About Jamie Mulholland

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How Dangerous Are Pennsylvania Amusement Rides?

After an Ohio State Fair ride recently fell apart in midair, a Pennsylvania journalist took a deeper look at the safety of rides in the Commonwealth. His findings, published in the Morning Call, revealed exactly how little information is publicly available.

In Pennsylvania, there are 1,400+ amusement ride inspectors certified by the state Department of Agriculture. Most inspectors are private, however, and evaluate rides at the amusement parks or carnivals where they work. Despite that fact, the system seems to be working, noted industry officials. “State data from last year show six of 496 reportable injuries on Pennsylvania amusement attractions were related to mechanical issues. The others were attributed to rider behavior, operator error or a combination.”

Inspections are scheduled every 30 days or when a portable ride is reassembled. Yet the Department of Agriculture website does not provide details, only the inspection date. Plans are to redesign the site to be able to publish additional information. In the meantime, concerned consumers can look for a placard displayed at the ride with the date of the last inspection. Consumers also can seek records from their state regulator through public record laws.

If you or a loved one has been injured on an amusement ride, it’s best to consult an attorney who is experienced in that area of the law. Shaffer & Gaier is happy to schedule a free, private consultation anytime. Call 215-751-0100 or send us a meeting request through our website.

PA Nursing Home Fines Jump in 2017

The Pennsylvania Department of Health is cracking down on nursing home safety, as evidenced by a jump in fines, reported Lancaster Online. State records show 108 penalties and $774,750 in fines for roughly the first half of 2017, as compared to 18 penalties and $65,750 in fines for all of 2014. The increased oversight is part of a philosophical shift that the department announced in October 2016.

The department has been taking anonymous complaints and visiting nursing homes more frequently. Offenses range from technical violations for water that’s too hot to more serious penalties where inadequate care resulted in harm to residents, and sometimes death.

If you suspect an elderly loved one in a nursing home may be the victim of neglect, talk to an experienced elder injury attorney. Contact us online or call 215-751-0100 so we can talk about your legal options.

Injured PA Workers May Receive More Benefits

A recent ruling by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court changed how injured workers are evaluated, opening the way for extended workers’ compensation benefits. “The court’s decision eliminated the practice of using the American Medical Association guidelines to place a cap on benefits paid out to severely injured workers,” reported the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Until now, workers’ compensation law allowed companies to revisit injuries two years later and evaluate them as a percentage based on the AMA guidelines. If an injury fell below the 50 percent threshold, companies could reduce or cap the payments.

It’s important to note that a work injury doesn’t always fall solely within the realm of workers’ compensation benefits: if the injury happened because of a defective product/equipment or someone’s negligence, you could receive damage awards for medical costs, missed work or pain and suffering.

At Shaffer & Gaier, consultations are always free. Contact us online or call 215-751-0100, and we’ll discuss the details of your case.

U.S. Department of Labor Reports on PA Fatal Work Injuries in Pennsylvania

The United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics has released a report on fatal work injuries in Pennsylvania in 2015. Overall, the number of work-related deaths decreased from 179 in 2014 to 173 in 2015. Nationwide, that number totaled 4,836.2015 Fatal Work Injuries

Each year, the study breaks down those numbers by type of incident (transportation-related, falls/slips/trips, equipment contact, violence, or “other”), type of industry, worker occupation and whether the worker was full-time or contracted. The figures are also broken down by sex, race and age.

Overall, the private construction business saw the highest number of industry-related fatalities in Pennsylvania (35), with falls, slips or trips being the major cause. Transportation/material moving and construction/extraction had the highest number of occupational-classified fatalities at 50 and 42, respectively. Pennsylvania worker deaths in 2015 included 33 individuals who were classified as contract workers. 92% of work-related deaths in PA were males, 80% were white/non-Hispanic workers, and 60% of the deaths were 25-54 years old.

In some cases, work-related deaths can be the subject of a lawsuit if it involved negligence or a product defect. To schedule a free, private meeting with an experienced Pennsylvania work injury attorney, call us anytime at 855-289-1660 or e-mail us.

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