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Philadelphia Family Law and Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Impairment Rating Exams and workers' compensation

If you've received a total disability award in your workers' compensation claim, your impairment rating will be a key component in your continued receipt of those benefits. Although you may be able to receive disability benefits indefinitely under Pennsylvania's workers' compensation laws, after two years of benefits, you'll likely have to have your impairment rating evaluated.

Impairment ratings are evaluated in what is called an Impairment Rating Exam (IRE). These exams are intended to prevent non-impaired workers from continuing to receive benefits when they are fully able to return back to work.

What issues do all co-parents face?

Co-parenting is not an easy job. There are bound to be disagreements on bed times, discipline, vacation schedules and more --- even between divorced or estranged parents who generally get along well. However, learning how to cope with common co-parenting issues can help you prepare for those issues that might be less common. Here are some issues that virtually all co-parents who live separately face:

-- Changes in schedules: When one parent asks to change a child's schedule at the last minute, it's important to remember to do what is best for the child and not what is best for you.

Do back belts actually prevent back injuries?

Does your employer require you to wear a back belt when lifting or moving heavier objects? Do you wear one because you feel it helps prevent injury to your back? Back injuries are a very common injury in the workplace. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), almost 20 percent of workplace injuries are back injuries. In an effort to help determine ways to prevent back injuries, NIOSH wanted to know if back belts actually helped prevent back injuries.

After NIOSH reviewed scientific literature, they determined that there was simply not enough studies to say one way or another if back belts reduced back injuries. As a result, NIOSH doesn't recommend using back belts to prevent back injuries for workers who haven't had a back injury before.

What are the most common root causes of workplace accidents?

Did you know that some statistics on workplace accidents state that the injured worker is responsible for the accident 80 percent of the time? There are several common "root causes" of workplace accidents and with better safety training and protocol, we can reduce the chances of employees suffering an on-the-job accident.


Planning for the future can start at any age

It is never too early to start planning for the future. Part of that planning includes making clear your wishes for what happens to your estate when you pass. The importance of having an estate plan increases as you build your family and accumulate assets. However, it is important to have the right kind of plan for every stage of your life.

If you are considering starting the estate planning process, it is important to have legal guidance to ensure your documents are in compliance with Pennsylvania laws. An experienced estate planning attorney in the Pottstown area can help you plan the right kind of future to suit your needs.

Alimony in Pennsylvania: 17 factors judges consider

The judges in Pennsylvania who determine whether soon-to-be ex-spouses will receive alimony must consider many factors -- 17 of them to be exact. These factors help the judges determine who should pay alimony, if anyone, and how much should be paid.

The 17 factors are:

Fighting opioid addiction through workers' compensation

Many U.S. states are using their workers' compensation programs to help slow the overprescribing of opioid prescriptions for injured workers. In addition, they are also trying to help those workers who are already addicted to the drugs avoid consequences that can include death.

Many workers who are injured on the job are prescribed drugs like Vicodin and OxyContin. According to one worker who was injured in 2004, OxyContin, Percocet and morphine were used to treat his pain and he says that the drugs ruined his life. He was not able to work and therefore could not afford his opioid habit. As a result, he started selling cocaine until he ended up arrested and in jail for two years. He now works as a licensed counselor, helping others who have become addicted and need treatment.

Is my pet considered property during a divorce?

Earlier this year, Alaska saw a new law go into effect. That law requires that courts now take an animal's well-being into consideration during a divorce. It also lets judges consider joint custody of a pet.

While Alaska may be the only state with this type of law, a Rhode Island legislator has introduced a similar bill. However, across most of the country, pets are still considered property in most courtrooms during a divorce.

Workers' comp rates cut in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania's governor's office released a statement this week announcing a 6.21 percent decrease in workers' compensation rates. The decrease is expected to save businesses in the state about $150 million.

The decrease, according to the statement, will help businesses "create jobs that pay in Pennsylvania and at the same time, maintain fair benefits for workers injured on the job."

Why should young parents have an estate plan?

Estate plans generally seem like something you might consider once you hit your forties or fifties, but many young people benefit greatly from an estate plan much earlier on. If you think you're too young for an estate plan, you might want to reconsider.

Traditionally, estate plans help individuals use the law to pass on their property to others without losing a large portion of it to taxes when they die or become incapacitated. While many people wait until they feel "more established" to begin creating an estate plan, the benefits can add up well before reaching middle age.

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