As the calendar flips to the New Year, Pennsylvania will enact a number of new laws that affect its citizens in a variety of ways. If you currently reside in the state of Pennsylvania or will be a resident starting in 2023, we urge you to familiarize yourself with upcoming changes to our legal system.
As dedicated legal professionals, the team at Shrager, Sachs, & Blanco has also taken the time to remain informed of new Pennsylvania laws in 2023. We have compiled highlights of some of these new laws below.
House Bill No. 2525 was signed into law by Governor Tom Wolf on Nov. 3, 2022. This bill adds a subchapter to the Criminal History Record Information Act (CHRIA), implementing a new statutory process that benefits tort victims. With the enactment of this amendment, those pursuing civil action (such as a personal injury case for a car or truck accident) can now access investigatory information that was initially gathered by law enforcement agencies. This information can then be used in the preparation and filing of a civil claim.
In particular, this new law is expected to have profound implications in regard to:
- Wrongful death cases
- Car accident claims caused by drunk drivers
- Dram shop actions
- Catastrophic injury cases
The experienced personal injury attorneys of Shrager, Sachs, & Blanco are prepared to help our clients navigate the process of obtaining this investigative information for their claims. We will determine when this information is necessary to support a civil claim and, if necessary, file an appeal for a denied request.
Location of Medical Malpractice Case Filings
Taking effect on Jan. 1, 2023, a recent decision by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court will allow greater flexibility in regard to the filing of medical malpractice claims. This decision will amend rules 1006, 2130, 2156, and 2179 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure.
In the past, legal actions for medical malpractice could only be brought in the same county where the medical treatment or care was provided. Starting in 2023, a victim of medical malpractice may bring a civil action against the provider in any county where the provider has significant contacts or otherwise regularly conducts business.
This action was deemed necessary to improve access to legal action for those who live in suburban and rural areas, but undergo care in nearby urban counties. With the expansion of counties in which medical malpractice victims can now take legal action, Shrager, Sachs, & Blanco is pleased that our lawyers will be able to provide rigorous legal representation to a wider range of individuals.
The Employee Commuter Transit Benefit Programs
The Employee Commuter Transit Benefit Programs (an ordinance signed into law by Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney in June 2022) will go into effect on Dec. 31, 2022. With the exception of government employers, the ordinance will require Philadelphia employers with 50 or more covered employees to offer commuter benefits to workers. A covered employee is someone that has worked a minimum of 30 hours per week for a period of 12 months for the same employer.
Covered employees are entitled to one of the two following commuter benefit programs or any combination of the two:
- A pre-tax payroll deduction for:
- A fare instrument, including a pass, token, or fare card, or
- Transportation by commuter highway vehicle that meets requirements set forth by Code Section 132(f)(5)(B), or
- A qualified bicycle expense.
- A fare instrument paid for and provided by the employer.
To avoid any delay in workers receiving their transportation benefits, employers are advised to create or update their existing commuter benefit programs prior to the Dec. 31, 2022 implementation of the new requirements.
School Bus Stop-Arm Camera Enforcement
After originally going into effect in Oct. of last year, Act 80 of 2021 has been extended through Oct. 20, 2023. This Act amended Title 75 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, extending a temporary regulation that allows for the use of stop-arm camera enforcement.
Under Section 3345.1, stop-arm cameras may be used to identify drivers who fail to stop for school buses that are stopped with flashing red lights and the stop arm extended. You will face the following penalties if found to be in violation of Pennsylvania’s School Bus Stopping Law:
- A $250 fine
- 5 points added to your driving record
- A 60-day driver’s license suspension
The goal of camera enforcement is to curtail the unauthorized and illegal passing or overtaking of a stopped school bus. Drivers that choose to flaunt the law and pass stopped busses that clearly indicate when children are disembarking (such as when the stop arm is out) are putting these children at risk for being seriously injured in a collision.
If you encounter a bus that is stopped, has flashing red lights, has the stop arm extended, and is not on the opposite side of a divided highway, you must stop. PennDOT has also provided clear instructions for when you are required to stop for a school bus.
Health Coverage Savings extension
Passed in Aug. 2022, the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) extended the enhanced premium subsidies created by the American Rescue Plan (ARP) for the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Originally set to expire at the end of 2022, the premium subsidies are now set to last through 2025.
Of the 375,000 people who had completed the most recent Open Enrollment on Pennie (Pennsylvania’s state-affiliated online marketplace for health care), approximately 90% qualified for monthly premium subsidies at an average of $500 a month.
Shrager, Sachs, & Blanco Offers Free Consultations to Those Facing Difficult Legal Matters
Shrager, Sachs, & Blanco is pleased to offer our unrivaled legal representation to injury victims all over the state of Pennsylvania, including those located in Philadelphia, Norristown, King of Prussia, and West Chester. In all that we do, we strive to make sure that our clients feel seen, understood, and confident in our ability to fight for their rights to compensation.
There is no time to wait—the state of Pennsylvania imposes a strict statute of limitations on most personal injury cases. Whether you believe you are affected by new Pennsylvania laws in 2023 or are ready to move forward with a civil action for a preventable injury, we are here for you. Contact us today to claim your free consultation.