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Hermitage Pennsylvania Legal Blog

How often are commercial truckers abusing drugs and alcohol?

If traveling alongside commercial trucks on Pennsylvania’s roadways makes you uneasy, your concerns may be justifiable, because when cars and trucks get into crashes, the people in the cars often suffer the most. Semi-trucks pose a threat to all motorists even under the best possible conditions, but regrettably, many truck drivers are also taking risks while on the job that can endanger everyone they encounter.

Some of those risks, per the American Addiction Centers, involve abusing drugs or alcohol before getting behind, or while sitting at, their truck’s controls, and unfortunately, truckers abuse substances far more than you might think. Just how frequently are professional truck drivers turning to drugs and alcohol while at work?

Cognitive distraction and hands-free cellphones

While it is still legal to use a hand-held cellphone while driving in Pennsylvania, it is against the law to do so in many other states in the nation. Several states have enacted laws against this practice as it has proved to be deadly for drivers and for other innocent people on the road. In 2017 alone, more than 3,100 people were killed in distracted driving accidents. Hands-free cellphones are thought to be a safer option for drivers who wish to minimize distractions. Yet, studies show that even these seemingly safe devices cause a dangerous amount of distractions on the road. 

In the study published by AAA, researchers measured how much cognitive distraction was generated by drivers who were engaged in other tasks while behind the wheel. As participants drove a simulator vehicle, and a vehicle equipped with monitoring devices, researchers measured their eye movement, heart rate, response time and brain activity while they performed the following tasks:

Inconsistencies leave man facing charges of workers' comp fraud

When people file for workers' compensation benefits after receiving an injury at work, they have to wait until their story is investigated before their claim is approved and benefits begin. During the time people are receiving benefits in Pennsylvania, they may be required to abide by certain requirements in order to remain eligible to receive benefits. Actions that are in violation of the agreement they have made with their employer could leave them facing legal consequences. 

For one man in Los Angeles, California, this is exactly what happened when it was discovered that he was working out during a time when he was receiving workers' comp benefits. The incident began when the man who was an officer for the Los Angeles Police Department, was injured on the job and had applied for workers' compensation. After his claim was filed and approved and he had begun receiving benefits, the officer was put on probation and required to complete 300 hours of community service after he was exercising and doing workouts that were inconsistent with the injuries he claimed on his report. 

Which way do you want to structure your estate plan?

Who do you want to give your assets to when you pass away? This is not a question most Pennsylvania residents like to think about. It is probably something you do not want to face, but failing to do so will only cause problems for your loved ones in the end. Putting together a clear estate plan that meets all the qualifications to be legally valid takes time and thought. It is not something you should rush into doing, but it is not something you should put off either. 

There is a lot that goes into an estate plan. Not only can it include protections for you should you become incapacitated and unable to make decisions for yourself, but it can also include detailed instructions for whom you wish to leave your property. Figuring out who you want to be your beneficiaries will determine how to structure your estate plan.

Can I get workers' comp for a car crash?

In Pennsylvania, you could get workers' compensation benefits for most injuries you received while you were working — regardless of whether you were on premises owned or leased by your employer. Location may not matter as much as you think, or as much as people may have led you to believe. Injuries sustained while you were driving could qualify for workers' compensation benefits in some cases, for example. 

Aside from receiving medical treatment, your highest priority would probably be determining whether you were at work when the accident happened. There are certain facts that could support this claim, making your incident more likely to qualify for coverage.

Car accidents and the risk of miscarriage

Pregnant women may face a variety of challenges during and after their pregnancy, whether they are impacted from an emotional point of view or they face physical or financial difficulties. Unfortunately, some unexpected problems can lead to serious consequences for pregnant women and their unborn children. For example, many pregnant women have been involved in motor vehicle collisions, which can cause them to sustain an injury or even lose the child that they are carrying. This highlights how important it is for pregnant women to stay safe on the road. Sadly, safe and responsible drivers cannot always avoid accidents, especially when reckless drivers are present.

When a pregnant woman is involved in an accident, she may have many concerns about the impact of the collision and which steps to take next. It is essential for those who are pregnant to make sure that the accident did not harm the fetus. In some instances, an accident may be so severe that it causes a pregnant woman to have a miscarriage. The emotional consequences of this loss may be completely devastating, and some people are never able to fully recover from a miscarriage.

Traffic congestion and the risk of a crash

There are countless risk factors to be aware of on the road but driving in congested traffic can be especially dangerous for various reasons. Sometimes, people associate traffic congestion with traffic jams and slow speeds. However, there are a number of hazards that drivers may encounter in these situations and accidents may be more likely to occur in certain circumstances. Furthermore, the consequences can be devastating, resulting in an injury or even the loss of someone’s life.

Many drivers cannot stand traffic congestion and become frustrated when traffic backs up. Congestion may be the result of many vehicles on the road during rush hour, or it may even be caused by a motor vehicle accident. Sometimes, a driver may behave erratically in an attempt to avoid other vehicles or move through the traffic jam faster, which can be dangerous. A driver behaving in such a manner may cause an accident that could leave an innocent driver or passenger injured when their vehicle is struck from behind.

Employment-motivated dstracted driving

For many people in Pennsylvania, the time they spend in the car driving to and from work can take a big chunk out of their daily lives. Some people choose to pass the time by listening to the radio or even perhaps enjoying an audio book. Other people use the time to essentially extend their workday by taking and making calls while driving. Even with hands-free options, the use of mobile phones can be dangerous for drivers and others on the road around them.

It seems that the desire to compete at work might be forcing more people to not only talk while driving but also to check and even respond to incoming messages. According to USA Today, this compulsion is seen most evidently among drivers between the ages of 18 and 34. Of these drivers, more than two out of every three people said they found it hard to avoid checking and replying to messages when they were driving. The rate of this urge is much lower for drivers in other age groups with only one out of every four people saying they felt pushed to check or respond to messages when behind the wheel.

Safe walking procedures that may help keep disaster at bay

As warmer weather continues to set in, you may prefer to stay off Pennsylvania roads and do most of your traveling on the sidewalk. With clearly marked crosswalks and traffic lights with walk signals at many intersections, it may seem like there has never been a safer time to be a pedestrian.

However, with growing concerns such as distracted driving, the threat to pedestrian safety remains ever present. While you may find it nearly impossible to react quickly enough to avoid a fast-moving vehicle, there are steps you can take that could help reduce the odds that a collision will take place.

What is the attractive nuisance doctrine?

As summer approaches and you send your children back outside to play, you no doubt hope that they will no better than to avoid those things in Hermitage that can cause them harm. As an adult, you certainly know better than to go to another person's house or on their property in pursuit of an attraction you find interesting. With this comprehension also comes the knowledge that if you do so, the property owner will not be liable if you were on their land without permission. Yet is it realistic to expect the same comprehension from your kids? 

The attractive nuisance doctrine recognizes that there are features and attractions that can entice children (especially young children) to them despite their inherent dangers. For example, the thought of going swimming may override a child's apprehension of getting into a pool by themselves. Because of this lack of understanding on your child's part, the attractive nuisance doctrine allows you to hold property owners responsible of your kids are injured by features on those properties (even if your kids were there without permission). 

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Jamestown, PA 16134

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