VSCP Law Archives -

Wrongful death cases can be complicated and thus they can be time-consuming. There are many steps that your wrongful death attorney must take to resolve your case, including:

Setting up an estate. If your loved one died without a will, usually a spouse or other family member may file a wrongful death lawsuit on their behalf. If there are no surviving family members, the court may appoint a personal representative called an “administrator.” If your loved one died with a will, the person appointed in the will as the “executor” may file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Gathering essential documents. Your wrongful death lawyers in Philadelphia need to collect the evidence that will help your case succeed. Such evidence includes medical records, autopsy report, death certificate, toxicology lab results, witness statements, and physical objects related to the death.

Retaining the best experts. Your wrongful death case will likely require expert review and analysis. Your wrongful death attorney has access to the best experts in the country and they will ensure that the most qualified experts review your case and write an ironclad report to bolster your claim in court.

Evaluating the value of the case. Your wrongful death attorney in Philadelphia evaluates the case with knowledge of all possible causes of action and claims for Pennsylvania wrongful death damages.

Filing a timely lawsuit. Under the Pennsylvania wrongful death statute, you have two years after the official death date to file a wrongful death lawsuit. This restriction is typically referred to as the wrongful death statute or the statute of limitations. Your wrongful death attorney will file the lawsuit within this timeframe.

Conducting discovery. Discovery is an information-gathering process. It includes collecting and reviewing all medical records, doctors’ notes, hospital summaries, discharge instructions, etc. from the defendants. It also involves interviewing witnesses in what are called “depositions.” Both parties – that is, your lawyer and the lawyers on the other side – engage in this process, trying to collect as much information as possible to truly understand what happened that led to the wrongful death at issue.

Going to trial. Many wrongful death cases settle before the case is tried in a court of law. But not all. Thus, a trial may add anywhere from one to five weeks to the timeline of your wrongful death case.

All of this takes time. At a minimum, your wrongful death case will be resolved after several months. But in most cases, it will take several years before the case resolves.

And while that may sound disheartening, rest assured that the above process is handled by your wrongful death attorney to ensure that you collect the highest amount possible for the wrongful death of your loved one.

To talk with an experienced wrongful death attorney, contact the lawyers at VSCP LAW (www.vscplaw.com).

The question often arises: if I suffer a personal injury, how will I know if I should consult with a personal injury attorney? In other words, what circumstances might require the services of a personal injury attorney? The answer is simple: every circumstance. Read on to learn why your best course of action after suffering a personal injury is to consult with a personal injury lawyer.

You May Think Your Case is Simple, But It’s Not

No matter how straightforward your case seems, it’s actually not. Let’s say you were driving and the car behind you rear-ended your car, causing you to suffer neck and back injuries. You may think this is a straightforward auto accident because you learned that people who rear-end the drivers in front are always at fault. But there are many factors to consider in auto accidents including the usage of handheld devices (like your cell phone) while driving, whether there were other distractions, whether the cars involved were compliant with state inspection laws, whether there were any recalls of parts on either of the cars, etc.

And what about your injuries? What was your health like prior to the accident? What problems do you suffer now because of your neck and back pain? Did you have to take time off from work to deal with your injuries? Are you totally healed or are there permanent injuries? There is no shortage of important factors to consider and only an experienced personal injury attorney can identify all of them. And only an experienced personal injury can undertake a proper analysis of each and every one of them.

And what about the various laws and rules of procedure in the Pennsylvania courts? No layperson is expected to understand how the law and procedure work in any particular case. Sadly, even many practicing attorneys who spent three years in law school don’t understand all of Pennsylvania’s complicated rules and regulations. Often, a personal injury lawyer in Philadelphia won’t be as knowledgeable about the particular whims of, e.g., the Lackawanna County court system as well as a personal injury lawyer in Scranton would be. So, you may think your case is simple, but it’s not. You need an experienced personal injury attorney to help you.

The Attorney Will Help You Avoid Pitfalls Along the Way

People who suffer an injury and don’t consult with a lawyer often learn after it’s too late that they made critical errors early on. Often, it’s that they failed to preserve key evidence that would have helped their case. An experienced personal injury attorney knows what actions must be taken early in the process such as ordering medical records; reviewing police reports; and collecting witness statements, photographs, and videos. The presence or absence of these crucial forms of evidence could determine whether your lawsuit is successful or not.

Much of the critical evidence is in the possession of the defendant and if those items aren’t requested early in the process, the defendant could destroy them.

Thus, you need a Pennsylvania personal injury attorney to help you avoid common missteps that could otherwise hinder the success of your lawsuit.

The Attorney Knows the True Value of Your Case

When you file a claim with your insurance company, the insurance company may try to convince you that they can handle everything. More often than not, an insurance company will undervalue your case. In other words, they will tell you that they can only collect a certain amount of money (because that is the maximum amount they’d be able to collect for you). Whatever amount the insurance company tells you is typically far less than what a Philadelphia personal injury lawyer can collect for you.

Your personal injury lawyer in Philadelphia knows how to build a case that is designed to help compensate you for your suffering and make sure that you get the most money possible for your injuries.

It’s Free!

Your personal injury attorney will investigate the facts leading up to your injuries – at no cost to you. If your personal injury lawyer determines that there is no negligence that caused your injury and there is no one to sue, you won’t have lost any money. Your attorney undergoes all that investigation at zero cost to you.

To find an experienced personal injury to represent you, contact the attorneys at VSCP LAW (www.vscplaw.com)

People often wonder what is involved in the building and completion of a medical malpractice case. Below is a general list of the various steps that take a case from inception to conclusion.

1. DETERMINING WHETHER THERE’S A CASE

Initially, after you believe your loved one has suffered from a medical mistake, you should contact a Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyer. They will want to review medical records, health summaries, hospital notes, lab results, and all other necessary paperwork to fully understand the actions (and sometimes inactions) of the health care staff who may have been responsible for the medical mistake.

2. GETTING AN EXPERT INVOLVED IN THE CASE

Once your Philadelphia medical malpractice attorney has determined that medical negligence likely caused your loved one’s injuries, they will connect with a proper expert. The expert must be in the same field of medicine as the healthcare professional who harmed your loved one. For instance, if your loved one’s injuries occurred during gastrointestinal surgery, your medical malpractice attorney will likely discuss the case with an expert who is a gastrointestinal surgeon.

3. FILING THE COMPLAINT AND CERTIFICATE OF MERIT

Assuming the expert described above agrees that a medical error took place and caused your loved one’s injuries, the expert will prepare a Certificate of Merit. Your Pennsylvania medical malpractice attorney will file a Complaint along with the Certificate of Merit in the court. And thus begins your formal lawsuit against the defendants.

4. CONDUCTING DISCOVERY

Your medical malpractice attorney in Philadelphia and the defendants’ attorney will then engage in “discovery.” Discovery is a process by which information is exchanged between both sides. Your attorney will want to see all the medical records, staff notes, entry forms, etc. that help paint a picture of the defendants’ actions and inactions that led to your loved one’s injuries. The defendants’ attorney will want to see any records that establish your loved one’s injuries, like physical therapy records, disability reports, etc.

After (and sometimes while) paperwork is exchanged, the attorneys will conduct depositions. Depositions are recorded interviews of important witnesses who are under oath. Many different individuals may be deposed such as, treating doctors, nurses, hospital staff, hospital administrators, and family members of the injured person.

5. TRYING THE CASE

The next stage is to go to trial and present the case to a jury or judge. At this stage, many of the same people who were deposed will be asked to testify. The experts your medical malpractice attorney in Philadelphia hired will have to testify as well as the experts hired by the defendants’ attorney.

Sometimes the parties will settle the case before it gets to the trial stage. And sometimes a case will settle during the trial. But if the case did not settle before or during the trial, then the trial results in a verdict determining whether the defendants were in fact liable for your loved one’s injuries.

An experienced medical malpractice attorney in Pennsylvania will help you win your medical malpractice case. Find one at VSCP Law.

Yesterday’s mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, in which at least nineteen students and two adults were tragically killed, has reawakened a national conversation regarding gun violence, and the horrific incidents which seemingly happen on a near-daily basis.

The conversation has been rightfully dominated by public calls for Congress to pass responsive, common-sense legislation governing the accessibility of firearms to citizens, banning assault or similar high-capacity weapons, strengthening the resources and reach of agencies like the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to enforce the existing regulatory scheme more thoroughly, and to target the gun industry in the manufacturing, marketing, sale, and distribution of weapons. As time passes, though, the public outcry subsides, and rarely does anything ever actually materialize.

Often overlooked in the midst of these instinctual calls to action and offerings of thoughts and prayers is a federal statute called the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (“PLCAA”), 15 U.S.C. §§ 7901-7903. Congress passed PLCAA in 2005, and in doing so, uniquely provided an entire industry with immunity from civil lawsuits. At the time, PLCAA also led to the dismissal of litigation commenced by municipalities nationwide seeking to hold the gun industry accountable for the adverse impact of nuisance activity occasioned by the gun industry’s business practices.

In particular, PLCAA prohibits the filing of a “qualified civil liability action…in any Federal or State court.” Despite the nomenclature, there are few qualifications to the reach of PLCAA’s prohibitions. PLCAA generally bars any “civil action or proceeding or an administrative proceeding brought by any person against a manufacturer or seller of a qualified product, or a trade association, for damages, punitive damages, injunctive or declaratory relief, abatement, restitution, fines, or penalties, or other relief, resulting from the criminal or unlawful misuse of a qualified product by the person or a third party.” A “qualified product” includes any firearm, ammunition, or their component parts. The statutory definitions under PLCAA are wide-ranging, as almost any individual or entity “engaged in the business” of selling a “qualified product” has standing to invoke its protections.

There are a few exceptions to PLCAA immunity. For instance, the statute allows lawsuits “brought against a seller for negligent entrustment or negligence per se.” On its face, though, this exception does not apply to manufacturers. Furthermore, the statute allows “an action in which a manufacturer or seller of a qualified product knowingly violated a State or Federal statute applicable to the sale or marketing of the product…” This exception is known as the “predicate exception,” as it requires the litigant to invoke a predicate statute in order to proceed in litigation. Few litigants have successfully invoked either of these exceptions, as courts have traditionally interpret them very narrowly in view of the Congressional findings and purposes noted in PLCAA.

PLCAA as a whole is not a particularly complicated statute on its face: it contains only three sections. Most of the statutory language is devoted to explaining the Congressional findings and purposes of PLCAA. But the statutory findings exaggerate the risk of litigation posed to the gun industry, and the majority (if not all) of the statutory purposes are not actually advanced by PLCAA’s general ban on litigation against gun industry participants.

It is incumbent on Congress to not only buttress the regulatory framework to govern the manner in which guns are manufactured, marketed, sold, and distributed, but also to consider repealing PLCAA.

State legislatures must also reconsider their own regulatory frameworks, as well. Although PLCAA, as a Federal statute, generally supersedes any state law attempting to vitiate, undermine, or otherwise limit PLCAA’s reach, state laws that specifically and clearly apply to the marketing, sale, or distribution of firearms, or their component parts, would enable litigants to assert claims and invoke the negligent entrustment, negligence per se, and predicate exceptions more readily. For example, after protracted litigation leading to an appeal to the Supreme Court of Connecticut, the families of victims in the Sandy Hook shooting ultimately recovered a $73 million from Remington Arms based on allegations that Remington and its affiliates violated state consumer protection law. Few offered legitimate complaints about Remington’s coffers running dry because of this result, and for good reason: the gun industry is massively profitable.

To be sure, not every incident of gun violence warrants a lawsuit. And certainly, no law, rule, statute, or regulation can revive the lives forever lost and changed as a result of tragedies like Robb Elementary School, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Sandy Hook Elementary School, or even lesser known but equally heartbreaking instances of gun violence injuries and death. However, the repeal of PLCAA and the enactment of additional regulations on the state level would be a momentous step in the right direction. In doing so, Congress and state legislatures would create a powerful incentive for the gun manufacturers, distributors, and dealers to self-regulate—no different than any other industry—while providing individuals and families most immediately impacted by gun violence an avenue of recourse to be appropriately compensated. In the absence of meaningful regulations, perhaps that’s the best we can ask for.

For a more in-depth discussion of PLCAA, see my article published in the Drexel Law Review, In Guns We Entrust, 11 Drexel L. Rev. 412 (2018):
https://drexel.edu/~/media/Files/law/law%20review/v11-1/Rosner%20421466.ashx