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Lehigh Valley Legal Blog

Back-To-School Bus Safety

Summer is starting to wind down, and if your child will be taking a bus to school in the fall, it's worth reminding them how to stay safe getting to and from school. While it's notable that school buses do not (unless they are of the smaller variety) have seat belts, most school bus-related accidents happen when children are getting on and off the bus.

Embarking and disembarking safely

New Workers' Compensation Ruling

A monumental new decision was recently issued by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has forever changed the way that injured workers are protected, and for the better. In Protz v. WCAB (Derry Area School District), No. 6 WAP 2016 and No. 7 WAP 2016, 6/20/2017, the Supreme Court declared Section 306(a.2) of the Workers' Compensation Act unconstitutional. Section 306(a.2) provided that, after paying for 104 weeks of total disability benefits, an employer could request that the claimant submit to an I.R.E., or an impairment rating evaluation, to determine the claimant's degree of impairment. If that degree of impairment is deemed to be less than 50 percent, then a claimant's amount of compensation would be reduced to 500 weeks. Because of this holding, no I.R.E. has any force in the state of Pennsylvania at present.

What Are The Most Dangerous (And Safest) Cars On The Road?

Sometimes, there isn't a lot you can do to protect yourself against other drivers' carelessness. But having the safest possible car in the event that you do get into a collision with another vehicle can help. So how do you know how safe your car is?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has released data for 2017 showing the cars that have earned the highest safety ratings. The data is broken down by car size, from minicar to large pickup.

Do You Qualify For A Compassionate Allowance?

The Compassionate Allowance Initiative is a program intended to hasten the process of applying for Social Security Disability claims for people who have conditions that are likely to be fatal. Initially, only 50 conditions were covered under the program. This included those suffering from aggressive types of cancer and conditions related to dementia. However, the list has since been expanded.

Applying for a compassionate allowance

Can You Sue A Venue If Someone Else Injures You There?

Many people are not aware of the fact that if another patron injures you while you are attending an event, you may be able to sue for any damages resulting from the venue's negligence. Negligence on the part of the venue means that it did not take reasonable steps to address an obvious danger or problem. Usually in the case of concerts, security should be on hand to prevent injuries resulting from crowd surfing and stage diving, as well as other unsafe behavior. If there is a lapse in security, and unsafe behavior is permitted and results in an injury, then the victim of said injury can sue the venue.

One example of this type of accident took place in 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina, when a concert attendee staged dived into the crowd at the Neighborhood Theater, breaking the neck of another attendee, Megan Osborn.

Why Construction Workers Should Know About Suspension Trauma

 Even seasoned roofers or construction workers can misstep and lose their footing when working above ground.  Falling can spell disaster.  Wearing a fall-arrest device or safety harness may prevent death from a fall, but it carries risks as well.  Hanging from the harness waiting to be rescued can lead to a condition called "orthostatic intolerance", or "suspension trauma."

Depending on the length of time the worker is suspended, blood can pool (called "venous pooling"), resulting in reduced blood flow and circulation problems. When that happens, the heart starts to beat faster to provide more blood to the brain. Blood pressure may drop and fainting can occur. Being immobilized in a fall-arrest device for more than 30 minutes can lead to severe trauma, kidney failure and even death. 

Are Pedestrians Really Safe on the Roadways?

According to statistics released by the National Safety Council, pedestrian deaths have reached a two-decade high. Preliminary data from all 50 states and the District of Columbia for the first six months of 2016 and extrapolated for the remaining months shows an estimated 11 percent increase for the year. In the more than 40 years since this data was first recorded, this is the largest annual increase in pedestrian fatalities.

It is believed that the likely reasons for the increase are related to factors such as lower gas prices, more people walking for exercise, environmental factors, and more people driving due to the improved economy. Some speculate that drivers and walkers distracted by cell phones and similar devices bear some of the blame. That's because wireless device use has increased significantly while miles walked and driven have only increased a few percentage points. Alcohol is also suspected to be a contributing factor as well, with 34 percent of pedestrians and 15 percent of drivers involved in fatal car crashes having been found to be intoxicated. Still, there is no indication that a change in drinking habits would account for the increase in deaths.

Who Can You Sue For Distracted Driving?

If you've been injured in distracted driving accident, there could be a cascade of parties bearing partial responsible for the crash, depending on the circumstances. In the interest of securing the maximum possible compensation for your injuries and related costs, it's important to be aware of the many possible negligent parties that could be named in a lawsuit. 

Distracted drivers. Drivers themselves make the decision to text while driving, or engage in other activities (eating, taking photos, reading texts) that take their attention away from the road. Drivers would be the most obvious negligent parties in a distracted driving accident. 

Who Can You Sue For Distracted Driving?

If you've been injured in distracted driving accident, there could be a cascade of parties bearing partial responsible for the crash, depending on the circumstances. In the interest of securing the maximum possible compensation for your injuries and related costs, it's important to be aware of the many possible negligent parties that could be named in a lawsuit. 

Distracted drivers. Drivers themselves make the decision to text while driving, or engage in other activities (eating, taking photos, reading texts) that take their attention away from the road. Drivers would be the most obvious negligent parties in a distracted driving accident. 

If You Live With Someone, Should They Be On Your Car Insurance?

If you live with a roommate, spouse or partner, it is possible that at some point, that other person could be driving your car. Therefore, it's also possible that that person could get into an accident in your car. If that happens, it makes a difference if other household members are on the same insurance policy with you.

Insurance companies enerally assume that any drivers who live in the same household will eventually drive your car. This includes teens who just received their licenses. Based on who actually lives in your household and can drive, the insurance company will need to adjust your rates accordingly. Generally married people and domestic partners are presumed to be safer drivers than single people, and so your rates could even improve if you combine policies or add another person to your policy in those circumstances. Adding teens to your policy, however, is another story.

Not adding household members to your policy creates problems. Your claims for an accident caused by an unlisted household driver could be denied, or you could even be required to pay back any discrepancy in premiums from failing to list the other driver. You could say that you hadn't given the other person permission to drive your car, but you would have to have solid evidence of that understanding for that argument to work.

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