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March 2014 Archives

Court to decide if flooding suits against RR will be permitted

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court heard arguments earlier this month on whether or not the Federal Railroad Safety Act (FRSA) prohibits negligence suits against railroads for property damage caused by water diverted off their land due to poor track maintenance.  Currently, common law negligence suits brought by adjoining property owners against railroad companies are typically preempted/prohibited by federal law.  The Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution provides that federal law trumps state law when the two are in conflict.  Here the FRSA trumps state law thus prohibiting citizens from bringing negligence claims the arise from an area covered by the federal law. 

HITTIN' THE ROAD WITH FRIDAY & COX: BEAVER, PA

In representing our clients, we travel around Western Pennsylvania from Pittsburgh to Erie to Smethport to Bellefonte to Bedford and beyond on a daily basis. While driving around, I (Paul G. Mayer, Jr.) try take a minute every once in a while to appreciate the beautiful scenery and interesting people of our Commonwealth. In "Hittin' the Road with Friday & Cox", I'll give you the highlights. Hope you enjoy it.

Pennsylvanian worker dies in construction site accident


It is quite possible for any worker to fall victim to an accident in the workplace. However, for those who work in a construction site, the chances of such an accident increase due to the inherently dangerous nature and surroundings of the worksite.

First Toyota, now GM, carmakers lose consumer confidence over latest recall scandals

Recalls on automobiles are not uncommon.  Today's vehicles are equipped with numerous electrial components that tell the vehicle everything from how to steer, when to apply the breaks and even the temperature to heat the cabin.  As consumers we expect the carmakers to design safe, reliable automobiles.  We expect them to be on the watch for problems or defects.  We believe that the companies will recall the automobile as soon as a problem is detected.  Unfortunately companies may cut corners and delay a recall to save their bottomline.  If injury occurs because of a faulty automobile the injured party may have a product liability case against the manufacturer.

Failing safety standards in Pennsylvanian oil and gas industry


Working in a hazardous environment and doing jobs that arguably dangerous often bring along with it the chances of injury and even fatality for a Pennsylvanian worker. While an on-the-job injury does mean the possibility of obtaining workers' compensation benefits, which can recompense for the medical expenses incurred and the lost wages, it is always better that the workplace remains safe and hazardous activities are minimized and proper safety protocols duly observed.

Roofer injured by fall through rare skylight, will building owner be held liable?

A property owner is required to make the premises safe for vistors and workers invited onto the property.  If the owner fails to make the premises safe, he can be held liable if someone sustains personal injury on the premises.  A recent Somerset County case involves a roofer injured when he fell through a rare, over 100 year old skylight.  The injured roofer, who was working for an independent contractor at the time, filed the lawsuit against the building owner.  Typically when a worker employed by an independent contractor is injured on the the job, the owner of the premises will not be held liable if the worker is injured by the negiglience of the independent contrator.  Here, the injured worker argued that the roof on the building was unqiue and the repair work was governed by Occupational Safety Health Act (OSHA).  He also argued that the owner of the building knew that the independent contract was not complying with OSHA work standards.

OSHA cites Pennsylvania company for workplace hazards


The concern about workplace safety and the aim to minimize the number of accidents occurring in the workplace led to the creation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration within the U.S. Department of Labor. The objective of OSHA is to ensure a reduction in workplace safety hazards and implement programs related to workers' health and safety, thereby curbing any work injury in the process.

Kid's Chance of PA provides scholarships to kids of injured workers

The Workers' Compensation system is designed to cover the medical expenses incurred by a worker who suffers a work related injury or illness. Sadly, when the work related injury is severe, or, in some instances, when the work related accident results in death the impact on the worker's family can be divestating.  Not only does the family have to cope with the worker's severe injury or death, they also have to learn how to get by with loss of the injured worker's income. 

Pennsylvania Governor offers award to lessen workplace accidents


It is common for both employers and workers to strive for the highest standards of safety possible in the workplace. That is because an industrial accident may do more than just cause injury or death to workers. It may also have financial implications for the employer in terms of workmen's compensation, as well as fines if the work accident can be attributed to employer negligence.

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