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Posts Tagged ‘ injuries ’

New Jersey Motorcyclist Critically Injured By Buses in 2011 Receives $2.5 Million Settlement

As Keith Nystrom rode his motorcycle through the Lincoln Tunnel into New York City from New Jersey on Feb. 24, 2011, he was critically injured in a chain reaction crash involving three New Jersey Transit buses. The crash was horrific, with one bus crashing into the rear of a second bus, which then rear-ended Nystrom and wedged him under a third bus that was just ahead of him, according to an Oct. 17  story on

Now, more than two years after the crash, Nystrom, 49, formerly of Wayne, N.J., will receive a $2.5 million settlement after filing suit against the bus company in connection with the crash. The case was settled before New Jersey Superior Court Judge Thomas J. La Conte.

Large air bags had to be used by rescue workers to lift the buses so that Nystrom could be pulled from the wreckage under the buses after the incident, the paper reported. Fifty-four passengers on the buses were also injured, including 14 who suffered serious injuries, according to reports.

A wrecked motorcycle lays on its side as its rider is attended to out of camera range by a medical crew in this stock photo. Image credit: ©

“Nystrom underwent four surgeries for two broken legs and a fractured arm and required a chest tube while he was hospitalized” following the crash, story reported. “Nystrom has no use of his left hand and limited use of his left arm because of nerve damage resulting from his injuries, and walks with a slight limp,” the story continued.

At the time of the crash, Nystrom worked for J.P. Morgan in New York as a computer associate, but he has since relocated to Houston, Texas, the paper reported. Nystrom is married and has four children. “It’s a miracle he survived,” his attorney told the paper.” It was six months before he was able to walk.”

The crash occurred when the driver of the first bus apparently became distracted and didn’t realize that the bus in front of him had slowed, the report states. That driver, “who was traveling a proper speed of about 35 mph, never put his foot on the brake prior to impact,” which pushed the second bus into Nystrom and trapped him under the third bus.

It’s been a long and hard road to recovery for Nystrom and the settlement will undoubtedly help him continue his rehabilitation and move on with his life as he adjusts to his diminished physical capabilities.

These kinds of incidents and injuries happen every day when innocent victims are hurt in vehicle accidents through no fault of their own due to the actions or indifference of others. That’s where having a legal team on your side that uncovers every fact to bolster your case and maximize your damage award is key.

We here at MyPhillyLawyer stand ready to assist you with your legal case if you or a loved one is ever seriously injured in a vehicle incident or accident anywhere in the United States. We represent the families of victims who die in such tragedies as well, to ensure that their families receive every penny of damages that they are eligible to receive.

Call MyPhillyLawyer at 215-227-2727 or toll-free at 1-866-920-0352 anytime and our experienced, compassionate, aggressive team of attorneys and support staff will be there for you and your family every step of the way as we manage your case through the legal system.

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Minivan Mechanical Failure Leads to Vehicle Rollover, Results in $15.7 Million Verdict for Six Injured Victims

A family drive to New York turned tragic in March 2008 for a Philadelphia doctor when the rented minivan she was driving suffered a major mechanical failure in its front suspension and steering, causing the van to go out of control and plunge down a ravine.

The crash, which left the doctor with little use of her left arm due to severe injuries, has resulted in a $11.4 million damage verdict for the doctor, and an additional $4.3 million in damages to five other passengers who were also injured in the crash, according to a March 21 story in The Legal Intelligencer.

The 2006 Toyota Sienna minivan had been rented for the trip from PhillyCarShare, a local vehicle sharing and rental company, and had its maintenance performed regularly by the Central City Toyota dealership in Philadelphia, the story reported.

Dr. Noreen Lewis was driving the minivan on the trip “when the minivan’s ball joint mechanically failed and [the vehicle left the roadway and] rolled over down a ravine,” the story said.

Central City Toyota was sued by the plaintiffs for not maintaining the vehicle properly prior to the crash. The minivan was inspected by Central City Toyota on December 3, 2007, just three months before the incident. The dealership had argued in court that there was no evidence that the vehicle’s ball joint was bad when the vehicle was inspected, according to the Intelligencer.

Emergency crews respond to the victims of an overturned SUV in this stock photo. Image credit: ©

Emergency crews respond to the victims of an overturned SUV in this stock photo. Image credit: ©

Instead, Central City Toyota argued that the minivan’s ball joint was damaged when the car rolled, the story reported. ” The dealership also argued that Lewis was at fault because the Toyota was being driven at too high of a speed for a wet roadway, court papers said.”

The jury, however, disagreed after a five-week trial in Philadelphia, ruling in favor of all six of the plaintiffs in the case.

The passengers in the minivan and their awards included Evelyn Lewis, who received $862,000; Lashona Lewis, who received $216,208; Michael Lewis, who received $214,625; Bryanna McGinchey, who received $1,561,650; and Bridget McGinchey, who received $1,399,217, according to the story.

During the trial, Central City Toyota had offered to settle the case for $1.7 million, the story reported.

The tragedy in cases like this one is that this incident and these injuries could have happened to anyone.

One minute a family is on a trip heading for a fun event and the next instant someone is hurt and suffering from grievous, life-changing injuries that destroy a career and result in a lifetime of lingering pain and suffering.

These kinds of incidents and injuries happen every day when innocent victims are hurt in vehicle crashes through no fault of their own due to the actions or indifference of others.

That’s where having a legal team on your side that uncovers every fact to bolster your case and maximize your damage award is key.

We here at MyPhillyLawyer stand ready to assist you with your legal case if you or a loved one is ever seriously injured in a vehicle accident anywhere in the United States. We represent the families of victims who die in such tragedies as well, to ensure that their families receive every penny of damages that they are eligible to receive.

Call MyPhillyLawyer at 215-227-2727 or toll-free at 1-866-920-0352 anytime and our experienced, compassionate, aggressive team of attorneys and support staff will be there for you and your family every step of the way as we manage your case through the legal system.

When Winning Matters Most, Call MyPhillyLawyer.

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Injured on the job? Time to call a lawyer to protect your legal rights

Every day, many thousands of workers are injured on the job in the U.S. and require medical treatment or hospitalization.

And when those injuries occur, many times workers aren’t adequately covered by insurance or cared for by their employers.

They are injured and then their legal rights aren’t protected because they don’t have someone who is looking out for them as their personal legal advocate. Insurance companies and employers don’t want injured victims to secure legal advice and counsel.

A worker is treated by rescue workers at the scene of a workplace injury in this stock photo. Image credit: ©

But that’s exactly when you need to bring in a caring, compassionate and skilled attorney to ensure that your injuries are properly treated, that your income isn’t adversely affected and that your legal rights are completely protected.

It happens all the time to workers in factories, stores, mines and a myriad of other workplaces.

The 29 coal miners who died April 5, 2010 in an explosion in a Massey Energy mine in West Virginia perished due to problems and safety risks that were caused by their employer, according to a state report that was released today. The 120-page report, which was produced by a team of independent investigators who burrowed through mounds of records related to the tragedy, “echoed preliminary findings by federal officials that the blast could have been prevented if Massey had observed minimal safety standards,” according to a story today in The New York Times. The report “put the blame squarely on the owner of the mine,” the paper said. ”The story of [the] Upper Big Branch [mine] is a cautionary tale of hubris,” the report concluded. “A company that was a towering presence in the Appalachian coalfields operated its mines in a profoundly reckless manner, and 29 coal miners paid with their lives for the corporate risk-taking.”

No one was looking out to protect them in that mine.

Sometimes workplace injuries occur through incidents that appear to be truly accidental.

Earlier this week, a tree trimming worker in Lancaster County died when he fell from the bucket of the cherry-picker truck that he was using to trim trees, according to an Associated Press story from the (Lancaster) Intelligencer Journal/New Era newspaper. The victim, a 40-year-old York man, “was working in the truck’s bucket, about 50 feet up, when a pivot on the bucket broke and he fell to the ground,” the story reported.

Outwardly, incidents like this appear to be a tragic accident.

But a skilled attorney can help get to the bottom of such a tragedy and find out critical details, such as the condition and maintenance records of the bucket truck and the training of the crew, to help a grieving family recover adequate damages for the horrors they are experiencing through the shocking death of their loved one. If a company didn’t adequately protect its workers and a terrible injury or death occurs, a skilled attorney can help make it right for a family that is left behind.

In Yakima, Wash., a company was fined $5,200 earlier this week in connection with a industrial blast last December that injured several workers inside a warehouse, according to a story in the Yakima Herald-Republic newspaper.

The explosion at the Hops Extract of America plant in Yakima occurred after several bolts were not properly installed on high-pressure equipment in the facility, according to a report from the state Department of Labor and Industries. One worker was critically injured and several other workers were treated and released for their injuries after the blast, according to the paper.

These kinds of incidents and injuries happen across the country to workers who simply came to work to do their jobs.

About 3.3 million workers were injured in workplace accidents in 2009, the last year that complete statistics are available, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). That’s down from 3.7 million injuries in 2008, according to the agency.

In addition, 4,340 workers died on the job in 2009, the last year that complete government statistics are available, according to the BLS.

All of these incidents and statistics serve as grim reminders that workers must have a legal advocate in on their side when they are injured in a serious workplace accident.

Here at MyPhillyLawyer, we have handled thousands of such workplace injury cases between the attorneys on our skilled staff.

We stand ready to talk with you about your case and your debilitating workplace injuries to help you recover and get back on your feet both physically and economically.

Let our broad experience and our caring, professional and expert legal staff work to help you and your family make your way through the legal challenges ahead as you heal.

When winning matters most, call MyPhillyLawyer.

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Protecting yourself from insurance “bad faith”

We’ve been trained as consumers to believe that if we’re injured in a vehicle accident, our insurance company – the one that’s been collecting all of our costly premiums for coverage – will be there to help us in our hour of need.

Sadly, though, it doesn’t always work out that way.

Sometimes, it turns out that a driver’s biggest nightmare after an accident begins when they have to sue their own insurance company to receive the benefits that they rightfully deserve.

That’s what happened to a driver in western Pennsylvania who was injured in a head-on vehicle crash caused by an uninsured motorist back in 2001.  The accident occurred in Erie County when an uninsured driver ran a red light at an intersection and struck the woman’s vehicle.

Image credit: ©

So how did this driver’s nightmare legal battle arise?

Well, her insurance company delayed the resolution of the case for all these years after the accident, arguing that her policy didn’t fully cover her.

Instead of coming to her aid and paying the woman’s claims – their own customer’s claims – the insurance company battled her through the legal system, perhaps hoping to stall and delay until the woman would give up her legal fight.

That kind of behavior is called “bad faith.”  That’s a legal term to describe what occurs when a company doesn’t fulfill its contract requirements when called upon to do so.  In the case of an insurance company, an insurer  contracts with a customer through the filing and underwriting of a policy and promises to handle any claims in certain ways, with specific benefits, payments and processes.  If those promises aren’t adhered to and if the company tries to deceive a customer in order to avoid paying legitimate claims, then they are acting in bad faith.  A lawsuit can then be brought against an insurance company for bad faith in handling a claim.

In the case of the woman in western Pennsylvania, her insurance company may have thought that she’d give up on her case and that they’d prevail eventually, but that didn’t happen.

Instead, the case dragged on and a state court recently ruled in the woman’s favor, finding that the insurance company’s mishandling of her claims was unfair, according to a story in The Legal Intelligencer.

In his ruling for the plaintiff, the senior U.S. District Court judge in the case “found that the insurer’s conduct in its mishandling of an uninsured motorist claim was ‘intentional and unreasonable,’” the story said.

Due to the insurance company’s horrific behavior in the case, the judge immediately ruled in her favor and granted summary judgment in her behalf, rather than sending the case to trial, the story said.  Her lawsuit charged her insurance company with bad faith and breach of contract in mishandling her claims.

In his decision, the judge ruled that the insurer misrepresented her $100,000 uninsured motorists’ policy coverage limits and refused to follow its own rules to properly arbitrate the case when the two sides couldn’t agree on what to do, the story said.  The judge also ruled that the insurance company made “unreasonably low settlement offers” and delayed claims payments to try to get the woman from filing future claims against the insurer for bad faith, according to the story.

The problem with this case is it’s not as uncommon as you’d think.

Insurance companies are in business to look out for their own interests.  That means they want to collect insurance premiums from their policyholders and then try to pay out as little of that money as possible so they can keep their corporate profits high.

That’s great for insurance companies, but not so great for the people paying their premiums for coverage.

What all of this means is that you have to be aware of your rights as an insurance buyer, which can vary from state to state.

You must always remember that insurance companies don’t have your best interests at heart.

That’s where having a qualified, professional and skilled attorney by your side when dealing with an insurance company after any kind of accident is hugely important for any future claims.

The skilled attorneys here at MyPhillyLawyer handle cases like this on a regular basis for our clients, from vehicle accidents to a wide variety of personal injury cases.

If you are injured in an accident, don’t sign anything and don’t agree to anything when dealing with insurance companies.

First get medical treatment for your injuries, then contact your attorney to preserve your legal rights.

And if you believe your insurance company is acting in bad faith in the handling of your claims, you want to have the best legal representation beside you to help you win your case.

When losing isn’t an option, talk with MyPhillyLawyer.

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Philadelphia Car Accident Involving Horse-drawn Carriage Sparks Protest, Safety Questions

Two carriage drivers were sent to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital with serious injuries on Monday morning following a car accident,on Philadelphia’s Independence Mall. The accident occurred at around 10 a.m. when an elderly driver crashed his car into the back of a horse-drawn carriage — one of several stopped at a red light.

The car’s impact forced the carriage across the street, toppling two more carriages in front of it. A number of the horses broke free and bolted, before they were calmed down by passersby. Though scared, scraped and bruised, none of the horses were seriously injured.

However, two carriage drivers suffered serious damage, including head injuries, though both are currently in stable condition and expected to recover. The 70-year-old car driver was also taken to the hospital following the car accident, but has not yet been charged.

The crash sparked renewed calls for carriage bans from the Peace Advocacy Network (PAN), a Philadelphia-based activist group that focuses most of its energy on promoting veganism and animal rights. PAN has long been opposed to Philadelphia’s horse-drawn carriage industry and Monday’s car accident simply added fuel to their fire.

PAN members have already announced plans for a Saturday protest.

While refraining from comment on the animal rights side of the story, it’s worth taking a closer look at services like horse-drawn carriages and asking whether they really belong on today’s city streets. As Monday’s accident showed, it can be very dangerous to carriage drivers — not to mention the horses. Even if you don’t agree with PAN’s morals, it’s hard to fault them for wishing the animals safe conduct on city streets.

Additionally, imagine the outcome if those three carriages had been carrying passengers. Surely, there would have been more injuries. While driver error appears to be the sole cause of this accident, it makes little difference to the individual who has already suffered brain damage or another severe injury.

Dangerous drivers pose a threat to all of us, but the threat is even greater for those traveling by horse-drawn carriage — without any sort of protection. Certainly, you could argue that the danger posed to horse-drawn carriages is no worse than that posed to bikers and pedestrians, and, to be sure, that is a valid point.

But how many variables do we want out there on Philadelphia streets? It’s not an easy question, but one worth considering.

Read the full article here.

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Damage caps on injury cases harm accident and medical malpractice victims a second time

Are you willing to give up your rights to be compensated fully for ALL of the damages caused by another?

If you are injured in an accident, you can be sure that you want to recover every dollar you are entitled to for your treatment and for your pain and suffering.

But insurance companies for years have been trying to fight you tooth and nail to minimize what they pay out to you for pain and suffering due to your injuries so they can maximize their profits at your expense.

This is why we are constantly being bombarded in the legal world with proposals for caps on pain and suffering awards for injured people – a maximum dollar amount that can be paid to injury victims based on numbers pulled out of a hat, rather than on reality. Those proposals come from insurance companies and their very active, highly-paid lobbyists, who want to keep the money from you so they can keep it for themselves.

Image credit: ©

Caps are not fair for injury victims. They say that your pain and suffering, no matter how severe or long-term, has a finite value and that your case is not worth any more than the arbitrary figures designated by the caps. Such caps are only good for the insurance companies.

Caps have been introduced under the argument that they’re helping to control escalating health-care costs. But that’s not true. The costs of actual health care aren’t changing via such caps. The “savings” are only being seen in the payouts by insurance companies that are trying to pay out as little as possible to injury victims. That’s an insult to the victims.

Insurance companies argue that caps help them control costs for everyone by stopping inflated damage awards. If that were the case and if those lower payouts were saving them money, why don’t we all see lower insurance premiums as a result? Because they’re pocketing the savings to fatten their own wallets, all at the expense of victims who are seriously injured in accidents and are being limited by unfair caps on their damage awards.

If a cap on pain and suffering awards is set at $250,000, for instance, then an injury victim would be limited to only that amount for their case in their lifetime, even if their injuries were so severe from burns, a vehicle crash or other catastrophic event that they could no longer work. That is outrageous.

How about if we turn the whole world of injury payments upside down and put the onus on the real perpetrators? What if you are a victim of medical malpractice and are severely injured due to an error by your doctor or hospital? Then why not create a $250,000 maximum payment cap for your injuries from the insurance company, and force the errant doctor and hospital to pay for any and all medical treatment above that for the rest of your life? Then the ones who actually caused your grievous injuries are being forced to remember it each day because they’ll have to pay for your care. That might make it more real for them the next time they treat a patient.

In states across the nation, this issue of damage caps and their legality is being reviewed. A $500,000 cap on medical malpractice damage awards imposed several years ago in Illinois was struck down last month by the Illinois Supreme Court, according to a story in BusinessWeek.  The court found that “the limits set by the Legislature violate the state constitution’s separation of powers principle,” the story said.

This is a key theme in the fight in Congress today as the health care reform proposals continue to be batted around between Congress and the White House. Many Republicans in Congress continue to argue that such damage caps are a good way to rein in health costs. Well, that may sound like a great sound bite, but that will change the minute you are involved in a serious accident or are the victim of medical malpractice. That’s when you’ll realize that your rights are being limited all in the name of “solving the nation’s health care crisis.”

Instead, caps of pain and suffering damage awards are arbitrary and protect only the insurance companies, doctors and hospitals. They are not looking out for the victims of such tragedies. Instead, it’s an attempt to deprive innocent victims of their day in court.

Yes, as a personal injury attorney, I do have a vested interest in this emotional topic. But that doesn’t make my premise wrong. When you take away the rights of the individual in favor of a corporation, which is what damage caps are doing, then I can never side with the corporation. An individual’s rights are paramount to those of the insurance companies. I am not ashamed to say that.

After hearing all the evidence and rendering a decision, if a jury verdict is too high after a trial, there are natural controls to fix that problem and make the award fairer. The trial judge can lower the award, as can state Superior Court and Supreme Court judges, if necessary.

We don’t need caps. That’s a red herring.

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