Bodily Injury Claims When You Were Injured While A Passenger In Your Own Vehicle

NeuwirthLaw Auto Accidents

When terror strikes in the comfort of your own car…

Does this happen? Periodically. Can you make a claim for it? Absolutely. I have settled two cases like this for a total of $600,000 in the past few years in just this scenario. Most people only look at their bodily injury coverage as protection for when you injure someone else with your car. But, the insurance also covers you when you are a passenger. When does this happen? Recently, a client was injured when he was teaching a family member how to drive. The client was sitting in the front passenger seat in an empty suburban parking lot on a weekend. A police cruiser happened to drive into the complex on a routine patrol and the novice driver panicked and hit the gas instead of the brake. The car shot forward and crashed into a light pole’s concrete base. The client’s leg was broken and he underwent surgery. I made a claim for him for his limits of coverage, which was not enough to cover his injury.  The insurer did not respond immediately.

After waiting a month, I followed up and sent an inquiry to the insurer. Again, the insurer did not follow up. At this point, the insurer is risking a bad faith claim. Insurers are required to deal with their insureds in a good faith manner and are required to evaluate if there is coverage and whether the coverage applies. If there is coverage, they must make some reasonable effort to settle the case.

In this case, it turned out that the insurance rep who was receiving my correspondence was new or poorly trained and just kept sending me letters saying that the medical claim was closed out. Finally, I sent a bad faith letter pointing out that far too much time had passed and the carrier was not complying with its duties and a bad faith lawsuit was going to be coming soon.

Within a day, the carrier followed up and tendered its policy limits, which was the correct response. I think me and the claim rep both agreed that this was a case where the claim had slipped through the cracks, but posed substantial problems for the insurer if they continued to ignore me.

These bodily injury claims in your own car are infrequent claims in my book, but they do pop up and are usually entertaining factual scenarios.  So, sometimes, being injured in your own car by a family member or friend may have a positive financial outcome for you.


NeuwirthLaw Case Matters, Courts, For Lawyers, In the News

That’s all folks or a greased pig? Stay tuned…

The great state of California in its infinite wisdom passed a law that no pork could be sold in California unless the pigs were treated humanely and housed in cages that allowed them to turn around and have a little room to do pig things. California consumes 13% of the nation’s pork but produces nearly none of it. So, California was essentially concocting a requirement that only affected out of state pork producers. The unhappy pig overlords did not want to spend their pig profits to give pigs more space. This case then ended up in the US Supreme Court where it led to a fractured verdict.

The issue here for the non-regular Supreme Court practitioner is whether one state can determine how residents of another state act if the foreign state’s actions affect the legislating state. The Court ruled that California absolutely has every right to legislate what sort of pork is sold in its state. Now, it seems like pigs will be much happier in Iowa, until they are slaughtered….

The interesting question here is if a state can control out of state behavior, then what will the Texas or Missouri legislatures do with people moving into their state from outside states. I could imaging a number of scenarios where a lot of efforts are made by Texas or Iowa pig farmers etc. to retaliate in a roundabout way against California or use the new Happy Pig Ruling to fight its perceived culture wars.  By all accounts the Iowa pig producers are hopping mad and ready to wage war. But, as we all know, don’t fight with a pig, you both get covered in poop and the pig loves it.


NeuwirthLaw Case Matters, Courts, For Lawyers

Nice day for a dead wedding…

I have an interesting situation developing where a person is claiming that they are entitled to collect from a wrongful death lawsuit I am pursuing because they are the surviving spouse of the deceased. But the claimant and decedent were never legally married. So, they are claiming a common law marriage, which while outlawed by the Courts post 2000 or so, can still be claimed for marriages before that date. Pennsylvania courts look unfavorably on common law marriages because they are ripe for fraud and abuse, especially where there is no indicia that the couple were actually married or acting as a married couple. It is possible then that my case may end up being the death knell of the common law marriage rule if the case gets that far. I think that the PA Courts are looking for a case to get rid of common law marriage once and for all.

In my current case with one of the two married people deceased, it will be very challenging for the claimant to prove the common law marriage because of Pennsylvania’s Dead Man’s Rule. The dead man’s rule in Pennsylvania prevents a person who is engaged in a dispute with a deceased person’s estate from testifying in any manner regarding what the deceased person said while alive.
The Rule, 42 Pa. C.S. § 5930, states in pertinent part: no person whose interest shall be adverse to the right of such deceased … party, shall be a competent witness to any matter occurring before the death of said party.

Why does this matter? Well, in the estate litigation context, the claimant wants to establish not only a marriage, but also a right to collect from the estate litigation proceeds. Under the Rule, she is not permitted to testify as a witness in the proceeding. It is not merely that she cannot say what conversations she had with the deceased, but rather, she cannot testify at all. We say she is not competent to testify.

The purpose of the Rule is basically the same principle as hearsay, but with fewer exceptions. The rule against hearsay basically says that statements made outside of court cannot be stated in court without the person making the statement being present to be cross-examined in court. So, for example, if you have to prove that the stairs were a known danger and the landlord told you after you fell that he knew the stairs were in need of repair, then that would be strong evidence in your case. But, the statement is not admissible if the landlord died after having made that statement because of the Dead Man’s Rule.

It should be an interesting situation if the case ends up producing a settlement or verdict for the Deceased’s Estate.

Can I Sue Royal Farms?

NeuwirthLaw Uncategorized

Hello, I’m Andrew Neuwirth. Today’s topic is accidents – more specifically, slip and fall incidents, and vehicular accidents in Royal Farms parking lots. This episode focuses entirely on Royal Farms. For those who may not know, Royal Farms is a prevalent convenience store chain in our Philadelphia region, offering daily essentials like coffee and gasoline.

However, any commercial operation is not without its risks. Accidents, including ones that result in personal injury, can and do happen. This is particularly true in the congested and often chaotic parking lots, where mishaps are not rare. I’ve come across individuals who have sustained severe injuries due to falls or being hit by cars in Royal Farms parking lots. It’s important to remember that Royal Farms, like any other commercial property owner, is liable for negligence.

Would I hesitate to sue Royal Farms? Not at all. Is there a chance that juries might have a bias in favor of Royal Farms? That’s uncertain.

We all have our go-to places like Royal Farms. However, as a legal professional, I won’t hesitate to take action against those accountable. I’ve pursued lawsuits against a variety of entities, from yoga studios to churches. That said, I generally steer clear of lawsuits against CHOP, the Children’s Hospital, mainly due to its widespread positive reputation and the inherent difficulties of medical malpractice cases.

Let’s return to Royal Farms. What are the common reasons for a lawsuit against them, and what are the recurring problems? Slip and fall incidents due to drink spills are commonplace. Could you sue Royal Farms for a spilled drink on their premises? Perhaps, but these cases are intricate as you must demonstrate Royal Farms’ knowledge of the spill. Despite this, the most severe cases often involve the parking lots.

Individuals frequently slip on poorly painted lines in the parking lot, a problem compounded by Pennsylvania’s regular rainfall. The tight space, heavy traffic, and low visibility can result in pedestrians being hit. These incidents have been some of the most serious Royal Farms-related cases I’ve seen. Is Royal Farms solely to blame? Not entirely. But do they bear some responsibility for the design of the parking lot? Definitely.

From my experience, most such cases are settled, with Royal Farms showing a readiness to work towards resolution and offering fair settlements. However, if you’re aiming for full compensation, be prepared for the possibility of court proceedings.

If you’re thinking of managing a legal situation by yourself, bear in mind that this can result in more errors than you might anticipate. Practicing law is not a DIY project. If you’re dealing with a serious case, it’s advisable to seek professional assistance. You wouldn’t want to gamble $20,000 or more on your DIY skills, right?

Finally, let’s come back to Royal Farms. As a commercial property, they share the same responsibilities as any other business to ensure safety on their premises. As commercial property owners, they must identify and correct potential hazards. If they fail in these duties, they can and will be held accountable.

That wraps up our discussion on Royal Farms. This blog is sponsored by my law firm, Neuwirth Law Office, a personal injury firm located in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, just outside Philadelphia. We serve all surrounding counties. Please note that this blog doesn’t serve as legal advice; it’s primarily my opinion based on my experiences and impacts on my clients.

Can I Sue 7-Eleven?

NeuwirthLaw Uncategorized

Greetings, I’m Andrew Neuwirth. Today, we’ll delve into the topic of accidents – specifically slip and fall incidents, as well as vehicular accidents in 7-11 parking lots. This episode is entirely focused on 7-11. For those unfamiliar, 7-11 is a widely used convenience store chain in our Philadelphia region, providing daily necessities such as coffee and car fuel.

However, with any commercial operation, there comes a certain level of risk. Accidents, including those causing personal injury, can occur. Particularly in the crowded and often chaotic parking lots, mishaps are not uncommon. I’ve come to know of individuals who have endured significant injuries due to falls or by being struck by vehicles in 7-11 parking lots. It’s crucial to understand that, like any other commercial property owner, they’re liable for their negligence.

Do I have reservations about suing 7-11? Absolutely not. Do I believe juries might be biased in favor of 7-11? That’s unclear.

In our lives, we all have places we frequent like 7-11. But let’s be clear, as a legal professional, I won’t hesitate to take action against those who are culpable. I’ve initiated legal proceedings against a wide variety of entities, from yoga studios to churches. I generally avoid lawsuits against CHOP, the Children’s Hospital, mainly because of its widespread positive reputation and the inherent complexities of medical malpractice cases.

Let’s return to 7-11. What are the typical grounds for a lawsuit against them, and what are the common issues? Drink spills causing falls are frequent occurrences. Could you sue 7-11 for a spilled drink on their premises? Potentially, but such cases are complex as you have to establish 7-11’s awareness of the spill. Despite this, the most serious cases typically involve the parking lots.

People often slip on inadequately painted lines in the parking lot, a problem exacerbated by Pennsylvania’s frequent rainfall. The confined space, high traffic, and poor visibility can lead to pedestrians getting struck. These have been some of the most severe 7-11-related cases I’ve encountered. Is 7-11 solely at fault? Not entirely. However, do they bear some responsibility for the parking lot’s design? Most certainly.

In my experience, most such cases are settled, with 7-11 showing a willingness to work towards resolution and offering fair settlements. However, if you’re seeking full compensation, be prepared to go to court.

If you’re considering handling a legal situation yourself, remember that this can lead to more mistakes than you can anticipate. The practice of law isn’t a DIY endeavor. If you have a serious case, it’s recommended to seek professional help. You wouldn’t risk $20,000 or more on your DIY abilities, would you?

Finally, we circle back to 7-11. As a commercial property, they bear the same responsibility as any other business to ensure safety on their premises. Commercial property owners must identify potential hazards and rectify them. If they fail to do so, they can and will be held accountable.

That concludes today’s discussion centered on 7-11. This blog is sponsored by my law firm, Neuwirth Law Office, a personal injury firm located in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, just outside Philadelphia. We serve all surrounding counties. Please remember, this blog doesn’t constitute legal advice; it’s predominantly my opinion based on my experiences and impacts on my clients.

Can I Sue Sheetz?

NeuwirthLaw Auto Accidents, Slip and Fall

My name is Andrew Neuwirth. Today, I wish to discuss with you matters of slip and fall incidents at Sheetz, as well as car accidents in Sheets parking lots. This  article is entirely dedicated to Sheets. If you’re not a Philadelphia local, Sheetz is a cherished convenience store chain in our region and is one of the most popular and respected convenience store around.

However, Sheetz, like any other business, has its drawbacks. As it operates commercially, accidents happen on its premises. The parking lots, often cramped and chaotic, are the sites of numerous mishaps, leading to personal injuries. I’m aware of individuals who have suffered severe injuries due to falls or being hit by cars in Sheets parking lots. So, it’s important to remember that they’re accountable for their negligence, just like any other commercial property owner.

Am I hesitant to sue Sheetz? Not at all. Do I believe jurors are more sympathetic towards Sheetz? I can’t say for certain.

I guess we all have our equivalent of Sheetz. But remember, I’m a professional in this field, and I won’t shy away from holding someone accountable if they’re responsible. I’ve filed lawsuits against everyone from yoga studios to churches, among others. However, I tend to avoid suing CHOP, the Children’s Hospital, as everyone regards it highly and medical malpractice cases are challenging enough without involving CHOP.

Coming back to Sheetz, what are the reasons one can sue Sheetz and what are the common problems there? The most frequent incidents involve drink spills causing falls. Can you sue Sheetz for a spilled drink outside their store? Possibly, but such cases are tricky as you need to prove Sheets knew about the spill. Despite this, most significant cases are related to the parking lots.

Often, people slip on improperly painted lines in the parking lot, especially during the frequent rain in Pennsylvania. The compact space, high traffic, and poor visibility can lead to pedestrians getting hit. These have been the most serious cases involving Sheetz. Are they solely responsible? Not necessarily. But do they bear some responsibility for the parking lot design? Absolutely.

Settling such cases is usually the way to go, and in my experience, Sheetz is willing to work towards resolution, offering fair settlements. However, for full compensation, be prepared to go to court.

If you’re thinking of handling a legal situation yourself, remember that doing so can lead to more mistakes than you can imagine. The practice of law isn’t a DIY project. If you have a serious case, consider getting professional help. You wouldn’t want to stake $20,000 or so on your DIY abilities, would you?

Finally, returning to Sheetz, they’re a commercial property and bear the same responsibility as any other to ensure safety on their premises. As commercial property owners, they must identify and rectify potential hazards. If they fail to do so, they will be held accountable.

That’s it for today’s post focusing on Sheetz. This blog is brought to you by my law firm, Neuwirth Law Office, a personal injury firm located in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, just outside Philadelphia. We serve all surrounding counties. Please note that this blog doesn’t constitute legal advice; it’s mainly my opinion based on my experiences and impacts on my clients.


NeuwirthLaw Case Matters, For Lawyers, Medical Malpractice

From the movie Brazil, directed by Terry Gilliam

I think it is probably a good idea to avoid having plastic surgery with a surgeon whose spouse is on the Real Housewives series. Several of these docs are getting pummeled with malpractice lawsuit filings. While the filing of your typical case has no bearing on whether the case will ultimately prevail, I think the opposite is true in medical malpractice. No lawyer would file a med mal case unless there was clear malpractice and a clear path to success. This is because you need a Certificate of Merit in PA and similar letters in other states that essentially reveals that your case has merit in the eyes of a doctor with the same specialty. This sort of substantial proof of merit is not required in many lawsuits. Further, these cases demand a really close evaluation of costs and benefits. We do not take cases that do not have six figure or seven figure potential. A doctor doing something wrong or below the standard of care is simply not enough to make a case.  Even the raft of allegations in the lawsuits against the real housewife spouses who are doctors are often not about the actual performance technique.

Why is that? Well, in reviewing a bunch of medical malpractice cases against Dr. Lenny Hochstein and others in that universe, most of the claims involve a failure to respond to post-surgical complications. What this reveals is what most malpractice lawyers recognize. In a cosmetic surgery case, it is not wise to fight over how the procedure turned out or how your nose looked after the procedure. There is no guarantee of results in these cases and much of the result may be surgically successful, but unappealing to the patient. Rather, cosmetic surgery patients have complications from surgery like all other patients and those must be attended to. So, patients who develop fevers, infection, wound healing problems etc. need urgent medical attention. If you as a doctor fail to have systems set up to provide that attention and too much time passes, your patient may decompensate and things go downhill quickly. So, you could see that if you are a real housewife spouse and a surgeon and a patient has surgical complications, then it would not be too hard to argue that perhaps you were busy with your wife’s spending, shooting scenes, or doing other non-doctoring type things and hence ignored the patient.  That is more of a case than your typical plastic surgery case.

Finally, there is always an element of you asked for it in these elective surgery cases. It is strictly off-limits in court, but you must expect jurors to think that none of this would have happened if you had just been happy with how you were etc. It is unavoidable and frankly an element that has to be investigated and considered in these plastics cases.



NeuwirthLaw Case Matters, For Lawyers

I love a good dog bite case. There really is no defense to the claims and so it is really just a question of how much money the insured dog owner has on their policy. The risk in these cases is the lack of insurance. What is the best dog bite case? Well, the easy ones are where a pit bull bites your client out on the street, preferably in Wynnewood. Why? Well, you have a dangerous seeming breed, in a well-off neighborhood meaning there is likely insurance coverage for the dog owner’s negligence, and the dog is not on their own property. What is the worst case? We run into a lot of trouble pursuing these cases when a landlord rents out a property and is arguably unaware of the dog and may even have a no dog policy written into the lease. The out of possession landlord has a variety of defenses here, but most rental landlords are somewhat involved with their properties and may over the course of the case be shown to be aware of the dog. Once you have that fact established, then the type of dog and prior aggressiveness will come into play. A labradoodle is not your ideal dog bite defendant.

I was recently contacted about a case where a mailman was bitten on his route. This is initially a workers compensation case, because the mailman was working at the time of the incident. But, workers compensation does not compensate for pain and suffering.  It only compensates for lost wages and medical bills. You have to file a personal injury claim to get pain and suffering damages. Nevertheless, despite any possible humor about the mailman being bitten is part of the job, the focus really is on the dog. This is why the cases are indefensible.

What sort of defense can the insurer put up? The dog cannot testify or be cross-examined. Why a dog goes and bites someone is wholly unknowable when you get down to it. Your client can always say he or she did not provoke the dog and the dog cannot dispute that. The owner could, but really defending the dog is a lost cause.

The other interesting aspect of these cases is often aggressiveness. Owners may be used to the dog and its habits, but strangers and property boundaries that are important to the dog may be unwitting traps for the mailman. Further, triggering actions for the dog may be wholly unknowable to the mailman. Most people with large dangerous dogs could have really good control over them when the dog is leashed, but off leash control really takes some professional training and most every bite case involves a lack of control.

So, even if these cases go into suit, meaning they cannot be settled before filing the case in court, they are going into suit for the purpose of having a full examination by the Insurer’s lawyer of the injured Plaintiff, the circumstances of the event and the severity of the injury. I have never heard of dog bite cases in Pennsylvania going to a jury on the simple facts like those above. Even were a landlord to fight a case because of a lack of knowledge that the tenant had a dog, I would guess that most jurors put landlords on the same plane as lawyers and politicians in terms of their sympathy and concern for them as trustworthy sympathetic and believable witnesses.



NeuwirthLaw For Lawyers, Law Practice Management

Get out of your house! If you are not familiar with David Goggins, you may find him irritating or motivating or simply crazy. But, much like Tony Robbins, who I cannot stand because I have no idea what he does, Goggins is maniacal about self-improvement and setting crazy goals. He is worth looking at, but be warned that he will take over your youtube feed!

Anyway, professional services businesses like mine and possibly yours are based upon relationships with people who know what you do and trust that you will do a good job on their client’s case and will keep them at the top of your list for all developments and generally be a good professional. As we age or our practices morph in various ways, you will see people drop off of your list of referrers. The only way to remedy that is to add new people to your list. It is very hard to do that sitting in your house. It’s as simple as that. You have to get out and do things to meet new people. Whether you are joining new groups, taking people to lunch, coffee, or dinner or just being out, you have to keep your list building until it reaches a critical point where you have no more time for list building. The past two years have been a tremendous challenge for list building and I expect that most professionals have seen some shrinkage. Not in the Seinfeld sense of things. In fact, if anything, I feel more charged up to go out and meet people and do things having had a two year rest of sorts during pandemic.


I recently hosted a group of 8 lawyers for a dinner in Philadelphia. The general tenor of the group was extremely appreciative for my efforts in making the dinner happen. I expect that you would have a similar reaction from people if you brought them together. The other interesting reaction was that every one of the lawyers felt that they were far more productive at home. So, there is a tension there. We like being out and being social and seeing other professionals who are like us and with whom we can reconnect and build ties, but at the same time, it is easier and more efficient to be at home working. I play soccer as a goalie every Sunday and strangely have gotten several referrals from the group despite my beginner level goal-keeping. We are a “champagne pick up” as the saying goes as we are stocked with a bunch of lawyers, doctors, and white collar professionals. Nevertheless, we all get along well and as time passes, they need me and I need them for various professional duties. A lot of friendly interaction and professional referrals happen in person in these games, but zero happens when I do not make the games. I go because I like playing with the group and like playing keeper, but the referrals I get only occur when I go there. When I cannot play due to injuries, family obligations etc., I get no referrals. That is just the way it is. For whatever reason, over time, people come to real


ize that you are a decent person, willing to help the group and would be okay to deal with for advice. You cannot get to that point from your home office.

What would Goggins say? He would probably demand that we get up at 5am, do our three hour workout, have our second breakfast, and eat two dinners with two different groups of lawyers. That is the Goggins view of things. For the rest of us, it takes more time, effort, and persistence to get other people out of their home offices to do stuff, but people are itching to get out. As they say, coffee is for closers, so get out there and try it.


NeuwirthLaw Case Matters, Courts, For Lawyers, In the News


I am regularly contacted by people who want to sue the City of Philadelphia for any number of reasons. About a third of the time, people are upset by perceived lawlessness and want to sue the City.  For a while, I was getting several calls a month about off road vehicle gangs etc. Recently, calls about shootings have picked up. The City has immunity for most claims like a city street sweeper hit my parked car overnight or the city knocked down a vacant shell of a building without permission. But, as a plaintiff’s lawyer, I am always trying to evaluate if there is a way to gain some compensation for clients who have suffered terribly.

In researching how to pursue justice for families impacted by gun violence, there may be a change in the legal landscape coming soon to Pennsylvania. In 2005, Congress passed the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), a law that, with some limited exceptions, immunized gun manufacturers and sellers from many state tort claims involving the misuse of firearms. This George Bush era legislation has been upheld throughout the country, with a few notable exceptions. The PA Supreme Court is going to be hearing arguments on Gustafson v. Springfield and a few associated cases to determine the constitutionality of this law.  The law is intended to protect gun manufacturers from being sued for shootings by criminals. Criminals generally don’t have insurance and are hence not good targets for compensation. Further, shootings are intentional torts and not covered by insurance. It is good to know that Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has filed an amicus brief in support of the gun companies. It sort of means that the Plaintiffs are on the right side of things.

The tactical approach when representing a shooting victim’s family has been to target the gun manufacturers on any number of grounds including you are putting too many guns into circulation without any control over what happens to them. In fact, the PLCAA was, by all accounts, a result of the big tobacco litigation settlements plus findings in one or more courts that low end gun manufacturers were pumping guns into low regulation states fully expecting that those guns would be sold or transferred into other states illicitly.

The Gustafson case is exceedingly sad. The Gustafson’s son was at a friend’s house and the friend took out the magazine of bullets and assumed it was not loaded. Not knowing that there was still a round in the gun’s chamber, the other boy pulled the trigger and killed their son. The family filed suit and immediately ran into this law that immunizes private companies from tort lawsuits.

Tort immunity for private companies is not unheard of particularly when you are trying to protect an industry that has some public utility, like a nuclear power plant or electric provider etc. However, even those companies have elements of liability for negligent conduct. Here, the gun manufacturers are specifically immunized from tort lawsuits. The grounds for the PA Supreme Court hearing this case are that constitutional law holds that tort law is a uniquely state based creation and Congress is overreaching by preventing tort lawsuits. The 10th Amendment to the US Constitution says: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. So, since tort law as a whole is a state by state construct, the Federal Government should really have no place in determining what is or is not permissible under state law. This is a simplistic view of things, but the PA Supreme Court is likely fed up with endless gun violence and may take a stand and say that here in Pennsylvania, you can sue gun manufacturers for the foreseeable outcomes of spewing guns into society. Interestingly, the US Supreme Court has previously concluded that the Federal Government cannot force states to run gun background checks outlining the limits of the 10th amendment.

So, we shall see what happens in Gustafson. If the PA Supreme Court finds that the PLCAA’s prohibition on lawsuits against gun manufacturers violates the US or PA constitution, then I would expect the US Supreme Court to weigh in in favor of the PLCAA given the Court’s rightward bent. In the meantime, people will continue to be shot by guns that could easily be made far safer, far harder to obtain, etc.