The Philadelphia Personal Injury Law Blog

July 2012 Archives

Boys Play Bumper Buses in Parking Lot; Parents Liable for Damage?

Everyone loves the bumper cars at the fair or amusement park. You drive around in a circle, sparks flying above you, smashing into fellow fun-seekers. But when there are real cars involved, instead of those slow electric ones surrounded by rubber, people are less than thrilled when something goes “bump.” Now imagine playing that game with school buses.

Local residents in New Castle, Delaware called the police after seeing people inside the Advanced Student Transportation bus lot driving and crashing school buses into each other. When Delaware State Troopers arrived at the lot, they saw the buses moving around the lot, stop, and then saw three boys jumping out of the buses and running away, according to NBC10.

Concrete Ceiling Falls on Woman: Premises Liability 101

You’re outside, enjoying your day when you’re hit with a chunk of concrete. You’ve just been injured by no fault of your own, so someone must be to blame.

This is probably what was going through the mind of a woman in King of Prussia just after she was hit with falling concrete from the ceiling of a pedestrian overpass while eating lunch at the Piazza DiGiorgio cafe, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. The woman was lucky in some sense, because the 12-foot by 15-foot piece of concrete fell beside the woman with only the debris striking her in the head.

Sandusky Victim 2 to Sue Penn State

As if Penn State did not have enough to deal with after the Sandusky scandal. After JoePa's wins were taken away, the Paterno statue torn down, and NCAA playoffs denied for 4 years, not to mention the pain for everyone involved, what more could go wrong?

As we predicted after the Freeh Report was released, the lawsuits against Penn State have begun. Now, Victim #2, still keeping his anonymity has filed suit through his attorneys Joel Feller and Matt Casey of Philadelphia, and Andrew Shubin and Justine Andronici of State College, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Strollers on the Loose; Peg Perego and Kolcraft Recalls

It just seems like every so often some beloved child product is being yanked off the shelves because it has some sort of danger. First it was the drop side cribs, then there have been the lead scares from toys made in China.

Now it is the strollers. Peg Perego has recalled hundreds of thousands of older model strollers, according to The Associated Press. The strollers are being recalled because of their potential to strangle a child if they are not properly strapped in, writes Consumer Reports.

Lack of Porta-Potty Basis for Wrongful Death Claim Against CSX

When you’re on the job, you’re going to need to use the restroom. It’s just a fact of life. So it’s a reasonable assumption that an employer should provide some sort of bathroom facility. But what happens when a lack of these facilities leads to the death of an employee?

Caroline Burrows has sued CSX Transportation for negligence based on its failure to provide a Porta-Potty or other bathroom facilities at her husband’s jobsite. She claims it was this oversight that caused Bernard Burrows to fall to his death while attempting to relieve himself over the bridge where he was working, according to Courthouse News Service.

Campfires Gone Wild: Avoid Liability If the Woods Burn Down

It's summertime, the kids are out of school, and you want to get out of the city. There's no better time to go camping than now. You can escape the heat and take a dip in a lake or stream, breathing the fresh country air.

Just remember, even though you're on vacation leaving your worries at home that you still need to act in a reasonable way. Now, don't confuse reasonable with no fun. A reasonable person lets loose every now and then. However, here are some tips to avoid liability for campfire damage while you're out camping.

School Bus Crash in Bucks County Injures Two Adults

You know it happens, you look down for a second while you're driving only to look back up and see the rear end of a car much too close. Usually we are lucky enough to see it and stop before disaster occurs.

Unfortunately for one bus driver, a truck stopped faster than the driver could react. This caused the bus to sustain severe front end damage and injure the driver and the bus aide that was the bus' only passenger, reports WPVI-TV. The driver and passenger of the truck were uninjured, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Adding insult to injury, the driver could face liability for the bus aide's injuries and potentially for the damage to the bus and truck.

Everyone knows about the Ford Pinto. Even people who were born long after the demise of the economical hatchback that had a propensity to burst into passenger-charring flames upon even the slightest of impacts, know its name.

Now, Ford is having trouble with fire again as some of its 2013 Ford Escape models with a 1.6 liter engine are prone to spontaneously catch fire, according to Reuters. Normally, recalls only say to return the car for repair, but Ford is telling owners to stop driving the vehicles immediately.

Why do automakers recall vehicles?

Fired Lansdale Coach Charged in Sex Abuse Hoax; Defamation Liability?

What do you do after you've been fired from a job where you worked hard and felt that it was not recognized? You usually get drinks with friends, complain about the employer, apply for unemployment, and start looking for a new job.

Reportedly, that is not what Tim Udinski, the fired Lansdale coach, did once he was dismissed from his position as the Lansdale Catholic High School's lacrosse coach for a one year. Instead, Udinski wanted to use the recent Sandusky and priest trials as fodder to smear the football coach, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

While Udinski faces criminal charges, he could be hit with a civil lawsuit by football coach Jim Alego for defamation.

Vegas Chimp Rampage: Purpose of Dangerous Animal Laws?

Dane Cook has a joke that every man’s fantasy is to have a monkey for a pet. Unfortunately, one person’s attempt to live out this fantasy with monkeys has ended in tragedy for the owner.

Just outside Las Vegas city limits, two chimpanzees escaped from their cage and rampaged around the neighborhood, running through yards and banging on cars, reported The Associated Press. One 911 call was made after the chimps jumped on a car with a woman inside. Once police arrived, one chimp even jumped on the roof of a police car, before running off.

Live Alligator Mail to Trenton Outdoes Dead Rat Mail in Boston

You may have heard about the transit officer in Boston who was working a side gig pimping and thought that a dead rat in the mail might be a good way to collect on unpaid tricks. It certainly seems like the person who put a small alligator in an express mail package was trying to do the transit officer one better, reports NBC10.

The 12-inch gator was found in a sorting bin and captured without harm to the gator or any postal workers. Postal inspectors say that it's not illegal to ship a gator that is less than 18 inches long, according to NBC10. The question remains, what was the intent of the gator-sender?

Freeh Report on PSU Sandusky Cover-Up: Grounds for Civil Action?

The long awaited Freeh Report on PSU's cover-up of Sandusky's sexual abuse of children was released Thursday morning after much anticipation. The report concluded what many had already thought, that Penn State officials, including the beloved Joe Paterno, had discussed reports of Sandusky's abuse and decided not to contact authorities, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The report states exactly when and where University President Graham Spanier, VP of Finance Gary Schultz, Athletic Director Timothy Curley and Coach Paterno each learned of Sandusky's actions. Even though each official knew of Sandusky's 1998 abuse allegation, they allowed him to retire and have full access to the University, its facilities, and its vaunted football program, according to the Inquirer.

Cows Killed by Downed Power Line: Lawsuit or Just Steak?

Personal injuries are not limited to physical harm. Injury can be to your reputation, your land, or your property and recovered under the tort laws. That means, for example, if someone were to crash their car into your house, you can still sue them under the same laws that would apply had they hit you with their car instead.

So what if you were in the situation of Joyce and Laird Whiting, farmers in Pulaski Township, Pennsylvania, who had 10 of their cows killed by a downed power line? The 8 adult cows and 2 calves came into contact with the power line and were electrocuted, according to The Associated Press. The Beefmaster cows are valued at around $1200 per cow, according to the National Cattlemen's Beef Association.

Could the Whitings recover for their loss?

Blizzard; Bath Salts by Another Name Make New Mom Crazy in Hospital

Even though bath salts were exonerated in the case of the face-eater, they are still making folks do some crazy stuff. For instance, recently there was another man in Georgia who was running half-naked around a driving range, threatening people with a golf club, reports WSBTV Atlanta. It took six hits of the Taser and at least three officers to hold the man down.

The cake, however, is taken by Ms. Carla J. Murphy of Altoona, who had to be subdued after allegedly smoking “Blizzard” in the maternity ward of the Altoona hospital two days after giving birth to her child, according to the Altoona Mirror. Similar to other bath salts fiends, Murphy stripped naked before her rampage that included striking and trying to bite an officer and kicking a nurse in the chest before being sedated with anti-psychotic drug Haldol.

Fourth of July Fireworks Laws: Danger Abounds in Philadelphia

Finally, it's the Fourth! The day when it's perfectly acceptable to make loud noises after dark, blow things up, and come close to burning things down.

Of course, just because it's acceptable doesn't mean that these super-fun activities can't lead to some super-lame liability. Hurting someone while breaking a public safety law is one of the easiest ways to pick up little negligence lawsuit.

Let's take a look at the Philadelphia fireworks laws to see what we can get away with this Fourth.

Man Shoots Friend in Foot, Claims Target Was Groundhog

There must have been some conflict between friends James Sullivan and Barry Guy of Greensburg. That's the only way to explain Sullivan's alleged accidental shooting of Guy in the foot over the first weekend of July, reports The Associated Press.

Sullivan claims that he was lining up a shot on a rogue groundhog when he shot his friend in the foot as he slept on the ground near Sullivan's home, according to WPVI-TV. Sullivan attempted the shot at the groundhog from his porch, and faulted the scope on his rifle for the bullet ending up in Guy's foot.

Sullivan may be under some pressure with the criminal charges against him, but he will probably be under some more when Guy gets the hospital bills for being airlifted to Pittsburgh.