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Pittsburgh Personal Injury Law Blog

Anything can happen in the time it takes for a big rig to stop

Readers of this blog are probably well aware that big rigs can pose a significant threat to Pennsylvania motorists. Their sheer size can be deadly in the event of a truck accident, and even those who are fortunate enough to survive such a wreck can be left with serious injuries or permanent disability. Yet, when truck accidents are discussed, they are often mentioned in a way that leads people to believe that these wrecks are caused mainly by head-on collisions or side-swipes. Unfortunately, rear-end accidents can be just as devastating.

One reason for this is that trucks need significantly more time to stop than other vehicles. While a car may only be 18 feet long and weigh up to 4,000 pounds, a semi-truck can be 65 feet long and weigh up to 80,000 pounds. These factors can cause a truck to need more than 500 feet to stop when traveling 65 miles per hour. That is nearly the length of not one but two football fields. Even trucks traveling slowly will need significantly more space to stop. At 40 miles per hour, a truck will still need nearly 50 extra feet to come to a stop when compared to a car.

Gas drilling accident settles for PA man's estate

The shale gas drilling explosion from last February in which a 27-year-old contracted worker and future father was killed has been settled. The explosion, which happened in February 2014 in Dunkard, Greene County, PA, killed the man as he and another worker were rushing toward the blast area after hearing a loud hissing noise. The man worked for Cameron International Corporation, a company contracted by Chevron to work the well site. The victim, who was from Warren, PA, has had an estate set up for his son. The victim died before his boy was born.

In a statement after the settlement, a person from Chevron told the media that the $5 million gas drilling accident settlement brings closure to the situation and "enables all parties to move forward." The spokesperson said, "Our thoughts and prayers remain with the family." Chevron went on to say that "Protecting people and the environment is a core value...and we are determined to prevent...this from happening again."

DOT develops proposal limiting speed for heavy trucks

Accidents involving commercial trucks can cause serious injuries to motorists. Commercial trucks can be dangerous on the Pittsburgh roadways due to their extensive size and weight. When these vehicles are speeding, their danger is even more pronounced. Despite this danger, many truck drivers exceed the design limits on the tires of these commercial vehicles. That's why the Department of Transportation has developed a new proposal to help prevent future truck accidents.

While details of the proposal have yet to be released to the public, the basic idea is to place a speed limiter on heavier trucks. An Associated Press investigation recently found that higher speeds can cause detailed truck tire failures.

Amtrak employee files suit after suffering traumatic brain injury

Traumatic brain injuries lead to devastating life changes for many people each year. Traumatic brain injuries are typically caused by an external force and often arise in personal injury cases. A TBI can occur as a result of slip and falls, motor vehicle accidents and workplace accidents.

When a brain injury is caused by the negligence of another party, victims may be able file a lawsuit against those responsible. An Amtrak employee who suffered a brain injury as a result of a derailed Amtrak train is now suing Amtrak for negligence. The accident made national news earlier this month when an Amtrak train traveling from Philadelphia to New York crashed, killing eight people and injuring over 200 others.

Car accident investigations require experience and skill

Every day, thousands of people travel on the busy highways of Western Pennsylvania. Some of these people will be involved in a car accident that will change their lives forever. While some accidents are not preventable, many of them are caused by a motorist who failed to follow the rules of the road.

Determining who is at fault in an accident is a prerequisite to recovering damages. The person who is primarily at fault for the accident will be responsible for the damages he or she caused. Under Pennsylvania's comparative fault law, if an injured party was 50 percent or less at fault they can be awarded damages, although the damages will be reduced by their percentage of fault. Damages can compensate the injured party for their medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering.

Bringing a successful lawsuit after a plane crash

With so many devastating plane crashes in the news nowadays, many people are afraid to travel by plane. While aviation accidents are rare, when they do occur, they can leave families devastated.

Plane crashes can be caused by many things, including pilot error, faulty design or equipment and negligent actions by flight and ground crew. The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration have come up with a set of regulations that set the safety standards for pilots, airplane manufacturers, and flight operations. When there is an accident involving a civil aircraft, the NTSB will investigate it thoroughly and make recommendations to better protect future fliers.

Women more prone to memory problems after traumatic brain injury

Traumatic brain injuries can occur as a result of serious accidents. These accidents can range from a slip-and-fall at the local grocery store to a car accident on a busy Pittsburgh highway. While not all traumatic brain injuries are severe, even a relatively mild one can have long-lasting consequences.

A majority of people who suffer mild traumatic brain injuries or concussions will make a full recovery within three months. For 10 to 15 percent of people, concussions will have a more significant effect on their lives. These people may struggle with headaches, fatigue, loss of balance, trouble sleeping, mood disorders or memory loss beyond the average three-month recovery period.

Wrongful death suit against UPMC results in $5.7 million verdict

When families trust medical professionals to care for their loved ones, they expect these professionals to adhere to the standard of care reasonably expected of those in the medical field. When a doctor or hospital behaves negligently, and as a result of this negligence, harms a patient, he or she may face lawsuits from the patient or the patient's loved ones. The husband of a Pittsburgh woman filed suit against UPMC, University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, and a physician, after his wife's tragic death. A jury awarded him with $5.7 million in damages. UPMC plans to appeal.

The husband's lawsuit alleged professional negligence and wrongful death. The plaintiffs say that the medical team responsible for the woman's care failed to properly diagnose the lesion on her liver. Liver cancer is often curable if treated early. After conducting treatment for a while, the doctor allegedly advised that a liver biopsy was not necessary. The woman continued to see specialists over the next few months, but no tests were scheduled to look more closely at the lesion.

Premature brain aging may be result of traumatic brain injury

For many years, Pittsburgh medical professionals have informed us of the damage caused by traumatic brain injuries. Traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs, are often suffered as a result of car accidents, falls, and various athletic activities. The effects of TBIs depend on the severity of the injury. Mild TBIs could involve brief unconsciousness, changes in mood, memory loss, and trouble communicating. More severe TBIs could result in a coma, impaired thinking, depression, long-term amnesia, and even death. In some cases, those who suffer traumatic brain injuries could suffer from neurological problems for the rest of their lives.

Brain injuries have long since been associated with dementia and Alzheimer's. A recent study by United Kingdom researchers shows yet another effect of TBIs. The study involved 99 people with TBIs caused by assaults, motor vehicle accidents, and falls. The participants in the study all suffered from long-lasting neurological issues. Scans were taken from one month after the injury to 46 years after the injury.

What is involved in filing a wrongful death lawsuit?

When someone is killed in a tragic accident, their family will have to find a way to live without that person. It can be especially hard to accept their death if it was caused by the negligence of another person. For example, a number of fatal car accidents in Pittsburgh are caused by drunk or reckless drivers. In those cases, the negligent driver or the bartender that served the drunk driver alcohol may be held legally liable for the victim's death.

Families of those who are killed may be able to file a wrongful death suit in civil court against those who played a role in the death of their loved one. While wrongful death statutes vary from state to state, there are some general guidelines available to help you determine whether you have a potentially successful suit on your hands.

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