MHK Attorneys Merwine, Hanyon & Kaspszyk, LLP
Call Now For A Consultation
570-243-1392 local
800-564-5136 toll free
Our Practice Areas

Lehigh County Workers' Compensation Law Blog

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 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?

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 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.

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 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.

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, 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.

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 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.

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 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.

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 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.

Do drivers convicted of DUIs have to use Ignition Interlock?

The ignition interlock system was designed to check a person's breath for alcohol before allowing a motor vehicle to start. Every time he or she wants to use the car—regardless of the time of day—the person has to blow into the device. Only when he or she is cleared will the vehicle start.

So, do you have to use this system if you get a DUI in Pennsylvania? As you'll see, the answer can be both yes and no, depending on the circumstances.

Without independent agreement, injured worker wins workers' comp

A recent story out of Fleetwood, Pennsylvania, shows employers and employees the importance of signing contracts in a timely manner. Reportedly, an independent subcontractor hired as a painter for Lee's Metal Roof Coatings & Painting in 2011 is entitled to workers' compensation for injuries received in a fall.

The worker was injured on May 6, 2011, when he fell from a roof, striking his head and injuring his right knee and left ankle. The accident reportedly occurred several days after the contracting company hired the worker. In October of the same year, the injured party filed a workers' compensation claim despite that he was allegedly hired as an independent contractor.

Passenger van dangers and legal remedies

Passenger vans can be an affordable and suitable alternative to buses for Lehigh Valley schools, clubs and other organizations. These vehicles aren't the same as vans sold to large families. Interstate drivers paid for operating commercial vans, with a nine-passenger to 15-passenger capacity, are subject to rules set down by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration wants the public to understand risks associated with these vehicles to prevent van accidents. The government studied fatal 15-passenger van crashes over a 12-year period. Researchers learned about 60 percent of 1,111 fatalities between 1990 and 2002 were the result of single-vehicle collisions -- over 80 percent of deaths in these accidents were due to rollovers.

Super Lawyers Distinguished AV | LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell | Peer Review Rated for ethical standards and legal ability AVVO Rating 10.00 Superb