In this Issue — October 2009
- Criminal Law Update-Danger/Driver’s License Suspension Alert
I was doing some legal research and came across this bombshell. There is a little known landmine in the law for any person charged with possession of a drug like marijuana. In Pennsylvania if you are convicted of possessing any drug – like a small amount of marijuana – you automatically lose your driver’s license, even if you were not driving or even in a car, when the marijuana was in your possession. Many times the prosecutor will offer the accused a Plea to reduce the drug charge to possession of a small amount of marijuana. Don’t agree to this unless you at least have the chance to talk with me about it. As a former Assistant District Attorney, I can at least advise you. Maybe the charges can be reduced to possession of drug paraphernalia, for example. The reason why that is so important is that it will not result in a loss of your driver’s license upon conviction. Of course, each case is different but the point is I am always just a phone call away for a free consultation. How’s that for attorney availability!!
- Auto Accidents and Post-Traumatic Stress
Automobile insurance policies carry “first party medical benefits”, which are the benefits owed by automobile companies to pay for medical care for those injured in automobile accidents. Recently, a woman suffered post-traumatic stress disorder following her husband’s death. The woman was not physically injured at the scene of the accident but shortly thereafter was diagnosed as suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, for which she received ongoing medical treatment. When she tried to collect first-party medical benefits to pay for her treatment, the insurance company refused to pay, taking the position that first-party benefits are available only for “bodily injury” claims arising from automobile accidents. The insurance company assumed that the woman was not entitled to coverage because she suffered no bodily injury. She sued for coverage and won. The Pennsylvania Superior Court ruled that post-traumatic stress disorder is a “disease”, and as such, it fell within the policy definition of “bodily injury”, which included the term “disease”. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a serious condition. While most people who experience traumatic stress do not develop post-traumatic stress disorder, medical treatment is necessary for those who do. Pennsylvania law now recognizes that first-party medical benefits must be made available to people whose injuries in automobile accidents include post-traumatic stress disorder. The problem is insurance companies often fight your right to get what you are rightly entitled to. An attorney can help you get what is legally yours. I think you know what to do if you have any questions.
- Jury Awards Baby $7.3M In Medical – Malpractice Suit
A jury has awarded $7.3 million in a negligence lawsuit against Cedars-Sinai Medical Center over the hospital’s alleged failure to quickly diagnose and treat a baby with meningitis. The Superior Court panel returned the unanimous verdict in favor of the Plaintiff, Paris Campen, now 5, who suffered brain damage as a result of the illness. The suit, filed in 2005, alleged that doctors in the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit were negligent and the jury agreed.