Important Steps To Take After Being Involved In a Car Accident

  • By Alvin de Levie
  • 30 Oct, 2017

Steps To Take After a Car Accident

Unfortunate circumstances can unluckily place us in the situation of a car accident. We sadly can't see the future or alter our past to prevent the accident from occurring.

Car accidents  are bad, but they do happen frequently. You may or may not be one of the victims of a car accident. And at that point, no fault can be drawn yet as a result of the traumatic experience.

So, you are caught with a need to fully exercise your rights, but you are not sure of the steps that you can take. Here is a rundown of actions that you can take in case you are ever involved in an accident and aren’t sure of the essential and vital moves to make after a mishap.

If you are not in need of immediate medical treatment and you are sufficiently able, you need to do these things first.

  • Gather all the information you possibly can. In order to know where you currently stand in terms of the circumstances that caused the accident, you have to investigate  Photos and videos  from witnesses might offer good insights as to the circumstances that caused the accident. This might come in handy later on, in case you face issues with your claims process.

  • Call the police in order to facilitate a quick investigation of the surroundings, and also, upon their arrival, do not commit to any fault.

  • Allow a light check-up even if you are not apparently injured and also track your medical bills in case you have to go in for a checkup. This is important whether or not you are a victim of an auto accident.

  • Negotiating with the guilty party can commence if they're ready to foot the bills and accept blame. Although, this is only advised if the accident is minor and no injuries were incurred by their actions on your part. If it’s a major accident, or you are gravely injured, or your vehicle is severely damaged, you will have to wait for your  insurance  or hire a lawyer for negotiation.

  • Lastly, if the damage is too much, find a law firm and consequently, a personal injury lawyer that will protect your rights in any legal situation.

Finding an Experienced Attorney

Finding a  personal injury  attorney can be difficult since in such cases, quality is hard to find. So, the first quality you should look for in any attorney is extensive work history where attributes such as reliability, honesty and outstanding negotiation skills have constantly been displayed.

And to properly use the attorney's services after an accident, you need to comply with instructions like the ones listed below.

  • Provision of a detailed explanation of the accident is needed by your attorney. Photos and videos are especially useful in this regard. Also, this is where you come clean and hold back no information as to the occurrences on the day of the accident.

  • You should provide the full estimate of funds lost through damage to properties and also, lost opportunities, which is important during recovery of funds.

  • Provision of the full extent of expenses whether through your medical bills or even through your absence at work is important. As you  personal injury attorney will easily be able to investigate all expended and wasted funds. Where a plan will be designed on how to recover all of it.

After all of these steps, your attorney will start working out a method to get you properly compensated for all of the troubles/problems the car  accident  caused for you.

Vehicle accidents can be strenuous; things get even more complicated if there are injuries or damage to your vehicle. A personal injury lawyer can help you get the justice you deserve.

At  Alvin F. de Levie & Associates,  we regularly handle auto accident cases and serve our clients throughout Pennsylvania. If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident, please do not hesitate to  contact us  at (844) 777-2529 for a free initial consultation.

Our law firm will evaluate your claim in collaboration with medical experts, economists, and life care planners to ensure that the full and fair value of your case can be established and pursued.

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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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