October 22, 2018

Michael J. Kowalski to present at NEPATLA event

Attorney Michael J. Kowalski is scheduled to present at the Northeastern PA Trial Lawyers Association Personal Injury Potpourri continuing education event on December 6, 2018. Speakers will provide an overview of timely and important personal injury topics for civil litigators in NEPA. The day-long seminar will feature topics including Nursing Home Litigation, Tips and Strategies for Effectively Representing Injured Workers, Effective Use of Arbitration & Mediation to Settle Personal Injury Cases, and many more. Atty. Kowalski is a partner in the Distasio Kowalski personal injury firm in Wilkes-Barre. He will present on the topic of Deposing the Defendant Doctor in a Medical Malpractice Case. The NEPATLA provides advocacy, education, resources and support for civil litigators in the Northeast Region of the State.

Distasio Kowalski is a personal injury firm that represents the victims of auto accidents, truck accidents, medical malpractice, birth injury cases as well as other injury cases.

 

October 9, 2018

Lack of regulation for modified stretch limousines pose dangers

The horrific fatal crash of yet another modified stretch limousine this past weekend has us again talking about the lack of safety regulations for these vehicles. 20 were killed in the New York limousine crash, making it the deadliest transportation accident in the U.S. in nearly a decade. According to news reports, a Ford Excursion limousine went through a stop sign and hit a parked vehicle before crashing into a ditch. Two pedestrians and all 18 people in the limo died. Among those killed in the limousine accident were four sisters. Others included couples just starting their lives together and friends who came together to celebrate a 30th birthday. This limousine crash is an unspeakable tragedy that may have been prevented.

The dangers of modified stretch limousines

Why did not one passenger survive the limousine crash? It’s a question that investigators hope to answer. The concerning lack of safety regulations for these vehicles will certainly come into play. Modified stretch limousines are largely untested and unregulated. They often don’t have the strict safety measures that factory-built vehicles are required to have. This includes things such as side-impact airbags, reinforced rollover protection bars and accessible emergency exits. When limousines are first built, they must meet these strict safety regulations. After a vehicle leaves the factory, the oversight stops. When vehicles, such as this Ford Excursion are stretched and converted into a limo, the safety features are sometimes weakened or removed completely. This can result in serious danger in the event of a crash.

Although some automakers do produce stretch limos that are safer than many we see on the roads, there are many more out there that have been converted and are simply not safe. Some limos have been radically altered after factory and have not been properly safety tested. To modify a vehicle into a stretch limo, an ordinary car or SUV is cut apart and then lengthened with metal plates to create a much longer body. This often weakens the structural integrity of the vehicle. The modification may weaken the frame and reduce its ability to withstand the impact of a crash. Because of the way the seats are configured, most limo passengers are without the protection of seat belts and side airbags. Exits may have been blocked or removed during modification. This makes it extremely difficult to get out of the vehicle quickly and safely in the event of a crash. In addition, these long vehicles are extremely difficult for drivers to maneuver. Modifications may have created blind spots that prevent the driver from seeing properly. Limo drivers should also be properly screened, licensed and trained to drive this particular type and length vehicle. As seen in the New York tragedy, not all drivers are properly licensed.

More regulations needed for modified stretch limousines

Tragically, although they carry large groups of people, there is far less regulation and oversight of these modified vehicles than newly manufactured vehicles. Modified limos are often not engineered properly from the beginning and they often receive no testing and no quality control. Without adequate testing, dangerous structural deficiencies can be missed. Additionally, modified stretch limousines are exempt from federal seatbelt laws, because of their banquette seating. The lack of seat belts can prove deadly in the event of a limousine crash.

Many people who choose to hire a stretch limo are doing so because they are celebrating and want to be sure to be transported safely. They are doing what they believe is the responsible thing to do when celebrating, having a designated driver. Modified limos are carrying wedding parties, birthday celebrants and young prom-goers. They have no idea they may be putting themselves in harms way in a potentially dangerous vehicle. Without the protection of seat belts, airbags and other safety measures, even the slightest accident can cause serious injuries. Strong federal regulations must be put in place for modified stretch limousines to keep passengers safe. They need to be held to higher safety standards, so horrific tragedies like this don’t happen again.

The lack of regulations is concerning, so what can you do to protect yourself and your loved ones?

  • Do your research before hiring a limousine company.
  • Be sure the company is registered with the state and that all drivers are properly licensed. Ask if the limo has been modified or if it is a factory-built stretch limo, which is required to meet strict safety regulations.
  • Call the Better Business Bureau to check on the company and to check for any complaints or red flags.
  • Finally, the limo that crashed this past weekend had recently failed an inspection and the driver lacked the proper license for driving that vehicle. If you have a bad feeling about a company you’reD dealing with or the situation just doesn’t feel safe, don’t take any chances; look for another means of transportation.

Distasio & Kowalski is a Wilkes-Barre personal injury firm that specializes in representing the victims of auto accidents. Our clients are our top priority. Our hearts go out to the families of the victims of this fatal limousine crash.

 

 

October 3, 2018

Daniel Distasio named Top 100 Civil Plaintiff Trial Lawyer

WILKES-BARRE, PA – October 3, 2018 – Attorney Daniel Distasio, a partner in the Wilkes-Barre personal injury firm of Distasio & Kowalski, LLC, has been selected by The National Trial Lawyers for inclusion in is Top 100 Civil Plaintiff Trial Lawyers in Pennsylvania.

This honor is given to only a select group of lawyers for their superior skills and qualifications in the field. Membership in this exclusive organization is by invitation only and is limited to the top 100 attorneys in each state or region who have demonstrated excellence and achieved outstanding results in their careers in either civil plaintiff or criminal defense law.

With his selection to The National Trial Lawyers: Top 100, Mr. Distasio has shown that he exemplifies superior qualifications, leadership skills and trial results as a trial lawyer. The selection process for this elite honor is based on a multi-phase process, which includes peer nominations combined with third-party research. The National Trial Lawyers is a professional organization comprised of the premier trial lawyers from across the country.

Distasio & Kowalski LLC, a personal injury firm located in Wilkes-Barre, specializes in Auto & Truck Accidents, Medical Malpractice, Birth Injury Law, Personal Injury, and Wrongful Death. For more information on Distasio & Kowalski LLC, please visit www.dklawllc or call 570-970-5400.

August 17, 2018

Michael J. Kowalski recognized in the Best Lawyers in America©

WILKES-BARRE, PA – August 17, 2018 – Attorney Michael J. Kowalski, a partner in the Wilkes-Barre personal injury firm of Distasio & Kowalski, LLC, has been selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2019. Attorney Kowalski was selected for his expertise in the area of Personal Injury Law.

Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence. The Best Lawyers in America rankings are based solely on peer-review surveys. Tens of thousands of attorneys confidentially evaluate their colleagues. Attorneys named to The Best Lawyers in America were recognized for their professional excellence in 145 practice areas. Best Lawyers is widely regarded as the preeminent referral guide that identifies outstanding counsel for a wide range of legal matters.

Distasio & Kowalski LLC is located in Wilkes-Barre. The personal injury attorneys specialize in Auto & Truck Accidents, Medical Malpractice. Birth Injury, Product Liability, Personal Injury and Wrongful Death cases.

For more information on Distasio & Kowalski LLC, visit www.dklawllc or call 570-970-5400.

May 21, 2018

Distasio & Kowalski, LLC Attorneys Included in 2018 Pennsylvania Super Lawyers

Attorneys Daniel J. Distasio and Michael J. Kowalski from the Wilkes-Barre personal injury firm of Distasio & Kowalski, LLC, have been named Pennsylvania Super Lawyers for the tenth consecutive year. Both have been top rated in the category of Personal Injury Attorney. Super Lawyers are comprised of outstanding attorneys who have achieved the highest level of peer recognition and professional achievement.

Attorney Peter J. Biscontini of Distasio & Kowalski has been named a Pennsylvania Rising Star for the second year. The selection process for rising starts is the same as the Super Lawyers, with the exception that to be eligible a candidate must be either 40 years old or younger or in practice for ten years or less. Only 2.5% of attorneys are selected to Rising Stars.

“Michael, Peter and I are honored to be recognized by our peers in this way,” said Dan Distasio. “Our firm is committed to working passionately on behalf of our injured clients and their families throughout northeast Pennsylvania. We know what’s at stake and want to ensure each client gets the best legal representation and the personal attention they deserve.”

Each year, no more than 5 percent of the lawyers in the state receive this honor bestowed by Super Lawyers magazine. Super Lawyers is a rating of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas. The annual selections are made using a multiphase process that includes nominations, an independent research evaluation of candidates and peer reviews and evaluation by practice area.

Distasio & Kowalski LLC, located in Wilkes-Barre, specializes in Auto & Truck Accidents, Medical Malpractice, Birth Injury, Product Liability, Personal Injury and Wrongful Death.

For more information on the Wilkes-Barre personal injury law firm of Distasio & Kowalski LLC, please visit www.dklawllc or call 570-970-5400.