What Is a Controlled Substance?

What is a controlled substance? Certain medications and drugs are controlled under both Pennsylvania and federal law. In general, a controlled substance is a drug that is illegal unless it is prescribed. These drugs can harm your health, leading state and federal governments to regulate them. If you are caught with a controlled substance for which you do not have a valid prescription, you can face penalties, including prison time and fines.

Possessing a controlled substance is not always illegal. However, certain controlled substances are always illegal. You can learn whether a particular controlled substance is illegal by looking it up in the controlled substance schedules. If you are charged with the unlawful possession of a controlled substance, an experienced drug crimes attorney at DiCindio Law is available to help you defend against your charges.

The federal controlled substance schedules

Under federal law, controlled substances are those that are listed in the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, which includes schedules of drugs in five categories. Schedule I drugs are considered to be unsafe, have high abuse potentials, and are not recognized as having any accepted medical uses. Some examples of drugs that are classified in this schedule include LSD, heroin, ecstasy, peyote, and marijuana.

Schedule II drugs are drugs that have a high potential for abuse and that can cause physical or psychological dependence while also having some limited medical benefits. Some examples of drugs in this category include hydrocodone, methadone, oxycodone, opium, codeine, amphetamine, and methamphetamine.

Schedule III drugs are drugs that can cause a moderate level of physical dependence and a high level of psychological dependence but a lower potential for abuse. These drugs may have a recognized medical benefit and might be prescribed. Some of these drugs include suboxone, anabolic steroids, Tylenol with codeine, and ketamine.

Schedule IV drugs are drugs that may be prescribed and that have a lower abuse potential than the drugs found in Schedule III. These include drugs like Xanax, Ativan, Valium, Restoril, Klonopin, Soma, and Halcion.

Schedule V drugs primarily consist of preparations that contain limited amounts of narcotics such as cough syrups with codeine.

While it is illegal to possess any of the scheduled drugs without a prescription, it is not illegal when you have a valid prescription and have purchased the prescribed drug. If you have a prescription and have purchased one of the listed controlled substances, you cannot be prosecuted for possessing it.

The penalties that you might face for possessing controlled substances will depend on the type of drug that you possessed and the amount that was involved. It will also depend on whether you are charged under state or federal law. For example, if you are convicted of possessing 100 grams or more of cocaine in Pennsylvania, you will face a minimum sentence of four years in state prison up to a maximum of seven years. If you are charged with possessing 100 grams up to 499 grams of cocaine under federal law, you will face up to 20 years in prison. You can be prosecuted under both state and federal law for possessing substantial quantities of drugs with the intent to deliver, and your intent to deliver can be inferred when you possess a larger amount than what would be deemed to be for personal use.

Understanding the law that applies

Since the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 is a federal law, criminal cases that are prosecuted under it go through the federal court system. Pennsylvania has its own law called the Controlled Substances, Drugs, Device, and Cosmetics Act. Cases that are prosecuted under it go through the state criminal court system.

Federal laws preempt state laws. However, Pennsylvania and other states do have flexibility in how they enforce the CSA. Most states have adopted the Uniform Controlled Substances Act of 1973 and do not conflict with the CSA.

For marijuana, it remains illegal under the CSA. Pennsylvania has passed a medical marijuana law and allows people to possess medical marijuana for limited medical reasons. Recreational marijuana use is still illegal, however.

Controlled substances crimes

The CSA makes it illegal to do any of the following with counterfeit or controlled scheduled drugs:

  • Distribution, including importing, exporting, or trafficking
  • Manufacturing drugs
  • Possession with the intent to distribute, dispense, or manufacture
  • Dispensing drugs
  • Conspiring or attempting to do any of the above actions

These actions are interpreted vary broadly. Possessing a drug that is listed in the controlled substances schedules can be prosecuted and punished with imprisonment or a fine. The state laws in Pennsylvania vary and depend on the type of drug, the amount that is possessed, and the specific action in which you are alleged to have engaged. Possessing counterfeit controlled substances can also be prosecuted.

Contact an attorney at DiCindio Law

Understanding what is considered to be a controlled substance is important. If you are facing criminal charges for possessing a controlled substance, you should talk to a criminal defense lawyer at DiCindio Law as soon as possible. An attorney can help you to understand the potential penalties that you might face and help to design defense strategies to protect your rights. Contact us today to schedule an appointment by calling us at 610.430.3535.

Why Are Brain Injuries Common After a Slip and Fall?

Why Are Brain Injuries Common After a Slip and Fall?

Why are brain injuries common after a slip-and-fall? When many Pennsylvanians think about slip-and-fall accidents, they generally imagine suffering sprains, strains, or fractures. Some slip-and-fall accidents can cause traumatic brain injuries that can range from concussions to permanently disabling injuries. Understanding how brain injuries can be common after beincaused by slip-and-fall accidents is important. If you or your loved one has suffered a serious brain injury in an accident while visiting the property of someone else, talk to DiCindio Law for a free case evaluation.

What are traumatic brain injuries?

Fluid surrounds the brain inside of the skull to cushion the brain and to prevent it from contacting the bones surrounding it. However, when your head is jarred, it can cause your brain to bounce into your skull and cause injuries. The severity of your brain injury will depend on the severity of the blow to your head and can range from a mild injury to a severe TBI with lifelong impacts.

What are the symptoms of a TBI?

Mild TBIs generally will not be life-threatening, but you should still get treatment from your doctor. Some of the types of symptoms that you might expect from a mild concussion include the following:

  • Headaches
  • Brief loss of consciousness
  • Vomiting
  • Sensitivity to light or sound
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Blurred vision or ringing ears
  • Trouble concentrating

The symptoms of moderate or severe TBI will include the same symptoms listed above as well as the following additional symptoms:

  • Headaches that grow worse
  • Seizures or convulsions
  • Longer loss of consciousness
  • Difficulty waking up
  • Numbness of the toes and fingers
  • Slurred speech
  • Behavioral changes such as combativeness
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty with motor control

If you have slipped and fallen and experience any of these types of symptoms after hitting your head, you should get medical attention immediately.

Why TBIs can happen in slip-and-fall accidents

Most people instinctively break their falls with their hands and arms. However, you can still hit your head in a slip-and-fall accident. For example, you can hit your head on a nearby object during your fall, including a countertop, shelf, chair, or table. You can also slip and fall backward and be unable to break your fall with your arms or strike your head on stairs when you fall down a staircase. Any of these types of scenarios can cause a serious blow to your head and a traumatic brain injury. Getting immediate medical attention can improve your chances of fully recovering from your injuries.

How are traumatic brain injuries treated?

The treatment for a TBI will depend on the severity of the injury. For a mild concussion, a doctor will likely recommend bed rest and over-the-counter pain medications. Most mild concussions resolve themselves in about 10 days. Moderate to severe TBIs require intensive treatments, however. Since behaviors, speech, and motor control are controlled by specific regions of the brain, injuries to those areas will cause problems with these functions. 

People who have suffered TBI’s commonly need the following interventions:

  • Occupational therapy to help them return to work
  • Physical therapy to rebuild motor skills
  • Speech therapy for communication
  • Behavioral therapy because of behavioral changes that can occur

Around 50% of people who suffer severe TBI’s will require surgery to repair ruptured blood vessels and to relieve pressure on the brain caused by contusions. While some types of disability might respond to therapeutic intervention, many people who suffer severe TBI’s will be disabled for the remainder of their lives.

When can people sue for TBI’s in slip-and-fall accidents?

Many people fall, but not all falling accidents will form the basis of a personal injury lawsuit. You will only have grounds to file a legal claim against people or entities that were responsible for causing your fall. Pennsylvania property owners and businesses must maintain their premises in a reasonably safe condition for their customers and guests. For a property owner or business to be liable for your slip-and-fall accident and injuries, they must have fallen below the expected standard of care. 

Some examples of situations that might form the grounds for a valid slip-and-fall claim include the following:

  • Mopping floors of a business without putting up cones or warning signs for customers
  • Failing to inspect and repair stairs that become loose over time
  • Failing to replace loose tiles or torn carpets
  • Leaving debris or objects in the floor
  • Failing to clean up spills

To prove that the property owner or business was negligent, you will need to prove they either knew or should have known about the dangerous condition. This might include showing that the condition existed for a sufficiently long time that the owner or business should have discovered and repaired it.

For trespassers, the duty of care owed by property owners is very low. Most trespassers will not have grounds to file a claim after slipping and falling on the property of others unless the property owners intentionally set traps or engaged in willful or wanton negligence to cause harm to them. There is an exception for cases involving trespassing children, however. Landowners must take steps to prevent children from entering their property because of attractive nuisances like swimming pools.

Damages for traumatic brain injuries in slip-and-fall accidents

Because of the nature of traumatic brain injuries, the treatments can be expensive. Some people will be unable to return to their jobs and might need round-the-clock care. 

When a property owner is at fault for the slip-and-fall accident, some of the types of damages that might be recoverable include the following:

  • Past, current, and future medical expenses
  • Rehabilitation costs
  • Lost wages
  • Lost capacity to earn income in the future
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of consortium

The amount of compensation that might be available will depend on several factors, including the defendant’s insurance coverage, the extent and severity of your injuries, whether you were partially to blame for your accident, and others. An experienced personal injury and premises liability attorney at DiCindio Law can review what happened and value your claim so that you might know what to expect.

Call DiCindio Law today

Suffering a traumatic brain injury in a slip-and-fall accident can negatively impact your life and relationships. We hope this has provided you with all the information you need for why are brain injuries common after a slip-and-fall. DiCindio Law helps the victims of slip-and-fall accidents to recover damages from the liable parties. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation by calling us at 610.430.3535.

How to Prove Liability in Pennsylvania Slip & Fall Claims

How to Prove Liability in Pennsylvania Slip & Fall Claims

How to prove liability in Pennsylvania slip and fall claims. Fall accidents are very common in the U.S. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an average of three million older adults are treated in the emergency department every year for fall injuries, and 800,000 people are hospitalized for injuries that they have sustained in falls. When fall accidents happen when people are visiting the property of others, the property owners might be liable in some cases but not liable in others.

If you have been injured after slipping or tripping and falling while you were visiting a business, the private property of another person, or public property, you might wonder whether you can recover damages to compensate you for the losses that you have suffered. In some cases, property owners will not be liable for injuries in fall accidents. For example, a business might not be liable if you slipped and fell in something that was spilled in the seconds before your accident because the business would not have had time to discover the spill and clean it. Property owners also will often not be found to be liable when people slip and fall because of something that a reasonable person would be expected to see and avoid.

Property owners are required to keep their properties in reasonably safe conditions for people who are legally present. Slip-and-fall accident cases frequently turn on the reasonableness of the property owners’ actions to prevent falls and the negligence of the victims in failing to avoid falling. Determining liability in a potential slip-and-fall claim is important to figure out whether the claim has legal merits. The legal team at DiCindio Law can evaluate claims and explain whether the victims have grounds to file lawsuits and recover damages.

Liability in slip-and-fall cases

Before you can recover damages after suffering injuries in a slip-and-fall accident, you will need to be able to prove that the business or property owner was liable for what happened to you

To succeed, you will need to show that one of the following situations occurred in your case:

  • The hazardous condition that caused your fall was created by the property owner or an employee.
  • The property owner or an employee must have known about the dangerous condition but failed to do anything about it.
  • The property owner or an employee should have known about the dangerous condition because a reasonably prudent person would have discovered and fixed it.

Out of the three scenarios, the third one is the most common. However, it is also not as clear-cut as the other two because plaintiffs must prove that the property owner should have known about the hazardous condition. In these types of cases, liability frequently is determined by common sense. A jury will determine whether the property owner was appropriately careful by examining the steps that the owner took to ensure that the property remained safe.

Determining reasonableness

In many slip-and-fall negligence claims, the reasonableness of the defendant’s actions will be important. The court will look at whether the property owner engaged in regular and thorough activities to try to maintain the property in a clean and safe condition. For example, if you tripped and fell over a broken or torn area of the floor or carpet or slipped on a slick area, determining how long the dangerous spot had been there will be important to show that the owner either knew or should have known about it.

If the property owner has a regular schedule or procedure for inspecting and cleaning the premises, you will want to get copies of any proof that the owner has that the maintenance was conducted. For example, the business might have a maintenance and inspection log that the employees initial.

If you fell because you tripped over an object that someone had left on the ground, the reason why the object was placed there will be important. If there was a legitimate reason for its placement, you might not have grounds to file a claim. However, if the reason for the object being placed there no longer exists, you will want to explore whether it could have been removed or made safe in a different way. You will also want to investigate whether the object could have been placed in a different, safer spot without substantial expense or inconvenience caused to the property owner. If there wasn’t a barrier around the object or a warning sign, you will also want to determine whether a barrier or sign could have prevented your accident from happening.

The lighting conditions can also be important in some cases. For example, if you tripped and fell while walking on stairs, you might have grounds to file a lawsuit if the stairwell was dark because of inadequate or broken lighting.

Your negligence or carelessness

In most slip-and-fall cases, determining whether the victim contributed to his or her accident will also be important. Pennsylvania follows a rule of modified comparative negligence. Under 42 Pa.C.S. § 7102, contributing to your accident will not be a bar to recovering damages as long as your negligence did not exceed the negligence of the defendant. However, your recovery will be reduced by the percentage of fault that is attributed to you. For example, if a jury determines that you were 49% at fault and the defendant was 51% at fault, you can still recover damages. Your award will be reduced by 49%, however. If the jury determines that your negligence was greater than the negligence of the defendant, you will not be able to recover damages.

Defendants commonly try to argue that the plaintiffs were careless and caused their accidents. They do this to try to limit their liability or avoid it altogether. This makes it important for you to evaluate your actions to determine whether your carelessness might prevent you from recovering damages. 

Some things to consider include the following:

  • Whether you had a valid and foreseeable reason for being in the area where the dangerous condition was located
  • Whether a reasonable person would have noticed and avoided the dangerous condition
  • Whether warning signs were placed in the area
  • Whether you were distracted by your smartphone
  • Whether you were engaging in unreasonable actions such as running, skipping, or jumping

Get help from DiCindio Law

Determining liability is the first step in figuring out whether you can recover damages after a slip-and-fall accident. An attorney at DiCindio Law can help by evaluating what happened and explaining the legal options and remedies that might be available. Contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation by calling us at 610.430.3535.

Types of Drug Crimes

There are a variety of different types of drug crimes that can be charged in Pennsylvania. The various drug offenses are penalized differently by the courts and depend on several factors, including your intent, the type of drug, the amount, your criminal history, and other factors. Knowing the potential consequences and the different types of drug crimes can help you to understand what you might expect if you are charged. The legal team at DiCindio Law can help you to understand your charges and the options that are available to you. Here is an overview of the different types of drug crimes in Pennsylvania.

Simple possession of drugs

It is illegal to possess controlled substances in Pennsylvania under both state and federal laws. However, if you have a valid prescription for a scheduled drug, you are exempt from prosecution. Many substances are illegal under the law, including LSD, methamphetamines, cocaine, heroin, and marijuana. Pennsylvania does allow the possession of small amounts of marijuana for medical purposes for people who have medical licenses, but the recreational use of marijuana is illegal in the state. You can also be charged with simple possession if you are found to possess a controlled prescription drug without a valid prescription.

If you are found to have a small amount of illegal drugs for your personal use, you might face misdemeanor charges and the potential for a fine and jail time. To prove that you illegally possessed a drug, the prosecutor will have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you knew that you had the drug in your possession and that it was illegal. The penalties for simple possession of drugs are much lower than the penalties for possession of drugs with the intent to deliver or distribute them.

Possession with the intent to sell or distribute drugs

Possessing drugs with the intent to sell or distribute them carries more serious penalties than simple possession. The police might charge you with this offense if you are found with a large amount of drugs, have scales or baggies, or observed you loitering in an area that is known for drug sales. Possession with the intent to distribute is commonly charged as a felony carrying the potential for a prison sentence and a substantial fine.

Possession of drug paraphernalia

You can be charged with possession of drug paraphernalia if you are found with the tools needed to sell, store, create, or consume drugs even if you are not found with the actual drugs. If you are found with drugs and with paraphernalia, you can be charged with two offenses, including the possession offense and the drug paraphernalia offend. 

Some examples of drug paraphernalia that can result in charges include the following:

  • Bongs
  • Syringes
  • Scales
  • Pipes
  • Spoons
  • Baggies

Normally, a combination of these items will result in charges. For example, if you are found with a package of baggies, that would not be enough to charge you with a crime. However, if you are found with small baggies together with a scale and other indicators of drug use or sales, you could be charged with possession of drug paraphernalia.

Manufacturing or cultivating drugs

Drug manufacturing or cultivation can result in serious felony charges. If you are caught with the materials and equipment to manufacture drugs, you can face these types of charges. A conviction will typically result in a prison sentence, stiff fines, and a felony on your record. If you are found guilty of manufacturing or cultivating drugs near a school, your sentence can be doubled.

Drug trafficking

Drug trafficking is among the most serious drug charges that can be charged. If you are caught importing, selling, smuggling, or transporting illegal drugs, the punishment can be severe. Drug trafficking is a serious felony. The penalties that you might face will depend on the quantity of drugs that are found by the police, the location of where they are distributed, the type of drugs, and whether you targeted minors. Drug trafficking can be prosecuted under both state and federal laws.

Factors influencing the penalties for drug crimes

Typically, the penalties for different drug convictions increase with the number of prior drug convictions. 

Courts consider several factors when determining the penalties to impose, including the following:

  • Whether it is your first, second, or subsequent conviction
  • The nature of your prior drug convictions
  • How much time has elapsed between your current charge and your past drug conviction
  • The weight or amount of the drug in your possession
  • The type of drug that you possessed
  • How the drugs were packaged
  • Whether the amount of drugs was small or large

If you had large quantities of drugs in your possession, you will likely face felony charges and the potential for a long prison sentence regardless of whether it is your first or subsequent offense. If it is your first offense for simple possession, the penalties will be less severe and might allow you to avoid jail time.

Get help from DiCindio Law for drug crimes

Regardless of the severity of your drug charges, you should get help from an experienced drug crimes attorney. An experienced attorney might have a better chance of mitigating the penalties that you might face. At DiCindio Law, Michael DiCindio is a skilled defense lawyer who used to work as a prosecuting attorney. He understands how the state prosecutes drug offenses and can work to develop a strong defensive approach. Contact us today to schedule a consultation by calling us at 610.430.3535.

Who pays your medical bills after a slip and fall?

Who pays your medical bills after a slip and fall?

Who pays your medical bills after a slip and fall? While slip-and-fall accidents in Pennsylvania happen fairly often and may result in minor injuries such as strains or sprains, some people suffer serious injuries that can cost thousands of dollars in medical expenses. If you are seriously injured in a slip-and-fall accident because of the negligence of the property owner, you might be overwhelmed by the sudden onslaught of unexpected medical bills because of your injuries. Figuring out who will be responsible for paying your medical bills after you are injured in a slip-and-fall accident is important. Here is some information about medical costs that the legal team at DiCindio Law thinks that you should know.

The injured victim’s responsibility for paying medical costs

In a majority of cases, people who are injured in slip-and-fall accidents will be responsible for paying their initial medical expenses. However, there is an exception in cases in which the property owners have medical payments coverage on their premises liability policies. Insurance policies that include medical payments coverage will cover medical costs that an accident victim suffers on the premises of the property owner up to a specified cap. Any costs that exceed the cap will be the injured victim’s responsibility.

After a slip-and-fall accident that results in serious injuries, medical bills can quickly pile up. Many people are overwhelmed by the unexpected financial burden caused by testing, emergency department visits, surgeries, and follow-up care. These high costs can add up quickly, making it important for you to get help from an experienced personal injury attorney at DiCindio Law as soon as possible. A lawyer can help you to navigate the claims process so that you can deal with your medical and treatment costs after your slip-and-fall accident.

The property owner’s responsibility

As previously discussed, businesses may carry medical payments insurance as a part of their general liability insurance policies. Homeowners might also carry this type of coverage as a part of their homeowners’ insurance policies. Property owners elect this type of coverage to protect them from the risk of accidents on their premises. Regardless of fault, this type of coverage is a type of financial protection for businesses and homeowners.

Property owners and businesses understand that it is difficult to operate and manage premises that are completely safe and free of hazards. This is why some businesses and property owners carry medical payments insurance coverage. The insurance will pay for the injured victim’s medical bills up to a set amount.

If a property owner offers to pay for your medical costs, you should be cautious, however. A personal injury lawyer might examine what happened to make sure that all of your losses are covered.

Medical insurance and other important considerations

If the property owner asks for you to sign a document that could affect your future ability to file a claim in exchange for paying for your medical bills, do not do it. You should never sign a waiver with a property owner and accept payment. If you do, you could be barred from seeking additional damages to compensate you for your other losses. If you are presented with an offer and a document to sign, you should simply tell the property owner or business that you want to talk to your personal injury lawyer before you will agree to anything. Your attorney can properly value your claim and figure out the types of relief that might be available to you for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.

If you have medical insurance, Medicaid, or Medicare, it should pay for a percentage of your initial medical expenses minus any deductibles and copays. If you use your medical insurance to pay for part of your medical bills, you should be aware that the insurance company will likely want to be repaid for the costs it paid for your care if you negotiate a settlement of your injury claim against the property owner. If you do not have medical coverage, you will be financially responsible for the other costs of receiving medical care and attention.

Recovering damages in a slip-and-fall accident claim

The amount of money that you might recover in a slip-and-fall accident claim will depend on several factors, including the severity of your injuries, your likelihood of recovery, and whether you contributed to the cause of your accident. 

When you file a personal injury claim for a slip-and-fall accident case, the types of damages that you might recover include the following:

  • Past and future expected medical bills
  • Rehabilitation costs
  • Past lost wages
  • Future reduction of your earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional anguish
  • Disability

Medical expenses and wage losses are fairly easy to calculate. However, the noneconomic losses are more difficult to value. Many attorneys and insurance companies take the value of a claimant’s medical expenses and multiply them by a factor from one to five. A higher factor is used in cases in which the injuries are severe and the likelihood of full recovery is low.

If you accept a property owner’s offer to pay your medical bills in an early settlement offer, you will not be able to seek to recover compensation to pay for your other losses. An experienced injury lawyer can help you to understand the value of your claim and work to negotiate a fair settlement for you.

Get help from DiCindio Law

Following a slip-and-fall accident in which you were injured, you might find yourself overwhelmed by unmanageable medical bills. Getting help from an experienced injury lawyer at DiCindio Law might allow you to figure out how to pay for your medical costs. A lawyer may also help you to recover damages that will fairly compensate you for all of your losses. Contact us today to schedule a free evaluation of your case by calling us at 610.430.3535.

What happens in a side-impact collision?

What happens in a side-impact collision?

What happens in a side-impact collision? Side-impact crashes are also called T-bone or broadside accidents. These accidents occur when the front of a vehicle collides into the side of a different vehicle. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 25% of all traffic fatalities each year are caused by side-impact collisions. These accidents most frequently occur at intersections when drivers run red lights or fail to stop at stop signs. Even when these collisions occur at low speeds, severe injuries can happen to the occupants of the car that is broad-sided. If you have been seriously injured in a side-impact collision because of the actions of another driver, you may be entitled to compensation. The legal team at DiCindio Law can review what happened in your case and provide you with an honest analysis of the options that might be available to you.

What are the causes of side-impact collisions?

Side-impact crashes frequently result from the carelessness or recklessness of one or more drivers. Some of the most common causes of these types of accidents include the following: 

Distracted driving, including texting while driving, talking on the phone, eating or drinking, or taking your eyes off of the road:

  • Drunk or drugged driving
  • Speeding
  • Trying to make it through a light before it turns red
  • Failing to yield
  • Inattentive driving
  • Drowsy driving
  • Making an unsafe left turn
  • Failing to yield the right-of-way at four-way stops

Side-impact collisions can happen when drivers fail to obey traffic laws or engage in careless or reckless driving behaviors. When they occur, the people in the car that is impacted frequently do not have any time to react before the collision occurs.

Common injuries in side-impact collisions

Side-impact crashes can cause serious injuries. Cars do not have as much protection along their sides as they do in the front or rear. When vehicles are struck from behind, the trunk helps to absorb some of the impacts. Similarly, vehicles that are struck from the front have the engine compartment and hood to absorb some of the forces of the collision. When a vehicle crashes into the side of a vehicle, only the door stands between the occupants and the striking vehicle. While newer vehicles might have side airbags, they are often insufficient to absorb all of the forces that are released in these types of crashes. 

Because of these issues, people who are occupying cars that are involved in side-impact crashes may suffer multiple, serious injuries, including the following:

  • Whiplash injuries
  • Fractures to the upper extremities
  • Fractured ribs
  • Fractures to the lower extremities
  • Serious traumatic brain injuries
  • Burns, bruises, and lacerations
  • Organ damage
  • Spinal cord injuries and paralysis

Other injuries are also possible in side-impact crashes. If you have suffered serious injuries or have lost your loved one in a side-impact collision, you may be entitled to recover damages from the at-fault driver through a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.

What to do after a side-impact collision

In the immediate aftermath of a crash, it can be difficult to know what to do. Keeping the following tips in mind can help you if you are involved in a side-impact crash.

You should always stop at the scene and park your vehicle in a safe location. Call 911 and wait for help to arrive. Check everyone involved for injuries, and provide help to any people who are injured. If you can, photograph the damage to both cars and the scene, making sure to get photos of nearby traffic control devices, stop signs, speed limit signs, weather conditions, and other relevant information. If any witnesses saw what happened, take down their names and contact information.

Make sure to exchange information with the other driver. You should provide your name, driver’s license information, registration, and insurance information. You should also get the same information from the other driver. Document the make, model, and license plate of the other vehicle. When the police arrive, tell them what happened, but do not apologize or accept blame. Make sure to go to the hospital or your doctor for medical attention. Some injuries might not show symptoms for hours after an accident, and getting immediate treatment can help you to identify and treat your injuries to help to improve your chances of fully recovering from them.

Do not make any statements to the other party’s insurance company or sign any documents. Insurance companies try to get statements that they can use against you. The insurance company might also ask you to sign a medical release and tell you that it needs the information to verify your injuries. Do not agree to do this. The company can use the release to dig through your medical history so that it can try to blame your injuries on some other event. When you are contacted by a company, politely explain that you want to consult with an attorney before you will give any statement or sign anything. Once you have an attorney, all of the communication will be directed to him or her.

The importance of an attorney following a side-impact crash

Attorneys understand how insurance companies defend against claims. Since side-impact crashes often cause severe injuries, the claims typically involve large sums of money. This means that the insurance company will likely aggressively defend against your claim. Having the help of an attorney who can anticipate the different defenses that might be raised can help you to avoid making costly mistakes and build a strong case of liability. Attorneys may thoroughly investigate what happened and work with experts to demonstrate the liability of the other driver and the extent of your injuries and losses.

Potential damages in a side-impact crash

The damages that might be available to you will depend on your injuries, how long it will take you to recover, and the extent of your losses. In a personal injury lawsuit following a side-impact crash, the available damages might include both economic and non-economic damages. Your economic damages might include things like your medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, out-of-pocket expenses, wage losses, and property losses. Your non-economic damages might include pain and suffering, loss of consortium, disfigurement, disability, and emotional anguish. Your attorney can help to value your claim so that you can have a general idea of what it might be worth.

Contact DiCindio Law

A side-impact crash can cause devastating injuries and losses. If you have been injured in this type of collision, you need to talk to an attorney as soon as possible. Call DiCindio Law today to schedule a consultation at 610.430.3535.

Is The Person in the Back Always at Fault in a Rear-End Collision?

Is The Person in the Back Always at Fault in a Rear-End Collision?

Is the person in the back always at fault in a rear-end collision? Rear-end accidents are among the most common types of motor vehicle accidents that happen in Pennsylvania. In most rear-end collisions, the rear driver will be at fault for causing the accident because of his or her negligence. However, liability is not automatically assigned to the rear driver. In some cases, the front driver may be solely or partially at fault for causing the rear-end collision. At DiCindio Law, we can help you to determine who is at fault in a rear-end collision and explain the merits of your potential accident claim.

Negligence in a rear-end collision

To recover damages after a rear-end collision, you will need to prove that the other driver was negligent and caused the accident. The concept of negligence is based on the idea that everyone is expected to conduct themselves in a manner that keeps the best interests of others in mind. When someone fails in this duty and the violation of the duty causes an accident and injuries, they are considered to have acted negligently.

Proving negligence in a rear-end collision requires you to prove each of the legal elements that constitute a negligence cause of action by a preponderance of the evidence. 

The elements of negligence include the following:

  • The defendant had a duty of care that he or she owed to the plaintiff.
  • The defendant’s actions violated the duty of care.
  • The violation of the duty of care directly or approximately caused the accident and injuries.
  • The plaintiff suffered actual harm as a result.

All motorists are considered to have a duty to operate their vehicles safely and carefully, which makes proving the first element of negligence fairly simple in most cases. After proving that the duty existed, you will then need to prove that the defendant’s actions violated the duty of care. 

Motorists can breach the duty of care in many different ways, including the following:

  • Speeding
  • Driving too fast for the conditions
  • Tailgating
  • Distracted driving
  • Inattentive driving
  • Impaired driving
  • Failing to properly repair and maintain the vehicle
  • Unsafe lane changes

If a driver violated traffic laws, it can help to prove that a breach of the duty of care occurred. However, you must still prove that the violation was the direct or proximate cause of your accident and injuries. For example, if the other driver was texting on his or her cell phone and slammed into the rear of your vehicle, the causation of your accident and injuries will be fairly easy to prove. However, if the driver violated an unrelated traffic law such as failing to wear his or her seatbelt, it will not be useful for proving causation. Finally, even if you prove that a breach occurred and that it caused your accident, you will still need to prove that you suffered actual harm. If you were not injured, you will not be able to recover damages in a personal injury action.

Determining fault in a rear-end collision

In most cases, people will assume that the rear drivers are at fault in rear-end collisions because they failed to follow at a safe distance so that they could stop in time. While this is true in many cases, there are some situations in which the front driver will be partially at fault or wholly at fault. For example, if someone is driving on a dark, rural road at night without functioning taillights and is rear-ended by someone who could not see his or her vehicle, the front driver will likely be found to be at fault for the accident. Similarly, if the front driver suddenly changed lanes directly in front of the rear driver’s car, causing the rear vehicle to collide with the front car’s back end, the front driver will likely be found to be at fault.

Front drivers may also share some of the fault in some cases. For example, if a driver suddenly stops to turn left but does not execute the turn, both drivers may share liability for the accident. Drivers whose vehicles suffer malfunctions and who fail to turn on their hazard lights might also be found to be partly to blame for their accidents. In those types of situations, the jury will determine the percentage of fault to attribute to each driver.

Understanding comparative negligence

In rear-end collisions in which both drivers shared fault, both will have varying degrees of negligence for the accidents. Pennsylvania follows a modified comparative negligence rule. Under this rule, plaintiffs who share some of the fault for their accidents are not barred from recovering damages as long as their degree of fault does not exceed the fault attributed to the other drivers. Their damages will be reduced by a percentage equal to the percentage of fault that is attributed to them.

For example, if you are awarded $100,000 by a jury that finds that you were 30% at fault, your damages will be reduced by 30% for a net recovery amount of $70,000. However, if your fault is determined to be 51%, you will not be able to recover any damages for your losses.

In some rear-end accidents, more than one party might be liable. In those cases, the jury will determine the percentage of fault held by each of the liable parties. Each party will then be responsible for paying the percentage of damages assigned to him or her.

Get help from an experienced accident attorney

Being injured in a rear-end accident might leave you facing mounting medical expenses, losses of income, and other losses. If your accident was caused by the negligence of someone else, you may be able to recover damages for your losses. An experienced lawyer can help you to determine liability for your accident so that you can understand whether your claim has merits. Contact an attorney at DiCindio Law today to schedule a free consultation by calling us at 610.430.3535.

Understanding Broadside Collisions and the Damage They Cause

Understanding Broadside Collisions and the Damage They Cause

Understanding broadside collisions and the damage they cause is our topic for today. Broadside collisions are among the most dangerous types of car accidents in Pennsylvania. If you have been injured in a broadside collision, you might remember the moment in which you realized another char was about to slam into the side of your car, and you probably could not do anything about it. These types of accidents often happen in intersections, and they can result in serious injuries or fatalities for people who are occupying the vehicles that are hit. If you have suffered serious injuries in this type of accident or have lost your loved one, the legal team at DiCindio Law can help you to recover the compensation to which you should be entitled.

What is a broadside collision?

There are three main types of car accidents, including rear-end accidents, head-on accidents, and broadside accidents. Of the three, rear-end accidents are the most common. While they can result in serious injuries, many people are also able to escape with minor injuries from rear-end collisions. Head-on collisions are the most dangerous and cause the greatest number of fatalities. This is because of the speed of the involved vehicles and the physical forces that are released by the impact. Broadside collisions are the second-most dangerous type of car accident and cause the second-highest number of deaths.

Broadside collisions are also known as side-impact crashes or T-bone accidents. These accidents happen when one vehicle strikes another car, SUV, or truck on its side. Many of these accidents happen in intersections and might result when the at-fault driver fails to obey a traffic control device or runs a stop sign, crashing into a vehicle that is traveling through the intersection.

Many vehicles have fewer safety features on their sides as compared to the front and rear areas. This means that the buffer between the people sitting in the passenger or driver seats is minimal. Side-impact airbags have helped to reduce the risk, but they have not eliminated it. By contrast, rear-end accidents have the trunk area to absorb some of the forces in a collision, and head-on accidents have the engine compartment to absorb some of the forces. When a vehicle strikes another one on its side, the physical forces do not have anything else to absorb them, and they travel inside of the passenger compartment. In many of these accidents, the vehicle that collides with the other car is traveling at a high rate of speed. This can cause the car that is struck to collide into an object or a third vehicle.

Common injuries in a broadside collision

People who are in vehicles that are hit on the side can suffer serious injuries, including the following:

  • Fractures
  • Serious lacerations
  • Severe abrasions
  • Damage to the organs
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Whiplash
  • Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
  • Disfigurement and scarring
  • Crush injuries
  • Amputations

Broadside collisions can cause lifelong injuries and disabilities. The injuries can be worse when the vehicle that broadsides the other car is a larger vehicle, including a truck, tractor-trailer, van, or SUV.

Causes of broadside collisions

Broadside collisions are nearly always caused by driver negligence. Some of the common causes of broadside accidents include the following:

  • Driving through a four-way intersection without stopping
  • Failing to yield the right-of-way at a four-way intersection
  • Speeding up to try to beat a red light
  • Crossing turn lanes without waiting for oncoming cars
  • Distracted driving
  • Reckless or aggressive driving
  • Racing
  • Drunk or drugged driving
  • Mechanical problems like failed brakes
  • Inclement weather conditions
  • Road rage

Dangers of side-impact collisions

When a vehicle is struck on the side, it absorbs the full impact of the crash at whatever speed the other vehicle is traveling. Even if your vehicle has side airbags, some of these collisions happen at such a great speed that the airbags cannot adequately protect you. Most drivers do not see the oncoming vehicle in time to take any evasive actions to avoid a side-impact crash, making the impact even greater. Drivers who strike other vehicles also may not engage the brakes and might be traveling at high rates of speed.

Proving a side-impact accident claim

To prove a side-impact collision claim, plaintiffs must show that the other driver was negligent and caused the accident and injuries. To prove negligence in this type of crash, attorneys might work with accident reconstruction experts to show what happened in the moments leading up to the accident. They might also have investigators contact all of the witnesses and interview them. Attorneys may gather any video evidence that might be available and review phone records, photographs, witness statements, police reports, and medical records to show the extent of the injuries suffered by the victims.

Many people who are seriously injured in broadside collisions face a staggering amount of medical expenses for their medical care and long-term rehabilitation and treatment. People who are injured in these types of collisions also may be unable to return to their jobs and face lifelong disabilities. Filing a personal injury claim after a side-impact collision might allow people to recover compensation for all of their pecuniary losses as well as their non-economic losses. 

Some of the recoverable damages in a side-impact collision claim might include the following:

  • Past, current, and future medical and rehabilitation costs
  • Past lost wages
  • Future reduction in your earnings capacity
  • Property losses
  • Funeral and burial expenses in wrongful death claims
  • Lost inheritance rights in wrongful death claims
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Emotional trauma
  • Disability
  • Disfigurement and scarring
  • Loss of the ability to enjoy life
  • Loss of consortium and guidance

Get help from DiCindio Law

If you have suffered serious injuries or have lost your loved one in a broadside collision, you may be entitled to recover damages. Contact DiCindio Law today to schedule a consultation and learn how we can help by calling us at 610.430.3535.

What injuries can happen in a car accident?

What injuries can happen in a car accident?

What injuries can happen in a car accident? Many people in Pennsylvania are injured each year in car accidents. Nearly any type of injury can be caused by a car accident. Motor vehicle accident injuries can range from minor injuries to severe or fatal injuries. Generally, motor vehicle injuries can be divided into penetrating or impact injuries. Penetrating injuries occur when a victim’s body is penetrated by an object during the collision. Impact injuries happen when the victim strikes part of the vehicle. Some injuries are more minor and can be resolved naturally or through a course of treatment while others may require the victims to undergo extensive medical procedures. Unfortunately, some car accident injuries may cause the victims to suffer lifelong disabilities. All of these factors influence the compensation that a car accident victim might recover in a car accident claim.

The types of injuries that are suffered by a victim may be affected by the mechanics of the accident and its type. For example, the direction that the victim was facing relative to the direction of the impact can make a large difference. The speed of the collision and whether the victim was using a seatbelt and had functioning airbags are also important. When a victim fails to use proper safety precautions, it can cause a reduction of the recoverable damages because of the principle of modified comparative negligence. At DiCindio Law, we can help you to understand the potential value of your claim based on your injuries and the other relevant factors. Here are some of the most common types of injuries that happen in car accidents.

Traumatic brain injuries

Many people suffer from traumatic brain injuries when they strike their heads during a collision. These types of injuries can range from mild to severe injuries. The severity of a TBI might depend on the person and where his or her head was positioned as related to the point of impact. While minor traumatic brain injuries might resolve over a few weeks, serious TBIs can cause lifelong disabilities or be life-threatening.

For example, in a low-speed crash, a victim’s head might hit the window or steering wheel, causing a minor concussion that can resolve naturally with bedrest over a period of weeks. By contrast, a high-speed collision or a wreck that cause a vehicle to overturn can result in severe TBIs and permanent brain damage.

It can be difficult to diagnose traumatic brain injuries. If you suspect that you might have suffered a TBI in a car accident, you should seek prompt medical attention to ensure that you can receive any treatment that you might need.

Fractures

Fractures are common car accident injuries. Bones break when the force that is applied to a bone is stronger than the bone itself. Bone fractures can be simple or compound. In a simple fracture, the bone is broken without leaving an open wound. A compound fracture occurs when the bone penetrates the skin, leaving an open wound.

People are normally immediately aware that they have suffered fractures. If you break a bone in a car crash, you may be unable to move the part of the body that is fractured without extreme pain. When you see a doctor, he or she will be able to quickly diagnose a fracture and provide the necessary treatment.

Back and spinal cord injuries

Injuries to the spinal column are common in serious car accidents. If the spinal cord injury is severe, paralysis can result. Back injuries such as herniated or ruptured discs can also occur. Back injuries may not be immediately obvious. Instead, people might experience pain from herniated discs that show up after several days. Any time a spinal cord injury is suspected, the victim should be taken to the hospital immediately. in some cases, it is possible to treat the spinal cord injury in time to prevent permanent paralysis.

Whiplash

Whiplash is a very common type of injury in a car accident. This type of injury is especially common in rear-end collisions. People in the front vehicle may suffer whiplash injuries when their necks and heads are violently thrown forward and then overextend backward before returning to the normal position. The violent back-and-forth movement can cause injuries to the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the neck and shoulders. Some of the symptoms of whiplash include headaches, stiffness, a reduced range of motion, pain, and nausea.

People might not experience pain from whiplash injuries until a few days after their accidents. Most cases of whiplash resolve after a few weeks. However, in serious whiplash cases, people may experience ongoing pain for months or years.

Psychological and emotional injuries

While people might not immediately think about psychological or emotional injuries in car accidents, they can occur after experiencing traumatic incidents. Some people might develop post-traumatic stress disorder when they are involved in serious accidents in which others are severely injured. Others may develop a phobia of driving or develop major depression if the accident caused fatalities or severe injuries to other passengers.

What to do after you have been injured in a car accident

Knowing the most common types of injuries that can result in car crashes can help you to understand what steps you should take after an accident. An important takeaway is that you should always seek immediate medical attention after an accident even if you are unsure that you are injured. Some injuries might not evince symptoms for hours or days, and seeking early treatment can help to improve your prognosis.

Getting prompt treatment after an accident can also help you to show a clear link between your injuries and the accident. This is important for helping you to recover compensation in a personal injury claim.

Get help from DiCindio Law

Being involved in a car accident can be a terrifying experience. If you have been injured because of the negligent actions of a driver, you may be entitled to recover damages. An attorney at DiCindio Law can help you to evaluate your potential claim. Contact us today at 610.430.3535.

DUI With an Expired or Suspended License in Pennsylvania

DUI With an Expired or Suspended License in Pennsylvania

If people receive license suspensions for refusing a chemical test or a DUI, they cannot drive until they receive their physical drivers’ licenses back. If you are caught driving before you have received your license back after a DUI or refusal, you could face another license suspension and time in jail. If you are charged with a DUI with an expired or suspended license in Pennsylvania, you will face charges for both the DUI and the driving on a suspended license. At DiCindio Law, we are prepared to defend people who are facing these types of charges and understand how to present a strong defense for our clients.

What is a DUI-related suspension?

A suspension of your driving privileges is considered to be DUI-related if your driving privileges were suspended after you were convicted of the offense or accepted alternative rehabilitative disposition. You can also be charged with driving with a DUI-related suspension if your driving privileges were suspended for refusing a chemical test or for a previous conviction for driving under a DUI-related suspension. If your driving privileges are suspended for one of these reasons, your suspension will continue to be considered to be DUI-related until you restore your license.

If your license is suspended, you must surrender your physical driver’s license. You will not be able to drive again until you receive your physical license back. Some people think that they can start driving again as soon as the suspension period ends. However, it is not a defense to a driving under suspension charge that the time had expired if you do not have your physical license.

What are the penalties for driving with a DUI-related suspension?

If you are charged with driving with a DUI-related suspension, you might not realize the seriousness of the penalties if you are convicted. Under 75 Pa.C.S. § 1543(b)(1), a conviction for driving under a DUI-related suspension is a summary offense. However, a first conviction will result in a sentence of jail from 60 to 90 days and a fine of $500. You will also face a further suspension of your driving privileges. If you are convicted of this offense a second time, you will face a minimum sentence of 90 days in jail and a fine of $1,000. A third conviction for driving with a DUI-related suspension will be a third-degree misdemeanor carrying a minimum of six months in jail and a fine of $2,500.

The penalties will be more severe if you are caught driving with a DUI-related suspension and any of the following situations apply:

If you are convicted for driving with a DUI-related suspension in one of these situations, a first conviction will result in a mandatory minimum sentence of 90 days in jail and a fine of $1,000. A second offense will be a third-degree misdemeanor with a minimum of six months of incarceration and a fine of $2,500. If you are convicted for a third offense, it will be a first-degree misdemeanor with two years in jail and a fine of $5,000.

A conviction for driving under a DUI-related suspension will also result in a longer suspension of your driving privileges. If your driving privileges were suspended when you were caught driving, you will receive another year’s suspension. If your driving privileges were revoked at the time that you were caught driving, your additional suspension will be for two years.

DUI with a suspended license

If you are charged with a DUI while you were driving with a DUI-related suspension, you will be charged with both offenses. You will face the more severe penalties as described above for driving under a DUI-related suspension with a BAC of 0.02% or higher or for refusing a test. You will also face the penalties associated with the DUI itself. If you are convicted for both offenses, you can expect to receive penalties for each. The penalties for a DUI conviction will depend on your BAC level and whether you have any prior offenses.

Penalties for driving on a suspended license that is not DUI-related

If you are charged with driving on a suspended license that is not DUI-related, the penalties are not as severe. It is a summary offense carrying a fine of $200. If you are charged with a DUI while driving on a suspended license when the suspension was not DUI-related, you will face the penalties for the regular driving under suspension charge and the DUI.

Contact DiCindio Law

If you are facing a charge of driving with a DUI-related suspension or a DUI charge while you were driving with a suspended license, you should get legal help as soon as possible. At DiCindio Law, Michael DiCindio is an experienced criminal defense lawyer and former prosecutor who knows how these types of charges are prosecuted. This allows him to anticipate what the prosecutor might do so that he can build the strongest possible defense. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and to learn more about your options by calling us at 610.430.3535 or by filling out our contact form.