The Philadelphia Personal Injury Law Blog

December 2010 Archives

Philadelphia Snow Creates Unsafe Road Conditions For Drivers

Many Philadelphians were not anticipating the snow earlier this week to even come close to last year's record of 23.3 inches. Yet the National Weather Service said the Philadelphia International Airport had already accumulated nearly 8 inches of snow by Monday. Mayor Nutter urged residents to stay off the roads as the city prepared for the season's first snow storm.

Officials asked citizens to park their vehicles away from corners and help clear the snow from fire hydrants. They also asked residents to clear 36 inches from the sidewalk paths six hours after the end of the storm. The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission reduced the speed on several of the state highways and interchanges to 45 miles per hour.

Debrah Merlin Injured In Car Accident In Center City

Police reported a high-ranking city official was injured on Tuesday after a pickup truck ran into the victim in Philadelphia's Center City, according to NBC Philadelphia. Authorities only disclosed that the victim was a "female city official," but sources revealed assistant deputy mayor Debrah Merlin was likely the injured woman in the accident.

52-year-old Debrah Merlin, who works for the Mayor's Commission on Aging, was immediately rushed to Hahnemann Hospital in critical condition. Law enforcement officials were able to question the truck driver, who worked for a company in Lumberton, New Jersey. The police ended up not making any immediate charges against the driver during that time and decided to release him.

Residents Argue Against Return Of Duck Boats In Schuylkill

Mayor Nutter and Ride the Ducks, the Georgia-based company who operates tours on duck boats, announced in October that the duck boats were expected to resume in Schuylkill instead of the Delaware River. Yet nearly 100 residents and members of the Schuylkill Park Alliance, an advocacy group, argued at a meeting Wednesday night for the duck boats not to return at all.

Issues surrounding the duck boats began after a boating accident where two Hungarian students were killed. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported many residents feared that the duck boats would upset the peaceful environment of Schuylkill Park, where many people have come to enjoy quiet recreational activities.

Efrain Martinez Killed After Being Hit By Truck

Philadelphia police officials are currently looking for the driver involved in a car accident that led to a Kensington man's death this past week. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported a white Ford F-150 truck ran into 48-year-old Efrain Martinez on Monday night. Martinez was crossing Kensington Avenue towards Monmouth Street with his brother when he was struck by the Ford.

The driver had stopped and asked Efrain Martinez if he needed to go to the hospital. Martinez responded that he did not, and so the driver left the scene. An hour or so after the accident, Efrain Martinez began experiencing chest pains and had difficulty breathing. He was then brought to Temple University Hospital where he was later pronounced dead.

Drivers Face Large Costs For Crash Tax

Some Philadelphia locals may have heard about the "crash tax" that many drivers are now facing. Several state and local governments have begun implementing fees for public safety responses in an attempt to compensate for the large budget deficits. While New York charges residents for police and fire department responses, ABC News reported Pennsylvania's law only allows its fire departments to charge fees.

Paula Callahan, for instance, was charged $1,576 after the Irwin's Fire Department responded to an accident where her car was totaled. The costs included $50 for shovels, $50 for brooms, and $175 for traffic cones. "It's a volunteer fire department," Callahan said, stunned by the fees. "They show up at the scene whether you call them or not."

What Is Negligence?

The theory of negligence often arises when filing a personal injury claim, as many Philadelphia personal injury lawyers can tell you. "Negligence" generally occurs when an individual acts in a careless manner and causes injury or harm to another person. The negligent individual consequently becomes legally responsible for any resulting harm.

Many accident or injury claims in Philadelphia use negligence as a basis in determining fault. The person injured (plaintiff) must prove that the person allegedly at fault (the defendant):

  • Owed a legal duty of care to the injured person;
  • "Breached" or failed to perform that legal duty through his or her conduct or actions;
  • Caused the injury or accident involving the plaintiff; and therefore
  • Injured or harmed the plaintiff.

Carl Greene Sues John Street For Defamation

Former Philadelphia Housing Authority executive Carl Greene filed a lawsuit in Common Pleas Court on Tuesday, accusing PHA chairman John F. Street of defaming him. Carl Greene had previously sued the entire PHA board for wrongful termination, defamation, and breach of contract after he was fired in September. Yet for this particular defamation suit, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Greene only named John Street as the defendant.

The complaint seeks damages exceeding $50,000 for the alleged derogatory comments John Street made about Carl Greene during an interview on a 6ABC show in October. Street was originally on the show to talk about the comments he made regarding Mayor Nutter's performance in office. However, Street was also asked how he knew nothing about Carl Greene's conduct at PHA after sexual harassment allegations arose against Greene.

Hanover Direct Inc. Recalls 523,000 Window Blinds

According to Bloomberg, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) stated that the New Jersey-based company known as Hanover Direct Inc. recalled 523,500 window blinds after receiving reports about a child being strangled by a pull-cord. Hanover sells its products over the internet, but the houseware manufacturer recalled roll-up blinds and Roman shades sold through its Company Kids, Domestications, and Company Store brands.

The CPSC has arranged one of the biggest recalls in December as they removed over 50 million Roman and roll-up blinds sold in Philadelphia and nationwide retail stores like Wal-Mart, Restoration Hardware, and Pottery Barn outlets owned by Williams-Sonoma Inc. The agency said Hanover previously recalled 90,000 window coverings in October of 2009 after a 2-year-old boy in Delaware was caught in the cord. Two other children were almost strangled.

Margo Polett Receives $27.6 Million From Injury Suit

Margo Polett, a 71-year-old Philadelphia resident, filed a lawsuit against Chicago-based Public Communications Inc. and Zimmer Inc. in Indiana for injuries she sustained after using exercise equipment in a promotional video for Zimmer. According to the Philadelphia Daily News, Polett had taken part in the film two months after she received knee-replacement surgery on both her knees in June 2006.

Robert Booth, Margo Polett's surgeon, asked her to participate in the video production held at Pennsylvania Hospital. The lawsuit revealed that the video, shot by Public Communications, aimed to promoted Zimmer's orthopedic products and equipments. Polett used a treadmill and an exercise bike for a few minutes to show her recovery in the film.