Colianni Law Offices, LLC

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Recent blog posts

Pittsburgh sexual harassment lawyersIn recent months, sexual harassment and other types of sexual misconduct have taken center stage in the American public’s consciousness. A number of high-profile Hollywood personalities, comedians, politicians, and other figures have been accused of sexual harassment, sexual assault, and more. Even Philadelphia icon Bill Cosby was recently found guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault by a Montgomery County jury.

Sexual harassment, however, is not limited to celebrities. In fact, it is probably taking place at a bar or restaurant near you—possibly even your own workplace.

A Dangerous Profession

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Pittsburgh personal injury attorneysFederal investigators are combing regions of eastern Pennsylvania for pieces of an airplane this week, following an explosive, mid-air engine failure that left one passenger dead and many others shaken. Officials from the National Transportation Safety Board said that debris and engine components fell from the sky along the plane’s flight path as it headed for an emergency landing in Philadelphia on Tuesday. They are asking for the general public’s help in locating all of the pieces so that a full investigation into the fatal accident can be completed.

A Deadly Incident

The failure took place shortly after takeoff on a Southwest Airlines flight headed from New York’s LaGuardia Airport to Dallas Love Field. The aircraft had just passed 32,500 feet and was still climbing over the Allentown area of Pennsylvania when officials say that a fan blade in the left engine broke loose. The broken blade caused a violent chain reaction which sent parts and debris flying. One piece of shrapnel shattered a window overlooking the wing, and the woman in the closest seat was violently sucked into the hole. Other passengers pulled the woman back into the plane, but her injuries proved to be fatal. She died at a Philadelphia-area hospital later the same day.

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Pittsburgh personal injury attorneyWhen a person files a lawsuit in the wake of a car accident, slip-and-fall, or other personal injury matter, they hope to recover enough in the way of damages to address the losses they have suffered. These losses generally include expenses related to physical injuries, as well as lost wages, property damage, and more. What many victims do not realize, however, is that their compensation may be reduced, as it is fairly common for an injured party to share in the liability for the accident. The legal doctrine under which a personal injury can be reduced for this reason is called “comparative negligence.”

Contributory Negligence vs. Comparative Negligence

One of the first questions in any personal injury matter is “Who was at fault for the accident?” Under the principles of common law, historically, if the injured party played any part in causing the accident, he or she was barred from seeking compensation from anyone else. The thought process was that a person has the duty to reasonably protect themselves from injury, so failing in that duty was seen as grounds to bar recovery.

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Allegheny County drunk driving accident lawyerIn 1984, federal lawmakers passed the National Minimum Drinking Age Act, which required every state to establish age 21 as the legal drinking age. Technically, the law did not force states to make such a change, but it did “encourage” compliance by promising to reduce federal highway funds for states that did not do so. In 2000, Congress acted again, this time establishing a nationwide legal blood-alcohol content (BAC) limit of 0.08—and again, promising to withhold federal funds from states that refused to comply. While political experts and others have continued to debate the constitutionality and appropriateness of such federal measures, both of these were passed with the same stated goal: reducing the number of deaths and injuries caused by drunk drivers on American roadways.

A Successful Venture

While it took several years, all 50 United States and the District of Columbia eventually adopted the lower BAC standard of 0.08. Pennsylvania was among the last few states to do so, passing Act 24 in September of 2003—just hours before the federal deadline for compliance. Despite the reluctance in certain areas of the country, the new requirements began to have a noticeable effect on roadway safety. Federal safety reports show that in 1999, nearly 16,000 American motorists lost their lives in alcohol-related accidents. By 2015, nationwide fatalities had fallen to around 10,000 per year.

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