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Southwestern Pennsylvania Legal Blog

Sleep deprivation can lead to high accident rates

In an article on car accidents in Pennsylvania, FindLaw implied that Philadelphia is one of the most dangerous cities to drive in. As residents of southwestern Pennsylvania know, Pittsburgh and its surrounding areas provide another accident hot spot in the state to watch out for.

While motor vehicle accidents most often result from disobeying traffic laws, sometimes the cause of an accident can come from as innocent a reason as lack of sleep. Truck drivers often receive much of the blame for falling asleep at the wheel, but the truth is sleep deprivation affects virtually all drivers at some point in their lives.

How do I know if my doctor has malpractice claims?

If you have been diagnosed with a serious illness in Pennsylvania, you may have been referred to a surgeon or specialist. While you may have built up trust with your general practitioner or even your dentist over several years, this specialist may be new to you. If invasive surgery is on the list of treatment options, you may be concerned about whether or not he has a good reputation.

Note, however, that a medical malpractice claim against a doctor is not always true, intentional or due to willful negligence. Even when doctors settle, they may do so to avoid a messy court battle or to preserve their reputation. Forbes estimates that 75% of doctors in low-risk fields and 99% of doctors in high-risk fields have dealt with a malpractice claim at some point in their careers.

How can I keep my child safe while bicycling this summer?

Over the summer, many children want to spend their free time outside riding their bicycles. Bicycling can be a great way for kids to burn off excess energy and stay involved with neighborhood friends. However, bicycling can also be dangerous.

When bicycling, children can be injured in several ways. The most catastrophic bicycle accidents can involve a child being hit by a car. However, there are some actions you can take as a parent to help prevent a tragedy like this from occurring.

Is a bad medical outcome a result from medical malpractice?

When people in Pennsylvania experience a bad medical outcome, there is often talk of a potential lawsuit. It is natural to want reparations after failing to see the results you expected when seeking medical care. This is especially the case if the end result was the death of a loved one. However, it is important to note that most of these instances do not result from medical malpractice.

It may be a hard pill for you to swallow, but according to Forbes, just over one in four bad medical outcomes result from malpractice. Researchers believe that 42% are not preventable and another 30.4% were preventable, but did not occur through neglect. Because of this, not every hospital visit that resulted in worsened symptoms, injury, complications or even death are eligible for a malpractice lawsuit.

What is a foreclosure rescue scheme?

When faced with the prospect of losing a home, many people are willing to do whatever it takes to prevent foreclosure from happening. Unfortunately, this desperation can cause a person to fall victim to a foreclosure rescue scheme, which offers a way to put offer foreclosure to homeowners who can no longer keep up on mortgage payments. provides more information on these schemes so you can steer clear. 

There are some basic elements that most rescue schemes have. A person identifying as a private investor claims that the homeowner can transfer the deed to them as collateral and that the investor will be able to secure new financing which makes the home more affordable. Once this new financing is in place, the homeowner will ostensibly privy to lower mortgage payments. The investor may also allow the homeowner to remain in the home and pay rent, until which time they can afford to repurchase it. 

What risks face teen drivers?

While it can be exciting to get a license for the first time, teen drivers are faced with a myriad of risks when on the road. Whether you have a teen driver in your family or are sharing the road with younger motorists, it's important to be aware of just how inexperience can cause accidents and lead to careless behaviors. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explain how teens can stay safe behind the wheel and what might happen if they don't. 

Approximately 292,742 drivers aged 16 through 19 required emergency care as the result of a motor vehicle accident in 2016. Up to 2,433 in the same age group were killed as a result of their accidents. Male drivers in this age range face a two times greater risk of dying when compared to females, and teens of both genders are likely to experience a crash within the first few months after receiving their license. 

Should your business be an LLC or a sole proprietorship?

If you want to open a business in Pennsylvania, one of the first things you must do is register with the state. Before you register, you should decide what sort of business structure you want to use. Certain legal and tax considerations may be different depending on which type of business structure you choose. If you are the only one who works at your business, chances are you will register as either a sole proprietorship or an LLC.

The Pennsylvania state government provides information on different types of business structures. Most small businesses usually fall into one of four categories: sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company and corporation. According to the state, a sole proprietorship is the simplest type of business structure, which may be a good choice for you when you are just starting your small business. In a sole proprietorship, you maintain complete control and responsibility for the business. This structure requires few registration forms, and it is simple to discontinue the business if you need to. Although you would generally retain all the profits from your business, you would be personally liable for all business debts and legal issues.

Is your doctor spending enough time with you?

Like most in Pennsylvania, you likely hope that your visit to the doctor is a quick "in-and-out" exchange. Whether that stems from your desire to not have to pay any more than is necessary for your visit to a general discomfort of being in a doctor's office, there are any number of reasons why you may not want your visit to linger. Yet at the same time, you hope that your doctor does not feel the same way. Your expectation is that they will spend enough time as is needed with you to resolve (or at lease diagnose) whatever illness or injury you are experiencing. 

Yet is that expectation being met? It is easy to forget that in many cases (particularly those involving private practices or physicians groups) doctors may also be business owners. Seeing as many patients as possible, then, is good business. Yet the desire for a healthy bottom line for a clinic or practice should never prompt doctors to adopt the practice of "treat and street." 

Things to consider before entering into a partnership

If you are looking to start a business in Pennsylvania, you may be thinking of getting a partner. While entering into a partnership can be very beneficial for both parties, it can also be a disaster if both sides are not on the same page. Ask yourself and your potential partner some hard questions before making it official. discusses some of the benefits of taking on a business partner. These include:

  • Shared risk in the business
  • Split tasks and responsibilities
  • Increased access to professional expertise and financial backing

Distracted driving has to be proven for a conviction

We all know the trope “innocent until proven guilty,” but it proved to be true in a recent case of alleged distracted driving.

Accidents involving cars, trucks, motorcycles or any other passenger vehicle can be deadly if the driver isn’t paying attention. This was reportedly the case in a 2015 collision in Monroe County that resulted in the deaths of three people.

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