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Lehigh Valley Legal Blog

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.

Will you have to wait out a work-related back injury?

Back injuries are one of the most common work-related injuries. People who work in physical jobs--for example in warehouses or fulfillment plants where they may be required to bend, lift and twist on a regular basis-- are at a particular risk for strains, sprains, slipped discs and other conditions that can cause low back pain and keep a worker sidelined. When that happens, many workers depend on workers' compensation to pay for their medical bills and lost wages. But new guidelines from the American College of Physicians state that low back pain should be treated with rest instead of medication or surgery. This could change the way workers' comp pays for these injuries. 

According to the new guidelines, medications, including over-the-counter painkillers, should no longer be the first-line treatment for low back pain. Instead,it suggests patients try a combination of patience and noninvasive therapies like massage or yoga. 

Driving in the nation's worst cities for traffic

Coming from Allentown or Philadelphia, you've probably enjoyed jovial queries from friends in other states who ask if you've ever seen the likes of Billy Joel or Sylvester Stallone driving around town. You may have jokingly responded that if they were in the vicinities, they likely were stuck in traffic just like everyone else. Pennsylvania has many dense forests and beautiful scenic hillsides; however, a couple of the state's cities in particular rank among the highest in the nation for worst congested traffic areas.

I am unable to work. Am I eligible for benefits?

This is a common question asked by individuals who are unable to work due to a physical or mental condition. If you have a diagnosis of a condition that precludes you from holding steady employment, you must take the appropriate steps to ensure that you have financial stability. It is possible that you may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits, but you may require legal assistance to secure the support you need.

Could an improved economy mean more workplace accidents?

Worker injuries have been decreasing for years. While this is good news for workers, some believe that factors other than employers' attempts to improve worker safety may be behind the numbers. 

For example, a stagnant economy in general could have contributed to the trend. When there are fewer jobs, there are fewer opportunities for people to be injured on the job. The oil and gas industry, for example, has been declining the past few years. Fewer jobs in that industry means less opportunity for refinery injuries. And when those who have jobs work fewer hours and are less rushed and fatigued, this could provide some protection against potential injuries as well. There has also been a shift away from manufacturing jobs towards service jobs, which tend to be less dangerous and lead to fewer injuries. 

How to Detect Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

Over 3.2 million adults are living in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities in the U.S. As many as 40 percent of all adults will enter a nursing home at some point during their lives, and as the U.S. population ages, the number of nursing home residents is expected to grow. Many of these elders are well cared for, but many may be the victims of abuse.

Elder abuse, particularly when it involves a patient in a residential care facility, can be difficult to detect and for every reported case of abuse, more than five cases may go unreported. Nursing home abuse is a serious concern and seniors who have been abused have a 300 percent greater chance of death in the 3 years following the abuse than those who aren't abused. Up to one in six nursing home residents may be the victim of abuse or neglect every year.

Is Your Employer Trying to Dodge Workplace Injury Reporting Regulations?

No one wants to think that their employer would not meet its obligation to its employees. But some employers fail to follow the laws related to reporting workplace injuries. A study completed by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) found that as many as 50% of severe injuries go unreported. Under the law, which went into effect January of 2015, employers are required to report any work-related hospitalization, amputation or eye loss within 24 hours of the incident. But this doesn't seem to be happening in many cases.

In compliance with this law, in 2015, 10,000 injuries were reported, with over 7,000 hospitalizations and nearly 3,000 amputations. Manufacturing led the pack in reports, with construction not falling far behind. But with so many serious injuries going unreported, it is hard to fully grasp the dangers in the workplace. What needs to be done to reduce severe injury and make workplaces safer for their employees?

Applying for SSDI? Here's why you shouldn't miss your doctors' appointments.

Nationwide, nearly two-and-a-half million people applied for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) in 2015. But two-thirds of those applicants were denied benefits, mostly for technical or medical reasons. 

Since your medical condition is at the center of your case, your doctor plays an extremely important role in the outcome of your SSDI application. Therefore, it is very important that you follow all prescribed treatment and therapy regimens. Don't forget that your doctor provides the SSA with all of your relevant medical information. So if you miss appointments or do not adhere closely to prescribed therapy, your doctor's records will be incomplete. A solid paper trail of medical records is one of your best assets when requesting SSDI, and your doctor needs to keep a detailed record of your symptoms over an extended period of time. If you do not stick to doctor-prescribed therapy, it could be argued that your injury or disability isn't that serious--the logic being that if it were, you'd have been diligent about keeping appointments and maintaining your therapy regimen.

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