Munley News

$2,050,000 settlement reached in Wayne County pedestrian accident case

Daniel MunleyOn August 27, a $2,050,000 settlement was reached in a wrongful death case scheduled to go to trial in Wayne County, Pa. The accident involved the death of 60-year-old Ruthann Malti who was struck and killed by a Ford pickup truck on the corner of 7th and Church Streets in downtown Honesdale, Pa.

A case was filed on behalf of the Estate of Ruthann Malti by attorneys Daniel Munley and Julia Munley of Munley Law, Scranton. The case was filed against William Joseph, the driver of the pickup; PennDOT; the Borough of Honesdale; Borton-Lawson; Leeward Construction, Inc.; and Parsons-Brinckerhoff, LLC, the international engineering firm from New York City who designed the roadway configuration.

As a result of the accident, Malti suffered significant pain and suffering, and irreversible brain damage, which lead to her death a few days later. It was always the position of the Malti family that the change to the one-way street configuration and misplacement of crosswalks led to this accident.

Over the course of the case, the attorneys from Munley Law retained engineers who, after reviewing the site, concluded that the intersection was unnecessarily dangerous to pedestrians. Further review showed that none of the supervisory entities, namely PennDOT, the Borough of Honesdale, and Parsons Brinckerhoff, LLC took any action to remove the dangers and improve safety, despite numerous ominous warnings and near misses prior to this accident.

While no amount of financial compensation could ever make up for the loss of a loved one, the family of Ruthann Malti takes great comfort in knowing that since the filing of the lawsuit, changes have been made to improve pedestrian safety at that intersection. It is our hope that these changes will prevent another senseless tragedy like this from happening to another family.

If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident or a car crash, contact the Pennsylvania personal injury lawyers at Munley Law at 855-866-5529 or visit www.munley.com.

Munley Law urges drivers to use extra caution as nearly 35 million Americans expected to travel Labor Day weekend

labordayLabor Day weekend marks the unofficial end of summer, and is one of the busiest on the roads, as families and individuals take advantage of the weather for last minute summer trips.

AAA travel reported that more people are expected to get away this Labor Day than in the past six years. AAA says that 34.7 million Americans are expected to travel over Labor Day weekend, with nearly 86% likely to head to their destinations by car.

The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates there will nearly 400 fatalities in car crashes during Labor Day weekend, with an additional 42,300 injured in car crashes. They estimate the holiday to be from Friday night at 6pm thru Monday at midnight.

According to an article in USA Today, there are two major reasons for accidents on highways: losing concentration while driving and ignoring the risk of big trucks. If you are tired or have had a drink, have someone else do the driving. It is also important to avoid distractions, including cell-phones and other distractions. Be aware of big trucks that are on the road as well, they are especially dangerous if you cut in front of them quickly and unexpectedly. They often times cannot stop quickly brake quickly enough to avoid a collision and also have many blind spots.

According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), someone is killed in a drunk driving crash every 51 minutes on average during the year. Over the Labor Day weekend, that statistic jumps to one drunk driving fatality every 34 minutes.

The personal injury lawyers at Munley Law offer the following tips for a safer Labor Day weekend:

• Leave early for your destination, giving yourself plenty of time to travel.
• Refrain from distractions, such as cell phones and other electronic devices, as well as eating or grooming while driving.
• Wear your seat belt and make sure that everyone in your car is also wearing a seat belt. The NSC also estimates that nearly 144 lives can be saved by simply wearing a seat belt.
• Don’t speed. Follow all posted speed limit signs and be careful when traveling through work zones.
• Don’t drink and drive. If you know you will be drinking, plan for a designated driver.

Munley Law encourages you and your families to buckle up and celebrate Labor Day safely this weekend, by driving carefully and following our tips. For more information on the Pennsylvania personal injury lawyers at Munley Law, visit www.munley.com.

How to find out if your used car has been recalled

Robert W Munley IIIIt will now be easier for used cars buyers to find out if the car they are purchasing has been involved in a recall. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has launched a new web tool where you can enter a vehicle’s VIN number to view recalls. You can find it at www.safercar.gov/vinlookup. The site will also show you if the recall work has been completed or not on that particular vehicle. The accuracy of the tool is reliant on receiving regularly updated information from the automakers.

Every year, millions of vehicles are recalled due to safety defects. USA Today reported that 1 in 4 recalled cars never get the recommended recall work done, which could mean potential safety hazards for future car owners. CarFax, an online service that tracks vehicles histories, estimates there are more than 36 million vehicles on U.S. roads with at least one recall-related repair not completed, some of them potentially deadly.

The NHTSA said they developed this tool because safety is their highest priority, and it is a quick and easy way for used car buyers can find out if a specific vehicle has a safety defect that needs to be fixed. The NHTSA also mandated that all major light vehicle and motorcycle manufacturers are required to provide VIN search capability for uncompleted recalls on their own websites. Motorists can find their vehicles’ VIN number by looking at the driver’s side dashboard or door (where it latches when closed). Enter that figure into the NHTSA website, which will return results of an open vehicle recall. If none are available, users will receive a “No Open Recalls” response.

The program comes as manufacturers are recalling millions more vehicles than at any other time in U.S. history, about 46 million vehicles so far this year, according to the Los Angeles Times. About 29 million of those are General Motors vehicles. GM is the target of NHTSA and Justice Department investigations for not previously recalling cars with an ignition key defect now linked to at least 13 deaths and more than 50 crashes. The review began when GM revealed that it knew about a deadly small-car ignition switch problem for more than a decade, yet it didn’t issue any recalls until this year. The Wall Street Journal reported last week that federal prosecutors are scrutinizing whether employees inside and outside GMs legal department concealed evidence from regulators about the faulty ignition switch.

Pennsylvania personal injury lawyer urges don’t ignore that recall notice.

The personal injury lawyers at Munley Law urge motorists to act quickly if they receive a recall notice. Experts warn that even seemingly minor defects should be dealt with. The recall notice you receive should contain detailed information on the problem and the steps you should take, including contacting the dealer for repairs. If you have waited, it may still not be too late. According to the NHTSA, the statute of limitations for all no-charge recall repairs is 10 years from the original sale date of the vehicle. The one exception is tires. Tire recall repairs must be completed within 60 days of receiving a recall notice. If your not sure if your car has been recalled, visit the safercar.gov site mentioned above.

If you have been injured in a car accident or as the result of a recall problem with a Chevy Cobalt or another GM vehicle, contact the Pennsylvania personal injury lawyers at Munley Law at 855-866-5529. We will fight to get you the compensation you deserve.

Personal injury lawyer recommends steps to take if you are the victim of medical malpractice

Marion MunleyAttorneys at Munley Law represented an estate and a widow in a medial malpractice case against a hospital in the death of her husband. The suit claimed that the hospital’s nurse did not follow hospital policies nor the surgeon’s orders when she administered a medication when it was not indicated, causing the death of the patient. Last week, a jury awarded the patient’s estate $1.5 million in the medical malpractice case.

According to an article in Pro Publica, a study in a current issue of the Journal of Patient Safety reports that between 210,000 and 440,000 patients each year who go to the hospital for care suffer some type of preventable harm that contributes to their death. That would make medical errors the third leading cause of death in America, behind heart disease and cancer.

Medical malpractice refers to professional negligence by a health care professional or provider in which treatment provided was substandard, and caused harm, injury or death to a patient. In the majority of cases, the medical malpractice or negligence involved a medical error, possibly in diagnosis, medication dosage, health management, treatment or aftercare. The error may have been because nothing was done (an act of omission), or a negligent act.

According to an article in Becker’s Hospital Review based on information from Diederich Healthcare’s 2014 Medical Malpractice Payout Analysis, medical malpractice payouts grew to $3.7 billion in 2013, nearly 5% more than in 2012. Becker’s reported the top five states for medical malpractice payouts, per capita as New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland and Connecticut.

When medical personnel are negligent with their patients, the results are often devastating. If you believe that you or a loved one are a victim of medical malpractice, you may be entitled to compensation for damages.

The personal injury lawyers at Munley Law recommend the following steps to take if you believe you are a victim of medical negligence:

• Find an experienced and reputable medical malpractice lawyer.
• Move quickly. Be aware that you need to file your claim within a certain period of time from when the injury occurred. Your lawyer will know the state laws in your particular state to ensure the time period for filing your claim does not run out.
• Request copies of all of your medical records.
• Write down everything that happened while it’s still fresh in your mind.
• Once you’ve hired a lawyer, an investigation will be conducted to determine if there was negligence involved. The lawyer will obtain copies of all of your medical records and contact any hospitals, physicians and other health care providers that may have been involved in your case.
• After your case has been investigated and examined, if negligence is found, file a lawsuit.

The Pennsylvania personal injury lawyers at Munley Law understand the life-altering consequences of medial negligence. We are experts in medical malpractice cases and can fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Call Munley Law today for a free consultation 855-866-5529.

How to protect yourself from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Julia MunleyA scare at a Dunmore, PA hotel this past weekend brought attention to the dangers of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. According to WNEP News, 200 people were evacuated from the Dunmore Best Western after police said a furnace in the hotel malfunctioned. The Scranton Times reported that between 20 and 30 were taken to area hospitals to be evaluated for possible CO inhalation.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reported that every year, nearly 500 people die in the U.S. from accidental CO poisoning. CO is an odorless, colorless gas that can cause sudden illness and death if inhaled.

CO is found in combustion fumes, such as those produced by fuel-burning space heaters, furnaces, charcoal grills, cooking ranges, water heaters, fireplaces, portable generators, wood-burning stoves, and car and truck engines. Normally, the levels of CO produced by these sources aren’t dangerous. If appliances are not kept in good working order or if they are used in a closed or partially closed, space, the CO can build to dangerous levels. Smoke inhalation during a fire can also cause CO poisoning.

The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can include:
• Headache
• Dizziness
• Weakness
• Nausea
• Vomiting
• Shortness of Breath
• Blurred Vision
• Confusion
• Loss of Consciousness

Pennsylvania personal injury lawyers offer the following ten tips for preventing carbon monoxide poisoning:
1. Make sure your house or business has both smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms installed on every level.
2. Never use a gas range or oven to heat your home.
3. Use a certified professional to inspect and clean your heating system regularly.
4. Inspect appliances, chimneys and vents for soot, rust stains, blockage and corrosion regularly and make sure they are venting properly.
5. Have your chimney professionally cleaned once a year.
6. Open flues when your fireplace is in use and don’t close the fireplace or damper until the fire is completely out.
7. Never use generators or other gasoline-powered engines indoors.
8. Use proper fuel in space heaters and use them only in well-ventilated areas.
9. Never use a grill, lantern or portable camping stove inside a home, tent or camper.
10. Never leave the motor running in a parked vehicle in an enclosed or a partially enclosed space, such as a garage.

Although all people are at risk for CO poisoning, the CDC says that unborn babies, infants, the elderly and people with chronic heart disease, anemia, or respiratory problems are generally more at risk than others.

If you suspect CO poisoning, get out into the fresh air immediately, and then call 911. It is important to get treated immediately.

The personal injury lawyers at Munley Law have been fighting for the rights of clients for more than 50 years. We handle all types of personal injury cases, including car, truck and bus accidents, car recall cases, wrongful death, medical malpractice, work injuries and more. Call Munley Law today for a free consultation 855-866-5529.

Fatal Vehicle-Train collisions can often be prevented

RRLast week, WNEP news reported that two men died in Lycoming County after the pickup truck they were riding in collided with a freight train. Police reported that the truck was driving over a railroad crossing when it collided with a Norfolk Southern Train.

About every 3 hours a person or vehicle is hit by a train, according to Operation Lifesaver, a non-profit organization focused on providing education to prevent collisions at railroad track and highway-rail grade crossings. The average locomotive weighs about 400,000 pounds or 200 tons, and can weigh up to 6,000 tons. This makes the weight ratio of a car to a train proportional to that of a soda can to a car. By the time a locomotive engineer sees a person or vehicle on the tracks, it is often too late. It takes a freight train travelling at 55 mph more than a mile, or the length of 18 football fields, to stop.

According to statistics reported by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), there were 2,087 highway-rail incidents at public and private crossings in 2013, resulting in 251 fatalities and 929 injuries. As the statistics show, these accidents can be catastrophic but are often preventable. Many of these accidents occur either because the driver fails to see the train coming, or makes a decision to race through the crossing.

Although it might seem impossible that a driver could miss something as large and loud as a train coming, it happens often. One reason may be that safety measures, such as warning lights at some of these crossings are much less effective than those at normal highway intersections. Some may have nothing more than a sign. Figures from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) state that approximately 60% of all railroad crossing fatalities occur at unprotected or passive crossings.

The Association of American Railroads reported that there are approximately 210,000 grade crossings in the U.S., for which state and local governments are responsible for the installation of active warning devices. While federal, state and local governments are responsible for the installation of these devices, railroads are responsible for the maintenance of the devices. Railroads can also chose to install safety devices on their own, without waiting for government assistance, and to help save lives. The FRA estimates about 80% of railroad crossings do not have adequate warning signs.

An important move to improve safety is the installation of flashing lights and automatic gates signal systems at all crossings. Statistics show that this could help prevent 94% of collisions at crossings. This important measure can save hundreds of lives each year.

Here are some tips from the personal injury lawyers at Munley Law to help insure your safety at railroad crossings:
• Stop, look and listen when approaching a railroad crossing.
• Always look in both directions before crossing the tracks.
• Do not race a train to a crossing, as the results could be deadly.
• Never drive around lowered gates.
• Never stop on the train tracks.
• Only cross the tracks at a designated railroad crossing.
• If you get stuck on the track while crossing, immediately leave your vehicle and call for help.

If you have been injured in an accident with a train, the personal injury lawyers at Munley Law can help. We’ve represented thousands of accident victims and their families in Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey. Call Munley Law today for a free consultation. Call 855-866-5529 or visit www.munley.com.

Community Health Systems hacked, records of millions of patients stolen, including many in NEPA

Marion MunleyCommunity Health Systems, the owner of Moses Taylor and Regional Hospitals in Scranton, Wilkes-Barre General, Tyler Memorial near Tunkhannock and First Hospital in Kingston, announced Monday that it was the target of a cyber attack.

Community Health Systems operates 206 hospitals across the country, including those mentioned locally. The company said that hackers broke into its computers and stole data on 4.5 million patients. According to reports on Fox News, they believe the attack originated in China.

CNN reported that the hackers gained access to names, social security numbers, addresses, birth dates and phone numbers, which is considered a breach under HIPPA. Anyone who received treatment from a physician’s office tied to a network-owned hospital in the last five years, or was merely referred by an outside doctor may be affected. In its SEC filing, the company said the stolen data does not include medical or credit cared information. Fox reported that in response to the breach, the company has notified people whose information was stolen, and if offering them identity theft protection services.

Reuters recently reported that the upsurge in hacking makes customer data a corporate time bomb. In the report, Reuters said that cyber security experts say that no matter how much companies spend to increase IT security, they are unlikely to be able to stop their systems from being breached. They say the best defense may be to reduce the data they hold or encrypt it so that it will be useless if stolen.

The Community Health System attack comes on the heals of many large cyber attacks in this country, including retail giants Target and Neiman Marcus. Cyber attacks have bean steadily on the rise, and online hackers have emptied bank accounts, stolen identities and ruined the credit of millions of unsuspecting individuals.

We all have many devices that can be hacked, from computers to tablets and smart phones. If you can plug it in or connect it to a network, your device can be hacked by someone.

The personal injury lawyers at Munley Law offer the following tips to protect yourself from hackers.

• Avoid Wi-Fi hotspots, they are not very secure.
• Only visit secure sites. Install the HTTPS everywhere browser extension. It is an add-on for Chrome, Firefox an opera that ensures that whenever you visit a site that offers data encryption, you’re using it.
• Create strong passwords. Make them long and difficult to figure out, using a combination of upper and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols. The longer a password is, the harder it is to crack.
• Don’t use the same password for everything; create different passwords for different accounts.
• Change your password often.
• Beware of phishing. Don’t open email from unknown sources, especially attachments.
• Password protect all of your devices

The Pennsylvania personal injury lawyers at Munley Law have been fighting for clients for more than 50 years. They are experts in car, truck and bus accidents; medical malpractice; wrongful death; workers’ comp and product and premises liability. For more information, visit www.munley.com.

Munley Law urges motorist to slow down as school children return to the classroom

school-crossingMillions of students are returning to the classrooms this month, which means extra care must be taken for all who are driving motor vehicles. With the start of the new school year comes increased traffic on area roads, and also an increased risk of accidents.

Drivers must be aware at all time, especially when near school zones and along bus routes. Watch for children walking on sidewalks, in parking lots and crossing streets, they can be unpredictable. AAA estimates that 55 million children across the country are returning to school this fall, warning drivers to be especially vigilant for pedestrians before and after school hours.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the highest percentage (42%) of fatalities among pedestrians under 15 occurred between 4p.m. and 8p.m. The NHTSA reports that 23 million students nationwide ride on a school bus, but the greatest risk is approaching or leaving the bus. The danger zone is 10-feet in front of the bus, 10-feet behind, and 10-feet on each side. Yellow flashing lights indicate that the bus is preparing to stop for loading or unloading children, so drivers should slow down and prepare to stop.

Here are tips from the personal injury lawyers at Munley Law for safe driving near school zones and in the vicinity of school buses:

• Be aware of school buses and children at all times when driving near a school or bus stop.
• It illegal to pass a school bus that is stopped to load or unload children.
• Red flashing lights and an extended stop sign arm on a bus is a signal that children are getting on or off the bus.
• Never pass a school bus on the right, even if you think it is parked, it is illegal and could have tragic consequences.
• Watch as students get off a bus or are walking, they may quickly change direction, walk out from between cars, or dart out into the street.
• Remember that the 10-foot area around a school bus presents the greatest risk for children being hit.
• Pay close attention to crossing guards.
• Don’t drive distracted – pay attention to the road at all times.
• Obey the posted speed limit at all times.
• Be patient. Expect extra traffic during peak bus times, plan ahead and give yourself extra time.

Many pedestrian accidents can be prevented when drivers slow down and pay attention. Every parent wants their child to arrive and return safely from school, and that requires motorists to be attentive around school buses and school zones. The Pennsylvania personal injury lawyers encourage you to drive safely today and always.

The personal injury lawyers at Munley Law have been fighting for clients for over five decades. They are experts in car, truck, bus and pedestrian accidents, representing clients throughout Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey. If you need a lawyer to fight for you, you need Munley Law. For more information, visit www.munley.com.

Pennsylvania personal injury lawyer says seat belts can save lives

Buckle_UpWearing a seat belt can help save your life. According to the Just Drive Pa, a seat belt increases your chances of surviving a crash by 60 percent. Seat belt usage rose to 87 percent nationally in 2013, which sounds great, but means that although 184.4 million people are wearing seatbelt, 27.5 million still are not.

According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Association (NHTSA), there are several demographic groups that have a lower seat belt rate than others. These groups include 16- to 24-year-olds, African Americans, males, and drivers who are alone in the vehicle. Research also showed that 67 percent of the pickup truck drivers killed in crashes were not buckled up.

The NHTSA released the following startling statistics regarding age and seat belt use. The numbers reflect occupants killed who were completely unrestrained at the time of the crash.
• 3 in 5 young occupants, 21 to 24
• 3 in 5 teen occupants, 13 to 15
• 1 in 2 young tweens, 8 to 12
• 2 in 5 children, 4 to 7

Safe Kids Worldwide surveyed 1,000 teenagers about their seatbelt use, and a quarter said they don’t buckle up every time for a variety of reasons. Some said they simply forgot, while others said they didn’t feel they needed to because they weren’t going far. The survey also found that many parents of the teens do not buckle up.

Of the 21,667 motor vehicle occupants who died in crashes in 2012, more than half (52%) were not wearing seat belts at the time of the crash, according to the 2012 Occupant Protection Traffic Safety Fact Sheet. Last year in Pennsylvania, 425 people died in unrestrained crashes statewide, according to Just Drive PA. More motorists seem to drive unrestrained at night, as 61% of those killed in nighttime crashes were unrestrained compared to 43% killed during the daytime.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), seat belts prevent drivers and passengers from being ejected during a crash. People not wearing a seat belt are 30 times more likely to be ejected from a vehicle during a crash. The NHTSA found that of all passenger vehicle occupants ejected from their vehicles in crashes, 79% suffered fatal injuries.

In the past five years, the use of seat belts in passenger vehicles saved nearly 63,000 lives, according to NHTSA statistics. Remember, seat belts should be worn on every trip, no matter how short. Many people believe that if they are not going far or traveling fast, that seat belts aren’t necessary, and that is simply not true. Most fatal crashes happen within 25 miles from home and at speeds of less than 40 mph.

As a driver, you need to make sure everyone is bucked up, including rear-seat passengers. Ensure children are in the proper restraint system for their age and weight, and that all children under 13 are properly restrained in the back seat. Set a good example for your children and others by buckling up at all times, and have a conversation with your teens and children of all ages about the importance of bucking up.

The Pennsylvania personal injury lawyers at Munley Law specialize in car and truck accidents. We can fight for you and your family. Contact Munley Law today to schedule a free consultation. Call 855-866-5529 or visit www.munley.com.