How are school buses to be improved upon?

When you put your children on the bus in the morning, you expect them to be safe and you believe the driver to be qualified to transport this precious…

When you put your children on the bus in the morning, you expect them to be safe and you believe the driver to be qualified to transport this precious cargo. Sometimes, this is a major assumption. Did you know that there were 340,039 fatal crashes during the years of 2004-2013 and of those accidents, 1,214 involved a school bus or transport? Astounding as it may seem, this is the truth.

In this same time period, there were 1,344 people who died in school sponsored traffic accidents. This translates to 134 fatalities per year. That is just too many. With the size of the bus, you would think that the kids would be safe. Unfortunately, this isn’t true. What exactly is the definition of a school transport?

The definition of school sponsored transport is a bus or even a non-bus that is transporting students under the age of 18. They are taking the students to activities that are during the school operating hours.

Twenty-five million students start the school day on a bus. They are designed for safety by being large, imposing, have flashing lights and drivers who are supposedly the top-of-the-line.

There are always ways to improve the system of transportation and this means that school buses can be improved on:

— Don’t roughhouse when getting on the bus– Don’t go near any type of traffic– Don’t stray when waiting– Line up when the bus comes– Wait until the bus comes to a full stop before trying to get on– Use the handrail provided on the bus

Sometimes, no matter how many rules you follow and how careful you are, an accident occurs. Your child is hurt through no fault of his or her own and you are distraught. You may have to miss work while your child recovers, not to mention the huge medical bills that will surely come. Being aware that this can happen is one thing, actually experiencing it is another. Having someone to talk to about this who has knowledge and experience in the law will be a vital help at such a traumatic time.

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “School-Transportation-Related Crashes,” accessed Aug. 28, 2015

Seeking solutions for Pennsylvania drunk driving accidents

Unfortunately, many residents in the Lehigh Valley area of Pennsylvania have suffered personal injury or property damage due to drunk driving accidents. This group of people includes accident victims…

Unfortunately, many residents in the Lehigh Valley area of Pennsylvania have suffered personal injury or property damage due to drunk driving accidents. This group of people includes accident victims themselves as well as family members of the victims. What makes it even harder for these victims is the simple fact that the problem of driving drunk is entirely preventable. Yet people continue to choose to get behind the wheel in a highly inebriated state, thereby taking their lives and the lives of others in their hands.

More people across the nation now recognize that the problem of drunk driving accidents is very nearly at the epidemic level. As such, many states have tightened their focus on putting an end to this tragedy. Pennsylvania is no exception and our lawmakers and police officials are also searching for ways to end drunk driving and reduce motor vehicle accidents.

Some of the solutions state governments now rely on include:

— Random sobriety checkpoints– Drivers’ license revocation or suspension– Ignition interlock devices— Steep penalties, even for first offenders

Educating young drivers in our society also plays a key role in helping reduce drunk driving accidents. By educating new motor vehicle operators with a full understanding of the danger of driving drunk, the next wave of adult drivers will hopefully behave more responsibly behind the wheel.

Drunk driving accidents are not likely to completely stop anytime soon. This means Pennsylvania drivers who follow the letter of the law need to protect themselves and their personal property. You can learn more about seeking compensation following a drunk driving accident by browsing the pages of our website.

Victim auditioned for ‘American Idol’ before fatal crash

A 20-year-old passenger was killed recently on a Pennsylvania highway when a teen driver lost control of a Jeep. The 17-year-old driver and four other occupants suffered injuries when…

A 20-year-old passenger was killed recently on a Pennsylvania highway when a teen driver lost control of a Jeep. The 17-year-old driver and four other occupants suffered injuries when the vehicle rolled over on Interstate 95. According to a crash assessment by state police investigators, speeding led to the fatal car accident.

The woman who died had been in Philadelphia earlier that day among people auditioning for the televised talent show “American Idol.” Four of the six people in the Jeep were teens; the oldest was 24. Authorities said several occupants weren’t wearing safety restraints – three car accident victims were ejected during the nighttime crash.

Investigators reported the teen driver sped along the right shoulder of the northbound interstate in Bucks County to pass another vehicle. The Jeep Liberty then cut across traffic at a high speed and flipped over multiple times after entering the grassy median.

The driver, a 16-year-old female and two male passengers, ages 18 and 24, were hospitalized with noncritical injuries. A 19-year-old woman suffered broken ribs and a head injury. The unidentified teen driver is a Belleville, Mifflin County, resident — the woman who died and the other passengers lived in several different cities in a neighboring state.

The investigation into the fatal single-vehicle accident is incomplete. State police have not decided whether the minor driver will face criminal charges.

Personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits may be filed in Pennsylvania whether or not a driver is charged with a crime. Accident victims and surviving family members appeal to civil courts for compensation to cover losses like medical expenses, lost wages and other damages. Courts make judgments based upon whether negligent or reckless behavior caused serious or fatal injuries.

Accident attorneys help victims and families hold careless drivers accountable for their actions. Compensation from claims cannot undo harm caused by a crash. Damages reduce victims’ financial stress.

Source: The Morning Call, “Police release name of American Idol hopeful killed in I-95 crash,” Jo Ciavaglia, Calkins Media, Aug. 04, 2015

How to avoid some common workplace injuries

Some workplace accidents in Pennsylvania are freak accidents, things that could never have been anticipated or avoided, but many of them are rather predictable. By taking the right steps,…

Some workplace accidents in Pennsylvania are freak accidents, things that could never have been anticipated or avoided, but many of them are rather predictable. By taking the right steps, employers and employees can keep these things from happening.

For instance, a lot of back and spine injuries happen when employees are lifting heavy objects. To prevent this, employers can use carts and winches to assist with lifting when needed, and they can teach employees about technique and form — lifting with their legs, not their backs — so that they’re not hurt even when they have to lift on their own.

Another good way to avoid injuries is by risk mapping. This is done by taking a fresh look at the machines, facilities and equipment that are in use. Employers can look for potential dangers and examine workplace processes, and then they can take steps to eliminate very specific risks.

However, it’s important to remember that employees play a part in the accidents, as well. Employers need to make sure employees are not distracted, either by trying to do multiple jobs at once or by talking on a cellphone while working. Employees should also not be forced into shifts that are too long so that they are over-tired, which can cause them to make mistakes when they feel fatigued that they never would have made with a more sensible schedule that left them feeling fresh and alert.

Even when doing the above, workplace injuries cannot always be avoided. Those who have been hurt on the job must know what rights they have to seek out workers’ compensation.

Source: INC, “9 Avoidable Workplace Health and Safety Hazards,” Josh Spiro, accessed Aug. 14, 2015

Agency makes second attempt to reduce exposure to toxic material

Beryllium is a metal used across an array of industries including coal blasting space exploration and nuclear energy. It has become a valuable resource for engineers due to its…

Beryllium is a metal used across an array of industries including coal blasting space exploration and nuclear energy. It has become a valuable resource for engineers due to its lightweight strength and its ability to withstand the harsh environments many industries require. However, this material can also be deadly to many of the workers employed in these industries. It seems that just micro-sized amounts of beryllium dust and fumes can cause cancer as well as other major illnesses.

In 1975, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration made an attempt to tighten its standards regarding worker exposure to beryllium, but was defeated by the opposition of the secretaries of energy and defense. The opposition stemmed from beryllium’s critical use in the nuclear weapons industry, with the secretaries arguing that reducing worker exposure could compromise the nation’s defense strategies.

Now, OSHA is once again addressing industrial exposure to beryllium. On Thursday, August 6, OSHA proposed a set of new standards designed to reduce the acceptable level of exposure from two micrograms per an eight-hour shift to 0.2 micrograms per shift. OSHA staff members believe this reduction could save nearly 100 lives annually while also preventing up to 50 serious illnesses each year.

The new beryllium exposure standards could also benefit the nation, which has already paid compensation to some 2,500 nuclear weapons workers who have been diagnosed with chronic beryllium disease. OSHA also reports the use of beryllium in additional products such as space telescopes, dental appliances and golf clubs.

Hopefully, the new OSHA standards regarding beryllium exposure will soon be put into place, minimizing the risk of illnesses for workers in Pennsylvania. In the meantime, any worker in the state who believes he or she became ill because of beryllium will benefit from speaking with an attorney. A lawyer can help these victims with workers’ compensation insurance as well as third party lawsuits in some cases.

Source: The Center for Public Integrity, “OSHA seeks to reduce exposure to highly useful, highly toxic metal,” Jamie Smith Hopkins, Aug. 05, 2015

Risks for Lehigh Valley motorcycle riders

The freedom to ride enjoyed by Pennsylvania motorcyclists can come with a heavy price. Motorcyclists are well aware of the hazards of riding, but the dangers bear repeating for…

The freedom to ride enjoyed by Pennsylvania motorcyclists can come with a heavy price. Motorcyclists are well aware of the hazards of riding, but the dangers bear repeating for drivers who, all too often, fail to acknowledge riders’ rights. Driver right-of-way violations are responsible for 66 percent of accidents involving motorcycles and larger vehicles.

The risks of dying in an accident are approximately 26 times greater for motorcycle riders than people protected by the steel bodies of cars. Motorcyclists fare a little better when it comes to injuries. Riders are only five times more likely to be hurt in crashes than passenger car occupants.

Motorcyclists aren’t surrounded by air bags or restrained by seat belts. Many riders choose not to wear helmets. In Pennsylvania, bikers 21 and older with adequate riding experience are permitted to make that choice.

Bikes are smaller vehicles and, therefore, more difficult than other vehicles to see in traffic, but size does not diminish the rights for motorcycles and motorcyclists have to be on Pennsylvania roads. Many collisions occur because drivers don’t watch out for bikes and misjudge motorcycle speeds. These may be the reasons about 70 percent of all car accidents involving motorcycles occur at intersections.

When bike-car accidents take place, fault is a major factor in determining who pays for medical expenses, lost wages and other damages. Pennsylvania uses a comparative fault theory to decide whether compensation for negligence is warranted. Accidents victims and wrongful death plaintiffs may be awarded damages as long as their percentage of fault does not exceed the defendant’s percentage.

In other words, a rider injured in a bike crash may be able to recover compensation, even if the biker was partially responsible for the accident. This is important information for motorcycle accident victims who hesitate to file claims due to partial fault. An MHK Attorney can review your case and make claim recommendations.

What if my workers’ compensation claim is denied?

If you suffered an injury on the job, it is likely that you have considered filing for workers’ compensation. You may have read about the process involved in notifying your…

If you suffered an injury on the job, it is likely that you have considered filing for workers’ compensation. You may have read about the process involved in notifying your employer of your injury, filing a claim and obtaining benefits for medical expenses and lost wages. While many people go through the process of seeking worker’s compensation, not everyone gets the decision they want to hear.

Learning that your claim was denied can be devastating. You and your family may have been depending on the compensation to stay afloat while you cannot work and have medical expenses to pay. Fortunately, you have the right to appeal the decision.

Once you learn that your claim was denied, you have 20 days to file an appeal. Your appeal will be filed with the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board. If your claim is denied again, you have the option to appeal a second time to the Commonwealth Court and a third time to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

Although you are not required to have an attorney to appeal your claim, many people choose to do so. Having an experienced lawyer on your side can help ensure you understand your rights and present a strong case at each step of the appeals process. For those who are new to the system, the appeals process can be very confusing. Your lawyer will understand the system and help guide you through it.

If you have been worried about what could happen if your workers’ compensation claim is denied, we hope knowing that you have the option to appeal is helpful. To learn more about how we can help with your workers’ compensation matters, please visit our Workers’ Compensation page.