Archive for the ‘Personal Injury’ Category

Harrisburg Pedestrians Face Accident Risk from Distraction

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May 2014
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Texting and driving collisions have been on the rise in recent years, with distracted drivers causing as many as one out of every four crashes nationwide. There are numerous educational efforts aimed at alerting the public to the risks of distracted driving. However, distracted driving is not the only potential cause of injury from cell phones. Studies suggest that distracted walking may be just as dangerous for pedestrians.

Distracted Walking Statistics

According to Science Daily, around 10 percent of pedestrians who seek treatment in emergency rooms after an accident were texting when their injuries occurred. This estimate may actually be lower than the reality, because many pedestrians who get hurt while on their phones are embarrassed to admit the role distraction played in the incident.

Further, the number of people injured in distracted walking accidents has increased dramatically between 2004 and 2010. Healthline reports that emergency room visits resulting from cell phone use while walking have tripled over this time period. The largest increase in pedestrian accidents has been among people between the ages of 16 and 25.

Distracted Walking Accidents and Your Rights

A texting pedestrian faces the same three types of distraction that a texting driver does: manual, cognitive and visual distraction. Like a distracted driver, a distracted pedestrian is not looking at the road or sidewalk in front of them; instead of focusing on safety, their brain is focused on the text message being sent or read.

Due to lack of attention, pedestrians put themselves at serious risk of injury when they use their phone as they walk. Texting pedestrians are at risk of bumping into things, walking into walls, or even stepping out into traffic.

If a distracted pedestrian walks into traffic, they could be deemed partially at fault for any accident caused as a result of their negligent actions. However, a driver may still share some legal responsibility if they strike and injure a distracted pedestrian with their vehicle. Under Pennsylvania’s comparative negligence law, an injured pedestrian could potentially recover compensation as long as the driver is found to be at least 51 percent responsible for the accident that occurs. The driver will pay only for the portion of the damages equal to his part in causing the crash.

If you’ve been injured in any type of collision, whether as a driver or a pedestrian, it’s always best to contact a qualified attorney. Pennsylvania law can be confusing, and an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer in Harrisburg can help you understand your rights and explain how the law applies to your particular case.

The dedicated Pennsylvania accident lawyers at Metzger Wickersham have offices in Wilkes-Barre, Pottsville, York, Lancaster, Shippensburg, and Harrisburg, PA. Contact us at 1-800-WIN-WIN-1 (946-9461) or visit www.mwke.com for a free case evaluation.

Medical Malpractice in Pennsylvania and the Importance of a Second Opinion

After being ordered to pay nearly $10 million in damages to a patient wrongly diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease, the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania has had its appeal denied by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. The medical malpractice verdict has reportedly now grown to an estimated $11.6 million, due to interest.

As any malpractice lawyer in Harrisburg recognizes, the plaintiff that was awarded compensation suffered very serious harm as a result of a misdiagnosis. The compensation he received will provide him security in being able to pay his future medical bills and costs, however nothing can reverse the permanent damage he experienced as a result of the doctor’s mistake.

The case is a reminder to physicians of the importance of exercising reasonable care when diagnosing patients. It is also a reminder to patients that getting a second opinion is always advised when diagnosed with a serious medical condition.

A Misdiagnosis Can Have Devastating Results

The medical malpractice victim, Eric Davenport, had sought treatment in 2003 from the director of the ALS Association Center at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.  The physician reviewed MRI films and failed to diagnose spinal cord abnormalities that were suggestive of multi-level spinal cord disease.

Instead of being correctly diagnosed with a progressive spinal cord injury, the patient was incorrectly diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also called ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease.  The patient was told he had between 18 months and three years to live, since ALS is fatal and incurable.

The patient accepted the diagnosis. However, four years later, his health had not declined in the way that his first physician told him it would. The patient asked for a referral to a different neurologist and had another set of MRI scans done. With the new scans, his spinal cord injury was correctly diagnosed and it became clear that he had never had ALS.

Unfortunately, not only did the patient have years of worry that his life would be cut drastically short by a fatal disease, but his actual spinal cord injury was also not treated during this time.  After the correct diagnosis, the patient received proper medical treatment, including surgery to relieve compression of the spinal cord. Yet, because of the excessive delay in treatment, his paraparesis had become irreversible, and he is now confined to a wheelchair for life.

The large award ordered by the jury included compensation for eight years of economic and non-economic damages experienced since the misdiagnosis in 2003. It also included compensation for 20 years of future damage and loss caused by the permanent paralysis.  The verdict was upheld by the Pennsylvania Superior Court and became final when the Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal. The malpractice insurers for the doctors and hospitals will be obligated to pay the damages, but no amount of money will allow the injured victim to walk again.

While patients have the right to trust that doctors will be reasonably accurate in diagnosing medical conditions, this unfortunate case is a clear example of why it can be so important for patients to seek a second opinion when the stakes are high.

If you believe you or a loved one has been injured by medical malpractice in Pennsylvania, our malpractice lawyers in Harrisburg, Shippensburg, Wilkes-Barre, Lancaster, Pottsville or York may be able to help with your case. Contact Metzger Wickersham toll free at 1-800-WIN-WIN-1 (946-9461) or visit us online for a free case evaluation.

Greyhound Bus Crash in Pennsylvania Leaves One Dead and Dozens Injured

busA Greyhound bus en route from New York City to Cleveland smashed into the back of a tractor-trailer on I-80 in Pennsylvania on Wednesday, October 9th, 2013. The crash, which took place about 70 miles North of Harrisburg at approximately 1:30am, left one woman dead and dozens injured.

The cause of the accident is still under investigation, but according to news reports, we do know that more than 40 of the 50 passengers aboard the Greyhound suffered different degrees of injuries, ranging from minor to critical. 

17 of the injured passengers were taken to Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, PA where least four of them were listed in critical condition. A Greyhound spokesperson has reported that the driver of the bus, Sabrina Anderson, 42, was one of the four people in critical condition.

The remaining injured passengers were treated at other local hospitals.

If you’ve been injured in a Greyhound bus crash, a Pennsylvania personal injury lawyer can ensure that your rights are protected. Metzger Wickersham’s bus accident attorneys offer a free consulation for injured accident victims. Contact us today for legal advice.

Interesting Lancaster County Motorcycle Accident Case Involving a Pig

pig crossing road

On the unusual front, Metzger Wickersham attorney Clark DeVere recently represented a 20-year-old man who was injured when a pig ran out in front of his motorcycle in Lancaster County. Our client suffered shoulder separation, severe road rash and scarring as a result of the accident.

The owner of the 70-lb pig was a farmer. Attorney DeVere investigated the facts and was able to negotiate with the farmer to reach a fair settlement for his injured client.

Over the years, our law firm has skillfully handled a wide variety of accident claims. We take on the unusual, difficult cases and persevere to get our clients the justice they deserve.

If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident or any other type of accident caused by the negligence of another party, you may be entitled to compensation. Get in touch with Metzger Wickersham today for a free case evaluation with one of our experienced attorneys. Call us toll free at 1-800-946-9461, or submit our online contact form.

Construction Sites are a Dangerous Place to Work

With the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, Congress created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA, a part of the US Department of Labor, was put in place to ensure safe working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance.

The goal of the administration is to prevent workers from being seriously injured or killed on the job. As part of its agenda, OSHA works to identify methods to reduce falls and other dangers in the high-hazard construction industry.

OSHA refers to the top leading causes of death for construction workers as the “fatal four”:

  • falls
  • electrocution
  • struck by object
  • caught in or between

Out of the fatal four, falls rank number 1 as the leading cause of death in construction. According to OSHA, there were 264 fall fatalities (255 falls to lower level) out of 774 total fatalities in construction in 2010. 46 of those fall fatalities occurred in Pennsylvania.

OSHA promotes three steps for preventing falls as part of their Fall Prevention Campaign.

  • PLAN ahead to get the job done safely
  • PROVIDE the right equipment
  • TRAIN everyone to use the equipment safely

As Pennsylvania work accident lawyers, we strongly agree that receiving proper training and using all necessary safety precautions can reduce the chance of an accident happening on a construction site — however, we also realize that, unfortunately, no amount of legislation or regulations can fully prevent all accidents from occurring.

Construction workers play a vital role in our economy and local communities, and when they do get injured, they deserve to have their rights protected. Metzger Wickersham law firm helps injured workers with their workers’ compensation claims, and our experienced work injury attorneys can also investigate if any negligence may have been involved in a construction site accident.

If you’ve been injured on the job, contact Metzger Wickersham today for a free consultation: 1-800-Win-Win-1 (1-800-946-9461).

Three Injuries Occur at Fireworks Show in Pennsylvania

Summer is the season for fireworks, as they appear not just on the Fourth of July but also at summer fairs, festivals and sporting events. While fireworks can be enjoyable to watch and can be a great way to commemorate a celebration, fireworks can also be dangerous when the proper safety precautions are not followed.

Those who operate fireworks shows must comply with all state and local safety laws and regulations and must ensure that the fireworks show is done safely so that no accidents occur.  As Pennsylvania injury lawyers we know that when a company or entity responsible for a fireworks show fails in its obligations to ensure the safety of the public, the negligent parties could face potential injury lawsuits.

Fireworks Show Causes Injury in PA

 

Recently, an accident at a fireworks show that occurred 35 miles northeast of Pittsburgh illustrated the dangers associated with attending a fireworks event.

According to news reports, the fireworks show was being presented at a local area high school in western PA on the Fourth of July.

Approximately seven minutes into the show, a shell from one of the fireworks exploded into the bleachers where spectators were sitting at the time.  A woman who was in the bleachers watching the show sustained a cut to her head, bruises and other injuries.  There were also two children injured in the incident. The kids sustained puncture wounds when projectiles burst out of the misdirected fireworks shell.

It has not yet been made clear who sponsored the fireworks display that led to the injuries, nor is it clear what company was hired to produce the show. However, it is possible that those who put on the show could be held legally liable for the accident and made to compensate the injured woman and children.

Burn injuries can be painful and costly to treat, often requiring skin grafting if the injuries are serious. Those liable for the accident could be responsible for paying for all associated medical bills and costs of the injured parties, as well as for other losses arising from the incident.

In order to be held legally responsible, those who put on the fireworks show would need to have done something negligent or careless that put the patrons of the show at risk, such as fail to ensure that patrons are seated a safe distance away from where the fireworks are being set off. If any safety regulations or industry best practices were violated, the injured victims may have legal recourse.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident in Pennsylvania, contact Metzger Wickersham law firm at 1-800-WIN-WIN-1 (946-9461).

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Voice-Activated Technology is a Safety Risk for Drivers

We all know that electronic gadgets, like our trusted iPhones, can be a dangerous distraction when used behind the wheel.

The obvious solution to stop the distracted driving epidemic is to encourage people to refrain from using any electronic or mobile device while driving.

Yet, as concern about distracted driving dramatically increases, car manufacturers have instead been busy installing voice-activated technology in new vehicle models, so that drivers can have the luxury of updating their Facebook status or Tweeting while keeping their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. Safe alternative, right?

Image courtesy of The New York Times

Wrong. A new study says that voice-activated systems actually create a different and worse safety risk: taking a driver’s mind off the road. Automakers and consumer electronic organizations say that voice recognition systems are safer because they are hands-free, but safety advocates argue that the technology creates a dangerous cognitive distraction.

The study, conducted by AAA’s Foundation for Traffic Safety, is the most exhaustive look to date at new in-car technology.

Read the New York Times article here.

Read more about AAA’s new research findings here.

Metzger Wickersham Encourages Motorcycle Safety in Pennsylvania

In recognition of May as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, Metzger Wickersham law firm reminds both motorists and motorcyclists to “share the road” conscientiously and courteously to help prevent motorcycle crashes, which remain one of the most prevalent causes of death and injury on Pennsylvania roads.

In addition to stressing the responsibilities shared by all users of the road to prevent motorcycle crashes, Metzger Wickersham also reminds everyone that the month of May will likely see increased enforcement by local police to make sure motorcyclists, and drivers of all types of vehicles, are obeying state and local laws.

“Safety is a mutual responsibility for motorists and motorcyclists alike,” said Metzger Wickersham attorney, Zach Campbell. “As one of the smallest of vehicles on the road, motorcycles are much more vulnerable to crashes than other vehicles. Motorcyclists are at least 25 times more likely to die in a crash than passenger vehicle occupants.”

In order to prevent accidents, Attorney Campbell suggested, “Drivers should always be on the lookout for motorcyclists and remember to check their blind spots before entering or exiting a lane of traffic. Use extra caution at intersections; many motorcycles are hit by vehicles when they’re turning.”

Metzger Wickersham offers the following additional tips for drivers to help keep motorcyclists safe on Pennsylvania roadways:

  • Remember that a motorcycle is a vehicle with all of the rights and privileges of any other motor vehicle
  • Never try to share a lane with a motorcycle – always allow a motorcyclist the full lane width
  • Always use turn signals and be sure to thoroughly check traffic before changing lanes or merging
  • Don’t tailgate – allow greater following distance when driving behind a motorcycle
  • Don’t drive distracted or under the influence of alcohol

Campbell added, “Motorcyclists have responsibilities, too. Riders should be properly licensed, obey all traffic laws, and stay alert to other drivers.”

Motorcyclists can also increase their safety by following these tips:

  • Wear protective gear at all times, including a helmet (PA state law only requires riders 20 years and under to wear them - but a proper helmet can prevent traumatic head injuries and death in the event of an accident)
  • Use turn signals for every turn or lane change, even if you think no one will see it – also consider using hand signals to draw more attention to your motorcycle
  • Position your motorcycle to avoid a driver’s blind spot
  • Use reflective tape and stickers to increase conspicuity when riding at night
  • Ride within your own skill limits
  • Never ride while impaired or distracted
  • Avoid riding in poor weather conditions

This safety advice is particularly timely as motorcycle fatalities in 2011 showed an increase, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data. Motorcycle deaths accounted for 14 percent of total highway deaths for the year, despite motorcycle registrations representing only about 3 percent of all vehicles in the US.

Metzger Wickersham urges all drivers and motorcyclists to share the road with each other to ensure that everyone has a safe experience on the road.

For additional information on motorcycle safety, visit http://www.nhtsa.gov/Safety/Motorcycles.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident in Pennsylvania, contact Metzger Wickersham to talk with one of our experienced motorcycle accident injury attorneys.

Metzger Wickersham
Harrisburg, PA 17110
(717) 238-8187
www.mwke.com

Metzger Wickersham Hosts Arrive Alive Contest for PA High School Seniors

Metzger Wickersham joins the campaign to end dangerous driving behavior: Arrive Alive Contest for high school seniors stresses dangers of drunk and distracted driving

In an effort to make our roads safer, Metzger Wickersham law firm has pledged its support to help spread the message that distracted drivers and drunk drivers are not only a danger to themselves, but everyone else on the road.Don't text and drive

Metzger Wickersham is hosting its first annual Arrive Alive contest which encourages teens to enter a creative project that sends a memorable message to their peers about the dangers of drunk driving and/or distracted driving. First place winners in the contest receive a new laptop computer and everyone who enters receives other prizes for their effort. Entries are being accepted through May 17, 2013.

Metzger Wickersham’s Pennsylvania accident attorneys hope that the contest is successful in educating teens to practice safe driving techniques.

“An alarming number of young people think it’s okay to text or talk on the phone while driving, or have a few drinks and get behind the wheel — but tragedy after tragedy shows that these actions can have deadly consequences,” said Metzger Wickersham attorney Ted Knauss.

Young drivers may be especially vulnerable to drinking and driving and/or texting and driving, because they do not have enough driving experience to fully understand the dangers of their behavior.drunk driving

Campaigns that educate the young about dangerous driving are vital to our community. If teens learn about the perils of drunk driving and distracted driving, they will hopefully think twice before engaging in risky behaviors and many young lives could be saved.

To learn more about Metzger Wickersham’s Arrive Alive Contest, visit arrivealivepa.com, email arrivealive@mwke.com or call Metzger Wickersham for more information (877) 266-9494.

Pennsylvania Parents & Proper Use of Car Seats to Avoid Injuries

According to Health Day News, car accidents are the leading cause of death for kids four years of age and younger, at least in part because these young children are often not properly restrained. While kids under four need to be in car seats, many parents aren’t really sure how to use them correctly. Unfortunately, a new study shows that even when kids get into a car accident and are taken to the emergency room, parents are still not educated properly on safe car seat use.

Our Pennsylvania accident attorneys know that a child can be very seriously hurt in any car accident. If the child is not properly secured into a car seat, however, the injuries are likely to be more severe. It is imperative that every effort be made to provide parents with better education on car seat use so kids can be better protected in the event that a crash happens.

Parents Not Receiving Car Seat Education

A recent Health Day News article released information from a study lead by a clinical lecturer in the department of emergency medicine at the University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. The lead author of the study indicated that a visit to the emergency room after an auto accident presents an extremely important chance to educate families about safe car seat use in order to help keep kids out of the hospital in case a future accident happens.

Yet, the study shows that parents simply aren’t receiving this information because emergency rooms are failing to provide it. The study author indicated that the research showed emergency room physicians were largely unaware of resources in the community intended to show parents how to use child seats safely. As such, emergency room physicians simply don’t provide this potentially life-saving information to parents.

This is a huge missed opportunity to save lives, since more than 130,000 kids ages 13 and under go to the emergency room each year after getting hurt in a car wreck. More than one-third of doctors surveyed, however, indicated that they didn’t know if the emergency departments where they worked even had information available about safe use of child seats.

When kids are treated in general emergency departments without specialized pediatric care, parents are even less likely to get information on proper use of child seats than in healthcare environments where the treating physicians have a pediatric specialty. Since almost 85 percent of kids who get into car accidents are treated in general emergency rooms, this means that the vast majority of parents and kids aren’t getting any support for how to use car accidents more safely.

Protecting Your Kids

While hospitals should do better as far as making sure parents are educated about safe car seat use after an auto accident, parents can also get help and information on their own.

At most local police stations, there is information on safe use of child seats. Parents may be able to attend special events where they are taught how to secure their child properly, and can get a hands-on demonstration from community groups and programs specifically intended to teach safe child seat use.

Parents should also be aware that car seats need to be replaced after every car accident with vehicle intrusion; with air bags that deployed; or with a car that was not drivable after the wreck.

If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident in Pennsylvania, contact Metzger Wickersham injury lawyers at 1-800-WIN-WIN-1.