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Pittsburgh Wrongful Death Law Blog

Driver that seriously injured woman pleads guilty to DUI

On April 6, the 34-year-old Pennsylvania man held responsible for an accident on Oct. 3, 2014 in which he was driving drunk appeared in court. According to a witness, the man's car hit a woman's car head-on after crossing the centerline. The 80-year-old driver of the other car suffered multiple fractures in her arms and legs as a result of the accident. The man was not seriously injured, but the woman was taken to intensive care.

The man, who has been in jail since January, pleaded guilty to DUI and aggravated assault while driving under the influence. This is his third DUI offense, but the first occurred when he was 18. Since it was more than ten years ago, for legal purposes, this counts as his second offense.

Identifying who is a fault

Motorists in Pennsylvania may be interested in learning more about proving who is at fault after a car crash occurs. In order to establish which party is at fault, or liable for the resulting damages, it's typically necessary to identify who made the mistake or acted negligently before the incident happened. Most insurers require a compelling amount of evidence before liability can be assigned to either party, regardless of how obvious the circumstances are. The police report is one of the most compelling items used as evidence after a crash happens.

If the police arrive after a crash occurs, motorists are advised to request individual copies of the police report from the attending officers. In some areas, the onus may be on motorists to report the crash to the nearest police department themselves. These reports can provide critical insight regarding the investigating officers' first impressions as evidence was examined and collected from the scene of the accident.

Pennsylvania ranks high on malpractice payout chart

If you found out that your state ranked high for the number of medical malpractice payouts awarded each year, would that concern you? In some ways, it should. Not only does this show that cases are being proven against medical teams, but it's also showing that accidents are taking place regularly within medical facilities in the state.

According to an article from March 31, Pennsylvania is ranked third highest for the number of malpractice payouts in the United States. That rank was partially due to the payout per capita which was $27.04. That was a lower payout than those in only two other states, New York and New Jersey.

Understanding liability for recalled vehicles in car accidents

Most people are aware that several vehicle manufacturers have initiated various recalls for thousands of vehicles. Many of these recalls are related to critical safety issues like faulty airbags and ignition switches. However, there are also a multitude of recalls related to everything from brake pads to tires. That's why it's important for Pennsylvania motorists who have been injured in car accidents to understand how a recall might affect their potential car accident lawsuits.

Frequent readers of our online blog may recall a story we wrote last year about a young Pennsylvania woman seriously injured due to a faulty ignition switch. In that case, the victim's airbags failed to deploy during a rollover accident that left her in a coma. A key thing to remember from this tragic event is that her injuries might have been avoided if the vehicle's manufacturer would have warned the public about the potential dangers. That victim may have taken her vehicle in for repair if she had just known about the risks she faced.

Can wrongly prescribed medicine give rise to a malpractice case?

In the United States errors related to medications account for injuries to roughly 1.3 million people each year. These numbers, according to the National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention, represent preventable accidents which occur under specific circumstances. The NCCMERP says that a medication error occurs whenever health care providers cause a patient harm through any preventable event involving inappropriate medication.

If you are currently considering a malpractice lawsuit involving wrongly prescribed medication the first step is to understand the concept of medical malpractice. These types of lawsuits basically turn on some situation in which health care providers did something negligent or neglectful which ultimately caused someone harm. Accidents involving medication errors certainly fall under both of those categories.

3 injured in crash in Pennsylvania

Getting into a truck accident may be unavoidable in some cases, particularly when it's another driver who has been negligent in paying attention to the road. Impacts with high speeds can result in serious injuries like whiplash, traumatic brain injuries, broken bones or other problems that take years, if not a lifetime, to heal. Sometimes, the people involved in accidents aren't lucky enough to survive.

A good example of someone not paying enough attention to the road is when there's a rear-end collision. These collisions can be avoided if drivers keep their distance and make sure to watch the traffic ahead of them or make sure not to pull out into traffic without enough time to merge. In this case in Pennsylvania, a garbage truck had been driving on Interstate 81 south when it merged into another lane. An oncoming vehicle didn't slow enough or perhaps didn't allow the vehicle enough time to enter the roadway, resulting in it hitting the tail end of the garbage truck. The middle passenger of the garbage truck was sent through the windshield on impact.

Drowning incidents and wrongful death claims in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania allows surviving family members to sue on behalf of their loved one's estate under certain circumstances. Currently, the state recognizes that a wrongful death has occurred whenever the wrongful, negligent or criminal actions of another are responsible for a victim's premature death. Without getting too technical, the Pennsylvania wrongful death statutes allow a victim's family to sue to recover the loss of the victim's potential lifetime earnings. In some cases, the victim's estate can also sue to recover money damages related to the loss of companionship and guidance that the victim's wrongful death prevented.

The arrival of spring makes the understanding of wrongful death actions even timelier. As the weather begins to improve, an increasing number of drowning deaths will invariably follow. In a previous post to our website, we discussed how some Pennsylvania parents are choosing to enroll their infants, some as young as 6 months old, in water survival courses. The training is intended to prepare young children for survival after accidentally falling into bodies of water. This is especially important because according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the number one cause for the accidental death of children under the age of 4.

What caused my child's cerebral palsy in Pennsylvania?

You may have a child with cerebral palsy or know someone who does in Pennsylvania; this disorder affects everything physical about the child, from muscle tone to motor skills. Cerebral palsy can be caused by many factors, so before you decide to move forward with a malpractice case, you may want to know more about what causes the disorder and what to look for if you expect negligence was a cause.

To start with, cerebral palsy is known to be caused by brain damage. This damage can be caused before birth, at birth or up to age 5. Things like a stroke or asphyxiation could cause cerebral palsy, for example.

How effective are seatbelts and car seats during car accidents?

Some people question the effectiveness of seatbelts and other vehicle restraining devices. A few even argue that wearing restraining devices can actually hinder your chances of surviving a car accident. However, statistics compiled by the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tell a much different story.

Arguably, one of the best ways to determine whether restraining devices work to save lives here in Pennsylvania is to measure the total number of fatal car accidents and then compare that with restraint usage. The CDC says that you can reduce your risk of injury and death during crashes by 50 percent simply by wearing seatbelts and placing your children in size-appropriate child seats.

Birth Injuries and your child in Pennsylvania

After giving birth in Pennsylvania, a birth injury may have left your child injured. What can you do about it? That depends on the injury and how it came about. A birth injury can happen in two ways. Either the injury was caused naturally before birth, or it was caused during birth by outside forces. For example, a baby who suffers in the womb due to a lack of nutrition may have suffered natural injuries, while a baby that is left too long before a Cesarean section may have lost oxygen and suffered a brain injury due to neglect by a medical team.

A birth injury's definition is that it's an impairment of a baby's body, either the function of the body or the structure of the body, due to an adverse event. Not all injuries are caused by doctors or health care teams, and not all injuries are preventable. However, with the right care, many of the birth injuries children suffer could have been prevented.