Gusty A.E. Sunseri & Associates, P.C. Attorneys at Law Super Lawyers

Pittsburgh Pennsylvania Legal Blog

Two injured in car accident involving box truck

Driving is an inherently dangerous activity. Even those who drive defensively at all times can find themselves put at risk of harm by those who are intoxicated, distracted, fatigued or otherwise negligent. Self-driving cars hope to reduce or eliminate this risk, but the truth of the matter is that it may be years before self-driving vehicles are the norm on our streets. Until then, even those who ride in these vehicles are susceptible to being injured in a serious car accident.

One need only look at a recent wreck in Pittsburgh to see an example. There, a self-driving Ford Fusion was t-boned by a box truck that ran a red light. The force of the impact was so severe that even though the car was struck on the passenger side, the back window was blown out. Two of the vehicle's four occupants were taken to the hospital where they were treated for their injuries. Fortunately, these victims were released from the hospital in relatively quick fashion, meaning that their injuries may not have been as severe as they could have been.

Spinal cord injuries highlight the potential cost of negligence

Car accidents leave their victims with all kinds of injuries. Those who are fortunate, escape with nothing but a few scrapes and perhaps a bruise or two. Others, though, face a far worse fate. These individuals suffer serious injuries that leave them permanently disabled. While their new physical limitations are more than many can bear, the extent of their damages don't end there. There is, of course, the emotional pain that accompanies the sudden onset of a disability, but financial losses can also take a serious toll.

Just look at spinal cord injuries. Those who suffer high tetraplegia, which accounts for a significant portion of spinal cord injuries, can cost as much as $1 million in the first year following the injury's onset. Each subsequent year can bring about nearly $185,000 in financial losses. Even those who suffer from any sort of incomplete motor function on account of their injury can see costs soar to nearly $350,000 in the first year, with another $42,000 each year after that.

Business law and trademarks

There are many considerations that must be taken into account when creating and maintaining a business. The type of business created, the employees to hire and countless management decisions can all make or break one's company. One long-term, ongoing business issue is the building and maintenance of the brand and reputation. This can take years, sometimes even decades. For many businesses, developing a strong brand and reputation is dependent upon customers making positive associations with a company's logo, slogan and even the appearance of their stores.

To protect these identifiers, businesses can secure trademark protection. Generally speaking, a trademark is legal protection for a symbol, logo, name, word or slogan that is intended to identify and distinguish the goods or services provided by one business from goods sold by competitors. Businesses can choose to register their marks as trademarks, which gives them immediate legal rights, such as evidence of ownership and protection from the importation of foreign goods that might infringe on the business's trademark.

Top 3 reasons to form an LLC

Starting a business is an exciting endeavor, and there are many ways to establish your company legally so that you can begin turning a profit. Navigating all of the options and determining the best one can be a challenge, but many business owners elect to form their business as a limited liability company — also known as an LLC. This type of corporation is beneficial for a number of reasons.

You should consider the following three reasons it is popular to see whether it might be the right option for your business, too. Regardless of how you choose to establish your business, consulting with a lawyer can help you avoid potential pitfalls. 

Filing a personal injury claim? Consider legal help

Negligence occurs around us more than most of us realize. Other motorists are distracted, drunk or tired, and medical professionals may fail to order or accurately read certain tests. Even property owners can be negligent in failing to recognize and free their premises from hazardous conditions. These situations can lead to accidents that leave victims with serious injuries and significant economic and noneconomic damages. If you've found yourself in this position, then you may be asking yourself what you can do to help yourself recover your losses and get back on your feet.

For most people in your situation, pursuing a personal injury lawsuit is the best option. Succeeding with one of these claims requires you to prove negligence and causation by a preponderance of the evidence, which, depending on your circumstances, may sound pretty easy to do. However, no personal injury case is guaranteed to succeed, which is why, no matter how strong your claim may seem, you should think about obtaining assistance from a qualified law firm, like the one at Gusty AE Sunseri & Associates.

Traffic stop leads to numerous drug charges

Regardless of what you may have heard about states relaxing their drug laws, the fact of the matter is that the war on drugs rages on. Local law enforcement and prosecutors are aggressive in their investigation and prosecution of those they feel have broken the state's drug laws. Those on the receiving end of a criminal charge may find themselves fearful, and for good reason. After all, a criminal conviction can result in the imposition of serious penalties, including prison, fines and a damaged reputation. So, when allegations of criminal wrongdoing are levied, Pennsylvanians need to build the best criminal defense they can under the circumstances.

A number of Pittsburgh-area residents may be in need of a strong criminal defense after being arrested on multiple gun and drug charges. According to reports, the arrests come after an investigation of a Homewood residence near where nine shootings occurred in a matter of weeks. Law enforcement officers watching the home allege they pulled over a vehicle that left the residence, leading them to find a driver with a gun, 250 bags of heroin and three bags of crack cocaine.

Ways to invalidate a prenuptial agreement

Legal issues can arise among families. This blog has previously discussed family law issues and why it is important to address them appropriately. One topic we have touched on is prenuptial agreements. Regardless of one's wealth or strength of relationship with his or her soon-to-be spouse, a prenuptial agreement can prove to be beneficial. It can put minds at ease while at the same time ensuring financial protection in the event that a marriage ends. Yet, sometimes when the time comes to untie the knot and dissolve a marriage, the terms of a prenuptial agreement may not seem so favorable. In those instances, it might be wise to try to figure out if the agreement can be invalidated.

There are a number of ways that a prenuptial agreement can be deemed invalid. First, these agreements are legally binding only if they are reduced to writing. Therefore, promises that were verbally made likely won't be enforceable in court. Second, the document must be drafted in a way that is legally sufficient; otherwise it fails to be binding. Third, an individual may be able to get out of one of these agreements if it can be shown that he or she was not given adequate time to read and consider its terms prior to signing.

How important are my corporation's bylaws?

If you are thinking about starting a business, then you have a lot on your plate. You may find yourself pondering how you will raise capital, who you will hire to help you provide your goods or services and how you will protect your brand. Yet, from the get-go, the entity form you choose can play an important role not only in the initial stages of business formation but also in your business's philosophical ideals moving forward.

Should you choose to create a corporation, then you will need to create bylaws. This document is separate from the articles of incorporation and details how the business will operate, including describing certain processes. The duties of the board of directors, as well as officers, can be spelled out, and so can record keeping practices, what qualifies as a conflict of interest and how the bylaws can be amended. These bylaws should be given significant consideration before being approved, as they can truly shape the way your business operates well into the future.

Why you need a handbook of procedures

You already know that so much goes into starting your own business, from its conception to realization. One step you want to remember is forming your company's handbook. Also known as the employee handbook, it outlines to your employees the policies and procedures of your company.

Having your employees read it ensures they will know and follow the rules of conduct and performance expectations. When you present this information clearly and thoroughly in writing, it can serve as a protection should you find yourself in a legal dispute with one of your workers later on. Even if you already have a handbook in place, it is wise to review it with a lawyer to ensure its legal strength and validity.

Why is establishing paternity important?

Family law matters, as it relates to child custody, tends to favor mothers. If you are a woman, this is a good thing. If you are a father who is hoping to secure parental rights, then this may pose as a barrier. For these men, establishing paternity can be a crucial first step. Yet, mothers, too, can find establishing paternity just as important.

Put simply, establishing paternity is merely the process of naming a legal father. Countless daytime television talk shows utilize DNA testing to determine a child's father, but the truth of the matter is that it doesn't have to be that difficult. A father may be presumed to be a legal father if he signs a birth certificate or a paternity affidavit, and he may be assumed to be a child's father if he accepts a child into his home and holds the child out as his own.

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If you need to speak with an attorney about an important legal matter, contact my law office in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. To schedule a free consultation, call 412-455-5388, or contact me by e-mail.

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