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Lehigh Valley Legal Blog

Beware Of Thanksgiving Driving

As the holiday season approaches, it's important that your family stay safe so you can celebrate together. Unfortunately, the holidays are one of the most dangerous times to be on the road. Many people travel by car to see loved ones over the Thanksgiving holiday, which comes at a time when the weather is turning cold and road conditions may be more treacherous. The holidays are also a time when people celebrate by drinking alcohol. And unfortunately, some of those drivers end up on the road and cause accidents.

According to 2016 data from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, In Lehigh County there were 445 crashes in November, compared to an average rate of 414.25 crashes per month that year.   That's a 7.5 percent increase in traffic crashes for the month of November. While not every accident can be prevented, the important thing is to take extra precautions when driving during the Thanksgiving holiday; especially if you are driving at night, in inclement weather or in heavy traffic.

Peril In A Parking Structure

Roads aren't the only place where car accidents can occur. Drivers, passengers, pedestrians and bikers can be injured from accidents that take place in parking structures as well. While vehicles in parking structures generally are not moving at high speeds the way they do on highways, the impact of parking lot collisions can still be substantial, and cars and people alike can sustain damage, too. People have even had freak accidents resulting in severe injuries in parking structures when their cars plunged off of an upper level, crashing to the ground below.

Most parking structure accidents are not this severe, however, and involve collisions between cars vying for space in close quarters. Determining fault in such accidents depends on two factors:

New Tech Takes To The Road To Enforce Safer Driving

With drowsy and/or distracted driving continuing to be major contributors to roadway accidents each year, some tech manufacturers have turned their sights to making tools that help drivers stay safe on the road. Here are two of the new technologies that are aimed at improving safety on the road.

Textalyzer. This is a device that would be used by police to determine if someone who was involved in an accident had been texting, surfing the internet or using their phone in another way before the accident. The device is not yet available, however, and some have raised privacy concerns about its use. The device does not, however, read the content of your communications, but would simply determine if your phone had been in use before the crash.

LGBT Discrimination Cases

Now LGBT supporters are seeking to see the same rights extended to existing civil rights law so that gay employees are protected from discrimination by their employer. They are hoping that the Supreme Court Justices will be the ones to finally make a ruling on this issue in their favor.

Back-To-School Bus Safety

Summer is starting to wind down, and if your child will be taking a bus to school in the fall, it's worth reminding them how to stay safe getting to and from school. While it's notable that school buses do not (unless they are of the smaller variety) have seat belts, most school bus-related accidents happen when children are getting on and off the bus.

Embarking and disembarking safely

New Workers' Compensation Ruling

A monumental new decision was recently issued by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has forever changed the way that injured workers are protected, and for the better. In Protz v. WCAB (Derry Area School District), No. 6 WAP 2016 and No. 7 WAP 2016, 6/20/2017, the Supreme Court declared Section 306(a.2) of the Workers' Compensation Act unconstitutional. Section 306(a.2) provided that, after paying for 104 weeks of total disability benefits, an employer could request that the claimant submit to an I.R.E., or an impairment rating evaluation, to determine the claimant's degree of impairment. If that degree of impairment is deemed to be less than 50 percent, then a claimant's amount of compensation would be reduced to 500 weeks. Because of this holding, no I.R.E. has any force in the state of Pennsylvania at present.

What Are The Most Dangerous (And Safest) Cars On The Road?

Sometimes, there isn't a lot you can do to protect yourself against other drivers' carelessness. But having the safest possible car in the event that you do get into a collision with another vehicle can help. So how do you know how safe your car is?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has released data for 2017 showing the cars that have earned the highest safety ratings. The data is broken down by car size, from minicar to large pickup.

Do You Qualify For A Compassionate Allowance?

The Compassionate Allowance Initiative is a program intended to hasten the process of applying for Social Security Disability claims for people who have conditions that are likely to be fatal. Initially, only 50 conditions were covered under the program. This included those suffering from aggressive types of cancer and conditions related to dementia. However, the list has since been expanded.

Applying for a compassionate allowance

Can You Sue A Venue If Someone Else Injures You There?

Many people are not aware of the fact that if another patron injures you while you are attending an event, you may be able to sue for any damages resulting from the venue's negligence. Negligence on the part of the venue means that it did not take reasonable steps to address an obvious danger or problem. Usually in the case of concerts, security should be on hand to prevent injuries resulting from crowd surfing and stage diving, as well as other unsafe behavior. If there is a lapse in security, and unsafe behavior is permitted and results in an injury, then the victim of said injury can sue the venue.

One example of this type of accident took place in 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina, when a concert attendee staged dived into the crowd at the Neighborhood Theater, breaking the neck of another attendee, Megan Osborn.

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