviving family members may be able to achieve compensation for any losses this pedestrian accident created by pursing legal claims against the driver. Wrongful death and survival action claims may be filed in a Pennsylvania civil court. If the individual deemed responsible for the victim’s death is found to have been negligent in his actions leading up to the accident, fair and full compensation may be awarded.

Source: yourerie.com, “Vermont Woman killed in accident“, Ryan Emerson, Oct. 21, 2015

2 killed in Pennsylvania pedestrian accident

In the early morning hours of Sept. 7, two people in Pennsylvania were killed when they were struck by a cab while crossing the street. Authorities are still in the process of investigating the incident. This pedestrian accident is certainly concerning, though, as it just adds to the long list of infractions and violations on the taxi company’s record.

According to police, a male and a female — both 25 years of age — died as a result of being struck by a car. The woman was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. The male was transported for medical care, but died soon after arriving at the hospital. Both victims were reportedly crossing the street in a crosswalk when they were struck by the Rosemont Taxicab Co. vehicle.

Investigators are still sorting out the details of this collision. Witnesses have reported that they believe the cab driver was speeding; however, police have indicated that would have been difficult to judge as few vehicles were on the road at the time of the crash. The cab driver did remain on the scene and was cooperating with law enforcement. The 41-year-old was eventually taken to the hospital due to chest pain.

It was not reported if this particular driver has any violations on his record, but the company for whom he is employed has been fined several times over the years for various infractions and safety violations. Knowing the company’s history, it would be completely reasonable for the victims’ family members to question whether or not negligence contributed to this pedestrian accident. In an effort to seek justice and compensation for any losses suffered, surviving family members may pursue civil claims against the driver and his employer. If found negligent, a Pennsylvania court may award monetary damages for successfully litigated claims.

Source: philly.com, “Cab company in Monday deaths had many violations“, Justine McDaniel, Aubrey Whelan, and Michaelle Bond, Sept. 8, 2015

Another fatal pedestrian accident in Pennsylvania

A Pennsylvania man died recently after being struck by a bus. This particular pedestrian accident occurred on the morning of Aug. 8. in Philadelphia. Police are still investigating this incident.

According to reports, a 46-year-old male was hit by a tour bus while he was crossing the road at an intersection. It has been said that the victim was dragged by the bus for approximately 50 feet before his body came out from under the vehicle. He was rushed to a hospital but was pronounced dead soon after his arrival.

The driver of the bus reportedly failed to stop after the incident. The tour company was immediately notified, and the driver was redirected back to Philadelphia for questioning. It was not immediately known if the bus driver was even aware that he had hit the victim. Police are reviewing surveillance tapes and questioning any witnesses, along with the driver, as they work to document exactly what occurred. At this time, it is unknown if any charges have been filed.

This pedestrian accident was a tragic event that, undoubtedly, left the victim’s surviving family members questioning how it even occurred. Local police are working diligently to provide as many answers as possible, which will certainly help in the grieving process. In an effort to recover any financial losses this incident may have created, the victim’s family may pursue legal actions against the driver and his employer. If negligence can be established, a Pennsylvania civil court may award monetary damages for any losses encountered that are deemed recoverable in accordance with applicable laws.

Source: iradiophilly.com, “Man Killed By Bus in Center City; NTSB Faults Truck Driver in Crash; Kane Aide Reese Arraigned“, Aug. 24, 2015

DAMAGES-WRONGFUL DEATH-NON-PECUNIARY LOSSES-SEPTA-SOVEREIGN IMMUNITY ACT

SEPTA is a Commonwealth agency.  The Superior Court’s observation that loss of compensable services is comparable to loss of consortium is irrelevant to the meaning of the Sovereign Immunity Act.  The meaning of “loss of consortium” is quite clear, and it has been definitively construed by our Supreme Court to mean damages available only to a spouse, not a parent.  Accordingly, the order of the trial court denying SEPTA’s motion for partial summary judgment on the pleadings with respect to the recovery of non-pecuniary losses sought by the parents of Decedent is reversed.  Under the Sovereign Immunity Act, the parents have no claim for non-pecuniary losses with respect to the death of their child.  Ebersole v. SEPTA, 111 A.3d 286 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2015).

Lost a loved one in an accident? It is okay to question liability

In Philadelphia, there are some signs currently posted that are causing quite a stir in the community. Some may say that, for a person who has lost a loved one in an accident, particularly a pedestrian accident, these signs may be somewhat angering. Why? These posters are raising questions about a driver’s liability in such an incident in Pennsylvania.

The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia is currently running a campaign to bring awareness about pedestrian accidents involving children. Part of this educational push involves the posting of signs which, essentially, reference the severe damages that can be done if a child is struck by a car. Moreover, parental responsibility to talk about traffic safety. The simple truth is that far too many children across the state have been seriously injured and even killed in auto-pedestrian accidents.

Yes, it is certainly important to educate kids about the dangers of running out into the street. However, some believe this campaign is, in a way, placing blame solely on parents and children when, in many situations, drivers may actually be at fault for these accidents. Those responsible for designing the signs have said that this was not their intent, and feel that anything that gets the conversation about traffic safety started is a good thing. Parents do need to know, though, that if their child is  hit by a car, it is okay to question whether the driver is liable for the incident.

Anyone who has lost a loved one in an accident, particularly when that person is a child, may find that it can be difficult to move forward. If it is believed that an auto vs. pedestrian collision is the result of negligence on part of a driver, family members of the victim may pursue legal actions against that individual. A wrongful death claim may be filed in a Pennsylvania civil court. If this type of claim is managed successfully, the victim’s loved ones may be compensated for any documented financial losses.

Source: myfoxphilly.com, “New Signs at CHOP Has Everyone Talking“, Ryan Dennis, July 9, 2015

ARBITRATION-WRONGFUL DEATH AND SURVIVAL ACTION

Extendicare Health Facilities, Inc., together with other entities, appealed from an order overruling preliminary objections in the nature of a motion to compel arbitration of co-executor’s wrongful death and survival claims.  The Superior Court affirmed.  The underlying case involved negligence against Extendicare and others for injuries culminating in the death of Anna Marie Taylor.  The court has previously held that a wrongful death action has a separate action belonging to the beneficiaries.  An arbitration agreement signed by the decedent or his or her authorized representative is not binding upon non-signatory wrongful death beneficiaries, and they cannot be compelled to litigate their claims in arbitration.  Extendicare relies upon the Federal Arbitration Act.  The court rejected preemption.  The Federal Arbitration Act does not contain an express preemption provision and Congress did not intend to occupy the field of arbitration.  Pennsylvania applies a presumption against federal preemption of state law.  The FAA does not require parties to arbitrate absent an agreement to do so.  Extendicare maintains that the survival claim must be severed and enforced in arbitration, and that state law to the contrary is preempted.  The court disagreed with that argument as well.  The court refused the severance concept; Extendicare argued that since the wrongful death and survival actions are distinct, and the damages, claims or potential beneficiaries are different, judicial economy would not be hindered by severing the survival action and submitting it to arbitration.  The Superior Court once again disagreed.  The issues are identical in the two actions.  The wrongful death beneficiaries’ constitutional right to a jury trial and the state’s interest in litigating the wrongful death and survival claims together require that they all proceed in court rather than arbitration.  Taylor v. Extendicare Health Facilities, 113 A.3d 317 (Pa. Super. 2015).

DAMAGES-WRONGFUL DEATH-STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS

Wygant v. General Electric, 113 A.2d 310 (Pa. Super. 2015).  This appeal involves the timeliness of an asbestos-related wrongful death action in light of the decision of the Supreme Court in Commonwealth v. Neiman, 84 A.3d 603 (2013), which struck down Act 152 and its statute of limitations for asbestos actions, 42 Pa.C.S. § 5524.1 as violative of the Single Subject Rule of the Pennsylvania Constitution.  The Superior Court affirmed that the action was time barred under 42 Pa.C.S. § 5524(a).  After Neiman, the formerly deleted 42 Pa.C.S. § 5524(a) is operative and provides the applicable statute of limitations for asbestos-related claims, including death actions.  The statute is not ambiguous.  Legislative intent is not an issue.  The statute of limitations on Administratrix’s wrongful death action started to run on June 17, 2011, the date when Decedent was informed by a physician that she had mesothelioma.  She had two years to commence an action for her asbestos-related injury.  Had she timely commence such an action during her lifetime, that action would have survived her death and been prosecuted by her personal representative.  If the decedent had commenced an action during her lifetime, however, no wrongful death action could have been filed upon her death.  Where, as here, no action for asbestos-related injuries were commenced by decedent during her lifetime, Administratrix was free to pursue both wrongful death and survival actions.  However, any wrongful death action had to be commenced after decedent’s July 9, 2012, death and prior to June 17, 2013, two years from the date decedent received her diagnosis.  Here, the wrongful death action filed January 9, 2014, is time-barred.

Matharu v. Muir, 29 A.3d 375 (Pa. Super. 2011) Case Summary

This case says that doctor can be liable for not giving Rh factor to mother which causes death of subsequent child.  The court applies the two-year statute of limitations for wrongful death and survival action under the Mcare Act.  However, the court also discusses what the statute of limitations would be even under the prior Act.  In a wrongful death action, the statute of limitations begins to run a pecuniary loss is sustained by the beneficiaries of the person whose death has been caused by the tort of another.  The wrongful death action is thus derivative of the original tort that would have supported the relative’s own cause of action.  In a wrongful death action there will not be evidence that plaintiff suffered a pecuniary loss, but until at least the date of the child’s death.  In a survival action, the statute of limitations begins to run on the date of injury, the prior law provides little guidance as here a child sustains the injury and plaintiffs incur the pecuniary loss resulting from the child’s death years after the allegedly negligent act.  The child did not possess any rights to proceed against defendants until he suffered an injury.  Therefore, plaintiff suffered an injury either at birth or upon his death, which was two days later.  The court also says that there is third party liability where here a subsequent child dies because of failure to administer RhoGAM to mother whose subsequent unborn children would die as a result of not getting the Rh factor.  The court goes through the five factors for analyzing whether a duty exists, and found that it does.  The court also finds no assumption of the risk as a matter of law where mother allegedly refused the drug.  The court does discuss what the factors are, though, for assumption of the risk in a med mal case.

What does failure to exercise reasonable care mean?

Those in Pennsylvania who have been injured or lost a loved on in an accident are likely to have numerous questions. These questions tend to touch on topics such as determining if negligence contributed to the wreck and what — if any — compensation is available. When thinking about negligence, one particular phrase is often heard but not always clear as to its meaning. That phrase is: failure to exercise reasonable care. What exactly does that mean and how can this be shown in order for accident victims to achieve compensation?

A standard of care is expected in a number of situations, from medical providers to patients, employers to employees and even drivers’ responsibilities to others with whom they share the road — among many others. When it comes to drivers, those who take on the task of getting behind the wheel are expected to obey traffic laws and pay attention to their surroundings. This would be considered exercising reasonable care.

Nevertheless, accidents will and do happen. When they do, particularly those that result in injury and/or death, this standard of care is put under the microscope. Was the driver deemed responsible for the accident on his or her cell phone or speeding or were other traffic violations involved? Was alcohol or any other impairing substance a contributing factor? These and a variety of potential issues will be looked at when determining if any drivers involved in an accident failed to exercise what is considered reasonable care.

Pennsylvania residents who have been negatively affected by an automobile accident, as a driver, passenger, pedestrian or — in the event of fatality — a surviving family member, have the right to question if the failure to exercise reasonable care caused or contributed to the incident. Reviewing information complied in police reports and from witness accounts can assist in showing if any standard of care was violated. If that can be shown successfully in civil court, monetary relief for any damages sustained by victims and/or their families may be awarded.

Brain damage caused by negligent behavior may be compensable

Quite a few Pennsylvania residents know and understand the devastating effects a brain injury can have on a person’s quality of life. Those who have experienced the negative effects of brain damage, either themselves or as caregivers, have witnessed first hand the physical impairments, emotional struggles and financial burdens such an injury can create. If brain damage results from another person’s negligent behavior, it may be possible to seek compensation for the damages suffered.

Brain injuries may result from a number of things, including car accidents, falls or even poor medical care. Those who have been injured in car accidents or other such accidents may pursue legal actions against the individuals believed responsible. In cases that involve medical providers, legal claims can be filed against medical staff and the facilities where treatment was administered.

In some cases, the full extent of a head injury may not be immediately apparent, causing some individuals not to seek immediate medical care — in turn leading to further injury. In other cases, the damage can be quite evident; however, the full extent of the injuries may remain unknown until victims are able to make attempts at completing regular tasks. To learn more about brain damage and how an attorney may be able to help show how the damage has negatively affected your quality of life, please visit our website.

The cost of brain damage can be extensive, as these injuries tend to drastically alter the course of a victim’s life. It is possible to seek compensation for both the economic and non-economic damages suffered as a result of such an injury. An experienced personal injury attorney can help address any concerns you may have, file all appropriate legal claims, litigate your case in a Pennsylvania civil court or possibly obtain a settlement out of court. Claims that are successfully managed can achieve fair and full compensation for the damages sustained.

Pennsylvania bicycle accident: Injuries often prove fatal

As the weather continues to improve, more Pennsylvania residents may be found out and about on their bicycles. Biking is a favorite past-time for many, and the main form of transportation for others. Whether bikes are used for recreational purposes or transportation needs, drivers and bicyclists need to share the road safely. Unfortunately, when a bicycle accident happens, which is all too common, it is not unusual for the injuries suffered by cyclists to have fatal consequences.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, approximately 2 percent of automobile accidents involve bicyclists. Cyclists tend to suffer serious injuries to their head, which makes wearing a helmet so vitally important. However, there are cases where, even if wearing a helmet, the force of impact on a bicyclist’s body is simply too great and the damages suffered are too severe to overcome.

In 2013 alone, 741 cyclists were killed in auto-related accidents across the country. This is said to be a slight increase from the previous year. Of the accidents reported, the majority of bicycle-related deaths occur to those 20 years of age and older and tend to involve more male, rather than female, cyclists.

When a bicycle accident proves fatal, it is common for the victim’s loved ones to need answers in order to achieve closure. An investigation into the cause of the accident may offer the answers needed. Some, however, may wish to take things further and pursue legal action against the individual believed responsible for the loss of life. A wrongful death claim, if successfully litigated in a Pennsylvania civil court, can help surviving family members obtain monetary compensation for their losses and some sense of justice and closure.

Source: iihs.org, “Fatality Facts: Pedestrians and bicyclists“, Accessed on March 20, 2015

No criminal charges for officer, but wrongful death suit possible

Prosecutors have decided not to pursue criminal charges against a Pennsylvania police officer who was involved in a deadly car crash. The news comes as a shock to many in the state, and it may be especially difficult for the family of the woman killed in the incident. However, upon reviewing the evidence in the case, prosecutors have determined that there is insufficient evidence to move forward with a criminal trial in the matter. While the officer may not face criminal repercussions for his role in the crash, it is possible that a wrongful death suit could bring him before a civil court.

The accident took place on Thanksgiving Day in 2014. Police believe that an 87-year-old woman was approaching an intersection at the same time that the officer was driving his police cruiser into the same area. Witness accounts of the events that followed differ, with some claiming that the officer ran a red light at the intersection, and others asserting that it was the woman’s vehicle that continued through the red light.

The resulting crash left the woman with grave injuries. She was rushed to an area hospital for emergency medical treatment, but she was unable to survive what was noted as blunt force trauma. Her death was ruled an accident by the coroner.

The Pennsylvania officer has been on paid administrative leave since the accident took place, and he is a 16-year veteran of the Erie police force. There is no word on whether he will return to duty. As for the family of the woman killed in this accident, they retain the right to pursue a wrongful death suit against the officer, should they feel that doing so might bring a measure of justice to the matter.

Source: pennlive.com, “Pa. police officer avoids charges in fatal crash with woman, 87“, John Luciew, Feb. 19, 2015

Impaired driving believed responsible for fatal car accident

A Pennsylvania family has had their whole world turned upside down after a fatal collision. The car accident occurred recently in the southeast part of the state. The driver believed responsible for the crash has been arrested and is facing multiple charges.

A collision between a minivan and a truck resulted in the deaths of two individuals and injuries to several others. Two teens were reportedly thrown from their vehicle and died before they could be transported for medical care. A total of four adults were taken to a nearby hospital for treatment. Their current conditions have not been released. Two of the injured are said to be the parents of the deceased.

A 25-year-old male, who was behind the wheel of the pickup at the time of the crash, has been arrested and is facing several charges regarding the incident. The charges against him include DUI and homicide. Bail has been set in his case, and a court date regarding this matter has been scheduled for the end of February.

Those injured in this car accident may choose to seek compensation for any losses — economic and non-economic — endured. Personal injury claims can be filed in a Pennsylvania civil court against the young man deemed responsible. Along with personal injury claims, the parents of the deceased may also file wrongful death claims on behalf of their children in an effort to recoup any monetary damages incurred as a result of their deaths. A tragedy like this cannot be understated as the losses experienced are simply too great. However, taking appropriate legal action can help the surviving victims afford the time they need to not only recover but also grieve this enormous loss.

Source: CBS Philly, “2 Teens Dead Following Accident On Route 100 In Chester County“, Feb. 14, 2015

Statutory Basis For Death Actions

42 Pa. C.S.A. 8302 – Survival Action

a.  Not a new cause of action, but rather just a codification of the notion    that a cause of action survives death and can be brought by the personal representative of the deceased.

b. Note that any recovery goes to the estate of decedent.

c. Distribution of proceeds depends upon whether decedent died testate or intestate.

d. Proceeds are taxable in the estate of rates depending upon the relationship of beneficiaries of the estate.

e. See Pennsylvania Suggested Standard Civil Jury Charge Jury Instructions 6.10 and Case Law for fuller explanation of type of damages recoverable.

5.1 Total amount decedent would have earned between the time of  the accident and death;

5.2 Plaintiff is entitled to the total net amount decedent would have earned between the time of death and today.  The net earnings are determined by calculating the total amount of decedent’s gross earnings, including fringe benefits between the date of death and today.  From this amount you deduct the amount of monetary contributions that would have been made to his family during this period (which you have already awarded to plaintiff under the Wrongful Death Act) and the amount of money decedent would have spent on himself for personal maintenance during this period.  The probable costs of personal maintenance includes only the necessary and economical living expenses such as food, shelter and clothing decedent would have been required to spend in order to maintain life during this period;

5.3 Plaintiff is entitled to the value of the net amount the decedent would have earned between today and the end of his life expectancy.  Again, the earnings for this period are determined as follows:  you must first calculate the total amount of decedent’s gross earnings between today and the end of his life expectancy.  From this amount you deduct probable costs of necessary and economical living expenses to sustain life during this period (together with amount of monetary contributions he would have made to his family during this period, which you have already awarded under wrongful death).  The award to the estate for total lost future net earnings thus represents a total net earnings of the decedent’s work life expectancy;

5.4 Plaintiff is entitled to be awarded an amount to compensate for mental and physical pain, suffering, and inconvenience the decedent endured from the moment of his injury to the time of his death as a result of the accident.

C. Please note that Wrongful Death and Survival Act Damages do not overlap or duplicate each other – rather part of the losses goes to one cause of action and the balance to the other.

D. Emotional Distress of Other Family Members.  Remember that this is a totally separate cause of action and does not pass through anyone’s estate unless of course the person so asserting has died.

STATUTORY BASIS FOR DEATH ACTIONS

  1. A. 42 Pa. C.S.A 8301 – Wrongful Death Actions
  1. 1. Statutorily Created

 

  1. 2. Only beneficiaries are spouse, children or parents

 

  1. 3. Special damages provided in Subsection (c) include reasonable hospital, nursing, medical, funeral expense and expenses of administration necessitated by reason of injuries causing death.

 

  1. 4. Damages pass outside of decedent’s estate.

 

  1. 5. For an explanation of nature and types of damages recoverable- look to Pennsylvania Suggested Standard Jury Charge Civil Jury Instructions 6.10 and Case Law Defining Wrongful Death Damages.  Wrongful Death Damages are the following:

 

  1. 5.1 Hospital, medical, funeral, burial, and estate administration expenses incurred;

 

  1. 5.2 An award that will fairly and adequately compensate the family of decedent (wife, children, parents, etc.) for their loss of any contributions they would have received between the time of the death of decedent and today.  Note:  Should also continue into the future.  This includes all amounts of money that the decedent would have spent for or given to his/her family for such items as shelter, food, clothing, medical care, education, entertainment, gifts, and recreation;

5.3 All sums decedent would have contributed in support of his or her family between today and the end of his life expectancy;

5.4 Addition to monetary contributions, this includes monetary value of services, society, and comfort that he/she would have given to his or her family had he/she lived, including such elements as work around the home, provision of physical comforts and services, provision of society and comfort;

5.5 On behalf of surviving children, an amount that will fairly compensate the loss of service of decedent as a mother or father would have contributed to his or her children.  This would include monetary value of guidance, tutelage, and moral upbringing that you believe children would have received up to the time you believe such services would have been provided had the death not occurred.

5.6 With respect to consortium, 5.4 above, such damages as noted are normally incorporated within the wrongful death claim unless the decedent survived from some period of time prior to death.  According to WEST’S PENNSYLVANIA PRACTICE,

In Linebaugh v. Lehr [351 Pa. Super. 135, 505 A.2d 303 (1986)], the Superior Court held that for practical purposes wrongful death damages encompass the traditional elements of a common law claim for loss of consortium, so that permitting a separate consortium claim “would permit double recovery for the same death.”

 

4 WEST’S PA PRACTICE, TORTS: LAW AND ADVOCACY § 14.7 (footnotes omitted).

In other words, there is not separate claim for loss of consortium.

 

On the other hand, the treatise also notes that “in a case where the decedent survives for some period of time, a surviving spouse is permitted to recover damages for loss of consortium between the time of injury and the time of death.  Thereafter, the damages recoverable would be governed by the Wrongful Death Act.”  Id.  See  Novelli v. Johns-Manville Corp.  395 Pa. Super. 144, 576 A.2d 1085 (1990); Schroeder v. Anchor Darling Valve Co.,  16 Pa. D. & C. 5th 449 (Phila. C.C.P. 2010).

Pennsylvania man dies after pedestrian accident

Walking through parking lots is a common practice for most Americans. This is something people do on an almost daily basis, never expecting an accident to occur, but, unfortunately, accidents do happen. Depending on the circumstances of the pedestrian accidents, these incidents can range in severity, and some may have tragic outcomes. Recently, a pedestrian accident that occurred in a parking lot of a shopping center claimed the life of a Pennsylvania man.

The victim was injured while waiting for his significant other at a shopping center in western Pennsylvania. The 80-year-old man was apparently crossing the parking lot when he was struck by a car. Specific details regarding his injuries were not released. He was taken to a nearby hospital where he later passed away.

The driver involved, a 62-year-old male, was questioned by authorities; however, at this time, no charges have been filed against him. Speed is believed to have been a contributing factor in the collision. It is unclear if drugs or alcohol were involved, as toxicology reports are still pending. This incident is still under investigation by local authorities.

A pedestrian accident that results in a fatality is truly a terrible tragedy. The victim’s family members likely have a number of questions, which may include what, if any, legal remedies are available to them. In this particular case, wrongful death compensation may be able to be pursued in an effort to recover any financial losses suffered as a result of this incident. Compensation may be granted for claims that are successfully presented in a Pennsylvania civil court.

Source: www.wpxi.com, “Police question driver in fatal Adams Twp. pedestrian accident“, Dec. 11, 2014

Car accident in Pennsylvania claims a life

It is not uncommon to come upon debris in the road. Drivers can usually make necessary adjustments to avoid hitting debris, but there is sometimes little a driver can do when an object comes flying at a vehicle. This type of situation appears to have been the case in a recent accident on Route 28 that claimed the life of an individual in Pennsylvania. The car accident, which occurred near the end of November, is believed to have been caused by a detached tire.

According to local authorities, the driver of a car was killed when a tire became detached from a trailer being hauled by a pickup truck and struck his or her vehicle. The truck was reportedly headed inbound when the incident occurred. The tire reportedly traveled across the median and struck the windshield of the victim’s car head-on. That vehicle was headed outbound at the time of the accident

It is unclear as to how or why the tire detached from the trailer. Four individuals were in the pickup at the time of the accident. At this time, police have not indicated if any of these individuals will face criminal charges for this incident.

This accident is truly tragic for everyone involved. The surviving family members of the victim will likely have a lot of questions regarding this car accident. One of those questions may be who is responsible for loss of their loved one. Even though the investigation is ongoing, the victim’s family retains the right to pursue a wrongful death claim against the person or persons believed to be responsible. If negligence is found to have contributed to or caused the victim’s death, and this can established before a Pennsylvania civil court, the victim’s family may be awarded compensation for any damages sustained as a result of this terrible accident.

Source: Chartiers Valley Pa. Patch, “One Killed in Fatal Pittsburgh Car Crash“, Nicholas Cardoso, Nov. 21, 2014

Did negligence lead to the death of 1 woman in Pennsylvania?

Fatal car accidents occur at an alarming rate, both here in Pennsylvania and on a national level. While more is being done to educate the public on driver safety, these accidents are still very much a part of life. When a fatal accident does occur, it is normal for the victim’s surviving family members to ask questions and consider their legal rights. One question family members may have concerns whether negligence contributed to the death of their loved one.

A recent accident on Interstate 83 in York County claimed the life of one woman and injured two others. According to local authorities, the driver of a vehicle apparently failed to stop for traffic that was backed up at the Market Street exit and rear-ended the car of an 86-year-old woman. This impact caused a chain reaction, and two other vehicles were struck as a result. The elderly woman was killed in the crash, and two occupants from the other cars involved were transported to a local hospital with unspecified injuries.

This incident closed down a portion of the Interstate 83 North for several hours in order for clean up crews and law enforcement officials to work the scene. This accident is reportedly still under investigation by Pennsylvania State Police. It is unknown if the driver deemed responsible is facing any charges for the crash.

Those who were injured and the family members of the deceased may be entitled to seek compensation for any financial losses suffered as a result of the crash. As with any personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit, a level of negligence or intent must be determined and properly documented. If negligence is found to have contributed to the cause of this fatal accident, and it is established to the satisfaction of a Pennsylvania civil court, a monetary judgment may be awarded for financial losses attributed to the tragedy.

Source: wgal.com, “UPDATED: Maryland man killed in chain-reaction crash on Interstate 83“, Nov. 8, 2014

Wrongful death claims may help gain compensation and closure

Losing a loved one is difficult to bear, regardless of how it happens. However, if negligence is suspected in contributing to that loss, surviving family members may wonder what, if any, legal rights they have. Pennsylvania residents who have lost a family member at the hands of someone else may be entitled to pursue a wrongful death claim on behalf of the deceased.

Wrongful death claims can be filed in a number of situations. They include cases of medical malpractice, pharmaceutical liability, automobile accidents and industrial accidents — among many other qualifying events. Successfully litigated wrongful death claims may result in compensation for any financial losses encountered as a direct result from the death, such as medical expenses and funeral expenses. These claims can also help offer a sense of closure to an understandably difficult situation.

Along with any wrongful death action that can be taken, according to Pennsylvania laws survival claims may also be filed. This type of claim can result in gaining compensation for any loss of current and future earnings of the decedent and any non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, they endured before their death.

The pain of losing a loved one due to someone else’s negligence can be challenging to cope with. Those faced with this seemingly unbearable situation do not have to face it alone. An attorney who is experienced with Pennsylvania wrongful death cases and applicable laws regarding wrongful death and survival claims can offer valuable insight to your legal rights as a surviving family member and may be able to assist you in obtaining compensation for your loss.

Source: riederstravis.com, “Williamsport Wrongful Death Attorney“, , Oct. 5, 2014

What are the benefits of filing a wrongful death lawsuit?

As we all know, death is an unfortunate part of life. While the inevitable can’t be completely avoided, people do tend to take certain safety measures to extend life as long as possible — such as leading a healthy lifestyle and avoiding dangerous situations when possible. Unfortunately, the untimely death of a loved one due to the negligence of another person is something most people can’t account for. If this happens, a wrongful death lawsuit filed in a Pennsylvania civil court may be able to provide compensation for the financial injuries suffered resulting from the death, and may also grant some small sense of closure.

There are certain elements that must be present for a successful wrongful death claim, including the death of a family member, negligence or intent to harm by another individual and monetary losses suffered by surviving family members as a result of that death. A variety of circumstances can present themselves that may ultimately qualify for a wrongful death claim. Some of these situations include medical errors that result in death, fatal auto accidents, work-related deaths and criminal behavior that leads to fatality.

Understandably, not everything can be compensated for by filing a wrongful death claim; however, pecuniary injuries can be recovered if a claim is successfully litigated. Pecuniary injuries may include the loss of current and future earnings, medical and/or funeral expenses, loss of services and support and the loss of a potential inheritance. If a claim is successfully handled and before a dollar amount is set for compensation, certain aspects of the decedent’s life will typically be considered — such as their age at death, familial circumstances and earning capacity. Reviewing these factors can assist in coming to a compensation amount that is fair for the circumstances.

Pennsylvania residents who have lost a loved one due to the negligence of another will likely be left struggling in many ways. It is reasonable to think they will feel emotionally drained and frustrated, but they could also face significant financial hardship that were otherwise unexpected. If the required elements are present, a wrongful death claim can beneficial in recouping any current and future monetary losses associated with the death, which can assist surviving family members move forward.

Pennsylvania woman killed in pedestrian accident

No matter the time of day, pedestrians and drivers alike need to be aware of their surroundings. Accidents between automobiles and pedestrians sadly tend to have serious to fatal consequences, and these tragedies can leave their victims or surviving family members with a lot of questions. Recently, a young Pennsylvania woman was killed in what is believed to have been a hit-and-run pedestrian accident.

According to police in Washington Country, a 42-year-old man was recently arrested in connection with an accident that claimed the life of a pedestrian. It was reported that a 29-year-old female was struck by a pickup truck, whose driver supposedly fled the scene of the incident. The victim died before she could be transported for medical care.

The driver deemed responsible for the collision was located a short time after the incident and arrested. He is currently being held at the Washington Country Jail. At this time, it is unknown if bail will be set in this case.

A pedestrian accident that results in a fatality, particularly a hit-and-run incident, can understandably be difficult for surviving family members to cope with. In this case, they found the person believed to be responsible for the accident, which may help provide some small sense of closure. Apart from the criminal charges filed against this individual, the victim’s surviving family members may choose to pursue a wrongful death claim on her behalf. This type of claim can be filed in a Pennsylvania civil court and, if liability is established against the driver thought responsible, monetary compensation may be granted to provide relief for any financial losses suffered as a result of the crash.

Source: chron.com, “W. Pa. man arrested after fatal accident”, , Aug. 17, 2014

Pennsylvania man dead after motorcycle accident, wife injured

A tragic outcome recently befell a Pennsylvania couple struck by an alleged drunk driver. A husband and wife were injured in a motorcycle accident while out for a ride at night. The injuries suffered were quite severe and had fatal consequences for one of them.

The accident happened mid-July in Bedminster Township. A 64-year-old man was allegedly driving while intoxicated and crossed into oncoming traffic, where he struck a motorcycle head-on. The motorcycle riders were critically injured in the collision. Both were transported to a medical facility for care. Unfortunately, the husband, a 47-year-old male, died at the hospital.

The man considered responsible for the crash was arrested and is facing charges for his role in the accident. According to court documents, this individual had a blood alcohol level of more than two times the legal limit. Charges against him include a DUI resulting in death. He has been released on bond, and a court date has been scheduled for the beginning of August.

Few details were released about the couple involved in this incident, though it can be certain that the effects of this motorcycle accident will be long-felt by the surviving family members. Along with the emotional and physical trauma inflicted from this tragedy, financial struggles from the unexpected funeral, medical and other expenses produced by the crash can all be difficult to overcome. When the surviving victim is ready, she will be entitled to pursue both a personal injury claim for herself and a wrongful death claim on behalf of her deceased husband. These claims, if successfully litigated in a Pennsylvania civil court, could result in monetary judgments that could provide financial relief for the financial losses she has been burdened with as a consequence of the collision.

Source: Doylestown-Buckingham-New Britain Patch, “Doylestown Man Facing Homicide by Vehicle Charges in Deadly Crash“, Kara Seymour, July 21, 2014

Manufacturing CEO killed in pedestrian accident in Pennsylvania

An early morning jog ended tragically for a woman in Pennsylvania. The victim was identified as the CEO of East Penn Manufacturing, which is the second largest business in Berks County. This pedestrian accident, which occurred near the woman’s home, has undoubtedly created a significant loss to not only the victim’s family, but her work family and the community as well.

While out for a morning jog in Pike Township, the 52-year-old woman was apparently struck by a pickup truck. After the collision, the truck came to rest in the nearby woods, near the body of the victim. Sadly, the woman died at the scene of the collision.

The driver, a 56-year-old man from Richmond Township, has been questioned by local authorities. Blood tests were ordered to check for any impairing substances, though those results have not been made public. Currently, there is no record of charges being filed against this individual for this incident.

A fatal pedestrian accident will, without a doubt, leave family members of the victim with a lot of questions that may take time to answer. One of those questions may include their rights to pursue claims for justice for their loved one. While it is currently unknown if any criminal charges will be filed against the driver in this particular incident, the victim’s family retains the right to initiate a wrongful death claim on her behalf. If negligence is found to have caused or contributed to the crash, the victim’s family may be awarded financial relief by a Pennsylvania civil court. The amount of monetary damages varies per case, but is typically based on the expenses accrued due to the crash, which may include the loss of future earning potential and other financial losses recognized by law.

Source: wfmz.com, “Police: Woman hit, killed by pickup truck“, , June 20, 2014

Pennsylvania man killed in a motorcycle accident

While auto accidents range in their severity, those involving motorcycles often have fatal outcomes. The high rate of death associated with motorcycle accidents is typically linked to the shortage of protection offered to motorcyclists. Available protective gear can only do so much when up against the weight and force of other vehicles. Sadly, a recent motorcycle accident in Pennsylvania had tragic consequences, claiming the life of the biker.

Earlier this month, a 30-year-old man was killed when the driver of a semi apparently attempted to make a left hand turn in front of his motorcycle. According to police, the motorcycle hit the front end of the semi. The motorcyclist, though wearing a helmet at the time of the crash, suffered catastrophic injuries.

The truck driver, a 68-year-old male, was reportedly wearing his seatbelt and was uninjured in the collision. Local authorities shut down the street for several hours to conduct their initial investigation. They are still investigating this incident and are asking any witnesses to please come forward. It is still unclear if any charges will be filed against the truck driver.

A motorcycle accident that results in a fatality may give way to a wrongful death claim by the victim’s family. In this particular case, the family of the motorcyclist may be entitled to pursue legal action against the truck driver and possibly his employer. If either is found liable — based upon proof of negligence that is deemed to have been a causal factor in the accident –for the death of this individual, a Pennsylvania civil court could award a monetary judgement to the victim’s family, providing financial relief for the unexpected expenses they may have encountered due to the crash.

Source: lehighvalleylive.com, “East Allen Township motorcycle, truck crash kills Northampton man“, Kurt Bresswein, June 2, 2014

Pedestrian accident in Pennsylvania claims the life of a student

A 27-year-old graduate student, who just recently moved to Pennsylvania, was killed in an accident earlier this month. The fatal pedestrian accident was evidently a secondary consequence of a car accident that occurred right next to where he had been walking. This incident is still being investigated by local law enforcement, but it is believed that speed was a contributing factor in the initial crash.

The accident apparently occurred on a raised section of Walnut Street. The driver of a sedan supposedly ran through a red light and struck an oncoming car. A combination of speed and the force of impact caused the sedan to head in the pedestrian’s direction. In an effort to avoid the oncoming car, the pedestrian jumped onto a street light; unfortunately, despite his efforts, the sedan struck both him and the pole, forcing both over the edge of the road. The victim fell approximately 40 feet before striking the street below.

He was transported to a local hospital with critical injuries, but despite lifesaving efforts, he died later that same day. The driver deemed responsible for this crash, a 43-year-old male, is currently in the hospital and is listed in critical condition. It is unknown if any charges have been filed against him. The other victim of this crash, the driver of the second vehicle, suffered what are considered to be minor injuries.

While, understandably, an accident of this magnitude can create an unbearable loss, justice can still be served. Aside from the possible criminal charges the driver may face as a result of this pedestrian accident, the student’s family also retains the right to pursue a wrongful death claim against him. If he is found liable, a Pennsylvania court could grant a monetary judgment to the victim’s family for the tragic and untimely loss of their loved one.

Source: NBC Philadelphia, “Penn Graduate Student Dies After Being Struck, Thrown From Bridge“, Vince Lattanzio and Dan Stamm, May 7, 2014

A fatal car accident in Pennsylvania claims the life of one man

Few things in life seem more traumatic than the unexpected loss of a loved one. Fatal car accidents are all too common and their effects on victim’s families are long-reaching. In Pennsylvania, local police are investigating a fatal accident that occurred recently in Armstrong County. The car accident, involving two vehicles, is considered responsible for the untimely death of one of the drivers.

The accident, reported to be a head-on collision, happened in Plumcreek Township. A car heading eastbound evidently crossed into oncoming traffic and struck a station wagon. The driver of the station wagon died of his injuries. It is unknown if he received any medical treatment before passing. Police have not yet released his identity to the public.

Local authorities have not provided any information regarding the driver responsible for this crash. The investigation into the cause of the incident is still ongoing. At this point, it has not been made public if any citations or criminal charges have been or will be filed in this case.

A car accident that results in fatality can create undue hardship to the victim’s loved ones. The loss of a family member is, understandably, emotionally traumatic; but the financial stresses due to the unexpected bills which may result from the crash can also bring about a great deal of added stress. To help recover any monetary losses that have occurred — such as funeral expenses or loss of wages — the victim’s family may choose to pursue a wrongful death claim against the individual believed to be responsible for the death of their loved one. Financial compensation could be awarded to the surviving family members by a Pennsylvania civil court, if liability is confirmed.

Source: indianagazette.com, “Man dies in two-vehicle accident on Route 422“, , May 3, 2014

Car accident in Pennsylvania ends in double fatality and injury

Automobile accidents, ranging in severity, seem to be reported everyday. No matter where a person lives, Pennsylvania or elsewhere, there is always a chance of getting into a car accident. While, thankfully, a majority of daily accidents that occur are considered minor fender-benders, there are those that have more tragic outcomes.

A recent accident on the I-81 Interstate in Cumberland County is responsible for the death of two men, injuries to a passenger and the cause of secondary accident. The car accident started when the driver of an SUV, heading southbound, crossed the median and struck a semi-trailer in the northbound lanes. Both drivers died at the scene. A passenger in the semi was taken to the hospital with unspecified injuries.

Another semi-trailer tried to avoid the accident, but was unable successfully do so and ended up crashing as a result. Thankfully, that driver is reported to be okay. Due to the severity of this incident, northbound lanes were closed for several hours. Local authorities have not released any information regarding the official cause of the accident.

A car accident of this magnitude can devastate the victims and their families. Even though the driver reportedly responsible for this crash didn’t survive, the family of the deceased semi-driver and the surviving victim may both be able to pursue civil claims against his estate, to recover the financial damages caused by this crash. If a Pennsylvania civil court finds in favor of the victims and/or their family, monetary awards may be issued to help recoup the financial losses they have suffered.

Source: wgal.com, “2 Victims identified in I-81 crash“, , April 10, 2014

Elderly man killed in pedestrian accident in Pennsylvania

Despite the awful weather that has been wreaking havoc on Pennsylvania this winter, many people still take to walking outside either for exercise or lack of other modes of transportation. Regardless of their reasoning for being outside, pedestrians and drivers alike need to exercise caution when traveling on or near roadways. A recent fatal pedestrian accident in the news serves as a reminder for drivers to be aware of pedestrians, particularly in residential communities.

Recently in Reading, an elderly man out for a walk just blocks from his home was hit by a city snowplow while he was crossing the street. He was taken to the hospital for treatment of his injuries. Unfortunately, he died shortly after arriving.

Local authorities are still investigating this incident. Autopsy results of the victim are pending. Currently it is unknown if any charges will be filed against the snowplow driver and city officials haven’t made any official comments on the case.

The loss of a loved one in a tragic pedestrian accident can cause severe emotional trauma for surviving family members. Financial hardship may also arise as the unexpected medical bills and funeral expenses start to come due. The victim’s family in this incident may pursue a wrongful death claim against the driver responsible and possibly the city’s Public Works office to recoup any financial losses they have sustained as a result of the crash. If negligence is found to be a contributing factor is the cause of this man’s death, a Pennsylvania civil court could find in favor of the victim’s family and award monetary relief for the losses they have endured.

Source: myfoxphilly.com, Elderly man struck, killed by snowplow identified, No author, March 5, 2014

Pennsylvania woman charged in fatal car accident

A drive through a national forest ended in tragedy for six people in Pennsylvania, including two children. This sad event was apparently caused by a woman allegedly under the influence of strong prescription drugs at the time of the incident. A car accident caused by a driver under the influence can have horrific results and may leave surviving family members questioning the event and looking for justice.

This accident occurred a short time ago in the Allegheny National Forest. The person deemed responsible for this accident, a 37-year-old woman, was driving with her 12-year-old daughter and 6-year-old nephew when her SUV reportedly crossed into oncoming traffic. She collided head-on with another vehicle, which resulted in the death of her daughter, nephew and all four adults in the other car.

She was arrested for the incident and is facing charges of vehicular homicide and DUI of a controlled substance. Local authorities assert that she had high levels of clonazepam in her system at the time of the crash. She is currently being held by local authorities while awaiting the trial of her case.

A DUI car accident, whether it is caused by alcohol or drugs, is a senseless act that could so easily be avoided. Sadly, these accidents are very much a reality for far too many people. The family members of the victims of this crash if they desire may pursue wrongful death claims against the driver responsible. If she is found liable by a civil court in Pennsylvania, the families of the victims may be granted monetary compensation for the financial and emotional losses they have suffered as a result of the accident.

Source: abc27.com, Pa. woman held for trial in crash that killed 6, No author, Feb. 5, 2014

A car accident in Pennsylvania results in injuries and death

Sadly, some accidents do more than just damage to a vehicle. A serious car accident can cause property damage, serious injury and unfortunately, even death. An accident in Pennsylvania did all the above and could have lasting effects to the lives of all involved.

The incident occurred recently in North Beaver Township. A driver of an SUV evidently ran a stop sign at a local intersection, striking another vehicle in its path. The car was then pushed into a nearby home, knocking down a utility pole and disconnecting wires along the way. A male inside the car was taken to a local hospital for treatment of the injuries he suffered. A female passenger was killed in the accident.

The condition of the SUV driver was assessed in an ambulance at the scene. It was not reported if he was taken to the hospital for further treatment. So far, it is unknown if any charges will be filed against the driver deemed responsible for this event.

A car accident that results in significant damage, injury and even death is truly unfortunate for everyone involved. Any victims of this accident, and surviving family members of the victim who died, may be entitled to file several different types of claims against the driver of the SUV. Claims that could possibly be filed include personal injury, wrongful death and property damage. If the driver is found liable for the accident, a Pennsylvania court could award the victims or their families financial remuneration for any losses they have endured due to the accident.

Source: CBS Pittsburgh, 1 Dead, 1 Injured In Lawrence Co. Crash, No author, Jan. 11, 2014

Car accident in Pennsylvania results in fatalities and injuries

Driving the Interstate highway system can be an unnerving experience. Drivers seem so much more distracted these days compared to previous years. Between distractions and speeding, accidents can and do happen, and a car accident at highway speeds often has serious consequences. A recent accident on Interstate 81 in Pennsylvania left two dead and several others injured.

The accident involved three vehicles and occurred near Chambersburg. The first vehicle apparently crossed the center line of traffic and struck the second vehicle. The impact of that collision caused the second car to be pushed into another lane, where it ultimately crashed into a third car. Two people were killed and pronounced dead at the scene. Five others sustained injuries as a result.

The accident closed southbound lanes for hours so police could investigate, and the crash scene could be cleared. So far, no details as to who may have been at fault in the accident have been released. It is unknown if any charges have been filed against any of the drivers involved.

A car accident that results in fatalities and/or serious injuries can have life-altering effects. Whether from the loss of a loved one or recovering from a serious injury, those involved could have a long recovery process. Families that lost a loved one in the accident may be entitled to file a wrongful death claim if one or more of the drivers is found liable for their death. Those injured may be able to pursue personal injury claims. If the driver deemed responsible for this accident is found to have negligently caused the deaths and injuries to the victims involved, a Pennsylvania civil court could award all the victims and/or their family members financial damages for any losses they have sustained as a result.

Source: publicopiniononline.com, Update: Police identify I-81 fatal crash victims, Lauren Cappuccio, Jan. 6, 2014

Car accident on Turnpike claims the life of a Pennsylvania man

Bad weather generally means drivers need to be extra cautious of their own driving habits as well as their surroundings. A multi-vehicle car accident that occurred recently on the Pennsylvania Turnpike claimed the life of one man. It wasn’t the initial crash that claimed his life; it was another driver who hit him while he was out of his vehicle that struck the fatal blow.

The victim, a 35-year-old man from Pittsburgh, was involved in a minor collision that involved several vehicles. While out of his vehicle inspecting damage, he was struck by a car trying to pass by the accident. The driver, a 72-year-old woman from New Jersey, was supposedly moving over, trying to avoid people on the road, when the accident happened. The victim succumbed to his injuries at the scene of the accident.

It was not reported if any charges will be filed against the driver in this case. The accident closed the Turnpike for the entire afternoon while police, emergency workers and clean-up crews worked the scene. Detours had to be put into effect for most of the day to help keep traffic moving.

A car accident can have devastating effects on those involved and the families they leave behind. Loss of a loved one can bring emotional and financial challenges that can be, understandably, difficult to overcome. Loss of income, medical and funeral expenses can all take their toll and are an unnecessary stress for the victim’s family. The family may be entitled to file a wrongful death claim, if the driver is found liable in the cause of the crash. A Pennsylvania civil court could award the surviving family members restitution to help ease any financial burden they may experience in relation to the accident.

Source: pennlive.com, Pittsburgh man was killed in Sunday’s Pennsylvania Turnpike crash, Barbara Miller, Dec. 9, 2013

Pennsylvania pedestrian accident deaths increasing

Distracted drivers and pedestrians are the suspected cause of the increasing amount of auto-pedestrian accidents in Pennsylvania. Several incidents were recently reported over the course of just two days, which have caused police to put out reminders for drivers and pedestrians to be more cautious and aware of their surroundings. A pedestrian accident can result in severe injury or death to its victim, and while these accidents had been on the decline in recent decades, the numbers have been increasing in the past few years.

In 2012 there were 4,538 auto-pedestrian accidents statewide; of those, 168 pedestrians were killed — compared to 2008 where 4,422 pedestrian-related crashes were reported, claiming the lives of 142 of the victims. The accidents that seem to be proving most fatal are the incidents that occur at night. Local authorities and avid walkers believe this rise in accidents has been caused by a combination of issues, including an increase of pedestrians, nighttime walkers in dark-colored clothes, drivers simply being in a hurry and electronic device distractions for both drivers and pedestrians.

Weather-related conditions can also play a role in some cases, but of all the recently reported accidents, that has only been considered a contributing factor in one of the incidents. A majority of the accidents that recently happened were apparently caused by drivers not yielding at cross walks. A hit-and-run incident was also reported and is still under investigation.

Victims of a pedestrian accident can be left with life-altering or fatal injuries. For victims that succumb to their injuries, family members left behind have to cope with not only the emotional loss of their loved one, but also the financial hardship that can result. Medical and funeral expenses, as well as possible loss of family income, can all create unnecessary stress. A family that has lost a loved one in this type of accident may be entitled to file a wrongful death claim against the driver deemed responsible. If the driver is found liable for the incident, a Pennsylvania civil court could award the family monetary compensation to help recover any financial damages sustained as a result of the accident.

Source: triblive.com, Pedestrian-motorist incidents adding up in region, Tory N. Parrish and Michael Hasch, Dec. 6, 2013

Western Pennsylvania man killed in truck accident

A recent truck accident in Western Pennsylvania claimed the life of a 37-year-old man from Ford City. Auto accidents can be a very difficult time for all involved, especially when families are left to cope with the loss of a loved one. There are usually many questions surrounding a car accident, and sometimes they are not easily answered. This truck accident in Pennsylvania was no different.

A motorist apparently lost control of his Ford pickup truck while traveling eastbound along Route 422 in Kittanning, which is approximately 40 miles outside of Pittsburgh. The truck crossed the center lines and drove into oncoming traffic, striking a Dodge pickup truck. The man driving the Dodge succumbed to his injuries received in the crash.

The accident happened in the early morning and kept the major highway closed for over six hours. According to the media, the condition of the driver of the Ford pickup is still unknown. At the time of this writing, police were still waiting for results from the lab that could shed some light on exactly why this crash occurred.

This tragic accident is only the beginning for the families connected to the incident. There are many questions surrounding the wrongful death of this man, and sadly enough, some may never be answered. In the days to come, insurance companies will be called, medical bills will need to be paid, and the long road of physical and emotional recovery lay ahead. During this difficult time, this Pennsylvania family may choose to gain an understanding of their rights and responsibilities as they wade through the aftermath of this truck accident. If the driver of the Ford truck is found to have been negligent, the family may wish to file a claim for financial retribution.

Source: observer-reporter.com, Fatal crash closes Pa. highway for six hours, No author, Nov. 3, 2013

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Pennsylvania man killed in pedestrian accident after concert

A car accident involving pedestrians can be extremely serious and at times can even prove deadly. Any crash like this that claims a victim’s life is likely an emotionally draining time for the family and loves ones left behind. One such recent pedestrian accident in Pennsylvania has claimed the life of a man.

The 33-year-old man was leaving a country music concert when he was reportedly hit and killed by a 23-year-old woman driving an SUV. The accident took place a little before 10 p.m. According to reports, the man was transported to a nearby medical facility where he succumbed to his injuries about 40 minutes later.

The woman is now facing multiple charges. She was arrested at the scene for suspicion of driving under the influence. Exact charges will be dependent upon an investigation as well as her blood test results. While this is no doubt a traumatic time for the victim’s family, it could be in their best interests to look into filing a civil suit against the woman. Even if criminal charges are placed, a separate civil suit could be warranted.

Any Pennsylvania resident that feels they or a loved one have been the victim in a pedestrian accident could benefit from knowing their rights under the applicable state law. Accident related expenses can quickly add up, causing undue stress on a victim as well as the victim’s family or caretakers. If a person has the appropriate knowledge and knows the best way to proceed with necessary action, they can be more hopeful to receive a fair monetary settlement to help cover accident related expenses and possibly compensation for pain and suffering.

Source: tasteofcountry.com, Man Killed Leaving Jason Aldean Concert, Billy Dukes, Aug. 26, 2013

Pennsylvania family has lost a loved one in an accident

Any Pennsylvania resident that has loved a loved one in an accident probably knows what an emotional time it is. While it is ever easy, such a sudden tragedy can be a shocking experience for family and loved ones. Recently, a family lost a loved one in an accident that occurred at a construction site.

Although there haven’t been many details released yet, the man was killed while working on a repaving project. Initial reports indicate his death involved a piece of paving equipment. No word was given if the man was killed on scene or if he was transported to a medical facility. The accident is still under investigation.

While this is a difficult time for the family, the unfortunate reality is they could potentially face a financial struggle as a result of the accident. Final burial expenses as well as any accident related expenses could add up quickly. Although an accident such as this typically results in workers’ compensation death benefits, there may be additional claims for monetary damages against parties outside of the victim’s employment. If a third party was negligent in making or maintaining the malfunctioning equipment, a wrongful death lawsuit may be an appropriate remedy. Companies that sell or lease construction equipment may have responsibility for its upkeep and maintenance to ensure it is in safe working order.

Pennsylvania families that have lost a loved one in an accident may want to research the applicable laws and court procedures. No matter the type of accident, a family could benefit from monetary reimbursement to which they may be entitled, depending on the circumstances of the accident. Having the right understanding of the necessary legal steps can give family members realistic expectations of what to expect when moving forward with any possible action.

Source: sungazette.com, “Road worker killed at construction site in Pa.,” July 31, 2013

Pennsylvania pedestrian accident results in death of local man

Although a pedestrian accident may not be as common as some other accidents, when they happen they can cause serious injury and even death. At times these accidents are caused by driver negligence. A recent pedestrian accident in Pennsylvania has left one person dead and the family as well as police asking questions.

The accident occurred when a woman hit a man that was attempting to cross the street. It was reported that he lived in the same town. Initial reports show he appeared to have died from multiple injuries.

The accident occurred a little after six in the evening. It was not known if road conditions or issues could have played a factor in this accident. The police department is still investigating and calling on the public to step forward with any information they may have regarding the accident.

Any Pennsylvania resident that has been involved in a pedestrian accident may possibly benefit from looking into their right to file a civil suit against. Should negligence be found to have come into play, a person may be entitled to monetary compensation to help cover medical expenses as well as other accident related expenses. Having a strong understanding of the applicable laws can prove beneficial when moving forward and determining the best steps to take. In a case such as the one discussed in which a death occurs, the family may benefit from looking into their rights. Depending on the circumstances, they could be entitled to monetary compensation for final medical bills as well as burial expenses.

Source: lehighvalleylive.com, “Heidelberg Township pedestrian, 71, dies after being struck by car driven by Kempton, Pa., woman, police say,” Tony Rhodin, July 18, 2013

Pennsylvania truck accident kills 2, texting and driving blamed

It is no secret to Pennsylvania drivers that texting and driving and other forms of distracted driving is a destructive and dangerous activity. Texting while driving is illegal in the state, yet it is still claiming the lives of drivers on the roadways. For example, distracted driving recently led to the arrest of a young driver that apparently caused a fatal truck accident in 2012. The man is accused of colliding with a vehicle driven by a 71-year-old man and also occupied by the driver’s granddaughter.

This young driver is said to have caused an accident that claimed the lives of two Pennsylvania residents. Both drivers were driving trucks, though the makes and models of the vehicles involved was not further described. The driver was arrested and also charged with DUI. Additionally, the young man is facing vehicular homicide and manslaughter charges.

Interestingly, records indicate that the accused 19-year-old driver received a text message immediately before the accident. The driver’s BAC was .02 percent, well below the legal limit in Pennsylvania. However, the driver was still accused because he was a minor.

It is a primary offense in Pennsylvania to text and drive, a law that became effective in March. It is a choice that is made to take one’s eyes off the road and thereby endanger other drivers and passengers on the roads. These actions are punishable under the fullest extent of law when a criminal conviction is achieved. Regardless, the family of the deceased victims retain the right to seek monetary damages in a Pennsylvania civil courtroom.

The first step in any personal injury or wrongful death suit is a close and careful examination of all evidence from the case. At that point, it can be determined what further steps should be taken. Victims of distracted driving have the right to pursue financial compensation for pain and suffering and other financial damages permissible under Pennsylvania law. As this tragic truck accident case heads to a criminal courtroom, the families are surely following the progress of the proceedings and perhaps assessing their right to proceed in civil court.

Source: tribune-democrat.com, “’Why not decide to be safe’,” June 28, 2013

Pennsylvania driver faces charges from deadly pedestrian accident

A Pennsylvania woman has been arrested for a deadly pedestrian accident in which she killed one teenager and struck another. The accident occurred when the driver hit the two teens as they were walking in a group along the side of Route 309. The driver continued driving, but later returned to the scene of the pedestrian accident, where she confessed that she hit something in the road earlier.

The Pennsylvania driver was arrested after police noticed that the woman appeared to be driving under the influence. She was later charged with homicide by vehicle. According to the police report, she was also texting at the time of the accident. The brutal nature of the accident is something that could be considered by the family of the deceased if they choose to pursue financial compensation.

When the young boy was struck by the vehicle, the force was so great that he was thrown over the guardrail. Some of the other juveniles went to call for emergency assistance for their friends, but the teen was pronounced dead at the hospital. The teen who survived suffered a broken elbow in the collision.

In some cases like this, surviving relatives of an individual who is killed in a pedestrian accident may wish to pursue a wrongful death suit against a driver who is allegedly at fault. The first step that many of these families may take is to gather all evidence, medical records and police reports. They may present evidence that could prove that a pedestrian’s death was unnecessary and preventable.

In this specific case, the boy who was injured but survived may be eligible for a personal injury settlement from the pedestrian accident. Careful examination of all evidence will indicate if further legal steps can be taken in the litigation process. Financial compensation could be possible for both families from this tragic and apparently avoidable accident.

Source: The Mercury, “Woman arrested for Hatfield crash that killed teen pedestrian,” May 24, 2013

Wrongful death lawsuit filed against Pennsylvania property owner

A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed against a Pennsylvania property owner. An elderly woman died after drowning in a creek when she went outside to smoke a cigarette during a party and fell in the water. Her two sons have filed the wrongful death suit, claiming that the owner should have known that providing alcohol to the woman at the party put her at an increased risk for falling into the water.

The death was ruled an accidental drowning. According to the lawsuit, however, the Pennsylvania property owner should have known that there was a chance that she could fall into the creek and that he is liable by providing her alcohol. They are now seeking financial restitution for the loss of their mother.

It seems that the woman stepped out of a party to have a cigarette and went to sit on a bench that was close to the water’s edge. Her body was later found in the Delaware River, though it is unclear how she came to fall into the water. It is unclear the specific role that alcohol played in the accident, but it is known that the woman had been drinking.

This wrongful death lawsuit brings to light the interesting question of liability of property owners. The woman was elderly, but there is no indication that she could not care for herself. The bench was placed close to the creek by the property owner and it is not clear if he warned the woman that it was possible to fall into the water. Now, the plaintiffs in this case will seek to prove that the homeowner acted negligently. As with all wrongful death lawsuits, there must sufficient evidence brought forth before any financial compensation will be awarded.

Source: abc27.com, “Sons of Pa. drowning victim sue property owner,” May 16, 2013

Failure to exercise reasonable care has serious consequences

In Evans City, Pennsylvania, an accident involving a train and a small bus was possibly caused by failure to exercise reasonable care. A van carrying senior adults and others with developmental disabilities was struck by a freight train as it was stopped on the tracks. While fog may have played a role in the accident, there may be the possibility that it was caused by failure to exercise reasonable care. There is an ongoing investigation into the accident.

The accident resulted in the death of one Pennsylvania woman and nine injuries, at least one being very serious. The driver of the bus may have demonstrated failure to exercise reasonable care when he drove well past the train crossing and stopped on the track. It is unknown if there were indicator lights at this crossing, although reports do indicate there were no crossing barriers.

The bus was being driven to a facility for senior adults and those with disabilities. Apparently, the bus was independently contracted to provide transportation. There is no indication at this time if the transportation company acknowledges a failure to exercise reasonable care.

Police are still investigating this accident. A spokesman for the bus company has stated that he does not believe that the bus stopped on the track. He believes that fog may have played a role in the accident, not failure to exercise reasonable care.

While this accident is still under investigation, there may be legal grounds for a personal injury suit and/or possibly a wrongful death suit on behalf of the deceased woman. The first step for any of these victims or families would be a close examination of the police report and medical records. Any other subsequent steps may depend on documenting that failure to exercise reasonable care or some related act of negligence was the cause of the accident.

Source: boston.com, “Train hits transit bus in Pa., 1 killed, 10 hurt,” April 26, 2013

Indiana man charged in fatal car accident

It is difficult for any family to lose one of their members, but it is perhaps even more difficult when that loss comes as a result of a preventable accident. Any family in a situation where they have lost a loved one due to someone’s apparently poor decisions may wish for closure and justice. The family of a 25-year-old Pennsylvanian woman now has the opportunity. Her life was lost in a fatal car accident. The accident occurred in April 2012 in Wells Township.

The woman was a passenger in a Ford truck driven by her 31-year-old boyfriend. Almost a year later, the driver has now been charged with homicide. The man was driving south in Wells Township when he crossed the centerline and then over-corrected, causing the truck to run off the other side of the road. Upon exiting the road, the truck crashed into a tree. The truck’s position after the accident blocked traffic for several hours.

At the time of the incident, the driver reported that he had not consumed any alcohol. He did state that he had consumed marijuana a few days prior. Toxicology reports confirmed the presence of drugs in his system.

Based on the investigations conducted by Pennsylvania State Police, the driver has been charged with homicide by vehicle while under the influence of illegal substances as well as other driving related charges. While partial justice can be served by a conviction on the criminal charges brought against the man, the victim’s family may also seek justice through the civil court system stemming from the car accident. A civil trial may help the family find the closure they need as well as help with the financial burden caused by such an unexpected tragedy.

Source: thedailyreview.com, “Driver in Wells Twp. crash charged with homicide by vehicle,” Eric Hrin, March 12, 2013

Wrongful death? Tourist van crash kills 1 in Pennsylvania

Drivers have control over many things, but they do not have control over how slick the roads may be during inclement weather. Individuals who end up driving on icy road conditions should exercise reasonable care in order to keep themselves and others safe on Pennsylvania’s roadways. Unfortunately, a driver of a tourist van appears to have lost control during icy conditions in the Poconos, resulting in the death of one passenger and injury to several others. As details of the accident emerge, family members of the decedent may have grounds to pursue a wrongful death claim.

The accident occurred on Interstate 380 near Scranton at around 8 p.m. According to reports, the van was heading northbound when it left the road and struck a median. The force of the impact caused the van to tip over and hit a tree. Freezing rain was falling in the area at the time, making road conditions dangerous, but that was the only possible cause given for the accident.

The van was carrying 15 passengers. Several had to be extricated by rescue crews. One passenger was pronounced dead at a local hospital. The 22-year-old driver and some of the other passengers were transported to various hospitals. At least six passengers were reported to have critical injuries.

Reports do not indicate if the driver will be cited or charged in the wake of the deadly accident. If the investigation finds evidence that he failed to exercise reasonable care, the loved ones of the decedent may wish to file a civil suit for wrongful death against him and the company that owns the van. Additionally, the injured passengers may wish to pursue their options under Pennsylvania’s personal injury laws.

Source: Syracuse Post-Standard, “Syracuse bus company’s van in fatal crash in Poconos,” Ken Sturtz, Feb. 28, 2013

Pennsylvania man sentenced for fatal car accident involving DUI

A Pennsylvania man was recently convicted of vehicular homicide and sentenced to a maximum of 15 years in prison for his role in a fatal crash last July. According to reports, both alcohol and speed were factors in the car accident that killed two people. In addition to prison time, the man was fined $1,500 and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $10,796.

The fatal accident occurred around 2 a.m. when the man, who was driving a Cadillac, rear-ended a Mercedes SUV. At the moment of impact, it is estimated that he was driving 109 mph in a 55 mph zone. The two victims were ejected from their vehicle, which flipped and struck a guard rail. They were not wearing seat belts. Court records indicate that the man’s speedometer after the accident was stuck on 110 mph, and that the black box in his car showed that he made no effort to brake before impact.

Emergency crews reported that the man appeared dazed as he stood near the wrecked vehicles. He sustained facial lacerations in the crash. Lab tests showed that his blood alcohol content was almost three times over the legal limit. He told police that he drank a glass of whiskey at home and had just been drinking at two bars prior to the accident.

In this particular case, the devastated family of one of the victims showed compassion toward the man, offering their forgiveness when he apologized. Regardless of their feelings toward the man who is now being held accountable, they are within their rights to pursue a wrongful death claim against him. When a catastrophic car accident such as this occurs, family members may wish to pursue their options for civil litigation under the personal injury laws of Pennsylvania. While monetary compensation will never bring back their lost loved one, it can provide a grieving family some much-needed relief for funeral expenses and other financial losses resulting from the tragedy.

Source: phillyburbs.com, “At Falls vehicular homicide hearing in Doylestown, a tale of compassion,” Laurie Mason Schroeder, Feb. 15, 2013

Semi seized after fatal pedestrian accident in Pennsylvania

When any type of vehicle is involved in a crash with a pedestrian, the consequences are often catastrophic for the pedestrian. Unfortunately, a recent pedestrian accident in Pennsylvania involving a tractor-trailer resulted in the death of the pedestrian. State Police are conducting an investigation into the incident, which occurred in Wattsburg, in an effort to determine the circumstances that led to the tragic collision.

The pedestrian, a 42-year-old woman, was struck at 1:07 a.m. by a semi traveling south on Route 89. According to reports, the victim was in the southbound lane at the time, walking north. She had allegedly just left a bar before the accident occurred.

The pedestrian sustained blunt-force trauma and was pronounced dead at a nearby medical center. The Erie County Coroner reported that he will not perform an autopsy; however, toxicology tests have been ordered. Authorities seized the tractor-trailer as part of their investigation into the accident, and they are examining it to see if there were any problems with the truck at the time of the collision. It was not reported whether any charges are pending against the 50-year-old truck driver.

As the woman’s family grieves the loss of their loved one, they undoubtedly have more questions than they do answers. Once the investigation into the pedestrian accident is complete, they can assess the viability of seeking recourse under the personal injury laws of Pennsylvania. If the evidence documents any negligence on the part of the truck driver, the loved ones of the victim may be able to make a civil case for wrongful death. Any compensation awarded from a successfully litigated claim can ease financial hardship and allow the family to focus on moving on from the tragedy.

Source: Erie Times-News, “Police checking truck in ongoing probe of fatal pedestrian accident near Wattsburg,” Feb. 4, 2013

Pennsylvania teen faces criminal charges after fatal car accident

An 18-year-old Pennsylvania man turned himself into police and now faces criminal charges related to a June 2012 car crash that killed his friend. The man confessed to smoking marijuana and drinking beer several hours before the deadly car accident occurred. The tragic single-car crash occurred nine days after the man and his friend graduated from high school, just as they were returning home from a camping trip.

The man was driving his Crown Victoria on a one-lane unpaved road at approximately 9 a.m. when he lost control of his vehicle. Police allege that he was speeding at the time. He attempted to regain control of his vehicle, but it went off the road and a corner of the car struck a ditch. It then spun clockwise and hit numerous small trees. His friend was partially ejected from the vehicle at this point, just before the car barrel rolled and landed upside down, pinning him underneath.

The man’s friend died at the scene from what was later determined to be brain injuries. The driver and two other passengers escaped through the car’s windows. A Pennsylvania State Trooper interviewed the driver and reported that he exhibited signs of intoxication. Tests showed that his blood alcohol level was below the legal limit, though he had indicators of marijuana in his bloodstream.

The driver now faces multiple felony and misdemeanor charges, some of which are related to impairment. Should the decedent’s family decide to pursue a wrongful death claim against him, they may be able to use the charges as evidence that the car accident was caused by negligence. Anyone who successfully litigates a wrongful death suit may be awarded compensation to cover the final expenses related to the loss of their loved one. Such a lawsuit may also serve as a means of achieving justice for the reckless act that caused the tragedy.

Source: The News Item, “Friend charged in crash death,” Rob Wheary, Jan. 18, 2013

Pennsylvania police investigate fatal pedestrian accident

It is heartbreaking when a child dies in an accident, especially around the holidays. However, the situation is more horrific when the driver flees the scene. A family is now mourning the loss of a little boy who died after a tragic pedestrian accident just before Christmas. The details of what happened and who is responsible are still being investigated. However, once the investigation is complete, the victim’s family may have grounds under Pennsylvania law for a wrongful death suit.

The accident occurred in Wilkes-Barre as the boy and his family crossed the street after a Christmas party. Traffic cameras did not show the license plate of the Grand Am that fled the scene. Police spent two weeks investigating leads based on tips and a list of registered Grand Ams, eventually focusing on one vehicle.

Investigators are currently examining the car that they suspect was involved in the hit and run. The Grand Am is being checked for the victim’s clothing fibers and DNA. Police are also examining information from GPS and tracking devices in the car. The owner of the vehicle and his girlfriend have both been interviewed by police, but neither of them have been charged with anything so far.

Time will tell how this tragic scenario plays out. As soon as police determine who is responsible for this fatal pedestrian accident, the family may decide to pursue wrongful death litigation. In Pennsylvania, a successful wrongful death claim can result in compensation to cover funeral and burial costs. It may also help a grieving family gain closure and a sense of justice for the loss of their loved one.

Source: citizensvoice.com, “Authorities examine suspected hit-and-run car,” Bill Wellock, Jan. 6, 2013

Fatal Pennsylvania car accident leads to murder charge

A 9-year-old Pennsylvania girl has died and her grandmother is still hospitalized after a man in a souped-up Mustang slammed into their Honda on Thanksgiving Eve in Doylestown. Investigators claim that the man was driving at excessive speeds at the time of the fatal car accident. He now faces criminal charges resulting from his alleged negligent actions that caused the crash. In addition, there may be civil suits filed against him.

When the accident occurred, authorities believe that the man was driving at least 140 miles per hour. The force of the crash propelled the Honda 200 yards to a spot off the side of the road. The Mustang stopped on a median about 100 yards from the point of impact. The girl’s grandmother, who was driving the Honda, sustained a severe brain injury in the car accident. The Mustang driver and his girlfriend were seriously injured.

Investigators found no evidence that drugs or alcohol factored into the crash. The Mustang driver, who is still recovering from his injuries, has been charged with one count of third degree murder and two counts of aggravated assault by vehicle. He was released from jail on $500,000 bail.

As the little girl’s loved ones come to terms with their tragic loss, they may decide to file a wrongful death claim against the Mustang driver in hopes of being awarded compensation to cover the expenses of her funeral and burial, among other damages permissible under our state laws. Meanwhile, the survivors of this car accident may face devastating financial hardships due to the extent of their injuries and recovery time. In Pennsylvania, they may file a personal injury claim in an effort to recoup financial losses resulting from the crash, such as medical bills and lost wages. While successfully litigating these claims can never lessen the emotional impact brought about by this tragedy, it may help bring closure and a sense of justice to everyone that it touched.

Source: 6abc.com, “Murder charges in Doylestown crash that killed girl, 9,” Eva Pilgrim, Dec. 13, 2012

Pennsylvania family files wrongful death, receives huge verdict

The family of a Pennsylvania woman who died after being electrocuted has a received a substantial award in their wrongful death case. The woman tragically died after she went outside to use her cell phone and noticed one of the backyard trees burning due to an overheated power line. While she was on the phone, the line fell on her. Tragically the woman’s daughters and mother-in-law were unable to intervene and were forced to watch the woman suffer for several minutes. The woman’s husband and family have won a $109 million verdict in the wrongful death case.

The power line had been a source of consternation for the family before the tragic accident. The woman’s husband voiced concern over his family’s safety to the utility company months prior to the accident. The power line had failed twice before the woman’s death. The attorney for the family claimed the power company failed to properly train its workers to clean the power lines before splicing them. When that process is skipped, it makes the splices more susceptible to rust, ultimately causing the lines to fail because they overheat.

The woman suffered for 25 minutes before she was rescued. However, she lost several fingers and her left arm as doctors fought to save her life. She died three days after the accident. The attorney for the power company claimed the woman placed herself in harm’s way when she stood under the power line, but the family’s attorney called the argument offensive and reprehensible. The company has not stated yet whether it will appeal this verdict.

The family’s wrongful death verdict is the largest personal injury award ever returned in Allegheny County history. This tragic Pennsylvania case ended in the loss of a wife and mother, but also leveled responsibility at the entity whose apparent negligence led to her death. Fortunately, the family’s case was successful and resulted in a verdict that will likely insure that her children will be well taken care of.

Source: Timesonline.com, “Jury awards $109M in Pa. power line death,” Dec. 7, 2012

Wrongful death in Pennsylvania: Boy, 7, struck down in front yard

Some Pennsylvania accidents burn in our consciousness more than others. When an individual accused of driving under the influence crashes into children, we all take notice. When the kids were doing nothing more than playing outside a house, we can only shake our heads. No matter how many times we say that driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs kills, we always seem to read of yet another tragedy. The loss of a child under such circumstances is a wrongful death in every sense of the words.

One of the latest tragedies occurred in New Castle at approximately 2:15 p.m. on a recent Sunday. A 7-year-old boy was playing next door with a 9-year-old friend who had come to visit his grandmother. As they played outside the grandmother’s home, a yellow truck crashed into them, and the younger boy died at the scene. The older boy was airlifted to a Pittsburgh hospital, and he is expected to be released soon. He tried to push his friend of the harm’s way, but the accident happened too quickly.

The truck driver, a 66-year-old Pennsylvania man, drove away, and a witness to the crash chased after him. The driver stopped after colliding with a shrub in another yard. When he got out of the truck, the driver was missing a sock and shoe on one foot. Authorities arrested him based on the facts and the observations of a police drug recognition expert that the man was under the influence of a depressant and a narcotic analgesic. Authorities obtained a warrant after the man refused a blood test, and results of the blood draw are pending.

The family members of the deceased boy likely have all it can do to comprehend the tragedy while they go through the motions of making final arrangements. As the accused man’s case heads to a Pennsylvania criminal court, the surviving family is left to bury their boy and try to move forward. They retain the right to sue the driver for wrongful death under our state laws. This type of civil claim is based upon proof of negligence and provides for the right of aggrieved families to seek monetary damages for the injuries sustained. Nothing can undo the stark reality, but a successfully litigated civil claim may give the family some sense that they held a wrongdoer fully accountable for negligent and arguably reckless conduct.

Source: Vindy.com, “Driver held in death of boy, 7, in New Castle,” Jeanne Starmack, Nov. 27, 2012

Pennsylvania parents sue resort for wrongful death

The self-made millionaire founder of 84 Lumber likely has many people who look up to him for his business prowess. However, now he is facing a wrongful death suit filed against him by a Pennsylvania couple who lost their son because of a fatal accident. This accident was caused by an attendee of one of his daughter’s underage drinking parties.

It is alleged that the father knew that his daughter had thrown underage drinking parties on more than one occasion. In particular, the suit claims that on the night of the fatal car accident the man should have known about the underage drinking because the kids started arriving while he was still at the home. He kept alcohol in the home and did nothing to restrict her access to the alcohol. This particular evening was no different from many other nights that the kids partied at the resort and many left while extremely intoxicated.

A 17-year-old partygoer left the party drunk and caused an accident that eventually killed the son of the parents making the wrongful death claim. The teen died five days after the accident as a result of his injuries. He was a passenger in the vehicle that was being driven by the drunk driver. That driver had a blood-alcohol level of 0.136 at the time.

The driver has been charged as a juvenile with homicide with a vehicle as well as various DUI charges. In their civil lawsuit, the slain teen’s family claim wrongful death and negligence and a total of eight different counts. They are seeking over $50,000.00 for each count.

A wrongful death lawsuit can be claimed as a result of a fatality resulting from the established negligence of a person or business. Laws in the state of Pennsylvania allow for these claims to be filed so that family members can receive financial compensation for the damages they have suffered. While nothing can bring a loved one back, such lawsuits can help families recover expenses related to the death of their family member.

Source: Tribune-Review, “Parents sue Joe Hardy, resort for son’s death,” Liz Zembra, Oct. 30, 2012

Pennsylvania man run over in own driveway: Wrongful death?

Life is precious, and we rarely know when our time is up. However, virtually no one expects their life to end while standing in their own Pennsylvania driveway. Sadly, that is exactly what happened to one man from Vicksburg. In what may ultimately result in a wrongful death civil claim, the man was killed when an errant pickup truck struck and killed him one day in mid-June at about 6 p.m.

The pickup driver was driving through Pennsylvania with his four children, returning home from a trip. He lost control of his vehicle, which left the roadway and slammed into the victim on his own property. Though there was no report of any injuries to the pickup driver or any of his children, the Vicksburg man was killed as a result of the collision.

Pennsylvania authorities are investigating the tragic accident. Drugs or alcohol are not suspected to have been factors. The pickup driver is said to have acknowledged that he may have fallen asleep while driving. Authorities charged the man with careless driving, among other motor vehicle infractions. The basis of the charges brought by law enforcement authorities is said to be the fact that the accused man was apparently exhausted and yet did nothing to prevent his fatigue from contributing to an accident.

While the accusations made against the man will soon be heard in a Pennsylvania courtroom, the family of the deceased victim is left to bury their loved one and try to come to terms with their loss. Our state laws afford the surviving family the right, should they so choose, to press forward with a wrongful death civil claim against the pickup driver. If they do, they will need to prove the man acted negligently in a way that caused or contributed to the fatal accident. If the pickup driver is ultimately convicted of the charges pending against him, proof of that conviction may be offered as evidence in a related civil proceeding in support of claims that he was negligent in causing the deadly tragedy.

Source: The Star-Ledger, “Union man charged in fatal accident in Pennsylvania,” Oct. 11, 2012

Pennsylvania woman sentenced in fatal pedestrian accident

Walking alongside streets is something that most Americans take for granted. Unfortunately, sometimes that simple activity turns into tragedy when automobiles strike pedestrians. A 75-year-old Pennsylvania woman was recently convicted of leaving the scene of a pedestrian accident that claimed the life of a young woman simply walking alongside the road.

While the judge spared the elderly woman jail time, he did confine her to house arrest for 12 months and revoked her driver’s license for seven years. The woman will be required to have an electronic monitoring device while she is under house arrest. She was also sentenced to five years of probation. The victim’s family said they never wanted her to serve jail time, but did want to see that the woman was never allowed to drive again.

The woman convicted of leaving the scene of that fatal car crash apologized for the incident. She claimed that she never saw the young woman that day. Unfortunately, even if that apology is heartfelt, it may bring cold comfort to the slain woman’s family.

Her mother spoke after the elderly woman’s sentencing, saying that the tragedy had been difficult for their family. She pointed out that what may seem a simple court proceeding to most people was a matter of life for her family, a matter of her daughter’s life – and, tragically, her untimely death.

A Pennsylvania resident who has lost a relative in a fatal pedestrian accident may be able to bring a wrongful death lawsuit against a party who either caused or contributed to their loved one’s death. Such civil actions can provide a method for recovering financial and other damages caused by the unexpected loss of a loved one when negligence can be documented in court. Criminal penalties are just one method of seeking justice in the event of a wrongful death.

Source: CBS Philly, “Driver’s License of Montco Woman, 75, Lifted for Seven Years After Pedestrian Killed,” Brad Segall, Sept. 21, 2012

Pennsylvania mother presses on in son’s wrongful death suit

One recent wrongful death lawsuit, filed in a federal court in Pennsylvania, demonstrates a mother’s passion for making sure what happened to her son doesn’t happen to anyone else. Despite the fact that a federal judge dismissed the wrongful death suit she brought against an engineering and construction company, the woman plans to continue with her fight. She has vowed to appeal that judge’s decision, claiming that she won’t give up as long as there is still something to appeal.

The wrongful death lawsuit came about after the electrocution of her son, a soldier in the Army. He was reportedly showering at a palace that once belonged to Saddam Hussein, which was serving as a U.S. Army base at the time. It is at this location where the electrocution occurred. His mother’s lawsuit alleges that shoddy electrical work on a water pump was the direct cause of the soldier’s death.

The Pentagon later issued a report showing that faulty grounding or equipment actually caused the deaths of nine out of 18 electrocution deaths in Iraq, including the son of the mother involved in this wrongful death lawsuit. The federal judge ruled that she couldn’t determine the issue of the engineering company’s responsibility for the soldier’s death without ruling on the sufficiency of the Army’s housing conditions. According to her decision, making a ruling on that issue would violate the doctrine of separation of powers.

This soldier’s mother reportedly filed this lawsuit in Pennsylvania to get answers about her son’s death, but she also wants to improve safety for American soldiers abroad. She does not feel that justice was served in this case, which is why she plans to press onward with her wrongful death suit by appealing the judge’s ruling. It remains to be seen what the ultimate result of this mother’s inspirational efforts for accountability in her son’s tragic death will bring.

Source: wpxi.com, “Wrongful-death lawsuit in Shaler soldier’s electrocution dismissed,” July 19, 2012

Pennsylvania Highway Patrol officer dies in motorcycle accident

It’s never easy for the law enforcement community to lose one of their own. A well-regarded Philadelphia law enforcement officer recently lost his life in a fatal motorcycle accident. The veteran Pennsylvania Highway Patrol member was reportedly traveling home after finishing a work shift when the crash occurred. The avid motorcycle enthusiast died soon after being struck head-on on Interstate 95 by an alleged drunk driver.

Authorities reported the man was headed northbound at approximately 3:15 a.m. when the collision occurred. The driver of an Audi A-6 was reportedly headed southbound in the northbound lane on the Interstate, subsequently slamming into the Highway Patrol officer’s motorcycle. The Audi’s driver was treated at an area hospital but, unfortunately, the law enforcement officer died at the scene.

The officer was a husband and father to three children. He was also highly-regarded by his fellow law enforcement officials, not to mention his friends, family and neighbors in the Philadelphia area. Neighbors reported that the sound of his beloved Harley-Davidson Road King often signaled to them that the neighborhood was a little safer upon his return home. Now all those who cared for this decorated Highway Patrol veteran are left to move on without him.

The alleged drunk driver now faces criminal charges that include homicide by vehicle, driving under the influence, and other offenses. As they tries to make sense of a seemingly senseless tragedy, the family may assess their rights in bringing a wrongful death civil lawsuit against that driver, based on claims of negligent and perhaps reckless actions. The Pennsylvania police officer’s wife and children are now left without the care, companionship and financial support of their beloved husband and father. A civil lawsuit may not bring him back, but it could help ease the financial burdens likely left behind in the wake of this tragic motorcycle accident.

Source: Officer.com, “Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Motorcycle Officer Killed in Crash on His Way Home,” Regina Medina, William Bender, Morgan Zalot and Julie Shaw, July 9, 2012

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