Pennsylvania is in the midst of an unsettling trend in recent years. PennDOT reports that about 4,000 people are hit by cars each year in our state. These pedestrian/car encounters seem to increase during the winter months, where drivers appear to be more aggressive, especially in the afternoon. Many of these accidents also appear to involve distraction, either on the part of the driver or the pedestrian. To increase visibility, it is recommended that pedestrians stay off of their phones, wear reflective clothing, walk against the flow of traffic, and cross only at designated areas. Drivers need to be alert, not distracted by mobile devices, and anticipate pedestrians on the road with them.
Sometimes, general trends for certain types of lawsuits come and go. However, in the world of personal injury, there are several big areas that tend to make up the bulk of personal injury claims. Can you guess what they are?
When your child faces an unforeseen injury, it can be a parent's worst nightmare. Recently, a child suffered an injury while in gym class in a PA school. According to reports, the 9-year-old student was running in gym class, could not stop, tripped, and fell into an unpadded concrete wall. He hit the wall so hard that he lost consciousness. He missed a great deal of school and began to develop memory problems and chronic headaches, even several years after the accident occurred. The student's family sued the school for negligence by failure to properly pad the walls in the gym. The PA Supreme Court reviewed the case recently and found that a school can be held liable for the injuries that the child sustained.
Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) can result from many things, including car accidents, sports injuries, and some types of repeated trauma. TBIs have been making the news recently due to many student athletes suing the NCAA and their respective colleges/universities. According to news sources, the NCAA has received over 300 legal claims from former college athletes, mostly football players. These athletes state that concussions they received while playing sports were not always handled correctly in college. As a result, they now have lasting effects including mental health issues, early onset Parkinsons, Alzheimer's Disease, and chronic headaches. This is not the first time that the NCAA has been sued to head injury concerns. One former class action lawsuit against the NCAA led to $75M for students who claimed they had injuries. Another stipulation within that lawsuit was an agreement that any potential class-action personal injury lawsuits couldn't be held against the NCAA, but students could pursue their own lawsuits at their individual schools.
A Pennsylvania legislator is starting a new initiative to keep drivers safer this week called "STASH and Avoid a CRASH". This iniative is meant to draw awareness and reduce incidences of distracted driving in PA. STASH encourages drivers to put their cell phones in the glove compartments while they're driving, or use a GPS docking system on their dashboard to avoid handheld use while driving. Although texting while driving is illegal in PA, distracted driving is still a huge problem across the state.
Winter is in full swing, but that doesn't mean you need to stay inside. However, walking safely in wintry conditions may be a hazard if you're not careful. According to a local news source, one way to stay safe this winter is to actually "walk like a penguin"! As funny as it sounds, taking these shorter, waddling steps may keep you more stable on the ice and help you avoid a slip and fall injury.