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We Represent Lawyers In Disciplinary & Professional Guidance Matters – They Just Can’t Say Who They Are

Attorneys must maintain confidentiality, which means we cannot disclose client information (including the names of our clients) without their consent.

One type of client never wants or permits their names to be used – clients we represent who either have charges brought against them by the Pennsylvania Disciplinary Board or the many law firms for which we provide confidential ethical guidance about how to handle sensitive matters to avoid having charges brought against them by the Disciplinary Board.

And these clients never brag that we were able to convince Disciplinary Counsel not to pursue charges or that we won their disciplinary proceeding. In addition, firms won’t brag that we provided counsel in sensitive situations that lawyers deal with all the time, but which are fraught with repurcussions if they don’t handle them according to the Rules of Professional Conduct.

So we are pleased that one of our attorney clients (who shall remain nameless) was pleased enough with our representation (the Disciplinary Board charges against him were dismissed) that he offered the following review:

“I would like to thank Dan Siegel and his law firm for an excellent result in a legal matter they handled for me.  Their hard work, combined with legal expertise, carried the day to a successful conclusion.”

In those God forbid situations when you or your firm needs representation before the Pennsylvania Disciplinary Board, or you are confronted with a situation requiring ethical guidance, give us a call. We can’t promise results, but we can promise to handle your matter thoroughly and discreetly. And because we are located in the suburbs, and don’t have the overhead of a Center City office, our fees are more reasonable than those of the larger firms who handle similar matters. Give us a call.

Pa. Supreme Court, Citing Dan Siegel’s Brief, Issues Landmark Car Accident Ruling

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled today that, in car accidents claims against Pennsylvania governments and governmental agencies, “operation of a vehicle” is the continuum of activity from when a vehicle begins its journey until it reaches its final destination.  This case will impact every auto accident claim against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, every municipality, and every governmental agency, such as SEPTA.

In the case, known as Balentine, the Supreme Court specifically cited and adopted the standard suggested by Attorney Daniel J. Siegel of the Law Offices of Daniel J. Siegel, LLC, who authored the Amicus/Friend of the Court Brief for the Pennsylvania Association for Justice. The Opinion reverses 30 years of inconsistent and illogical decisions, and creates a uniform and logical standard for evaluating the responsibility of a governmental entity in motor vehicle accident cases. Our law firm is proud that over the past 13 years since we opened, our cases have protected and expanded the rights of more injured workers and car accident victims than those of any other law firm in Pennsylvania! Last year, our Pennsylvania Supreme Court case expanded the statute of limitations in all uninsured and underinsured motorist cases.

The Opinion in Balentine specifically cited Attorney Dan Siegel’s Brief, “The approach set forth in the Warrick dissent, as advocated for by Amicus Curiae Pennsylvania Association for Justice, does not contradict the ‘intent of the Tort Claims Act to insulate local government agencies from liability.'”

Click here to read the Opinion in Balentine v. Chester Water Authority.

Click here to read Dan Siegel’s Brief.

Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Settlements Cannot Bar Medical Provider From Being Paid Without Notice

In a precedential decision that will impact every Compromise & Release (Settlement) Agreement under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, the Commonwealth Court ruled today that “The parties to a C&R agreement can bind each other, but they cannot release themselves from liability to a person who is not a party to the C&R agreement and who has been given neither notice nor opportunity to be heard on the C&R Agreement.” Attorney Dan Siegel of the Law Offices of Daniel J. Siegel, LLC was lead appellate counsel, and argued the case for the medical provider; he was assisted by Attorney Nicole Kratzer.

The Court also ruled that “A C&R Agreement cannot be employed to avoid the procedures in the Act for challenging a provider’s invoice or a fee review determination that the invoice must be paid. To hold otherwise would eviscerate Section 30l(f.1)(5) and (6) of the Act and violate the due process of law guaranteed to providers.”

Click here to read our latest appellate victory, which yet again impacts virtually every injured worker in Pennsylvania.

Influencers of the Law – They Aren’t All in Large Firms

Today’s Philadelphia Inquirer has an entire section devoted to advertising for, oops, I meant highlighting the achievements of large law firms. Called “Influencers of the Law,” the section focuses on the accomplishments of many large law firms in the Philadelphia area. It also includes (not inexpensive) advertisements for 15 of the firms whose attorneys are featured in the section.

But there was something missing, a big something.

That something was a list of attorneys who practice in solo and small firms whose efforts on behalf of their clients are as admirable and worthy of recognition as the attorneys the Inquirer chose to feature. I could name a dozen such attorneys off the top of my head, whose omission is inexplicable. Because it’s not just the large firms who cases influence the law.

Consider our two-attorney firm. In the past year, for example, we were counsel in two landmark Pennsylvania Supreme Court cases – Protz and Bristol – both of which will have a dramatic impact on future claims for countless injured workers and persons injured in auto accidents. In addition, we are counsel in three pending Supreme Court cases – which are likely to have a similar impact. But like our counterparts in other small injured victim-focused firms, the Inquirer chose to ignore us. Click here to view a summary of some of our cases that changed the law.

Protz, for example, has been called the most important Pennsylvania workers’ compensation case since 1983. In the case, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act’s impairment rating examination violated the Pennsylvania Constitution. By declaring this provision unconstitutional, the Supreme Court invalidated the arbitrary 500-week limit on wage losses that reduced the rights of the overwhelming majority of injured workers.

In Bristol, the Pennsylvania Supreme extended the deadline (statute of limitations) for filing claims by underinsured motorists. Before this decision, the deadline for filing these claims was dramatically and arbitrarily limited. This is a game-changing case and one where lawyers have commented how Attorney Dan Siegel’s oral argument made a difference.  Click here to view Dan Siegel’s oral argument before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

So when you need an attorney, remember that small firms are just as impactful as large firms, but we typically have lower fees, are client-focused (after all, some large firms are paying newly-minted lawyers fresh out of law school $190,000 a year, when they have never handled a case as a licensed attorney – who do you think pays for these lawyers’ on-the-job education?), and our lawyers have been there and done that.

I remember years ago learning about one now-retired lawyer, Steve Feldman, who was a solo his entire career. What did I discover? That Steven was involved in virtually every major case that addressed the rights of injured persons – and he was a solo. Lawyers practice as solos and in small firms for many reasons, just as do lawyers in massive corporate firms. It’s not the size of the firm that matters, it’s the lawyer handling the case. In that vien, the Inquirer’s “Influencers of the Law” missed the mark.

 

Pedestrians, Bicyclists, and Drivers: Sharing the Roadway

A 34-year-old bicyclist was struck and killed by an SUV at around 7:40 p.m. on Saturday, May 12th near 10th and Spring Garden streets in Philadelphia. This is only one instance of a sadly all too common occurrence in both Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs. Drivers must always be aware of growing numbers of pedestrians, runners, and bicyclists who share the roadways and crosswalks. There are several things you should know if you are one of the many drivers, walkers, or bicyclists in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania’s Motor Vehicle Code considers bicycles as vehicles for purposes of traffic laws, and every person riding a bike on a roadway has the same rights and responsibilities as a driver of a vehicle, with a few exceptions. Thus, while you have every right to ride your bicycle on the street, if you violate traffic laws, you not only increase your risk of an accident, but can be found at fault in the event of an accident. The following are a few examples of safety precautions drivers must take when encountering bicyclists on the roadway:

  • Vehicles must allow 4 feet of distance when overtaking/passing a bike, and travel at a careful and prudent speed. It is the motorist’s responsibility to provide this distance, not the biker.
  • Vehicles may overtake/pass a bike in a no-passing zone to avoid excessive delays, but must be with due care and still providing the required 4 feet of clearance.
  • No person shall open any car door while parked alongside a roadway unless it is reasonably safe to do so, and must not interrupt a biker’s path or disrupt traffic flow.

A pedestrian is subject to traffic signals just like a vehicle, and a pedestrian has the right of way at a crosswalk where no traffic control signal is in place. If the pedestrian is not in a crosswalk, the vehicle has the right of way. However, even if you are not in a crosswalk, or a jury finds you partly to blame for the accident (e.g., you were texting or otherwise distracted when you walked into traffic), you may still be able to recover damages if you were 50 percent or less at fault. There is one important difference for those struck by vehicles while walking: limited tort does not apply to pedestrians. Thus, even if you or your household chose limited tort car insurance, you are considered full tort if you were injured as a pedestrian and not a driver or occupant of a vehicle.

We regularly represent injured persons in auto accident claims in Philadelphia, Delaware County, and the surrounding area, including pedestrians, runners, and bicyclists struck by vehicles. While nothing can completely erase the physical and emotional impacts of a car accident, our experienced attorneys can help when insurance companies refuse to fully compensate you for your suffering. If you have been injured by a vehicle while walking, jogging, or riding your bicycle, call our office at 610-446-3457 to set up a consultation with our attorneys. We will explain the process, guide you, and fight to get you compensation for your injuries.

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