trip and fallWhen you are injured in a trip-and-fall accident, you have to be prepared on many fronts in order to achieve a successful outcome. You need to be prepared to figure out whom you should sue. You also need to be prepared to respond to the defenses that the property owner will deploy to attempt to defeat your case and avoid liability. To ensure that you’re properly prepared, you need to retain an experienced Pennsylvania trip-and-fall attorney to go to work on your side.

One recent example of a trip-and-fall case addressed by the Superior Court was an accident suffered by a woman named Tina. Tina was visiting her daughter at the daughter’s home in Blair County when Tina tripped and fell on the front stairs to the home. The daughter’s home was a rental property.

When you are injured in a trip-and-fall accident as a result of a hazardous condition on a piece of property, you may be entitled to recover damages. One of the keys to achieving a successful outcome is identifying the correct person or entity that was responsible for the safety of the property and suing that person or entity. If the property is occupied by the owner, choosing the person to sue may be fairly straightforward. If the property is leased, the decision may be more complex, since you must identify whether the tenant or the landlord had the legal responsibility to ensure the safety of the property.

construction workersIn any type of case, it obviously helps if you have evidence that is both very believable and persuasive. This includes the expert witnesses who give testimony in your case. Helping you in putting together a workers’ compensation case that is both compelling and convincing is one of the key benefits of working with a knowledgeable Pennsylvania workers’ compensation attorney.

An example of this in action was the case of Andrew, a man who did drywall, ceiling, and concrete work. One day in 2014, Andrew was hurt unloading plastic corrugated pipe. Even though Andrew was wearing a hard hat, when the pipe hit his head, he felt a burning sensation “like a torch” on the back of his neck.

A few weeks later, still experiencing ongoing pain, Andrew went to his doctor. Eventually, Andrew saw a specialist who did an MRI and found two spinal problems – a herniated disc and a bulging disc. These two issues were a result of the pipe smacking Andrew in the head, in the doctor’s opinion.

Franklin InstituteA recent Pennsylvania Superior Court ruling went in favor of a museum patron who tripped and fell when exiting an exhibit. The outcome highlights the fact that a tripping hazard need not be something that is broken down or dramatically dilapidated in order to give you the chance to pursue your case in court. In other words, if you’ve been hurt in a trip-and-fall situation, be sure to take prompt action and consult knowledgeable Pennsylvania premises liability counsel about your potential case.

The guest, Christina, was visiting a science museum in Philadelphia one day in August 2014 when she walked through an interactive exhibit focused on the brain. The exhibit involved some climbing. As Christina exited the attraction, she “stepped down off of an abnormally large step onto an uneven surface where the added/spongy floor meets the hard floor and was caused to trip and fall on the uneven/unstable surface of the exhibit,” she alleged in her complaint. As she indicated during the case, the exit area gave the appearance of a hard, even surface but was actually a soft, foamy, and uneven area, and that unevenness caused her fall.

In most trip-and-fall cases, the injured person (who becomes the plaintiff in the lawsuit) will accuse the owner (or other person or entity who’s responsible for the property’s upkeep) of engaging in negligence, which means that person or entity (the defendant) either did something or failed to do something that created an unreasonable risk of harm, and that risk was what caused the plaintiff to suffer her injuries.

signatureIn workers’ compensation cases, as with almost any type of litigation matter, sometimes circumstances may dictate that it makes sense for you, as an injured worker, to settle your case. Settlement provides you with the certainty of a payout while avoiding the time, stress, and uncertainty involved in a legal contest. One way to settle your workers’ compensation case is by signing a Compromise & Release (C&R) agreement. An experienced Pennsylvania workers’ compensation attorney can help you decide whether or not settling your case with a C&R agreement is a good move for you.

One recent case highlighting how this process works, and how important each provision in your C&R agreement can be, was the workers’ compensation action filed by Thomas, an employee of a communication company in Chester County. Thomas suffered serious injuries when he fell off a building while on the job. The fall broke both his feet, in addition to inflicting other injuries. The employee filed for workers’ compensation benefits.

Thomas decided to settle his case and sign a C&R agreement. In any C&R agreement you sign, it is very important that the document describe your injuries accurately and in a way that will cover everything related to your workplace accident. The agreement Thomas signed indicated that the covered injuries were ““[v]arious injuries and bodily parts including but not necessarily limited to fractured right and left feet” and that the employer agreed to “pay for all reasonable and necessary medical expenses that are related to the… acknowledged work-related injury.”

marketSettlements can, in some circumstances, be very beneficial ways to resolve certain types of cases. Settlements may allow you to avoid the stress and time almost inevitably expended on a lengthy litigation process. They may also allow you to get THE compensation you need on a more expedited basis. It is important to keep in mind, however, that a settlement may not be the best move for everyone in every case. In some cases, depending on their particular facts, it may be better for you to go forward and litigate your case. An experienced Pennsylvania workers’ compensation attorney can help you make these and other vital choices.

Take, as an example, the case of Craig, who worked for a farmers’ market in Reading. One summer day in 2014, Craig got hurt at work. The injured man wisely took prompt action, including filing a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. He also took a leave from work for roughly one week. Eventually, Craig made it back to work on August 26, but, two weeks later, the employer fired him.

Eight months after the injury, Craig and the employer resolved the workers’ compensation claim through something called a “Compromise & Release Agreement.” This type of agreement, sometimes called “C&R” for short, essentially formalizes the terms of the settlement of your workers’ compensation case.

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.