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Erie Pennsylvania Legal Blog

Mental distractions can contribute to car accidents

Distracted drivers are seen on Pennsylvania roads every day. Most times they are pretty easy to spot. They are the ones putting on makeup, fixing their hair, eating, reading or playing with their cell phones or other electronics. Their lack of attention to what is going on around them is obvious, as they struggle to remain in their lane, fail to follow traffic signals or signs or even cause accidents. When car accidents happen as a result of drivers being distracted, they may be held responsible for any losses suffered by their victims or -- in the event of fatality -- their victims' loved ones.

The distractions previously mentioned are the ones that are mostly commonly discussed. There is another form of distraction that can be just as dangerous, though. This is known as cognitive distractions.

My workers' comp. petition was denied. Now what?

You were injured at work. There is no doubt about your injuries, where they happened and how severe they are. However, a workers' compensation judge still denied your claim for the benefits that you need while you are unable to work. It is easy to be frustrated about Pennsylvania's complex, bureaucratic workers' comp. system. However, it is important that you don't lose hope. You have options, including filing an appeal.

In Pennsylvania, you can appeal a claim denial to the commonwealth's Workers' Compensation Appeal Board. This board reviews the judge's ruling and determines if the workers' comp. judge violated your rights or misapplied the law. Knowing how to navigate the appeals process is essential.

Pennsylvania workers' compensation: Firefighter dies in crash

A Pennsylvania firefighter lost his life following a tragic accident while en route to a house fire. This incident occurred just recently in Harrisburg. As he was on the job when this event occurred, his family may pursue workers' compensation death benefits to help cover their losses. They may also seek further compensation and closure by filing a civil claim against the driver believed responsible for the car crash.

According to reports, the firefighter was at a funeral when he received the call that a house was on fire. While driving to the scene, his vehicle was struck by a car driven by a 19-year-old female. The force of impact sent the victim's car through a fence before finally coming to a stop. He was transported to an area hospital with critical injuries. Sadly, he later succumbed to those injuries.

Car accidents related to winter weather still an issue

While there have been days of gorgeous weather, bringing hopes of an early Spring, it is still the winter season, which brings along with it various road hazards. Winter driving is not easy, even for the most skilled drivers. There are certain precautions that must be taken in order to prevent car accidents. Unfortunately, as seen after one of the most recent snow storms, weather-related collisions are very much an issue in Pennsylvania.

According to a recent report, following a heavy snow storm in early March, a 32-car pileup on Interstate 81 resulted in several injuries and even a fatality. It has been said that 26 people suffered injuries in the incident. All of them required transportation to area hospitals for treatment. Their current conditions are unknown. A 55-year-old male is said to have died at the scene.

Drunk driving conviction can be costly

Pennsylvania law enforcement officers are charged with protecting the public. One way in which they do this is by enforcing traffic laws. Another method they use is constantly being on the lookout for those they suspect of drunk driving.

Each time that an officer makes a traffic stop, he or she assess the situation to determine if there are any other factors that need to be considered. Typically, an officer begins by questioning the driver. Based upon the circumstances and probable cause, a decision may be made to search the vehicle and/or conduct field sobriety tests. The officer then takes all of this information in making a determination of whether the individual should be charged with more than just a traffic violation.

Limited tort coverage: work with experienced attorney to protect right to noneconomic damages

In our last post, we began looking at the requirements of insurance coverage here in Pennsylvania, and specifically at the differences between full and limited tort coverage, which is a choice every driver has to make regarding coverage. As we noted, there are certain exceptions that apply to limited tort coverage which can allow policyholders to sue for non-economic damages, despite the general waiver of the ability to do so.

The exceptions include cases where the negligent driver:  was convicted of drunken or drugged driving or is participating in a related rehabilitation program; was driving a vehicle registered in another state; intended to injure himself or someone else; or does not meet insurance coverage requirements or has not otherwise maintained financial responsibility for car accidents. To be clear, the latter exception is usually not helpful for accident victims looking to sue for noneconomic damages, since the negligent driver will rarely have the ability to pay. 

Full vs. limited tort coverage: protecting your right to noneconomic damages

Car insurance is an absolutely critical resource for those who are involved in motor vehicle accidents, and it is important for accident victims to understand and pursue their insurance entitlements following an accident.

In terms of insurance requirements, the state of Pennsylvania requires motorists to carry several types of insurance coverage in minimum amounts. Medical benefits, which pay medical bills for the policyholder regardless of fault, the minimum coverage amount is $5,000. Bodily injury liability coverage, which pays medical and rehabilitation expenses and damages to those injured by the policyholder, must be carried at a minimum of $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident. At least $5,000 of property damage liability coverage must also be carried. 

Could new program help more heroin addicts?

No one wants to be a drug addict. It is an emotionally, financially and physically draining experience. Unfortunately, no one has to tell you how bad the problem is here in Western Pennsylvania, especially with heroin and Fentanyl.

While the economy improves in many other parts of the country, our region continues to suffer from the loss of manufacturing jobs. Many people have fallen prey to drug addiction out of a sense of hopelessness and despair. Unfortunately, our laws do not do much to help these people. The fear of jail keeps many people from getting the help they need. Should these people have to spend time in jail and destroy their records when they could instead be receiving treatment? 

Why you need to see a doctor after your accident

A car accident is one of the most stressful things you are likely to go through. Even if you have health insurance, a high deductible or coverage limits could make getting the treatment you need expensive.

However, it is crucial that you see a doctor as soon as possible or at least receive on-site treatment after your accident. If you want to pursue compensation for your medical bills, property losses and any pain and suffering, medical evidence is one of the most important parts of your case.

Can I see my own doctor for my workers' comp. benefits?

It is difficult for many people to go to a new doctor. We build lasting, trusting relationships with our doctors, and we trust that they have our best interests at heart. This is the same for anyone, whether a child, parent or someone dealing with a workplace injury or illness.

If you receive workers' compensation benefits here in Pennsylvania, you can see your own doctor, but there are certain requirements that you must abide by first.

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