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M&M Law Blog of Northeastern Pennsylvania

Who are the distracted drivers putting you at risk?

Paying attention behind the wheel is important for safety, but not everyone takes the matter as serious as they should. You have probably noticed that a lot of drivers seem glued to their phones or may participate in other types of dangerous behaviors. Anyone can be a distracted driver, and this is a scary thought. However, some adults are more likely to drive distracted than others.

Compared with baby boomers and Gen Xers, millennials are much more likely to engage in at least one distracted driving behavior. This generation's distracted driving habits tend to involve smartphones. It is not just all texting, either.

Low-rated hospitals are not improving

A trip to the hospital may already be a frightening experience if your reason for going is an injury, illness or surgery. You already have a lot on your mind as you worry about your health, and you certainly don't want to wonder about the safety rating of your hospital.

Unfortunately, with hundreds of thousands of patients dying in U.S. hospitals from preventable medical errors, concern over your hospital's rating may be more important in recent years. Public safety advocate groups, like Leapfrog, routinely publish ratings for hospitals across the country. While some recent news is encouraging, for those who only have access to low-rated hospitals, the situation is getting worse.

Even minor car accidents can have severe long-term consequences

Motorists in Northeastern Pennsylvania risk their lives on the roadways every day. Even bumper-bashing accidents can cause injuries with long-term consequences. Unfortunately, even if you are one of the safest drivers, you can fall victim to negligent operators of other vehicles. The intensity of the crash, where victims sat in your vehicle and whether they wore seat belts are factors that determine the severity of car accident injuries.

A smashed windshield and other small objects in a car could cause cuts and bruises, but other serious injuries can occur. Some might be less visible, and it would be wise for you to go for a medical evaluation even if you have no visible broken bones or open wounds. Hidden injuries could turn out to be life-threatening.

Mind your step to avoid a construction site slip-and-fall injury

Even when Northeastern Pennsylvania has a mild winter, construction workers will face life-threatening hazards -- maybe even more because weather conditions might allow more activity on construction sites. Although the Occupational Safety and Health Administration says all construction accidents are preventable, noncompliance with safety regulations often lead to serious on-the-job injuries -- some of which are fatal. However, if you establish safe work policies for yourself, you might avoid spending the holidays in the hospital.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says the most common workplace injuries result from slips, trips and falls. If you start your safety regime with a focus on those hazards, you will already be significantly safer than if you put all your trust in your employer to protect you. Awareness of potential dangers will allow you to take precautions.

The perils of working in a restaurant kitchen

Restaurants and eating places are near the top of the list of industries in Northeastern Pennsylvania, and a significant portion of the workforce earns a living in kitchens. If you are one of them, you could suffer sprains and strains, cuts, burns and other injuries. Like in any other industry, your employer must provide a work environment that is free of known hazards, but unanticipated accidents happen in kitchens every day.

You can play a part in your own safety by learning about potential kitchen hazards and looking out for them. By paying attention to detail, you can reduce the risk of common dangers.

Will your teenager be distracted while driving this summer?

With summer break coming up, scores of teenagers will be driving on the already busy Pennsylvania highways. If you are the parent of a teenager, handing over the keys to the family car might cause anxiety. Not only for the safety of the child but also for your liability if your teen causes an accident that injures or kills others.

Along with inexperience, distractions cause many teen crashes. Communicating about this problem may help to keep your child safe. Cellphones are not the only thing that can distract young drivers — anything that takes the mind off driving, the hands off the steering wheel or the eyes off the road can cause an accident.

Pennsylvania workers beware -- cold stress can be deadly

Workers whose occupations expose them to the cold conditions have to face possible illness every year. Dangerous conditions can even exist indoors in cold storage areas or unheated buildings.

Working in areas that expose employees to wind can also cause their bodies to lose heat, often resulting in cold stress. Those who are most vulnerable to adverse effects of exposure to cold include workers who are older along with those with heart disease, high blood pressure or diabetes.

Denied workers' compensation claim? You have options.

If hurt at work, you know how difficult it can be to get better while you are worrying about paying your bills and taking care of your family during your time away from work. This is why workers' compensation benefits exist -- to care for individuals who suffered an injury at work or who became ill due to occupational exposure. While you may have a rightful claim to these benefits, it can actually be quite complex to secure them.

Many first-time applicants find that their initial claim came back denied. This certainly feels like a setback, and while it is frustrating, it is not the end of the road for you. You have the right to continue to fight for the full amount of workers' compensation benefits you need and deserve.

A settlement offer can appear sooner than some injury symptoms

Patience may be a virtue, but it can be a challenging one, especially in the age of convenience. With fast food drive-thrus and next or same day shipping, the idea of waiting to receive something could be an odd notion to some. However, there are some areas where signing for a rushed delivery could cause you to miss out.

Car accidents take place every day, and each one has the potential to be devastating. Perhaps you have been injured in an accident and an insurance company has already offered you a settlement. Although it may seem enticing at first, you might want to wait until you are aware of the full extent of your injuries before accepting any offers.

In how many feet of snow did you work today?

Following the late-winter cold spell and heavy snowfalls -- several feet in some areas in Pennsylvania -- readers may want to spare a thought for workers who earn their livelihoods by working outdoors. While being out in nature has its benefits in other seasons, some jobs can be life threatening in the winter.

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