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.

airportIn employees’ workers’ compensation cases, there are certain commonplace and frequently used arguments that employers will deploy in an effort to succeed and avoid paying benefits. One of these is that the employee’s injury did not take place in the “course and scope of her employment.” That legal language means that the worker wasn’t actually “on the job,” or doing any action that benefited the employer, when the accident happened. There are various ways allowed by the law to still recover an award of benefits even if you were not “on the clock” when your accident occurred. For advice about these and other workplace injury issues, talk to an experienced Pennsylvania workers’ compensation attorney about your case.

One employee who faced this “course and scope of her employment” argument in her case, and overcame it, was Betty, a Philadelphia-based flight attendant working for a major airline. One January night, after completing her shift traveling to Miami and back, the flight attendant caught a shuttle bus to the employee parking lot. As Betty tried to put her suitcase on the luggage rack, her right foot hit water and slipped out from under her. That caused her left knee to buckle. She then fell backward, crushing her left foot underneath her.

Five months later, the flight attendant filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. The flight attendant’s employer argued that she was not acting in the “course and scope” of her employment when she was on the shuttle bus, so she was not entitled to benefits. The judge in Betty’s workers’ compensation hearing, however, ruled in favor of the flight attendant. The judge concluded that the flight attendant was injured on her employer’s premises, that her presence on the shuttle bus was required by the nature of her job, and that her injury was caused by the condition of the bus.

cutting treeCourt decisions can teach many things, even when those cases involve unusual factual situations. For example, consider the recent case of a man who accused a woman of negligence because she allegedly distracted him and caused him to fall from a ladder while he was cutting a tree branch. While that might be a relatively unique circumstance, the ruling allowing the injured man to go forward with his case has implications for a wide range of injured people. Specifically, it teaches that you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries even in circumstances that you wouldn’t expect. The key is never to assume but instead to consult an experienced Pennsylvania premises liability attorney about your situation.

In the case of the man on the ladder, the trial court threw out his case, but the Superior Court concluded that he was entitled to go forward with his injury litigation. The Superior Court, in announcing that it had revived the man’s case, explained that, when it comes to a negligence case, the injured person has a certain set of things he must prove. He must prove that the person he sued had a legal obligation to act or refrain from acting in a certain way toward him. (This is called a “duty of care” in the law.) He also has to prove that the person he sued did not live up to that obligation and that this failure was what caused his injury.

Sometimes, a person may have a legal duty toward you based upon the relationship you have. Even in the absence of a specific relationship recognized by the law, a person may still owe you certain obligations. There are certain legal duties that apply very generally. For example, everyone has a duty to refrain from doing something that she “realizes or should realize that it involves an unreasonable risk of harm to another.” When the court considers such a claim, the judge will look at many things. As an example, in the ladder case, the injured man’s advanced age helped bolster his case. The appeals court wrote in its opinion that it agreed with the man’s argument that “unnecessarily and unreasonably walking towards an elderly man precariously perched upon a ladder, and heading under the soon-to-be-falling branch” could be the basis of a viable lawsuit.

courtroomThere are many things that can harm your slip-and-fall injury case. Sometimes, some of those things don’t have anything to do with the facts of your case. Your case can get derailed due to non-compliance with procedural rules. Your case can also run into trouble for other things like a failure to provide discovery materials mandated by the court. All of these things highlight how there is more to your case than the facts, and the odds of achieving success can be enhanced by retaining the services of a skilled Pennsylvania premises liability attorney.

Recently, a plaintiff named Ruben found himself in such a situation. Ruben filed a premises liability lawsuit as a result of the injuries he suffered in a slip-and-fall accident. During the preliminary phase of the case, in which each side exchanges information with the other (which is called the “discovery phase”), the defense asked for copies of Ruben’s medical records. Ruben, however, didn’t send those records to the defense, even after a second request. The trial judge threw out Ruben’s case entirely as a sanction for failing to provide the defense with properly requested materials.

The Superior Court threw out that dismissal, which gave Ruben a renewed opportunity to pursue his case. That court explained a strong rule in Pennsylvania law, which is that, since dismissal is the severest of sanctions, it should only be used for the most egregious examples of misconduct.

acupunctureIn your Pennsylvania workers’ compensation case, it is important to be aware of which kinds of treatments may entitle you to an award of benefits, and which may not. Specifically, it is important to be aware that a treatment doesn’t necessarily have to cure or permanently improve your medical condition in order to be something that allows you to obtain an award of benefits. Simple management of pain can be enough, even if the positive effects of the treatment last only a couple of days. To make sure that you are getting the full award to which you are entitled, be sure to retain an experienced Pennsylvania workers’ compensation attorney.

The case of Anthony, an employee of the YMCA, was a recent example of how even short-term benefits could be the basis of a winning case. Anthony suffered a work-related disc herniation in his neck. The employee’s treating physician was a licensed doctor, board certified in “physical medicine and rehabilitation.” The doctor was also a licensed acupuncturist. The course of treatment that the doctor prescribed and carried out for Anthony included a muscle relaxant and also acupuncture.

Eventually, the employer and its insurer requested what’s called a “utilization review.” This type of review is a tool, provided within Pennsylvania’s workers’ compensation law, that allows an employer to request a review of medical treatment provided to an injured worker. Employers may often exert their option to request a utilization review as a means of trying to save money on a case.

ladderYour injury case can get derailed in many ways. One of the keys to success is making sure that you have retained knowledgeable Pennsylvania premises liability counsel who can guide you around these potential pitfalls and lead you instead to your day in court. With the help of diligent representation, you can ensure that your case meets all of the law’s requirements and that each step is completed on a timely basis. These things can be extremely important because, in some situations, non-compliance or delayed compliance can defeat your case entirely.

One example of this situation was a lawsuit filed by a roof worker named Douglas. Kevin had hired Douglas to do some work on the roof of his home. At the end of one day’s work, the men noticed that a sweater and a hat remained on the roof. Douglas allegedly offered to retrieve them. Kevin placed a ladder in position, and Douglas started up. As Douglas reached the roof, the ladder slipped, and he fell all the way to the ground. The fall caused Douglas to suffer serious and permanent damage to his right ankle and heel.

As someone who has been hurt in a trip-and-fall or slip-and-fall accident, you may be wondering what a case like Douglas’ case has to do with a case like yours. The reality is that, sometimes, the issues that prove to be “make or break” in a case can be things that have little to do with the facts underlying your injury. Instead, they may center on procedural rules and have implications for a wide variety of civil cases, including yours.

overwhelmed manPeople may have various reasons for taking on the legal system without an attorney. Perhaps they think they can do as good a job as most lawyers. Perhaps they do not wish to divulge the details of their personal affairs with someone they don’t know. In a lot of situations, people decide they cannot afford an attorney. The result of many cases teaches that the opposite is often true:  that you can’t afford not to have legal representation. That includes taking on your disability benefits case. Your benefits are undoubtedly very important to you. Make sure you arm yourself with the knowledge and skill of an experienced Pennsylvania Social Security attorney.

The disability case of a man named Kenyotta shows just how valuable capable counsel can be. Kenyotta filed a disability claim and was judged to be disabled in 1993. Twenty years later, he was deemed to be no longer disabled. Kenyotta asked a disability hearing officer to review the decision, but the outcome remained unchanged. He appealed to an administrative law judge. His hearing before the ALJ was scheduled for Oct. 27, 2015.

Kenyotta didn’t hire an attorney. The importance of this decision was amplified because he did not show up for the hearing. He sent a letter asking for a postponement of the hearing and explaining why he could not attend. The letter, dated Oct. 27, 2015, said that Kenyotta was indigent and could not afford transportation to the hearing. He also made reference to an epileptic seizure and “an ongoing continuous relapse of [his] disability condition.” The ALJ determined that Kenyotta did not have a valid basis for missing the hearing and dismissed his case.

calendarIn any personal injury or wrongful death case, the law only gives you a limited period of time in which to assert your rights and seek compensation. Wait too long and your opponent is entitled to seek (and obtain) a dismissal of your case. In any type of wrongful death case, then, it is important to act with all due speed. That includes retaining an experienced Pennsylvania wrongful death attorney to provide you with representation in your case.

While the law does limit the amount of time that you have to sue, and it is important to act within that timeframe, it is also important not to let your opponent “start the clock” in your case before it’s time. One recent case that offered useful information about the statute of limitations in wrongful death and survival actions was a tragic story from southeast Pennsylvania.

The specific facts of the case involved allegations of medical/nursing home neglect, but the resolution of the case matters for anyone who might need to bring a lawsuit asserting claims of wrongful death and survival related to medical professional negligence. In the case, Elise was admitted to the hospital in the summer of 2005 after a fall at home. Two weeks later, she was moved to a nursing home. Elise’s doctor ordered a flexor bed and frequent repositioning to deal with her bedsores.

gavelObtaining supplemental security income (SSI) benefits is not as simple as merely filling out an application form, asserting that you have a disability, and then handing over certain information. The process involves very specific rules and very exacting requirements regarding the proof you need in order to obtain an award of benefits. Wherever you are in the process, if you are seeking SSI benefits, it is worth your while to retain the services of a knowledgeable Pennsylvania Social Security attorney.

An unfortunate example of how challenging the process can be was the case of Suzie. Suzie was a woman with multiple medical ailments who applied for SSI in 2012. In her claim, she asserted that she had been disabled for five years due to a collection of problems, including epilepsy, neck and shoulder injuries, partial loss of her right arm, a lower back problem, and COPD.

Suzie had a lawyer at first, when her case went before an administrative law judge (ALJ) and her claim was originally denied. After that, though, she decided to proceed onward through the legal system on her own. She appealed to the federal district court and was not successful. She then took her case to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, but again, she did not achieve a successful result.