police lightsWhen you are hurt on the job, you may have several different opportunities for recovery. There may be workers’ compensation benefits. There may be civil judgments. There may be insurance settlements. One of the keys to realizing a full and fair recovery is making sure that, if you get paid from multiple different sources, your employer doesn’t use this in an attempt to obtain reimbursement for things it paid, like workers’ compensation benefits. This is one of many ways in which experienced Pennsylvania workers’ compensation lawyers can help you.

One recent example of a worker receiving multiple payments was the case of Michael, a patrol officer for a police department in the greater Philadelphia area. In late November 2013, he was injured in a vehicle accident that took place while he was on duty. The employer acknowledged that the officer’s injury was compensable under workers’ compensation. Six weeks after the accident, Michael was back on the job, with no loss in earnings.

As a police officer, Michael was in a somewhat unique position. Pennsylvania has something called the Heart and Lung Act. This act calls for the payment of the full salaries of police officers and fire fighters who are disabled as a result of injuries incurred on duty. Police officers and fire fighters are eligible for benefits under both the Heart and Lung Act and the Workers’ Compensation Act. The workers’ compensation benefits you accrue while you’re receiving your full salary as Heart and Lung benefits, however, are turned over to your employer. In this case, the police department maintained separate accounts for paying workers’ compensation and Heart and Lung Act benefits. Michael received $9,100 of Heart and Lung benefits.

front-end collisionOnce you find yourself going to court in an auto accident case, you likely hope for a straightforward trial in which your evidence clearly establishes your opponent’s liability and your entitlement to damages. Unfortunately, real life rarely plays out so seamlessly. Many twists and turns can take place during the course of your case. Trials, especially jury trials, can be unpredictable. This is one reason to have an experienced Pennsylvania car accident lawyer on your side from the start – so that you are ready for whatever your case throws at you.

One example of such an unexpected outcome is when a jury renders an inconsistent verdict, like what happened in a recent case that originated in Pittsburgh. In that case, Ronald’s truck rear-ended a vehicle driven by Kerim. Kerim sued Ronald for damages he suffered as a result of the collision.

Ronald admitted liability but fought the issue of damages. In some situations, establishing that the person you’ve sued is to blame for your damages is the key to the case. Other times, though, who is at fault isn’t the key to the case; proving how much harm you’ve suffered is.

commutersIn your workers’ compensation case, there may be many hurdles that you need to clear in order to obtain benefits. For a lot of workers hurt on the road, one hurdle is establishing that your injury occurred in the scope of your employment and that the going and coming rule doesn’t prevent you from recovering benefits. For the relatives of one deceased restaurant manager-in-training, they were able to succeed because they persuaded the Commonwealth Court that the circumstances of their deceased relative’s employment were such that an exception to the going and coming rule applied and allowed them to win their case. These rules, and the exceptions to them, highlight the strong need for having a knowledgeable Pennsylvania workers’ compensation attorney on your side when you are pursuing your case.

The facts of the manager’s case were truly horrific. Mandeep was a manager-in-training for a company that was a franchisee of Dunkin’ Donuts. The employer owned three Dunkin’ Donuts in the Philadelphia area. Mandeep worked mostly at the Wyncote, Pa. location, but, late one night in November 2010, he received a call stating that a kitchen employee at the Hatfield, Pa. store had fallen ill. Mandeep stated that he would go check out the situation. On the way to Hatfield, though, Mandeep and a fellow employee were involved in a car crash. Mandeep died two days later.

Mandeep’s parents filed a fatal claim petition under workers’ compensation. The key issue in Mandeep’s family’s case was the proper legal categorization of his trip to the Hatfield Dunkin’ Donuts that night. Generally, in a workers’ compensation case, the law requires that the employee be acting in the “course and scope of his employment.” The law has also created something called the “going and coming rule.” This rule basically says that, in general, when you are commuting to and from your job, you are not acting “in the course and scope of” your employment.

texting and drivingOne of the emerging issues in personal injury law is the issue of who’s liable when you are struck and injured by a driver who was distracted due to texting. In any personal injury case, one of the vital components of success is correctly deciding who to name as defendants in your case. In a case in which a texting driver injured you, should you sue just the other driver or the other driver and her texting partner? These questions are among the things that illustrate how an experienced Pennsylvania motorcycle accident lawyer can help you. A recent case from Lawrence County, reported by the Washington Post, demonstrates how you may be able to proceed against more than just the other driver.

The facts underlying the Lawrence County case, as described by the Post, were tragic. A 68-year-old volunteer firefighter was driving away from his daughter’s home when he slowed to make a right-hand turn into a driveway. The driver behind him allegedly did not notice the slowing motorcycle and slammed into it from behind. The impact pinned the firefighter, and the rear driver’s Toyota Sequoia dragged the man for roughly 100 feet. The firefighter died at the scene.

After the accident, the firefighter’s family discovered that the SUV belonged to another individual and his landscaping business. Depending on the facts of your personal injury case, there may be a viable legal opportunity to pursue your case against multiple defendants. If the person who hurt you was driving a vehicle owned by someone else, you may be able to sue the owner and the driver. If the person who hit you was working at the time of the crash, you may be able to pursue your case against both the driver and the employer.

Supreme CourtThe Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling this summer in the area of workers’ compensation. That ruling has effectively ended the process of forcing injured workers to undergo medical impairment evaluations whose results were governed by a set of American Medical Association guidelines that often produced poor results for workers seeking to qualify for total disability. This major change in the law is just one more example of why, when you’re facing a workers’ compensation issue, you need knowledgeable Pennsylvania workers’ compensation attorneys working on your side who are up-to-date on all of the aspects of the law.

The plaintiff in that Supreme Court case, Mary Ann, worked as a hall monitor for a western Pennsylvania school district. One day, she fell while working and suffered a knee injury as a result of her fall. At first, the employer voluntarily paid her temporary total disability payments. Some time thereafter, the school district had the employee undergo an “impairment-rating evaluation,” a common step in the process. The doctor who examined the monitor gave her an impairment rating of 10%. The doctor, in making that conclusion, relied upon the AMA Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, as required by the law.

Since that rating number was below 50%, the school district sought to convert Mary Ann’s status to partially disabled, which would have capped the length of time when she would have received workers’ compensation payments.

slip and fallIf you were injured in a slip-and-fall accident, would you know what to do to ensure you fully and completely protected your rights? Would you know whom to sue if you found out that the property where you fell was leased at the time of your injury? All of these facts were part of a case involving a woman injured outside a Montgomery County church, and the case highlights how even a seemingly “simple” slip-and-fall case can have nuances and complexities with which an experienced Pennsylvania slip-and-fall accident attorney can provide crucial help.

The injured woman, Catherine, was walking along a sidewalk outside a Catholic church in Montgomery County in November 2005 when she slipped and fell, suffering injuries. On most days, this set of facts might offer a fairly straightforward potential case, with the injured pedestrian seeking recovery from the property owner. But this wasn’t most days; it was Election Day, and, on that day, the county had leased the church for use as a polling place.

This “wrinkle” in the facts of the case led the injured woman to sue both the Catholic Archdiocese and the county. This decision spawned extensive legal wrangling between the county and the archdiocese. The county moved for summary judgment, which, if successful, meant that it would be removed from the case before the trial even started and face no potential liability for the woman’s injuries. The trial court agreed and removed the county from the case.

While receiving disability benefits can greatly improve the lives of Pennsylvania individuals who are unable to work, applying for these federal benefits can be a challenge.  Understanding the necessary documentation and requirements can help the process of securing benefits.  Pennsylvania Social Security Disability lawyers can provide guidance through the application steps and help individuals understand whether they qualify for benefits.

disabled Social Security
First, when determining disability qualifications, it can be helpful to rely on the Blue Book, which is a publication entitled Disability Evaluation under Social Security.  This book gives detailed descriptions of conditions and disabilities that qualify individuals for benefits.  It contains an overview of Social Security programs and explains the requirements of both Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income.

Additionally, the Blue Book lists acceptable sources of medical information and makes clear that medical evidence from professional health care workers is likely considered the most accurate. As the final section of the Blue Book, the listing of impairments includes disease groups, further broken into sub-points.

Knee injuries suffered in a car accident can include fractures, ligament injuries, and dislocation. Not only can they lead to severe pain, swelling, and limited range of motion, but also some knee injuries can take months to heal, affecting an individual’s ability to work and be active. When a negligent motorist causes an accident that results in injuries, the law provides victims the right to file a Pennsylvania car accident claim against that driver for damages.

knee injury compensation

Filing a liability claim or a personal injury lawsuit may be appropriate when accident victims suffer serious injuries. There are many different causes of car accidents, ranging from distracted driving to mechanical malfunctions. But regardless of the cause, those hurt by the negligence of others have the legal right to pursue compensation for their suffering and harm.

The first step in a personal injury claim is to establish legal fault for causing an accident. This can stem from action, or in some cases, inaction. Failing to pay attention while operating a vehicle, for example, or refusing to adjust speed to account for weather conditions can be factors that lead to a crash and a legal determination of negligence.

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Restaurants, hotels, shopping malls, and other businesses may be held legally responsible when water or other fluid accumulated on a floor causes people to slip and fall, injuring themselves. In fact, this is a common cause of slip and fall accidents throughout Pennsylvania. A skilled Pennsylvania slip and fall attorney can help those hurt in a slip and fall accident recover damages from the responsible individual or entity, which in many cases, is the property owner.

Slip and Fall Accidents
Slip and fall legal cases brought by injured individuals require proving that the business owner or individual in charge of the property knew of the condition or should have known about it, based on the circumstances. Legally, the injured individual, as a plaintiff in a personal injury claim, must show that the defendant property owner was negligent. Since slip and fall cases proceed as a type of injury claim titled “premises liability,” this means that the status of the victim is important to recovering damages. In a situation involving injuries suffered in a business, the victim is an invitee, or someone who was invited onto the property for a commercial purpose.

Because of the legal status of those invited into a business, such as a restaurant, the property owner owes a different duty of care than in an ordinary negligence claim. For example, business owners are required to regularly inspect their property, and if they identify dangerous conditions, they must repair them or place an obvious warning. An owner that fails to meet this duty of care may be held responsible when visitors suffer injuries due to their violated duty.

According to Pennsylvania law, the “coming and going rule” maintains that workers who are commuting to and from their place of employment, and suffer injuries, are not entitled to compensation.  This rule has been maintained throughout the Commonwealth, but there are exceptions that may apply. If an exception does apply, an experienced Pennsylvania workers’ compensation attorney can petition for the court to in fact hold that the commute was “within the course of employment.” The injured worker would then be eligible for benefits under the law.

highway
Exceptions to the general rule that workers injured during their commute are not eligible for benefits were analyzed in a recent case.  The court there held that the claim for benefits should be denied, since the employee in that case was injured while dispatched to one of several potential work sites.  The court held that she did not have no fixed place of work, within the meaning of the exception for the “going and coming” rule.

In fact, the exceptions to the going and coming rule are: