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Hermitage Pennsylvania Legal Blog

Understanding worker rights is central to safety and confidence

Contrary to what some may believe, the accomplishment of keeping workers safe in the workplace is a joint effort between employer and employee and not an obligation left entirely up to one party. Although employers in Pennsylvania should be actively facilitating efforts to protect workers by providing adequate training and education, employees play a central role in their own safety by participating in training, adhering to protocols and being aware of their rights as a hired worker. 

In regards to a workers' compensation policy, employers have the responsibility of understanding the details about their policy and under what conditions it will function to provide support to injured workers. This information should be actively disseminated to employees in a manner that is understood by all.

Can you avoid re-injuring your back when you return to work?

No matter the type of job you have in Pennsylvania, a back injury can greatly inhibit your ability to perform your responsibilities with ease, efficiency and success. Not to mention, the lack of comfort you will have if you are performing strenuous physical movements when your back is not completely healthy, can leave you experiencing ongoing pain and put you at risk of further injury. 

If you received a back injury while you were at work, you may be in the process of filing a claim with your employer's workers' compensation program. If approved, you should receive assistance to help you return to work as quickly as possible, but in a manner that will not compromise your healing and recovery. As such, you may require modifications to your work station or the duties to which you were previously assigned in order to allow you to participate in the workplace without causing further injury or strain to your back. These modifications will most likely be temporary as you complete therapy designed to help you regain your full function. 

Traffic signal deaths reach a 10-year high

While there are laws in place that currently prohibit Pennsylvania motorists from texting behind the wheel, many people continue to do so, anyway, and they often do so while parked at red lights. At Douglas, Joseph & Olson, Attorneys at Law, we recognize that texting behind the wheel at red lights, while common, is only one of several reasons traffic light car wrecks are on the rise, and we have assisted many clients who were hurt or who lost loved ones in intersection car crashes pursue legal recourse to help them move forward.

According to NBC News, a total of 939 people lost their lives in car crashes where drivers blew through red lights in 2017, which is 28% more than the number of lives lost due to the same circumstances in 2012. It’s also the highest number of reported traffic signal-related road deaths since 2008, indicating a need for increased enforcement at busy intersections.

Construction’s “Fatal Four” cause majority of worker deaths

Pennsylvania’s construction workers deal with dangerous work environments every time they show up to work, and if you are among those making their living in the construction industry, you may have a solid understanding of just how common aches, pains and injuries are in your line of work. At Douglas, Joseph & Olson, we understand that the majority of today’s construction site deaths happen because of the same four factors, and we have helped many people who suffered construction site injuries, or lost loved ones in construction accidents, seek recourse.

Per the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, more than a fifth of all private sector work-related fatalities that occurred in 2017 happened on American construction sites, making construction work one of the most dangerous ways to make a living. Because so many construction worker deaths result from the same set of circumstances, estimates indicate that finding ways to eliminate what are known as construction’s “Fatal Four” would save almost 600 construction worker lives every year.

Avoiding co-parenting issues at the start of a school year

You may be the kind of person who takes life as it comes. Instead of having a designated laundry day, you throw in a load when you run out of socks. Your morning routine may be controlled chaos. Your wall calendar may be more about the pretty pictures than actually keeping track of appointments.

All of that has changed since your divorce. For the sake of your kids, you and your ex must learn how to establish a routine and make life more predictable. Now that the Pennsylvania school year is about to start, this could be critical to the success of your children.

How can you help your teen develop safe driving habits?

If you have a teen at home in Pennsylvania who cannot wait to get his or her driver’s license, you may be feeling very uneasy right now. You may wonder what is the best way to help make them a proficient driver. After all, the last thing you want is for your teen to cause or be the victim of a motor vehicle accident. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each day six teenagers between the ages of 16 and 19 die as a result of injuries sustained in an automobile accident. This age group is about threefold as likely as those ages 20 and over to suffer death from a vehicle collision. However, helping your child implement certain driving strategies might reduce the likelihood of them experiencing a crash.

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.

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Jamestown, PA 16134

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