What Should You Do If You’re Injured In A Car Accident?

When you or a loved one are involved in a car accident, the most important thing to do is get to safety and get medical care for any injuries. However, in the midst of scary and unexpected car accidents, many people may not know what other steps to take, or think about the long-term implications of the accident. It’s important to be aware of what steps should be taken after you and your loved ones’ immediate safety and medical needs have been addressed.

  • Call 911: Call the police as soon as possible. The police can help facilitate your safety and medical care, and can file a report to initiate a record of the accident.
  • Seek medical attention: Even if you don’t think you have suffered injuries, or feel your injuries are minor, it is important to seek medical attention. Many people do not feel the full effects of their injuries upon impact, and your adrenaline can mask pain. In addition to ensuring your physical health is properly addressed, documenting your injuries is important if you need to pursue legal action.
  • Obtain contact information: While most people know you should exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver(s), it is also important to gather contact information of any witnesses to the accident.
  • Take photos: If possible, you should take photos of the accident scene. If you need to pursue legal action, photos are helpful evidence to support your testimony and your case.
  • Contacting your insurance company: While you should notify your insurance company of the accident, you should not admit fault, and only give the basic information necessary to open a claim. Keep in mind that anything you say to your adjustor or the other driver’s insurance company can be used against you in your case.
  • Contact an attorney: If you or any passengers are injured in an accident, you should contact an attorney who regularly handles these cases as soon as possible.

We regularly represent injured persons in auto accident claims in Philadelphia, Delaware County, and the surrounding area. 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 in a car accident, 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.

Underdogs – The Philadelphia Eagles Theme Resonates for This Lawyer

By now, everyone has heard about the Philadelphia Eagles and their rise to football supremacy as underdogs – the team that no one respected. On Sunday, we’ll see if the Eagles prove just how underrated and disrespected they were by winning the ultimate NFL prize, the Super Bowl.

Many people have expressed disbelief that being an underdog, or being disrespected, can be a motivator. I can attest that it can be and is a tremendous motivator. I know from experience, and have used that experience to motivate me even more to assure the best results for every client.

 In law school, I had no interest in joining a large firm, and never seriously attempted to be on law review. As a result, classmates (and some law firms) didn’t take my legal skills seriously.

As a lawyer, I have always practiced in small firms. Invariably, when involved in cases with attorneys from large firms, I could sense their assumption that I was not as capable as they were because they were on law review, or came from a more prestigious school than Temple, from which I graduated, ignoring the fact that many of our region’s finest lawyers attended this hometown law school.

When I ventured out as a solo, the stigmas became more obvious, and sometimes lawyers did not hide their derision. Then they would read one of my briefs, or hear my oral argument, and their perspective changed, dramatically. Just last year I was hired as appellate counsel in a complex personal injury matter that the trial court had dismissed. I called opposing counsel to request an extension of time to file our brief. Our conversation was laden with condescension.

Then my opponent, a graduate of an Ivy League university and a “top 20” law school (compared with Temple’s ranking at number 50), and a partner at a large firm, received my brief, and heard the argument in the appellate court. His attitude became far less superior, and it changed even more when the court ruled in my client’s favor and reversed his victory. Even worse, his client hired another lawyer to handle the case.

I have always had confidence in my skills, and know that there is a reason judges regularly comment about the quality of my firm’s work. One Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice recently approached me out of the blue, and began to tell me (in front of numerous other attorneys) how “exceptional” and “extraordinary” my brief was in a case that had been argued earlier that day.

Each of us measures our success differently, and each of us uses different tools to motivate ourselves. For me, the fact that some lawyers believe they are superior because of where they went to law school motivates me not only to win but also to demonstrate that my decision to live at home and attend one of the finest law schools in the country, albeit not one in the “top 20,” does not mean that my skills are better, or worse, than an attorney who graduated from another school.

When I consider the number of precedential cases in which I have served as counsel, I understand fully why the Philadelphia Eagles wear their underdog status as a badge of honor, and use it to help drive them toward a championship. Each of us must earn respect from our colleagues, and often the only way to do so is to defeat a supposedly “superior” opponent. Underdogs understand how hard they have to work to gain respect – and win. Let’s go Eagles!

 

 

 

Social Security Disability Claimants Face Long Delays Waiting for Hearings

It takes an average of 23 to 25 months until a Social Security Disability claimant has their hearing. Don’t take our word for it, you can read it on Social Security’s website at https://www.ssa.gov/appeals/DataSets/01_NetStat_Report.html. That’s a long time, and one that neither the claimant nor counsel can control. Worse, the 25 month wait time for the Philadelphia office is the longest in the country.

In fact, one of the toughest things our office has to do is explain the length of the process to people applying for Social Security Disability (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. Even worse, that’s not the full story. Because those people must first apply for benefits and wait for that preliminary decision, which generally takes three to six months. Only then can they request a hearing before a Judge and get into the two-year long line.

We represent many of the claimants in the Philadelphia area who are feeling the effects of this crippling backlog. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, these are the disheartening statistics:

  • The average wait time for a hearing in Philadelphia is 26 months
  • The average wait time for a hearing in Elkins Park is 20 months
  • The average wait time for a hearing in South Jersey is 23 months
  • There are more than 10,000 Philadelphians currently awaiting hearings
  • 8,699 Americans died in 2016 while waiting for a hearing
  • Each Philadelphia office has more than 5,000 pending cases, but no more than 8 Judges

While no attorney can speed the process, they can offer guidance and preparation to help improve your chance at success. Our office regularly represents clients seeking Social Security benefits at every stage of their claims, including administrative hearings, and even in Federal District Court. The claims process involves complicated paperwork, appeals can be confusing, and the long wait for hearings makes everything seem worse. But we have the knowledge and experience to help guide you through the process. If you are considering a claim or have been denied, call our office at 610-446-3457 and we will explain the process and help you prepare your application or appeal properly.

Pennsylvania Supreme Court to Decide Whether Colleges Must Have Qualified Medical Personnel at Athletic Events

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether colleges must have qualified medical personnel present at intercollegiate athletic events to protect student athletes from injury. Our firm is counsel for the student athletes who filed this lawsuit after they suffered severe injuries at a football practice at which there were no licensed trainers present. The Court is expected to decide the case later this year.

In the case, Feleccia v. Lackawanna College, the trial court dismissed both of the athletes’ claims, concluding that they had signed a waiver that barred any claims and that the college had no duty to them to provide qualified medical personnel. On appeal, the Superior Court ruled that the waivers were unenforceable because of the nature of the college’s conduct; this decision is consistent with Pennsylvania law, which at a minimum requires athletic trainers to have a physician readily available for consultation.

The Supreme Court will also decide whether the release/waiver the athletes signed is enforceable. The waiver contained language similar to the information on the back of amusement park and ski lift tickets.

Attorneys Daniel J. Siegel and Nicole Kratzer of the Law Offices of Daniel J. Siegel, LLC served as appellate counsel before the Superior Court, along with Attorney Andrew Motel, who filed the case and represented the plaintiffs before the trial court. Our office will represent the Plaintiffs before the Supreme Court.

Federal Court Rules That Workers’ Compensation Settlements Apply Only to Workers’ Compensation Matters

On September 11, 2017, in Zuber v. Boscov’s, the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that an injured employee does not waive claims to FMLA and other benefits by settling his Pennsylvania workers’ compensation claim and signing a Compromise and Release Agreement (C&R).

In Zuber, Boscov’s fired the injured worker after he returned to work and requested additional medical leave to care for his injuries. Although Boscov’s approved the request, it fired Mr. Zuber shortly thereafter. A few months later, the store settled Mr. Zuber’s workers’ compensation claim. As part of the settlement, the parties signed a C&R Agreement, which is required under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act. When Mr. Zuber sued Boscov’s under the FMLA, the federal trial court dismissed the lawsuit, ruling that it was barred by the language of the C&R. The 3rd Circuit reversed.

The 3rd Circuit ruled that the language of the C&R is governed by contract law and only applies to “matters which may be fairly said to have been within the contemplation of the parties when the release was given.” The Court also agreed that the C&R was limited to Mr. Zuber’s workers’ compensation claim.

Our office assisted the Pennsylvania Association for Justice, which filed an Amicus (friend of the court) brief. We have regularly challenged the use of C&R Agreements to prevent injured workers from filing other claims not related to their workers’ compensation claims.

(By Daniella A. Horn, Esquire)

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