Statute of limitations are deadlines imposed by state law.  These deadlines represent the time period within which a legal proceeding must be initiated, and they vary depending on the type of claim. Essentiallyhourglass, after being hurt or wronged, potential plaintiffs have a certain number of years to file their complaint against the at-fault party. After the time period or statute of limitations has passed, their legal claim is considered time-barred.

Many personal injury claims must be brought within one to two years of the alleged harm. According to Pennsylvania law, after a car accident, a victim must file their lawsuit deriving from the accident within two years.  This statute of limitations remains the same for any plaintiff pursuing a legal claim, whether they were a driver, a passenger, a biker, or a pedestrian hurt in an accident.

Following a car accident, the “clock” for statute of limitations purposes begins to run on the date of the accident.  For individuals pursuing an injury case, the important date is when the accident occurred.  If an accident resulted in someone’s death, a wrongful death lawsuit may be filed by the family or representative of the deceased person.  This “clock” runs from the date of the victim’s death, and that date may vary from the date of the actual car accident.

Continue reading

Is it possible to work and receive Social Security disability payments? Some individuals who receive Social Security disability benefits or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are anxious that if they work, it will affect their monthly benefits.  Social Security maintains rules directed to help people continue to receive monthly payments while trying to return to part-time or full-time work.  It can help to be familiar with these rules before job-hunting to make sure you do not jeopardize disability payments.  Since it is such a frequently asked question, Social Security maintains an answer to the question of whether returning to work will affect benefits.

elderly people

Social Security and SSI have different rules regarding “work incentives,” which allow individuals to try working and see how they fare.

Trial Work Period and Extended Period of Eligibility

A Trial Work Period is a period of time (nine months over a 60-month period) during which you can receive full Social Security benefits.  You are required to report your work to the Social Security Administration.  If you earn over $810, or if you are self-employed and earn more than $810 or worked over 80 hours a month, you are considered to have a trial work month.

Continue reading

The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act provides compensation, including medical benefits and missed wages, to help workers suffering from injuries or diseases caused by their employment.  Some workers fear that filing a claim for workers’ compensation will cause them to lose their job.  In fact, employers cannot retaliate against an employee empty roomfor filing a workers’ compensation claim. They can, however, fire an employee who has an open workers’ compensation claim and is receiving benefits. This raises the question of what happens to benefits provided by workers’ compensation when an employee is laid off or terminated.

In terms of whether an employer has the right to fire an employee, it depends on which kind of employment contract or agreement is set in place. Most employees in Pennsylvania have “at will” employment, meaning that they can be terminated by an employer at any time for a variety of reasons. In fact, an employer may fire an employee for any reason that is not a civil rights violation.  Additionally, at-will employees are entitled to resign from their jobs for any reason.

While an injured worker is receiving workers’ compensation and is not at work, they may be fired by their employer. At-will employees do not receive greater protection against job loss than they had before their injury.  When an injured employee is receiving workers’ compensation benefits and is then laid off or terminated, their unemployed status does not affect their right to benefits.

Continue reading

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the prevalence of arthritis is growing throughout the nation. Arthritis includes many diseases and conditions tarthritishat affect our joints and tissues surrounding our joints and other connective tissue. Many individuals suffering from arthritis experience stiffness and pain around their joints. Sometimes these symptoms come on suddenly, and in other cases they develop over time.

Arthritis can be a debilitating condition, impairing an individual’s ability to perform work. Social Security Disability benefits are available to people who are unable to perform full-time work on a predictable and consistent basis. The disease is medically listed by the Social Security Administration (SSA). The SSA performs several steps to determine eligibility for disability.

If you are not currently working, and your arthritis will last at least 12 months, it may be a “severe” impairment, having a significant impact on your ability to perform work-related activities. For example, when arthritis requires an individual to lie down for an extended period of time or prevents them from being able to hold a pen, this is likely to be seen as a functional limitation.

Continue reading

Many Pennsylvania residents understand that if they are hurt at work, they can recover benefits for their lost wages due to their injury, as well as medical costs related to their treatment.  Another type of wage loss benefits, called “specific loss” benefits, may be paid to injured workers, even if they have notwheelchair missed time from work following their injury.  Certain injuries are eligible for benefits and are set forth in the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act.

Under the description of “partial disability,” the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry makes clear that employees who return to work or are medically capable of performing available work may be entitled to these types of benefits.  These wages will be lower than the employee’s earnings before the injury and are available for a maximum period of 500 weeks.  Under the Act, certain injuries may be eligible for specific loss awards.

Specific losses are covered under the Act and refer to the loss of a specific body part.   According to the Act, there is a set number of weeks you may receive payments, based on the body part that was lost. Benefits are also available to workers suffering from a permanent disfigurement or scarring to their head or face.  The amount of benefits that may be recovered depends on the specific body part that was injured.  Additionally, there is a “healing” period of anywhere from six to 10 weeks of benefits that an injured worker may be eligible to recover if they have missed time from work due to an injury.

Continue reading

In personal injury lawsuits, experts may provide opinions and supporting evidence that can determine a legal outcome and a damages award.  Whether at trial or in settlement negotiations, expert testimony can make a large impact on the compensation secured by a plaintiff.  Expert witnesses can analyze complicated issues and explain their opinions to the jury. The goal of using an expert is to support the claims set forth by the plaintiff (assumingx ray the expert has been retained by the plaintiff).

In some situations, parties to a lawsuit may not settle a lawsuit until after the experts issue their reports or offer testimony on the knowledge held by the average person and the knowledge of an expert. Expert witnesses are expected to clearly present their intended method, and it should meet the standards for courtroom evidentiary admissions.

Pennsylvania law sets forth standards for the qualification of an expert witness, which are liberal and allow individuals with a degree of specialized knowledge to serve as an expert and offer opinion testimony.  The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, in the case of Miller v. Brass Rail Tavern, Inc., 541 Pa. 474 (1995), addressed this standard. Expert witnesses are unlike other witnesses who may offer testimony in a lawsuit because experts may provide opinions. Examples of expert witnesses include engineering professionals, medical experts, and economists. Lay witnesses, in comparison,  offer testimony based on personal knowledge, which is what they have seen or heard.

Continue reading

In terms of workplace injuries, construction sites pose significant hazards to Pennsylvania workers. Additionally, injuries that take place at a construction site are more likely to be fatal than those at other workplaces. The United States Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) maintains statistics on construction-related accidents.

scaffolding

The statistics show that over six million people work at over 250,000 construction sites across the nation daily.

Fall protection is a significant factor in ensuring the safety of construction workers, according to OSHA. The administration requires that employers provide healthful workplaces, and it ensures standards are met concerning training, assistance, and education.

Continue reading

Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) have different causes, including serious motor vehicle collisions, truck accidents, and motorcycle crashes.  Individuals suffering from a TBI can face physical and mental damage that necessitates ongoing, permanent care as well as resulting in a decreased quality of life. The impact of a TBI can be life-altering, and yet,head it may not always be immediately apparent that accident victims have sustained a TBI.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), everyone is at risk for a TBI.  Children and older adults are particularly at risk.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health makes clear that traumatic brain injuries include concussions, which can be caused by a jolt or bump to the head.  While concussions may be defined by medical professionals as “mild” brain injuries, this is only because they are usually not life-threatening.  But the effects of even a concussion upon the life of an accident victim can be serious.

Continue reading

If you have suffered injuries at work, Pennsylvania law provides legal recourse through the Workers’ Compensation Act.  The Act requires an employer or an employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier to pay wage loss benefits for employees who are injured at wscaffoldingork.  Although workers’ compensation is an exclusive remedy, it does not require that an injured employee prove fault.

In addition to state law, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).  OSHA, which is part of the United States Department of Labor, ensures safe and healthful working conditions for all employees. It sets and enforces safety standards for workers throughout the nation. Pennsylvania companies are required to abide by these standards, and they must also inform their workers about their OSHA rights.

Continue reading

Winter storms and inclement weather in Pennsylvania can lead to serious motor vehicle collisions. Not only are the roads heavy with snow and ice, but also drivers do not always exercise caution and adjust their speed accordingly.  After a stosnowrm, roads remain snowy, and as temperatures drop, the roads may freeze over. In the morning, drivers often find themselves operating vehicles on a sheet of ice.

Pennsylvania law requires drivers to remove all snow and ice from their vehicles before operating their vehicles on public roads. The law is aimed at preventing injuries from airborne snow and ice on Pennsylvania roadways. Pennsylvania Vehicle Code, section 3720 states that when snow or ice dislodges or falls from a moving vehicle, striking another vehicle or person and injuring them, the operator of the vehicle can be fined neither less than $200 nor more than $1,000 for each offense.

Continue reading