New “Quiet Car Rule” Should Prevent Injuries To Pedestrians And Bicyclists

Have you ever been walking or biking and suddenly you see a car that you never heard approaching you?  This is happening more often with hybrid and electric cars becoming more prevalent on the streets.  Hybrid and electric cars make very little noise compared to purely gasoline powered cars.

The  National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced that all new electric and hybrid cars will be required to give off a warning noise whenever travelling under 18.6 miles per hour in order to help prevent injuries to pedestrians, bicyclists, and others.  What is being called the “Quiet Car Rule,” should also help visually impaired pedestrians the most.

According to Philadelphia bicycle accident lawyer Edith Pearce, “the fact is that hybrid and electric cars are more prone to cause accidents with pedestrians and bicyclists and the new ‘Quiet Car Rule’ will help prevent these injuries, especially in cities like Philadelphia with many pedestrians and bicycle enthusiasts.”  In an article posted by Reuters, the NHTSA estimated that the chances of a quiet hybrid or electric vehicle causing an accident involving a pedestrian was 19 percent higher compared to a noise-making gas-powered vehicle.  This rule has been in the works for a long time.  In 2010, Congress passed the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2010 that stated hybrid and electric vehicles must meet minimum sound requirements to provide an audible alert for blind and visually impaired pedestrians.  This regulation has finally been announced since the passage of this law back in 2010.

If you or a loved one has been injured as a pedestrian in Philadelphia because of a hybrid or electric car, you need an experienced lawyer to guide you through the process of dealing with the insurance company.  For almost 10 years, Edith Pearce, the founder of The Pearce Law Firm worked as an insurance company lawyer before deciding to represent injured victims.  She knows all the inside information about how insurance companies work to help get you the compensation needed in a pedestrian accident.  Call or e-mail us today for a free consultation.


Truck Accidents Increase as Older Drivers Recruited

According to a CBS News investigation, the trucking industry in America is facing a great shortage of drivers and older drivers have been recruited. Because of the truck driving shortage, trucking companies have been recruiting older, “senior” drivers. CBS News conducted an investigation to see if the increase in older trucking drivers has increased accidents. CBS News analyzed crash data from the last three years, and found there was a 19 percent increase in commercial truck accidents and bus accidents involving drivers over 70 years old. The story cited several recent commercial truck and bus accidents, including one in Newark, New Jersey, where a bus was T-boned by another New Jersey Transit bus driven by a 70-year old. Two people died.

There have been calls for more Federal regulation of truck drivers and bus drivers. A former senior executive of the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) noted that in the 1990s, the NHTSA considered implementing regular skills tests for older commercial drivers. Edith Pearce, of The Pearce Law Firm, is a Philadelphia truck accident lawyer and also handles age discrimination cases. According to Edith Pearce, “the issue with testing older drivers is that it could violate age discrimination laws. However, more safety training and increased regulation as to the amount of time truck drivers are allowed to drive without taking rests or breaks should be implemented immediately.” Experts agree that as people age, their stamina and reaction time generally decreases. As noted in the CBS News story, an association who represents truck drivers believes the majority of truck crashes are not caused by the truck drivers, but are caused by other drivers.

If you have been the victim of a truck accident or bus accident, you need the experience of a lawyer who has handled truck accidents in Philadelphia and throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Call The Pearce Law Firm to protect your rights.


Slip and Fall Accidents

Not many people expect to be seriously injured while on a trip to the grocery store. Unfortunately, this is the case for thousands of victims who sustain painful injuries from slipping and falling on another person’s property.

Common Injuries

Injuries sustained from slipping and falling on another person’s property can be serious, painful, and expensive to treat. The severity of the injury often depends largely on what caused the accident.

Some of the most common examples of dangerous conditions that cause injury to visitors include:

  • Neglected spills or wet floors;
  • Torn or bulging carpets;
  • Warped floorboards;
  • Uneven or slick stairs;
  • A lack of hand railings on stairways;
  • Rugs with worn spots or curled edges;
  • Uneven floorings;
  • Inadequate lighting;
  • Sidewalk cracks; and
  • Wet or icy parking lot conditions.

An injury caused by one of these dangerous conditions may take months or even years to heal. For example, many injured parties suffer from broken and fractured bones as well as a variety of other injuries, including:

  • Concussions and head trauma;
  • Spinal cord damage;
  • Scrapes and bruises;
  • Ligament damage;
  • Sprains;
  • Dislocated joints; and
  • Traumatic brain injury.

Damages

Some of these injuries may require multiple surgeries, painful physical therapy, or the use of expensive medications. These treatments can be expensive and quickly overwhelm a victim’s finances.

Fortunately, injured parties may be able to obtain compensation if they can establish that the owner was negligent in maintaining his or her property. This requires a showing that the property owner did not only not use reasonable care in maintaining the property, but also knew, or should have known, that the condition existed and took no steps to remedy it.

Slip and fall accidents can be devastating for a victim and his or her family, so if you were injured on another person’s property, it is important to retain the services of an experienced attorney who can help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Please call one of the dedicated Philadelphia slip and fall attorneys at the Pearce Law Firm at 215-557-8686 to schedule a free consultation.


Playground Injuries You Might Not Be Aware Of

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are more than 200,000 children who visit the emergency room with playground-related injuries sustained at daycare centers or school. Girls are slightly more likely to suffer playground injuries than boys, and children between the ages of five and nine are most likely to be hurt on playgrounds compared to any other age group. Most injuries are due to children falling off of equipment. But what is absolutely horrifying is that upwards of 45 percent of playground-related injuries are severe. These severe injuries include:

  • Broken or fractured bones. Children can fall off of playground equipment, or can be struck by a part of the equipment that is moving with high velocity or force, such as a tire swing or merry-go-round. A sharp and sudden impact can cause a child to suffer a fractured or broken bone.
  • Concussions and other traumatic brain injuries. If a child falls off of equipment or trips on an unsecured portion of the playground or loose soft floor or ground covering, the child can strike his or her head and sustain a concussion or traumatic brain injury.
  • Dislocations. Children can suffer dislocations of joints if they get stuck in playground equipment and trip or fall. A child can get tangled in a swing and fall off of it, dislocating a shoulder, or a child can step into a hole or through a part of the equipment, which could dislocate a knee.
  • Internal injuries. If children trip or fall onto unsafely protruding portions of the playground, this can cause serious internal injuries. Similarly, falling off of the equipment can cause a child to crash to the ground with such force that the child suffers internal injuries.
  • Amputations. Playground equipment that can lead to a child losing a limb or finger is dangerous, and yet many children suffer amputation, either directly or indirectly, from the equipment. The equipment could have a dangerous condition that bears sufficient force to pinch the appendage of a child, or crush the appendage of a child so severely that doctors can do nothing but amputate the damaged appendage.
  • Death. On average more than 10 children a year die while playing on playground equipment. A majority of these children lose their lives due to strangulation (when the child’s head or neck gets stuck in unsafe swing ropes or chains), or due to falls from unsafe heights off of the equipment. Most playground-related deaths occur on home sets, rather than public playgrounds at daycare centers or schools.

Playgrounds that are not properly maintained or are in poor condition have a higher likelihood of causing injuries to children. If the equipment appears unsafe, children should not play on it.

Contacting A Playground Injury Lawyer

A child can be seriously injured while playing on unsafe or unstable playground equipment. If your child has been injured while on a playground, please contact the playground injury lawyers at The Pearce Law Firm, P.C. Contact us either online or by calling (215) 557-8686 for a free initial consultation today.


Is Your Daycare Safe? 10 Things to Look For

When you drop your child off at daycare for the day, you expect that the center will take precautions to ensure the safety of your child. Below is a list of 10 things to look for at your child’s daycare to determine whether it is safe for your child.

  1. The daycare is appropriately licensed and does background checks on caregivers. Parents should check with the establishment to make sure that the establishment or service is licensed. Additionally, it is important to check that the daycare performs background checks on all of the caregivers who work their.
  2. Staff is trained for medical emergencies.  Staff should be up to date on their CPR and first aid certification training, and copies of the staff’s certification cards should be made available for inspection upon request.
  3. Childproofing is readily apparent. Daycare is supposed to be a kid-friendly and safe place, but also should be free of any potential hazards. Parents should check to see if they has implemented adequate childproofing.
  4. There is a sufficient number of caregivers relative to the number of children at the center. It would be impossible to adequately supervise children if there are too few caregivers watching the children. Parents should ask about what the caregiver to child ratio is at the place of care.
  5. Equipment and toys should be in good condition. The equipment and toys used at the center, such as cribs, beds, chairs and changing tables, should all be in good working condition and clean. They should not be recalled models or in poor, broken or unsanitary condition. No toys should be so small that they pose a choking hazard.
  6. The daycare has safety and health practices. An establishment that has a written policy concerning health and safety is going to be a safer place for children than a daycare without health and safety policies. Parents should ask what these policies are and how they are enforced.
  7. Are caregivers accessible? The center should have an open-door policy by which parents can ask questions and get updates about what their child does at daycare. Caregivers should be accessible by parents, and parents’ questions should be answered in a straightforward and timely manner.
  8. The center or establishment has a low turnover rate. Daycares that have caregivers who have worked at the establishment for a long time tend to be more safe since long-term caregivers are familiar with the daycare’s policies and procedures when providing care for the children. Additionally, when caregivers stay with their daycare employer for an extended period of time, the children at the daycare can develop meaningful relationships with their caregivers.
  9. Is the establishment secure? Does the establishment take precautions to protect the children from leaving the facility or prevent strangers from easily coming onto the property? Are outdoor play areas secure? Does the daycare maintain a log of who comes and goes and when?
  10. Is the establishment professional? A child care service that presents a professional image likely takes care and safety very seriously.

Contacting a Daycare Lawyer for Help

If your child has been hurt while being cared for, contact the daycare injury lawyers at The Pearce Law Firm, P.C. We have helped many families pursue personal injury claims against unsafe and unprofessional daycare centers. Contact us either online or by calling (215) 557-8686 for a free initial consultation today.


When Good Dogs Go Bad: How To Prevent Dog Bites

Sometimes danger lurks in the most unlikely of places. This is all too often the case when it comes to dog bites. One day, that docile and devoted dog or playful puppy you’re used to cuddling or rough housing with suddenly becomes angry and aggressive. Maybe it snarls, bares its teeth, or actually lunges at you, ready to do some damage. Dog bites often occur suddenly, coming as a complete shock to their owners. Injuries caused by dog bites can be serious, and the bigger the dog, the more severe – and even life threatening – the injury. The following includes vital information you need to know concerning why dogs bite, the warning signs of an attack, and how you can prevent yourself from being injured.

What Makes A Good Dog Bite?

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) estimates that approximately 4.5 million dog bites occur in the United States each year.  While some of these bites are minor, it’s estimated that 1 in 5 people who are bitten will have injuries serious enough as to require medical treatment. Children are among the most frequent victims of dog bites, and it is usually from an animal they are familiar with, such as a family pet, or one belonging to a neighbor. What causes otherwise good dogs to bite? According to the AVMA, it could be one of the following factors:

  • Stressful or unfamiliar situations: Dogs may react badly if there are a lot of loud noises or other activity that the dog isn’t used to. They can also react badly to overly friendly strangers or even neighbors they don’t know well.
  • Injuries and illness: An otherwise docile dog may snarl or bite if they are injured or sick, or when recovering from an injury.
  • Scary or threatening situations: Arguing, fighting or other disruptions can often cause a dog to bite, particularly if they interpret a threat to themselves or their owners.
  • Roughhousing: Dogs can nip when wrestling or playing tug-of-war. Be careful of overly aggressive play with your dog, and if you have a puppy, train him not to nip during play.

Preventing Dog Bites

While a dog’s bark might be worse than his bite, it’s better to play it safe. According to the National Humane Society, there are a number of indicators that a dog may be about to bite. These include:

  • The dog’s body is tense and its tail is stiff;
  • The dog’s head and ears are pulled back;
  • The brow is furrowed, and the dog’s eyes are rolled back so that the whites are visible;
  • The dog flicks its tongue or yawns; and/or
  • The dog stares intensely, or begins backing away as it looks at you.

If you think a dog is about to bite or attack, it’s important to resist the impulse to scream or run.

Remain motionless, with your hands at your sides, and avoid eye contact with the dog. Once the dog loses interest, slowly back away. If the dog does attack, try to feed it the arm of your jacket or your purse to bite, and if you get knocked down, roll into a ball with your hands over your eyes. Again, resist the urge to scream; this will only further antagonize the dog and extend the attack.

Contact Our New Jersey Dog Bite Attorneys

If you or a loved one has been injured as the result of a dog bite or attack, contact The Pearce Law Firm today. Our experience New Jersey dog bite attorneys can provide you with the kind aggressive legal representation you need in order to get compensation for your injuries. Call our office today for a free consultation.


Recipient of 2014 Pearce Law Firm Scholarship Announced

The Pearce Law Firm, P.C. announced today that Shayla Burnham, a student at the University of Virginia, is the recipient of the firm’s 2014 Pearce Law Firm Aspiring Pennsylvania Attorneys Scholarship.

Edith Pearce Awards Shayla Burnham

Edith Pearce Awards Shayla Burnham

This one-time, $2,000 scholarship was created by Edith Pearce, founder of The Pearce Law Firm, P.C., and is awarded annually to a Pennsylvania high school student or high school graduate who has been accepted to a college or university and who has desires to attend law school following college. The scholarship exists to encourage promising young Pennsylvania high school students to pursue a career in law after college. Applicants must be a Pennsylvania high school senior or Pennsylvania high school graduate with a minimum GPA of 3.0.  Applications for The Pearce Law Firm Aspiring Pennsylvania Attorneys Scholarship for 2015 can be found online; apply for 2015 by submitting the application no later than December 31.

Recipients are chosen based on their academic achievement, involvement in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership capabilities, and the students’ financial needs. Ms. Burnham is a June 2014 graduate of Cumberland Valley High School. There, she graduated with a 4.0 GPA and was ranked in the top 3% of her class. Ms. Burnham also participated in the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Mock Trial Competition for the past four years and was a member of the Cumberland Valley High School’s 2014 team. This team placed third in the 2014 competition out of more than 300 participating high schools from across Pennsylvania. In addition to these activities, Ms. Burnham was also very active in several other extracurricular activities in her school and in her community. Ms. Pearce stated of Shayla, “Although there were many outstanding applications, Shayla’s application stood out.  The Pearce Law Firm is proud to award The Pearce Law Firm Aspiring Pennsylvania Attorneys Scholarship to Shayla Burnham.”

Ms. Burnham indicated in her application for the scholarship that receiving the award would enable her to be the first member of her family to attend college and receive a college education from the University of Virginia.

The Pearce Law Firm, P.C. is a Philadelphia-based litigation firm committed to helping victims injured in personal injury accidents as well as employment disputes. Edith Pearce, a nationally-recognized trial attorney and member of MENSA, is the founder and owner of the firm. She has been recognized by Newsweek at one of the 20 Leaders in the Law, as one of Philadelphia’s Top Lawyers by the Philadelphia Inquirer, and has been named seven times as a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer by Philadelphia magazine. Ms. Pearce has also obtained an AV rating (the highest rating available) from Martindale-Hubbell, the country’s premiere personal injury lawyer rating service. This rating is only awarded to those lawyers who have demonstrated the “highest levels of professional skill and integrity.” The Pearce Law Firm, P.C. is located at 1429 Walnut Street, 14th Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19102 or you can contact them by phone at (215) 600-1433.


Dangerous Dogs and At Risk Neighborhoods

A dog has all the qualities you might hope to find in a best friend, and they’re known and beloved for their sense of loyalty, as well as for providing both companionship and protection. For many people, their dog is more than just a pet; it’s an extension of their family. While many breeds of dogs are known for having the kind of temperament that makes a good pet, there are some breeds that are considered more dangerous, to the point they actually threaten the peace and comfort of the neighborhoods they live in. Injuries from dog bites can happen anywhere, but some neighborhoods seem to have more than their share of dangerous breeds. Each year, more than 4.5 million people suffer some form of injury associated with dog bites, and these injuries can range from mild bites and scratches to severe puncture wounds, torn muscles, and ligament damage. In some cases, injuries due to dog bites and attacks can be life threatening, and even fatal. The following includes information about breeds that are considered the most dangerous in terms of biting and attacking, as well as the New Jersey neighborhoods in which you are most likely to find these dogs.

Dangerous Dog Breeds

While even the most docile and gentle dog, given the right circumstances, has the potential to become aggressive and bite, certain breeds of dogs have been statistically shown to be more dangerous and aggressive than others. While many states, including New Jersey and Pennsylvania, don’t allow breed-specific legislation to counter dog bites and attacks – otherwise known as dog profiling – that doesn’t stop insurance companies from doing it. A recent article in Psychology Today outlines 14 dog breeds blacklisted by insurance companies due to the high risk of attack they pose. The list includes the following dog breeds:

  • Pit bulls;
  • Rottweilers;
  • German shepherds;
  • Doberman Pinschers;
  • Great Danes;
  • Chow Chows;
  • Mastiffs;
  • Malamutes; and
  • Huskies.

When dogs do bite or attack, the claim for damages often goes through the owner’s home insurance policy. For insurance companies, the above breeds pose too great a risk. Insurers may either deny coverage, or charge higher rates for people owning these breeds and it’s no wonder why: injuries from dangerous dogs cost insurance companies millions of dollars each year.

Neighborhoods with Dangerous Dogs

According to insurance company reports on dog bites, New Jersey ranks tenth in the nation for dog bite injuries, and ranks fourth in terms of the amounts paid to cover these claims. The topic of dog breeds that are considered dangerous has been in the news with reports of a police officer who claims he was forced to shoot and kill an aggressive German shepherd in the Wyckoff area, a Purple Heart Veteran who was denied entry to a bus on the Newark/Transit 1 route on account of his pit bull guide dog, and recent proposed legislation concerning tougher leash laws spurred by incidents of dogs attacking and killing children in the Lyndhurst and Patterson communities.

Neighborhoods with high crime and drug use rates have long been thought of as hot beds for aggressive dog breeds. People in these neighborhoods often feel compelled to get potentially aggressive guard dogs, such as German shepherds, for protection, and criminals often use breeds such as rottweilers and pit bulls to intimidate others and alert them to law enforcement. At the same time, many people defend breeds considered dangerous on the grounds that aggressive dogs are more a result of nurture than nature. As a result, potentially dangerous breeds can be found in any city or town.

Contact Our New Jersey Dog Bite Attorneys

If you or a loved one has suffered injuries as the result of an aggressive dog, contact The Pearce Law Firm immediately. Our experienced New Jersey dog bite attorneys have the knowledge and know how you need, and we’ll provide aggressive legal representation to help you get compensation for the injuries you’ve suffered. Call our office today for a free consultation.


Scholarship Awarded – Empowering Women in Law

The Pearce Law Firm Empowering Women in Law Scholarship

The Pearce Law Firm, P.C. offers an annually awarded scholarship to inspire and support women who have chosen to pursue an education in the law and have career goals in a legal field that is largely male-dominated. The Pearce Law Firm Empowering Women in Law Scholarship was created by Philadelphia personal injury lawyer Edith Pearce, who is also the founder and owner of her own firm – the Pearce Law Firm, P.C. The aim of the scholarship is to help women achieve their full potential by emboldening them so that they can compete and thrive as they pursue their legal education, and ultimately attain success and have a rewarding career as a female lawyer in the future.

The scholarship is awarded to hardworking, talented and dedicated women who are currently in law school that demonstrate leadership and a commitment to their legal education, their schools and their local communities, but also have financial need. Applicants must be female and attending a U.S. law school, must have completed at least one semester of law school classes, and must have a minimum grade point average of 3.0 in order to be eligible. The award amount is $2,000. A link to the application form for The Pearce Law Firm Empowering Women in Law Scholarship for next year is available online, where you can apply for 2015. Applications are due in full no later than December 31, 2015.

2014-2015 Scholarship Recipient Mary Johnston

Edith Pearce awarding the 2014-2015 Pearce Law Firm Empowering Women in Law Scholarship to Mary Johnston.

The Pearce Law Firm Empowering Women in Law Scholarship for 2014-2015 was awarded at the end of June to Mary Johnston of Bridgewater, New Jersey. Ms. Johnston is a law student at William and Mary Law School, where she has just completed her first year classes. In a demonstration of her drive and perseverance, Ms. Johnston held two jobs while attending undergrad at The College of New Jersey, and still was able to graduate with a 3.95 grade point average. Ms. Johnston was inspired to go to law school by a female supervisor that she grew close to while interning with the United States Marshals Service.

About The Pearce Law Firm

The Pearce Law Firm, P.C. is a Philadelphia-based personal injury law firm that was founded and is owned exclusively by a female lawyer, Edith Pearce. Edith Pearce leads by example, and encourages women to pursue and to strive for their career goals. She has repeatedly been named a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer by Philadelphia Magazine, and listed as one of Philadelphia’s Top Lawyers by the Philadelphia Inquirer.


Things to Avoid Doing after a Car Accident

Immediately after being involved in a car accident in Philadelphia there will probably be a lot of things going through your head. You will also probably have a great deal of adrenalin, which can make thinking clearly difficult. That is why it is helpful, before being in an accident, to know what you should not do after it happens.

Do Not Leave

It is critically important that you do not leave the scene of the accident, regardless of how minor you think the accident was. Under Pennsylvania law you are required to stop and exchange information as well as render reasonable assistance to anyone who is injured. Leaving the scene before you fulfill the obligation to exchange information and render aid can result in significant penalties. For example, if there is an injured person who subsequently dies, you will face a minimum three-year prison sentence for leaving the scene.

Do Not Volunteer Information

It is possible that you feel that you were at fault for causing the accident. But, you should not disclose this information to other people involved in the accident. They may have been equally, or even more, at fault for the accident. If this is the case, your fault may be mitigated or even absolved completely.

Along those same lines, you should not offer to pay for any damages, even if you believe you were at fault, without first consulting with your attorney. Additionally, you should not sign anything except for a traffic ticket, if one is assessed.

Do Not Delay in Seeking Medical Treatment

There may be several reasons why you choose not to seek medical treatment, such as if you do not have insurance or you feel like your injuries are minor and you’d rather not spend the time going to the doctor. However, it is important to seek treatment as quickly as possible. As a preliminary matter, even if you think the injury is minor, it may require medical attention to properly heal. Further, a gap between when the accident occurred and when you are examined by a doctor can raise doubt as to the validity of the claim, even if the injury is legitimate.

Talking to Insurance Adjuster

The insurance adjuster is the insurance company’s representative that will communicate with you about the value of your vehicle and the damages you may have sustained. The adjuster will attempt to settle your claim for as little money as possible. It is critically important to decline speaking with the adjuster without first consulting with an attorney.

The adjuster will have a great deal of experience in negotiating these types of claims. In all likelihood, this will be one of only a few times you have ever been in this situation. Therefore, obtaining experienced legal representation can make a significant difference in the amount the adjuster offers.

Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorneys

If you have been in a car accident, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible. At The Pearce Law Firm, P.C., we have the experience necessary to help you in all matters related to a car accident. Please contact us today.