Carbon County was formed on March 13, 1843, from parts of Northampton and Monroe Counties. Its name refers to its deposits of anthracite coal. Jim Thorpe, the county seat, was originally known as the borough of Mauch Chunk, a Native American name meaning “bear mountain,” and was renamed in 1954 to honor the famous Native American athlete who is buried there.
Carbon County played home to the first railroad in America built on a large scale. The “Switchback” railroad, as it was called during its glory days, was originally constructed to carry coal. The Switchback served first as a coal carrier and then as solely a tourist attraction, until the railroad conducted its last passengers during the 1930′s. Carbon County was also the location of the trials and executions of the controversial Molly Maguires, an Irish secret society accused of terrorizing the region.
The county’s population exploded from the early 19th century up until the 1920′s, shrunk as the coal industry declined through the early 1960′s, and has been steadily increasing since then. Currently, the county’s growth in population and industry are thanks mostly to the westward movement of the East Coast metropolitan area. The growth of the Pocono Mountain region has expanded greatly with the opening of the final portion of Interstate 78 into Pennsylvania, providing much easier access into the New York City area from eastern and central Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania lawyers practicing law in Carbon County specialize in various niches of the law, including areas like bankruptcy law, employment law, personal injury law, immigration, family law, medical malpractice law, workers compensation law, and even criminal law. Criminal law involves, logically enough, crimes committed by one party against another and are broken up into two subsets: felonies and misdemeanors. Felonies are larger offenses that typically result in harsher punishments. Misdemeanors are smaller offenses that yield sentences that are not quite as harsh. It is recommended that defendants retain one of the many experienced Pennsylvania lawyers practicing criminal law to represent them no matter which type of crime they have been accused of committing.
One common area of law for which Pennsylvania residents in Carbon County, PA often need the assistance of a good Pennsylvania lawyer is that of wrongful death. Under Pennsylvania law, when a person loses his or her life due to the negligence or wrongful conduct of another, the surviving family members may have grounds to file a wrongful death lawsuit. This type of suit is different from other types of personal injury claims for an obvious reason–the actual victim (called the “decedent”) is not bringing suit. Instead, it is brought by the family members or the decedent’s estate. Wrongful death suits are typically brought in order to recover damages for the injuries that the surviving family and/or estate have suffered due to the death of the victim. The main purpose of a wrongful death suit is to provide relief to family members who have been injured emotionally and financially as a result of the family member’s death.
In order to file a wrongful death suit under Pennsylvania law, the plaintiffs must show that the death of a person was caused by a wrongful act, neglect or default, and that the act, neglect or default would have entitled the injured person to file an action to recover damages had death not resulted. (42 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 8301.) There must also exist surviving beneficiaries, children, or dependants of the victim, and monetary damages must have resulted from the decedent’s death. (42 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 8301.)
The Pennsylvania Wrongful Death Act determines who qualifies as a beneficiary in a wrongful death case. Generally speaking, beneficiaries include the parents, children, or spouse of the deceased, though parents must demonstrate dependency on the victim in order to recover any damages. They need not show complete dependency, however. If either or both of the parents relied on an adult child (or vice versa) for economic contributions to their welfare, they may receive compensation. The presumption is that minor children are always dependant, and spouses are entitled to recover damages based on dependency, the loss of love and affection, and the services of a deceased partner.
Pennsylvania law provides for four types of incorporated municipalities: cities, boroughs, townships, and, rarer cases, towns. Below are listed the cities, boroughs and townships located in Carbon County:
Census-designated places are not actual jurisdictions under Pennsylvania law, but are compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau in order to compile demographic data. Other unincorporated communities, such as villages, are sometimes categorized here as well.