Wolf, Baldwin & Associates, P.C.

Philadelphia Family Law and Workers' Compensation Law Blog

State introduces new opioid prescribing guidelines

The opioid epidemic is an economic and health crisis here in Pennsylvania. Now the Wolf Administration has become involved by introducing new guidelines for prescribing the drugs to injured workers on workers' compensation. The idea is to prevent workers with chronic pain or acute pain due to injury from becoming addicted to powerful drugs such as Vicodin or OxyContin.

According to the administration, Pennsylvania had 174,216 workers' compensation claims in 2017. The commonwealth also has the third highest rate of workers who become addicted to these painkillers. These numbers contribute to over 4,642 deaths due to opioid overdoses. Unfortunately, these numbers continue to soar upward.

Workers' comp versus personal injury

There are several key differences between personal injury suits and workers' compensation claims. The main distinction is that a party must be at fault if there is to be personal injury claim, such as a driver who causes a vehicle accident or a faulty product. A workers' compensation claim, on the other hand, is not fault based but it must happen in the course of doing work. Since there does  not have to be anyone at fault, the injured person does not have to prove that an employer or co-worker was negligent to receive benefits.

Other Notable Differences

The Top 10 Safety Violations of 2018

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has just announced its list of the most frequent safety violations found in the workplace. While the list is preliminary, the numbers at this point will likely reflect the final list. The news was announced with some fanfare by Deputy Director of OSHA's Directorate of Enforcement Programs on the floor of the 2018 NSC Congress & Expo, which is the largest annual gathering of safety professionals in the world.

The Top 10

OSHA fines farm for death of employee struck by lightning

Employees have a right to a safe workplace whether they are working at a construction site, in an office or elsewhere. This includes at a farm picking vegetables in Florida. Therefore, it was no surprise that Occupational Health and Safety Agency (OSHA) levied a fine of $12,934, which is the maximum, after a 53-year-old mother of five and grandmother of 12 was fatally struck by lightning last May while working in a field as a thunderstorm raged. She had worked for there for 15 years, first as a picker and then keeping count of harvest yields. According to local news reports, two others were injured from the strike as well.

The employer was deemed negligent

Continue to update your estate plan through the years

Creating an estate plan is an essential step in planning ahead for your long-term goals and wishes. That said, once you've created an initial plan the work is still not complete. Diligent estate planning requires not just one version of your will, power of attorney or other important documents. In reality, these plans will need periodic checkups and revisions over time.

Keeping elements of your estate plan up to date is a crucial element of prudent planning for everyone in Pennsylvania. A complicated, unclear probate process can add undue stress and tension to an already difficult time of grief, but that stress could be a reality if your estate plan is out of date when it comes time to implement it.

Transracial adoptions have special considerations

Not all adoptions involve children who are the same race as their adoptive parents. When the child and parents are different races, the adoption is known as a transracial adoption. These types of adoptions have some very unique challenges that must be fully addressed both during the adoption process and also after.

One thing that you have to remember is that your culture isn't necessarily the child's culture. You might consider findng ways to help him or her learn about his or her heritage in order to feel complete. Children may develop a better sense of self by embracing customs to which they feel a connection.

Accidents with heavy machinery can occur with untrained personnel

Operating heavy machinery is necessary for some job positions. It is imperative that anyone who is going to operate these machines learns how to do so safely. When they don't, accidents can happen. Workers who are injured by unsafe operations might not be able to return to work right away.

One of the worst accidents that can be caused by these machines is a worker getting crushed. Other accidents might include being cut or struck by the machinery. There is never an acceptable reason for a company to allow an untrained person to operate equipment.

Focus on rebuilding your social life after a divorce

During your marriage, your focus was on the relationship. You may have let some others fall by the wayside while you were trying to build and strengthen your home life. Now that you are going through a divorce, it is time to rebuild the social life that you neglected.

You must remember that the goal of your social life is to build friendships, not to jump right back into a relationship. After a divorce, you need time to focus on yourself. This means that you will have to balance work, maintaining a home, kids, and your personal interests.

Don't delay reporting work injuries or seeking treatment

No matter what job they are doing, workers face a host of hazards when they are performing their job duties. Employers ideally should take steps to identify hazardous conditions and determine how to minimize them. When employers fail to minimize the hazards, workers can suffer. But, unfortunately, employees can be injured even when employers do everything they can to minimize potential risks.

Injured workers might feel like they don't want to rock the boat. They may feel uneasy about filing a workers' compensation claim or seeking medical care after a workplace injury. While it is understandable that they would have these thoughts, they must realize that workers' compensation benefits are designed to help them heal and get back to work as soon as possible.

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