Wrongful Death and Accidents Involving the Unborn in Pennsylvania

Every state has enacted its own wrongful death statute. They all vary from each other. The Pennsylvania Wrongful Death Act is found at 42 Pa. C.S. section 8301, et seq. The statute contemplates liability and compensation for the damages suffered by the family members of a person who died as a result of the negligence, recklessness or intentional act of another person or entity.

Wrongful Death of an Unborn Child

What about when an unborn child’s life is wrongfully taken? Can a wrongful death case be pursued? There are two ways that the issue arises. The first is when the mother is killed. The second way is when the mother survives, but the fetus suffers injuries that result in its death. In either scenario, Pennsylvania allows pursuing a wrongful death case if the child was viable at the time of death. Pennsylvania didn’t amend its Wrongful Death Act though. It allowed for this by a series of appellate court decisions.

What is Viability of a Child in Pennsylvania for Purposes of the Wrongful Death Act?

Pennsylvania’s legislature never took the initiative to define what a viable fetus is in a wrongful death case. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s controlling decision requires a viable fetus to be “capable of an independent existence at the time of death.” With the present state of medical science and technology, it’s generally agreed that a fetus doesn’t become viable until at least 24 weeks gestation with the aid of a neonatal care unit. The court didn’t mention any means of artificial support from such a unit. Without that support, every day in the womb is a day closer to independent existence.

Viability in Another Context

Viability is specifically defined in the Commonwealth’s criminal code at 32 Pa. C.S. section 3203 as the “stage of fetal development when, in the judgment of the physician based on the particular facts of the case before him and in light of the most advanced medical technology and information available to him, there is a reasonable likelihood of survival of the unborn child outside of the body of his or her mother, with or without artificial support.” That’s the Commonwealth’s abortion statute though.” The phrases “capable of an independent existence” and “with or without artificial support” are a life and world apart.

Philadelphia Wrongful Death Lawyer

If your pregnancy was terminated because your fetus died in the latter stage of development as a result of the negligent, reckless or intentional act of another person or entity, in Pennsylvania, you might be able to file and maintain a wrongful death lawsuit. We realize that such matters are highly sensitive. You can speak with a caring and compassionate Philadelphia wrongful death lawyer from our law firm about what happened to you and your child in a free confidential consultation. We’ll discuss viability and the issues surrounding it, and we’ll answer your questions too. Then, we’ll advise you on any avenues of legal recourse that might be available to you. Just contact us by phone or online for that purpose.


Who Pays for Hit and Run Accident with a Pedestrian in Philly?

Many drivers know that when they get hit by another car and are injured, that someone’s insurance company is going to pay for the damages. In Philadelphia, where hit and run accidents have soared over the last few years according to a report from 3CBS Philly, many victims are finding out that they may not have coverage for their injuries.

Woman Left on Pavement by Fleeing Driver in Critical Condition

Police say that a collision between a car and a female pedestrian left the woman in critical condition Wednesday, June 10, 2020, around 10 pm. The accident happened at 74th Street and Ogontz Avenue in the West Oak Lane area of the city.

The driver of the car fled the scene, and police are asking anyone with information about the incident to call them. The woman was taken to Einstein Medical Center where she was listed in critical condition.

Hit and Run Liability

The vast majority of accident injuries are paid for by auto insurance policies of the at-fault driver. In a hit-and-run, if the at-fault driver is never caught, then determining the insurance company involved will be impossible.

This can leave the victim holding the bills unless the driver can be found. In some cases, the victim—even though a pedestrian—can make a claim on their own policy if they have provisions like medpay or uninsured and underinsured motorist’s coverage. These can be used because the accident did involve a car, just not the victim’s car.

What to Do if You Were a Pedestrian in a Hit-and-Run

The best thing to do after a hit and run accident is to try and stay calm. If you think can do some things safely, then do what you can.

  • Get to safe place to avoid second hit
  • Call 911 if you have a working phone
  • Get a license number
  • Description of the person and vehicle
  • Location of damages on the car
  • The direction the car fled
  • Get pictures of the area and of your injuries, if possible
  • Get names of any witnesses and any information they have about the incident
  • Do not follow the driver

Many times it’s impossible to do all or any of these. You have to make the best decision for you at the scene, and remember your safety comes first, so don’t try any of these if it will put you in more danger.

When you are treated, the next best thing to do is to contact an attorney who can help you with your claims. At The Pearce Law Firm, Personal Injury and Accident Lawyers, P.C., we know where to look for compensation coverage for a hit and run accident. We know how to deal with the insurance company including yours if you have the right coverage. Call us soon before you speak to anyone from an insurance company or from their lawyers.

Contact a Philadelphia Auto Accident Lawyer.

After any accident involving a serious injury, contact a highly rated Philadelphia Auto Accident Lawyer such as Edith Pearce. Unlike the huge firms with dozens of attorneys and many different attorneys handling different aspects of your case, Edith Pearce is personally involved in every case that we handle. She genuinely cares about her clients and you will not be treated like just another case or file.


Can I Sue My Philadelphia Landlord if I am Injured on Their Property?

There are many ways to get injured around your house, apartment, or wherever you live. When you get hurt in your own home, in most cases you have no one to blame but yourself. But what if you don’t own the home you’re in?

What if you rent or lease and get hurt? When can you sue your landlord and when to you have to pay for your own injuries?

Premises Liability

In Pennsylvania, the law requires the owner of any property that will be open to the public or be open to certain invitees, be reasonably free from known dangerous hazards. If the owner or landlord of the property is responsible for any injuries that:

  1. Were caused directly by the landlord, or
  2. Happened because the landlord knew of the hazard and didn’t take any steps to fix it in a reasonable time.

Let’s say a landlord knew about a dangerous staircase. The staircase could have had poor lighting or had damaged steps. If they knew about the problem and failed to repair it, they would be negligent for your stairway injury.

Another example would be if a tenant told the landlord that the lock on the security gate was broken, and the landlord didn’t do anything for quite some time and someone was assaulted because the lock didn’t work, then the landlord would likely be liable.

Who Can Sue?

When it comes to suing someone for injuries on their property, the law only allows the victim to sue if they were lawfully on the property. There are several ways people are lawfully on someone else’s property:

  • Member of the public and it’s a public area: Sidewalk, Public access road to private property, Privately owned retail space.
  • Renters and their guests: Common areas that are closed off to the rest of the public. Swimming pool, Tennis courts, Cabana.
  • Invited on Property: Invitees are people specifically invited like a friend or family member, delivery worker, repair person, or anyone that is allowed to come on the property.

Inside your Home?

If you lease or rent property, for the most part, any injuries inside your home (like tripping over a child’s toy) are your responsibility to remedy. However, your landlord is responsible for your injuries if you were injured because they failed to properly fix something that was their responsibility. The most common of these injuries come from:

  • Burned by hot water set too high,
  • Fire extinguisher malfunctions,
  • Didn’t fix loose flooring or stair rail in a reasonable time,
  • Other tenant’s vicious dog got loose,
  • Fire/Carbon monoxide alarms failed,
  • Any injuries caused by the landlord not maintaining home properly.

What to Do if You’re Injured on Your Landlord’s Property?

If you were injured and you believe your landlord is responsible, then you need to prove that your landlord fixed something negligently or failed to fix something he was obligated to fix. Getting proof is one of the more difficult aspects of making a case for negligence.

Take pictures of the thing that injured you. Take pictures of your injury. Get information from other tenants or witnesses who knew of the hazard. Any letters, phone calls or other complaints made about the problem before the accident happened.

Landlord-Tennant laws can be tricky, so you should gather what you have and at least talk to an attorney who practices in this area of law.

Contact a Philadelphia Premises Liability Lawyer

After any accident involving a serious injury, contact a highly rated Philadelphia Premises Liability Lawyer such as Edith Pearce. Unlike the huge firms with dozens of attorneys and many different attorneys handling different aspects of your case, Edith Pearce is personally involved in every case that we handle. She genuinely cares about her clients and you will not be treated like just another case or file.


Can You File a Lawsuit in Philadelphia During COVID-19?

If you have suffered a personal injury in Philadelphia, contact us today for a free, confidential consultation. We are currently helping clients virtually by phone or video chat.

Are courts open?

Most personal injury cases in Philadelphia are settled with insurers.

In Pennsylvania, all courts of common pleas have been closed to the public by the Supreme Court of Philadelphia. The purpose is to comply with the state and nation-wide effort to curb the spread of COVID-19.

According to the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania’s website, as of today, April 16, 2020, the shutdown is in effect at least until May 1st except for some essential and emergency services. The website gives a “non-exhaustive” list of essential functions that outlines certain procedures for filing necessary documents to stop the tolling of a statute of limitation deadlines for certain matters.

This is an unprecedented time in the history of both Pennsylvania and the nation. Courts in the judicial districts in the state will have some minimal staff for those essential and emergency services but will remain closed to the general public.

Only the courts are shut down and many attorneys and law firms are still conducting business by having client meetings over the phone or by video conference. In this way, if you have an important legal matter that needs to be started, the attorney can begin working on the case during the shutdown, and then when the courts reopen, any filings or court hearing can take place then.

We understand that just because the courts are shut down, it doesn’t mean that your case is not important. We can take care of filings and court hearings later, but for right now, we can get started working on your case so you can get some peace of mind.


Injuries Involving Multiple Dogs in New Jersey

Four people were bitten, two of them severely, by a pack of three dogs roaming a neighborhood in Little Egg Harbor Township Monday afternoon, February 3, 2020. A video shows a man defending himself against the three dogs by swinging a pipe at them while slowly retreating to safety. The dogs can be seen lunging at the man while avoiding the pipe. The man told ABC Action News that he had been bitten on his thigh through his jeans.

Three other people were reportedly bitten as well, one down to the bone. Police say that all three dogs are owned by one person who now faces charges. The dogs have been seized and will be held until a trial to determine their fate.

Police also say that the dogs have been aggressive before even being seized when they attacked someone in the same neighborhood. However, the dogs were returned to their owner, but will likely not be returned after a hearing next month.

Dog Bite Liability in New Jersey

New Jersey law allows the victim of a dog bite to sue the dog’s owner for all damages related to a dog attack. The law creates “strict liability” for the dog owner meaning the owner has to pay even if the dog hasn’t been aggressive of the owner wasn’t in any way negligent.

N.J. Stat. Ann. § 4:19-16:

The owner of a dog in New Jersey will be held liable for any damages if their dog bites someone even if the owner wasn’t aware of any viciousness so long as:

  • The attack happened in a public place, or
  • The attack happened when the victim was invited or lawfully on the owner’s property.

In many states, the law allows as a defense that if the victim had provoked the dog and this caused the attack, the victim couldn’t collect compensation. However, New Jersey law doesn’t provide for that defense specifically.

Dog Bite Injuries

A dog attack can be scary especially to children victims, and it can cause serious injury to the victim. A dog bite can tear skin, muscle, tendons, nerves and even break bones. This can cause the victim to endure the pain of the attack and have to undergo treatment, rehabilitation and recovery. All of this can be expensive and time-consuming.

Some of the common injuries that dog bite victims enure are:

  • Punctures
  • Deep Lacerations
  • Infection
  • Tetanus
  • Rabies
  • Nerve Damage
  • Muscle Damage
  • Disability
  • Permanent Disfigurement
  • Death

Contact a South Jersey Personal Injury Lawyer.

If you’ve been injured by a dog or other pet, contact a South Jersey Dog Bite Lawyer such as Edith Pearce. Unlike the huge firms with dozens of attorneys and many different attorneys handling different aspects of your case, Edith Pearce is personally involved in every case that we handle. She genuinely cares about her clients and you will not be treated like just another case or file.

Contact The Pearce Law Firm, P.C. at (856) 354-5688 for a free consultation and case evaluation. We handle clients in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania.