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Pittsburgh Personal Injury Law Blog

Drunk driving deaths in Pennsylvania lead to stricter penalties

Many people die in Pittsburgh every year in drunk driving accidents. Last year, over 48,000 people were arrested for driving under the influence in Pennsylvania. Due to a recent series of fatal accidents involving drunk drivers, state legislators have decided to crack down on drunk driving statewide. One of the first major changes may be to require even first-time DUI offenders to have ignition interlock devices installed in their cars. These devices will require DUI offenders to take a breath test every time they start their car. The device will check the driver's blood alcohol concentration before allowing the car to start. Currently, Pennsylvania requires these devices after a second conviction. If this law passes, Pennsylvania will become one of 31 states to require the device after the first conviction.

Those involved in fatal car accidents may also be facing more serious consequences than ever before. State Senator John Rafferty has authorized a separate law specifically geared toward repeat DUI offenders who have caused a fatal accident. This law implements a five-year mandatory minimum sentence for those drivers.

How do I file a successful wrongful death suit?

Every year, people in the Pittsburgh area are killed in tragic road accidents. Families are left devastated, unsure of where to turn. Fortunately, the legal system allows families to file wrongful death suits that allow them to obtain compensation for their losses. While the damages recovered cannot bring back a lost loved one, they can at least help the families recover financially.

In order for a wrongful death suit to be successful, the family must prove a few elements. First, they must show that there was a death of another human being and that a personal representative has been appointed for the decedent's estate. Next, they must show that this death was caused by another party's negligence or with intent to cause harm. Lastly, they must show that surviving family members are suffering monetarily because of the person's death.

Pittsburgh ranks near the bottom on driver safety report

Pittsburgh motorists have every reason to be concerned about car accidents when they hit the roads. A recent report by Allstate Insurance ranked the 200 largest cities in the United States for driver safety based on collision data for its policyholders for 2011 and 2012. According to the report, Pittsburgh drivers are more likely to be involved in a collision than most of the other big city drivers.

Pittsburgh's ranking has dropped every year for the past six years. This year the city came in at number 187. Even worse, Pittsburgh ranked last among cities with populations of 250,000 to 499,999. Pittsburgh managed to beat out Philadelphia, which was named the most dangerous city among those with over a million people. Overall, Pittsburgh motorists were 51.3 percent more likely to be involved in car accidents than United States drivers as a whole. The typical Pittsburgh driver is in a collision once every 6.6 years, while the national average is one collision every 10 years.

Pittsburgh plane crashes cause a significant number of injuries

Every year, millions of Americans take to the skies to travel all over the world for both business and pleasure. While a majority of these flights will occur without a hitch, some of these trips will not be as successful. Aviation accidents, whether they involve private or commercial airplanes, can lead to devastating injuries and even death amongst its pilots and passengers.

When a plane crash occurs, authorities will likely conduct an investigation to determine what caused the accident. Aviation accidents can be caused by pilot error, faulty maintenance or flaws in the design of the plane. It can be challenging to figure out what actually caused the crash, especially when an accident leaves no survivors and the plane doesn't have a flight data recorder or black box to provide information.

Truck accidents can cause devastating injuries

Most of our readers know by now that actor Tracy Morgan was involved in a serious accident involving a commercial truck. This case has shown that many drivers do not realize that commercial trucks can be especially dangerous. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, large truck crashes resulted in just under 5,000 deaths and over 100,000 injuries in 2006. Commercial trucks can weigh over 25 times as much as a passenger vehicle and can carry hazardous or flammable materials. Because of this, truck accidents are highly likely to result in serious and fatal injuries.

There are certain dangers that come with trucks on the road that passenger vehicles do not have to deal with. For example, commercial trucks have a tendency to jackknife under certain circumstances. This can occur when the truck driver is forced to brake or turn suddenly. Commercial trucks also require more space to make a turn. If a truck driver occupies two lanes while making a turn, they could be held liable if an accident occurs.

Understanding birth injuries

Expectant parents in Pennsylvania have much to look forward to with the births of their children. When birth injuries happen, however, those bright futures can be quickly dimmed. A problem in the delivery process can happen before, during or after the actual birth. Cerebral palsy and Erb’s palsy are two of the most common conditions that babies can suffer from after such a problem.

Cerebral palsy negatively impacts a person’s ability to move, balance or otherwise control muscular movements. According to WebMD, as many as 20 percent of cerebral palsy cases are due to birth injuries. Nerve damage in the shoulder region during birth can lead to Erb’s palsy, also called brachial plexus palsy. Babies with this condition will experience a weakness or even complete paralysis of the arm.

Woman suffers head injury and dies after pedestrian accident

Injuries from car accidents can include anything from mild contusions to severe head trauma. Those who suffer injuries to the head can experience severe headaches, dizziness, loss of consciousness, paralysis, and tragically, even death. One woman who was recently involved in an accident in Franklin Park suffered from blunt force injuries to her head, which sadly lead to her death.

The accident occurred when the woman ran into a travel lane of I-279 Parkway North at around 4 a.m. Police say that she ran into the right lane, where a minivan crashed into her. Her body was thrown over 200 feet. The driver of the Chevy remained at the scene as the investigation continued. No charges have been yet been filed.

Pennsylvania physician subject of errors in multiple states

A single medical malpractice case can relate to a wide variety of problems or situations. Because every patient is unique, no two cases are truly ever alike. From surgical errors to missed or incorrect diagnoses, the range of outcomes can also vary greatly. Birth injuries are another form of medical error that poses great risk to Pennsylvania residents.

While many expectant parents eagerly await the births of their infants, some people choose not to continue pregnancies through to live births. Negligent practices or mistakes can take place during abortions just as they can during labor and delivery processes. A doctor from Pennsylvania is currently operating abortion clinics in two locations in Virginia much to the dismay of some. One report shows that nearly 41 percent of patients experienced problems in the clinics in a one-month time period.

Wrongful death suit filed against casino after fatal car accident

When a fatal car accident occurs, many courts look to the drivers involved to determine who is at fault and therefore liable for damages. When drunk driving is involved, businesses may also be held liable for damages that occur during the accident.

One Pittsburgh casino is facing a wrongful death suit after a man was killed while drunk driving. The man was allegedly driving home from a casino with a friend when he lost control of the vehicle and hit a curb. The car flipped over and the man died soon thereafter. The father of the man filed a complaint against the casino for violating the Dram Shop Act in Pennsylvania.

Parents prevented from filing medical malpractice claim

The laws governing instances of medical malpractice can vary greatly from state to state. From damage award caps to statutes of limitations and more, many nuances exist in this area of law. Pennsylvania residents who have been affected by a failure to diagnose a condition can be left with lifelong damage as a result. In some cases, loss of life occurs and family members are the ones left to grieve.

A missed diagnosis was at the heart of a situation that led to the death of a patient in Wisconsin. The woman was legally an adult—20 years old—unmarried and with no children, as are many people of that age. Sadly, her legal adult status and lack of a spouse prevents anyone from filing a medical malpractice lawsuit on her behalf per state law. At best, her parents were able to establish an estate on her behalf and attempt to receive compensation for damages related only to the two-week period which preceded her death. No compensation could be sought for her wrongful death at all.

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