Social Security Disability benefits are available to individuals with multiple sclerosis.  While some men and women suffering from symptoms of multiple sclerosis use walkers or wheelchairs, others experience long-term remissions and can work successfully.  Doctors may assess individuals with multiple sclerosis and determine that the symptoms do not prevent them from working full-time. In turn, this makes it challenging for those individuals to secure Social Security benefits.  However, there are ways for Pennsylvania Social Security claimants to strengthen a claim for benefits that may otherwise be borderline.

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Reporting symptoms to health providers is critical.  Doctors should be made aware of how multiple sclerosis affects daily tasks.  By documenting all of the medical symptoms and providing these records to the Social Security Administration, a claim for benefits will be strengthened.   Since disabilities are evaluated by Social Security according to medical criteria, it is important to particularly note the effects of multiple sclerosis on the musculoskeletal system, for example.

Loss of function that affects people impaired by multiple sclerosis can include a range of symptoms. Examples of symptoms that can specifically affect an ability to work include:

Recently, the Occupational Safety Health Administration (OSHA) of the United States Department of Labor issued a news release indicating that the Administration had fined a Pennsylvania hospital $32,000 for exposing employees to workplace violence and other hazards. These findings were a result of the agency’s inspection, conducted over the course of more than one year. OSHA had received a complaint that made clear employees had been exposed to workplace violence and did not have clear access to restrooms.

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Under the General Duty Clause, OSHA cited the Psychiatric Hospital for violations. This clause indicates that every employer must provide a workplace free of recognized hazards that are likely to cause death or injuries. Additionally, the Clause requires that employers comply with occupational safety and health standards and rules, according to the OSH Act of 1970.

Specifically, the investigation of the psychiatric hospital by OSHA found that the hospital had a number of incidents in which violence had been committed by patients against employees. In some cases, the employees were bit, scratched, or punched, and in other situations, they were struck with objects, often leading to serious injuries. According to the citations, nurses and mental health technicians who provided inpatient care were exposed to serious physical injuries.

A “specific loss” benefit is available to workers who lose a body part, according to the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, “for all practical intents and purposes.”  For injured workers, it can be challenging to prove a specific loss injury, which is a permanent injury.  It is considered a question of fact, to be determined by a workers’ compehandnsation judge, whether an injury has led to the permanent loss of the use of a member, including a hand.  Then, to determine whether the loss is permanent, for all intents and purposes, requires looking at the law and assessing medical evidence supporting such a loss.

A recent Pennsylvania workers’ compensation case dealt with this exact issue, when a worker had hurt his thumb, index, and middle fingers while he was using a table saw in the course and scope of his employment.  He sought benefits from his employer, including for the specific loss of his index fingers.

Supporting evidence in a workers’ compensation claim may include the worker’s own testimony, hospital records, and medical testimony.  In this specific case, the injured worker had provided his own testimony, as well as hospital records that showed he significantly injured his index fingers.  While the worker had retained his finger, it had received two pins that were eventually removed.  His finger was greatly damaged and had limited use.  The worker explained that he could not do “almost anything” with his right hand and that he could not perform construction work.

A tragic mobile truck crane accident at the Pennsylvania State University campus has allegedly led to a Pennsylvania injury lawsuit based on claims of negligence and loss of consortium against the crane manufacturer and the contractor. The device involved in the accident, a mobile truck crane, was used for construction on the Penn State campus. One individual, a worker, was killed, and another worker suffered serious injuries when, during its operation, the jib of the crane fell to the ground. Both men were employed by a subcontracting company, which had been hired by the contractor defendant to perform work on the construction job.

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As is common in personal injury lawsuits, the plaintiff in this case sought damages based on his accident-related costs. The facts indicate that the contractor in this case had rented the mobile crane from a manufacturer. Additionally, the manufacturer had supplied an operator to control the jib. While the plaintiff, the injured worker, had been working on the project, the jib struck him and caused injuries to his right arm and wrist.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), an agency of the United States Department of Labor, investigated the incident. The agency determined that the incident was caused by the mobile crane operator and the employees who stowed the jib. Specifically, OSHA noted that the employees had failed to follow proper stowing procedures, which led to the jib collapsing and causing the plaintiff’s serious injuries (as well as the fatality of another individual). The manufacturer was cited $7,000, and it paid this amount.

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When suffering from a medical condition that renders you disabled and unable to work, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits or monthly Supplemental Security Income benefits.  Individuals with the conditions of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Colitis, and Crohn’s Disease may be entitled to Social Security Disability benefits.   Ensuring that a case for benefits is properly presented may require the assistance of a skilled attorney who understands Social Security rules and regulations.  To receive Social Security Disability benefits, you must be deemed disabled –  not capable of engaging in substantial gainful employment.  Medical evidence is necessary to support a successful claim for benefits, and understanding how to set forth a strong claim can help ensure a successful conclusion.

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Disorders that may be considered in the digestive system include IBS, as well as other diseases and syndromes.  In order to prove a disability, medical evidence is typically presented by the claimant. The first step in presenting a strong case for disability benefits is to receive treatment from specialists skilled in treating the condition.  Treatment with a specialist is important for any condition that is considered severe and disabling.  For individuals suffering from gastrointestinal conditions, a gastroenterologist would be the specialist most likely seen, and testing may include x-rays, CT scans, blood work, and other laboratory testing.  Invasive diagnostic tools, such as a colonoscopy and an endoscopy, may be required to assess the cause of the condition.

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Pennsylvania has more amusement park rides than any other state, and parks like Hershey and Kennywood attract residents and visitors from all over the nation.  For family-friendly fun and excitement, people flock to the the carousels, roller coasters, and other attractions.  While these rides scare and thrill, they can also lead to injuries.  Many amusement park ride injuries involve falls, and the causes range from mechanical failure to operator error.

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When the carelessness of an amusement park or a park employee has led to injuries, the victim may allege legal fault and seek damages for all of their accident-related costs.  All amusement parks are considered to be responsible for the actions taken by their employees. When an employee is negligent, the park may be liable for the employee’s conduct.  An example of negligent conduct would be a park failing to post a clear sign that individuals with heart problems should not go on a certain ride. If a rider suffering from a heart condition is injured while on the ride, they may file a claim for damages against the park, since the failure to place this sign directly led to the resulting injuries.

In some situations, the legal defense of assumption of risk may apply in an amusement park ride injury lawsuit.  The defendant in a legal claim would allege that the injured individual had knowledge of the risk involved and voluntarily accepted this risk.  By going on rides that are inherently dangerous, the park may argue, the participant “assumed the risk.”

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medical officeIn their list of Frequently Asked Questions, the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry makes clear that whether an employee has a choice of health care provider depends upon whether their employer has accepted their claim and posted in the workplace a list of providers.  According to the Workers’ Compensation Act, Pennsylvania law requires that employers post a listing of health care providers that are not necessarily doctors, and the listing must meet certain requirements.  Provided the employer has met this requirement, treatment may be covered for the first 90 days.

A “proper” listing of health care providers, also deemed a “panel posting,” must have at least six providers. Of the total providers, at least three must be doctors, with their identifying name, address, contact info, and specialty stated.  Providers listed must be in the nearby vicinity, accessible to injured employees.  Additionally, the specifics regarding the list state that it must be prominently displayed, and the employer must have the worker’s signature that they were made aware of the list at the time they were hired or after their injury.

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When someone is negligent and causes harm to another person, they may be held liable.  In most personal injury cases, the injured victim alleges negligence. Success for a plaintiff in a slip and fall case, for example, would require the injured victim to show that the property owner or manager had been negligent.  It is not sidewalk crackenough to simply slip and injure yourself on someone’s property – to recover monetary damages, an individual or entity must be legally at fault.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), falls are the leading cause of injury and death for older Americans.  The CDC states that there are steps adults can take to prevent a fall, including talking to their health care provider about fall prevention.  Making their home safer, getting rid of hazards, and having their eyes checked can also help.

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Meeting the duration requirement under the Social Security Disability Act requires that claimants seeking disability benefits prove their severe medical impairment has lasted, or will last, 12 months or longer.  Those conditions that are fatal would also meet the duration requirement.  This “duration” provision is interpreted strictly by the Social Security Administration, and for those Pennsylvania residents seeking Social Security disability benefits, it is important to abide by this rule. Denials of disability claims are common when individuals fail to meet the duration requirement, in some cases by failing to assert proper medical evidence, and in other cases by failing to fully understand the details of the requirement.

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According to the Social Security Act, “disability” is an “inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity” due to medically determinable physical or mental impairments that are expected to last for at least 12 months. The language here is intended to exclude from entitlement to Social Security disability all those conditions that are of shorter duration.  Also excluded are those conditions that would allow an individual to return to work within a few months.  One example may be a back surgery, which may cause an individual to miss an extended period of work, but it may not require a recovery time of a year or more.

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Work-related injuries can cause financial distress for an employee and their family.  While workers’ compensation benefits are available, according to Pennsylvania law, they do not entirely replace the worker’s income. A Pennsylvania workers’ compensation attorney can make clear exactly how workers’ compensation benefits are structured and adjusted according to the employee’s wages.

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For those employees who suffer financial hardship following a work-related injury, additional expenses required to travel to medical appointments can prove extremely challenging.  State law concerning whether the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier will reimburse travel costs to medical appointments has been greatly influenced by the Commonwealth Court decision of Helen Mining Co. v. WCAB, 616 A.2d 759.

This important case changed the law concerning whether travel expenses are reimbursed for injured workers receiving workers’ compensation.  Generally, the rule is that when necessary medical treatment is not available in the location near the injured worker, in many situations, medical expenses will be reimbursed.  According to this decision, there are factors to be considered in reimbursing travel fees, and there are exceptions that exist, entitling the claimant to travel expenses.

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