Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of summer. Believe it or not, even during a pandemic, there are still people out there driving under the influence. Unfortunately, this weekend probably will be no different.
This afternoon, Governor Tom Wolf signed House Bill 327, now Act 21 of 2020, allowing the temporary sale of cocktails-to-go form bars, restaurants or hotels with a liquor license. The law takes effect immediately.
Pedestrians who are hit by cars, trucks or buses in Philadelphia have rights when it comes to being compensated. They are entitled to recover all of their damages, including medical bills, lost wages, pain, and suffering. This is also true for bike riders.
It is well settled by Pennsylvania case law that a pedestrian’s right to non-economic recovery is not restricted by their election of limited tort on their car insurance policy. The tort option only applies when a person is occupying a motor vehicle when injured.
Stay-at-home orders issued in Pennsylvania and New Jersey mean most people are not driving at all. At best, individuals are occasionally driving for curbside pickup food.
Because of the dramatic decrease in driving, ten of the largest U.S. auto insurance companies say they will take the unusual step of giving back a portion of premiums to policyholders because they have fewer accidents to cover.
Vehicle Safety Recalls Are Often Ignored
A recent study by Carfax indicated that more than 63 million vehicles in the United States (one in four vehicles on the road) are being driven with unfixed safety recalls. J.D. Power and Associates estimated the number to be 45 million vehicles, while acknowledging the total could be higher due to older recalls that are difficult to track.
Why Are Vehicle Safety Recalls Often Ignored?
When vehicle safety recalls are delivered, many people put off addressing the issue or ignore it altogether due to inconvenience, lack of time, or perhaps not realizing the danger associated with some recalls. If they don’t own the car anymore, some prior owners just discard the notice.
On August 4, 2017, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) announced the withdrawal of their advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) which would have required railroads and trucking companies to test employees for obstructive sleep apnea. This is one of many withdrawals of proposed safety regulations by the Trump administration.
The ANPRM was jointly issued in March 2016 as the first step for the agencies to consider whether to propose requirements concerning obstructive sleep apnea for commercial vehicle drivers and rail workers in safety sensitive positions. Based on the potential severity of obstructive sleep apnea-related transportation incidents and crashes, the ANPRM sought information from interested parties regarding obstructive sleep apnea to better inform the agencies’ decision on whether to take regulatory action.
A recent study by a team of vehicle experts at the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Volpe Center found that pedestrian crash avoidance/mitigation (PCAM) systems can potentially reduce up to 5,000 vehicle-pedestrian crashes and 810 fatal vehicle-pedestrian crashes each year. Even if a crash is unavoidable, PCAM systems may reduce the resulting number of injured pedestrians by lowering the speed of the vehicle prior to impact.
It only takes a momentary distraction to cause a motor vehicle/pedestrian collision. That distraction may be on the part of the driver of the vehicle or the pedestrian, or a combination of the two. A driver may be distracted by children in the car or a ringing cell phone, or by changing the music that is playing. A pedestrian may be looking at his or her cell phone, talking to others, or even reading while walking. But whatever the cause or causes, the pedestrian is by far the most likely to be injured or killed as a result of the impact.
For those unaware, government immunity is the doctrine that provides federal, state, and local governments with immunity against certain legal claims arising out of torts committed by a government employee, official, or agent. The doctrine comes from English law, which held that the crown could do no wrong. What this means today in Pennsylvania, in practical terms, is that in order to sue the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, your case must fall into one of several exceptions to government immunity.
One of the exceptions to government immunity is the motor vehicle exception, which seeks to hold the government responsible for motor vehicle accidents caused by government employees acting in the scope of their employment as a government employee. The motor vehicle exception to government immunity essentially waives immunity where the negligent act that caused the plaintiff’s injuries involves the movement and operation of the government owned or controlled vehicle or its parts.
According to a recent news release published by the Pennsylvania Gaming Commission, deer-vehicle collisions in Pennsylvania increase annually during the fall season due, in large part, to the fall breeding season. During the fall breeding season, deer tend to be moving around more than usual and they are not paying close attention to their surroundings…
I have previously written about the various exceptions to limited tort in Pennsylvania as contained in 75 Pa.C.S.A. 1705. These exceptions allow drivers who have selected the limited tort option on their auto insurance policy to recover damages for pain and suffering as if they had elected the full tort option. The most commonly applied…