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Erie Pennsylvania Legal Blog

Establishing negligence in personal injury claim is important

Every day, people in Pennsylvania are injured because of the negligence of others. While this negligence might seem obvious to some, it must still be proven to successfully achieve compensation from a personal injury claim. This is not necessarily complicated, but does require careful attention to detail and related evidence.

It is important for injury victims to first understand what constitutes negligence. When a person does not exercise a reasonable degree of care in a certain situation that leads to another's injury, he or she is negligent. Expected degrees of care are different for every situation, some of which are straightforward -- such as a shop owner clearing away ice from a front walkway -- and others that are more nuanced.

Halloween weekend is often an enforcement focus for DUIs

There are certain days of the week and times of day when you are more likely to encounter drivers under the influence of alcohol. The weekend, specifically Friday and Saturday nights and early mornings, are often a time when people socialize and use alcohol. The hours after bars close can often see a marked increase in impaired drivers on the road.

There are certain times of the year when drinking is more common, too. Most people already know that the 4th of July and New Year's Eve celebrations often involve excessive drinking, but fewer people think of Halloween as an alcohol-related holiday. That makes sense. After all, Halloween is a child-oriented holiday, with most people thinking of trick-or-treating, not drinking. However, there are a lot of adults out celebrating, too, which means crazy costumes and more impaired drivers on the road.

Drunk driving consequences dependent on BAC

All DUI charges are serious and should be treated as such, but the severity of potential consequences can vary. Pennsylvania takes a tiered approach to drunk driving, with three different levels based on a person's blood-alcohol content at the time of their arrest. The three levels are general impairment, high BAC and highest BAC, with penalties varying greatly even for first-time offenders.

A general impairment drunk driving charge applies to drivers who register a BAC between .08 and .099 percent at the time of their arrest. If convicted, drivers may face six months of probation, hundreds of dollars in fines and even a course in alcohol highway safety. Pennsylvania also focuses on treatment options for first time-offenders, and many are surprised when faced with court-ordered alcohol treatment rather than jail time.

We can help show owner negligence in your personal injury claim

Injuries of any kind can have a profoundly negative impact on a person's life. For some, the emotional trauma of being wrongly harmed can be just as intense as the physical pain and suffering. When a personal injury is the result of a property owner's neglect, victims can pursue compensation that is just and right for their situation.

Not everyone in Pennsylvania is aware of what constitutes neglect. Property owners must provide reasonably safe premises and display signage or other indications when something might pose a danger that is not otherwise obvious. Failing to do so typically means that an owner has acted negligently, and any resulting injury might be blamed on the owner.

Can I challenge a search and seizure in my criminal defense?

Despite what TV shows and movies might depict, citizens are not required to hand over their property to police simply because they were asked. The U.S. Constitution protects Pennsylvania citizens from any type of illegal search and seizure of their property. Unfortunately, defendants building their criminal defense are often unsure of what constitutes an illegal search.

The right to privacy is a dearly valued part of the Constitution. Most people reasonably expect that they will be able to store important items on their own person, in their home or in their motor vehicle without being forced to turn these things over to the law. However, in the absence of a warrant, most police rely on what they deem as a reasonable right to privacy, which can often be disputed.

Pennsylvania workers' compensation: Q and A, part 4

Injured in a work accident in Pennsylvania? Suffering from a work-related illness? Lose a loved one from either of the two? This week's column will continue answering common questions about workers' compensation insurance and benefits.

Question number one for this week is: How long do I have to file a claim? Believe it or not, not everyone thinks about filing a workers' compensation claim right away. It is understandable, as they have a lot of other things on their plates; however, there are time limits for filing such a claim. For injury claims, a person has 120 days to file a claim with the work comp provider. When it comes to occupational diseases, on the other hand, one has up to 300 weeks from the date of exposure or the last day of employment.

Pennsylvania workers' compensation: Q and A, part 3

Still more questions about work comp? Here are some more answers. This week, this column will continue its Q and A series about workers' compensation benefits that may be available Pennsylvania residents.

Question number one for this week is: Will I receive my full pay during my recovery? Not likely. Most insurance providers only provide for a portion of one's pay. According to state laws, wage-loss benefits are only required to cover two-thirds of an employee's average weekly pay.

Pennsylvania is serious about shoplifting offenses

Shoplifting may not seem like a serious crime. Many people, especially teenagers or college-aged adults, may feel the temptation to try shoplifting. It may seem like a victimless crime, but, in reality, it can put jobs at risk. Because retailers mark up items to reflect a certain amount of theft, everyone else ends up paying for shoplifted items. The more items destroyed or stolen from a store, the greater the potential mark-up.

In Pennsylvania, shoplifting is called retail theft. Under the state's laws, the seriousness of a shoplifting crime gets determined by the value of the items stolen and any previous criminal record by the person accused of retail theft. Even young people can end up in serious trouble over shoplifting.

Pennsylvania workers' compensation: Q and A, part 2

This week's column will be a continuation in the work comp series. As stated last week, numerous Pennsylvania residents may have questions about workers' compensation. A couple of those questions will be addressed below.

Question number one for this week is: Can I pick my doctor? Some employers and insurance providers require that certain medical providers be seen. If one's employer offers a list of approved providers, one must see one on that list for the initial visit and for the first 90 days of treatment. It is okay to seek a second opinion, also from an approved provider. If an injured person's company or insurance provider does not have a list of approved health care providers, it is okay for one to use his or her physician of choice.

Pennsylvania workers' compensation: Q and A, part 1

No one really thinks about work injuries and how to cover them until they happen. The truth is, the vast majority of employers in the state of Pennsylvania are required by law to supply workers' compensation insurance coverage. This article will cover some common questions about this insurance over the next several weeks.

Question number one for this week is: What exactly is workers' compensation? This is a form of insurance offered to employees in the event that they suffer any type of injury or illness while on the job. Family members of employees may also be entitled to access these benefits if their loved one is killed as a result of a work-related injury.

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