Goldstein, Heslop, Steele, Clapper, Oswalt & Smith

Altoona Personal Injury Blog

A look at legal protections available to injured motorcyclists

Motorcycle riding can create special vulnerabilities for motorcyclists on the roadways that can make them susceptible to harm at the hands of careless or negligent drivers. Motorcycle accident victims can suffer catastrophic injuries and death if they are struck by an inattentive or careless driver on the roadways. Because of the serious nature of motorcycle accidents, it is important for motorcycle riders to understand their rights on the road and if they have been injured or otherwise harmed.

When a negligent or careless driver has failed to yield the righto of way or observe a motorcyclist, the motorcycle rider may suffer significant and serious physical, financial and emotional damages. It is worth noting that in two-thirds of motorcycle accidents, the driver of the other vehicle failed to yield the right of way to the motorcycle rider, causing the accident and the harm the motorcyclist suffered.

Pennsylvania construction accident kills one and injures two

A recent construction accident in a nearby Pennsylvania community southwest of the Altoona area claimed the life of one victim and injured two others. All three of the victims involved in the electrocution accident were taken to the hospital following the accident and one of them died in the emergency department. The coroner reported that construction crews were working on the sewer system when the incident took place.

The coroner further reported that the construction accident occurred when a machine the workers were using in their work came into contact with high-tension lines carrying 23,000 volts of electricity. The electricity went down the machine the workers were using and electrocuted one worker and shocked two others. Power in the area was lost as a result of the accident.

What things are threatening your safety on construction sites?

Construction is a job that comes with certain inherent risks for the men and women employed in this field. Despite the physical risks you may face at your job in construction, you still have the right to a workplace that is reasonably free from any unnecessary risks.

Pennsylvania site managers and employers have the responsibility to ensure that workers have the training and protection needed to address common safety issues found in construction sites. If you do suffer injuries in an accident while working in construction, you have the right to seek financial support through a workers' compensation claim.

What can I do if my workers' comp claim is not approved?

It was just like any other day. You left your house, went to work, clocked in and started about your business. Then it happened, you suffered an injury -- one that needed immediate medical attention. You sought medical treatment and then, when you could, filed a report with your employer and a claim for workers' compensation benefits. You expected receive those benefits to cover your losses, but either your employer or the insurance company decided to deny your claim. Now what happens?

The sad reality of workers' compensation claims is that employers and insurance companies deny many of them or only provide partial benefits. This leaves many hard-working Pennsylvania residents like you left to try to figure out how they are going to get by. Luckily, a denied workers' comp claim is not the end of your story. You may still have a way to get the relief you need

The importance of workers' compensation to Pennsylvania workers

Workers' compensation benefits are important benefits for workers who have been injured in a workplace accident or are suffering from a workplace illness. The importance of worker's compensation benefits for many workers, their families and their ability to provide for their families cannot be overstated. Workers' compensation benefits may vary based on the situation and circumstances and it is important for workers and their families to know how to obtain them.

In Pennsylvania, workers compensation benefits include lost pay for the time period while the worker is disabled because of their workplace injury; compensation for medical expenses related to the worker's medical care and treatment because of the workplace injury; compensation for any disfigurement that worker has suffered because of the workplace injury; and death benefits for surviving family members in circumstances of a fatal workplace accident.

No helmet, no guaranteed safety for motorcyclists in PA

In 2003, state legislature passed a controversial law making helmets optional for motorcycle riders in Pennsylvania. Fifteen years later, the data shows an increase in motorcycle fatalities as predicted by state lawmakers who opposed this law. The law allows both motorcyclists and their passengers, age 21 and older an exemption from wearing a helmet.

The same law that made it optional to wear a helmet now has an increase of 60 percent annual motorcyclist fatalities. The controversy of this law places personal freedom in question as opposed to putting safety first as some politicians have argued. Those in favor of the 2003 helmet law may attribute the increase of fatalities as a result of distracted drivers on smartphones.

Why is the texting while driving law so difficult to enforce?

As a driver, keeping your eyes on the road should be a no-brainer. In truth, however, modern life has made it exceedingly easy to become distracted behind the wheel. With advanced dash consoles and smartphones, drivers have so much to see at their fingertips that can easily avert their eyes from the road before.

Still, texting remains the biggest reason for distracted driving, and for its part, Pennsylvania has a law in place that forbids this behavior. However, some have said the law is almost unenforceable. So why is this law, for all its good intentions, so seemingly toothless?

On motor vehicle accident fatalities and their sudden rise

In our last post, we talked about reckless driving. This dangerous behavior can take many different forms, from speeding out on the road to failing to obey street and traffic signs. When reckless drivers are out on the road, the chance of a motor vehicle accident greatly increases.

We're discussing all of this again because the data on fatal motor vehicles accidents in the United States paints a scary picture for the coming years. For most of the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, and even 1990s, the number of people that died every year in the U.S. due to a motor vehicle accident routinely hovered in the 40,000s. There were even numerous years with more than 50,000 fatalities related to motor vehicle accidents.

Reckless driving: A criminal and civil legal issue

At some point during your week -- or maybe even your day -- you will see a driver who operates his or her vehicle in questionable ways. You may notice someone speeding excessively or disregarding traffic signals and immediately think of the danger that person is putting him or herself and others in. Unfortunately, this type of driver is everywhere.

People who drive recklessly may have many excuses for doing so. They may be late for work, feel frustrated by slow-moving traffic or simply enjoy toeing the line of danger. Though speeding up a bit or cutting it close at a red light may help someone get to his or her destination a moment quicker, these actions -- and other reckless maneuvers -- could also cause a car accident that results in someone going to the hospital instead of an intended location.

Internal bleeding may be difficult to notice

When vehicles collide, everything seems to stop. Traffic on either side of the highway slows to a crawl. Whatever you had planned for the immediate future is now on hold, especially if you are in one of the vehicles that just crashed. Pennsylvania emergency medical responders may look you over, check for broken bones and bandage any bleeding wounds. They may transport you to a hospital for a more thorough evaluation.

It is your right to refuse that evaluation, and you may think it is okay to do so. After all, the accident has already cost you time, and you probably want to get back to your routine as quickly as possible. However, refusing to seek treatment may be dangerous. Automobile accidents can leave victims with unseen injuries, and leaving those injuries unchecked may lead to serious complications.

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Goldstein, Heslop, Steele, Clapper, Oswalt & Smith

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