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Pittsburgh Wrongful Death Law Blog

Pennsylvania survival actions and wrongful death claims

Pittsburgh civil courts make decisions based upon actions by defendants, accused of carelessly, recklessly or intentionally causing others' losses. In wrongful death cases, family members attempt to recover damages caused by the impact a loved one's death like funeral expenses, medical bills and lost family income.

A civil claim does not place a defendant on trial for an alleged crime. Criminal cases are separately-conducted government matters, which may or may not coincide with civil complaints. No criminal charges or convictions are required for civil lawsuits to proceed.

What treatments are available for Stage 1 mesothelioma?

The linings of the lungs, body cavity, abdomen and heart can harbor a life-threatening disease. Mesothelioma is a rare cancer, tied to asbestos exposure, affecting these protective linings. As with other cancers, an Allegheny County patient's treatment options expand when mesothelioma is diagnosed in an early stage.

Early detection is possible with mesothelioma, but it is also rare. The cancer lays dormant for several decades before symptoms appear. Even then, symptoms like fever, chest pain and coughing easily can lead doctors to other diagnoses like pneumonia.

How do you interpret survival rates for mesothelioma?

Survival rates for any life-threatening health condition measure the life spans of patients between the time of diagnoses and deaths. Allegheny County mesothelioma patients often are not diagnosed until the long-dormant, asbestos-related cancers are well advanced. Survival rates are influenced by several factors.

Improved mesothelioma treatments develop with each day that passes. The most up-to-date survival rates are still snapshots of the past and contain margins of error. Consequently, post-diagnosis longevity can surpass survival rate expectations.

Co-worker dangers for Pennsylvania road construction workers

Allegheny County residents who've worked on road projects know how hazardous job sites can be. Pennsylvania drivers are obligated by a Work Zone Safety Law to activate headlights while traveling through a construction area. Fines and jail time are increased significantly for work zone offenses like disobeying signals, speeding, drunk driving and causing fatal accidents.

Many people don't realize regular motorists aren't the only ones who endanger workers' lives at roadway construction sites. Co-workers are responsible for a considerable number of fatal injuries.

How does strict liability apply to a product liability case?

Various legal theories are employed to approach civil claims against product manufacturers. Negligence is probably the most familiar theory. In Allegheny County negligence claims, the injured party must demonstrate a product manufacturer's breach of duty to a plaintiff resulted in harm and losses.

Under a different theory called strict liability, the plaintiff may recover damages without proving negligence. Under the Restatement of (Second) Torts Section 402A, a manufacturer does not have to be careless to be liable for producing a dangerous product. A November 2014 ruling by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court clarified rules applicable to strict liability cases.

Couple on holiday trip killed in Pennsylvania truck accident

Defensive driving skills save many Allegheny County drivers from collisions. Sometimes, no matter what you do, it's impossible to anticipate the actions of other drivers. Operators of smaller vehicles are at a disadvantage when a negligent driver is behind the wheel of a tractor-trailer.

Two 18-wheelers and a car were involved in a recent crash on Interstate 80, not far from Penn State University. An out-of-state couple in a Volvo was headed to the Midwest to spend Thanksgiving with their two adult children. The 64-year-old husband and his 59-year-old wife chose to drive through Pennsylvania for safety reasons.

Prevalence of fatal asbestos diseases in Allegheny County

Before safety regulations were in place in the 1980s, many Pennsylvania workers were exposed regularly to mineral fibers toxic to their health. Symptoms of asbestos injuries commonly remain dormant for 20 to 50 years. Consequently, asbestos attorneys are seeing a significant number of asbestos-related diagnoses today due to workplace harm caused in the past.

The Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit consumer health advocate, asserts the rate of asbestos diseases and deaths has reached epidemic U.S. proportions. EWG studied government statistics, indicating the asbestos death rate was more than 9,900 victims per year. That figure is not projected to decline until sometime around 2025.

The option to settle in Allegheny County mesothelioma cases

Time can be precious for Pittsburgh patients who have been diagnosed with serious health problems. Asbestos-related diseases, like lung cancer and mesothelioma, frequently are discovered when the conditions are well advanced. Treatment of symptoms is possible, but the diseases often progress rapidly with fatal results.

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer affecting the membranous lining of the lungs, abdominal cavity or heart. Asbestos injuries are caused by the inhalation of mineral fibers that become embedded in the lining. Up to 80 percent of all mesothelioma cases have been traced to asbestos exposure in the workplace, according to The Mesothelioma Center.

Driver recklessness cited in Pennsylvania wrongful death case

Traffic law compliance is not the only reason Pittsburgh drivers have a duty to operate motor vehicles safely. Drivers also have a civil obligation to protect others while engaging in a potentially dangerous activity. Criminal courts try drivers for law-breaking, while civil courts determine whether harm originated from a defendant's negligence, recklessness or intentional actions.

A 23-year-old driver was arrested after a fatal accident on Interstate 81 last spring. The man confessed he smoked marijuana but denied using the drug the day of the crash. Authorities located a pot pipe in the driver's Dodge Neon and stated a drug test showed evidence of a significant amount of marijuana in the young man's system.

Maritime laws affect widow's pursuit of asbestos damages

The likelihood of getting hurt at work is greater for an Allegheny County construction worker than someone with a desk job. In the same way, exposure to dangerous asbestos fibers is higher in some occupations than others. Shipyard workers and military veterans are among the workers most vulnerable to asbestos injuries.

The widow of a former U.S. Navy sailor, whose husband's death was linked to asbestos exposure, sought damages from the manufacturer of asbestos products. The case was included in asbestos multidistrict litigation in a Pennsylvania federal court, which ruled maritime law was applicable.

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