Divorce

Divorcing? Here’s What You Need to Consider

No one goes into a marriage thinking about divorce, but nevertheless, over 750,000 couples get divorced every year. You have probably heard or read the statistic that 40-50% of marriages end in divorce. While true, this doesn’t diminish how difficult, stressful, and emotional, it can be to go through one. The process can be confusing and emotionally taxing, and Casale & Bonner P.C is here to help guide and support you through it. Here are some things to consider:

Custody

Often the most involved and difficult aspects of divorce are child custody and visitation rights. Every parent wants to have a large part in their child’s life, and this can lead to some intense legal battles. If the parents can come to a resolution outside of court, then they can ultimately decide how custody and visitation will be handled. If not, the court will decide who shall receive custody based a numerous factors such as who the “primary caretaker” is, and the child’s preference if they’re old enough to decide. Ultimately, the court will decide based on the best interests of the child.

  • When determining the best interests of the child, the court will factor in the following factors:
  • Both the physical and mental health of each parent
  • The need for a stable home environment
  • Who has been most involved in the child’s life thus far
  • The child’s preference if they’re old enough to express it
  • Evidence of parent drug or alcohol abuse or any other run-ins with the law
  • Any special needs the child may have
  • The family dynamic and relationships with others in the household

Support

Child and spousal support is another thing that those going through the divorce process must deal with. It ensures that the non-custodial parent is providing financial support for any children and that the spouse with the higher income is providing financial assistance to the other. There are a couple of factors that go into the amount that one must pay in alimony or child support. Incomes, health insurance plans, relative assets owned, and general need, amongst other factors, all factor into the amount one must pay.

Division of Property

Similar to child custody matters, the division of property can be settled out of court. While it can be difficult to reconcile any disagreements, settling out of court allows for the couple to come to a decision themselves, without the court deciding for them. If agreements can’t be made outside of court, then a family law judge will decide how the assets and property are split.

Some of the factors that play into the decision include but are not limited to:

  • Incomes of each spouse
  • Duration of the marriage
  • Age and health of each spouse
  • Expected future cash flow (pensions, retirement, etc.)
  • Obligations of spousal support in previous marriages
  • The ability of each spouse to provide for themselves
  • Tax consequences of dividing the property

Divorce can be not only stressful and emotional for the spouses, but those connected to them as well. Allow the team (link to about us page) at Casale & Bonner P.C. to walk you through the process from start to finish to make the experience as stress-free and efficient as possible. The compassion, patience, and dedication we show each of our clients is unparalleled.

Call Casale & Bonner P.C. 570-326-7044 to speak with a lawyer. We are here to be your guide through your divorce, protect your rights, and help you obtain any compensation that you deserve.

car accident

Have You Been Injured in a Car Accident?

According to the National Safety Council, approximately 4.5 million people were seriously injured in car crashes in the US in 2018. 25% of accidents are the result of some kind of cell phone use, whether texting or talking. Cell phones divide drivers’ attention between the road and their text or conversation. Unable to process all of the information from both activities, drivers are more likely to lose control of their vehicles. If you have been the victim of a car crash caused by another driver, call Casale & Bonner, PC, in Williamsport, PA, at 570-326-7044. We can help you gain the compensation you deserve.

Personal Injury Lawyer

People in Williamsport, PA, and the surrounding areas are getting hurt. Drivers, passengers, and pedestrians can all be injured or killed by drivers who are acting irresponsibly. Causes of accidents include drunk driving, texting or talking on the phone, distracted driving, teen drivers, driver fatigue, speeding, and more. Be sure you’re driving safely so you’re not the cause of an accident.

Pennsylvania Is a No-Fault Car Insurance State

In Pennsylvania, after most traffic accidents, an injured person’s own insurance company will provide coverage for medical expenses and lost income regardless of who or what caused the accident.

The other driver involved in the accident cannot be held liable unless the accident meets a “serious injury” threshold. If you meet this threshold you can file a claim against the other driver to be compensated for pain and suffering. There is a debate over the exact meaning, but Pennsylvania law states that “serious injury” is “[a] personal injury resulting in death, serious impairment of body function or permanent serious disfigurement.” Several factors are considered in determining whether an injury meets the criteria. Consult one of our lawyers to find out more.

What to Do if You Are in a Car Accident

If you are in a car accident, there are steps you can follow to make the following days easier.

  1. Never drive away from the scene of an accident! First, move to a safe area, such as the side of the road. This will keep you safe from other vehicles.
  2. Stop your vehicle and get out if you are able. Turn on your hazard lights so that other vehicles can see you, especially at night.
  3. Check to see how others are doing, including your passengers, the other driver, and their passengers. Call 911. Even if it seems to be a minor accident, a police report can be valuable later when filing an insurance company and/or the other driver.
  4. Gather information, including, names of those involved in the accident, license plate numbers, insurance info, and makes and models of the vehicles.
  5. Seek medical attention even if you have only the most minor of symptoms. Sometimes injuries appear well after an accident occurs.

Call Casale & Bonner P.C.570-326-7044 to ensure a lawyer is informed and is available to protect your rights and help you obtain any compensation that you deserve.

Head Injuries & Your Right to Compensation

Traumatic Brain Injuries

Brain injuries can range from mild to severe. Regardless of the severity, the physical, sensory, and cognitive symptoms can be very upsetting. If you or someone you know has sustained a traumatic brain injury due to an assault, slip and fall, auto accident, or sports incident, contact an attorney at Casale & Bonner, P.C. by calling 570-326-7044. We can’t cure a brain injury, but we can help ease the difficulty associated with medical bills and other costs.

Mild & Severe TBIs

A concussion is classified as a “mild” traumatic brain injury (TBI) and is often missed initially. This classification is assigned when a force or impact to the head causes loss of consciousness and/or confusion and disorientation lasts fewer than 30 minutes. Medical imaging may be normal, but the victim may experience headache, difficulty thinking, frustration, memory loss, sleep disturbances, mood changes, and other problems that can last a year or more. While called “mild,” the effects can be very difficult to deal with.

A severe traumatic brain injury may initially present as a mild TBI. In the hours or days following the injury, the victim may exhibit dilation of one or both pupils, clear fluid draining from the nose or ears, weakness, lack of coordination, severe confusion, agitation, and other symptoms.

Causes of TBI

Any blow to the head can cause TBI. The extent of the damage is determined by the nature of the injury and force of the impact. The most common causes of TBI are falls, auto accidents, sports injuries, violence (assault), and combat injuries. Shaken Baby Syndrome also causes head trauma.

Schools can help by ensuring that all students have the latest and safest protective equipment when participating in sports and that coaches strictly enforce rules that prohibit students that show signs of concussion from returning to the field. A study by Boston University showed that 110 of 111 former NFL players showed signs of repeated head trauma and brain damage, even with high-quality protective helmets. Football isn’t the only sport with a high incidence of TBI. Cycling, baseball, basketball, scuba diving, soccer, skiing, and hockey also contribute to the high TBI stats.

Outcomes

People who have sustained traumatic brain injuries may develop seizure disorders, buildup of fluid in the brain that causes brain swelling, infections, damage to blood vessels, ongoing headaches, vertigo, paralysis, altered sense of smell or taste, swallowing problems, hearing loss, inability concentrate, memory loss, outbursts, depression, and more. Research has shown that TBIs can lead to degenerative brain diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia.

Statistics

The Pennsylvania Traumatic Brain Injury Advisory Board has compiled some statistics pertaining to TBI. In a 2015 summary, the Advisory Board reported that over 245,000 people have brain injury-related disabilities in Pennsylvania. Over 2,200 die from brain injuries annually. Nearly 50,000 people are seen in emergency rooms every year following brain injuries. Almost 36,000 Pennsylvania youths of ages 19 and under have sports-related brain injuries every year. Over 8,500 of the victims of TBI have disabilities that are long-term or last throughout their lives.

Your Legal Representatives

If you or someone you love has sustained a traumatic brain injury due to the action or inaction of another person, the lawyers of Casale & Bonner, P.C. will help you file a lawsuit against them. Monetary compensation cannot take away the pain and heartache of TBI, but it may ease the financial burden associated with ongoing medical care. We hope that by holding the person/people responsible for their action/inaction, they will recognize their wrongdoing. This may provide some comfort to victims, knowing that the parties have been held responsible and will, hopefully, act with more caution in the future. Call Casale & Bonner, P.C. at 570-326-7044 for more information.

Can Your Criminal Record Be Sealed?

Clean Slate Legislation

Recently, Pennsylvania legislators passed a law that allows some criminal records to be sealed, rendering them invisible to some searchers — including prospective employers. While this law may be advantageous to you, you may not be benefitting from it. Find out why, and how to ensure your record is sealed. As always, if you need personal assistance with this or any other legal matter, call Casale & Bonner, P.C. at 570-326-7044.

Are Your Criminal Records Visible?

When you’re applying for a job, an apartment, or school, you will likely be subject to a background check. These checks yield results that include criminal records. Therefore, a criminal record can adversely affect your ability to get a job, become enrolled in classes, or even rent a place to live. Governor Tom Wolf has approved Clean Slate to allow people with records of convictions that are 10 years old — if they have had no more convictions — to have their records sealed.

Who Is Eligible?

While there is a provision in Clean Slate for automatic record sealing after a 10-year period, only certain offenses will be sealed. Misdemeanor records will be automatically sealed after 10 years if the defendant has had no new convictions. Second and third-degree misdemeanors are included in this automatic process. Some first-degree offenses are now eligible to be sealed, excluding violent and sexual offenses, among a few others. In cases where you have more than one first-degree felony or an additional felony, you will not be eligible for the automatic process, and you will have to wait longer than the stated 10-year period. The eligibility guidelines are difficult to understand. Please consult one of our lawyers for assistance in finding out whether or not your case can be sealed.

Your Convictions Are NOT Expunged

Keep in mind that your records have not been expunged. Your criminal record remains in the criminal justice system and is visible to law enforcement, employers who must consider these records per federal law, and any employer that uses FBI background checks. If your records have been sealed, feel free to respond to questions — except those from criminal justice agencies — as if the offense did not occur.

Is Clean Slate an Automatic Process?

Right now, your number-one consideration is to ensure that you have paid any and all court fines and costs. All fees must be paid before you are eligible for Clean Slate. Beginning in January 2021, Clean Slate will be an automated process for those who are eligible and have paid all of the fees associated with their case. Until then, you must petition for your records to be sealed. This is a process best accomplished with legal assistance. We are happy to help you determine your eligibility and file your petition.

Clean Your Slate

Remember, Clean Slate does NOT expunge your record. You may continue to seek expungement even if your record is sealed. Review the Clean Slate legislation for details, and give one of our legal experts a call at 570-326-7044 for assistance.
Personal Injury Law

The Reality of Abuse

The Case

Sexual abuse cases can be difficult for a variety of reasons. Many are particularly difficult because all too often a child is victimized. High profile cases are even more difficult; we have represented cases involving both. At Casale & Bonner, P.C. we don’t shy away from cases that are tough. We step in to help our clients seek justice and the compensation they deserve.

Our firm represented a child who had been abused during early adolescence by a trusted authority figure. It was a high-profile figure, with a reputation for being altruistic and admirable. These cases often occur in settings that are supposed to be supportive and safe, but instead, are often the location where children became easy prey for otherwise trusted, known, and respected adults.

We file claims in the best possible venue for our clients. We consider all possible defendants to include in the case to maximize the compensation for the victims, our clients.

We coordinate our efforts with other law firms who are often representing other victims; hire experts and validate claims to determine their validity and severity.

While we fervently wish we could have protected our client and other victims from these heinous abuses, we are satisfied to have obtained closure and settlement, often in the seven-figure range; helping our client to begin the healing process.

According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center and Darkness to Light, one in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused before they turn 18 years old. In 90% of child abuse cases, the victims know their abuser. Children aged 12-17 are victimized at a higher rate than adults. In 2000, children were sexually assaulted at a rate 2.3 times higher than adults.

Emotional and mental health issues are often the first sign of abuse. Abuse survivors are 30% more likely to develop serious medical conditions such as diabetes, cancer, and stroke. Many have non-life threatening medical problems like fibromyalgia, chronic headaches, and more. Academic problems and absenteeism are both common symptoms of sexual abuse. To build our client’s case, our staff obtained and studied voluminous records detailing our client’s medical and psychological treatment, along with his school records. All of his records were consistent with the expected results of a victim of sexual abuse.

We Represent You

If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual abuse, urge them to seek help from a medical and psychological professional. When they’re ready, we’re here to represent their rights. Our team’s diligence, expertise, knowledge, and aggressive representation will go to work for you. Call 570.326.7044. Casale & Bonner will take on the toughest cases — our clients deserve the best.

Don’t Drive Under the Influence

In Pennsylvania, along with the rest of the US, DUI is a very serious crime. The penalties are stiff and the charges will negatively impact your entire life. At Casale & Bonner P.C., we don’t want you to suffer through the consequences if you don’t have to. Step one in staying away from a DUI charge is education.

What is DUI?

DUI, or driving under the influence, is the charge brought against a driver who is impaired by alcohol or drugs — even prescription drugs.

Anatomy of an Arrest

If a police officer sees any behaviors that lead them to believe you may be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they will pull you over. The first thing they will do is make observations: check if your eyes are bloodshot; listen for slurred speech; smell for alcohol in the care; etc. Typically, they will then ask the driver to exit the vehicle.

Roadside testing may include standing on one leg, walking and turning, and a breath test for alcohol intoxication. If the results of any of these tests give the officer probable cause to believe you are impaired, they will arrest you for DUI. You will be handcuffed and placed in the police vehicle for transportation to the closest place for blood testing. You may receive your Miranda rights at this time.

When you arrive at the local hospital or other blood collection station, you will be asked to submit to a blood alcohol test (BAC). You do not have to give consent, but be aware that in Pennsylvania, you do not have the right to refuse. If you do refuse, there will be consequences including suspension of your driver’s license for at least a year. This year is the result of your refusal, not the DUI charge. If you are found guilty of DUI and receive drivers license suspension time, this will be added to the refusal to take the BAC time. Please be aware that during this time, you do not have a right to a lawyer. You must make this decision on your own, knowing the consequences.

After the test, you will likely be detained and have a right to call Casale & Bonner at 570-326-7044 for legal advice and representation.

Avoiding DUI

The best idea is to avoid driving under the influence altogether. If you are drinking or imbibing in any kind of substance that impairs your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle, don’t get behind the wheel. Ask a friend who has not been drinking to give you a ride. Call a taxi or Uber. Find a way to stay off the road. The best defense is a good offense. Don’t get behind the wheel of a car and you can’t be pulled over.

Contact us with any questions or to retain our services.

Bret J. Southard

Shareholder

Location: Williamsport, Pennsylvania
Phone: 570-326-7044
Fax: 570-326-7610

Bret spent the first twenty years of his career defending insurance companies. He utilizes his extensive experience from defending these companies to understand what is needed from you and your attorney if you are injured, in order to maximize the value of your claim. What many injured people do not realize is that experience and reputation of the attorney representing an injured person is critically important in the evaluation of an injured person’s claim.

The insurance companies and their attorneys are fully aware of which lawyers know what they are doing and which ones do not. They know which attorneys are “settlers” and which ones will aggressively try cases when necessary. Bret has been hired and and trusted by insurance companies themselves, and has 20 years of experience trying and handling cases on their behalf. That’s why you can trust that he is going to work to get you the full value of your claim. Contact Bret today to schedule a free evaluation of your serious injury claim. Let him put his insurance industry experience to work for you.

Areas of Practice

• Personal Injury Litigation
• Car Accidents
• Truck Accidents
• Fall Cases
• Product Liability
• Dog Bites
• Commercial
• Insurance Bad Faith
• General Litigation

Bar Admissions

Pennsylvania, 1990
U.S. District Court Western District of Pennsylvania, 1990
U.S. District Court Middle District of Pennsylvania, 1993

Education

Duquesne University School of Law, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Law Review: Duquesne Law Review, Member, 1988 – 1990
State University of New York at Oswego, Oswego, New York
B.A. – 1987

Honors and Awards

Honorable Thomas Wood Equal Access to Justice Award, 2012
Pennsylvania Bar Association Pro Bono Award, 2013
The National Trial Lawyers: Top 100
Million Dollar Advocates Forum

Professional Associations and Memberships

Pennsylvania Bar Association, Member, 1990 – Present
Lycoming Law Association, Member, 1993 – Present

Pro Bono Activities

High School Mock Trial Coach, 1999 – 2009
Odyssey of the Mind Coach, 2008 – Present

Norman M. Lubin

Attorney

Location: Williamsport, Pennsylvania
Phone: 570-326-7044
Fax: 570-326-7610

Areas of Practice

Workers’ Compensation
Social Security Disability
Bankruptcy
• Municipal

Bar Admissions

Pennsylvania, 1972
U.S. District Court Middle District of Pennsylvania, 1975
U.S. Court of Appeals 3rd Circuit, 1989
U.S. Supreme Court, 1988

Education

University of Pittsburgh School of Law, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
J.D. – 1972
Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
B.B.A – 1968

Classes/Seminars

Administrative Law – Adjunct Instructor, Penn College of Technology, 1991 – 2013

Professional Associations and Memberships

American Bar Association, 1988 – Present
Pennsylvania Bar Association, 1974 – Present
Lycoming Law Association, Former President, 1974 – Present
Middle District Bankruptcy Bar Association, 1999 – Present
Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association, 1990 – Present

Bradley S. Hillman

Shareholder since 1999

Location: Williamsport, Pennsylvania
Phone: 570-326-7044
Fax: 570-326-7610

Attorney Brad Hillman graduated from Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania in 1987 and obtained a post-bachelor degree in Education in 1988. In 1991, he obtained his law degree from Duquesne University. He was law clerk for the Honorable William S. Kieser from 1992-1993 before joining the Lycoming County District Attorney’s Office as Assistant District Attorney from 1993-1996. Beginning June 1996, Brad joined the practice of law at Casale & Bonner, P.C. becoming full shareholder in 1999.

Since becoming licensed to practice law in 1991, Brad has had significant litigation experience in a variety of practice areas. He has litigated personal injury matters, general civil contract and complex commercial business disputes. Brad has also devoted a significant amount of time to litigation of criminal and matrimonial matters. Brad is a member of the Lycoming Law Association, the Pennsylvania Bar Association, the Family Law Division of the Pennsylvania Bar Association and the American Bar Association.

Additionally, Brad is a member of the Saint Joseph the Worker Parish, Williamsport Lycoming Chamber of Commerce and the Williamsport/Newberry Lions Club.

Areas of Practice

• Family Law
• Divorce
• Child Custody
• Equitable Division
• Child Support
• Adoption
• Criminal Litigation

Bar Admissions

Pennsylvania, 1991

Education

Duquesne University School of Law, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
J.D. – 1991
Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania, Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania
Post-Bachelor Degree in Education – 1988
Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania, Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania
B.A. – 1987

Honors and Awards

Outstanding Service Award, North Central Sight Services
Professional Associations and Memberships
Lycoming Law Association, Member
Pennsylvania Bar Association, Member
Pennsylvania Bar Association, Family Law Division, Member
American Bar Association, Member

Pro Bono Activities

Saint Joseph the Worker Parish, Member
Williamsport Lycoming Chamber of Commerce, Member
Williamsport/Newberry Lions Club, Member

James D. Casale

Shareholder

Location: Williamsport, Pennsylvania
Phone: 570-360-9028
Fax: 570-326-7610

Areas Of Practice

• Real Estate Law
• Wills & Estate
Corporate Law

Bar Admissions

Pennsylvania, 1981
U.S. District Court Middle District of Pennsylvania, 1982

Education

Thomas M. Cooley Law School, Lansing, Michigan
J.D. cum laude
King’s College, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
B.S.

Representative Clients

Lycoming County Sheriffs Office and Domestic Relations
Lamar Advertising Co
Keystone Fricton Hinge
Keystone Filler & Manufacturing Co
J&M Construction Specialty, INC
Valley Truck & Trailer, INC
CSR
Fairfield Auto Group
Fish Real Estate

Professional Associations And Memberships

Lycoming Law Association, 1981 – Present
Pennsylvania Bar Association, 1981 – Present

Pro Bono Activities

Susquehanna Legal Services/North Penn Legal Services, 1981 – 2000