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Pittsburgh Wrongful Death Law Blog

What is the job fatality rate among Pennsylvania workers?

Federal agencies, including the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health, are involved in informing Allegheny County employers and employees about workplace safety rules. Regulators at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration attempt to enforce these rules through job site inspections and work-related accident investigations.

Efforts made by federal agencies are weakened by a lack of power, including a hobbled workforce. OSHA is considerably understaffed to monitor safety practices for the 130 million workers in the agency's jurisdiction. Even when inspectors find violations, government fines often aren't enough to compel employers to change approaches to worker safety.

How long do I have to file a Pennsylvania wrongful death claim?

At first glance, it may seem intrusive for attorneys to advise grieving families to seek legal advice immediately after the accidental death of a loved one. There are several good reasons to act in a timely manner. Those reasons are beneficial to survivors.

Many fatal accidents in Pittsburgh are caused by someone else's negligence. Plaintiffs must prove this point in court. The strength of physical evidence and witness statements weakens as time passes after an accident – evidence that can be vital to a family's financial recovery.

Preventable head injuries on Pennsylvania construction sites

In 2010, traumatic brain injuries were responsible for or contributed to nearly 2.5 million U.S. emergency room visits and hospitalizations and more than 50,000 deaths. TBIs are linked to 30 percent of all deaths by injury. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 40 percent of TBIs between 2006 and 2010 were caused by falls.

During that period, falls were the reason for TBIs among 55 percent of children under 15 and 81 percent of adults, ages 65 and older. Construction workers in Pittsburgh and around the country are also in a high-risk group. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, nearly 37 percent of all fatal construction accidents in 2013 were due to falls.

Pennsylvania youth sports program sued over ex-athlete’s death

Some Allegheny County liability claims allege a defendant's careless behavior contributed to a plaintiff's injury. A defendant also may be blamed for failing to take reasonable actions to prevent an injury or fatal accident.

Pop Warner Little Scholars, headquartered in Pennsylvania, has been named in a federal wrongful death lawsuit. According to the non-profit organization's website, about 325,000 children internationally, ages 5 to 16, take part in Pop Warner football, dance or cheerleading programs, which set scholastic aptitude standards for participation.

Pennsylvania liability suit: Negligence led to girls’ deaths

Toddlers aren't old enough to realize climbing on or in a bedroom dresser or other furniture can be dangerous. Pittsburgh manufacturers must use designs that consider how child products will be used by people who aren't old enough to read. That often requires the inclusion of added safety features and strongly-worded warning labels for parents.

A product liability wrongful death lawsuit recently was filed in Pennsylvania's Beaver County. The claim alleged negligence by a furniture manufacturer and retailer caused the deaths of two sisters. The Baby Cache dresser the girls' parents bought at Babies R Us apparently did not come with a tip-over warning or wall-hugging safety strap.

Are Pennsylvania veterans at risk of asbestos-related diseases?

Warfare has been responsible for the injuries and deaths of countless members of the U.S. military. The health of Pennsylvania veterans also has been compromised by workplace exposure to asbestos, mineral fibers contained in hundreds of products used by the military before the substances were found to be harmful.

Inhalation of asbestos fibers has been linked to chronic and deadly diseases including lung cancer, asbestosis, pleural plaques and mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a rare, incurable cancer that most often attacks the linings of the lungs or abdominal cavity. One-third of all victims diagnosed with mesothelioma are former service members.

Baby hazards and Pittsburgh product liability claims

If you are among Allegheny County consumers who think that all children's products manufacturers meet high safety standards, you aren't alone. After all, federal watchdogs at the Consumer Product Safety Commission wouldn't allow dangerous products to be sold for children, would they? The existence of safety regulations doesn't mean that all product makers are in compliance.

The way that the CPSC and Pittsburgh parents sometimes learn about unsafe products is from reports of child injuries or deaths. Manufacturer recalls and government bans help clear store shelves of defective merchandise. However, some harmful baby products are still publicly available.

Silica dust standards to protect Pennsylvania workers

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration held a hearing in March 2014 about the dangers of crystalline silica in the workplace. Testimony was provided by trade groups, union and industry representatives, scientists and construction workers, including a Pennsylvania employee who called silica-related work conditions "deplorable."

OSHA was considering setting worker exposure limits for toxic dust, created from working with construction-related products containing silica. When someone breathes in silica dust, mineral particles can become embedded in the person's lungs. Severe, often fatal, respiratory illnesses like tuberculosis, autoimmune conditions, lung cancer, silicosis and airway diseases have been linked with exposure.

Allegheny County military veterans and asbestos claims

Allegheny County workers in several types of industries unknowingly were exposed to toxic minerals during the last century. Strong, fire-proof asbestos fibers were part and parcel of numerous U.S. products until the 1970s, when regulations severely limited the material's use. Asbestos was traced to respiratory diseases and other health conditions, like mesothelioma – a deadly cancer of the linings of the lungs, body cavity, abdomen or heart.

Employees in refineries and manufacturing and chemical plants were not the only workers to be poisoned by asbestos. The military found countless uses for asbestos in ships, vehicles and buildings built, serviced, maintained and used by military personnel. Today, 30 percent of mesothelioma victims are veterans.

Allegheny County drivers who act as their own DUI judge

For many Pittsburgh drivers, drunk driving education ended with testimonies from surviving DUI accident victims and violent crash videos in high school. Many people assume they understand the effects of alcohol, particularly on their own bodies. How many drivers take the attitude they're adults now and can "handle" alcohol?

The blood alcohol content level equal to legal intoxication is 0.08 percent in all states. Drivers sometimes believe any BAC level less than the limit means they can operate a vehicle safely. In fact, the ability to drive as well as a sober person suffers at a BAC level of just 0.02 percent.

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