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Hermitage Pennsylvania Legal Blog

Alcohol, speed continued problems in Pennsylvania

If you are like most people in Pennsylvania, you take the responsibility of driving a motor vehicle seriously. You understand that this privilege comes with the expectation that you should operate your vehicle responsibly for yourself, anyone in your vehicle and anyone else on the road whether in a vehicle, on a bike or on foot. Sadly, it seems that not all residents in the state take this approach to driving.

Records from the National Traffic Safety Administration show that speeding and alcohol continue to be factors in many vehicular deaths every year in Pennsylvania. Both of these factors are completely within the ability of drivers to control as they can choose to not drive after drinking just like they can choose to obey speed limits. In the five years spanning from 2013 through 2017, 77 percent of all accident deaths in Mercer County occurred in crashes in which excessive speed or impairment by alcohol were noted factors. A total of 54 people died in crashes involving at least one of these factors.

Can you reopen your workers' comp claim in Pennsylvania?

If you sustained an injury at your Pennsylvania job, and if you now receive workers' compensation benefits, your employer may lead you to believe that the benefits you receive are all that you can get. That is not true. In certain circumstances, you can reopen your workers' comp claim and request more benefits.

According to FindLaw, you may reopen your workers' compensation case under limited circumstances. Such circumstances include a worsened medical condition, a mistake or an error that a medical professional made in your diagnosis or treatment, overpayment of benefits, fraud or mutual mistake of material fact.

Do I really need a will?

Most adults should have a will. However, roughly 70 percent of the population does not have one. It is understandable that you might not want to think about your own demise, but if you die without a will, Pennsylvania intestacy laws will determine how your assets are distributed. You would have forfeit control over who gets your property, who gets your money and who is appointed the guardian of your minor children.

If you have children under 18 years old, you should start the process of creating a will by determining who you want to be their guardian. You will also want to make a list of your assets, such as bank accounts, properties, vehicles and investments. Then you can determine who you want to inherit each of your assets. You will need to have at least the full names, addresses and birth dates for anyone you will include in your will. It can also be helpful to have a record of your debits like mortgages, loans and credit card accounts.

Neighbors shocked to learn drugs factor in Pa. utility pole crash

While the use of opioids, marijuana and other controlled substances is increasingly a factor in car crashes, it may not be readily apparent to others that a driver has been using drugs until an accident occurs. The neighbors of a 27-year-old man who recently crashed his vehicle into a utility pole in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania describe him as a good student, polite and a "really nice boy" and felt shocked upon learning that he had been under the influence of drugs at the time of the accident. 

Nevertheless, according to court records, the driver had had two previous arrests for drug possession and DUI. Authorities claim that he snorted heroin prior to the accident and claim that reviving him required three doses of Narcan, a medication administered via nasal spray to counteract the effects of narcotic use in emergency situations. 

Fog and the risk of an auto crash

Motor vehicle accidents have many causes, from human error to deer darting across the road at night. However, weather conditions have also caused many crashes and it is particularly important to be aware of the risks associated with driving while it is foggy. During this time of the year, many parts of the country experience dense fog and there are different ways that this can lead to an accident. In Pennsylvania and all across the region, fog can prevent a driver from being able to see the road well and this poor visibility can lead to a fatal accident.

Sadly, many lives have been lost due to these accidents and many more people have sustained serious injuries. When it is very foggy out, a driver may not be able to see oncoming traffic and they could even struggle to see the road, which could cause them to veer into another lane or drive off the road altogether. Moreover, even if one driver goes slow and is cautious during periods of heavy fog, they may be struck by someone else who is driving far too fast during the poor conditions.

Can the likelihood of truck accidents be predicted?

When a large truck has an accident in Pennsylvania, it often is the smaller vehicles that suffer the most damage and those drivers suffer the worst injuries. It is beneficial to everyone on the roads to help find ways to prevent trucking accidents. Many companies already have devices in place and use other methods to help predict drivers who are at risk of getting into an accident, according to Forbes.

Predictive analysis is often used to check on drivers. This method looks at your schedule to see when you are driving. This includes the time of day you drive and the number of hours you log behind the wheel. Companies gather this information through devices installed on the vehicle to prevent any human error.

Preparing to return to work following an injury

When workers are injured on the job, a thorough investigation is often required to uncover the reason the incident occurred and to identify ways in which preventative measures may be able to circumvent future accidents. Many businesses in Pennsylvania prioritize protocols that are designed to protect their employees and encourage responsible behavior in the workplace. When an accident does happen, employers may have the option of returning to work depending on the severity of their injury and the circumstances under which it occurred. 

According to the Office of Disability Employment Policy, many companies have employed the use of a return-to-work plan which is characterized by a set of goals and processes the injured employee will follow in order to successfully be able to return to work. These programs have been able to reduce the amount of money employers spend on workers' compensation while encouraging and motivating the injured employee to focus on recovery and healing. 

Can poor road conditions cause crashes?

No one thinks that they are going to sustain an injury in a car accident until it happens. According to the CDC, injury-related deaths cause more deaths than cancer or the flu. One person every three minutes dies from injury.

You may be surprised to learn that dangerous road conditions attribute to a large number of accidents. A recent study shows that 22 percent of Pennsylvania rural roads are in poor condition, and ranks in a three way tie for the first worst state of structurally deficient bridges. How do poor road conditions cause accidents?

Four-story fall claims the life of construction worker

The construction industry in Pennsylvania is one of the most dangerous. Each day, construction workers face several significant risks including falls from heights and the hazards of working in close proximity to hazardous conditions, electricity and heavy machinery. While many companies go to great lengths to mitigate these risks and protect the safety and wellbeing of their workers, accidents can still happen. In serious cases, an accident could result in death. 

This is what happened in a recent construction accident in Birmingham, Alabama after a man fell four stories from scaffolding. He was part of a team working on the construction of a luxury apartment complex when the accident happened. Witnesses said the man fell from the 13th floor to the ninth floor and succumbed to his injuries. The incident is still under investigation to uncover what may have caused the man to fall. Authorities did reveal that as of right now, the incident appears to be nothing more than a tragic accident. It is suspected that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration will conduct their own investigation into the accident. 

Construction's fatal four: the accidents and their causes

As a Pennsylvania construction worker, you may face some of the most dangerous conditions in any profession. The legal team at Douglas, Joseph & Olson Attorneys At Law often assists workers in the construction industry to pursue compensation to cover the costs of their damages caused by an accident.

But what makes your job so dangerous? According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, there are four types of accidents that frequently kill construction workers. Here are the most recent statistics, compiled for 2016:

  1. You are most likely to be killed by falling; 384 workers died because of injuries suffered in a fall.
  2. There were 93 workers who died when an object on the job site struck them; while there were far fewer casualties than falls, it still presents a significant danger.
  3. Almost as many workers died from electrocution as from struck-by accidents; 82 suffered fatal electrical accidents.
  4. A close fourth, accidents that involved workers becoming caught, compressed or crushed by machinery, equipment or collapsing structures caused 72 deaths.

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