A Personal Injury Lawyer for Greater Philadelphia and All of Pennsylvania
Every year in Pennsylvania, about 500 commercial bus accidents occur, along with nearly 400 school bus accidents. All told, at least 1,000 bus accidents occur in Pennsylvania in the average year – about three a day. Thankfully, nine out of ten passengers suffer no injury from these accidents. That still leaves hundreds of injured bus accident victims a year and, tragically, several deaths.
If you are one of the ten percent of bus accident victims who suffered injury, you could have an uphill battle facing you as soon as you seek compensation for your losses. Filing a claim against the local government, for example, involves special considerations – lots of red tape, restrictions on what types of claims are eligible for compensation, and limitations on the amount of damages you are entitled to.
Act Decisively and Quickly to Preserve Your Claim
Your choice of lawyer is likely to be the most important decision you make in your case. Remembering this principle is never more important than when you are attempting to squeeze compensation out of a stingy, taxpayer-funded government bureau. With 22 years of personal injury experience under my belt, I know how these people think, and I know how to handle their evasive stonewalling.
The second most important factor in winning your case is the speed with which you take action. When you file against the government, filing deadlines are considerably shorter. If you were in a multi-victim accident, it becomes important to know that SEPTA, for example, is limited to $1 million in aggregate compensation per accident. If you file your claim too late, you could end up with little or nothing.
Representing Injured Victims is 100 Percent of My Practice
Some law firms treat their practices like a buffet – they dabble in a large variety of different fields of law, from personal injury to corporate law to litigating tax disputes, for example. I am not a “jack of all trades” myself. I specialize in only one field of law – helping victims of personal injury recover the compensation they deserve for the suffering they endure.
My Clients Say…
Jeffrey’s work is without question superior, and his attention to detail is spectacular. I would absolutely recommend him. – Thaddeus
I was hit from behind. The Ins. Company was giving me a hard time. I called Jeffrey and he figured the problem out in an hour. The police officer gave me the wrong numbers for the police report. Awesome job!!!! – Jamie
Other Types of Personal Injury Cases I Handle
Car Accidents: Seldom does a car accident “just happen.” Most are the result of texting and driving, DUI, careless driving, or aggressive driving habits. In too many of these cases, the injured party was not even the one whose misconduct caused the accident. You don’t have to just grit your teeth and bear it – legal remedies are available.
Bicycle Accidents: When you think about it, it’s not surprising that bicycles are the most vulnerable vehicle on the road. In fact, bicycle accidents tend to be at least as deadly as motorcycle accidents. The primary cause of bicycle accidents is motorists who don’t see them because they simply aren’t looking out for them.
Truck Accidents: Commercial truck drivers are required to carry Commercial Driver’s Licenses, and these drivers are far more heavily regulated than other drivers. When a truck accident can be traced to a violation of one of these regulations, liability is a common result. In some cases, it is possible to join another party, such as the trucking company, as a second defendant.
Medical Malpractice: Doctors and other health care providers often function as God-like figures because we sometimes have to place our lives in their hands. Unfortunately, medical malpractice is far more common than any of us would like it to be. Skilled legal assistance is often needed to win a medical malpractice claim, due to the scientific complexity of so many of them.
SEPTA Accidents: The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) operates buses, trolleys, and trains throughout Greater Philadelphia. Although accidents are not terribly common in comparison with passenger miles, when they do happen they often involve large groups of victims. Filing a claim against SEPTA involves bureaucratic procedures that don’t apply to most defendants.
Slip and Fall Accidents: Slipping on a banana peel may draw laughs in a film or TV show, but in real life, slip and fall accidents are anything but funny. In terms of serious injury, elderly people are disproportionately represented. If you are injured in a slip and fall accident while a guest on someone else’s property, including a private business, you may be entitled to compensation.
Dog Bites: A vicious dog is a danger to society. Even a gentle dog, however, may be capable of an unexpected attack that can cause serious injury and perhaps a lifelong fear of dogs. Pennsylvania dog owners are considered responsible for the actions of their dogs, even if they had no reason to know of the dog’s aggressive tendencies.
Wrongful Death: A wrongful death lawsuit is designed to compensate the close relatives of someone who died as a result of someone else’s misconduct. Although a wrongful death claim can arise from criminal behavior, that is not required to trigger liability. Like personal injury claims, wrongful death damages can include compensation for both economic and psychological losses.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What information should I gather immediately after a bus accident?
If you are able to (if you are not too seriously injured), you should gather at least the following information:
- The bus number
- The name of the driver
- Witness and victim contact details
- Weather conditions
- Fill out a SEPTA incident card, if the accident involved a SEPTA bus
- Photograph the scene of the accident
Can I sue SEPTA if they refuse to settle with me?
SEPTA, like other government entities, enjoys a limited immunity from lawsuits (since any award would ultimately be paid by taxpayers); however, it is still possible to sue SEPTA for a tort claim such as a vehicle accident. Certain special conditions apply to lawsuits against the government.
Can I obtain punitive damages?
It is possible, although most cases do not qualify for punitive damages. To qualify, you must:
- qualify for compensatory damages by proving that the defendant is liable for your injuries; and
- prove that the at-fault party (usually the bus driver) acted in a malicious or grossly negligent manner (“ordinary negligence” is not enough).
Can I obtain damages for a SEPTA bus accident if the driver of the other vehicle was at fault?
Yes. You can claim against the other driver directly or, If the other driver was uninsured, you can secure up to $15,000 in uninsured motorist insurance compensation from SEPTA. Total damages per accident are limited to $30,000, however, no matter how many victims are injured. This means you must act quickly if there are more than two victims, because not everyone can be fully compensated.
Do any special considerations apply when I file a claim against a division of the state government?
Whether you file a claim against SEPTA or against another government bureau (for a school bus accident, for example), special conditions apply. In a negligence claim against SEPTA, for example, you must file a claim notice with SEPTA within six months of the accident. Other restrictions apply as well.
Should I settle my claim or file a lawsuit?
Normally it is best to settle, and that is how the vast majority of my clients’ claims are resolved. Sometimes, however, a stubborn defendant will force you to file a lawsuit to stimulate a decent settlement offer. Even when a lawsuit is filed, the case can still be settled before trial.
Will my personal injury verdict or settlement be taxed by the IRS?
Personal injury damages are not taxable. Nevertheless, punitive damages are taxable, and so is the interest on any judgement. Consequently, if you receive a verdict or settlement, it is best to clearly specify in writing how much of the total amount represents personal injury compensation.
What is mediation?
Mediation occurs when both parties agree to retain a third party (typically a retired judge) to help them reach a voluntary compromise. When terms are agreed upon, both parties sign a binding mediation agreement that works like a contract between the two parties – the victim agrees to abandon the claim in return for the settlement promised by the defendant.
You Only Pay If You Win
I don’t like paying for nothing, and I know you don’t either. After an accident, you need someone to bring home the compensation you are entitled to. In the unlikely event that I am unsuccessful in settling or winning your case, you will owe me nothing. If I do, you will owe me only a portion of the amount you win.
Enter Action with Boldness
If you have been injured in a bus accident, call me at 800-465-8795 (office) or 215-771-0430 (cell), or fill out my online contact form. Someone will be around 24/7 to take your call. If you cannot come to me because you are in the hospital, I will come to you. I offer a free initial consultation where we can discuss your case, and I can answer your questions and give you a rundown on your legal options.