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Wrongful death suit can bring closure in Pennsylvania

When you lose a loved one because of another person's negligence or misdeeds, the overwhelming sense of loss can be unbearable. There is nothing you can do to make your life the same, and of course, no way to bring back your loved one. Once the grief has become less acute, though, you may begin wonder if there is some recourse to be had for the acts that resulted in your loved one's death.

The answer is yes, there is something that can be done. Unfortunately, however, the only legal recourse is monetary. Monetary damages do not restore life to the way it once was, but they are designed to achieve certain social and policy goals. They also may help to bring a modicum of closure to a tragic situation.

Head-on fatalities plague Pennsylvania roads

A car accident is rarely a good thing. However, when vehicles crash into each other head-on, the consequences are often tragic. What's worse, head-on collisions are rarely accidents that could not otherwise have been avoided. There is almost always some external factor that contributes such crashes, which in the event of a fatality, can result in a wrongful death suit.

Unfortunately, such accidents are also all too common. In recent days, for example, two fatal, head-on crashes occurred on the same stretch of Pennsylvania Route 316 in the same week. In both instances, northbound drivers crossed into the southbound lane of the highway. Investigations are still pending, but any number of factors could have contributed to such accidents, as they rarely occur without some external exigency.

Big verdict in Pennsylvania failure to diagnose case

One of the more common types of medical malpractice claims in Pennsylvania is failure to diagnose an illness or disorder. When a medical professional overlooks symptoms or makes an error in reading the results of a test, the consequences for a patient can be dire. If the disease or malady is progressive, the medical error can sometimes be fatal. Even if the patient ultimately survives, their quality of life can be forever affected by the medical malpractice that resulted in the failure to diagnose.

In a verdict handed down this month, a Pennsylvania jury awarded $3.4 million to a patient whose heart disorder went undiagnosed for two years after a cardiologist misread the results of a test. The fault was apportioned between the doctor, who was found to be more culpable, and the hospital where the tests were performed. The doctor had subsequently died of cancer and his estate had settled with the plaintiff before the trial occurred.

How liability is decided for injuries from steps and stairways

A minor slip or trip on a stair or step could lead to a major injury if you're not careful. Unfortunately, not every building structure is maintained properly. This could lead to a premise liability lawsuit, where a building owner is legally accountable for your injuries. However, this process first involves proving negligence and fault.

Step and stairway dangers

Steps that pose a threat to your safety include those that are uneven. Perhaps the construction of these walkways is not yet finished. It could also be that the area is not marked off, prohibiting foot traffic. It is also dangerous when there is an unexpected step in a store that either goes down or up. There should be a sign in a visible place warning people to watch their step.

Big rigs create big headache in pileup

Pennsylvania is a major crossroads for semi-truck traffic on the Eastern Seaboard. The big rigs ply the state's highway, Turnpike and interstate highways, 24 hours a day throughout the year. Unfortunately, when hazardous circumstances - such as foul weather, faulty maintenance or a fatigued driver - intervene, these behemoths become bad news for other motorists.

Truck accidents that involve a smaller vehicle can be absolutely devastating, the wreckage sometimes unrecognizable as another car or truck. Moreover, the driver of a car is far less likely to survive such an accident than the driver of the big rig. The size and weight of an out-of-control or recklessly-operated tractor trailer makes it a lethal hazard for other motorists.

Winter conditions in Pennsylvania mean more slips, falls

When the weather turns nasty, blowing snow, sleet freezing rain across the Keystone State, the chances of slipping or tripping and being injured in the resulting fall increase significantly. If you are walking out in the weather, like the nor'easters that smacked Pennsylvania this winter, there is not much that can be done. However, if someone has created a hazardous condition by failing to clean up after a storm hits, and you slip and hurt yourself in a fall, you may have recourse for your injuries.

This is because businesses, building owners and homeowners have a duty to keep areas where the public is expected to walk free from hazards. In many cases, municipal ordinances dictate how soon an owner must clear a sidewalk of snow and/or ice. But even if there is no ordinance, the duty to keep public areas safe still exists. The legal term for this is premises liability.

Preventable birth complications and maternal morbidity rising

Pregnancy is a time of expectant joy for parents. The impending birth of the child brings about a flurry of excitement and checklists as the due date nears. But for an increasing number of women, pregnancy and childbirth have devastating consequences. Roughly 50,000 women a year suffer life-threatening complications and several hundred die from pregnancy and childbirth in the U.S. annually. 

Medical marijuana may be legal but drugged driving is not

Impaired driving, whether it's alcohol or drugs, is a major cause of motor vehicle accidents, as well as traffic injuries and fatalities. With the advent of medical marijuana in Pennsylvania - the state's first dispensaries are slated to open this year - it is expected that more people than ever will be driving under the influence of a substance. Although medical marijuana is illegal, it is still illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana in the Keystone state, and a drugged driver may be on the hook for any car accident they cause.

In Pennsylvania, it is illegal to operate a vehicle with any amount of marijuana constituents in a driver's bloodstream. Unlike alcohol, for which there is a recognition of the level at which impairment occurs, no such threshold has been recognized for marijuana. Law enforcement is calling for greater study and a change in laws to accommodate medical marijuana, but until this occurs anyone with marijuana in their system can be charged with a DUI.

Brain injury leading cause of wrongful death in Pennsylvania

Data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has linked traumatic brain injury to nearly a third of all deaths that occur from injuries. Thus workplace injuries, car accidents, or even intentional assaults that result in death often involve a brain injury. While its true that not all brain injuries are immediately fatal, even a mild TBI can be dangerous. In cases where an injury like a concussion goes undetected for a period of time, a secondary head trauma could have life-threatening consequences.

Not all brain injuries are traumatic. A TBI refers specifically to a situation in which the brain is injured by some outward force. Examples include car accidents in which the head impacts on the steering wheel or windshield, falls that result in the head hitting a hard surface, and unfortunately commonly, sports accidents. When a fatality occurs due to an impact that was the fault of another, it may give rise to a wrongful death lawsuit.

What happens when a doctor gets it wrong?

Patients inherently trust their doctors and other health care professionals. They are highly trained and most do important life-saving or life-improving work. But health care professionals are only human, and sometimes they make mistakes. In some cases the mistakes may be justifiable, but in other instances a mistake may be little more than negligence, which could give rise to a medical malpractice claim in Pennsylvania.

One example of a the type medical mistake that could result in a malpractice claim is a failure to diagnosis - or incorrectly diagnosing - an illness or malady. The results of an incorrect or failed diagnosis can be life threatening. For example, if a dangerous disease like cancer goes untreated or is treated incorrectly with the wrong drugs, a patient could suffer substantial harm. However, as noted above, not all mistakes are necessarily negligent.

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The Law Firm of Leisawitz Heller
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Wyomissing, PA 19610

Toll Free: 866-360-5064
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Hamburg, PA 19526

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