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Erie Pennsylvania Legal Blog

Can I get compensation for my personal injury from a fall?

Shoppers in Pennsylvania usually expect stores to be tidy, clean and free from any serious dangers. Indeed, keeping property free from potential safety risks is actually the legal responsibility of an owner. When an owner is unable to immediately address a safety problem, signs must be put up to warn visitors of the risk. Unfortunately, many property owners do not take this responsibility seriously, which can lead to serious personal injury for unsuspecting victims.

A Pennsylvania Save-A-Lot allegedly failed to maintain a safe store environment back on Sept. 9, 2016. On that day, no one at the store cleaned up an unidentified liquid off the floor or posted signage warning customers of the danger. One customer ultimately slipped and fell on the slippery floor.

Bill proposes workers' compensation benefits for volunteers

Virtually no one works in a risk-free profession, but some people in Pennsylvania take on a much greater risk than others. Firefighters and ambulance workers must perform their work duties in what are often dangerous situations in which injury is a real possibility. Although workers' compensation benefits are available to these individuals, the Pennsylvania state workers' comp system has long left out volunteer workers.

Volunteer fire and ambulance workers put just as much on the line as those who are regularly employed in the profession. However, they are not eligible for workers' compensation benefits if they are injured on the job. Two state senators are hoping to change that.

3 great ways to avoid a DUI

A DUI has the potential to hurt your life in many ways. You may lose your job, be unable to get an apartment you want or struggle with financial losses after paying fines and penalties. Your insurance may increase. Your friends and family may even treat you differently.

The good news is that it's easy to avoid a DUI if you plan in advance. Here are three ways to avoid getting a DUI no matter what time of year it is.

A personal injury suits only for car wrecks?

If you are the type of person who takes great care with your own safety, who always wears a seat belt, gives animals a wide berth and keeps an eye out for slippery floors while shopping, suffering an injury because of another person's negligence can be devastating. But did you know that you can receive compensation for incidents caused by someone else? Although personal injury suits are often discussed in the context of car accidents, they are useful for a wide range of accidents and injuries.

The basis for a personal injury or wrongful death claim hinges on the negligence of another person. Was a driver looking at his or her cell phone instead of the road? Did a Pennsylvania shop owner fail to put out signs warning of a wet floor? A negligent act leading to an injury can occur in almost any situation, including the following and more:

  • Car wrecks
  • Dog bites
  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Swimming pool injuries
  • Defective products

Evaluations coming back for workers' compensation recipients

Recent legislation set by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives is set to bring big changes to the state's workers' comp system. Now, some people receiving workers' compensation benefits will have to undergo a secondary evaluation years after leaving the workforce. This has some worried that the most severely injured victims could see a reduction in benefits.

In the summer of 2017, the state Supreme Court struck down the requirement for evaluations of injury victims two years after their accidents. At the time, the court pointed out that the state required physicians to use guidelines from the American Medical Association, which gave private groups the ability to determine how state-administered benefits should proceed. Under this, insurance providers for employers could request that injured employees undergo another medical evaluation.

Explosion victim may benefit from workers' compensation

One man is dead and another is in critical condition after an explosion at a Pennsylvania gas station. One of the store's co-owners suffered fatal injuries in the explosion while one employee survived, but was last listed in critical condition. Injuries of this magnitude usually require ongoing medical care, which can complicate the financial lives of victims who are already short on cash from missing work. In most cases, workers' compensation can address these issues.

The co-owner of the gas station was using a Shop-Vac to clear out water in an underground vault near three tanks used for storing gasoline. It is not clear if using this type of tool in such situations is standard. While sucking up water, electricity feeding into the vacuum or its motor sparked gasoline fumes, causing the explosion. Witnesses described seeing fireballs shooting out of the underground vault and into the air.

Can I hold a property owner responsible for my personal injury?

Suffering an injury on another person's property can be a difficult and confusing experience. In many cases, Pennsylvania property owners will try to subvert their own negligence by placing the blame on victims, claiming that they were irresponsible or careless. It is easy for those struggling to recover from a personal injury to feel intimidated by such tactics.

It is important to understand that property owners have a legal responsibility to maintain a safe environment on their properties. What qualifies as a safe environment might vary depending on the property and its use, but in general most people understand when an owner neglects to do his or her part. For instance, if someone fails to correct a loose stone in a walkway or display adequate signage concerning a wet floor, then they are likely responsible for any injuries that occur because of those situations.

Staying safe for the 2018 Roar on the Shore

Erie's proximity to one of the Great Lakes makes it a destination for people from all over Pennsylvania and beyond. Some people come to enjoy the beautiful beaches of Preque Isle State Park. Others enjoy the rides at Water World and Waldameer Park. There are plenty of other attractions and events that bring people to the area. One event that always brings in a lot of people is the annual Roar on the Shore.

Roar on the Shore is a week-long celebration of motorcycles that includes performances by live bands, a dozen different group rides and many more fun activities for motorcycle riders and enthusiasts. Every year, bikers celebrate Roar on the Shore during the third week of July. Sadly, people often end up getting hurt during this event. If you're planning on attending Roar on the Shore, be certain to protect yourself by following some simple safety rules.

My BAC was higher than .08 -- is that a drunk driving felony?

Allegations of driving under the influence are no small matter, particularly when they involve serious accusations. In Pennsylvania, drunk driving charges are filed as one of three levels. Drivers may be charged with General Impairment, High BAC or Highest BAC. Each has its own requirements for charges, and punishments vary between each.

Drivers charged with General Impairment have a blood/alcohol content between .08 and .099 percent at the time of their arrest. Those with no prior offenses can expect to pay a fine of $300, serve six months of probation, attend highway safety school and potentially undergo alcohol-related treatment. Prior offenses will change the possible consequences. One prior offense could land someone behind jail for up to six months, while two may lead to two years of prison.

You don't need a "big injury" to get workers' compensation

Workplace injuries are no laughing matter, and each year an untold number of employees in Pennsylvania are hurt on the job. Most people think that workers' compensation only applies to so-called "big injuries" that are the result of serious accidents. While this might be the prevailing belief, the reality is that men and women who suffer any type of work-related injury qualify for compensation.

Determining whether an injury is work-related is usually straightforward, although there can be nuance. In general, if a person was carrying out a work task or engaged in activity related to one's employment when injured, then it was work-related. However, a person who was on break but injured in the place of employment can still seek compensation, as can someone who suffered injuries at an event sponsored by work, such as a holiday party.

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