Goldstein, Heslop, Steele, Clapper, Oswalt & Smith

Altoona Personal Injury Blog

Fatal truck accidents on the rise

If you tense up when a large truck barrels up behind you or passes you on the highway, you are not alone. Most people understand the dangers of sharing the road with tractor-trailers and other large commercial vehicles simply based on their size and speed. When the drivers of those trucks are careless or reckless, it often leads to tragedy.

A recent report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that the anxiety you feel around trucks in not misplaced. In fact, things seem to be getting more dangerous on the roads in Pennsylvania and across the nation. If you lost a loved one or suffered a catastrophic injury in an accident with a truck, you know first-hand how life-changing it can be.

Fatality shows danger of construction workplace accidents

Workplace accidents can happen in any kind of job in Pennsylvania with people suffering injuries and fatalities. Some industries are more dangerous than others, and the work is inherently risky. One of those industries is construction. Given the nature of the work with people stationed at great heights, using heavy equipment and trusting their safety to others, it is no surprise that many workplace accidents occur and people are hurt or lose their lives. For those injured, workers' compensation benefits are critical. For those killed, there are steps that must be taken for the family left behind to get death benefits. Having legal help is step one after a workplace accident.

A worker on a construction site died when he was hit by a piece of equipment. The accident occurred at around 8:30 a.m. when the man, said to be in his early-20s, was hit by an item that had been in the air. Reports suggest that the object spun and hit him. He was killed instantly. It has been referred to as a "freak" accident. It is being investigated by law enforcement and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration or OSHA. The project was to drill lines for an energy plant.

Does crash prevention technology stop distracted driving?

In a little over a decade, smart phones went from a new piece of interesting technology to an essential part of everyday life. Like most other people in Pennsylvania, you probably use your own smart phone for a wide range of tasks, including listening to music, browsing the internet and setting up GPS directions to new locations. Unfortunately, some people struggle to put their phones down while driving, putting you and everyone else at risk for a car accident. 

Distracted driving is a deadly habit. While most new vehicles now come equipped with crash warning systems, they may not actually be helping the problem. 

Are there time limits to get benefits after workplace accidents?

When a Pennsylvania worker suffers an injury or occupational illness on the job, there will be an expectation that he or she can get workers' compensation benefits. These benefits are crucial so the workers can stay financially solvent and get the medical help necessary to get back on the job. However, when seeking workers' compensation benefits after workplace accidents, there are fundamental factors that should be considered. One key issue to remember is the time limits when seeking benefits.

Except in instances where the employer is aware of the injury or the employee has given notice to an employer within 21 days of suffering the injury, there will be no workers' compensation until the injured worker has given that notice. It is necessary for the notice to have been given within 120 days after the injury has happened. If not, the workers' compensation is not given. Should a worker's benefits be denied, there will be three years from the date when the injury occurred to file a claim petition.

Who will button your shirt if your job causes HAVS?

If your job requires you to work with handheld equipment or power tools that produce high levels of vibration, you might be a perfect candidate for Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS). This equipment includes power tools like industrial grinders, impact wrenches, jackhammers and even chainsaws. Safety authorities say millions of workers nationwide, including those in Pennsylvania, suffer such vibrations that could lead to HAVS.

Repeated vibration and shaking of your hands and arms damage the blood vessels, muscles, nerves and joints of your arms and wrists. Researchers say the damage of your hands' very fine blood vessels causes this work-related syndrome.

Teen car accidents could be linked to texting and driving

In Altoona, across Pennsylvania and around the nation, teen drivers are considered risky when out on the road. With their inexperience and lack of judgment, it is nearly unavoidable that there will be car accidents as they just start out as drivers. In recent years, however, a new danger has emerged and is growing more and more problematic. Of course, that is distracted driving. Researchers are embarking on studies to determine just how dangerous this problem is. One recent study indicates that one-third of U.S. teen drivers are texting when behind the wheel.

The study gathered its information via survey. In it, more than 100,000 teens from age 14 and above took part. They came from 35 states and drove in the previous 30 days. In the states, all but one had made it illegal for drivers under 21 to text when driving. Regardless, 38 percent admitted to texting and driving in that time-period. One of the authors of the study emphasizes that the number of teens who text and drive makes it vital that the laws are enforced with greater seriousness.

Workplace accidents and workers' compensation wage-loss

Workers in Altoona and the surrounding areas of Pennsylvania could find themselves victimized by workplace accidents without warning. This applies to any kind of job whether it is one that is considered risky or one that is relatively sedentary and safe. Accidents and injuries do not discriminate, and one of the biggest issues after suffering injuries on the job is making ends meet. Fortunately, there are workers' compensation benefits. It is important, however, for workers to understand various aspects of workers' compensation such as wage-loss payments and when they are made.

When a worker is injured and disabled and they are unable to work for more than seven calendar days, he or she will be eligible for payments. That will include weekends even if the person did not regularly work for seven consecutive days. The injured worker will begin getting payments for time lost on the eighth day. After there have been 14 days of missed work, the worker will get the first week's payment retroactively. Workers will generally get their first payment within 21 days of being out of work. This assumes that the claim is made in a timely fashion and the insurer accepts it. The checks will subsequently come at regular intervals.

The hazards posed by forklifts must not be taken lightly

Regardless what kind of work you do, forklifts have become essential pieces of heavy machinery that are present on almost all work sites, from grocery stores to construction sites to warehouses.

Although the Occupational Safety and Health Administration prescribes safety regulations for the safe operation and employee movement in the vicinity of forklifts, preventable injuries continue to occur. Forklifts could be unstable, and their weight could cause debilitating injuries.

Risk of motorcycle accidents clear after fatal crash with pickup

Motorcycle riders in Pennsylvania are a constant on the roadways. Drivers of four-wheel vehicles and even larger vehicles must share the road with motorcycles and their riders. Motorists should ensure the safety of themselves and others. This is especially important for bikers because they are so vulnerable to major injuries and death when there are motorcycle accidents. With the number of risks increasing, there are times when a motorcycle crash is unavoidable. Those who are injured in a motorcycle accident or the family of a deceased loved one must know the steps to take to file a lawsuit to be compensated.

A motorcycle accident between a 57-year-old rider and a pickup truck led to the death of the man operating the bike. His female passenger suffered serious injuries. The accident happened at shortly before 5 p.m. The rider and the driver of the pickup collided when the pickup was heading north on the roadway. The pickup, a Ford F-250 driven by a 52-year-old man, did not see the motorcycle and turned left in front of it.

Doctors and nurses have high rates of worker injuries

Working in the health care industry can be an incredibly rewarding experience. From helping patients to finding the perfect treatment plan, few other careers offer the same satisfaction. Unfortunately, worker satisfaction is not where this industry peaks. Instead, it is number one for worker injuries. 

As a doctor or nurse, you already understand there are risks associated with your chosen profession. There are needle sticks to worry about, bodily fluids to avoid and dozens of other hazards you encounter every day. These risks may seem so commonplace that you might even forget you can still receive workers' compensation benefits. 

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