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Pennsylvania Personal Injury Law Blog

Pennsylvania Personal Injury Law Blog

By Al de Levie 19 Jan, 2018

Medical Malpractice Lawyers: What is a breach of the standard of care?


Monetary compensation for medical malpractice can be won if the patient (plaintiff) is able to prove four legal elements:

  • a professional agreement existed between the injured and the practitioner giving treatment;
  • the physician violated a standard of care by his negligence;
  • the breach led to injury; and
  • the plaintiff suffered monetary and punitive damage (such as trauma, inconvenience, etc.) owing to the injury.

If you are considering filing a  medical malpractice claim , it will bode well to understand a few important points before we explain the term “breach of standard of care.”

  • Medical malpractice claims are settled in state courts except if the violation occurred in a federally-owned medical facility
  • Standard of care varies from state to state
  • Medical malpractice claims must be filed within a prescribed time frame, determined by the state. Also known as the statute of limitations
  • Medical malpractice  includes any act of omission or negligence on the part of the physician, or gross misconduct towards the plaintiff. Hence, cases involving a physician’s sexual misconduct also fall within this category.
  • U.S. legal system encourages out-of-court settlement of such disputes between the two adversarial parties. In case that is not viable, the case appears before a jury who consult among themselves after examining documentation and expert testimonies to reach a verdict.
  • In case a practitioner’s treatment didn’t abide with the standard of care but also didn’t result in any grievous harm to the plaintiff, the claim to award monetary compensation does not arise and such cases are dismissed.
  • If the physician provided medical treatment in a non-hospital setting or voluntarily, such as on the roadside (perhaps to an accident victim or to a fellow passenger in a flight) or a social setup, and such treatment led to injury, there is no case of medical malpractice. This is because there exists no professional agreement between the injured and the physician.

Now let’s talk about what amounts to a breach of standard of care in medical terms.


What is standard of care and breach of standard of care?


While states may differ in their definition of what is an acceptable  standard of care  in medical malpractice cases, the commonly-accepted definition is “standard of care generally refers to that care which a reasonable, similarly situated professional would have provided to the patient.”


Standard of care is extremely subjective and depends on the following:


  • It is the treatment that a “reasonable,” “common,” or “ordinary” practitioner would have provided in the same or similar circumstances; not what leading practitioners would have done. This is a grey area with practitioners pleading that there is more than one medically-acceptable approach for treating the plaintiff’s condition. If this happens, the onus to decide whether the treatment was right or not lies with the jury.
  • A practitioner, who didn’t adhere to the procedures of the state or his hospital policies and protocol that are followed in similar situations, would be violating standard of care.
  • If the practitioner didn’t avail the available medical facilities and equipment in the locality and this led to injury or aggravation of plaintiff’s condition, this can amount to a breach of standard of care.
  • If the physician committed an egregious  obvious error   that“speaks for itself,” a breach of standard of care is certainly present. For instance, leaving surgical equipment in the patient’s body or operating on the wrong limb, result in verdicts favorable for plaintiffs.
  • Breach of standard of care is situation-specific. The same action by a physician might amount to breach in a particular circumstance or for a particular plaintiff but may be acceptable for another.


In the absence of consensus among experts to establish a universally accepted standard of care to be adhered by all physicians, the onus to prove that harm was done to a plaintiff lies with her attorney. Preparing a compelling medical malpractice case requires domain knowledge that comes from years of pertinent experience.


Even if a plaintiff is dissatisfied with the state court’s verdict or with her compensation amount, a  skilled attorney   can help in overturning or revising the verdict by appealing to a higher court.



If you've been a victim of medical malpractice, you will require a team of seasoned lawyers by your side to bring the perpetrator to justice. The evidence and the reasoning to back your case should be airtight for you to have a chance to receive the right amount of compensation.  Give us a call  at 844-777-2529 to find out how we can help you out during these troubled times.


By Al de Levie 17 Jan, 2018

How Do I Select a Qualified Personal Injury Attorney to Represent Me?


Choosing the  personal injury lawyer  who will represent you in your claim is the most critical step toward achieving the compensation you deserve. Choosing the wrong attorney can lead to a catastrophic loss of time and energy, and keep you from getting just compensation. There are thousands of personal injury lawyers in Pennsylvania, and they are all clamoring for your case.  To help you sort through the noise, we have put together this list of the five most important things to consider when choosing a personal injury lawyer.


1. Make Sure The Attorney Specializes in Personal Injury


While many lawyers in Pennsylvania will accept your  personal injury case , you will want to make sure the attorney you select specializes in personal injury.  Personal injury law involves a wide range of specialized law and intricate rules.  You will often find lawyers who specialize in other kinds of law, such as criminal law, family law or trusts and estates, that take personal injury cases on the side.  These lawyers are not likely to know all of the ins and outs of a personal injury case, especially in cases where a more nuanced understanding of the law is necessary.


At the Law Office of Alvin F. de Levie, Esq., we specialize in personal injury law. Whether your case involves a trucking accident, a birth injury, or medical malpractice, we have decades of experience representing clients who have suffered catastrophic personal injuries throughout the Commonwealth.  


There are many different kinds of  personal injury claims .  Each kind of claim comes with its own body of law and requires a specialized strategic approach.  We work with an elite team of talented specialists and lawyers with experience in all manner of catastrophic personal injury claims.

 

2. Make Sure the Attorney Has a Great Deal of Experience


You do not want your attorney to be using your case as a means of continuing his or her education.  You want an attorney who knows the law that applies to your case and knows how to use it to your advantage.  An experienced attorney will be able to fully investigate your claim, knowing what information to look for, where to find it, and how it is relevant to your case.  


Even when your attorney knows the law, personal injury cases require a thorough knowledge of the practical aspects of handling your case.  Your attorney will need to make important strategic decisions, such as:


-Deciding how to present your claim to an insurance company;

-Determining the value of your case;

-Deciding when to continue negotiations and when to file suit;

-Choosing the best venue in which to file suit; and

-Knowing when the other side is playing games and how to force them to play by the rules.


These are all things that aren’t taught in law school.  Knowing how to properly handle a personal injury case comes from experience. At the Law Office of Alvin F. de Levie, our team of dedicated personal injury lawyers has decades of experience handling all manner of catastrophic personal injury claims throughout the Commonwealth.    


3. Make Sure the Attorney has a Proven Track Record of Getting Good Results


In the end, the point of hiring an attorney is to get a better result than you could obtain on your own. You want to make sure the attorney has a proven track record of getting results for his or her clients both in and out of court.

At the Law Office of Alvin F. de Levie, we have achieved numerous significant  verdicts and settlements  over the years. We fight hard for the rights of our clients and work to get the compensation they deserve.  


4. Make Sure the Attorney Has a Stellar Reputation with Judges and Other Lawyers


Your attorney’s reputation is key to achieving a just result in your case.  It often helps to resolve your case more quickly and fairly when the judges and defense lawyers know you are represented by an attorney who is known for zealous, yet ethical and respectable representation.


Alvin F. de Levie has consistently been voted by the Judiciary and his peers in the Bar to receive  Martindale Hubbel’s “AV Preeminent” 5.0 out of 5.0 rating . The Martindale Hubbel ratings are based on confidential interviews of peers in the legal industry, including members of the Judiciary and the Bar.  Attorney de Levie was evaluated by his peers for his legal ability in the areas of analytical capabilities, legal knowledge, judgment, communication ability and legal experience, and general ethical standards such as adherence to professional standards of conduct and ethics, including reliability and diligence.

An AV Preeminent rating is the highest possible rating in both legal ability and ethical standards. The AV Preeminent rating is the pinnacle of professional excellence earned through a strenuous peer review rating process that is managed and monitored by the world’s most trusted legal resource.


5. Make Sure the Attorney Has the Resources to Handle Your Case

Finally, it makes no difference how good your attorney is if he or she does not have the resources to handle your case. Personal injury litigation is notoriously expensive and time- consuming. Cases involving catastrophic personal injury,  medical malpractice , and other complex situations often involve an extraordinary amount of time and investigation.  Your attorney will often need to obtain and review thousands of pages of documents and other materials. Experts are often required to help prove your damages or that the other party was negligent. Complex cases can cost tens of thousands of dollars to pursue and often require the attorney to marshal a great deal of assistance. Even the most basic trials can cost thousands of dollars. A lack of resources may force an attorney to accept less for your claim than you deserve.



At the  Law Office of Alvin F. de Levie, Esq. , we have decades of experience handling cases for those who have suffered catastrophic injuries throughout the Commonwealth, including birth injuries like Erb’s palsy. We have handled cases from Philadelphia and the surrounding counties to Allegheny County, including Blair County, Centre County, Lycoming County, Montour County, Mifflin County, Cambria County, Cumberland County and Dauphin County.


If you have suffered an injury as a result of medical malpractice,  please call our firm  – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – at 844-777-2529 (Toll -Free) for a consultation.  One of our team members will be in immediate contact with you. We maintain offices throughout Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, State College, Bellefonte and Lock Haven, and we are willing to meet any clients throughout the Commonwealth.    


By Al de Levie 15 Jan, 2018

Auto Accident Attorney: Truck Accidents Caused by Fatigued Drivers


A recent article in USA Today  highlighted the dangers posed by road-weary truckers. USA Today’s reporters engaged in a four-year investigation and found that some truckers were working shifts of up to 20 hours per day, six days per week. The reporters also found that, on average, truckers were driving without taking breaks required by federal law up to 470 times per day. When this data was compared to federal crash data from the  Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration , USA Today found these drivers were involved in over 180 crashes within one day of driving without taking a break.


According to the  American Trucking Association , there are over 3.6 million trucks on the road in the United States at any given time. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration claims over 18,000  trucking accidents  per year are caused by driver fatigue.  Further, the  US Department of Transportation  estimates 4,000 people die each year from large truck crashes, and the  leading cause is driver fatigue . With so many fatigued drivers on the road, it is important that you know what to look for and what to do if you are involved in an accident with a truck or tractor-trailer.


Are There Laws and Regulations to Prevent Truckers from Driving While Fatigued?


The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration  is responsible for regulating our nation’s truck drivers and trucking companies. Federal “hours of service” regulations require that truck drivers may drive only during a period of 14 consecutive hours after coming on duty, with a 10-hour off-duty period between each 14-hour on-duty period. Within each 14-hour period, the driver may only drive 11 hours and must take a 30-minute break after 8 hours. This 14-hour period includes all breaks and gas-stops.


Despite these laws, many truck drivers continue to drive their vehicles beyond the 11-hours approved by law and fail to take the required breaks. While truck drivers sometimes decide to drive long hours on their own, many trucking companies either expressly or indirectly push their drivers to violate the regulations to increase their bottom line.


Both the driver who violates these regulations and his or her employer are subject to fines and other penalties, including criminal prosecution, for violations of the hours of service regulations. Violations of the hours of service regulations may also be used as evidence of negligence in a civil case if the driver’s violation caused an accident.



What Are the Signs That a Truck Driver is Driving While Fatigued?


Fatigued drivers experience many of the symptoms suffered by anyone who has gone for long periods without sleep. These include:


  • Hallucinations;
  • Longer reaction times;
  • Decreased attention and alertness;
  • Decreased ability to make proper driving decisions;
  • Blurred vision; and
  • Confusion

Signs that a truck driver may be fatigued include:


  • Drifting in an out of the traffic lane;
  • Driving too fast or too slow;
  • Failing to react to traffic patterns or traffic control devices, such as traffic lights and yield signs; and
  • Sudden changes in speed or direction.

Drivers who notice any of these signs of truck driver fatigue should stay clear of the truck to avoid an accident.



What Should I Do If I Am in An Accident With a Truck or Tractor-Trailer?


Sometimes, no matter how vigilant we are on the road, there is nothing we can do to stop a trucking accident. If you are involved in a trucking accident, you need to contact an  experienced attorney immediately . DO NOT DELAY! There is a Statute of Limitations in Pennsylvania requiring that any trucking accident lawsuit be started within two (2) years of the date of the accident which has caused your injuries. If you do not bring a lawsuit within the applicable two-year period, any claim that you may have will be forever barred.


Trucking accidents are often much more complicated than your average motor vehicle accident. The truck driver and the trucking company responsible for the accident are often from another state, or even another country. There may also be several individuals and entities who may be responsible for the accident, including the driver, the owner of the truck, the driver’s employer and the company whose freight was being hauled by the tractor-trailer. Additionally, truck drivers are governed by special federal and state laws and regulations which do not apply to other drivers. You need an attorney who has the experience and resources to fully investigate the accident and identify all those who are responsible.


These cases can also pose complicated jurisdictional challenges, making it hard to bring your lawsuit in your home state. For example, in one of our recent tractor-trailer cases, our client, a Clearfield County resident, was involved in a tractor-trailer accident in Virginia. The trucking company and the driver were both from out of state. By filing a Freedom of Information Act Request and obtaining information that showed the company operated more often in Pennsylvania than almost any other state in the country. We were also able to obtain information on the large amount of taxes and registration fees paid to Pennsylvania by the trucking company. This information was critical to keep the case in the Federal Court in Pennsylvania, saving our client from having to file his suit in Virginia or another inconvenient state.


At the  Law Office of Alvin F. de Levie, Esq ., we have years of experience handling cases for those who have suffered catastrophic injuries as a result of tractor-trailer accidents throughout the Commonwealth. We have handled cases from Philadelphia and the surrounding counties to Allegheny County, including Blair County, Centre County, Lycoming County, Montour County, Mifflin County, Cambria County, Cumberland County and Dauphin County. If you have suffered a catastrophic injury,  please call our firm  – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – at 844-777-2529 (Toll-Free) for a consultation. One of our team members will be in immediate contact with you. We maintain offices throughout Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, State College, Bellefonte and Lock Haven, and we are willing to meet any clients throughout the Commonwealth.


By Al de Levie 12 Jan, 2018

Personal Injury Lawyer: What to Learn from IKEA's Product Recalls


Swedish furniture giant IKEA has recently recalled over 29 million chests of drawers and dressers that were unstable and posed a serious risk of injuries, particularly to children.


There are various things that we do to create a safe environment for our children within our homes. We install baby locks on cabinets, use doorway guards to keep small children out of certain areas, keep small items that babies might put in their mouths out of reach, even install latches on the toilet as an extra precaution. Still, hundreds of children are tragically killed or injured in their own homes. Every hour, a child in the U.S is injured by furniture tip-over accidents.


Recently catastrophic accidents involving IKEA furniture claimed the lives of 3 toddlers who got trapped under an unanchored MALM chest which tipped over.


In February 2014, Curren Collas, a two-year-old boy  tragically died  when a six-drawer MALM chest tipped over and crushed him.  His mother found him trapped between the dresser and his bed.  The IKEA dresser that caused this fatality was not anchored to the wall.


Later in 2014, 23-month-old, Camden Ellis,  also died  after getting trapped beneath a 3-drawer MALM chest that tipped over. His dresser was also not anchored to the wall.


It was in February 2016 that cruel fate struck again leaving 22-month-old, Theodore McGee,  dead  after a set of unanchored drawers fell and crushed him.  Apart from these deaths, IKEA also received reports of 41 tip-over incidents involving the MALM chests and dressers, which resulted in 17 injuries to children between the ages of 19 months and 10 years old.


IKEA claims the failure of the pieces to meet the performance requirements of voluntary U.S. industry standards. These  wrongful deaths  and injuries could easily be prevented. IKEA acknowledged the danger these pieces of furniture presented, specifically to children and recalled a massive amount of these defective products. It serviced or refunded the purchase of more than 1 million dressers. Lives could have been saved if IKEA had acted sooner.


Eventually, IKEA ended up paying a whopping $50 million as settlement after the death of Three Toddlers. The settlement will be divided evenly among the three families. The company will also donate $150,000 to their memorial funds and $100,000 to Shane’s Foundation NFP, a children's safety organization focused on furniture tip-over prevention and education.


How common are furniture tip-over accidents?


Furniture tip-over refers to accidents in which a piece of furniture tumbles over onto a person, usually a child, resulting in various kinds of injuries, sometimes fatal.  It is estimated that 1 child dies every two weeks or is injured every 24 minutes in the U.S. from furniture or TV tip-overs.


How do these accidents occur?


  • Integrally uneven furniture units that fail to meet minimum safety standards
  • Pulling out the drawers of the dressers all the way.
  • Children climbing the furniture
  • Children playing near the furniture
  • Persons bumping, pulling, hitting, or moving the furniture

A majority of the victims who are injured by tip-over furniture are under the age of 5.  Toddlers tend to get trapped under tipped furniture, leading to suffocation, damaged organs, broken bones, and other  serious injuries  . Tip-over accidents can also impact adults in the same way.


Furniture tip-overs occurs because the product was defectively designed or manufactured. For instance, a chest of drawers should be designed and manufactured so that the back and bottom sides are heavy enough to prevent it from falling forward when drawers are opened and a certain amount of weight is placed on the drawers. Some manufacturers don't adhere to the safety norms while creating their furniture making it unsafe and more likely to tip over. In the case of IKEA, the makers claim that the dressers are safe when attached to the wall according to the assembly instructions.


Furniture tip-over accidents are under the purview of personal injury. Give our expert  personal injury lawyers  a call at 844-777-2529 or  contact us  if your child has been injured due to furniture tip-overs. After taking into consideration the type of injury and the circumstances surrounding the accident, your personal injury attorney will be able to help you claim the right amount as compensation for medical bills and future medical treatments. A strong lawsuit can also persuade the producers and manufacturers of furniture to create safer products in the future.


By Al de Levie 10 Jan, 2018

How Do I Know if My Medical Injury is a Valid Malpractice Case?


You should visit a medical facility or a doctor when you have serious problems with your health. Unfortunately, the treatment may leave you feeling worse or even seriously impaired due to the negligence of a medical professional or caregiver.


The  instance of Julie Andrews , the legendary actor/singer springs to mind here. She lost her mellifluous voice after a surgery for removing nodules on her vocal cord backfired in 1997. Not willing to bear with it, she sued the authorities for medical negligence and was relieved to find it settled in her favor three years later in 2000.


You do not have to be a celeb to ask for justice. Any kind of medical injury caused due to the neglect of doctors, nurses or other medical caregivers makes them liable for malpractice. However, it is best to have all your facts clear in the first place. It's normal to be grieved and angry at the outcome of the negligent handling initially. You must, however, be prepared to be able to substantiate the following when you feel the need to press  malpractice claims .


Professional - Patient Relationship- You simply cannot sue a doctor for taking his casual advice to heart when he had not been treating you for a specific condition/injury. Fortunately, this can be proved conclusively when you have the doctor’s prescriptions and records of visiting the said doctor in your possession. This issue arises most often the professional was not the only one treating you directly or had only been indirectly responsible.


Negligence- Simply being unsatisfied with the outcome of the treatment is not going to help. The medical neglect cases need to be proved in a court of law. The concerned medical professional should not have harmed you by deviating from the standard process of treatment or failing to take care as a skilled medico would have done in identical circumstances. It is not important for the doctor to be the absolute best in the trade though. However, he/she needs to have the requisite skills for treating the condition and must have been fastidious while taking care of the patient. This happens to be the crux of valid malpractice claims more often than not.


Cause – Causing serious harm to a patient cannot always be the onus of a doctor though. In fact, there are many instances where the patient had been severely ill or indisposed prior to visiting the doctor. This prompts the legal experts representing the doctor to question the validity of the claim. Drawing an inference about the doctor’s role in causing harm or death is not always effective. You must be able to prove that it had been the doctor’s negligence that is more likely to have damaged your health. It is best to seek an expert’s counsel and have him testify in court.


Damages – You are not likely to be vindicated by suing for malpractice even if you prove that the concerned doctor had been inept. You need to be able to prove that the actions of the doctor had resulted in grievous injury to your person. However, you are well advised to seek compensation if you have:


  • Suffered physical pain or mental anguish
  • Lost wages due your inability to work
  • Received hugely elevated medical bills for no reason

Medical malpractice suits are not simple . The nature of the cases vary widely and might include everything from a faulty tubal connection to failing to remove the stitches in time. The law differs from state to state as well. It is, therefore, mandatory to check before deciding to file such a claim. Here are the categories that make a medical malpractice suit valid.


  • Inability to diagnose
  • or faulty diagnosis of the condition
  • Inadequate or Improper treatment
  • Misleading the patient
  • Not informing the patient about the associated risks of treatmentand diagnostic procedures

It is imperative to get in touch with a medical malpractice  lawyer  as a medical negligence claim happens to be complex and needs to take cognizance of diverse stipulations that may include the following as per the State laws.


  • The claim needs to be made rather quickly after the injury had been caused
  • Submission of the particulars to a review panel
  • Notice to be sent to the concerned medical professional before filing the claim
  • Expert testimonies required in court

Alvin F. De Levie & Associates  is supported by an elite team of lawyers, industry specialists, and experts who can assist you in the legal process.

Call us  for a free consultation at 844-777-2529 today, to find out whether your case is a valid medical malpractice case.


By Al de Levie 08 Jan, 2018

How Can a Wrongful Death Attorney Assist Me With My Case?


The loss of a loved one can never be compensated. Nothing can fill the void created when a loved one is no more. This is especially true when the death is untimely and sudden.


However, as a living close relative, you have the right to know what was the cause of death, if such a cause could have been avoided and how to prevent another person falling a victim of the same. As a relative, you have the right to file for a financial compensation to cover the expenses that you incurred as a result of the sudden demise. You should consult a  wrongful death  attorney for the right guidance.


Causes of wrongful death


Accidents are the leading cause of wrongful deaths. Reckless driving, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, faulty vehicles, defectives signs and driver fatigue are some of the primary causes of road fatalities.


Medical malpractice also comes under the purview of wrongful death as it is considered the doctor’s failure to diagnose and treat his patient.


A defective product can also cause the death of a consumer due to a design error, a marketing fault and/or a manufacturing error.


Workplace accidents that cause the death of an employee can also be termed as wrongful death for the failure of an employer to follow proper  OSHA standards .


Who can sue?


When your loved one dies due to the fault of a third party, you have the right to sue if you meet the ‘standing’ clause. ‘Standing’ means you have the right to sue. Laws say that you have the right to sue if you are the spouse, children or parents of the deceased person.


In case the deceased did not have either one of these relatives then the next kin has the ‘standing.’ In the eyes of the law, a wrongful death is much like a  property law.


How much should you sue for?


The next step for you to determine is how much to sue for. In case of a wrongful death, there are two types of losses, economic and non-economic. In some rare cases, attorney fees and punitive damages could be involved.


Economic damage is the financial losses that you as a claimant lost. Things like medical expenses, burial expenses, loss of economic support and similar things which you would not have lost had the person been alive are economic losses.


The trauma and mental stress that one goes through can never be compensated. This is termed as non-economic losses.


If you are residing in NJ then according to the New Jersey’s Wrongful Death Act and Survival Statute, the heirs and dependents are entitled to legal remedies. The damages that are recovered does not compensate for the mental stress or trauma the surviving relative goes through. Under the New Jersey law a separate statutory remedy covers for this loss. It's called the survivor action.



How to prove wrongful death?


Proving a wrongful death is similar to proving an accident. You should be able to prove that the defendant was negligent and did not take enough precautions to prevent the death. The death of your loved one affected other members of the family.


It can be difficult to prove a wrongful death sometimes. The laws vary from state to state. Hence, you must consult a good  wrongful death attorney  to file your claim.



Discounting damages to represent the present value:


One of the significant components of recovery in most wrongful death cases is the loss of financial support. This amount is generally calculated by multiplying the deceased’s earnings during the time of death with the number of years he/she would have survived if he/she had retired. It can also be calculated using the life expectancy table.


For example: If Paula who was 38 was earning $60000 a year and was not expected to retire for another 27 years then the expected compensation will be $60000*27, $1,620,000.


If a life expectancy table is used to calculate for the losses, then the court generally reduces the total future losses to a current dollar value. In most of these cases, a lump sum amount is paid as compensation.


The beneficiary receives an amount which the deceased would have made if he were alive, reduced to a single amount paid in accordance with the present day dollar value. The reason this is done is keeping in mind that if that amount was invested wisely the amount generated would be equivalent to what is awarded.


If your loved one suffered from a wrongful death, do not hesitate to contact an attorney to help you!  Alvin De Levie law firm  is dedicated to helping you and your loved ones get the compensation and help that you deserve.

Contact us  today at 844-777-2529.


By Al de Levie 05 Jan, 2018

Personal Injury Lawyer: How Your Claim Damages are Calculated


How do you calculate the damages incurred as a result of your work injury? It is not only just the doctor visits that you need to pay for when you are injured. There are a number of other things that require money and are considered as damages when you file for work injury compensation.


When you get injured, you will most likely be examined by a doctor who is  authorized by the employer  or insurance company. This is to avoid any false medical claims.


If it is determined that your injuries are serious and require multiple doctor visits, then your payments increase proportionately. And you are most likely to be out of work for a long period for serious injuries. This is considered as damage due to a work injury.


You have the responsibility to mitigate or reduce your damages (like find reasonable medical treatment and/or find alternate work) even if the injury was caused due to the negligence of a third party. As a plaintiff, if you do not mitigate or reduce the damages then the defendant can reduce the amount he has to pay to you. A  personal injury attorney  will help you calculate your damages.


Here is a list of damages that is calculated in case of a  work-related injury :


Medical Expenses: Your initial visits to the doctor, hospitals and medicines are considered as medical expenses. In case you didn’t seek medical treatment but have still suffered, then insurance companies have a formula to calculate your damages. A personal injury lawyer will help you with the calculation.


Property Damage: This is applicable only in case of damages sustained as a result of automotive damages, like if you were injured in a  car accident .


Lost Earnings: You are most likely to miss work if you have suffered an injury. Minor injuries will result in fewer days of loss of pay while major injuries will most likely keep you away from work for a longer duration.


The amount is decided after your benefits (if you have claimed any) are subtracted from your total wages during the period of absence. In case of unpaid benefits, the amount of benefit is added to your loss of wages.


Loss of income in the future: If you have had a severe injury then it is likely that you will have further treatments which will result in you missing work for longer periods. The consequence is that you will have no income for that period of time. This is also considered as damage and is taken into consideration when your benefits are calculated.


Estimated future medical expenses:slipped disk , a nerve injury or something similar will likely take longer to heal and keep you away from work for a considerable amount of time. It also means that you will require further medical treatment and will have additional medical expenses. This is added as part of damages when you file for benefits.


General damages: Emotional suffering, pain are also considered damages. The more serious the pain and suffering the higher is the damage multiplier.


The final total damage estimate is based on two categories of damages that are a result of your injury.


Special damages: Medical expenses, loss of pay and not being able to work all fall under this category and are easy to quantify and calculate since they have a specific number that can be assigned to them.


General damages: Emotional pain and suffering, mental anxiety, stress and negative effects due to an injury fall under this category and are harder to quantify since a number cannot be assigned to them.


If you or your loved ones have suffered a work-related injury, understandably you're worried about a lot including your current and future pay. A work injury lawyer can help you navigate through the complex process of filing a claim and make sure that you get what you rightly deserve.


Contact Us Today


Contact us  or give us a call at 844-777-2529 to find out if your case qualifies and the amount you can claim as compensation.


By Al de Levie 03 Jan, 2018

What You Should Expect From The Stages of a Personal Injury Case


Personal injury  cases or accidents may occur due to various reasons but the stages in which the case progresses usually remains the same. It is important to get an overview of the different aspects involved in a Personal Injury Case. For example, when should you contact  personal injury lawyer  and what should you expect from the attorney are the general questions on everyone's mind before they engage with a lawyer.


It is also important for you to know about the initial court filings involved, the likely outcomes of a personal injury trial and the process of collecting the amount that was decided by the judge.


Personal Injury Trial


If you are a claimant, you’ll be given an opportunity to present your matter against the defendant in the personal injury trial. The trial would also allow the defendant an opportunity to disprove your case and defend himself/herself.


The judge or jury would inspect the evidence to conclude whether the defendant should be held legally responsible for the injuries suffered by you. It is good to know that majority of the personal injury cases get resolved before the proceedings even make it to trial. Either through alternative dispute resolution, informal settlement negotiations or dismissal of the case.


Personal Injury Lawyer


If your injury is due to someone else’s negligence, you must contact a local personal injury lawyer or attorney to discuss your legal options. Make sure that you don’t exceed the time limit for filing the case

and hence it's important that you contact your lawyer at the earliest if you were injured. Pennsylvania has a maximum of 2 years from the date of the accident that lets you file a personal injury claim, but every state is different.


Important Stages of a Personal Injury Case

  • Meeting the Personal Injury Attorney: The most critical stage is to find an experienced and knowledgeable lawyer who can handle your case sensibly. You must explain the entire case in detail to your lawyer. This will help them weigh the situation and tell you what your chances are and the likely outcomes that you should be prepared for. You must follow the advice and guidance shared by your lawyer until the time the final verdict is reached.
  • Initiating the Case: Your personal injury lawyer would explain the pleadings or initial court papers required to be filed in the court and prepare you for the case before the trial starts.
  • Fact-Finding and Discovery: Every lawsuit involves a regular phase before the trial called "discovery". It’s the process that allows each party to collect relevant facts from the other party and prepare thoroughly for the case.
  • The Resolution before Trial/Court Motions: Many cases may get resolved by a motion to dismiss or through other motions which may request the court to dismiss the case before trial. While deciding a motion, the court would analyze the facts from the perspective more favorable to the petitioner
  • Settlement: Majority of legal cases arising from personal injuries get resolved in the litigation process through a settlement negotiated mutually among the parties.
  • Trial Proceedings: Trial is the opportunity for both the parties to present their respective cases and arguments in the court. After hearing the arguments, the judge would consider whether the defendant is responsible for the accident or personal injury caused to the claimant. The judge would also decide the amount of money the defendant should pay.
  • Collecting Money after Judgment: You may be required to take further steps and incur further expenses, despite winning the case if the defendant refuses to pay the damage amount  
  • Appealing a Decision or Judgment: The losing party may appeal to the higher court for getting the decision reversed.

As you can see there’s a lot going on before, during and after a trial. The evidence and the reasoning to back your case should be airtight for you to have a chance to receive the right amount of compensation. Give us a  call  at 844-777-2529 to find out how we can help you out during these troubled times.


By Al de Levie 02 Jan, 2018

The Top 7 Causes of Truck Accidents, and How An Attorney Can Help


Karen was distraught. Her 22-year-old son Mike was recently involved in a horrible auto

accident while driving back home from a friend’s place in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. A heavy

truck crashed into Mike’s car leaving him serious injuries.


His arm was broken, he had lacerations on his face and had suffered a concussion as well. Mike’s car was so severely damaged, it was beyond repair.


Between trips to the hospital, Karen was not sure of what she should do. Whether it was a good idea to file a claim, or should she file a lawsuit?


According to the  Pennsylvania Department of Transportation,  the number of accidents involving heavy trucks has increased steadily every year from 2012 to 2015. While the number of crashes in 2012 was 5,891, this number went up to 6,916 in 2015.


This is definitely a cause of concern for the authorities. Accidents involving  heavy trucks can be quite deadly , owing to the sheer size of the vehicle involved. Casualties are higher as is the extent of damage to property.


Some of the common reasons behind heavy truck accidents in Pennsylvania are:


The Distraction of drivers: Truck drivers are on the road pretty much every day. While driving

for long hours, monotony can lead to boredom. If drivers get distracted and take their attention

away from the road for even a split second, the results can sometimes be disastrous.


Driving under the influence (DUI): Truck drivers driving while under the influence, with blood alcohol levels beyond the permissible limits can cause accidents as alcohol impairs judgment and slows down reflexes.


Badly maintained vehicle: If the tires and brakes haven’t been checked before the truck hits the road, accidents are more likely to happen. It’s even more difficult to control a sudden tire burst for a heavy truck than a relatively smaller car.


Driver exhaustion and sleep deprivation: Despite strict regulations that have fixed the number of hours truck drivers can drive in a day, driver exhaustion is a reality. Due to lack of sufficient sleep and rest, truck drivers risk causing accidents by falling asleep

at the wheel.


Speeding: A truck being driven over the speed limit can cause accidents of disastrous proportions.


Damaged roads: A broken patch on the road is likely to increase the chance of an accident, especially at night.


Extreme weather: Poor visibility or slippery roads due to snow or rain can result in crashes.



Auto accidents  involving heavy trucks are likely to cause significant damage to the smaller vehicle involved in the accident. If you or a family member is an affected party, get in touch with an attorney right away.


skilled attorney  can help you recover some of your losses. A lot of times, the exact reason behind the crash is not known immediately.


Did the accident happen due to driver negligence? Was the truck driver driving under the influence? Was the driver fatigued?


An attorney can help get hold of the evidence and point the investigation in the right direction.

In case of  personal injury  or damage to your car, an attorney can help build a strong case for you. Make sure you reach out to a lawyer as soon as possible so that you don’t lose any evidence.


Also, in such cases, time lost is money lost. Attorneys can work towards getting you the compensation you deserve against the losses suffered by you.


The insurance policies for truck accidents are quite different from regular auto accidents. Attorneys can help you file the right claims and make sure that the trucking company or the insurance company does not weasel out of paying compensation.


A truck accident can be devastating to you and your family, but a good attorney can help protect your interests.

Contact  the Law Offices of Alvin de Levie at (844) 777-2529 to find out more information and to find the right attorney for you.  


By Al de Levie 29 Dec, 2017

These Signs Let You Know If You Need to File a Personal Injury Claim


Sam had a surgery gone wrong, even though doctors assured him that the risks were negligible. It turned out to be a nightmare. Now he has nerve damage and is in a wheelchair.


While it is expected that with the treatment he will most likely walk again, he still has to be compensated for the injury caused to him because of the negligence. And since he was the sole earning member of his family, he would need to be paid for the loss of earnings and other expenses till he recovers.


He consulted a personal injury  attorney  who examined his case and guided him on how to proceed further.


If you have been injured physically or psychologically due to the negligence or intentional wrongdoing of any other person or group or entity, then you can bring a  personal injury  lawsuit against them.


Personal Injury


When an incident causing a personal injury has occurred whether it is something that Sam faced or an  automobile accident  or a work-related injury, document all the critical details around it. It is essential to consult an attorney as soon as possible so that all the evidence pertinent to your lawsuit is collected.


This is also important if the attorney or insurance representative of the other party gets in touch with you. You should not sign any documents without consulting a lawyer and be aware of all the legalities.


It is not necessary that you would require a lawyer in every case. If you have a minor injury like a scratch or nick, or if the property damage, such as a dent in your car is not substantial then you probably might not require the assistance of a lawyer. But in case the injury is serious then you should consult a lawyer to know your rights as well as get answers to your questions about the next course of action.


How to File a Lawsuit for a Personal Injury Claim


If your case has merit, then your lawyer will file a  personal injury  claim for injuries or even any damage to property such as your car. This requires being filed within the period the claims remain valid. Your lawyer can also send a letter with details of the injury to the other party, their lawyer or insurance company asking for a specified settlement amount.


The reply to this kind of requests is time bound. Once the lawsuit is filed, complaints are served to the defendant which they have to respond to within the specified period. The case is held in a local court usually chosen by you, the injured party.


The period after a lawsuit is filed, is also used to gather more information, background or evidence about the case by both the defendant and the plaintiff. Your lawyer’s help may be invaluable during this period.


The Trial


In some instances, before going to trial you and the defendant may be directed towards  mediation , where you and the person or entity that caused you the injury can discuss settlement in the presence of a mediator. Before going to trial, you may also meet with the judge who tries to get you both agree on a settlement.


During the trial, all information is presented. After due diligence such as cross-examination of witnesses, arguments for and against the case, etc. the judge or the jury reaches a verdict. The verdict also mentions the damages awarded to the plaintiff, if any.


Post-Trial


The defendant is ordered to pay you the damages awarded to you by court decree.

If there are any delays or problems your lawyer can guide you on the procedure on how to collect them.



The Law Offices of Alvin de Levie  is an experienced personal injury law firm that can help you with your case.  If you are involved in a personal injury, do not hesitate to contact us.  Call us  today at (844) 777-2529 for more information.


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By Al de Levie 19 Jan, 2018

Medical Malpractice Lawyers: What is a breach of the standard of care?


Monetary compensation for medical malpractice can be won if the patient (plaintiff) is able to prove four legal elements:

  • a professional agreement existed between the injured and the practitioner giving treatment;
  • the physician violated a standard of care by his negligence;
  • the breach led to injury; and
  • the plaintiff suffered monetary and punitive damage (such as trauma, inconvenience, etc.) owing to the injury.

If you are considering filing a  medical malpractice claim , it will bode well to understand a few important points before we explain the term “breach of standard of care.”

  • Medical malpractice claims are settled in state courts except if the violation occurred in a federally-owned medical facility
  • Standard of care varies from state to state
  • Medical malpractice claims must be filed within a prescribed time frame, determined by the state. Also known as the statute of limitations
  • Medical malpractice  includes any act of omission or negligence on the part of the physician, or gross misconduct towards the plaintiff. Hence, cases involving a physician’s sexual misconduct also fall within this category.
  • U.S. legal system encourages out-of-court settlement of such disputes between the two adversarial parties. In case that is not viable, the case appears before a jury who consult among themselves after examining documentation and expert testimonies to reach a verdict.
  • In case a practitioner’s treatment didn’t abide with the standard of care but also didn’t result in any grievous harm to the plaintiff, the claim to award monetary compensation does not arise and such cases are dismissed.
  • If the physician provided medical treatment in a non-hospital setting or voluntarily, such as on the roadside (perhaps to an accident victim or to a fellow passenger in a flight) or a social setup, and such treatment led to injury, there is no case of medical malpractice. This is because there exists no professional agreement between the injured and the physician.

Now let’s talk about what amounts to a breach of standard of care in medical terms.


What is standard of care and breach of standard of care?


While states may differ in their definition of what is an acceptable  standard of care  in medical malpractice cases, the commonly-accepted definition is “standard of care generally refers to that care which a reasonable, similarly situated professional would have provided to the patient.”


Standard of care is extremely subjective and depends on the following:


  • It is the treatment that a “reasonable,” “common,” or “ordinary” practitioner would have provided in the same or similar circumstances; not what leading practitioners would have done. This is a grey area with practitioners pleading that there is more than one medically-acceptable approach for treating the plaintiff’s condition. If this happens, the onus to decide whether the treatment was right or not lies with the jury.
  • A practitioner, who didn’t adhere to the procedures of the state or his hospital policies and protocol that are followed in similar situations, would be violating standard of care.
  • If the practitioner didn’t avail the available medical facilities and equipment in the locality and this led to injury or aggravation of plaintiff’s condition, this can amount to a breach of standard of care.
  • If the physician committed an egregious  obvious error   that“speaks for itself,” a breach of standard of care is certainly present. For instance, leaving surgical equipment in the patient’s body or operating on the wrong limb, result in verdicts favorable for plaintiffs.
  • Breach of standard of care is situation-specific. The same action by a physician might amount to breach in a particular circumstance or for a particular plaintiff but may be acceptable for another.


In the absence of consensus among experts to establish a universally accepted standard of care to be adhered by all physicians, the onus to prove that harm was done to a plaintiff lies with her attorney. Preparing a compelling medical malpractice case requires domain knowledge that comes from years of pertinent experience.


Even if a plaintiff is dissatisfied with the state court’s verdict or with her compensation amount, a  skilled attorney   can help in overturning or revising the verdict by appealing to a higher court.



If you've been a victim of medical malpractice, you will require a team of seasoned lawyers by your side to bring the perpetrator to justice. The evidence and the reasoning to back your case should be airtight for you to have a chance to receive the right amount of compensation.  Give us a call  at 844-777-2529 to find out how we can help you out during these troubled times.


By Al de Levie 17 Jan, 2018

How Do I Select a Qualified Personal Injury Attorney to Represent Me?


Choosing the  personal injury lawyer  who will represent you in your claim is the most critical step toward achieving the compensation you deserve. Choosing the wrong attorney can lead to a catastrophic loss of time and energy, and keep you from getting just compensation. There are thousands of personal injury lawyers in Pennsylvania, and they are all clamoring for your case.  To help you sort through the noise, we have put together this list of the five most important things to consider when choosing a personal injury lawyer.


1. Make Sure The Attorney Specializes in Personal Injury


While many lawyers in Pennsylvania will accept your  personal injury case , you will want to make sure the attorney you select specializes in personal injury.  Personal injury law involves a wide range of specialized law and intricate rules.  You will often find lawyers who specialize in other kinds of law, such as criminal law, family law or trusts and estates, that take personal injury cases on the side.  These lawyers are not likely to know all of the ins and outs of a personal injury case, especially in cases where a more nuanced understanding of the law is necessary.


At the Law Office of Alvin F. de Levie, Esq., we specialize in personal injury law. Whether your case involves a trucking accident, a birth injury, or medical malpractice, we have decades of experience representing clients who have suffered catastrophic personal injuries throughout the Commonwealth.  


There are many different kinds of  personal injury claims .  Each kind of claim comes with its own body of law and requires a specialized strategic approach.  We work with an elite team of talented specialists and lawyers with experience in all manner of catastrophic personal injury claims.

 

2. Make Sure the Attorney Has a Great Deal of Experience


You do not want your attorney to be using your case as a means of continuing his or her education.  You want an attorney who knows the law that applies to your case and knows how to use it to your advantage.  An experienced attorney will be able to fully investigate your claim, knowing what information to look for, where to find it, and how it is relevant to your case.  


Even when your attorney knows the law, personal injury cases require a thorough knowledge of the practical aspects of handling your case.  Your attorney will need to make important strategic decisions, such as:


-Deciding how to present your claim to an insurance company;

-Determining the value of your case;

-Deciding when to continue negotiations and when to file suit;

-Choosing the best venue in which to file suit; and

-Knowing when the other side is playing games and how to force them to play by the rules.


These are all things that aren’t taught in law school.  Knowing how to properly handle a personal injury case comes from experience. At the Law Office of Alvin F. de Levie, our team of dedicated personal injury lawyers has decades of experience handling all manner of catastrophic personal injury claims throughout the Commonwealth.    


3. Make Sure the Attorney has a Proven Track Record of Getting Good Results


In the end, the point of hiring an attorney is to get a better result than you could obtain on your own. You want to make sure the attorney has a proven track record of getting results for his or her clients both in and out of court.

At the Law Office of Alvin F. de Levie, we have achieved numerous significant  verdicts and settlements  over the years. We fight hard for the rights of our clients and work to get the compensation they deserve.  


4. Make Sure the Attorney Has a Stellar Reputation with Judges and Other Lawyers


Your attorney’s reputation is key to achieving a just result in your case.  It often helps to resolve your case more quickly and fairly when the judges and defense lawyers know you are represented by an attorney who is known for zealous, yet ethical and respectable representation.


Alvin F. de Levie has consistently been voted by the Judiciary and his peers in the Bar to receive  Martindale Hubbel’s “AV Preeminent” 5.0 out of 5.0 rating . The Martindale Hubbel ratings are based on confidential interviews of peers in the legal industry, including members of the Judiciary and the Bar.  Attorney de Levie was evaluated by his peers for his legal ability in the areas of analytical capabilities, legal knowledge, judgment, communication ability and legal experience, and general ethical standards such as adherence to professional standards of conduct and ethics, including reliability and diligence.

An AV Preeminent rating is the highest possible rating in both legal ability and ethical standards. The AV Preeminent rating is the pinnacle of professional excellence earned through a strenuous peer review rating process that is managed and monitored by the world’s most trusted legal resource.


5. Make Sure the Attorney Has the Resources to Handle Your Case

Finally, it makes no difference how good your attorney is if he or she does not have the resources to handle your case. Personal injury litigation is notoriously expensive and time- consuming. Cases involving catastrophic personal injury,  medical malpractice , and other complex situations often involve an extraordinary amount of time and investigation.  Your attorney will often need to obtain and review thousands of pages of documents and other materials. Experts are often required to help prove your damages or that the other party was negligent. Complex cases can cost tens of thousands of dollars to pursue and often require the attorney to marshal a great deal of assistance. Even the most basic trials can cost thousands of dollars. A lack of resources may force an attorney to accept less for your claim than you deserve.



At the  Law Office of Alvin F. de Levie, Esq. , we have decades of experience handling cases for those who have suffered catastrophic injuries throughout the Commonwealth, including birth injuries like Erb’s palsy. We have handled cases from Philadelphia and the surrounding counties to Allegheny County, including Blair County, Centre County, Lycoming County, Montour County, Mifflin County, Cambria County, Cumberland County and Dauphin County.


If you have suffered an injury as a result of medical malpractice,  please call our firm  – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – at 844-777-2529 (Toll -Free) for a consultation.  One of our team members will be in immediate contact with you. We maintain offices throughout Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, State College, Bellefonte and Lock Haven, and we are willing to meet any clients throughout the Commonwealth.    


By Al de Levie 15 Jan, 2018

Auto Accident Attorney: Truck Accidents Caused by Fatigued Drivers


A recent article in USA Today  highlighted the dangers posed by road-weary truckers. USA Today’s reporters engaged in a four-year investigation and found that some truckers were working shifts of up to 20 hours per day, six days per week. The reporters also found that, on average, truckers were driving without taking breaks required by federal law up to 470 times per day. When this data was compared to federal crash data from the  Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration , USA Today found these drivers were involved in over 180 crashes within one day of driving without taking a break.


According to the  American Trucking Association , there are over 3.6 million trucks on the road in the United States at any given time. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration claims over 18,000  trucking accidents  per year are caused by driver fatigue.  Further, the  US Department of Transportation  estimates 4,000 people die each year from large truck crashes, and the  leading cause is driver fatigue . With so many fatigued drivers on the road, it is important that you know what to look for and what to do if you are involved in an accident with a truck or tractor-trailer.


Are There Laws and Regulations to Prevent Truckers from Driving While Fatigued?


The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration  is responsible for regulating our nation’s truck drivers and trucking companies. Federal “hours of service” regulations require that truck drivers may drive only during a period of 14 consecutive hours after coming on duty, with a 10-hour off-duty period between each 14-hour on-duty period. Within each 14-hour period, the driver may only drive 11 hours and must take a 30-minute break after 8 hours. This 14-hour period includes all breaks and gas-stops.


Despite these laws, many truck drivers continue to drive their vehicles beyond the 11-hours approved by law and fail to take the required breaks. While truck drivers sometimes decide to drive long hours on their own, many trucking companies either expressly or indirectly push their drivers to violate the regulations to increase their bottom line.


Both the driver who violates these regulations and his or her employer are subject to fines and other penalties, including criminal prosecution, for violations of the hours of service regulations. Violations of the hours of service regulations may also be used as evidence of negligence in a civil case if the driver’s violation caused an accident.



What Are the Signs That a Truck Driver is Driving While Fatigued?


Fatigued drivers experience many of the symptoms suffered by anyone who has gone for long periods without sleep. These include:


  • Hallucinations;
  • Longer reaction times;
  • Decreased attention and alertness;
  • Decreased ability to make proper driving decisions;
  • Blurred vision; and
  • Confusion

Signs that a truck driver may be fatigued include:


  • Drifting in an out of the traffic lane;
  • Driving too fast or too slow;
  • Failing to react to traffic patterns or traffic control devices, such as traffic lights and yield signs; and
  • Sudden changes in speed or direction.

Drivers who notice any of these signs of truck driver fatigue should stay clear of the truck to avoid an accident.



What Should I Do If I Am in An Accident With a Truck or Tractor-Trailer?


Sometimes, no matter how vigilant we are on the road, there is nothing we can do to stop a trucking accident. If you are involved in a trucking accident, you need to contact an  experienced attorney immediately . DO NOT DELAY! There is a Statute of Limitations in Pennsylvania requiring that any trucking accident lawsuit be started within two (2) years of the date of the accident which has caused your injuries. If you do not bring a lawsuit within the applicable two-year period, any claim that you may have will be forever barred.


Trucking accidents are often much more complicated than your average motor vehicle accident. The truck driver and the trucking company responsible for the accident are often from another state, or even another country. There may also be several individuals and entities who may be responsible for the accident, including the driver, the owner of the truck, the driver’s employer and the company whose freight was being hauled by the tractor-trailer. Additionally, truck drivers are governed by special federal and state laws and regulations which do not apply to other drivers. You need an attorney who has the experience and resources to fully investigate the accident and identify all those who are responsible.


These cases can also pose complicated jurisdictional challenges, making it hard to bring your lawsuit in your home state. For example, in one of our recent tractor-trailer cases, our client, a Clearfield County resident, was involved in a tractor-trailer accident in Virginia. The trucking company and the driver were both from out of state. By filing a Freedom of Information Act Request and obtaining information that showed the company operated more often in Pennsylvania than almost any other state in the country. We were also able to obtain information on the large amount of taxes and registration fees paid to Pennsylvania by the trucking company. This information was critical to keep the case in the Federal Court in Pennsylvania, saving our client from having to file his suit in Virginia or another inconvenient state.


At the  Law Office of Alvin F. de Levie, Esq ., we have years of experience handling cases for those who have suffered catastrophic injuries as a result of tractor-trailer accidents throughout the Commonwealth. We have handled cases from Philadelphia and the surrounding counties to Allegheny County, including Blair County, Centre County, Lycoming County, Montour County, Mifflin County, Cambria County, Cumberland County and Dauphin County. If you have suffered a catastrophic injury,  please call our firm  – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – at 844-777-2529 (Toll-Free) for a consultation. One of our team members will be in immediate contact with you. We maintain offices throughout Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, State College, Bellefonte and Lock Haven, and we are willing to meet any clients throughout the Commonwealth.


By Al de Levie 12 Jan, 2018

Personal Injury Lawyer: What to Learn from IKEA's Product Recalls


Swedish furniture giant IKEA has recently recalled over 29 million chests of drawers and dressers that were unstable and posed a serious risk of injuries, particularly to children.


There are various things that we do to create a safe environment for our children within our homes. We install baby locks on cabinets, use doorway guards to keep small children out of certain areas, keep small items that babies might put in their mouths out of reach, even install latches on the toilet as an extra precaution. Still, hundreds of children are tragically killed or injured in their own homes. Every hour, a child in the U.S is injured by furniture tip-over accidents.


Recently catastrophic accidents involving IKEA furniture claimed the lives of 3 toddlers who got trapped under an unanchored MALM chest which tipped over.


In February 2014, Curren Collas, a two-year-old boy  tragically died  when a six-drawer MALM chest tipped over and crushed him.  His mother found him trapped between the dresser and his bed.  The IKEA dresser that caused this fatality was not anchored to the wall.


Later in 2014, 23-month-old, Camden Ellis,  also died  after getting trapped beneath a 3-drawer MALM chest that tipped over. His dresser was also not anchored to the wall.


It was in February 2016 that cruel fate struck again leaving 22-month-old, Theodore McGee,  dead  after a set of unanchored drawers fell and crushed him.  Apart from these deaths, IKEA also received reports of 41 tip-over incidents involving the MALM chests and dressers, which resulted in 17 injuries to children between the ages of 19 months and 10 years old.


IKEA claims the failure of the pieces to meet the performance requirements of voluntary U.S. industry standards. These  wrongful deaths  and injuries could easily be prevented. IKEA acknowledged the danger these pieces of furniture presented, specifically to children and recalled a massive amount of these defective products. It serviced or refunded the purchase of more than 1 million dressers. Lives could have been saved if IKEA had acted sooner.


Eventually, IKEA ended up paying a whopping $50 million as settlement after the death of Three Toddlers. The settlement will be divided evenly among the three families. The company will also donate $150,000 to their memorial funds and $100,000 to Shane’s Foundation NFP, a children's safety organization focused on furniture tip-over prevention and education.


How common are furniture tip-over accidents?


Furniture tip-over refers to accidents in which a piece of furniture tumbles over onto a person, usually a child, resulting in various kinds of injuries, sometimes fatal.  It is estimated that 1 child dies every two weeks or is injured every 24 minutes in the U.S. from furniture or TV tip-overs.


How do these accidents occur?


  • Integrally uneven furniture units that fail to meet minimum safety standards
  • Pulling out the drawers of the dressers all the way.
  • Children climbing the furniture
  • Children playing near the furniture
  • Persons bumping, pulling, hitting, or moving the furniture

A majority of the victims who are injured by tip-over furniture are under the age of 5.  Toddlers tend to get trapped under tipped furniture, leading to suffocation, damaged organs, broken bones, and other  serious injuries  . Tip-over accidents can also impact adults in the same way.


Furniture tip-overs occurs because the product was defectively designed or manufactured. For instance, a chest of drawers should be designed and manufactured so that the back and bottom sides are heavy enough to prevent it from falling forward when drawers are opened and a certain amount of weight is placed on the drawers. Some manufacturers don't adhere to the safety norms while creating their furniture making it unsafe and more likely to tip over. In the case of IKEA, the makers claim that the dressers are safe when attached to the wall according to the assembly instructions.


Furniture tip-over accidents are under the purview of personal injury. Give our expert  personal injury lawyers  a call at 844-777-2529 or  contact us  if your child has been injured due to furniture tip-overs. After taking into consideration the type of injury and the circumstances surrounding the accident, your personal injury attorney will be able to help you claim the right amount as compensation for medical bills and future medical treatments. A strong lawsuit can also persuade the producers and manufacturers of furniture to create safer products in the future.


By Al de Levie 10 Jan, 2018

How Do I Know if My Medical Injury is a Valid Malpractice Case?


You should visit a medical facility or a doctor when you have serious problems with your health. Unfortunately, the treatment may leave you feeling worse or even seriously impaired due to the negligence of a medical professional or caregiver.


The  instance of Julie Andrews , the legendary actor/singer springs to mind here. She lost her mellifluous voice after a surgery for removing nodules on her vocal cord backfired in 1997. Not willing to bear with it, she sued the authorities for medical negligence and was relieved to find it settled in her favor three years later in 2000.


You do not have to be a celeb to ask for justice. Any kind of medical injury caused due to the neglect of doctors, nurses or other medical caregivers makes them liable for malpractice. However, it is best to have all your facts clear in the first place. It's normal to be grieved and angry at the outcome of the negligent handling initially. You must, however, be prepared to be able to substantiate the following when you feel the need to press  malpractice claims .


Professional - Patient Relationship- You simply cannot sue a doctor for taking his casual advice to heart when he had not been treating you for a specific condition/injury. Fortunately, this can be proved conclusively when you have the doctor’s prescriptions and records of visiting the said doctor in your possession. This issue arises most often the professional was not the only one treating you directly or had only been indirectly responsible.


Negligence- Simply being unsatisfied with the outcome of the treatment is not going to help. The medical neglect cases need to be proved in a court of law. The concerned medical professional should not have harmed you by deviating from the standard process of treatment or failing to take care as a skilled medico would have done in identical circumstances. It is not important for the doctor to be the absolute best in the trade though. However, he/she needs to have the requisite skills for treating the condition and must have been fastidious while taking care of the patient. This happens to be the crux of valid malpractice claims more often than not.


Cause – Causing serious harm to a patient cannot always be the onus of a doctor though. In fact, there are many instances where the patient had been severely ill or indisposed prior to visiting the doctor. This prompts the legal experts representing the doctor to question the validity of the claim. Drawing an inference about the doctor’s role in causing harm or death is not always effective. You must be able to prove that it had been the doctor’s negligence that is more likely to have damaged your health. It is best to seek an expert’s counsel and have him testify in court.


Damages – You are not likely to be vindicated by suing for malpractice even if you prove that the concerned doctor had been inept. You need to be able to prove that the actions of the doctor had resulted in grievous injury to your person. However, you are well advised to seek compensation if you have:


  • Suffered physical pain or mental anguish
  • Lost wages due your inability to work
  • Received hugely elevated medical bills for no reason

Medical malpractice suits are not simple . The nature of the cases vary widely and might include everything from a faulty tubal connection to failing to remove the stitches in time. The law differs from state to state as well. It is, therefore, mandatory to check before deciding to file such a claim. Here are the categories that make a medical malpractice suit valid.


  • Inability to diagnose
  • or faulty diagnosis of the condition
  • Inadequate or Improper treatment
  • Misleading the patient
  • Not informing the patient about the associated risks of treatmentand diagnostic procedures

It is imperative to get in touch with a medical malpractice  lawyer  as a medical negligence claim happens to be complex and needs to take cognizance of diverse stipulations that may include the following as per the State laws.


  • The claim needs to be made rather quickly after the injury had been caused
  • Submission of the particulars to a review panel
  • Notice to be sent to the concerned medical professional before filing the claim
  • Expert testimonies required in court

Alvin F. De Levie & Associates  is supported by an elite team of lawyers, industry specialists, and experts who can assist you in the legal process.

Call us  for a free consultation at 844-777-2529 today, to find out whether your case is a valid medical malpractice case.


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