Northeastern PA's Oldest Personal Injury Firm

Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Role Of A Juror In A Personal Injury Case

In the United States, juries may hear both criminal and civil cases. In civil cases such as personal injury matters, a natural or artificial person, the plaintiff, files a lawsuit against another natural or artificial person, the defendant. While Pennsylvania juries consist of twelve members in criminal cases, a jury may consist of as few as six jurors or as many as twelve in civil cases.

The Role Of A Juror In A Personal Injury CaseJurors are selected when their name is randomly selected from voter and motor vehicle registration lists. A Pennsylvania county may supplement the master juror list by including additional lists from other sources. Selected jurors are sent a summons, which is a court order requiring them to appear at the time and place stated therein.

Jurors generally perform the following functions in a civil or criminal trial in Pennsylvania:

  • Listen to all evidence presented during the trial;
  • Deliberate by discussing the evidence with other jury members and deciding the facts of a case based upon the evidence presented, including testimonial evidence from witnesses;
  • Apply the law to the facts that you determine in your role as a jury member;
  • Refrain from any participation in all independent investigative activity;
  • Determine the money damages in civil cases as applicable;
  • Decide whether the defendant is guilty or not guilty in criminal cases; and
  • Reach a verdict.

Accurately establishing all of the elements of a cause of action for personal injuries requires the experience of the personal injury attorneys at Powell Law. If you have been injured and require legal assistance, contact the Powell Law Firm. Our decades of experience make it the clear and obvious choice for representation in personal injury matters in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and surrounding areas. Contact Powell Law at (570) 961-0777. The consultation is FREE and you don’t pay unless we win!


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The Role Of The WCJ In Comp Cases

The role of the Workers Compensation Judge (WCJ) involves his or her role as the ultimate finder of fact. A WCJ also makes any determinations of credibility. The findings of a WCJ may not be reversed on appeal provided that there is support in the evidentiary record, including an explanation of the WCJ’s underlying reasoning for the decision.

The Role Of The WCJ In Comp CasesAppellate courts in Pennsylvania may only review whether there has been an error of law, or whether the WCJ made a “reasoned decision.” The latter is a decision that provides enough information for an appellate review.

A WCJ must adequately explain the underlying reasons for any determinations of credibility. Simply stating that an opinion was “not convincing” will not provide enough information for an appellate review, i.e., to determine whether there was a sufficient basis for the finding.

WCJs may also mediate settlements between the parties. A Pennsylvania WCJ, usually not the WCJ that rendered the case’s decision, may oversee and conduct a settlement negotiation. In this situation, a WCJ will assist the parties in reaching some compromise, but may only facilitate it and may not mandate it. You should only rely on an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to tell you whether any settlement is in your best interest.

Since James Powell, Sr., founded Powell Law in 1906, our attorneys have represented all types of workers in workers’ compensation cases. Our decades of experience make us the clear and obvious choice for representation in workers’ compensation matters in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and surrounding areas. At Powell Law, we effectively assist clients throughout the entire workers’ compensation claims process. Consult an experienced Pennsylvania workers’ compensation attorney. Contact Powell Law at (570) 961-0777. The consultation is FREE!

 


Thursday, October 12, 2017

Accident Victims May Not Immediately Feel The Effects Of Their Injuries

Accident victims often think that they have escaped an accident unscathed if they experience no pain or visible signs of physical harm. Too often victims have discovered that they are not free of injury. Many of the types of injuries suffered in motor vehicle accidents do not cause pain immediately after the event. Such injuries are often referred to as delayed onset injuries. Drivers and passengers alike that are in an accident should always, without exception, seek medical care to ensure that they are not afflicted with any delayed pain injuries.

Accident Victims May Not Immediately Feel The Effects Of Their InjuriesWhile most types of delayed onset injuries are not potentially life-threatening, any delayed pain felt in the abdominal region may indicate serious injuries that require immediate medical attention. Such pain may result from internal bleeding or organ damage. Failure to seek medical treatment as soon as possible may be fatal.

Delayed pain in the upper body region around the shoulders or neck may occur. While delayed pain and soreness may occur in any muscle, it is most common in the neck, back, and shoulders.

Accident victims who strike their head at the time of the accident may have brain damage in the form of a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Even a mild TBI may present serious harm if the victim does not seek proper treatment immediately.

Injuries and trauma to the spinal cord may cause delayed pain, especially since all of the body’s nerves travel through the spinal cord. Discs in a spine may bulge or shift out of alignment resulting in pinched nerves, which may further cause, not only severe pain, but numbness, tingling, and loss of feeling in the hands, arms, and legs.

If you or a loved one has suffered any type of injury resulting from a motor vehicle accident, contact Powell Law at (570) 961-0777. The consultation is FREE and you don’t pay anything unless we win. Our attorneys, past and present, have represented motor vehicle accident victims for 111 years. Call today!

 

 


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The Death Of The IRE In Workers Compensation Cases

A recent summer ruling by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on the impairment review evaluation (IRE) process utilized in Pennsylvania workers’ compensation cases may entitle injured Pennsylvania workers to additional benefits under the law. The ruling in Protz v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (Derry Area School District) barred the use of IREs, which permitted employers to cap workers’ compensation insurance costs when paying lost wages due to a work-related injury, usually in cases where a worker is unable to return to work. With the “death” of the impairment review evaluation process, injured workers may be eligible for additional workers’ compensation indemnity benefits.

The Death Of The IRE In Workers Compensation CasesAlthough the financial impact of the Protz ruling is still unknown, experts and observers believe it will raise insurance premiums and other related costs. The Protz case was filed by a school employee, Mary Ann Protz, who challenged the use of guidebooks regularly published by the American Medical Association (AMA).

Doctors regularly relied upon these guidebooks to determine the extent of a worker’s injury at least 104 weeks after the initial injury. Whenever a worker’s injury or impairment was deemed less than 50 percent, Pennsylvania law capped the worker’s lost-wage benefits at 500 weeks, instead of continuing for life.

Protz argued that reliance on the AMA guidebooks represented an unconstitutional delegation of legislative authority since any change or revision of the guidelines would effectively alter the law of workers’ compensation related to benefits. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ultimately found in her favor.

The ruling removed a significant means for employers to reduce exposure and cap benefits for lost wages. Whereas employers could limit costs by negotiating lump-sum settlements with injured workers, future settlements may be higher without the leverage of IREs and the threat of a cap on benefits in the absence of any settlement.

Because of the Protz ruling, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry Bureau of Workers’ Compensation stated:

“Effective immediately, the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation will no longer designate physicians to perform Impairment Rating Evaluations.

The primary significance of the Supreme Court declaring the IRE process to be unconstitutional is that Pennsylvania workers who once thought they were ineligible for further benefits may now have an opportunity to receive additional benefits. Since James Powell, Sr., founded Powell Law, our attorneys have represented all types of workers in workers’ compensation cases for 111 years since 1906. Our decades of experience make us the clear and obvious choice for representation in workers’ compensation matters in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and surrounding areas. At Powell Law, we effectively assist clients throughout the entire workers’ compensation claims process. Consult an experienced Pennsylvania workers’ compensation attorney. Contact Powell Law at (570) 961-0777. The consultation is FREE!


Thursday, October 5, 2017

Determining Whether An Owner's Actions Are Reasonable In Slip and Fall Cases

In establishing that the owner or operator of a location is negligent in a case based on premises liability, more commonly known as a slip-and-fall, the main query is whether its conduct was reasonable. The property owner, its’ agent or employee must have failed to act as a reasonably prudent person would have acted under similar circumstances. In examining and determining whether the defendant acted reasonably, several variables factor into the analysis of the “reasonableness” of a property owner’s conduct.

Determining Whether An Owner's Actions Are Reasonable In Slip and Fall Cases One factor involves the length of time that the hazardous condition or obstacle existed. Was it in existence for a sufficient time that a reasonable property owner or employee would have taken action to eliminate the hazard? These are important questions.

Does some record exist of the property owner or its agents following a policy of routinely making safety checks on the property for hazardous conditions? If so, what does the record show of what happened after the accident? Another variable is whether the property owner had any reasonable justification for the potential hazard’s origin. If any such justification did exist at that time, was it still in existence at the time of the accident?

Another element is whether the property owner could have taken measures to make the hazardous condition less dangerous. What preventive measures, if any, were available? Was it possible for the property owner to place signs of warning or caution? Could the property owner have restricted access to the hazard’s location? Often, particularly in slip-and-fall cases in buildings, the issue arises as to the lighting of the area where the accident occurred. Was it poor thus limiting visibility? It is apparent that many issues arise in these cases and experienced legal counsel may be necessary to adequately address all of them.

Establishing the elements of a personal injury case based on premises liability requires the experience and expertise of the personal injury attorneys at Powell Law. If you have been injured and require assistance in litigating a claim for injuries based on a slip-and-fall incident, contact the Powell Law Firm. Our decades of experience make it the clear and obvious choice for representation in personal injury matters in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and surrounding areas. Contact Powell Law at (570) 961-0777. The consultation is FREE and you don’t pay unless we win!

 


Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Important Issues In Slip and Fall Cases

Accidents may occur at any time, at any place. When some force outside of an injured party’s control causes an accident, some difficult questions may arise, but typically, there is legal recourse available. For 111 years, the attorneys at Powell Law have litigated on behalf of Pennsylvania personal injury and slip-and-fall victims.

Important Issues In Slip and Fall CasesIn public, there is never complete certainty as to what is just around the corner. One step and the result may be a fall, and worse, a serious injury. The two main issues in these types of cases relate to the cause of the fall and whether the party responsible for this cause was negligent by violating a duty to the person harmed.

Any case based on premises liability requires proof that the defendant acted unreasonably, i.e., it must have known about or been able to foresee a defect and then failed to repair or remedy it. In some cases, the owner or operator of the premises may actually cause the hazardous condition, for example, by leaving a hazardous obstacle on a sidewalk or pathway.

In Pennsylvania, government agencies may be immune from tort claims for incidents involving premises liability. An exception to this rule states that a public entity may be liable if the property is in the care, custody or control of real property in possession of the local government agency.

Establishing the elements of a personal injury case requires the experience and expertise of the personal injury attorneys at Powell Law. If you have been injured and require assistance in litigating a personal injury claim, contact the Powell Law Firm. Our decades of experience make it the clear and obvious choice for representation in personal injury matters in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and surrounding areas. Contact Powell Law at (570) 961-0777. The consultation is FREE and you don’t pay unless we win!

 

 


Thursday, September 28, 2017

For First Time, Drugged Driving Surpasses Drunk Driving For Fatally Injured Drivers

An attorney experienced in litigating personal injury lawsuits involving all types of motor vehicle and motorcycle accidents may provide invaluable assistance to anyone involved in an accident. Powell Law has litigated on behalf of the injured for 111 years. If you have suffered some injury as the result of an accident, call the attorneys at Powell Law. Your first consultation is free.

For First Time, Drugged Driving Surpasses Drunk Driving For Fatally Injured DriversIn a study of fatally injured drivers released earlier this year, findings revealed that 2015 was the first time that drug use was more prevalent than alcohol use. The data indicates that drivers killed in motor vehicle crashes are more likely to be under the influence of drugs than alcohol. The number of drivers who tested positive for drugs after dying in a crash rose fifteen percent during the ten-year period from 2005 to 2015 (28 percent in 2005 to 43 percent in 2015).

Forty-three percent of motorists had used a legal or illegal drug, while 37 percent tested above the legal limit for alcohol, according to the report released in the spring of 2017 by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility.

More than a third of these drivers had used marijuana and more than 9 percent, amphetamines. The report references European studies that found marijuana use slightly increased the risk of a crash, while amphetamines, opioids and mixing alcohol with drugs greatly increased the risk.

Attorneys must have the ability and expertise to analyze all of the legal and technical issues of a particular legal matter. Powell Law has litigated on behalf of the injured for 111 years. If you or a loved one has suffered any type of injury resulting from a motor vehicle accident, contact Powell Law at (570) 961-0777. The consultation is FREE and you don’t pay anything unless we win.

 

 


Thursday, September 7, 2017

Are You Entitled To Disability Benefits? Establishing A Disability, Part 2

Applicants for disability benefits who provide the Social Security Administration (SSA) with timely, accurate, and complete information and evidence will typically help accelerate the processing of their claim. Once an applicant establishes the existence of an impairment, the SSA considers all evidence from all medical and non-medical sources to assess the extent to which a claimant’s impairment(s) affects his or her ability to function in a work environment.

Are You Entitled To Disability Benefits? Establishing A Disability, Part 2The SSA considers medical records that include test results from MRIs, CAT-Scans, X-rays, and EKGs; reports from a treating doctor or psychiatrist that states the disability; the reported symptoms; the doctor’s findings, the medications taken and how the disability causes difficulties in physical and/or mental functioning.

An applicant must inform SSA or submit all evidence known to the applicant that relates to whether or not blindness or a disability exists. This duty is ongoing and requires the applicant to disclose any additional related evidence of which she becomes aware during the entire administrative review process. This evidence must be complete and detailed enough for SSA to determine the nature and severity of the applicant’s impairment(s); the duration of time that the applicant has experienced the impairment(s), and whether the applicant still has the ability to perform work-related physical and mental activities despite the impairment(s).

If an application is denied, SSA will send the worker a written notice stating that an appeal must be filed within 60 days of the denial notice. What happens next depends on the underlying reason for the application’s denial. If denied for a non-disability reason such as too many assets, the worker must request a “reconsideration.” If this is also denied, then a worker must request a “hearing.” If denied for a reason related to the disability itself, a worker must request a “hearing” in Pennsylvania.

The assistance of an experienced disability attorney may help you navigate the often lengthy and complicated process of applying for disability benefits. Retain the services of an experienced, knowledgeable, and qualified Social Security Disability attorney. Call Powell Law. Your first consultation is free. Contact us online or call (570) 961-0777.


Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Are You Entitled To Disability Benefits? Establishing A Disability, Part 1

The assistance of an experienced disability attorney may help navigate the typically long and complicated process of applying for disability benefits. For 111 years, Powell Law has obtained benefits for disabled working Pennsylvanians and effectively assist clients throughout the entire disability claims process. The consultation is FREE!

Are You Entitled To Disability Benefits? Establishing A Disability, Part 1The Social Security Act (the “Act”) and Social Security Administration (SSA) have administrative regulations that contain and prescribe rules for an individual to establish that he or she is “disabled” under the Act. This definition and criteria may differ from those used and applied in other public and private disability programs.

Disability is defined as the inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity (SGA) by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment(s) which may be expected to result in death or which has lasted or may be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.

The SSA requires evidence that establishes the existence of an impairment. Specifically, “objective medical evidence” from an “acceptable medical source” must establish that a claimant has a medically determinable impairment. Thus, each applicant is responsible for providing medical evidence demonstrating the existence of an impairment(s) and the severity of the impairment(s).

It is important to know that while the Social Security Administration (SSA), with an applicant’s permission, will help obtain medical evidence from the worker’s medical providers who have evaluated, examined, or treated the worker for the impairment(s). An experienced disability attorney may help expedite this process with careful planning before the fact.

The assistance of an experienced disability attorney may help navigate the typically long and complicated process of applying for disability benefits. For 111 years, Powell Law has obtained benefits for disabled working Pennsylvanians. At Powell Law, we effectively assist clients throughout the entire disability claims process. Contact Powell Law at (570) 961-0777. The consultation is FREE!

 

 


Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Elements Of A Medical Malpractice Case - Certificate Of Merit

Incidents of medical malpractice occur every day in Pennsylvania. No matter what causes the injuries associated with any medical procedure or treatment, if such injuries could have been avoided by the use of the accepted standard of care, a person may be entitled to compensation.

Elements Of A Medical Malpractice Case - Certificate Of Merit Pennsylvania law requires the filing of a Certificate of Merit to protect medical professionals from unwarranted lawsuits. A Pennsylvania Rule of Procedure requires the timely filing of a Certificate of Merit either with a medical malpractice lawsuit or shortly after the lawsuit is filed. The certificate is filed by an attorney and any opposing party may file an objection to the certificate.

The expert witness must sign the Certificate of Merit and verify that, after reviewing the facts of the allegations, the expert believes that there is a basis to conclude that the care, skill or knowledge exercised by the professional in the treatment of the patient failed to achieve professional standards and was a cause in bringing harm to the patient. The underlying public policy of this requirement is to prevent the filing of frivolous lawsuits by having an expert review the case and certify its merits before it proceeds through litigation.

Filing a claim for medical malpractice requires a complicated and lengthy analysis as it necessitates the use of expert witnesses to review medical records such as X-Rays, medical charts, doctors’ notes, and any other documentation substantiating a claim. If you or a loved one has suffered any type of injury because of an accident or incident of medical malpractice, including surgical errors or negligence during pregnancy or childbirth, contact Attorney James Mundy at Powell Law (570) 961-0777. The consultation is FREE and you don’t pay anything unless we win.

 


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