knee x-rayIf you have a medical condition that has left you unable to work, you may need the assistance of disability benefits. Receiving an award of benefits can greatly enhance the quality of life of the recipient. However, the legal processes of your claim for disability benefits can seem daunting. Giving yourself a strong chance of success often means having a detailed understanding of the law, as well as of the procedures and processes that go into putting together a winning case. Your disability claim is far too important to entrust to anyone other than an experienced Pennsylvania Social Security Disability attorney who knows how to give you a good chance to get the benefits you need.

Andrea was a woman from western Pennsylvania facing such a need for disability benefits. In her case, she was seeking an award of disability benefits due to her osteoarthritis in her knees, along with her back and shoulder pain. As part of the process, Andrea underwent a consultative exam in February 2014. That doctor concluded, at the end of his examination, that Andrea could “occasionally lift up to 20 pounds and carry up to 10; sit for two hours at a time and for three total; stand for 15 minutes at a time and for one hour total; walk for 15-20 minutes at a time and for one hour total.”

In reaching her conclusion, the administrative law judge in Andrea’s case relied upon part of the doctor’s opinions but discounted other opinions expressed by that doctor. The ALJ did not explain in her opinion why she accepted the conclusions she accepted and rejected the ones she rejected. Andrea was able to use this lack of explanation to secure a remand of her case after the ruling was an unfavorable one.

HipWhen you seek to receive workers’ compensation benefits, there are several key hurdles in your case. There is your original claim and an award of benefits. After that, you face another important hurdle if your employer makes a request to cut off your benefits. At all of these steps, it is very important to make certain you have a knowledgeable Pennsylvania workers’ compensation attorney on your side to ensure that you get all of the benefits that you deserve.

Marguerite was an employee who succeeded in obtaining benefits and overcoming an employer’s request to cut off those benefits after approximately 12 months. Marguerite worked at a county jail in western Pennsylvania. During a scuffle, an inmate and two co-workers fell onto Marguerite, injuring her right knee. The fall left the employee with torn cartilage in her right knee. That tear eventually required surgery, which took place eight months after the accident.

According to Marguerite, the right knee injury wasn’t her only harm. The fall also caused injuries to her right hip, right side, low back, and left knee. She allegedly complained of hip and groin pain right after the accident. Additional medical treatment eventually revealed torn cartilage in the employee’s hip. Marguerite’s doctor diagnosed the hip cartilage as being a result of (or a condition aggravated by) the workplace accident.

baggage handlerIn many workers’ compensation cases, both sides may have medical experts, and these opposing doctors’ testimony may be the key to succeeding or not. Having a doctor whose testimony is believable and persuasive is essential. Whether it is accumulating and presenting expert witness testimony or some other variety of important evidence, a knowledgeable Pennsylvania workers’ compensation attorney can help you make the compelling presentation you need for a successful result.

A recent example of a worker with persuasive medical expert evidence, who used that evidence to win his case, was Michael, a ramp agent/baggage handler for a major airline. Michael had held this job for 35 years when he was hurt in 2014. Originally, the handler simply listed the new injury he suffered in 2014 in his workers’ compensation claim. The law, however, gives you the opportunity to amend your claim in certain situations, and Michael took advantage of this, amending his claim to assert that the 2014 injury was an aggravation of a pre-existing injury, namely his avascular necrosis and early degenerative joint disease of the right hip.

One of the vital things that you have to prove in any workers’ compensation claim is that the injury you suffered was work-related. To support this assertion, it often helps to have medical expert evidence. Michael used his treating physician, who testified that the pre-existing avascular necrosis contributed to the fracture of the thigh bone that the handler suffered in 2014.

snowSometimes, it can be very subtle details that may entitle you to a successful outcome. For one western Pennsylvania slip-and-fall accident victim, he was able to win his appeal case because of an argument that a property owner and a tenant did not make in the injured man’s trial court case. Legal matters, including injury cases, can hinge upon very specific distinctions, which is just one of many reasons why it helps to have a knowledgeable Pennsylvania premises liability attorney on your side who has a detailed understanding of the law.

The injured man, Robert, and his son were constables in Westmoreland County. On one wintry day in February 2014, Robert and his son’s job duties included serving a warrant. As Robert traversed an alley and approached a gate that provided access to the property, he slipped and fell. There was ice underneath the snow in the area where Robert fell.

The fall caused the constable to suffer injuries, so he and his wife sued. The constable and his wife asserted a claim of negligence for failing to maintain the property properly and allowing snow and ice to build up in front of the gate.

Witness standIn any personal injury action, there are certain elements of the case that can have a major impact on the outcome. One of these is providing the court with authoritative and persuasive expert witness testimony that supports the arguments you’ve made. One of the keys to doing this is making sure that the defense does not throw up roadblocks to getting your expert’s testimony into the record. This, among a wide variety of other things, is an example of the many litigation issues and strategies in which it pays to have experienced Pennsylvania injury counsel on your side.

A recent case from the Pittsburgh area serves an example of an injured person’s successful introduction of expert evidence into his case. The injured man, Matthew, was one of a large group of partiers celebrating one woman’s birthday when he was injured. He and 18 other partiers squeezed into a limousine meant for only 10 passengers. During the ride, Matthew felt an intense pain and, after exiting, discovered that he had a large burn on his leg. The injury later required skin grafts and still left a permanent scar.

Matthew sued the limousine provider. In his trial, the injured passenger had a doctor who testified as an expert witness. The defense tried to keep out the expert’s testimony, but the judge allowed it. In the end, the jury ruled for Matthew and awarded him a half-million dollars.

Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation BenefitsWhen you are injured and successfully pursue a claim for workers’ compensation benefits, that may not be the “end of the line” for your case. Your employer may choose to make attempts to have your benefits cut off. In order to do that, though, the employer must persuade the judge that a change has occurred in your medical condition and that this change means that you are able to return to work. Whether you are pursuing your claim for benefits or opposing an attempt to terminate your benefits, it helps to have experienced Pennsylvania workers’ compensation counsel fighting to protect your rights and benefits.

The case of Adrian serves as an example of what an employer has to do to get a termination of a worker’s benefits. Adrian was hurt while on the job in Philadelphia. She suffered cervical, dorsal, and lumbar strains due to a vehicle accident that occurred while she was on the job. Adrian filed a claim in 2012, and the workers’ compensation judge awarded her benefits.

Some time later, the employer filed an action seeking the termination of Adrian’s benefits, but the judge refused to end the benefits. In 2014, the employer filed another request to end Adrian’s benefits. This time, after the worker underwent an independent medical exam, the judge concluded that the woman had fully recovered from her accident-induced back injury and was capable of returning to her pre-injury job.

workers comp caseWhen you pursue a claim for workers’ compensation benefits, your employer will likely oppose your claim aggressively. This may include challenging your testimony as well as the testimony of your medical experts. You should prepare to be ready for the vigorous opposition you will face. A knowledgeable Pennsylvania workers’ compensation attorney can help you strengthen your case and present a persuasive claim.

In your workers’ compensation case, your medical expert may be one of the keys to your success. In the case of Donna, a patient care technician at a hospital in western Pennsylvania, she sustained an injury while she was helping an obese patient to the bathroom. The patient, while attempting to stand to travel to the bathroom, fell. That caused both women to collapse, with Donna hitting a nearby wall. Initially, the injury was thought to be limited to the technician’s left shoulder, where she had suffered a strain.

Donna, however, actually experienced pain in her whole back and left shoulder. Just a week after starting physical therapy, she began noticing problems in her lower back. The technician’s doctor performed x-rays and eventually diagnosed her with nerve inflammation, muscle strain, and a disc protrusion in her lower back.

public toilet stallIf you are disabled, that disability may permit you to recover disability benefits. In order to do that, you’ll have to file a claim and clear several hurdles along the way. You’ll have to prove that you are, as defined by the law, actually disabled and unable to work. In your case, you will want to make sure that your testimony and your proof are as persuasive as possible. To make sure that your case goes as smoothly as possible, consult an experienced Pennsylvania Social Security attorney.

Andrew was a man whose disability case is an example of how you may be entitled to a renewed chance to obtain benefits, even if you’ve received an unfavorable ruling from an administrative law judge at first. Andrew allegedly had a multitude of medical ailments, including microscopic colitis, bipolar disorder, schizoaffective disorder, panic disorder with agoraphobia, social phobia, and autism.

Andrew brought a Social Security Disability claim based upon his disorders, the symptoms of which he claimed prevented him from working. The administrative law judge who heard Andrew’s case concluded that he suffered from the claimed disorders and that those disorders could cause the symptoms that he listed. The judge, however, also concluded that Andrew was not credible when he asserted that the symptoms were so severe that they totally prevented Andrew from working.

guard-railSometimes, you may be injured due to the negligence of another driver. At other times, though, your injuries are not a result of the negligence of someone else behind the wheel, but are a result of the negligent design, inspection, or maintenance of roadways. When that happens, you may have a claim for compensation against the governmental entity responsible for that road. Injury lawsuits against governmental entities can be very tricky and potentially challenging to win, so you should make sure you have an experienced Pennsylvania car accident attorney handling your case.

An example of a case in which the injured plaintiffs were successful was one that began in Beaver County. In January 2015, Joisse and Dale were driving along State Route 551 when, as is not uncommon in Pennsylvania in mid-winter, they encountered a stretch of road with snow and ice on it. The wife, who was driving, lost control, spun out, and slammed into a guardrail. The worst of the damage happened, though, when the guardrail speared the side of the couple’s car, seriously injuring Joisse’s toe, foot, and leg, including multiple fractures.

The couple sued PennDOT over the guardrail accident. Their argument was that the department was negligent in installing a “boxing glove” style of guardrail that was not crashworthy and was also negligent in failing to inspect or correct the problems with the guardrail.

x-raySometimes, when you’re hurt at work, it can be pretty obvious that your injury was work-related and that you potentially have a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. Other times, however, the facts surrounding your injury may not be so clear. Regardless of the details of your injury, if you’ve been hurt at work, you should reach out to an experienced Pennsylvania workers’ compensation attorney to discuss your case and make sure you are fully protecting your rights.

Nicole’s workplace injury case was actually two, one of which was somewhat unique. The transit authority cashier was visiting the restroom when she noticed a cockroach on her shirt. Not unlike many of us, Nicole freaked out, panicking, thrashing, and twisting to try to get away from the bug. The next morning, with the adrenaline long gone, the employee noticed a throbbing in her leg and a large lump on her left knee.

The cashier also had another problem:  she had begun experiencing pain and numbness in her right arm. Beginning in the fall of 2013, Nicole began seeing a doctor about both her knee and her wrist issues. Regarding the woman’s knee, the doctor diagnosed her as having suffered a work-related sprain/strain and an aggravation of a pre-existing degenerative knee condition. The doctor also diagnosed the woman with a wrist sprain/strain and carpal tunnel syndrome.