doctorsMedical negligence cases can be complicated when multiple medical providers and numerous mistakes in providing care are involved. When such a scenario occurs, and death is the result, it may require bringing a wrongful death lawsuit that names multiple hospitals, multiple doctors, multiple physicians’ groups, multiple nurses, and others. These providers may be located in various cities (or even multiple states), adding an extra layer of possible complexity. A knowledgeable Pennsylvania wrongful death attorney can help guide you through this potentially complicated process during this most stressful time.

One case in which that scenario took place was the death of 17-month-old Gianna. Gianna’s parents took her to an Allentown hospital in September 2015 when the child was suffering from coughing and vomiting. The doctors at the hospital diagnosed her with a respiratory infection and sent her home. The parents followed up at the pediatrician’s office, where a respiratory infection was again the diagnosis.

Two weeks later, though, the girl wasn’t getting better. The parent took her to the pediatrician and to the hospital. In both instances, the child was sent home without any more tests being performed. On Oct. 4, almost four weeks after the first hospital visit, another chest x-ray was performed, and the child was diagnosed with an enlarged heart. Gianna was flown by helicopter to a hospital in Philadelphia.

doctorWhen someone dies due to the wrongful conduct or wrongful inaction of others, especially when those actors are medical care providers, the law potentially creates two different types of legal claims:  wrongful death and something called “survival.” The wrongful death action, as the name implies, compensates the plaintiff for the premature ending of the deceased person’s life. A survival claim focuses on the conscious pain and suffering the deceased endured in the hours and moments preceding their death. If you’ve lost a loved one due to the errors or omissions made by others, you may have a case for wrongful death, for survival, or for both causes of action. An experienced Pennsylvania wrongful death attorney can help you assess your case.

Any time you lose a loved one due to the mistakes or wrongful inaction of another party, it is excruciatingly painful. That pain is even worse if those responsible were medical care providers. The case surrounding the death of a hospital patient in suburban Philadelphia in 2008 was an example of that. In late November and early December 2008, Marvin was a patient in the ICU. Doctors ordered a feeding tube inserted into Marvin. The first attempt resulted in an improper insertion. The second attempt resulted in the same problem. The tube was inserted into the patient’s lung, rather than his stomach.

Another doctor made a third attempt in the late afternoon of the following day. A radiologist reviewed an x-ray and wrongfully read it as showing the tube ending in the man’s stomach, when it actually terminated in his left lung (again). For eight hours, from 11 pm to 7 am, Marvin received 50 cc’s of nutrition and 420 cc’s of flush through that tube. As the patient got worse, another x-ray was ordered a little before 5 am. The results (showing the tube’s incorrect placement) were not reviewed until 8:13 that morning. Marvin, tragically, had been dead for more than an hour by that time.

customer service employeeIn a legal action, sometimes achieving success is about successfully preventing your opposition from doing what the law says they cannot do as part of their case against you. For example, when an employer seeks an order ending an employee’s workers’ compensation benefits, the employer cannot go back and re-argue the issues decided in the original case. The ruling in favor of terminating benefits must not rely upon any conclusion that runs contrary to what was decided in that original case. For example, if the judge in your original case decided that you suffered a workplace injury, the basis for cutting off your benefits years later cannot be that you never suffered any workplace injury at all. When it comes to these and other elements of your case, it pays to have skilled Pennsylvania workers’ compensation counsel who can advance your arguments and protect your rights.

Kimberly was an employee whose employer attempted to make such an argument in her termination of workers’ compensation benefits case. Kimberly was a customer service operator for a major energy company. One day in 1996, the company received a bomb threat. The building was evacuated, but Kimberly’s supervisor told her to stay and continue taking calls. One month later, the employer received another bomb threat. After the second threat, Kimberly began suffering health problems. These included sleeplessness, hair loss, and fear of going to work. In 1999, a workers’ compensation judge concluded that Kimberly had suffered three threat-related mental injuries, including PTSD, depression, and panic disorder. The judge awarded her benefits.

Twelve years later, the employer asked for a termination of Kimberly’s benefits. An employer is entitled to seek and obtain an order cutting off your benefits if it has sufficient evidence that you have completely recovered from the injuries you suffered. Kimberly’s employer concluded that the former call-taker was fully recovered from the mental injuries she suffered in the 1990s. Regarding the woman’s panic disorder, the employer’s expert opined that she never had such a condition. Panic disorder, according to the expert, was caused by genetics rather than a specific trigger event (like the bomb threats). The expert noted that Kimberly had an unrelated heart condition and that the condition may have caused palpitations that seemed like symptoms of panic disorder but were not.

quarryAny time an accident claims the life of a loved one, it is a tragic loss. When that loss happens because someone else acted improperly or wrongfully failed to act, the pain can be that much worse. In those situations, though, the law does allow your family to seek compensation and hold accountable those whose misconduct led to the tragedy. A knowledgeable Pennsylvania wrongful death attorney can help you in these times. While you focus on your personal matters, your attorney can be there to take care of your legal matters and protect your rights.

An example of such a loss was the case of a worker named Wesley. The Wilkes-Barre Times Leader recently reported on Wesley’s death at a rock quarry in Susquehanna County and the settlement that came from it. One day in December 2011, the rock crusher that Wesley was operating became jammed. When Wesley climbed outside a protective railing and over the mouth of the crusher in an attempt to clear the jam, he fell into the machinery and was killed.

In a case like Wesley’s, the facts can seem daunting. Should the family sue the employer, the manufacturer of the crusher, or others for Wesley’s death? Did the fact that Wesley climbed outside the protective railing and over the mouth of the crusher mean the family could not prevail? All of these questions involve intricate analysis and decision-making with which a knowledgeable attorney can provide extensive help.

machine workerWhen you’ve been hurt at work, there are various different types of workers’ compensation benefits you can receive. One type of benefit is an award you can receive even after going back to work and is based upon the reduction in earnings you suffered as a result of your injury. When you are seeking this or another type of workers’ compensation benefits, a knowledgeable Pennsylvania workers’ compensation attorney can help in navigating the system and getting the full award to which you are entitled under the law.

For an example of a worker who obtained this type of benefit, there is a recent Commonwealth Court opinion in the case of Jesse, an employee at a machinery assembly facility. In May 2013, he injured the middle finger on his right hand. The employer acknowledged Jesse’s entitlement to temporary workers’ compensation benefits. Eventually, Jesse returned to work. The employer filed a request seeking to suspend the employee’s workers’ compensation benefits because, it argued, the worker had returned to his pre-injury job, and any loss in wages was a result of an economic downturn rather than the man’s work injury. The employer brought in evidence that its other employees who were “similarly situated” to Jesse were earning roughly the same wages he received after his return to work.

The law says that you, as a worker, can be entitled to continue receiving workers’ compensation benefits even after you return to work in certain situations. To be eligible, you must continue to have an ongoing disability, you must have suffered a reduction in earnings at work, and your work-related disability must be the cause of that reduction in earnings.

massageWhen you’re hurt at work, the injury you suffer could affect you in many ways. One of these ways is the considerable expenses that your injury may cause you to rack up. Sometimes, those services that you’ll need may involve physical therapy or rehabilitation. Other times, they might involve things like massage therapy. Regardless of what your post-injury needs were, what you obviously want from your workers’ compensation claim is an award of benefits that fully compensates you for the expenses you incurred. To achieve this goal, it is important that you work with an experienced Pennsylvania workers’ compensation attorney to seek the full award of expenses that your injury cost you.

One example of a worker who was successful recently was Leslie, a worker for the state Department of Transportation. While working for PennDOT, the man suffered an injury to his lower back. The department issued something called a “notice of compensation payable,” which is the document through which the employer or insurer states that you suffered a workplace injury and the employer or insurer acknowledges its legal responsibility.

Workers’ compensation benefits can cover a variety of losses. Obviously, you can receive an award of benefits to cover wages that you lost because you were disabled (either temporarily or permanently) and unable to work. You can also receive an award of benefits to cover the cost of medical care as well as medical devices that you required as a result of your workplace injury.

motorcycleIf you are hurt in an accident in which you were the driver, one of the challenges you may face is the defense’s attempts to depict you as the driver who was really at fault. The evidence may directly relate to your driving, or it may involve other things, such as your potential impairment. In certain situations, you may be entitled to keep that proof of impairment out of your personal injury case. A knowledgeable Pennsylvania motorcycle accident attorney can give you the assistance you need to accomplish this important goal.

A lawsuit filed by a motorcyclist in Bradford County demonstrated how it’s possible to keep out this type of potentially damaging evidence. The motorcyclist, Kevin, was driving his motorcycle on Route 220 on an April evening in 2012. He was behind two commercial trucks and, when he reached a legal passing zone, attempted to pass both on the left. As Kevin tried to pass the lead truck, that vehicle attempted to turn left into a gas station. The truck and motorcycle collided. The motorcyclist’s injuries were so serious that he required an above-the-knee amputation of his right leg.

The motorcyclist sued the driver of the lead truck and that man’s employer. There was, however, certain potentially harmful facts that Kevin wanted to keep out of his trial. He had, on the day of the accident, consumed some beer. Over the course of his day-long motorcycle ride, he and a friend had consumed seven beers at several bars across a period of six hours, with the last beers consumed along with dinner.

motorcycleIn a personal injury case, there are lots of pieces that go into getting a successful result. Your case may require documentary evidence, expert opinions, and legal arguments to keep out potentially harmful items. All of these are areas where having an experienced Pennsylvania motorcycle accident attorney representing you can provide an invaluable benefit.

An example of this was a recent case arising from a tragic vehicle accident in Philadelphia. Calvin and a friend were driving their motorcycles, with Calvin deciding that he would record the ride, so he had a Go Pro video camera mounted to his bike. The video showed that, in the half mile before his accident, he performed three wheelies. Calvin was not, however, speeding at the time of his accident. The accident occurred when Kahlile attempted to make a left-hand turn and steered his Dodge Durango into Calvin’s path. The impact killed Calvin.

At the scene of the accident, a police officer noted that Kahlile appeared lethargic and had bloodshot, watery eyes. A blood test taken two hours after the accident yielded a blood-alcohol level of 0.073.

workerWhen you’ve been hurt on the job, you may find yourself in need of workers’ compensation benefits. If you need to file a claim for benefits, there are several things you need. One is compelling and persuasive medical evidence. Another is strong representation from an experienced Pennsylvania workers’ compensation attorney.

A recent ruling from the Commonwealth Court offers an example of a case in which the worker’s medical expert was key. That case involved a claim filed by Paul, a carpenter whose job involved building, modifying, and removing scaffolding. On the night shift, the work demands were intense. During the first quarter of 2014, Paul worked 13 days on and one day off every two weeks, working 10-12 hours each day on the night shift.

The more Paul worked, the more swollen his hands became. The carpenter notified his night-shift supervisor that he was having problems with his hands. Eventually, Paul switched back to the day shift, but his hands remained swollen, painful, and tingly. Eventually, he sought medical treatment. He brought a doctor’s note to his employer in May 2014. Two hours later, the employer laid Paul off.

briefcase of moneyIt is an unfortunate fact of life that, sometimes, a sudden receipt of a large sum of money brings about people seeking a portion of those funds. Perhaps it is a lottery win, a sizable inheritance, or a money judgment in a civil trial. If you’ve lost a loved one due to the misconduct of others, there are many steps that go into obtaining a successful outcome that can benefit from the assistance of an experienced Pennsylvania wrongful death attorney. Making sure that the proceeds of a court judgment go to the proper people is just one of them.

An example of such a situation played out in the family of a Philadelphia-area woman named Shireeta. Shireeta’s seven-year-old daughter, Lamiyah, died in a house fire in December 2011. After Lamiyah’s death, the mother filed a lawsuit against the manufacturers of a curling iron and a power strip that, she claimed, were faulty and caused the fire. Shireeta, who was also the administrator of Lamiyah’s estate, eventually settled with the defendants. The defendants made an $8 million payout as part of the settlement.

As is true of many children, Lamiyah didn’t have a will. The law has a certain set of rules, called the rules of intestate succession, which dictate how assets should be distributed in cases in which the deceased person has no will. Generally, in most situations, the rules require that a child’s assets go 50-50 to each of her parents. In this case, that would have meant that Shireeta and Lamiyah’s father, Lamont, would split the settlement money equally.