Most people are aware that a dog owner can be sued if his dog bites you. But what if a dog runs up to you, jumps on you, and knocks you down, causing injury? That scenario highlights the difference between injuries from dog bites and injuries that occur from a dog attack or confrontation.

Pennsylvania law treats dog attacks differently depending on whether the dog is a “dangerous dog” and whether the bite caused severe injury or death. A “dangerous dog” is defined as one that has:

  1. Inflicted severe injury on a human being without provocation on public or private property.
  2. Killed or inflicted severe injury on a domestic animal, dog, or cat without provocation while off the owner’s property.
  3. Attacked a human being without provocation.
  4. Been used in the commission of a crime.

And the dog has either or both of the following:

  1. A history of attacking human beings and/or domestic animals, dogs, or cats without provocation.
  2. A propensity to attack human beings and/or domestic animals, dogs, or cats without provocation.

Continue Reading Knocked Down and Injured by a Dog – Now What?

Industry stakeholders, contractors, and industry associations recently provided testimony at an OSHA public hearing regarding reinforcing steel and post-tensioning standards. As reported by The Ironworker, the rationale for pursuing new standards is:

  • The current OSHA standard written in 1971 is antiquated and only contains three references specifically pertaining to reinforcing steel and two for post tensioning.
  • Common hazards during reinforcing steel installation and post-tensioning operations are not addressed in current standards.
  • Fatality and accident trends indicate a direct correlation between accident causation factors and lack of specific regulations.
  • The usage of steel reinforced and post-tensioned poured-in-place concrete is expected to double.
  • The negotiated rulemaking process will produce the best safety standard and regulations through the cooperative efforts of OSHA, stakeholders and experts in the reinforcing steel and post-tensioning industry.

Protecting members during reinforcing steel activities is part of the “2017 Zero Incident” campaign. The goal of the campaign is to pursue safety standards that will prevent workplace incidents. Key safety provisions of the proposed OSHA standards pertain to reinforcing steel and post-tensioning standards and prevention of structural collapse during the hoisting process of walls and columns. The proposed text of the standard is available here.

The IBEW reports that members of Philadelphia Building Trades and IBEW Local 98 are volunteering their time and resources to repair a vandalized cemetery in the City of Brotherly Love. In February, vandals toppled hundreds of headstones in the Mount Carmel Jewish Cemetery.

In response to the incident, the Philadelphia Building and Construction Trades Council, headed by Local 98 Business Manager John Dougherty, offered to replace and repair the damaged headstones, and install lighting and security cameras to prevent future vandalism.

City Councilman Bobby Henon, who is also a Local 98 member, tweeted about the Building Trade and IBEW response to the incident, calling it “good news” that Building Trades will restore headstones & IBEW will pay for and install security cameras at the cemetery.

IBEW President Lonnie R. Stephenson applauded the efforts of Local 98 and other members of the Philadelphia building trades.

During the past year the Ironworkers ZERO Fatality-Incident Campaign commissioned by General President Eric Dean, and the IMPACT board of trustees, concentrated on training and communication measures to the improve safety for ironworkers while on the job. The overarching goal of the campaign is to improve safety skills and knowledge.

Continue Reading Ironworkers ZERO Fatality-Incident Campaign

Most people don’t understand that when you get hurt at work, you not only have the potential for a workers’ compensation claim, but also a third party negligence claim. You might wonder, what exactly is the difference between the two?

A workers’ compensation claim is against your employer and is intended to recover partial wage benefits and payment of medical bills from your work related injury, if you are injured in the course and scope of your employment. A third party claim, on the other hand, is against someone other than your employer and is intended to recover pain and suffering, lost wages, future wages, and other damages. Because the law does not allow you to sue your employer for negligence, workers compensation is your only remedy against your employer. As a result, you must look to third party to recover your other losses.

For example, let’s assume you are working at a construction site and you fall through a hole in the floor. As a result of this fall, you are catastrophically injured. The hole was created by Company A, who did not secure, cover, or provide warning for the hole. You work for Company B. In this type of case, you would be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits from Company B and pursue a third party negligence case against Company A for failing to secure, cover, or provide warning for the hole.

Continue Reading Juggling Workers’ Compensation & Third Party/Negligence Cases: You Need Someone Who Can Do Both

With the arrival of the New Year, there are many pledges or resolutions being made. Some pledges include the promises by nursing homes to give better quality care to its residents. While made with good intentions, these promises may actually be prompted as a result of the “Special Focus Facility Initiative” program conducted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

This program reviews nursing homes on a regular basis to determine if the homes are providing quality care. Medicare personnel identify the homes that require corrections or improvements. If serious problems are not corrected then the nursing home’s participation in billing Medicare and Medicaid may be terminated.

As a result, many nursing homes are pledging and resolving to provide better service and improve the care to their residents. The New Year, however, may be too little too late for some, as the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services have already made a list of Nursing Homes that are either in need of improvement or have improved since making the list.

If you are considering placing your loved one in a nursing home, please be sure to consider the information in the Special Focus Facility (“SFF”) Initiative report.

Stark & Stark has developed a Pennsylvania Nursing Home Practice in conjunction with our New Jersey Nursing Home Practice. We represent families of loved ones who have been mistreated and neglected in nursing homes. Please contact Stark & Stark’s Nursing Home Litigation Group if you would like to discuss the improper care your loved one has received in Pennsylvania.

When a family member or loved one is killed as a result of the negligence of another person, it can be understandably difficult to determine what next steps you need to take. In cases such as these, the terms “wrongful death” and “survival” claims are typically discussed. These types of claims aim to recover damages for the families of the deceased. Although both terms are frequently referenced together, they are actually very separate and distinct terms. For this reason, it is extremely important that families understand what each means.

A wrongful death claim is an action to recover damages for the death of an individual. In addition, money may also be recovered for reasonable hospital, nursing, medical, and funeral expenses, as well any expenses resulting from the administration necessitated by the reason(s) of death. The money recovered in a wrongful death claim will only go to either the spouse, child(ren), or parents of the deceased, and only as beneficiaries. Each of these individuals is entitled to money in accordance with intestacy laws. Intestacy is a legal term that refers to any individual who has died without a Will in place. As a result, money obtained from a wrongful death claim is distributed by these laws, so even if there is a Will prior to death, that will not affect or control how this money is distributed amongst family members.

Continue Reading Understanding Wrongful Death & Survival Claims

As an attorney who represents families whose loved ones are neglected, killed and abused in nursing homes, I personally see the care, or should I say lack thereof, provided to our elders. Fortunately, I’m not the only one who’s taken notice. Recently, the Pennsylvania Attorney General, Kathleen Kane, has taken an interest in this subpar care.

A complaint was filed in the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Courts against Golden Gate National Senior Care Center LLC (“Golden Gate”), a company that operates dozens of “Golden Living” nursing home facilities around Pennsylvania. In the complaint, it is alleged that Golden Gate left residents hungry and unkempt, and also participated in unfair trade practices. Specific allegations include a general lack of supervision, which led to incidents of residents being left unchanged and sitting in their own excrement, as well as falsifying records to indicate that services were performed when they had not been.

Jeffery Johnson, a spokesperson for AG Kathleen Kane, has stated that Golden Gate mislead consumers with their advertising, by giving the impression that they offered a certain level of care that, in fact, was not provided. Additionally, when investigations were performed by the Department of Health, Golden Gate would increase their staffing the day of for the purpose of misleading the inspections, according to Johnson. A representative from Golden Gate has denied the allegations and has alleged that Kathleen Kane is pursuing this lawsuit as retaliation and to obtain fees for a connected law firm.

While the outcome of this litigation remains to be seen, there is no doubt that it will draw attention to subpar care that may be present in more nursing home facilities. As an advocate for the elderly, I hope that through litigation, awareness is raised and the conditions that our elders may face in a nursing home improve.

If your family member has been killed, neglected or abused in a nursing home, we recommend that you consult with experienced legal counsel immediately.