Hagelgans & Veronis - personal injury blog for the law firm in Lancaster, quarryville, Mounth Joy, and York, PA

How To Share the Road With Motorcycle Riders

As a driver, you’ve probably had a close call with a motorcycle. For instance, if a motorcycle was in your blind spot, you may not have seen them before you changed lanes.

Motorcyclists take their safety seriously by watching out for other vehicles and refraining from dangerous stunts like lane-splitting, but you can play a role in their safety as well.

When you’re driving a truck or car, it’s important to realize that driving a motorcycle is a different experience. Their small size and fast nature can make them intimidating, but you need to know how to coexist when you’re driving alongside one. By providing more information, we hope to make it easier to share the road and reduce the risk of motorcycle accidents. Continue reading “How To Share the Road With Motorcycle Riders”

Can I Sue A Drunk Driver?

Saint Patrick’s Day is near.  It is a fun filled day with parades and green beer.  Unfortunately, some partiers drink too much and drive drunk sometimes resulting in tragic accidents.  The lawyers at Hagelgans & Veronis have the knowledge and resources to go after drunk drivers and their insurance companies.   Each lawyer in the firm has over 25 years of experience fighting drunk drivers who cause injury and death to innocent victims.  Hagelgans & Veronis has recovered over 250 million dollars for their clients in the past 20 years.

Because drunk driving is illegal, a drunk driver can be prosecuted in both criminal and civil courts.   Hagelgans & Veronis are experienced lawyers who have pursued compensation for many persons and their families who have been injured or killed by a drunk driver in a civil lawsuit.   Did you know that these civil lawsuits can include damages for compensatory and sometimes punitive damages?  Compensatory damages are paid by the drunk driver’s insurance company to compensate the victim for his injuries and can include  damages for “pain and suffering”, lost income, unpaid medical bills and the loss of the injured person’s quality of life.   It can also compensate his family if the drunk driver’s actions result in the death of a loved one.  Punitive damages can sometimes be filed to punish the driver for driving drunk.  These damages are not covered by an insurance company but are paid by the driver himself if he has sufficient assets.

 

Limited or Full Tort Insurance and Your Legal Rights

Pennsylvania is a No-Fault state which means that a person’s own insurance pays for his medical bills first from his own insurance company regardless of who causes an accident.  These payments will be based on the amount of insurance a person purchased.

Pennsylvania law also has a tort system where a driver is required to elect either “Full Tort” or “Limited Tort” insurance when he purchases insurance.  Full Tort insurance gives an insured driver and his family the legal right to sue a responsible driver for any injuries suffered by that driver’s carelessness or negligence.   If a driver elects the cheaper “Limited Tort” insurance he limits his right to sue in some cases.

With “Limited Tort”, a driver or his family can sue for non-economic damages for “pain and suffering” only if he suffers “death”, “serious impairment of a bodily function” or “permanent serious disfigurement.”  There are notable exceptions to Limited Tort.  One exception is if the person who caused the accident is convicted of drunk driving or pleads guilty to it.  Call Hagelgans and Veronis for a free consultation to discuss the other exceptions to Limited Tort.

 

What Are Serious Injuries?

If you purchased limited-tort coverage, you need to know what Pennsylvania classifies as a serious injury. A serious injury, as defined by the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law, is “a personal injury resulting in death, serious impairment of bodily function, or permanent serious disfigurement.”

Unfortunately, the definition stops there. There is no list of serious injuries. Instead, the court debates and decides the seriousness of an injury.

If your injuries are serious, you can sue for medical bills, lost wages, and non-economic loses like pain and suffering.

Even if your injuries are not serious, you may still be able to sue. If you haven’t been compensated by an insurance company, or the policy holder’s limit doesn’t cover all of your expenses, you can file a civil suit to recover compensation.

Civil Suits Against Drunk Drivers

In most civil DUI cases in Pennsylvania, compensation will come from your insurance company if you have limited-tort coverage or the at-fault party’s insurance company if you have full-tort coverage.

You will likely win your case if the driver is convicted. Their insurance company will try to settle out of court before your civil case goes to trial.

In a civil suit, you can seek compensation for things like:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Property damage
  • Pain, suffering, and emotional damage, if you have full-tort coverage

Additionally, there are two Pennsylvania laws that can affect how much compensation you receive: comparative negligence rules and dram shop laws.

Pennsylvania’s Comparative Negligence Rule

Pennsylvania is a Comparative Negligence state which means that a person can only sue successfully for personal injury if he is not more than 50% at fault for an accident.  A person’s jury verdict or settlement is reduced by the percentage of fault which is attributable to a person who is suing for damages.  For example, if a jury awards $100,000, but finds that the Plaintiff (person suing) was 50% at fault, that person would receive a net award of $50,000.

Pennsylvania’s Dram Shop Laws

A dram shop is an establishment that sells alcohol like bars and restaurants.  Pennsylvania law can hold such an establishment legally responsible for selling alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person who then goes out and injures or kills an innocent person in a motor vehicle accident.  The experienced lawyers at Hagelgans & Veronis can explain what you will need to prove to pursue a dram shop case.  It is critical that you call us soon after an accident in that evidence can be lost if much time transpires from the time of your accident to your consultation with a lawyer.  Call us today for a free consultation.

Criminal Proceedings Against Drunk Drivers

Since drunk driving is illegal, the driver will face criminal charges whether you file a civil suit or not. The criminal case is meant to punish the at-fault driver, not compensate you for your damages.

While you won’t receive any money from a DUI conviction, it can help your case in civil court. You can help the police prove the driver was drunk by doing the following at the accident scene:

  • Listen for slurred speech or incoherent sentences.
  • Ask the police to conduct a Breathalyzer or field sobriety test.
  • Tell the police if you saw the driver use eye drops. This can be a sign of intoxication and/or drug use.
  • Let he police know if you saw the driver and any passengers switch seats after the accident.
  • Let the police know if you saw the driver throw away cans, bottles, or drug paraphernalia, or if there were open alcohol containers in their car.
  • Get a copy of the police report stating alcohol contributed to the accident.

Time Limitations for Filing Lawsuits

There is a strict time limitation for filing lawsuits called Statutes of Limitations.  For Wrongful Death and personal injury cases, you must file your case within two years of the death or injury suffered.    If you or a family member has been injured or killed by a drunk or careless driver, contact the law firm of Hagelgans & Veronis today for a free consultation to speak to an experienced lawyer.  We can be reached at 1-877-454-8529 or 717-295-7009.

 

How To Find The Best Nursing Home For Your Family

Seeing your loved one go from being active to becoming ill or sedentary is stressful and emotional. There’s a lot to think about, like where they’ll live and who will take care of them. In many cases, it falls to the elderly individual’s children to decide what’s best.

Some live close to their ailing family member and are able to care for them. Others are not so lucky. Living hundreds or thousands of miles away makes it difficult to provide the care and support needed.

Whether it’s your parents or another family member, there is a real possibility you may have to care for someone in their old age. They may need more care than you can provide, forcing you to put your relative in a nursing home. Since finding the right care facility can be trying, here’s some information to make it easier. Continue reading “How To Find The Best Nursing Home For Your Family”

Holiday Charity, Toy Drives Around Lancaster

Millions of adults and children struggle with poverty, making the holiday season a bleak one. For those who aren’t struggling, this time of year is an opportunity to step up and give to those less fortunate.

There are thousands of organizations, both local and nationwide, that make it easy to give this holiday season. Whether you can give a lot or a little, know that your donation is making someone else’s holiday a littler happier. We encourage you to check out this list of charity drives and events and find one you and your family can participate in this year. Continue reading “Holiday Charity, Toy Drives Around Lancaster”

Burn Injuries [Infographic]

Each year, thousands of people suffer burn injuries. Some burns are minor while others cause extensive damage. The following infographic lists various causes and the types of burns people may endure.

If you have suffered severe burn injuries because of someone’s neglectful behavior, contact our personal injury law firm and schedule a free consultation. You may be entitled to financial compensation. Continue reading “Burn Injuries [Infographic]”

What Cars and Trucks May Not Know About Motorcycles

When the snow and ice begin to clear and the sun finally starts to warm the air, everyone gets a little excited. We all look forward to blue skies, fair weather, and all the fun outdoor activities of spring and summer. For some, the ideal warm day is spent at the beach, for others it’s an opportunity to lounge around the pool and spend the afternoon reading, but few people get more excited for warmer weather than those who ride motorcycles. Continue reading “What Cars and Trucks May Not Know About Motorcycles”

DUI Facts

Pennsylvania DUI Laws:

DUI laws vary from state to state, however Pennsylvania has quite a few rules surrounding driving under the influence that everyone may not know.

For instance, did you know?

  • Pennsylvania has a “Implied Consent” law, meaning every driver on the roadway automatically consent to a chemical test if an officer suspects they are under the influence.
  • You can be arrested for DUI  in Pennsylvania even if you aren’t actually driving!

Take a look at the rest of these facts below! Continue reading “DUI Facts”

Posted in DUI

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