Joseph Petka is one of the most active trial attorneys in Philadelphia and its surrounding counties. He concentrates his practice on defending general liability claims involving catastrophic injuries and medical professional liability cases. He has tried a wide range of cases representing health systems, physicians, practice groups, nurses, and companies sued for security negligence, slip and falls, assaults, construction defective design, medical failure to diagnose, patient falls, pressure ulcers, and dental malpractice. He has obtained countless defense verdicts in jury trials throughout Philadelphia, Delaware, Chester, Bucks, and Montgomery counties. Fox 29 News recently profiled Joe’s successful verdict in a jury trial involving an assault and battery lawsuit. His attention to detail and thorough preparation is a hallmark of his successful representation of his clients.
Throughout his tenure at Goldberg, Miller & Rubin, Joe has also defended hundreds of motor vehicle cases. He was one of the first attorneys in the region to successfully defend a UIM/UM trial to verdict after the Supreme Court overturned the mandatory arbitration requirement in Koken. Since that time, he has obtained defense verdicts in more UIM/UM jury trials than almost any other Philadelphia civil defense attorney. VerdictSearch Magazine regularly features his trial victories.
Joe regularly serves as an arbitrator for the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas and has been a guest speaker for the Pennsylvania Bar Institute. He has given presentations on premises liability defense, uninsured/underinsured motorist case strategy and trial practices, premises defense, and the anatomy of a civil lawsuit.
During law school, he worked for the Chester County District Attorney’s Office. Before that, he served as an infantryman in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard and was an amateur boxing champion.
Joe is an avid fan of boxing and politics, enjoys exercise, and resides in Delaware County with his wife and three children.
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This Philadelphia jury trial involved a 59-year-old female auditor who was alleging a brain injury. The plaintiff was leaving the defendant’s hospital when she allegedly tripped on a sidewalk expansion joint and struck her chin on the pavement. The plaintiff was taken from the scene of the fall to the emergency room and then followed up with her family doctor for headaches, lightheadedness, and forgetfulness as well as neck pain. Accordingly, Plaintiff was referred to a neurologist and a psychotherapist. She also had therapy for neck pain over the course of several months. The plaintiff continued to receive neurological treatment over the course of two years.
At trial, the plaintiff’s neurologist testified that she sustained permanent neurological injuries, including posttraumatic encephalopathy, posttraumatic headaches, vertigo and vestibulopathy, disequilibrium, gait dysfunction, acquired autonomic dysfunction with lightheadedness, and a bi-temporal cortical injury, as well as an injury to both frontal lobes of her brain.
Although the plaintiff was sympathetic, on cross-examination, Joe had her admit that because she sustained head injury, she did not know why she fell. She further admitted that her earlier testimony that she tripped on the expansion joint was just her “best guess.”
Accordingly, after the plaintiff rested his case, Joe made a Motion for Non-Suit as the plaintiff failed to prove why she fell. After hearing argument on the issue, Judge Shreeves-Johns of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas dismissed the jury and entered a non-suit for the hospital.