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Philadelphia Personal Injury Law Blog

Nearby state passes sweeping dog bite legislation reform

Most Pennsylvania residents would assume that any dog owner would be held responsible if the animal attacked a human. Although that seems reasonable, the fact remains that many states still do not use strict liability principles to govern cases involving dog bites. Nearby neighbor Maryland, however, has made a step to equalize dog bite legislation by eliminating provisions designed to marginalize so-called "dangerous" breeds. Under the pending legislation, victims will be able to successfully seek financial compensation for injuries suffered during a dog bite attack, no matter the breed of dog.

Representatives in that state say that all dog owners must be held responsible for the actions of their animals if the dogs are running loose. Previous legal decisions in Maryland had determined that pit bulls were considered an "inherently dangerous" breed, and so owners of that type of animal would automatically be considered liable, no matter the nature of the attack. Instead of singling out pit bulls, the new legislation proposes that all dogs be subject to the same standard of scrutiny. Although the legislation has passed the measure, it could still be vetoed by Gov. Martin O'Malley.

Veterans Affairs officials accused of doctor negligence

The Department of Veterans Affairs is charged with maintaining the health and welfare of those who have worked to protect our nation. Although veterans assume that they will receive acceptable care at VA medical facilities, scores of patients suffer from doctor negligence and medical malpractice at these hospitals every year. Consider, for example, the veteran at a Pennsylvania facility who ingested a large dose of antidepressants without anyone noticing; that victim died within three hours. That is just one of the scores of wrongful deaths that occur every year in VA facilities.

Experts say that the VA has paid out more than $200 million for wrongful death compensation in the decade following 9/11. In all, nearly 1,000 families have been compensated; 36 of those are in Pennsylvania. Veterans from every era have been affected. Stories abound about Iraq War veterans receiving substandard mental health care because of failure to diagnose psychological trauma. Vietnam veterans' families have seen hospital negligence through botched medical procedures and simple neglect of older patients.

Concussion apps get mixed reviews among science pros

No matter the topic, it always seems that "there's an app for that." Would you believe that concussions actually fall into that category? New advances in scientific technology have led to the development of some concussion-related tools that can help coaches, trainers and even parents learn whether an athlete has suffered a traumatic brain injury. However, experts say that some of these apps could lead to additional problems because they provide inaccurate information.

In all, about 40,000 health care apps are available through various marketplaces for smartphones and tablets. A review of 18 of those English-language apps showed that some of them aligned with the brain damage assessment known as the Sport Concussion Assessment Tool 2. That standard test helps coaches and other professionals determine whether an athlete has truly suffered a serious injury. The apps that were based on that standard scored the highest on their evaluation. However, two of the apps evaluated in the study failed on every measure, showing the danger that can come from trusting inaccurate technology.

Student files suit against school for attack, inadequate security

A student at a Philadelphia school is seeking financial compensation after suffering a serious attack from a fellow collegian. The man has filed a lawsuit alleging that Villanova University provided inadequate security on campus, causing him to suffer serious injuries when he was assaulted by another student in September 2012. The victim was so injured that he required surgeries to his nose and other facial structures.

The lawsuit alleges that the victim also suffered fractures and herniations because of the effects of the attack. The student also claims to have suffered serious emotional distress and psychological trauma because of his involvement in the attack. Courtroom documents show that the assault occurred in an area with dangerous property conditions; that area was not properly lit, and video surveillance was not provided. Further, the area was missing the critical emergency call boxes that are traditionally placed throughout university campuses.

Motor vehicle accident victim speaks against distracted driving

Distracted driving is a serious concern for parents of teenagers through Pennsylvania and the rest of the country. With cellphones becoming ubiquitous among the high school set, the risk of certain types of motor vehicle accidents is increasing. That is why several Pennsylvania advocates are speaking up about their own experiences with distracted drivers, in an effort that seeks to curb the dangerous practice of texting or using other smartphone features while driving.

One young woman was involved in such a distracted driving crash shortly after her graduation from Muhlenberg College in Allentown. That woman was traveling with her parents when their station wagon was hit head-on by an 18-wheeler. It appears that the driver in that commercial auto accident had swerved to avoid a driver who ran a red light; that other driver had been talking on a cellphone.

Relatives of local radio personality file wrongful death suit

Relatives of a local radio personality who died in 2013 are seeking financial compensation from the physicians they say mistreated him at Chestnut Hill Hospital. E. Steven Collins was known as "the unofficial mayor of Philadelphia." He was an influential community member and radio personality for decades.

Family members have retained Philadelphia wrongful death lawyers, who say that the victim received substandard care at the facility after presenting with classic signs of a heart attack. They say that poor care led to his death.

Suit filed for horse driver who suffered traumatic brain injuries

Family members of a man who suffered serious injuries during an event at a Pennsylvania racetrack are seeking legal redress from the owners and operators of that facility. News reports show that the parents of the victim are seeking financial compensation from Caesars Entertainment Corp. and several other entities associated with the track, located at Harrah's Philadelphia Casino. Those entities are accused of negligence because they failed to correct dangerous track conditions.

The 31-year-old victim in the case suffered traumatic brain injuries when he wrecked during a harness race at the facility in late 2013. He is still hospitalized and has undergone multiple surgeries. Reports show that the man was thrown from the sulky in which he was riding, and he was then trampled by other teams' horses.

Dog bite victim calls for tougher laws in Pennsylvania

A Pennsylvania dog bite victim is alleging that the state's legal mandates do not provide enough protection for vulnerable residents. The man, who was attacked by a neighborhood dog in late February, is calling for additional sanctions that could include the confiscation of violent animals. The man, whose wife was also nearly injured in that dog bite incident, said he had lived in fear that the dog would attack him; sadly, his anxiety was well-founded.

The man said that he was often nervous about a neighbor's two large dogs that were often allowed to run free throughout their neighborhood in Freemansburg. One of the dogs is a pit bull. The other -- responsible for the attack -- is a Dogo Argentino. That muscular dog, weighing in at over 100 pounds, was already known to be aggressive after having bitten a teenager in 2013.

Pennsylvania motor vehicle accident sends car crashing into store

Four Pennsylvania residents were injured after a vehicle crashed into a shoe store in Chester County on March 11. The incident occurred at about 6 p.m., when a vehicle plowed into the store located at the Gateway Shopping Center. Authorities say that several victims were hit by flying debris in the motor vehicle accident, and one customer was pinned inside the store.

Official reports show that the 75-year-old male driver failed to stop before running into the front of the store. Further, the driver did not stop after the initial impact but instead continued on, causing serious injury when he pinned a customer between a wall and the vehicle. Firefighters took 20 minutes to rescue that victim. Three other victims were also struck by flying debris; their injuries also required transportation to a local hospital. The at-fault driver also apparently suffered injury in the car accident.

Pennsylvania family sues police department for wrongful death

The widow of a man who was shot in a botched encounter with police officers from suburban Philadelphia has filed a civil rights and wrongful death complaint. The woman and her children are pursuing more than $50,000 under the Wrongful Death Act, according to news reports. Family members allege that their relative was shot after police arrived to investigate a burglary at the residence. They say that officers acted in a reckless fashion when they shot the victim, who had simply sought their help.

The innocent man, age 64, had sought police assistance when he suspected that a burglary was in process. He stayed on the phone with the dispatchers until the police arrived, and then he went downstairs to meet with officers. Authorities say that they saw that the man was carrying a knife as he approached the officers, though that assertion is disputed. There has been no evidence to suggest that the victim was under the influence of an intoxicant or that his behavior was erratic.

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